Sunday, May 29, 2022

Copied from a comment to a Shai Held post [on Facebook]:
The same crew who protest abortion as murder, protect actual murder as a constitutional right."

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

"The Gun God is not accustomed to having its sacrifices questioned"

 See here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Welcome to the U.S., the mass-shooting capital of the world. 😡

 See here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Taking Judaism for granted comes at a price: the vanishing "Jewish pipeline"

Heard at kiddush:

“Nobody wants to become a 'member' of a 'synagogue' anymore—they all want to become 'partners' of a 'Progressive Jewish spiritual community.'  It’s all a matter of semantics.”

“No, it isn’t just semantics.  People don’t join synagogues like this one because they don’t know how to participate.”

The respondent is right.

I grew up in a Southern New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia that had enough Jews to keep us from feeling too isolated but not enough to make us feel too comfortable.  If memory serves me correctly, most of the Jewish kids I knew went to a six-hours-per-week Hebrew School, attended Shabbat/Sabbath services on a reasonably regular basis, went to Jewish summer camps, and participated in Jewish youth groups.  Major Jewish holidays were a time for Jewish solidarity—no one I knew from our neighborhood went to school on either the Yamim Noraim/High Holidays or the Shalosh Regalim/Pilgrimage Festivals, lest the presence of a single Jewish child in school jeopardize the ability of other Jewish children to observe the holiday (in whatever fashion we observed it).

Imagine my shock when I moved to New York City and discovered that many non-observant parents sent their kids to ballet class, clarinet lessons, soccer practice or the like on Shabbat/Sabbath mornings rather than taking them to synagogue.  Even Junior Congregation days were often ignored.  Six-hours-per-week Hebrew Schools were often replaced by two-hour or four-hour versions.  Jewish camp was not a given, and some neighborhoods didn’t even have a Jewish youth group.  As for holiday solidarity, I haven’t forgotten the parent who told me that they’d told the rabbi to their face that they most certainly would not take their child out of school on a Jewish holiday.  Pulling a child out of school for a holiday was so unheard of that this parent simply expected the rabbi to shut up and put up. 

Why should anyone be surprised when these kids arrive at adulthood having almost no idea how to participate in a traditional Jewish service?  Many of them barely knew what to do at their B’nai Mitzvah celebration (other than chant the haftarah, possibly from a transliterated text, and give a speech), and probably haven’t set foot in a synagogue since then, except, perhaps, on the Yamim Noraim/High Holidays.  So why would they not prefer a service in which all the Hebrew is transliterated and/or many prayers are read in English and/or secular texts are woven into the service and/or there’s a strong emphasis on mindfulness or spirituality rather than traditional prayers or rituals?  The “Jewish pipeline” that used to feed synagogues and rabbinical schools is now leaking to such a degree that synagogues are merging or closing and rabbinical-school enrollment has declined.  (See “The Pipeline Problem” and “The Great American Rabbi Shortage.”)  And what does the fact that there’s still a shortage of rabbis despite the merger or closure of so many synagogues say about the future of American synagogues?

How is a ritually-traditional synagogue supposed to stay true to ritual tradition and still attract new members?  This is not a rhetorical question.  Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Monday, May 16, 2022

"The BDS Pound of Flesh" (Tablet Magazine)

Using lies and social pressure to force students to disavow Israel is a strategy aimed at raising the psychic and professional cost of being Jewish

"Over the last several months, as a visiting professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., I taught a course called “Zionism and Anti-Zionism.” In the many hours I spent discussing student life with students and faculty alike, it became apparent that the anti-Zionist activism on campus—the college version of the pound of flesh dynamic—was not primarily a form of social protest or political expression, but a form of bullying."  Read the rest here.  😠

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Concert news: Batya, Aly, and Arielle (with Deborah)

What a delightful concert we attended tonight with Batya Levine, Aly Halpert, and Arielle Korman Music, and featuring Deborah Sacks Mintz, at the JCC Harlem. If you haven't heard their music, run, do not walk! 💓

A beautiful song

If We Loved Like That, with lyrics by Abigail Pogrebin, music by Elana Arian, sung by Cantor Julia Cadrain, is just gorgeous! 💓

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Supreme Court as Pharoah 😡

Meme copied from "The Other 98%" on Facebook:

"There is a term for living creatures who are not permitted to control their own reproduction. That term is "livestock."

The Supreme Court's probable decision to nullify a woman's constitutional right to an abortion is similar to what Pharoah did: He didn't kill the baby boys and spare the baby girls out of the goodness of his heart--he spared us as future sex slaves and breeding stock. 😡

Friday, May 06, 2022

Yom HaAtzmaut treat: A Nava Tehila concert!

We went to Beth El Synagogue Center in New Rochelle, New York on the evening of Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day) to join them for the inaugural concert of their Shoresh Halev Center for Jewish Music.  And what a time we had!
I spent most of the Nava Tehila concert in the back of the room, as usual--that's the best place to dance! And what wonderful music to dance to! As the crowd thinned out, though--between the commemoration of Yom HaZikaron (Israel Memorial Day), Maariv/Arvit/Evening Service (with Full Hallel and b'rachot, mostly sung) and the concert, the program had already run for at least two hours--the band asked those of us in the back to move forward and keep them company by filling in the empty spaces. So I found myself a spot up front but all the way to the right side (stage left) where I could dance without blocking anyone's view or interfering with the video cameras. What fun! My husband and I both joined in the circle dances whenever they happened, and danced our feet off. 🙂
At the very end of the concert, Daphna Rosenberg asked the audience to join the band onstage. About half of us did so. When Daphna started singing her "Shalom Aleichem," I joined her on the second verse, singing harmony. Much to my surprise, she turned around, took me by the hand, and brought me up front to stand next to her. What a generous-hearted thing to do.❤️
Afterward, we got to speak to Daphna, Yoel Sykes, and Coleen Dieker. Coleen and I even got a laugh comparing the surgical scars on our respective wrists. 🙂 
All in all, it was a wonderful evening. We hope to go to future concerts at Beth El's Shoresh Halev.

The death of Roe v. Wade, and possibly other rights

Read this and weep--and/or rage.

I'm hand-copying a meme from Facebook (I can't figure out how to copy and paste a meme, if it's possible):

"Grey DeLisle

In 2013 I got pregnant with triplets but we had no idea that one was growing in my Fallopian tube.  One night it burst open and I lost over 1/2 the blood in my body and was very close to death.  I needed emergency surgery and a d&c.  If not for #RoeVWade I'd be dead."

Banning abortion demonstrates a blatant indifference to the life and health of women, as well as a wish to turn back the clock and make women's bodies subject to external (mostly male) control.  This is more about the patriarchy than about babies.  (A Handmaid's Tale was supposed to be a cautionary tale, not a blueprint 😡.  )  If banning abortion were about the welfare of babies, why is there so little concern shown for what happens to them *after* they're born?  Where is the parental leave, the daycare, the funding for a good education?

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