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Yitro

Weekly-Torah-Portion - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am

Exodus 18:1–20:23 

 

By Rabbi Sarah Bassin for ReformJudaism.org


Encounters That Can Make Us Become Better Jews


Jews are good at nostalgia. We remember with fondness the tenements of the Lower East Side when our community was tight knit and intact. We remember the quaintness of shtetl life untouched by outsiders. We yearn for the sovereignty of Ancient Israel where we controlled our own fate, unmolested by other nations.

But as Rabbi Rachel Adler reminds us, “there never was a time when ancient Israelite religion or the Judaism that succeeded it were not being influenced by the cultures and religions they encountered.”1

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Judaism’s “First Reformed” Moment Is Here

Young-Adults - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am
BY ARIEL WEXLER for newvoices.org


The central question of “First Reformed,” Paul Schrader’s film about a pastor reckoning with climate change, is, “Can God forgive us for what we’ve done to this world?” It’s a good question for American Protestants, and for all of us living between skeptical optimism and righteous despair.

It’s high time for Jews to have our own “First Reformed” moment, and the answer might be a biblical and rhetorical tool that was staring us in the face all along: tikkun olam.

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Christian pastor who posted anti-LGBT signs gets kicked out by his congregation

LGBTQ - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am
By Sky Palma for DeadState


Not Jewish news, but happy to see how churches are reacting to the hate.


YREKA, CALIFORNIA — A pastor at a Northern California Presbyterian church was ousted by his congregation after he posted anti-LGBT messages on a sign outside his church, NBC News reports.

In a post to his Facebook page this past weekend, Pastor Justin Hoke announced his removal.

“As of today, I am no longer the pastor of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church,” Hoke wrote. “I was informed that essentially all but one couple in membership would leave the church if I continued as pastor.”

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New Jewish Documentation Center, Containing 100 Years of Jewish Life in Mexico City, Opens This Week

Jewish-Arts-and-Media - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am
By Alan Grabinsky for Tablet Magazine


The paper legacies of separate immigrant communities return under one roof after earthquake-induced exile


A catastrophic 1985 earthquake that killed thousands of people in Mexico City and destroyed the (back-then) Jewish neighborhoods of Roma and Condesa also left the archives of the Ashkenazi community in a state of complete disarray, stashed away in makeshift boxes in the damp and dark basement of the Nidje Israel synagogue, colloquially known as Acapulco 70 for its street address. In the early 1990s, Alicia Gojman de Backal, a history professor at the National University of Mexico, decided to make sense of this archival nightmare. The result was Generations of Jews in Mexico a seven-tome encyclopedic history of the Ashkenazi community in Mexico published in 1993 and the birth of Mexico City’s Jewish Documentation Center, which will reopen this week in its new home in the historical Rodfe Sedek synagogue.

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How to eat figs

Jewish-Food - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am


Today, Monday, January 21, is Tu BiShvat. It is customary to eat figs. If you've never used this lovely fruit, here are some tips for buying and using figs.

 

 
 
by Sarah F. Berkowitz for FromtheGrapevine 


From sweet black mission figs to the more delicate Adriatic and Kadota varieties, we're here to fulfill your fig fancy.


If you’re wondering how to eat a fig, you’ve come to the right address. I’m somewhat obsessed with figs, and am known to some of my friends and neighbors as Princess Fig, which obviously gives me the highest fig-titious certification that exists in the fruit universe.

The proper way to eat a fig is to simply reach up and pick one off a tree, twist off the top stem, split the fig gently in half, and enjoy the sweetness. When you’ve had your fill of straight-up figs, collect extras in a bucket and bring them home to make fig jam, fig bruschetta, orange fig and honey galette, or just slice them up and add them to your salad.

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Button Tree Art for Tu BiShvat

Children-and-Familes - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am
From Simply Designing


This article is featured in Jvillage Network's Tu B'Shevat Guide. For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit here. 


This fun button art craft is sure to be a hit for kids of all ages (just keep a close eye on younger children who might be tempted to put them in their mouth!)!


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The Great Jewish-Palestinian American Novel

Jewish-Books - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am
By Bridget Kevane for Tablet Magazine 


Emerging writer Hannah Lillith Assadi, daughter of a Jewish mother and a Palestinian father, finds a home in the desert of the American Southwest


When writer Thomas McGuane told me about Hannah Lillith Assadi—“I’m presenting an award to a remarkable first novelist, a young woman from Arizona whose mother is Jewish and whose father is Palestinian!”—I was captivated. What, I wondered, was it like being raised by a Jewish mother and a Palestinian father? How did they choose to raise their daughter? What were discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict like at the dinner table? How did their relationship survive the first intifada? The second? Syria? What insight could Assadi contribute to the conflict?

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January storms of dust, rain and snow blanket Israel

Israeli-News - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am

By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
 

Winter has arrived full blast in this corner of the Middle East, bringing joy to skiers and snowboarders; headaches for commuters.

Dust storms, torrential rain, snow — and a bit of sunshine, too – are in the mix this week in Israel as January brings unusually wet, cold weather.

The storms, along with colder temperatures in mid-week, are forecast for the entire region stretching from Turkey through Israel to Jordan.

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IFF Parenting Series, Lesson 3 - MAKING A MENSCH

Interfaith - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily.com 


Recently, InterFaith Family began a wonderful parenting email series. In addition to receiving emails, you may also sign up for their private Facebook Group. It is a place where parents (and prospective parents) in interfaith families can ask questions, share resources, support one another, etc.

 

To sign up, visit here.

 

It's Tu BiShvat: Plant A Tree In Israel

Celebrating-Judaism - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am
FROM JNF

 

For over a century planting a tree in Israel has been a wonderful way to remember a loved who has died or honor a loved one for a celebratory occasion.

Tu BiShvat, the Birthday of the Trees, is a wonderful time to continue this tradition.

 

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For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit Jvillage Network's Tu B'Shevat Guide. 

New sustainable way to create plastics from seaweed

Going-Green-Jewishly - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am
By ISRAEL21c Staff
 

Israeli discovery overcomes need for fertile soil and fresh water in the creation of eco-friendly bioplastics by using saltwater seaweed.

Everyone knows plastic is bad for the environment. That’s why bioplastics – plastics made from renewable sources like plants or old waste – were invented. But these bioplastics can’t be created everywhere since the plants they use require fresh water, a scarce resource in many countries.

One such country is Israel, which does not have a surplus of fresh water. Other countries suffering from the same problem are China and India, whose size and resulting plastic consumption is very bad news for the planet.

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Why They Stay - The Jews of Iran

Feature-Article - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am
By Roya Hakakian


The horror and hope undergirding Jewish life in post-Revolution Iran


Among the world’s endangered minorities, Iranian Jews are an anomaly. Like their counterparts, their conditions categorically refute all the efforts their nation makes at seeming civilized and egalitarian—and so they embody, often without wanting to, all that is ugly and unjust about their native land.

But Iran’s Jewish community does something more. It also embodies the nation’s hope, the narrative of its resistance and struggle for a better future—one that has been on the brink of arriving ever since the revolution in 1979. To understand why Jews continue to remain in Iran is to understand the tortured tale of Iran. Nowhere else can the stubborn continuity of a minority stand as a metaphor in the elegy of a nation’s downfall.

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How going to synagogue regularly turned me into a dumpster diver

News-in-the-Jewish-World - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 12:00am

CNAAN LIPHSHIZ for JTA


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — I was recently offered a handout while rummaging for food in a heap of trash as my two small children looked on.

It happened all because I wanted to start attending synagogue regularly.

 

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New law excuses Brazilian Jewish students from exams, classes on Shabbat and holidays

News-in-the-Jewish-World - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 12:00am



RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — A new law in Brazil allows Jewish and non-Jewish students to skip school exams and classes for religious reasons.


The students are permitted to be absent on any date in which, according to their religious precepts, the exercise of activities is prohibited, according to the legislation. For Jewish students, it means Shabbat and holidays such as Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.


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Shabbat Shira - Beshalach

Weekly-Torah-Portion - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 12:00am

Exodus 13:17-17:16 
 

By Rabbi Sarah Bassin for ReformJudaism.org
 

How We Win Is Important
 

If we as Jews believed in a hell, Amalek would have a special place in it.

Since we don’t, we take care in every generation to blot out Amalek’s name. It’s a level of disdain we retain for the worst of the worst. Amalek makes it to the top of our list of enemies. So who was Amalek and why is he the focus of all our ire?

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Outside Hillel, Northeastern Jewish Students Struggle After Rabbi Leaves

Young-Adults - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 12:00am
BY HANNAH BERNSTEIN for newvoices.org


This is part 3 in a series about politics, identity, and Jewish community on college campuses. Click here to view part 1, and here for part 2.

 

Ben Novak came to Northeastern University in 2016 from a Catholic high school in Kingston, Massachusetts. His father was raised Jewish, and his mother converted to Judaism before he was born. Novak wanted to find his own Jewish community in college, a place where he could grow.

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In a first, a transgender person is campus president of this Jewish sorority

LGBTQ - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 12:00am
Elliot Draznin is the president of a Jewish sorority but does not identify as a woman. (Courtesy of Draznin)


BY JOSEFIN DOLSTEN for JTA


(JTA) — In December, the Jewish sorority at the University of Cincinnati elected a new president. The new leader was a founding member of the campus group who was highly involved in Jewish life at the university.

But the 21-year-old’s election was surprising in at least one way: For the first time, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, or SAEPi, would be led by someone not identifying as a woman.

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A Tu B’Shevat Recipe That Brings the World Together

Jewish-Food - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 12:00am

 

This recipe is featured in Jvillage Network's Tu B'Shevat Guide. For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit here. 
 

 

By Joan Nathan for Tablet Magazine 


This quinoa salad combines Andean grains with Asian fruit to make a colorful vegan medley for the holiday


On my most recent visit to San Francisco, I ate a symphony of persimmons. At Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’ famed shrine to local food in Berkeley, the bright-orange fruit was shaved paper-thin over salads, pureed with sugar, eggs, and cream to make the perfect persimmon pudding, and served whole in a copper bowl to be easily plucked for a fresh and delicious dessert. At Hardwater, a Bourbon bar opened by chef Charles Phan of The Slanted Door fame, I ate crispy Brussels sprouts coated with a persimmon and mustard jam. While at Greens Restaurant, a wonderful vegetarian eatery started by Jewish chef and now cookbook author Deborah Madison, I ate the best quinoa salad I have ever tasted, served with—you got it—persimmons.

Read & Watch.

Super Easy Chocolate Bark for an Easy Tu B’Shevat Craft Project

Children-and-Familes - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 12:00am

This article is featured in Jvillage Network's Tu B'Shevat Guide. For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit here. 

 

From Chai & Home


You know if it’s after Hanukkah I’m looking to melt some Hanukkah gelt! Like I’ve written before, there is something about melting gelt that makes it taste so much better. When in gelt form, the chocolate is so dry and flavorless, but when melted it tastes like the finest Belgian chocolate. No fooling. You tell me if I’m wrong. Anyway, this year the kosher candy store where I  buy my gelt only had pareve gelt, much to the disappointment of some kids at my Hanukkah party (yes, I refrained from “In my day, we were happy to get any gelt at all” even though I was very tempted.) In previous years I’ve made 4 fruits bark, fondue, and used it as icing, but this year I was feeling particularly woodsy so I was just going to melt it down and make it bark-like with a bit of texture. It is super easy to do and makes a great Tu b’Shevat craft project.

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The Bookshelf: JWA’s 2018-2019 Book List

Jewish-Books - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 12:00am

 

From the Jewish Women's Archives

 

Are you looking for some thought-provoking or fun reads for you or your book group? 

Check out the many wonderful titles from the Jewish Women's Archives.

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Did You Know...?

Early Childhood Learning Center Registration Open!

Information for the 2019-2020 Program Registration is available

 

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Like our page to be the first in the know about upcoming events and specials.

“Through sharing we all find a common ground, inspiration, hope, meaning, and, ultimately, action.”

 

Beth El is raising funds for a new playground?

Beth El is getting a new playground!  If you would like to donate towards this very worthy project, simply send your donations to Beth El Hebrew Congregation and notate "Playground."  If you donate on line, the playground fund is first on the list!

 

Lifelong Learning

Wednesdays during the school year
@ 7:00 PM
See calendar for exact dates and subjects

 

ALIVE!

For more information about ALIVE! go to alive-inc.org.

Upcoming Events

 

We have a very special service January 18 at 7:30 p.m. in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his heroic work.

We will be joined by our talented 5th grade class and singer-songwriter, LEA.

Trivia Night

Come for a fast and fun night of trivia, food and comaraderie on Saturday, March 2, 2019, 6:00 pm, at Beth El.  Adults and teens (7th grade and up) can play!  The cost is $35 per person (includes: dinner and participation), BYOB.  Bring cash to buy optional extra chits to help your table become the champion!  Separate, supervised Kids Night Out - $10 per child (6th grade and younger; includes casual dinner, movie & games).  RSVP: by Monday, February 18, Advance Ticket Sales Only. Register here  Questions: Contact Anne Levy, [email protected]  Proceeds will go to the Beth El Playground Fund.

Please sign up for Ushering at Beth El for Friday Night Services ​

This is a great opportunity to see and meet fellow congregants.Please use the link to sign up:

 

Support During Shutdown                         

As the frustrating government shutdown drags on, we extend our sympathies during this anxious time for you and your family. While Beth El Hebrew Congregation is not a direct service provider, we can offer temporary dues relief until the shutdown has ended. We hope this resource list can be an asset during this difficult time and pray for an immediate resolution:

 

What Furloughed Workers Need to Know About Filing for Unemployment Benefits: https://tinyurl.com/yd3v7w29

A Furloughed Federal Employee’s Guide to Filing for Unemployment: https://tinyurl.com/y9qltsjt

U.S. Office of Personnel Management Furlough Guidance: tps://tinyurl.com/y8sg3mum

Alexandria Center for Economic Support: https://tinyurl.com/yd66o7mj

Coordinated Services Fairfax County: https://tinyurl.com/y8f9e4vg

Local Restaurants Offering Free or Discounted Meals and More: https://tinyurl.com/ybmozmt3

 

                  


 

There are activities, meetings, services and seminars at Beth El each week, ranging from service opportunities to Jewish learning and education, drawing members and guests from throughout the Washington, D.C. area.

the full calendar