Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blow Shofar

Ziggy Elman on Shofar?  Benny Goodman?  Nope - it's Cantor Benjamin Warschawski of Ezra-Habonim, Niles Township Jewish Congregation of Skiokie Illinois.

As the Ezra-Habonim website says:
Opera Star Cantor Benjamin Warschawski  officiates over the High Holidays, Festivals, and  Shabbatot. Cantor Warschawski is being called "the next Richard Tucker" by those who hear him.
Wow!  He sings, too!  Abq Jew wishes everyone a Good & Sweet Year!

Rosh HaShanah

Dip Your Apple In The Honey:  It's Rosh Hashanah! And, as we begin a New Year, please remember - as Rabbi Adam Rosenbaum of Synagogue Emanu-El in Charleston, South Carolina has taught us -

There is hope for the world.
There is hope for your life.
The way it is now is not the way it must be.  

Abq Jew warmly invites you to check out this new Rosh Hashana hit - Dip Your Apple by The Fountainheads!  L'Shana Tova U'Metuka!  A Good & Sweet Year!

The Fountainheads are a group of young Israeli dancers, singers, actors and artists, all graduates and students of the Ein Prat Academy for Leadership, who have have joined forces to create new Jewish artistic content for today's Jewish World. All members of the group have spent time living and studying at the Ein Prat Academy, working to create a new Israeli-Jewish identity and building a strong and diverse community that celebrates Jewish life. The Fountainheads' work has already been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.

No apples, pomegranates, babies, or smartphones
were harmed in the filming of this video.
Please don't feed babies honey.

Monday, September 26, 2011

30 Funerals in 30 Days

The Doyenne of Death Crashes: Funerals, that is.  You've heard of wedding crashers?  Well, this is ... different.  Yes, it is time for Gail Rubin's Second Annual

30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge

Gail Rubin, aka The Doyenne of Death, is a politically correct funeral crasher. Starting September 30, she will attend 30 funerals or memorial services in 30 days and write about each on The Family Plot Blog. The 30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge will end on October 30, the 12th annual Create a Great Funeral Day.

Rubin, the author of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, is a Certified Celebrant who brings light to a dark subject and helps get funeral planning conversations started.  She says:
Just like the lead characters in the cult film Harold and Maude, I’m attending funerals for people I don’t know. I intend to honor the family and the life of their loved one. This 30 Day Challenge will show there’s no need to fear having end-of-life conversations. Just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about funerals won’t make you dead – and your family will benefit from the conversation.
The First Annual 30 Day Challenge ran from October 30 to November 29, 2010, and was described as

"a tour de force, and a valuable piece of social history"

Gail attended public events listed in the obituary pages of her local newspaper - memorial services and funerals, religious and non-religious events, expected and unexpected deaths.  Here is how she started out last year:

Come join Gail this year at:  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Round Round Get Around

Abq Jew Gets Around: As a much younger Woody Allen used to say, "Ninety percent of life is just showing up."  Some think this high percentage grants too much power to the people; nevertheless, the quote stands.

Has Abq Jew mentioned that he was brought up in (northern) California - back when California was truly the Golden State?  Note: Abq Jew never claims he grew up in California, for (he believes) no one really grows up there.  You want proof?  Here are The Beach Boys!  Most are still among the living; many are still performing.

So where has Abq Jew been getting around to?  Funny you should ask.

Sunday September 11:  Rabbi Stephen Landau presented Me, The Jews and The World, Part 1 of a two-part lecture series, to a small but enthusiastic group of WestSiders meeting at Case de Shalom in Rio Rancho.

Rabbi Landau - if you don't know - is now on staff at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Albuquerque.  He is a traditionally trained, spiritually and pluralistically oriented rabbi who brings pastoral counseling and cantorial skills to SSDS Abq and to Jewish New Mexico.  Haven't met him yet?  Abq Jew thinks you should!

Sunday September 11:  Isabelle Medina Sandoval and Diana Bryer presented Crypto-Judaism in Literature and Art as a New Mexico Jewish Historical Society event at Nahalat Shalom.  Isabelle and Diana dialogued about their collaborations and creative endeavors, as they relate to Diana’s paintings on (among others) the Rosa de Castilla.

Sunday September 18:  Rabbi Stephen Landau presented One Night, Standing Together, Part 2 of the two-part lecture series, to a still small but still enthusiastic group of WestSiders meeting at Casa de Shalom in Rio Rancho.

Sunday September 18:  Rabbi Chaim Schmuckler of Chabad presented 9/11 Kabbalistic Insights, a far ranging lecture that focused on Jewish prophecies regarding our turbulent times, which prophecies must come to fruition, and what we can do to make things good for all mankind.

Also attending - Abq Jew had the pleasure of meeting the wonderfully generous member of the Abq Jewish community who has invited anyone without family or a place to go for a Homemade Shabbat Dinner & Oneg at a private 87122 home.  Call (505) 238-9750 for details.

Wednesday September 21:  Author and historian Naomi Sandweiss presented Jewish Albuquerque 1860-1960 at Congregation Albert, as part of CA's Lifelong Learning program.  An Albuquerque native and longtime New Mexico Jewish Historical Society volunteer, Naomi used more than 200 images from public archives, congregational collections, and individual and family collections to illustrate the city’s fascinating Jewish history.

Self-Promotion Alert:  Abq Jew is happy to announce that his article Like It Was Yesterday: Remembering Magidson's will be published in the September 2011 issue of Legacy, the NMJHS newletter.

Thursday September 22:  Rabbi Stephen Landau presented A Season for Renewal: Preparing Our Hearts for the High Holy Days, an online lecture by Rabbi Arthur Green, at SSDS Abq.  Streamed live from Hebrew College, Rabbi Landau's alma mater, this venture was beset by technical difficulties - yet still notable.  The technical issues should be resolved way ahead of the next lecture, Light & Shadow: Mystical Teachings on Hanukkah, on Wednesday December 14.

Abq Jew gleefully notes that yes, this was another Rabbi Landau event, and that yes, Rabbi Landau is trying things to liven up Jewish life in Albuquerque and beyond.  Remember: "Ninety percent of life is just showing up."

In this Season for Renewal, Abq Jew notes that yes, Woody Allen also said:
I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don't want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment. 
Perhaps more memorably, Abq Jew notes that yes, it was also Woody Allen who said:
What a wonderful thing, to be conscious!
I wonder what the people in New Jersey do.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One With Israel

Gathering @ Albuquerque JCC:  Coordinated with the Consul General of Israel to the Southwest.  Jewish organizations, churches, and synagogues will offer support to Israel in prayer and action, as well as educate advocates on how they can personally make a difference for Israel at this time.

Sun 25 Sep 2011 @ 1:00 pm
Sherry Roy (505) 821-3214 or sherry@jewishnewmexico.org

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hebrew College Live Presents - Update!

A Time for Every Purpose:   As previously announced here, Hebrew College and The Center for Global Judaism will present a yearlong series of free public online lectures, starting with

A Season for Renewal:
Preparing Our Hearts for the High Holy Days
Rabbi Arthur Green, PhD
Thu 22 Sep 2011 @ 5:30 - 7:00 pm NM Time
NEW!!!  A discussion group will be meeting in the library of the Solomon Schechter Day School, to listen to this lecture together & then ... discuss!

Because of the timing of this event (it's geared for the East Coast), you are invited to bring your own light dinner if you like.  It must be strictly dairy or pareve.  Questions?  Call Rabbi Stephen Landau (860) 690-7374.

A Bat Mitzvah Guide To The High Holidays

Repentance, Prayer, and Deeds of Kindness: The words and teachings of Rabbi Arthur Green can serve as a spiritual guide to our observance of Rosh HaShanah.  Eighteen Voices can move us mystically through the Kol Nidre into the solemnity of Yom Kippur. 

But it takes a "little red-haired girl with a chic babushka" to really get us into the spirit of the Highest of the High Holidays - Fashion Week!

Marjorie Ingall has written a masterful article in Tablet Magazine that proclaims "G-d is in the details and the fringes of Chanel garments."

A little red-haired girl with a chic babushka (Marimekko?) practices reading her bat mitzvah speech into a camera held by her doting dad. She tells the camera that fashion is part of her heritage as a Jew (“History tells us that as far back as Arnold Scaasi … ”) and that the People of the Book are also known as The People of the Cloth. 

Abq Jew believes it may be time for a Parody Alert
It turns out that Fashion Week High Holidays Bat Mitzvah Speech Practice By Hannah is not a real Bat Mitzvah speech. It’s a comic piece by writer Bob Morris, a style writer, frequent contributor to The New York Times and author of Assisted Loving, a memoir about double-dating with his elderly father. Hannah is played by his tennis partner’s daughter.

"My oldest memories of long days of High Holiday services on Long Island always were mixed with memories of women dressing for each other,” he says. “We had style, judgment, and atonement all under one roof.” Writing the script for the video took him several days and multiple rewrites. To prepare, he watched dozens of b’nai mitzvot speeches on YouTube ...“They all follow the same template,” he says.
Ms Ingall thinks the video is hilarious, but also thinks "it could be a great opportunity for families and religious leaders to talk about what a bar or bat mitzvah speech is supposed to be."  Abq Jew supposes that he agrees.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hebrew College Live Presents

A Time for Every Purpose: Hebrew College and The Center for Global Judaism present a yearlong series of free public online lectures.

A Time for Every Purpose: Exploring the Sacred Rhythms of the Jewish Year

Guided by gifted scholars, educators, and artists, we will explore various dimensions of the Jewish calendar cycle, asking how living these sacred rhythms can enrich our personal and communal lives.  The first event:

A Season for Renewal:
Preparing Our Hearts for the High Holy Days
Rabbi Arthur Green, PhD
Thu 22 Sep 2011 @ 5:30 - 7:00 pm NM Time

Rabbi Dr Green, a theologian and foremost contemporary scholar of Chasidut and Kabbalah, is founding Dean and currently Rector of The Rabbinical School at Hebrew College

He is the author of Radical Judaism, Seek My Face Speak My Name, Ehyeh, Language of Truth (Sfat Emet), and, perhaps most notably, Tormented Master: The Life and Spiritual Quest of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav.

Next event: Light & Shadow: Mystical Teachings on Hanukkah, Rabbi Nehemia Polen, Wed 14 Dec 2011 @ 5:30 pm NM Time. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jessica & Dov's Wedding: Report 3

That's Amore!  Here we are, back with another report about Jessica & Dov's wedding.  In many ways, the wedding was just like Broadway's Jersey Boys - great music, with every step expertly choreographed.

Did Abq Jew mention the music?  No, the Dancing Chusids never showed up.  But the string trio played Elvis and The Beatles, and the DJ was very good.

More importantly - Dov & Jessica created a great playlist.  A couple of horas to get us all dancing, of course.  Then Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline ( dah, dah, dah), as well as that traditional Jewish Wild Cherry melody Play That Funky Music, White Boy.

The DJ also played Dean Martin's That's Amore - one of Abq Jew's favorites.  Must be the Italian part of the family - like we have one.

Anyway - enjoy!  And here are a bunch more wedding photos, courtesy of family friends Brett Climan and Justin Vandow.

Notice how carefully Jessica is watching Dov stomp on the glass very carefully?

This is truly a match made in heaven!  But as Jason Halpin - Dov's Best Man, and a great guy in his own right - mentioned to Dov at the celebration roast - Jessica, may G-d bless her,  makes her living cutting people up (has Abq Jew mentioned that she's a surgeon?), usually while they are asleep. 

Abq Jew hasn't spoken with Jessica or Dov since we returned to New Mexico.  But we have communicated via the Bank of America website.  The wedding gift checks have been deposited.

Mark Leveene, another old family friend and recent FOB, has [reportedly] described the duties of the FOG (Father of Groom) thusly: "Pay up.  Shut up.  Show up."  Yep.

One further note:  Abq Jew thought he was as happy as could be at his own wedding.  But that was wildly surpassed by the joy of escorting his son to the chupah!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Home For The Holidays!

More Shofar, Less Cowbell:  Project Reconnect - United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism's Program for alumni - offers free high holiday tickets, with many synagogues offering home hospitality to young adult alumni of Conservative Movement programs who don't have a shul to attend.

 Come Home for the Holidays 2011 will once again provide free High Holiday tickets to young adults who grew up in the Conservative Movement. Many of our kehillot also offer home hospitality, including holiday and break-the-fast meals. Conservative Movement Kehillot in North America, Israel, Europe, South America and Central America will open their doors to help guests from all over the world 'come home' during this most sacred time of the year. 

Albuquerque's Congregation B'nai Israel - the best (OK, the only) Conservative synagogue in the entire state of New Mexico - also offers free tickets (you gotta have a ticket!) to college students and Armed Forces personnel.  

Click here to find a participating Conservative kehilla near you.  Not Conservative?  No problem!  Here in Duke City:
  • Chavurat Hamidbar's free, no tickets required High Holiday services will
    be held at the UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel(click here for campus map).
  • Other synagogues, minyanim, and chavurot listed in Abq Jewish Worship
    may be able to help you find a place.
  • And, as always, Chabad is here for you.

Caution:  Home For The High Holidays!
Not Home For Purim! (at least not yet)!

18 Voices Sing Kol Nidre

One Night, Standing Together:  Rabbi Stephen Landau presents the second lecture of a two-part series to prepare us spiritually for Yom Kippur.

Casa de Shalom
604 Gral Trevino Dr SE, Rio Rancho
18 Sep 2011 @ 10:00 am

Erev Yom Kippur, the night when we sing the magnificent Kol Nidre, is the single most awesome moment in the entire Jewish year. Most of us have at least one vivid memory of Kol Nidre.

Please join WestSide Shalom for a screening of the documentary 18 Voices Sing Kol Nidre and a discussion of the prayer’s meaning in our lives.

Call Ron (505) 417-1690 or Debra (505) 235-2940, or email westsideshalom@gmail.com for reservations.  $10 suggested donation.  All are welcome.

9/11 Kabbalistic Insights

Ten Years After, Wisdom of 2000 Years:  As we enter the Jewish New Year and commemorate 9/11, we wonder what the future has in store for us.  Did you know that the Zohar (the Bible of Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism, compiled 2000 years ago) predicted 9/11 - as well as what the end game is?

Rabbi Chaim Schmuckler's lecture will focus on Jewish prophecies regarding our turbulent times, which prophecies must come to fruition, and what we can do to make things good for all mankind.

Call (505) 880-1181 or email chaim@chabadnm.org for reservations.  $10 suggested donation.  Refreshments will be served.  All are welcome.

Monday, September 12, 2011

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Rabbi Min on Pikuach Nefesh

Saving A Life - Basic Jewish Value #13:  The mission statement of Jewish Family Service of New Mexico reads: “Guided by Jewish values, we offer targeted social services that help preserve and improve the quality of life for New Mexicans.” What are these Jewish values? How do they help guide the day-to-day work that we do at JFS? When new employees join the staff of JFS, they are introduced to eighteen of these basic Jewish values.

Pikuach nefesh, ("saving of human life") is the principle in Jewish law that the preservation of human life overrides virtually any other religious consideration. When life or health is involved, most Jewish laws may be suspended to safeguard the health of the individual. One is not merely permitted--one is required to disregard a law that conflicts with life or health. This duty to ignore the law, if necessary to safeguard health, is also stressed in connection with fasting on Yom Kippur. A sick person is obliged to break the fast. Neither the patient nor those attending him need atone when performing such acts that are forbidden under normal circumstances.

For JFS staff, whose work is often fast paced and stressful, this principle applies to self-care. By making sure that staff take time off, seek professional support when necessary, and pursue opportunities for professional growth, JFS staff can address the issue of "burn out" so common in the helping professions.

For our clients as well, it is often helpful for JFS staff to encourage them to care for their bodies, minds and souls. By supporting those activities and by referring clients appropriately, we can help them maintain healthy, active, engaged lives. Following the principle of pikuach nefesh is an important way to maintain balance in our lives.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Oh, What A Night!

Ben's Deli & Jersey Boys:  Last Thursday, Abq Jew & family had great seats all night - first at Ben's Deli, then at the August Wilson Theatre on 52nd Street.  More about Ben's later; first things first.
How did four blue-collar kids become one of the greatest successes in pop music history? Find out at Broadway's runaway smash-hit, Jersey Boys. The Tony Award-winning Best Musical of 2006 takes you up the charts, across the country and behind the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
Discover the secret of a 40-year friendship: four blue-collar kids working their way from the streets of Newark to the heights of stardom. And experience electrifying performances of the golden greats that took these guys all the way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," "Dawn," "My Eyes Adored You," and more. 
The last Broadway musical that Abq Jew & wife saw anywhere was Wicked, at the Popejoy.  We paid about $60 per ticket, which, in the Albuquerque scheme of things, is a lot, but which, in the New York scheme of things, is very little.  We enjoyed the show ... but we remember the ticket price.

The last Broadway musical that Abq Jew & family saw on Broadway was Annie Get Your Gun at the Marquis Theatre, sometime around the year 2000, twice.  Once with Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat, and again with Crystal Bernard and Tom Wopat.  Yes, we enjoyed the show that much - so who remembers how much we paid?

Jersey Boys just began a national tour on Wednesday - in Omaha, of all places.  And when, you ask, is Jersey Boys going to come to Albuquerque?  According to the official schedule - never.  So here is a taste of what you could see in Chicago or Dallas - but hey, if you're going to get on a plane, better you should just fly to The Big Apple and see the Broadway cast!

For the honor and privilege of seeing Jersey Boys on the very night we decided to go, Abq Jew & wife & daughter paid $129.95 per ticket.  For seats in the middle of the mezzanine.  And we'd do it again!  And again!  And maybe even again!  The show was so good that Abq Jew may - in a few years - forget how much he paid for tickets.  As the MasterCard commercial says: having a great time with your family - priceless.

And now, a few words about Ben's Kosher Deli on 38th Street.  There's good news ... and there's bad news.

The good news is: the food is delicious, the food is kosher, and Ben's delivers!  The bad news is: not to Albuquerque. 

But to Abq Jew, the best part of the Ben's experience was when a Chinese waiter - who spoke perfect Yiddish! - came over to take our order.  After he went back to the kitchen, we called over Warren Krieg, the General Manager.  We asked Warren, "Where did you find a Chinese waiter who knows Yiddish?"  Warren put his finger to his lips.  "Shh!" he said. "He thinks he's learning English."

Abq Jew must mention, once again, that he & family were in NYC for the wedding of his handsome and talented son, Dov Israel Yellin, to the beautiful and smart Dr Jessica Robin Schnur.  Here's another photo:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Coffeehouse Rabbi Opens Abq Bet Midrash

Rabbi Chavah Carp: For the past ten years, Rabbi Chavah Carp was - in her words - blessed with working with elementary age children at the Solomon Schechter Jewish Day School of Albuquerque.  She also served as Spiritual Leader of B'nai Shalom Havurah in Taos from 1980 through 1998.

Reb Chavah is now called upon to open a Bet Midrash - a House of Learning - for all ages, right here in Albuquerque.

 Among her first Bet Midrash offerings will be

Journal Through Torah
Monday Evenings 6:30 - 8:15 pm
12 & 19 & 26 Sep; 03 & 10 & 17 Oct 2011

Rabbi Carp says:
The written word is powerful.  We will look at key passages from the Torah and journal our own words after studying the text.  Whether or not you consider yourself a writer, you will get something of value from this class.   We will learn what the Rabbis have taught about these Torah passages. Our journal writing exercises will personalize your Torah experience.   Journal writing combined with study and discussion brings the Torah to life.
For more information - or to register - please visit
Abq Jew's Adult Education page, then contact
Rabbi Chavah Carp
Coffeehouse Rabbi
(505) 715-0178 

Abq Jew happily notes that there is more going on here than just one class.  The Coffeehouse Rabbi will soon be offering retreats, day workshops, art classes, writing courses, and opportunities for personal growth and learning.

But wait - there's more!  Visit Thread In Spirit to see Reb Chavah's fiber art work!

Jessica & Dov's Wedding: Report 2

Long Island Cowboy: Red Molly performs one song that Dov & Jessica did not choose for their wedding, but could have. Is Dov truly a Long Island cowboy?  Well, no.  His official state of residence has been California, New Jersey, or New York all his life - never New Mexico, not even ... Texas.

And yet, in Abq Jew's admittedly biased opinion, Dov personifies the virtues of the American cowboy - honest and true.  Even if he now hails from Forest Hills.  And Jessica?  She is just extraordinary.

For some odd reason, this is the song that kept playing in Abq Jew's head during his entire wedding trip.  Red Molly certainly got the run, run, run of New York City right.  But there's a limited number of things worth running for.  Many of them cannot be found in The Big Apple - and many of them cannot be acquired by running.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crypto-Judaism in Literature and Art

Isabelle Medina Sandoval and Diana Bryer:  Isabelle Medina Sandoval and Diana Bryer will present

Crypto-Judaism in Literature and Art
Nahalat Shalom @ Sunday 11 Sep 2011 @ 2:30 pm 
Connections, collaborations, conversations, and creativity! 

Solidifying two decades of friendship based on the subject of Crypto-Jews before it was a hot topic, Isabelle Medina Sandoval and Diana Bryer formed a soulful interest in depicting authentic creative expression about the descendants of Crypto-Jews in New Mexico. 

Isabelle’s family originates from the Mora Valley, and she is a descendant of Crypto-Jewish families.  Her poetry and writing reflect her ties to northern New Mexico. 

Diana Bryer, an accomplished artist known for her vibrant colors and borders, came to New Mexico in 1976 from Los Angeles. A descendant of Eastern European Jews, Diana was drawn to the Jewish ambiance of New Mexico. From her home in Santa Cruz, she hones her artistic talents painting geography, nature, and people.

Diana designed the book covers for Isabelle’s historical novel Guardians of Hidden Traditions and the forthcoming sequel, Hidden Shabbat: Crypto-Jewish Secret Lives

Isabelle and Diana will dialogue about their collaborations and creative endeavors, as they relate to Diana’s paintings on Rosa de Castilla, Tres Hermanicas, Coquetas, and future projects.  

Nahalat Shalom and the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society are co-sponsoring this event.

Jessica & Dov's Wedding: Report 1

Wedding Photos:  Wedding photos by family friends Brett Climan and Justin Vandow are now up on Facebook.  Here are a few favorites.

Mr & Mrs Yellin
Mr Dov Israel Yellin, Rabbi Charles Agin, Dr Jessica Robin Schnur

Perri Yellin, Dov Israel Yellin, Marc Yellin
Abq Jew was especially pleased by the music selected by the bride and groom.  Not a hint of Sunrise, Sunset!  Instead - as their parents escorted the groom and the bride to the chupah, a string trio played I Can't Help Falling In Love With You.

The Dancing Chusids  never showed.  To help you understand why not, here is a transcript of the text messages Abq Jew exchanged with the groom on Thursday September 1, shortly after A Wedding Surprise! was posted.

I do hope that blog post was a joke :-)  No surprises!

Abq Jew
You want me to call it off?

No dancing chassids


Abq Jew
I will see if I can get through to them

Not funny

Also, did you get the invoice I forwarded to you for the wine?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Wedding Surprise!

Let's Hear It For The Dancing Chusids!  To my dear son Dov Israel Yellin and his bride Jessica Robin Schnur - Abq Jew never thought you were serious about this DJ thing.

Dr Jessica Robin Schnur & Mr Dov Israel Yellin
 So he has thoughtfully arranged for just a bissel live music and dancing!

We are so looking forward to Sunday!  You can thank us later for the Dancing Chusids!