Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hanukkah! Here We Go Again!

Stuff To Do! Laugh! Sing! Please allow Abq Jew the honor, the pleasure, the sheer joy of being the first to wish you, his loyal readers, a happy, bright, and joyous Chanukah. (If Abq Jew was not the first, please don't tell him.)

Here in the Land of Enchantment, there's gonna be plenty of stuff to do during the holiday. Just like there was plenty of stuff to do before the holiday, like the Hanukkah Fest at the Albuquerque JCC.

Let's start with the JCC's presentation of [click here for tickets]

Great news! POTUS has recognized Santa Fe as the capital of New Mexico!

Now if he only knew that NM is part of the US ...

Anyway, Chabad Santa Fe's got their annual

on Sunday December 17. Also on Sunday December 17, Chabad Albuquerque's got their new almost-traditional (2018 (אי״ה, Billy Nader) will make it a chazaka)

And then ... really new this year is

The MeshugaNutcracker!, a musical comedy celebrating Chanukah, debuts in movie theaters nationwide on December 19, putting a unique spin on the classic Nutcracker ballet.

Note: The MeshugaNutcracker! debuts and closes
on the same night - Tuesday December 19 -
is playing at only one theater in town,
and will be shown at 7:00 pm only.

That one theater is the United Artists Cottonwood 16, conveniently located on Albuquerque's Upper West Side. In the Cottonwood Mall, on Coors Bypass, just a couple miles north of Paseo del Norte. Allow extra time for traffic.

Now, Abq Jew knows that many of you, his loyal readers, are afraid somewhat apprehensive about crossing the Rio Grande (that's the river on the west side of town). Don't be. Why? Because
The MeshugaNutcracker! is a full-length musical comedy that features the wonderfully silly sensibilities of the folklore of Chelm (a fictional town of fools) underscored by an invigorating Klezmer-ized orchestration of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” including original lyrics that celebrate Chanukah. 
Judah Maccabee’s triumphant saga and accounts of perseverance during the Holocaust as well as the celebration of the first Chanukah in the new state of Israel emerge with a genuine sense of wonder as the Chelmniks tell eight stories that pay tribute to the holiday. 
Add in dancing dreidels, singing sufganiot, and surprise guest stars and you have the perfect recipe for a holiday outing! Jews and non-Jews alike will delight in this original musical celebrating all things Chanukah.

Much more (אי״ה, Billy Nader) to follow. Until then -

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ashkelon, O Ashkelon

Reality Bites: On this day, The Times of IsraelThe Forward, and just about every major and minor news outlet in the known and unknown world have reported that our very own President Donald J Trump has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and has pledged to move the US Embassy to the Holy City.

Abq Jew was hoping for Ashkelon.

Abq Jew's old home town. Of which the Jewish Virtual Library says
Israel has one of the world's most beautiful coastlines, with white sandy beaches and spectacular Mediterranean views. The coast stretches to the northern border with Lebanon at Rosh Hanikra and south to the Gaza Strip. Just north of Gaza and 36 miles south of Tel Aviv is the southernmost stop for most tourists, the city of Ashkelon.

But no!
Abq Jew must instead report that
Jerusalem is the chosen city. 

The TOI tells us -
President Donald Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy on Wednesday and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite warnings from around the world that the gesture further drives a wedge between Israel and the Palestinians. 
In a speech at the White House, Trump said his administration would also begin a process of moving the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is expected to take years.

What does this announcement mean?

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, issued the statement below in response to President Trump's speech today:
In declaring formally U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, President Trump has affirmed an age-old dream of the Jewish people and of all who care about Israel. 
Jerusalem is, in fact, the capital of Israel. 
That is how it should and must be. The President correctly noted that a sovereign state is entitled to name its own capital. The Reform Movement has also long held that the U.S. Embassy should be moved to Jerusalem.  
Yesterday, we expressed our serious concern about the timing of these actions. We still believe that they ought to be implemented in a manner that enhances the peace process and contributes to ensuring the safety and security of Israel. 
We continue to have significant concerns. 
In separating today’s decisions from a broader strategy, they may well undercut the Administration’s peace process efforts and risk destabilizing the region. 
We do, however, commend the President for affirming the importance of moving the peace process forward, and clarifying that these decisions are not intended to restrict final status decisions of the Israelis and Palestinians -- including the borders of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem and border issues generally.

Where are we now?

The Jewish Theological Seminary, one of Abq Jew's favorite almae matres, offered this statement about Jerusalem, the city in which Abq Jew has felt the most lost (look at that map!) and also the most found.
We at The Jewish Theological Seminary are heartened that Jerusalem, the focal point of Jewish hopes and prayers for over two millennia, and the capital of the reborn State of Israel since its founding nearly 70 years ago, has been recognized as such by Israel’s closest ally. 
We welcome our president’s commitment to helping to forge a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. We who love Israel and Jerusalem, and pray daily for peace among the world’s faiths and peoples, continue to hope that Israelis and Palestinians will find a way to share the Holy City. 
But we must do more than hope. 
The rabbis of antiquity envisioned two Jerusalems—the Jerusalem that resided in the heavens and its earthly counterpart. They asserted that the fates of both of these Jerusalems are intertwined, and that God declared, 
“I will not reside in the heavenly Jerusalem until I am able to reside in the earthly Jerusalem.” 
It is the responsibility of humankind to bring peace to our earthly Jerusalem so as to allow God’s presence to find a home. Only then will God enter the Jerusalem on high. 
Let us get to work and make this a reality.

And what does Abq Jew say?

Abq Jew says that Jerusalem is the undivided, eternal capital of Israel. And that there never will be a "good" time to recognize Jerusalem as such.

And Abq Jew says that our very own President Donald J Trump has not thought this through, and really has no Grand Plan for Middle East Peace (or anything else).

AbqJew also says that POTUS may be doing this just now to distract us from other things - like indictment and / or impeachment.

Or perhaps POTUS has invested in Jerusalem real estate.

But Abq Jew also says that

Even a drunken gunslinger
can hit the broad side of a barn sometimes.

And then ...

Abq Jew goes back to Hillel's words -