Monday, September 1, 2014

A New Milestone: 238,783 Page Views

To Life! To Life! L'Chaim!  On September 1, 2014, at 10:31 am New Mexico (Mountain) Time, this Abq Jew Blog achieved 238,783 All Time Page Views.

We achieved 203,503 All Time Page Views
on May 29, 2014 - just three months ago.
That's about 370 Page Views per Day.
Thank you!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Starting to Count Jews

Shabbat Zozozbra Labor Day Alert: Yes, Abq Jew announced way back in February (see Jews Don't Count and Pew, Feh, Ich, Yich) that

the Jewish Federation of New Mexico has commissioned the first ever scientific study to determine the community’s demographic composition, assess current needs of Jewish residents, and plan for the future.  
Beginning this month, the 2014 New Mexico Jewish demographic study research team will begin a two-phased process to learn more about Jewish New Mexico’s attitudes and behaviors, and to identify subsets requiring specific communal services.
The study (let's not call it a census; that sounds too much like counting) will be conducted by Kupersmit Research, a small, Denver-based strategic research firm. Marina Arbetman-Rabinowitz, PhD, will be the New Mexico project consultant.

Scarlett Johansson has nothing to do with the 2014 JFNM Population Study.
But there are reports that SodaStream is moving its Ma’ale Adumim factory to the Negev.

Great news! That's mostly all still true!
Except that
The 2014 JFNM Population Study will begin in September.
Which means you didn't miss it after all!

In fact, the latest press release (from noted Abq PR firm James Korenchen) further informs us that
The first phase of the survey will be conducted online, through a sample of emails provided by the Jewish Federation of New Mexico through a web-based survey. In addition, mailed questionnaires and telephone calls to a sample of New Mexico residents with Jewish surnames and other sources will be conducted to maximize reach.  
“It is important for everyone to complete the first phase of the survey to help us assess the needs of New Mexico’s Jewish residents,” said Marina Arbetman-Rabinowitz, Ph.D., New Mexico project consultant for the survey.  
Once the results of the survey are received, the second phase of the study will be introduced.  Phase two will consist of focus group research and interviews. It will allow for a more detailed depiction of the Jewish communities’ patterns and behaviors, and how they differ between age, gender, affiliated and unaffiliated individuals.    
“We expect the results of the landmark survey to be truly transform-ational and provide a picture of the affiliated and unaffiliated Jewish households in New Mexico. The data will help us better recognize the challenges and barriers New Mexico Jews have faced, as well as their motivations and aspirations,” said Arbetman-Rabinowitz.
Sam Sokolove, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, said
The Jews of New Mexico have had an extraordinary impact on the history of the state and the cultural, political, business and social lives of people living in the Land of Enchantment. 
The results of the survey will help us plan for the future of our community as it expands throughout the state. 
In other Jewish news:

The 90th Burning of Zozobra
For the Cleansing of Sins: Redux)
takes place at Ft Marcy Park in Santa Fe
on Erev Shabbat Labor Day, August 29 2014

presenting a small problem for Santa Fe's Shomer Shabbos Yidden who wish to celebrate the annual cremation of Old Man Gloom. But the observant can observe by walking over to Ft Marcy, and tickets can be pre-purchased. Plus there are reports that the event will be streamed live on the Internet. Set your Shabbos timers!

And don't forget -

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!
Happy Labor Day, Everyone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our eScapegoat is Here!

Atonement* Sponsored by B'nai Israel: It's (finally) Rosh Hodesh Elul! And, as Abq Jew pre-announced just last week (see Welcoming Our eScapegoat), this year

Congregation B'nai Israel
 is proudly providing its very own eScapegoat
for the entire Abq Jewish community.
And we get to display our own list of sins!

In Bible times, Israelites atoned with sacrifices. 

Once a year, on what we now call Yom Kippur, the High Priest placed all the Israelites' sins on a goat and set it loose in the wilderness.

The High Priest took two goats. He sacrificed one - and then he laid his hands on the other, transferring the community's sins onto it. Then, he sent the scapegoat off into the wilderness.

From the goat's perspective, neither path ended well.

But that was then. Today, we reflect and try to clean our slates during Elul, the Hebrew month before Yom Kippur.

Yes, Elul is all about atonement, and as a fun way to engage, this year Congregation B'nai Israel is proudly providing its very own eScapegoat for the entire Albuquerque Jewish community.

B'nai Israel's eScapegoat is now roaming the Internet ( collecting sins before Yom Kippur. Here are a few choice sins our eScapegoat has collected so far:
  • Instead of learning Talmud I watch Breaking Bad all day long.
  • Thanks to my road rage, my 3 year old daughter has learned an impressive assortment of curse words.
  • I am going to Las Vegas on Yom Kippur... That cannot be good...
Check it out and add your own! Our eScapegoat is waiting for you to repent!

Atone today! Atone next week!
Atone anytime before Yom Kippur!
With the B'nai Israel eScapegoat!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cloudy With A Chance of Rockets

Red Alert: There's An App For That! The Israel-Hamas War continues today. An Israeli strike overnight has killed three senior Hamas commanders, while the fate of a fourth remains unclear.

And back in Europe and much of what we still call The Free World, the demonization of Jews and their state continues and increases. And Deborah Lipstadt says in her opinion piece in The New York Tines, Why Jews Are Worried:
An old Jewish joke goes like this: “ 
What’s the definition of a Jewish telegram? 
‘Start worrying. Details to follow.’
I am often asked by fellow Jews about contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe. “Is this just like 1939? Are we on the cusp of another Holocaust?” Until now, my answer has been an unequivocal “no.” 
But then she continues:
The differences between then and now are legion. When there is an outbreak of anti-Semitism today, officials condemn it. This is light-years away from the 1930s and 1940s, when governments were not only silent but complicit. Memory also distinguishes the present from previous events. Now, in contrast to the 1930s, we know matters can escalate. Jews today are resolute in their determination: “Never again.” 
And despite all this I wonder if I am too sanguine. 
Ms Lipstadt's opinion piece included the animated GIF above, which was just too cute for Abq Jew not to include here. And all this is a long way from Cynthia Ozick's 1974 essay "All the World Wants the Jews Dead."

But still.

Iron Dome     כיפת ברזל

Back to the rockets, which, after a short ceasefire break, are again falling on Israel.

Want to know where they're falling? One way to stay in touch is the

Red App Page - אפליקציית התרעות צבע אדום

You can download the Android App from Google Play here:

Or you can download the iPhone App from iTunes here:

If you're stuck at home (or at the office), you can point your browser to the

Israel Real-Time Red Alert Map

To those of us Outside The Land, this can seem too much like a video game. But if you set up the Red Alert website to Play sound when a new alert is added, you'll feel like you're more a part of it. Although you and Abq Jew are not.

The Israel Real-Time Red Alert Map even tells you how much longer you need to stay in your shelter. How user-friendly!

Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten
Thirteen Fourteen alerts have sounded
since Abq Jew began to write this blog post.

And for Twitter fans - which @AbqJew is - you can follow @underattackbot, which automatically tweets when sirens go off in Israel. You can automatically retweet too! Just sign up here at Retweet4Israel.

The first thing you'll need to know is which Defensive Zone you're in. Here is a video that explains.

Defensive Zones Map

If you already know how to take shelter if you're indoors when a Red Alert is sounded - and you should -  the next thing you'll need to know is how is how to take cover if you're outside. Here is a video that shows what you should do.
Take Cover Outside

May God bless and protect the Land of Israel
and all who wish to live there in peace.

OK ... to end this blog post on a happier note, The Times of Israel reports that 
Police hit bomb shelter casino
All bets are now off at rocket-protection room used for gambling, drugs
Israeli police on Thursday discovered that a shelter meant to protect civilians from Palestinian rocket fire had instead been transformed into a makeshift casino, complete with a mini cannabis plantation. <Read more>
What a country! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Welcoming Our eScapegoat

Atonement* Sponsored by B'nai Israel: Last year, Abq Jew was happy (see For the Cleansing of Sins: Redux) to announce a total of four five ways to cleanse oneself from a year's worth of sin.

The most popular way turned out to be  

2. Send A Goat To Azazel

In Bible times, Israelites atoned with sacrifices. 
Once a year, on what we now call Yom Kippur, the High Priest placed all the Israelites' sins on a goat and set it loose in the wilderness.

The High Priest took two goats. He sacrificed one - and then he laid his hands on the other, transferring the community's sins onto it. Then, he sent the scapegoat off into the wilderness.

From the goat's perspective, neither path ended well.
But that was then.

Today, we reflect and try to clean our slates during Elul, the Hebrew month before Yom Kippur. Elul is all about atonement.

Last year the folks at provided the whole world with one very busy eScapegoat.

People everywhere submitted their sins to the interactive eScapegoat, and G-dcast staff sent some of the most interesting and entertaining to a Twitter feed: @sinfulgoat. As well as to an eScapegoat website, right here.

This year, the eScapegoat program has gotten much larger, and, paradoxically, much more personal. How much more personal? Personal to the point where

Congregation B'nai Israel
 is proudly providing its very own eScapegoat
for the entire Abq Jewish community.
And we get to display our own list of sins!

*No actual Halachic atonement implied

Beginning on Rosh Hodesh Elul (Tuesday August 26 and Wednesday August 27), B'nai Israel's eScapegoat will roaming the Internet collecting sins before Yom Kippur.

To which Abq Jew can only add

Don't atone today! Atone next week!
With the B'nai Israel eScapegoat!

Monday, August 18, 2014

For Vera, Chuck & Dave

Yours Sincerely:  No, Abq Jew is not, thank God, wasting away. But he is, as of today, sixty-four (64) years of age.

From The Beatles Bible:
When I'm Sixty-Four
Written by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 6, 8, 20, 21 December 1966
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Released: 1 June 1967 (UK), 2 June 1967 (US)

Paul McCartney: vocals, piano, bass
John Lennon: backing vocals, guitar
George Harrison: backing vocals
Ringo Starr: drums, chimes
Robert Burns, Henry MacKenzie, Frank Reidy: clarinets

The first of the Sgt Pepper songs to be recorded, When I'm Sixty-Four was originally intended to be the b-side to Strawberry Fields Forever.

The song dates back to The Beatles' earliest days. Paul McCartney had composed it on the family piano at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool "when I was about 15".
Back then I wasn't necessarily looking to be a rock 'n' roller. When I wrote When I'm Sixty-Four I thought I was writing a song for Sinatra. There were records other than rock 'n' roll that were important to me.
Paul McCartney
McCartney used to perform a variation of the song in their Cavern Club era, on piano, when the group's equipment used to stop working.
When I'm Sixty-Four was something Paul wrote in the Cavern days. We just stuck a few more words on it like 'grandchildren on your knee' and 'Vera, Chuck and Dave'. It was just one of those ones that he'd had, that we've all got, really; half a song. And this was just one that was quite a hit with us. We used to do them when the amps broke down, just sing it on the piano.
John Lennon
The song was dusted down in 1966, the year McCartney's father Jim turned 64. When I'm Sixty-Four focuses on a young man anxiously looking towards old age; the vocals were sped up in the studio to make them sound more sprightly.

The music is suitably old-fashioned, with a music hall melody and an arrangement prominently featuring George Martin's clarinet score.
 A small cultural note from Wikipedia:
McCartney's children recorded a special version of "When I'm Sixty-Four" at Abbey Road Studios as a surprise present for McCartney's 64th birthday in June 2006, and played it for him at his birthday party. They changed the lyrics to fit the occasion with the help of Giles Martin.
At the time, by unfortunate coincidence, McCartney was recently separated from his second wife, Heather Mills; they later divorced.

Thank you, everyone, for all your birthday wishes.
To paraphrase Allan Sherman
(Shticks and Stones, from the album My Son, The Folksinger):
Thank God for Obamacare and the Blue Cross
and next year (God willing)
I'll be on Medicare!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Speaking Out in Closed Societies

Norma Libman @ Osher: The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of New Mexico is pleased to present Lecturer and Workshop Leader Norma Libman discussing "Speaking Out in Closed Societies.”

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Norma Libman
 Speaking Out in Closed Societies
Wednesday August 20 2014 ~ 2:00 pm
UNM Continuing Education ~ North Building

In pre-Communist China women in the small villages of Hunan Province developed their own secret writing system. They used this script to communicate with each other because they were not allowed to go to school and learn Mandarin.

Their script is called Nu Shu, which means women’s writing. It was usually sewn into household linens as decoration, in order to disguise its true purpose. Norma Libman has written a novel, Lonely River Village, based on actual writings preserved from this era.
If women's tears were gathered
they would make a river wider
and longer than the Yangtze River.
- Anonymous Nu Shu

She will tell us how she discovered the Nu Shu, how she obtained translations and how she wrote this story of women who refused to be silenced in a culture that did not value their contributions.

Norma Libman is a journalist and lecturer who has been collecting women's stories for more than twenty years. Her areas of concentration are crypto-Jews and Conversos, Chinese women writers of Nu Shu, and diaries of women pioneers.

She has published more than 500 articles in newspapers nationwide on many topics, and has also written for textbook publishers and newsletters.

Currently Norma lectures for Elderhostel/Road Scholar educational touring programs, teaches classes for OASIS, an older adult educational program, leads writing workshops, and lectures around the country about crypto-Jews.

Norma has degrees in education and literature from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. She has taught writing, literature and humanities at universities and colleges in Illinois and New Mexico, and has written The Memoir Writing Workbook for use in her writing workshops.

If you can't make it to Norma Libman's class at Osher, here are a few more places where she will be discussing Lonely River Village and similar themes:
  • Sunday September 14 @ 3:00 pm. Congregation Albert Authors Panel. Talk and book signing for Lonely River Village.
  • Thursday October 23 @ 12 Noon. Congregation Albert  Open MInd. Lecture on  "Compromised Jewish Communities Around the World."
  • Thursday November 6 @ 10:30 am. OASIS. Class on "The Secret Nu Shu Language of China."
 The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute was established through a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation in 2007 and membership in the Osher community is open to adults age 50 plus who are seeking intellectually challenging, psychologically probing and spiritually engaging learning opportunities.
Membership is only $20 per calendar year and entitles the holder to several discounts and benefits on and off-campus. For more information, please contact Maralie BeLonge, Osher Program Supervisor at 277-6179 or or visit the website at http://ce.unm.ed