Former temple pre-school teacher launches Toy Vey! and creates an educational gift set to compete with the glitz of commercialized holiday celebrations, making it the perfect gift for Hanukkah this...
(PRWeb November 25, 2013)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/Hanukkah/gifts/prweb11365551.htm
Plumbers fixing a water leak in central Portugal discovered what appears to be a cluster of 600-year-old Jewish ritual baths.Click here for the rest of the article...
(JTA) –Plumbers fixing a water leak in central Portugal discovered what appears to be a cluster of 600-year-old Jewish ritual baths.
The discovery was made earlier this year in the city of Coimbra as the plumbers were replacing the piping of an old building in what used to be the Jewish part of the Old City, according to a report Thursday by the Publico daily.
Jorge Alarcao, an archeologist who was called upon to study the structures, told the paper: “This could be the only discovery of its kind made in Portugal.”
The structures appear to be mikvahs, or ritual baths, predating the 14th century which were designed for Jewish women, according to Alarcao.
“It could be the most important archeological discovery made in Coimbra over the past 70 years,” Coimbra Mayor Manuel Machado told the paper.
The Jewish presence in Coimbra dates back to at least 1370, and the mikvahs may have been in operation even before that date, Alarcao said. If additional researchers confirm the find, the mikvahs of Coimbra may be considered among the oldest mikvahs ever discovered in Europe, he said.
The mikvahs were enclosed in a room whose ceiling featured an ancient fresco of flowers, Publico reported. The fresco was likely painted in the 16th century, before the Portuguese Inquisition sent hundreds of thousands of Spanish Jewish refugees and local Jews into exile or forced them to convert to Christianity.
Most Dutch Jews have remained silent over the blackface character known as Black Pete. A rabbi is slamming the community for that — and its role in thes slave trade.Click here for the rest of the article...
By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg
When I was growing up, the Yom Kippur afternoon Yizkor (remembrance) service was a very big deal. In fact, at Temple B’nai Jehudah in Kansas City, the N’ilah (concluding) service would be held before Yizkor, except that, as we were about to hear the final shofar blast, we would then turn to pray Yizkor. It was a trick, of course, but it insured that people stayed for N’ilah because they would not miss Yizkor.
As I and the other editors1 of the upcoming Mishkan HaNefesh (the new High Holiday prayerbook to be published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis), believe, our ancient Jewish tradition shows great wisdom in teaching us to gather for services of remembrance on Yom Kippur and on the three pilgrimage festivals (Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot). These awaken strong memories of love and family: the holy days we shared with parents, grandparents, children, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, and cherished friends. It is hard to sit in synagogue and not think of the days when our deceased loved ones accompanied us. To paraphrase the late Rabbi Morris Adler, there presence is more real than their absence.
From its inception a thousand years ago, when it was prayed by Ashkenazic Jews on the morning of Yom Kippur, Yizkor has had two profound themes: God’s embrace of the loved ones who are beyond our reach; and our commitment to do the good deeds that are within our reach by giving tzedakah in their memory. When we say “Yizkor, may God remember . . .” we proclaim our faith that those who have died have significance now and forever.
The traditional liturgy for Yizkor is pretty sparse. Our version for the new machzor (High Holiday prayberbook), will incorporate a good deal of poetry. Why? Implicit in poetry is the notion that we are deepened by heartbreaks, that we are not so much diminished as enlarged by grief, and by our refusal to vanish – to let others vanish – without leaving a verbal record. Poetry is a stubborn art.
Here is an example of a poem we wish to include, tied into the subject of memory and taking our place in the chain of tradition and responsibility, whether we are ready or not.
Death of A Parent
Move to the front
of the line
a voice says, and suddenly
there is nobody
left standing between you
and the world, to take
the first blows
on their shoulders.
This is the place in books
where part one ends, and part two begins,
and there is no part three.
The slate is wiped
not clean but like a canvas
painted over in white
so that a whole new landscape
must be started,
bits of the old
still showing underneath –
those colors sadness lends
to a certain hour of evening.
Now the line of light
at the horizon
is the hinge between earth
and heaven, only visible
a few moments
as the sun drops
its rusted padlock
Linda Pastan, b. 1932
It’s been said that the “poet is one who will not be reconciled, who is determined to leave a trace in words, to transform oceanic depths of feeling into the faithful nuances of art.” (Edward Hirsch) We hope that our version of Yizkor will help those who remember incorporate art into their grieving. Like the rest of the these Days of Awe, we see Yizkor as sacred opportunity for personal transformation.
- The members of the Mishkah HaNefesh editorial committee, in addition to Rabbi Edwin Goldberg, include, Rabbi Janet Marder, Rabbi Sheldon Marder, and Rabbi Leon Morris.
Edwin Goldberg, D.H.L., is the senior rabbi of Temple Sholom of Chicago and serves as the coordinating editor of Mishkan HaNefesh.
By Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
While the ASA was deciding to help put Israel into an academic ghetto, something was happening behind our backs – something by no means insidious, but, rather, redemptive.
The academic world did not stay silent. Quite the contrary. To date, twenty-five American universities have refused to join the ASA boycott. In many cases, they have also issued strongly worded protests against the Association’s actions.
Here are the names of the presidents or chancellors of each university, along with their contact information. Because it is not enough to scream gevalt when we have been wounded. We also have to scream “thank you” to those who are our friends, to those who stood up for truth, to those who have refused to have their educational institutions seduced by all too common siren song of anti-Israelism. We need to thank those institutions, especially if we are alumni of them, and/or our children or grandchildren attend them. .
This is the mitzvah of hakarat ha-tov – recognizing the good. Thank these university officials for their universities’ courage in standing up to the American Studies Association. Thank them for their commitment to truth and to intellectual honesty. Thank them for the generosity of spirit that they demonstrated towards the State of Israel. Idea: reproduce this list in your bulletin, service handouts, and web site.
Boston University. Dr. Robert A. Brown, President. John and Kathryn Silber Administrative Center, 1 Silber Way (8th Floor), Boston, MA. 02215. email@example.com
Brandeis University. Fred Laurence, President. Office of the President, Irving Enclave 113, MS 100, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453
Brown University. Christina Paxson, President. Office of the President, Brown University, Box 1860, 1 Prospect Street, Providence, RI 02912
Cornell University. David J. Skorton, President. Office of the President, 300 Day Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dickinson College. Nancy A. Roseman, President. Dickinson College, Post Office Box 1773 , Carlisle, PA 17013. email@example.com
Duke University. Richard A. Brodhead, President. Office of the President, Duke University, 207 Allen Building, Box 90001, Durham, NC 27708-0001. firstname.lastname@example.org
George Washington University. Steven Knapp, President. Rice Hall, 2121 I Street, NW, Suite 801, Washington, DC 20052
Harvard University. Dr. Drew Faust, President. Office of the President, Harvard University, Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, MA 02138 email@example.com
Indiana University. Michael A. McRobbie, President. Office of the President, Indiana University, Bryan Hall 200, 107 S. Indiana Ave., Bloomington, IN 47405
Michigan State University. Lou Anna K. Simon, President. Office of the President, Michigan State University, 426 Auditorium Road, Hannah Administration Building, Room 450, East Lansing, MI 48824-1046. firstname.lastname@example.org
New York University. John Sexton, President. Office of the President, New York University, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012 email@example.com
Northwestern University. Morton Shapiro, President. 2-130 Rebecca Crown Center, 633 Clark Street, Evanston, Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org
Princeton University. Christopher L. Eisgruber, President. Office of the President, 1 Nassau Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544
Tulane University. Scott S. Cowen, President. Tulane University, 218 Gibson Hall, 6823 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118-5684
University of California-Irvine. Michael V. Drake, MD, Chancellor.
University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697 email@example.com
University of California-San Diego. Praddep K. Khosia, chancellor-elect.
Office of the Chancellor, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive # 0005, La Jolla, California 92093-0005. firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Kansas. Bernadette Gray-Little, Chancellor. Chancellor’s Office, University of Kansas, 230 Strong Hall, Lawrence, KS email@example.com
University of Maryland. Wallace D. Loh, President. University of Maryland, 1101 Main Administration Building, College Park, MD 20742-6105 firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Pennsylvania. Amy Gutmann, President. Office of the President, University of Pennsylvania, 1 College Hall, Room 100, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6380. email@example.com
University of Pittsburgh. Mark Nordenberg, Chancellor. University of Pittsburgh , 107 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260
University of Texas-Austin. William Powers, Jr., President. Office of the President, 110 Inner Campus Drive, Stop G3400, Austin, TX. 78712-3400
Washington University in St. Louis. Mark Stephen Wrighton, Chancellor.
Campus Box 1192, One Brookings Drive , St. Louis, MO 63130 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wesleyan University. Michael S. Roth, President. 229 High Street, Middletown, CT. 06459. email@example.com
Willamette University. Stephen E. Thorsett, President. 900 State Street, Salem, Oregon 97301 firstname.lastname@example.org
Yale University. Peter Salovey, President. President’s Office , Yale University PO Box 208229 , New Haven, CT 06520-8229 email@example.com
Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the rabbi of Temple Beth Am, Bayonne, NJ. He blogs at Martini Judaism.
COVENTRY, England (JTA) — Ephraim Mirvis became the first sitting British chief rabbi to address the annual Limmud conference, defying the opposition of prominent haredi Orthodox rabbis in England.
Mirvis, who received a standing ovation Monday upon entering the packed auditorium at the University of Warwick, did not directly address the controversy in his session on this week’s Torah portion.
Referring to Moses’ talent in drawing together the Jewish people, he suggested that single strands are easier to break than a rope.
“We need to concentrate seriously on binding the Jewish people, rope like, together,” Mirvis said.
The chief rabbi is to give a second session on Tuesday titled “A Torah guide to conflict resolution.”
The critics had said the conference, which draws thousands of participants from all walks of Jewish life, represented a danger to British Jewry by suggesting it was acceptable for observant Jews to associate with less or non-observant Jews.
Mirvis told the audience of several hundred that he was moved by the acts of voluntarism he had witnessed.
“Here at Limmud, you can’t escape the fact that it’s great to be Jewish and I’m delighted to be a part of this,” he said, smiling broadly.
In keeping with its principle of not elevating any one speaker over another, Limmud organizers did not introduce Mirvis as he took the podium.
This year’s event has drawn more than 2,500 participants from the United Kingdom and around the world for 4 1/2 days of lectures, workshops, performances and discussions on Jewish issues ranging from Torah study to art, archaeology, history and politics. The event is more than 30 years old.
Mirvis’ predecessor, Jonathan Sacks, reportedly had supported Limmud early on but bowed to pressure from his haredi colleagues and never attended.
A rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College set off a debate when he questioned the school’s policy on intermarriage. The debate illuminated the Reform movement’s tricky balance.Click here for the rest of the article...
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis trumpeted openness at Limmud U.K. In his first appearance at the conference, he urged participants to avoid living in a ‘self-imposed ghetto.’Click here for the rest of the article...
“Don’t stop after beating the swords into ploughshares, don’t stop! Go on beating and make musical instruments out of them. Whoever wants to make war again will have to turn them into ploughshares first.” –Yehuda Amichai
Jewish tradition hopes that we will turn our weapons into something beautiful and this past year, gun violence prevention has been at the forefront of debates not only in Washington, but also across the country. But before we can look ahead to 2014 and the progress we can make, we have to look back on the past year.
Less than two weeks ago, we observed the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. More than 12,000 people have been murdered with guns since that tragic day and in the past year, Reform Jews, along with faithful Americans from more than 45 religious denominations and organizations, have placed close to 23,000 calls to their Senators in favor of common-sense gun violence prevention measures. The calls are part of an interfaith call-in campaign called Faiths Calling. You can read statements from Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center, Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman, Sikh Council on Religion and Education, Bishop TD Jakes, senior pastor of The Potter’s House of Dallas, and Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby here.
At the URJ Biennial in San Diego last week, Mindy Finkelstein, a survivor of gun violence and ardent activist with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, spoke eloquently about her experience and the need to take action now. Her remarks can be viewed at here (from 59:50-75:15).
What else has been happening in the world of gun violence prevention advocacy?
- The House and Senate both passed legislation on undetectable guns by extending the Undetectable Firearms Act (UFA) for another 10 years. The original UFA was passed in 1988.
- Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns announced a merger of the two gun violence prevention advocacy groups.
What we can we do to help create a world with fewer gun deaths and less gun violence in our communities? Our tradition teaches that “It is not incumbent on you to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it” (Pirkei Avot 2:21). Here are three things you can do to live up to our tradition:
- Tell Congress we still care about expanding meaningful background checks. Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Toomey (R-PA) introduced a bipartisan plan to greatly expand background checks. This same plan was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen King (R-NY) and Thompson (D-CA). Although the proposal did not cover all gun sales, it promised to close dangerous loopholes that exempt gun shows and online sales from background checks. While it did not pass earlier this year, we must thank our representatives who voted for the measure and express disappointment to those who voted against the plan.
- Use the Reform Movement’s Gun Violence Prevention Resource Guide. The guide provides prayer materials, text studies and advocacy tools to help mobilize a community to take action.
- Talk to your congregation about signing up for March Sabbath, Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend. Houses of worship across the nation are joining the Washington National Cathedral and Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence to remember those who have lost their lives to guns, pray for those whose lives have been forever changed because of the loss of a loved one and to continue the discussion on how communities of faith can work together to help reduce gun violence.
Image courtesy of Congregation Beth Elohim
A half century after it debuted, Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ finally got a music video. Gon Ben Ari explains why we should get used to this form of visual storytelling.Click here for the rest of the article...
Vandals used a pig’s head to desecrate a synagogue in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar.Click here for the rest of the article...
(JTA) — Unidentified individuals used a pig’s head to desecrate a synagogue in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar.
Representatives of the Jewish community of the city, which is located 600 miles west of Baku, Azerbaijan, found the pig’s head at the entrance to their synagogue on Dec. 20. They believe the perpetrators are also responsible for English-language graffiti on the building’s external wall, which read: “Happy Tu B’Shevat, Jewish Pigs.”
Tu B´shevat, which will next occur on Jan 15, 2014, is a Jewish holiday which celebrates ecological awareness and the connection between man and the plant kingdom.
Shneor Segal, a Chabad rabbi who used to work in Krasnodar and now serves as the chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Baku, said the community has contacted police with the intention of filing criminal charges against the unidentified perpetrators.
Last month, a pig’s head was left on the doorstep of a synagogue being built in Sevastopol, a Ukrainian port city located 270 miles west of Krasnodar.
2013 was a landmark year for Jewish women, from Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ and the battle over prayer at the Western Wall to a young Orthodox girl who just wanted to sing.Click here for the rest of the article...
What “peace on earth” means; the representation of indigent defendants 50 years after Gideon; and the centennial of St. Olaf College’s musical Christmas festival.
The post Christmas Peace, Fifty Years after Gideon, Christmas at St. Olaf appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.
The elite St. Olaf Choir is considered a pioneer in America’s a capella choral tradition, and for more than 100 years St. Olaf College, a small Lutheran college in Northfield, Minnesota, has held a Christmas musical festival that is known and loved around the world./wnet/religionandethics/files/2011/12/thumb01-st-olaf-choir.jpg The elite St. Olaf Choir is considered a pioneer in America’s a capella choral tradition, and for one hundred years, this small Lutheran college in Minnesota has performed a Christmas concert that has become known—and loved—around the world.
Listen to more of our conversation with the conductor of the St. Olaf Choir, who suggests that music “will somehow seep into the bodies of those performing and certainly those who are hearing, and if it makes them reflect and they think differently about themselves and the people with whom they live day in and day out and how they lead their lives, then I think we’ve done our job.”/wnet/religionandethics/files/2012/11/thumb01-anton-armstrong-extended.jpg Music “will somehow seep into the bodies of those performing, and certainly those who are hearing, and if it makes them reflect, and they think differently about themselves and the people with whom they live day in and day out, then I think we’ve done our job.”
Encouraged by Israeli diplomats, parliamentarians from the Council of Europe have submitted a motion opposing an earlier resolution condemning ritual circumcision of boys.Click here for the rest of the article...
The popular president of an Atlanta synagogue was idenitified yesterday as one of two people who died when his small plane crashed on Tuesday.Click here for the rest of the article...
(JTA) — Encouraged by Israeli diplomats, parliamentarians from the Council of Europe have submitted a motion opposing an earlier resolution condemning ritual circumcision of boys.
The motion was submitted last week by 101 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the council, according to Micaela Catalano, a spokeswoman for the assembly, which has 318 parliamentarians and whose resolutions are non-binding.
Israeli diplomats told JTA they initiated the process that led to the motion’s submission.
The Council of Europe is an intergovernmental organization that encourages dialogue and is not connected to the European Union.
The new motion calls Jewish and Muslim circumcision of boys “a religious rite which does not present risks for children and should be respected as a longstanding religious tradition.”
Titled “Freedom of religion and religious practices,” the December 11 motion urges the assembly to make recommendations on tolerance of religious practices. It also mentions an earlier, anti-circumcision resolution that the assembly passed in October.
Titled “Children’s Right to Physical Integrity,” the October resolution calls non-medical circumcision of boys a “violation of the physical integrity of children.” In an unusual move, Israel’s Foreign Ministry had condemned that resolution, warning it was helping to foster hate.
Nimrod Barkan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, told JTA that the Israeli Foreign Ministry, through its missions around the world, had campaigned over the last two months to collect signatures of council parliamentarians opposing the October resolution. That resolution had passed thanks to 78 assembly members out of the 91 who participated in that vote.
The assembly’s bureau will decide next month whether to follow up on the new motion by compiling a report on religious freedoms or to take no further action, Catalano, the assembly spokeswoman, told JTA. If a report is compiled, the assembly will vote on whether to adopt its resolutions.
Resolutions passed by the assembly cannot be revised, but new ones may be passed, she added.