Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Cheder Director at Nahalat Shalom

Welcome, Roberta Stein! What is it about Alaska, Abq Jew wonders, that moves her Jews (the Frozen Chosen) to become New MexiJews? Could it be the weather?

Never mind; we've picked up another good one!

Nahalat Shalom is excited to announce
the hiring of a new Cheder Director. 

Roberta Stein joins the Albuquerque community from Alaska where she served as a Choir Director, Cantorial Soloist, and Administrator and Director of Enrichment Programming.

Stein holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew College as well as a Bachelor’s in Education and Teacher Certification in Music Education.

Dedicated to enthusiastic and dynamic teaching as a means of creating and nurturing a lifelong love of learning, Stein has received numerous awards including: the Dr. Albert and Dorothy Holzman Prize for innovative instructional materials in Jewish Education, and the Disabled Alaskan of the Year Award.

Stein says,
My ability to motivate and share a love of learning fosters a successful learning environment and a joyful experience.
It seems that others would agree. Dr. Margee Greenfeld, former principal of Congregation Beth El Religious School in Harrisonburg, VA notes, that Stein has
an uncanny ability to ‘read’ her student’s interests and abilities and then create resources, plays, musicals, puppets, costumes, and documents that challenge, entertain, and motivate them. 
Her love of the arts is incorporated in all that she does.
Nahalat Shalom’s Cheder runs every Thursday from 4:30 to 6:00 pm for children in Kindergarten to 7th grade. A challenging, yet fun B’nai Mitzvah program is offered for those planning to celebrate becoming  Bar or Bat Mitzvah at Nahalat Shalom.

For more information about Nahalat Shalom’s Cheder as well the many other programs and activities offered at Nahalat Shalom, visit www.nahalatshalom.org.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Welcome, Violet Olivia!

Live! Again From New York! Remember that project 23 months ago (see Welcome, Lena Rose!) involving Dov Yellin the Film Editor and his wife Dr Jessica Schnur?

Dr Schnur and Mr Yellin were involved in a similar - very similar - project this month, the most beautiful and timely result of which is

Welcome, Violet Olivia!
Born July 15, 2014
שבעה עשר בתמוז

There is a tradition ...
that the Messiah will be born on Tisha b'Av. 

The midrash appears to be silent about the wonderful future awaiting girls born on the Fast of Tammuz. So we'll just have to wait and see.

While we're waiting - more photos!

Mama Jessica
Papa Dov
Auntie Alex
Jessica, Dov, Violet

Mr & Mrs Abq Jew are incredibly happy and proud to welcome Lena Rose's sister, Violet Olivia, into the family!

And as for Dov & Jessica's first project - here's an update.

Lena Rose enjoys her 23-month celebration

To celebrate the arrival of Violet Olivia, here is the Mitchell Trio (with John Denver replacing Chad Mitchell) singing Eric Andersen's Violets of Dawn.

And even though it's only Thursday ...
Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!
Mazel Tov, Tri-State Area!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Stop the Sirens

We can’t silence them. But we can try and soften their impact on the lives of the children and families living under their blare.

On July 7, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to intensify defensive efforts against Hamas. To date, hundreds of powerful rockets have been fired on Israeli cities from Gaza. Three-quarters of Israelis lie within their range, but no one is immune to their effects.

“No country on Earth would remain passive in the face of hundreds of rockets fired on its cities,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “and Israel is no exception.” The IDF has mobilized its troops along the Gaza border and called up tens of thousands of reserve soldiers, and the entire country remains on edge.

As hostilities escalate and urgent needs grow, we in North America stand shoulder to shoulder with all Israelis.

Here’s what the Jewish Federation’s partnering agencies in Israel are doing:
  • Moving 36,000 children out of harm’s way for respite in camps
  • Making immediate SOS Grants of $1,000 to victims’ families
  • Offering trauma counseling for the elderly, disabled and immigrants
  • Refurbishing hundreds of bomb shelters
  • Supporting 2,500 new immigrants overwhelmed by the current situation
  • Delivering meals to homebound seniors who rely on JDC day care centers
  • Running activities for children from low-income families in the range of the rocket fire
  • Creating a manual with emergency protocols for people with disabilities
  • Providing crucial database information to temporary caseworkers working with elderly and disabled residents in 13 locations across the south
  • Holding science and technology summer camps in a youth village in northern Israel for 500 children from the Sha’ar HaNegev municipality
  • Minimizing children’s trauma at all affiliated schools and programs
With JFNA support, our partners were able to act immediately. But with the sirens still blaring, they need our ongoing support.

Donate on-line today to the 
Stop the Sirens Emergency Campaign

You can also send a check  -- with “Stop the Sirens” in the memo line – to

The Jewish Federation of New Mexico
5520 Wyoming Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109

Or, please call the JFNM at (505) 821-3214 to make a credit card contribution.

With thanks for your support,

Sam Sokolove
Executive Director
Jewish Federation of New Mexico

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Girl from Ipanema

Jewish Bossa Nova: The terrible events of this week have followed the terrible events of last week. Tragedy with victory, tragedy with defeat. And that's just talking about the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Operation Protective Edge may go on for a while, but the World Cup Final Match is on tap for this Sunday. Between, Abq Jew has learned, Argentina and Germany, two countries about which Jews have decidedly mixed feelings. May, one supposes, the best team win.

Thane Rosenbaum, in his essay Numbers Don't Tell the Mideast Story for The Daily Beast, cleverly points out that

Hamas fires rockets the way Brazilians dance: all over the place.

And what of Brazil? The Final will be held in the Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho, better known as the Maracana. In beautiful Rio de Janeiro, know for its imposing statue of Christ the Redeemer.

And for Ipanema Beach. Unlike Zikim Beach, which is south of Ashkelon, Ipanema is far away from Gaza and her terrorists.

Heloísa Pinheiro, the Girl from Ipanema

TVfoodanddrink.com tells us:
“The Girl from Ipanema”  (“Garota de Ipanema”) was written in 1962 by Antonio Carlos Jobim with original Portuguese lyrics by poet Vinicius de Moraes. The song became famous worldwide with its inclusion on the 1964 landmark Bossa Nova album Getz/Gilberto. 
Jobim originally composed the music at his home in the seaside Ipanema distritc of Rio De Janeiro. The photo above is of the girl who inspired the song, Heloísa Pinheiro. 
The song’s original title was “Menina que Passa” (“Girl Who Passes”), but was changed for the album of collaborations between American jazz saxaphonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist/vocalist João Gilberto to “The Girl from ipanema” to give it a Rio touch. 
The delicate, intoxicating vocals are provided by Astrud Gilberto, then wife of João. The song’s global success launched Astrud’s singing career, eventually earning herself the unofficial title, “Queen of Bossa Nova.”
“Girl from Ipanema” won the 1965 Grammy for Record of the Year with Getz/Gilberto winning for Album of the Year as well as Best instrumental Jazz Performance.  It was the first Bossa Nova song to earn worldwide popularity, and ushered in a craze in the 1960s .... 

And what of Stan Getz? The Jewish Virtual Library tells us
Stan Getz was born Stanley Gayetzky on February 2, 1927, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received his first saxophone from his father at the age of 13. 
Getz attended the Julliard School of Music, but left after only one year to pursue a career in music. In 1943, Getz was accepted to play in Jack Teagarden’s band. After playing in various other bands, from 1947-49 Getz became a soloist in the Woody Herman’s Herd. 
Getz was an American jazz musician and is considered one of the greatest tenor saxophone players of all time. In the 1950s, Getz had become popular for playing cool jazz. 
[In 1964] Getz ... recorded with Jobim, João Gilberto and his wife, Astrud Gilberto. Both the album and their single, “The Girl from Ipanema” won Grammy Awards; the single quickly became one the most recognized jazz songs of all time. 
Getz died on June 6, 1991, in Malibu, California.  
Tall and tan and young and lovely
The Girl from Ipanema goes walking

Ah, but that's not all! JewishFilm.org quotes Stan Getz

You know, when I'm playing, I think of myself in front of the Wailing Wall with a saxophone in my hands, and I'm davening, I'm really telling it to the Wall.

One more story, this one from Michael J. Simonetti's Guest Book comment at StanGetz.net:
The story goes that one day God announced he wished to play a musical instrument and so he choose the tenor saxophone because to him, it sounded closest to the sound of an angelic voice. 
An angel nearby hearing God suggested he listen to a Stan Getz recording, which God did. After listening to a tune or two God declared that he had decided to choose another instrument. 
When the angel asked God why he had changed his mind God paused, smiled broadly, and answered... 
"Because I have heard the voice of perfection."

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!
!שׁבּת שׁלום ומבורך, ארץ ישׂראל

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jewish Academy Launches Kehilla

Community Education Initiative: It’s with great excitement that the Jewish Academy of Arts & Sciences announces several new programs being launched this fall.

The Jewish Academy's goal is to strengthen and enrich
the New Mexico Jewish community of adults, children, families, and institutions by providing ongoing classes, workshops, retreats and other meaningful experiences that contribute to Jewish literacy in the Southwest.

Kehillah (Hebrew: “community”) is the name of the Jewish Academy's new community education initiative, comprising three primary programs.

Targeting unaffiliated Jews in the community, families who are part of the Jewish Academy, and members of other faiths, these programs will expand how the Jewish Academy carries out its mission.

For the Kids

 “I was raised Jewish, but I’m not a member of a synagogue. I want my child to know her heritage and be proud of it.”

“My son is the only Jewish kid in his class. He has a diverse group of friends, which is great, but I want him to spend time with other Jewish kids—kids who celebrate the same holidays and share the same traditions.”

“I never learned much Hebrew, except for a prayer or song or two. I’d love for my kids tolearn to read and speak the language of the Jewish people. Where can we do that in Albuquerque?” 

Where? At the Jewish Academy of Arts & Sciences.

The Jewish Academy's After School Program is a place where Jewish children gather and learn about their rich history as Jews.

Regardless of whether they are affiliated with a congregation. 

Students will learn that Judaism is what we DO as Jews, and experience Judaism as a meaningful, joyous tradition that is their inheritance.

For the Adults

This program is designed to serve Jewish adults, intermarried couples, and Christians interested in learning Hebrew.

This class will meet once each week for the entire school year.

Learn to read Scripture in the original Hebrew from members of the Jewish community. Open to all faiths and experience levels.

Explore ancient wisdom for today’s world with Hebrew scholars, clergy and guest speakers.

The course will cover basic Hebrew skills, plus selections from the Prophets and The Torah, (Five Books of Moses).

More For the Adults

Starting in the fall, the Jewish Academy will offer short-term and long-term classes for adults in Jewish culture, politics, Israel, history, and other areas. 

Details coming soon.

For Those Who Want To Learn More

For those who want to learn more about Kehilla, the Jewish Academy presents

Sample Night Live!
Free and open to the public!
July 24 ^ August 7 ^ August 21
7:00-8:00 pm at the Jewish Academy

On each of these three Thursday evenings, adults interested in learning about the three core Kehillah community education programs -

  1. After School Hebrew for Youth
  2. Interfaith Hebrew for Adults
  3. Adult Jewish Studies
will have the opportunity to sample the classes, and meet the instructors and potential classmates.

No experience required!    Free & open to the public!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Cabaret Night at the J

Mahvelous Schmahvelous: UPStaged, a troupe of traveling cabaret performers will be presenting the cabaret  “Mahvelous Schmahvelous” at the Jewish Community Center.

Mahvelous Schmahvelous
presented by
Albuquerque JCC
Saturday July 19 @ 7:30 pm

This quintessential American soundtrack of hits is guaranteed fun for show tune fans young and old.
-- Dave Simon, Executive Director of the JCC

UpStaged troupe members include Jackie Bregman, William Dudeck, Chrys Page, and Tina Panaro, accompanied by Todd Lowry, pianist.

“Once we looked at the list of composers, we had an ‘Aha!’ moment,” said Jackie Bregman about planning the current show.  “We realized that so many of the songs we dearly love were written by Jewish composers who collectively contributed substantially to the Great American Songbook.”

“It was challenging to pare it down to a two-hour show,” added William Dudeck.  “But we were able to weave together the songs into a very enjoyable evening of intimate entertainment featuring compositions by Irving Berlin to Leonard Bernstein to Burt Bacharach.”

Tickets ($20 General, $30 Premium, $25 at the door) may be purchased online at www.JCCABQ.org, at the Abq JCC, or by calling (505) 348-4518. 
“Parents Night Out” for children 5 – 12 years old is available at the JCC from 6 – 10 pm. Reservations are required.

Friday, July 4, 2014

This Land is Our Land

Bittersweet Celebrations: Abq Jew is old enough to remember the 4th of July,1976. The magnificent Tall Ships sailing up the Hudson River. The overwhelming feeling that we had witnessed a miracle - God intervening in history to save His People.

But in the days before the 200th anniversary of this nation's founding, we Jews walked around in fear, sadness, and with a terrible foreboding.

Many of us had survived the selections and the death camps. Many more of us had seen the wonder of the Six Day War turn into the massacre at Munich and the terror of the Yom Kippur War.

Cynthia Ozick had published (Esquire; November 1974) her essay "All the World Wants the Jews Dead." We knew she was right. If her essay was alarmist, we were alarmed. Our hope had just about run out.

As Wikipedia reminds us
A week earlier, on 27 June, an Air France plane with 248 passengers was hijacked, by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells, and flown to Entebbe, the main airport of Uganda.  
The local government supported the hijackers and dictator Idi Amin personally welcomed them. The hijackers separated the Israelis and Jews from the larger group and forced them into another room. 
That afternoon, 47 non-Israeli hostages were released. The next day, 101 more non-Israeli hostages were allowed to leave on board an Air France aircraft. 
More than 100 Israeli and Jewish passengers, along with the non-Jewish pilot Captain Bacos, remained as hostages and were threatened with death.
Now, we all know what happened.
The operation took place at night. Israeli transport planes carried 100 commandos over 2,500 miles (4,000 km) to Uganda for the rescue operation. The operation, which took a week of planning, lasted 90 minutes. 
102 hostages were rescued. Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, the unit commander, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed. 
All the hijackers, three hostages and 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed ....
The Entebbe operation is now often referred to as Operation Jonathan - in memory of the unit's leader, Yonatan Netanyahu. He was the older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel.

What Abq Jew clearly remembers is sowing with tears - going to sleep on the night of July 3rd fearing the worst; and reaping with joy - waking up to discover that almost all the Israelis and Jews had been saved.

In the days when our boys Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyel Yifrach, of blessed memory, were missing but not yet lost, we had hope. Abq Jew and the entire Jewish World prayed for an outcome - a divine intervention - like Entebbe's.

It did not come, and we American Jews are forced to celebrate our Independence Day while our mishpacha in Israel are still sitting shiva.

And more sadness: Just yesterday came word of the passing of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the father of the Jewish Renewal movement.

Nevertheless, chevre, it's the 4th of July!

And a little singing wouldn't hurt. Who knows? It might even help!

How about one of the most beautiful American songs ever written by a goy guy who once married a Jew (and thus acquired Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt as his mother-in-law) and moved with the mishpocha to Coney Island?

From Wikipedia:
"This Land Is Your Land" is one of the United States' most famous folk songs. Its lyrics were written by American folk singer Woody Guthrie in 1940 based on an existing melody, in critical response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America", which Guthrie considered unrealistic and complacent.  
Tired of hearing Kate Smith sing it on the radio, he wrote a response originally called "God Blessed America". 
Guthrie varied the lyrics over time, sometimes including more overtly political verses in line with his sympathetic views of communism, than appear in recordings or publications.

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!
A Glorious 4th of July, USA!