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SACRED PROTECTORS: Crossing Boundaries of Time and Faith, These Muslims Safeguard Morocco’s Holy Jewish Sites
BY AOMAR BOUM for the JewishJournal.com
It’s a hot summer day when I arrive at Khmis Arazan, a small rural town in southern Morocco, about 170 miles south of Marrakesh. It’s Thursday, market day, and a group of local children spots me. Before I say a word, they know where I’m headed. There’s only one reason why outsiders find their way to this remote community: to visit the synagogue.
It has been four decades since the last of the Jews left Khmis Arazan, whose 8,000-some residents are nearly all Muslims. But it’s clear from the well-trodden path that more than a few tourists have made their way down these unpaved streets to the now crumbling Jewish neighborhood.
Arriving at the synagogue — an adobe structure dating from the late 19th century and recently renovated — I am greeted by Hmad Harim, a Muslim man in his late 60s who has spent much of his life working as caretaker for this relic of Morocco’s rich Jewish past.
Exodus 25:1 - 27:19
D'VAR TORAH BY: RABBI ANA BONNHEIM for ReformJudaism.org
Giving Gifts of Free Will
As the Torah continues the Israelites’ dramatic, people-building saga, Parashat T’rumah approaches the story from a new angle. Instead of developing the literary adventures of a no-longer-nascent people or focusing on the striking events at Mt. Sinai, this week’s Torah portion is about the details. And these details are not the specifics of community-building or daily life. Rather, they concern, in painstaking minutiae, the construction of the Tabernacle. This is a parashah about holiness, and in the case of Parashat T’rumah, the holiness is in the details.
By Nicky Blackburn for Israel21c
Student ambassadors from all over the United States descended on Chicago to take part in an ISRAEL21c hackathon.
At a conference room at theWit hotel in downtown Chicago, the ideas were coming in thick and fast. At five different tables, 25 students from colleges across the United States were sharing thoughts and suggestions about how to take ISRAEL21c content and turn it into innovative social-media campaigns.
Outside it was snowing, the temperature hovering around minus 6 degrees Celsius in true wintertime Chicago fashion, but inside was a hive of warmth and activity, the room abuzz with original and creative proposals.
EMILY STRAUSS for newvoices.org
I saw women and men sitting across from each other at tables and sat on the ground in between to make my presence visible. It was awkward for all of us. Apparently the irony of a heteronormative speed dating event taking place next door to a gay bar was lost on my Hillel.
But the event was more than awkward. It was hurtful, at least for me. My Hillel’s speed dating was only open to heterosexual, gender binary conforming students. It was clear to me that it had been planned with no thought of my presence, LGBTQ Jews in our community. It sent a message about what kind of couples and families are wanted in the Jewish communal future. It made me realize Hillel needs guidance on inclusion for queer students, so here is my advice:
Shari Rabin for Jewish Book Council
While writing my book about Jews in the era of westward expansion, I found myself getting asked (a lot) about the Gene Wilder comedic western The Frisco Kid. Although there are countless cinematic depictions—and historical accounts—of Jewish life on the Lower East Side, apparently the rest of the country has to resign itself to this 1979 box office flop, which tells the story of a Polish rabbi traveling westward to San Francisco in 1850. Recently, some twenty years after I last saw it, I sat down to confront my subject’s most famous treatment.
By Joan Nathan for Tablet Magazine
Purim begins the evening of February 28
Every year at Purim we look forward to eating sweet triangular pastries called hamantaschen, but the first recipe I could find for cookies we might recognize as hamantaschen—filled with poppy seeds—appeared in Aunt Babette’s Cookbook of 1889. So what did American Jews eat on Purim before then? Purim fritters, also known as Queen Esther’s toast.
A recipe for Purim fritters appears in Jennie June’s Cookbook of 1866, and it was copied as Queen Esther’s toast in the National Cookery Book 10 years later, celebrating the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. It was made from the inside of a stale roll or loaf of bread, with the crust removed, soaked in eggs and milk; it was then fried in butter and served with cinnamon, a sugar syrup, honey, or “hundreds and thousands”—essentially, jimmies or sprinkles.
Want more information on Purim? Check out Jvillage Network's Purim Guide.
BY SAMANTHA FERRARO for The Nosher for myjewishlearning.com
Purim Begins the Evening of February 28, 2018
Purim is all about the party, the fun and the celebrating. Get in the spirit this year and host a build-your-own hamantaschen party! Not everyone wants sweet treats these days, so why not make them savory?
Want more information on Purim? Check out Jvillage Network's Purim Guide.
By Joanne Sydney Lessner for Hadassah Magazine
The Gustav Sonata, winner of Hadassah Magazine’s Harold U. Ribalow Award as well as a National Jewish Book Award, is the first of Rose Tremain’s 14 novels to address a Jewish theme. Tremain, 74, who lives in Norfolk, England, often writes about social groups slightly out of the prevailing mainstream. Her Orange Prize-winner The Road Home concerns an Eastern European immigrant trying to make a life in England. The Gustav Sonata, set in Switzerland before, during and after World War II, traces the lifelong friendship between exuberant, ambitious (and Jewish) Anton and reserved, empathetic Gustav (who is not). While exploring the evolution of their relationship and the family circumstances that shape them, Tremain turns her delicately penetrating prose to themes of unspoken love, loyalty, music and the sacrifices made in pursuit of neutrality.
What was your inspiration for The Gustav Sonata?
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Israel is pioneering digital health developments for the world. Which ones will hit their stride in the coming months?
Medication personalization, personalized disease management and reducing chronic pain will be the three biggest breakthroughs in digital health this year, predicts Dr. Yossi Bahagon, a family physician, global digital health consultant and managing partner of OurCrowd Qure, Israel’s first exclusively focused digital health fund.
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily
Purim Begins the Evening of February 28, 2018
Purim is a Jewish Halloween, a Jewish Mardi Gras and a secular New Year rolled into one. And it is not just a holiday for children who know immediately that anything with a costume will be fun. All Jews are commanded to be silly and celebrate the ancient victory against their adversaries by giving gifts of food to friends and to the poor.
Purim comes in the late winter or early spring. Jews have celebrated by dressing up as both the heroes and villains of the Purim story, as they chase away their winter doldrums and acknowledge that Purim brings springtime.
Want more? Check out Jvillage Network's Purim Board on Pinterest.
Want even more information on Purim? Check out Jvillage Network's Purim Guide.
Learn the many chapters that make up the Tanach and find out where you can find more information about each.
Have you always wanted to read the Bible, but didn’t know how to get started?
In addition to the myriad editions of the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanach ) available in book form, the entire Bible can be read in Hebrew and English on Sefaria, an online resource that enables users to search by keyword and provides links to commentaries and other related materials. Below, we outline the contents of the Bible, with links to our articles about each section.
By ISRAEL21c Staff
New multinational research reveals that even small amounts of manmade aerosol particles can wreak havoc.
Even the tiniest of particles from human emissions can fuel powerful storms and influence weather and crops much more than previously thought, according to new research published January 26 in the journal Science.
The study focuses on the power of manmade aerosol emissions to grow rain clouds and intensify storms. These particles come from urban and industrial air pollution, wildfires and other sources.
Prof. Steven J. Weitzman for TheTorah.com
Is there a genetic marker for cohanim (priests)? Are Ashkenazi Jews descended from Khazars? Why is there such a close genetic connection between Samaritans and Jews, especially cohanim? A look at what genetic testing can tell us about Jews.
In premodern times, the question of where Jews come from had an obvious answer: The Bible tells the story of Israel’s origins beginning with the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, moving on to Moses and the exodus from Egypt, and continuing on the conquest of Canaan, the judges, the monarchy, the exile, and so on. Modern scholars have come to challenge that narrative, however, just as scientists began to challenge the creation story in Genesis, looking beyond the biblical account for an explanation for how the Jews came to be.
BY ANDREW SHERWOOD for JewishNews
Playing for the same Premier League football team, representing Israel together, childhood friends, neighbours – even the same birthday – not much separates Tomer Hemed and Beram Kayal. In fact the only discernible difference is one’s a Jew and the other an Arab Muslim. Yet even that distinction only serves to bring them closer together.
Exodus 21:1 - 24:18
Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky for myjewishlearning.com
Who’s In, Who’s Out
The ordinances in this portion emphasize issues relevant to society and the interactions among groups.
Rules. Parameters. Boundaries. That’s what this Torah portion is all about. It’s also about that which sets apart ancient Israel from its neighbors. It is infrequent that the text is so self-evident that the reader can clearly determine whether the various things listed in the Torah are designed to keep Israel in, or those who are not part of Israel out. It actually might be one of the reasons why even those inside the community have trouble determining the extent of their commitment to following these regulations.
These rules seem mundane, especially when compared to the grandeur of the previous week’s scene at Mount Sinai, until close to its completion where we read “And the people beheld the God of Israel….” (Ex. 24:10).
BY YOSEF NEMANPOUR for newvoices.org
There are a surprising number of labels that a Jewish person can use to describe their Jewish identity. It can range anywhere from the typical “Orthodox,” “Conservative,” and “Reform” denominations, to “Jewish Science” observances.
The practice of affixing labels to Jews has become so pervasive that the concept of separating those labels from Jewish identity seems impossible. In reality, however, the heavy emphasis on Jewish denominational factions is relatively new. Moreover, although Jewish denominational stereotyping might seem intuitive or automatic, it often involves a far greater cost than benefit, both to those labeled and to our communities at large.
Ep. 120: LGBTQ&A podcast host Jeffrey Masters and Anne Edelstein, author of Lifesaving for Beginners, plus Roy Moore’s ‘Jewish lawyer’
By Unorthodox for Tablet Magazine
This week on Unorthodox, Mark calls up Roy Moore’s ‘Jewish lawyer,’ and Stephanie sits down with Jeffrey Masters, host of the podcast LGBTQ&A, which documents stories of the LGBTQ community. We’re also joined by Anne Edelstein, author of the new memoir Lifesaving for Beginners.
By Miriam Anzovin for JewishBoston
My quest for fresh Jewish characters on television continues unabated.
When I first heard the buzz about “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amazon’s new show about a young Jewish housewife struggling to be a stand-up comic in New York during the 1950s, I was pretty amped. The show picked up several Golden Globes, and the hype increased. I’m just a Jewish girl, wandering through the television landscape in search of representation and validation. I was hopeful! Maybe we were finally getting a show that would introduce some dynamic new Jewish characters into the zeitgeist! Sigh. As if. I watched the series and lo! My hopes were dashed.
The Nosher for myjewishlearning.com
Get cozy with these delicious Jewish soups, carbs and sweets.
Yeah, yeah we know that hot chocolate is like the coziest thing to drink when it’s dreary and cold outside. But we prefer to snuggle up with babka, chicken soup and a whole bunch of other cozy Jewish dishes. Here are a few of our favorites to make your winter a little warmer.
Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls
Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Challah
Yemenite Vegetarian Soup
BY ELI FINK for JewishJournal.com
If you’ve seen the trailer or any advertisements for “Coco,” you already know that it’s Pixar’s most Mexican film yet. What you don’t see in the trailer is that Coco is also Pixar’s most Jewish film. You probably would not see that by watching the movie, either, but it’s all I saw.
“Coco” tells the story of Miguel Rivera, a Mexican boy who travels on Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) to the Land of the Dead, where he must reconnect with his deceased ancestors to return to the Land of the Living. “Coco” fits neatly in the pantheon of familiar Pixar stories and the film is bursting with wholesome values.
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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!
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For more information about ALIVE! go to alive-inc.org.
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Beth El House enables formerly homeless families to work toward self-sufficiency and confidence.
Please see calendar for baking dates
Beth El JCC/NV
Wed., February 14 at 10:30 AM
An Interfaith Program with Rabbi Isserow
REELABILITIES FILM FESTIVAL
Sunday, February 25 at 4:00 PM
brotherhood interfaith dinner
Tuesday, February 27 at 6:30 PM
Beth El Lifelong Learning and JCCNV Joint Program
Sunday, March 18 at 2:00 PM
"Shattering Switzerland's Neutrality Myth: The Inside Story of
the Investigation of Swiss Banks and Stolen Jewish Assets
During the Holocaust"
2nd night passover seder
Saturday, March 31, 6:00 PM
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.