Monday, April 30, 2012

Shavuot On The Mountain

Ruidoiso Retreat:  Kavod New Mexico, Rabbi Stephen Landau, and Sephardic storyteller Sonya Loya invite you to bring your family “To The Mountain” (the High Mesa Healing Center) to symbolically receive the Torah again as we did long ago at Sinai on Shavuot.

The retreat weekend includes celebrating Shabbat and Day 1 of Shavuot. It will be a weekend filled with companionship on the Jewish path, fun, prayer, silence, traditional Shavuot study, Shabbat rest and glorying in the beauty of the natural world. We will read and discuss The Story of Ruth, as is our way on Shavuot.

Info & Registration:  Please email to register.  $108 per person.  $180 per couple.  $18 under 12.  $36 12-18. The retreat fee includes all meals and all activities. (Dietary laws observed.) You will need to make your own arrangements for lodging. There are six Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, Cabins and Lodges within 1.5 miles of the High Mesa Healing Center. More rustic accommodations are available on-site.  Google "101 Mader Lane, Alto, NM 88312" for exact location.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

An Invitation to Piyut - האדרת והמונה

The Glory and the Faith:  Yesterday, Abq Jew had the pleasure of Shabbat davening with Rabbi Stephen Landau, of Kavod New Mexico, and a houseful of guests.  Those of you who know Rabbi Stephen also know that he teaches piyutim, old prayer-songs that may or may not have made it into our liturgy.

Yesterday, Rabbi Stephen introduced us to האדרת והמונה - HaAderet vihaEmunah, which we sang - to create and capture a mood for our Sabbath prayers.  Rabbi Stephen handed out song sheets, with the words - in Hebrew only.  But a translation into English?  You are invited to follow Abq Jew on this adventure.
  1. We start with Lexilogos - Hebrew Keyboard Online.  We click on each letter to enter the search term "האדרת והמונה".  Note: you don't have to understand Hebrew to do this!  Then we highlight the search term and do a Ctrl-C to copy it to the clipboard.
  2. Next stop, Google.  We do a Ctrl-V to paste the search term into Google, and - wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles! - Google automatically switches to a Hebrew interface and does its search.
  3. After that, if you don't know Hebrew, there could be a bit of trial and error.  But as it turns out, the first search result is for a site called Hazmana LiPiyut - An Invitation to Piyut.  And more!  Google directs us right to the page for האדרת והמונה - HaAderet vihaEmunah.  But if we go back to the Google search results, we see a link to Translate this page!  So here we go!
Now, Hazmana LiPiyut's page plays a nice, sweet version of האדרת והמונה - HaAderet vihaEmunah.  But if you want something a bit edgier - Google points us to this YouTube video.

!לא בּשׁמים היא
You can do this, too!

Friday, April 27, 2012


Best Song Ever by Boaz Sharabi:  Abq Jew is still on an Israel high after Celebrating Israel last night at Sandia Prep with Shira Greenberg, Bar Roggel, and the Keshet Dance Company - after fellafelling with his wife Perri Yellin the Artist at Sharon Levin's Gourmet to Go.

Thanks to the Jewish Federation, the Albuquerque JCC, New Mexico Arts, and the Albuquerque Sister City Foundation for making Keshet's "dancer exchange" and performances possible.

So, while Abq Jew is reminiscing about his Good Old Days (1970-71) in Eretz Israel:  Here, for your listening enjoyment, is one of the top pop songs of those years. 

If you're thinking "it must be about Shabbat or Shalom, eucalyptus trees or olive branches, the Jordan River or Mt Scopus" - well, no. 

The song is Pamela, and it's just a good old "she loved me then left me" song by Boaz Sharabi.  Worse - it's in English, sort of.  (Abq Jew does not remember ever hearing a Hebrew version.)

From Wikipedia:
Boaz Sharabi (Hebrew: בעז שרעבי‎; born 1947) is an Israeli singer-songwriter, composer, guitarist, crooner, pianist, actor, tenor, chazan and lyricist, well known for such integral Israeli classics as Latet, Halevai, At Li Laila, Pamela, Lashir Itach, Kol Od, Mi Yada Shekach Yihiyeh, K'Shetavo (written for Ron Arad), Im At Adain Ohevet Oti and Etzli Hakol Beseder. His songs make up a large part of Israeli Culture.

Do you remember this?

More about Boaz Sharabi from Wikipedia:
His career has spanned more than 40 years, and was at its height in the late 1980s. Most of his songs are acoustic rock, andalusian chords, soul music and oud type songs, blended with Israeli folk, Judeo-Yemenite and Pop overtones. He also sings classical music in Hebrew and is an international acclaimed pianist. He also recites the poems of Shalom Shabazi as part of his work on past albums.

Boaz Sharabi was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and grew up in a family of artists. His brother Yoel Sharabi is a popular Hasidic and Yemenite entertainer for Jewish communities abroad, Baruch Sharabi was a choreographer tapdancer in Israel and Zion Sharabi a songwriter.
Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

NMJHS Honors Dr Stanley M Hordes

New Mexico Jewish Historical Society Honors:  Eminent Southwest historian Dr Stanley Hordes will be honored by the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society

Sunday April 29
2:30 pm
Albuquerque JCC

This event is free and open to the public.

An internationally known historian, Dr Hordes is widely recognized for his work on the boundaries of Jewish identity. His work on crypto-Judaism in New Mexico has brought that experience increasingly to light in recent decades. He is a widely sought speaker across the United States.

Among those present to honor Dr Hordes will be Dr Seth Kunin, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Arts and Humanities of Durham University in England; Dr Seth Ward of the Program in Religious Studies at the University of Wyoming; and Dr Roger Martinez from the University of Colorado.

Hordes’ work with crypto-Jewish and Sephardic traditions will be recognized in performance of Ladino music by Consuelo Luz and Vanessa Paloma.  Dr Noel Pugach, Professor Emeritis, University of New Mexico, and Jim Mafchir, President of the New Mexico Book Association, will discuss Dr Hordes’ work and influence.

Springtime in the Holy Land

From the Spielberg Jewish Film Archive (1939)

10 Must-See Retro Israel Videos

In the days when Your children were returning to their borders, at the time when our people took root in its land as in days of old, the gates to the land of our ancestors were closed before those who were fleeing the sword. When enemies from within the land, together with seven neighboring nations, sought to annihilate Your people, You, in Your great mercy, stood by them in time of trouble. You defended them and vindicated them. You gave them courage to meet their foes, to open the gates to those seeking refuge, and to free the land of its armed invaders. You delivered the many into the hands of the few, the guilty into the hands of the innocent. You have revealed Your glory and Your holiness to all the world, achieving great victories and miraculous deliverance for Your people Israel to this day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Learning Hebrew in the Time of Mothra

A Lesson From The Word 'Cholera':  Yes, Burquenos, we are now living in the time of Mothra.  The Miller moth (are they Jewish?) infestation has destroyed our nightlife, upended our backyard parties, crippled our economy, and made even a trip to the refrigerator a nerve-wracking endeavor.

Mothra, Abq Jew reminds you, is the title (and title creature) of the eponymous Japanese post-atomic film Mothra (1961), in which
Shipwreck survivors are found on Beiru, an island previously used for atomic tests. Amazingly free of radiation effects, they believe they were protected by a special juice given to them by the natives. A joint expedition of Rolithican and Japanese scientists explores Beiru and discovers many curious things, including two women only a foot high. Unscrupulous expedition leader Clark Nelson abducts the women and puts them in a vaudeville show. But their sweet singing contains a telepathic cry for help to Mothra, the gigantic moth worshiped as a goddess by the island people. Mothra seeks the women in Tokyo, wreaking the usual havoc and special effects.
How did Mothra get its name?, Abq Jew hears you ask.  Here is Abq Jew's own explanation, based on a surface knowledge of the depth of the Hebrew language.  Starting with the Hebrew terms for cholera.

The first term is כולירה .  This is a phonetic transliteration of the English term.  Which is to say, it sounds like cholera, with no intimation of the term's derivation.  This is also the translation used (way back when) in LaMatchil, the "Beginner's Hebrew" newspaper Abq Jew once read.

But the term that Ma'ariv, the "Real Hebrew" newspaper, uses is   חולירע.  This also sounds like cholera, but is made up of two Hebrew words:  חולי (sickness) and   רע(bad) .  Put them together and you have "bad sickness", which seems an accurate description of the dreaded disease.

But you see where Abq Jew is going with this: The name Mothra must be a synergistic recombination of English and Hebrew terms that together mean bad moth.

Please bear in mind that Abq Jew has absolutely no training whatsoever in linguistics, philology, or any other language-related istics or ology you can think of.  He is undeterred by this fact.

But Mothra's English script was written by Robert Myerson, who certainly sounds Jewish (Bess Myerson certainly was).  As if further proof might be needed, Abq Jew Googled "Robert Myerson" and discovered - doctors!  And no, not just doctors - radiologists!

Credits for the film Mothra include Haruo Nakajima and Katsumi Tezuka
as the head and neck of Mothra larva, respectively.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Celebrate Israel!

Eat! Dance! Celebrate!


Join Keshet Dance Company, Jewish Federation of New Mexico, and the JCC for a performance featuring Israeli dancer Bar Roggel commemorating Israel’s 64th birthday!

Bar Roggel
In April 2012, Keshet will begin a cultural exchange program integrating Albuquerque’s Sister Cities relationship with Rehovot, Israel. 

The exchange will bring Israeli dancer and choreographer Bar Roggel to Keshet for three weeks in April to work with Keshet Repertory Dancers and the greater Albuquerque community.

Continuing the exchange, Keshet will send one dancer and Artistic Director Shira Greenberg to Rehovot for three weeks to facilitate master classes, collaborate to create new choreography, and explore new outreach opportunities.
Shira Greenberg

Roggel was born in Jerusalem, and has been living in Rehovot since age 11. Bar is a graduate of the dance department at the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts. She has studied at The Israel Ballet and the San Francisco Academy of Ballet, and participated in the Batsheva Excellence Project. 

From 2008-2012, Bar served in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) International Cooperation Unit.
She is currently an independent dancer and choreographer.

Roggel will create a new work in collaboration with Keshet dancers to be performed at Moving People Dance Centre in Santa Fe on April 24, and in a Yom Ha’atzma’ut Celebration at Sandia Prep High School in Albuquerque on April 26.

You can read more about Bar Roggel, her New Mexico itinerary, and international work at Keshet this spring here.

Storytelling @ Kavod New Mexico

With Maggid Ya'el Chaikind:  As he claimed in Got Midrash?, Abq Jew loves a good story.  Well, it turns out that Kavod New Mexico loves a good story, too.  And if you also love a good story - and appreciate a really good storyteller - then Kavod New Mexico is the place to be 

Saturday April 28 @ 5:00 pm 
Please register by Wednesday!
Kavod New Mexico says:
Stories are at the heart of our people.
They are the craft of our culture and our way of life. 

This Seudah Shlisheet, come hear stories, come share stories; come learn how to tell a story to engage and transform your listener. No experience necessary. Just add your open heart and your extra Shabbat soul to our community gathering. Please bring a notebook.

Our guide in this excursion of the heart is Maggid Ya'el Chaikind, currently of Santa Fe, professional storyteller, published author, and educator for social and spiritual change.
Her focus is "the integration of story, nature, and spirit as vehicles for sacred social change through education and transformation," and brings to all her endeavors energy, compassion, and a love for connecting people to their authentic voice through story. Ya'el weaves the magic of story and the art of storytelling into a rich, fun, and practical workshop. "Ta Sh'ma!" Come and hear!
 Click here for more information from Kavod New Mexico.

The Rabbis vs The Priests

B'nai Announces:  Congregation B'nai Israel announces its Spring / Summer Making Connections to Judaism Speakers' Series.  Tuesday evening lectures (7:00 - 8:00 pm), each preceded (6:30 pm) by a lite dinner.

The first lecture will be tonight -

Tuesday April 24 @ 7:00 pm
Rabbi Arthur Flicker presents
The Rabbis vs The Priests
What did the early Rabbis really think of the Priests and the Temple rituals?
A look at the way our Rabbis mocked the Priests
and worked hard to gain authority and power for themselves. 

What - you thought this was about basketball?

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Continuum of Remembrance

Yom HaShoah Observance:   For the first time in many years, Abq Jew attended a Yom HaShoah Remembrance Ceremony - the Ceremony held yesterday at Albuquerque's Holocaust & Intolerance Museum 

Abq Jew was one of more than 200 people - of all ages and many ethnic groups - who overflowed the Museum's small space, along with Albuquerque Mayor Richard J Berry, Rio Rancho Mayor Thomas E Swisstack, and other dignitaries.

The Keynote Speaker was Renee Firestone, a survivor of the Auschwitz - Birkenau concentration camp and an international leader in social justice and Holocaust education. She is the founding lecturer for the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Educational Outreach Program in Los Angeles.

But this year's Yom HaShoah observance highlighted the importance and power of passing the memories of the final generation of Holocaust survivors to the next generation. And the most important people who attended the Ceremony were the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho high school students who had met and spoken at length with local Holocaust survivors - and who spoke to us, softly and loudly, prayerfully and passionately, about what they had learned.

Abq Jew was troubled by the entire experience.  Look at these kids - so young, so full of hope and ideas and optimism and conviction and life - why do they have to learn about mass murder on a personal yet universal scale that would be unimaginable except to those who lived through it?

Jacob's Bones is a blog from Israel, written by Beth Frank-Backman.  Abq Jew is too often too busy writing blogs to read others' - but he makes time for Jacob's Bones.

In a blog post entitled Holocaust, the Fourth Generation, Jacob's Bones brings to our attention a poem and video by Andrew Lustig entitled My Child, the Holocaust Denier.

Among the verses that strikes home:
I hope that you come to me
And tell me that you learned the word chronological
And that you put all the books on your book shelf in chronological order
And I hope that the diary of Anne Frank
Ends up ordered out of history between the dinosaur books and the caveman books…
I hope that you yell at me
and that you run to mommy, “Mommy, Daddy’s lying to me”….

I will patiently answer your “How?” and your eventual tearful “Why?”
You will bear witness, but I hope you resist
I hope that the world you live in is one that makes believing in the Shoah
          more difficult than believing in God ….
Andrew Lustig pretty much summarizes Abq Jew's torn feelings about Holocaust education.

On one hand, we spend too much time on it - instead of exploring the insights and beauties of Jewish civilization.  On the other hand, we spend too little time on it - for how can we prevent other holocausts unless we know how ours was perpetrated?

Our high school students believe that respect, kindness, tolerance, compassion, and knowledge can mollify evil decrees.  Who are we to tell them no?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Parted Waters

A Crypto-Jewish Tale:  Teatro Paraguas of Santa Fe presents Robert Benjamin's gripping play about three generations of men in a crypto-Jewish family struggling with its identity in Northern New Mexico.

Parted Waters
Congregation Albert 
Sunday April 22
12:00 Noon

Grandson Miguel is running for state office against a Jewish opponent.  Her daughter is his campaign manager. An unintended slur during the debate nearly destroys his family, but reveals the truth.

Parted Waters reflects the mad pace of change in the twenty-first century and the resulting confusion that is an all-too-common affliction of contemporary life.

Teatro Paraguas will perform a staged reading of the production, followed by a discussion.

Tickets:  On sale at the door.  $5 for the community.  Free for students / military.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Keeping The Memory Alive

Keeping The Memory Alive - International Poster Competition 2012 is a project funded by the grant programme of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF). Partnering in the project: Yad Vashem, Israel, together with the Israel Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs; Mémorial de la Shoah, France; and the European Shoah Legacy Institute, Czech Republic, in cooperation with the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme.


A Continuum of Remembrance 
Yom HaShoah Observance
Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico
Sun 22 Apr 2012 @ 1:30 pm

This year's Yom HaShoah observance represents the importance and power of passing the memories of the final generation of Holocaust survivors to the next generation.

The Keynote Speaker is Renee Firestone, a survivor of the Auschwitz - Birkenau concentration camp and an international leader in social justice and Holocaust education. She is the founding lecturer for the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Educational Outreach Program in Los Angeles. A reception will follow the program @ 3:00 pm.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Achnai & His Oven

The Case & Its Prooftext:  Last week, Rabbi Paul Citrin taught a class at Albuquerque OASIS Institute called Life in 3D: Diversity, Debate, Dissent.  As Abq Jew (and Rabbi Citrin's many followers) have come to expect , this class brought out Rabbi Citrin's unique way of blending Jewish texts into the broader world of universal ideas.  The OASIS syllabus stated:

The breakdown in civil political dialogue and the polarity of cultural values are hallmarks of contemporary life in the United States. Ideological divisions fray the fabric of the nation. Is there any hope for creating a more rational, respectful, and productive public exchange? Some answers may lie in Jewish texts - from the Talmud to modern writings. Studying selections from these texts, we will examine how competing truths may co-exist in balance.

To examine one possible answer, Rabbi Citrin brought (that's Yeshivish for "cited") the classic Rabbinic ... discussion ... of The Oven of Achnai from the Talmud (Baba Metzia 59b).  Here is the Talmudic text:
דף נט,ב גמרא  וזה הוא תנור של עכנאי מאי עכנאי אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל שהקיפו דברים כעכנא זו וטמאוהו תנא באותו היום השיב רבי אליעזר כל תשובות שבעולם ולא קיבלו הימנו אמר להם אם הלכה כמותי חרוב זה יוכיח נעקר חרוב ממקומו מאה אמה ואמרי לה ארבע מאות אמה אמרו לו אין מביאין ראיה מן החרוב חזר ואמר להם אם הלכה כמותי אמת המים יוכיחו חזרו אמת המים לאחוריהם אמרו לו אין מביאין ראיה מאמת המים חזר ואמר להם אם הלכה כמותי כותלי בית המדרש יוכיחו הטו כותלי בית המדרש ליפול גער בהם רבי יהושע אמר להם אם תלמידי חכמים מנצחים זה את זה בהלכה אתם מה טיבכם לא נפלו מפני כבודו של רבי יהושע ולא זקפו מפני כבודו של ר"א ועדיין מטין ועומדין חזר ואמר להם אם הלכה כמותי מן השמים יוכיחו יצאתה בת קול ואמרה מה לכם אצל ר"א שהלכה כמותו בכ"מ עמד רבי יהושע על רגליו ואמר לא בשמים היא מאי (דברים ל) לא בשמים היא אמר רבי ירמיה שכבר נתנה תורה מהר סיני אין אנו משגיחין בבת קול שכבר כתבת בהר סיני בתורה (שמות כג) אחרי רבים להטות אשכחיה רבי נתן לאליהו א"ל מאי עביד קוב"ה בההיא שעתא א"ל קא חייך ואמר נצחוני בני נצחוני בני
Here is the main topic of the Rabbinic ... discussion:

If a man made an oven out of separate coils
[of clay, placing one upon another],
then put sand between each of the coils  — such an oven,
R. Eliezer declared, is not susceptible to defilement,
while the sages declared it susceptible.

What is wonderful about this sugya (Talmudic passage) is that we don't care about the technical merits of the case.  What we care about is how the case was decided:
It is taught: On that day R. Eliezer brought forward every imaginable argument, but the Sages did not accept any of them. Finally he said to them: "If the Halakhah (religious law) is in accordance with me, let this carob tree prove it!" Sure enough the carob tree immediately uprooted itself and moved one hundred cubits, and some say 400 cubits, from its place. "No proof can be brought from a carob tree," they retorted.
And again he said to them "If the Halakhah agrees with me, let the channel of water prove it!" Sure enough, the channel of water flowed backward. "No proof can be brought from a channel of water," they rejoined.

Again he urged, "If the Halakhah agrees with me, let the walls of the house of study prove it!" Sure enough, the walls tilted as if to fall. But R. Joshua, rebuked the walls, saying, "When disciples of the wise are engaged in a halakhic dispute, what right have you to interfere?" Hence in deference to R. Joshua they did not fall and in deference to R. Eliezer they did not resume their upright position; they are still standing aslant.

Again R. Eliezer then said to the Sages, "If the Halakhah agrees with me, let it be proved from heaven." Sure enough, a divine voice cried out, "Why do you dispute with R. Eliezer, with whom the Halakhah always agrees?" 

R. Joshua stood up and protested: "The Torah is not in heaven!" (Deut. 30:12).
Here is the clincher (aka the prooftext):
We pay no attention to a divine voice because long ago at Mount Sinai You wrote in your Torah at Mount Sinai, `After the majority must one incline'. (Ex. 23:2)"
And how did The Holy One, Blessed Be He, react to this Rabbinic process? 
R. Nathan met [the prophet] Elijah and asked him, "What did the Holy One do at that moment?" Elijah: "He laughed [with joy], saying, 'My children have defeated Me, My children have defeated Me.'" 
For more years than he cares to count, Abq Jew has accepted the Exodus prooftext at face value.  After all, the Rabbis in the Talmud surely knew the Biblical text.  And the Rabbis who compiled the Talmud surely knew the Biblical text.  Didn't they?  

Moreover, we've had at least 1500 years to check the quote's accuracy - and Abq Jew (not that he is in any way an authority) has never heard a complaint.  And in the story - G-d Himself accepts the prooftext!

Nevertheless - after using his own Abq Jewish Online Learning page to capture the Hebrew text of our sugya, Abq Jew went Googling.  And he found a fascinating article in the online Fortean Times, a monthly magazine of "news, reviews and research on strange phenomena and experiences, curiosities, prodigies and portents."

Abq Jew will leave it to you, his readers, to judge the worthiness of this interesting resource.  But  the article did ask (and answer) one question that Abq Jew had never asked:  What does Exodus 23:2 actually say?

Here is the answer:
לֹא-תִהְיֶה אַחֲרֵי-רַבִּים, לְרָעֹת; וְלֹא-תַעֲנֶה עַל-רִב, לִנְטֹת אַחֲרֵי רַבִּים--לְהַטֹּת
Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou bear witness in a cause to turn aside after a multitude to pervert justice; 
Wait a minute!  The Biblical text says "Thou shalt not follow a multitude" - and Rabbi Joshua and the others purposely misquote that Biblical text to prove their point.  A shanda!  How has this violation of truth gone unnoticed (or at least unreported) these past centuries?

And here we have the difference between Rabbanites, who interpret the Biblical text according to principles they themselves established, and Karaites, who read the Biblical text literally and do not interpret.   
Abq Jew Note: Although there are still Karaite Jewish communities in the world - the Middle Ages were their heyday -  most modern Judaism is Rabbinic, and most modern Jews are Rabbanites.
Therefore:  While the Rabbis flagrantly misquote the verse from Exodus - Abq Jew claims that we should think of them, rather, as jumping to the exegesis as they interpret the Biblical text, as Rashi points out:
And since it says: “You shall not follow the majority for evil,” I deduce that you shall follow them [the majority] for good. From here they [the Rabbis] deduced that in capital cases, we decide through [a majority of] one for an acquittal and through [a majority of] two for a conviction.
Abq Jew believes that, far from being a shanda, The Oven of Achnai is a glorious example of Rabbinic legal activism at work.
The Rabbis courageously distinguished between morality and law.  By pursuing Justice, Justice, the Rabbis then reunited the letter of the Law with the spirit of the Law - to their eternal credit and with our eternal gratitude.

Welcome, Miryam Levy!

New Santa Fe Chaplain: The Jewish Family Service of New Mexico is  excited to welcome new rabbinic chaplain Miryam Levy!

The latest issue of What's Nu, the JFSNM e-newsletter, reports:

Born and raised in South Africa, Miryam finished high school in Washington DC. She came to New Mexico in 1975 as a young lawyer. After practicing law and mediation in Albuquerque she migrated north to live in an intentional spiritual community in northern New Mexico. Inspired by the eclectic spiritual practices she encountered there and by the teachings of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Miryam eventually left NM to study at the Jewish Renewal Life Center in Philadelphia. She later became part of the management team at Elat Chayyim, the Jewish Retreat Center in upstate New York.

During her years at Elat Chayyim, Miryam entered a school of nondual healing, which led her to pursue chaplaincy studies. Her clinical training in chaplaincy took place at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington DC and Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. Simultaneously, Miryam enrolled in the Rabbinic Seminary Program of Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal and in 2009 she received ordination as a Rabbinic Pastor. That same year Miryam returned to Albuquerque where she has been working as the Bereavement Coordinator for VistaCare Hospice providing support, grief counseling and groups for hospice patients and their families.

Miryam leads a monthly group in the art of sacred Hebrew chanting in the style of Rabbi Shefa Gold. Her personal meditation and chanting practices provide the foundation and strength for her compassionate caring for others. She loves making art - particularly collage and altered books, freestyle dancing, and visiting with the sandhill cranes that winter over in the fields along the Rio Grande corridor. Miryam will expand the chaplaincy work currently done in Santa Fe hospitals, and plans to start a Santa Fe Grief and Loss Group.
Welcome, Chaplain Miryam!


Reminder!  In support of their many programs and services, JFSNM invites you to their annual FUNdraiser -

 A Gallery of Giving
Albuquerque Museum of Art & History
Sunday April 22 @ 6:00 pm  

Monday, April 16, 2012

A New Milestone: 23K

To Life! To Life! L'Chaim!  On April 16, 2012, at 12:23 pm New Mexico (Mountain) Time, this Abq Jew Blog achieved 23,000 All Time Page Views.

We achieved 18,000 All Time Page Views on February 27 - exactly seven weeks ago.
That's just about 100 Page Views per Day.

Thank you!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Holocaust Remembrance @ Kirtland AFB

2012 Team Kirtland Announces:  The 2012 Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony -

Tuesday April 17
10:00 am
Kirtland AFB 
Base Chapel

Guest Speakers and Holocaust Survivors
Werner Gellert and Shoshana Dubman

Mourner's Kaddish & Benediction 
Rabbi David Ritch de Herrera

Info & Base Access

Please contact 
Rabbi David Ritch de Herrera

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lots Going On This Weekend

First Night & First Day Post-Pesach:  Which is to say, Post-Pesach as Passover is traditionally celebrated here in Albuquerque - eight days and nights.  Were we in the Land of Israel instead of the Land of Enchantment, Pesach would end after only seven days and nights.

The fact that some of us are here while others are there has two interesting consequences: 
  1. Israeli Jews get to return to Chametzville 24 hours before Diaspora Jews.
  2. The weekly Torah readings for Israel and for the Diaspora diverge on Saturday April 14 - when, says, Israeli Jews read Parshat Shemini while it's still Pesach (Day 8) in the Disapora.  

    This divergence is not corrected until Saturday May 19, when Israeli Jews read Parshat BeHukotai (having read Parshat BeHar the week before) while Diaspora Jews read the double Parsha, BeHar-Behukotai.
Isn't this fascinating?  But here we are.  And Chabad of New Mexico / Albuquerque will celebrate Seudat Moshiach on Saturday night at 7:00 pm.  What is Seudat Moshiach? explains:
The last day of Passover ("Acharon Shel Pesach") is particularly associated with Moshiach and the future redemption. The Haftarah (reading from the Prophets) for this day is from Isaiah 11, which describes the promised future era of universal peace and divine perfection. Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov instituted the custom of partaking of a "Moshiach's meal" on the afternoon of the last day of Passover; in addition to the matzah eaten at "Moshiach's meal", the Rebbes of Chabad added the custom of drinking four cups of wine, as in the seder held on Passover's first days.
Congregation Nahalat Shalom has two events scheduled for Sunday April 15
  1. At 2:30 pm, Reb Zalman teaches (via DVD) Kavannah.
  2. At 5:30 pm, Rabbi Deborah Brin and Attorney Lynn Yael McKeever are In Conversation About Health Decisions.
Have you checked out the Abq Jewish Event Calendar?  It is, Abq Jew believes, the most complete Jewish event calendar in the Land of Enchantment. 

Here are even more Upcoming Abq Jewish Events To Go & Do this weekend:

New Mexico Philharmonic
New Mexico Philharmonic @ Congregation Albert 
@ Sat 14 Apr 2012 @ 7:00 pm  
New Mexico Philharmonic
What It Is:  One of a series of NM Phil Neighborhood Concerts.

David Felberg, Conductor
Mozart Overture to Abduction from Seraglio

Winner of McGehee Competition
Mendelssohn Italian Symphony

Tickets:  May be purchased online.  Members of Congregation Albert:  Thank you for hosting!  Call the CA office for special rates!

Breakfast & Blood Drive 

The Final Solution & Its Origins Examined @ Congregation Albert
@ Sun15 Apr 2012 @ 10:00 am

Sheri Metzger Karmiol, PhD
What It Is:  Sheri Metzger Karmiol, PhD,  Adjunct Professor at UNM, will speak about “The Wannsee Conference - 70 Years Later” at Congregation Albert Brotherhood’s monthly breakfast.

Fifteen high-ranking representatives from the German government and the Nazi Party met at a villa in Wannsee, near Berlin, on January 20, 1942.  Historians considered that the Wannsee Conference was when the German hierarchy devised the plans for the Final Solution.  Some now dispute that finding as too simplistic.

Cost & Reservations:  $10 for Brotherhood and Sisterhood members; $12 for all others. This event is paired with Congregation Albert’s annual blood drive, whose donors enjoy breakfast for free.  Please make reservations by Wednesday April 11 by calling (505) 883-1818 x3203 and leaving your name, telephone, and number of persons attending.

Book Signing @ Bookworks

Sharon Niederman, Signs & Shrines @ Bookworks 
@ Sun 15 April 2012 @ 3:00 pm

What It Is:  Sharon Niederman's Signs & Shrines: Spiritual Journeys Across New Mexico takes readers along the ancient pilgrimage trails that crisscross this enchanted state, a place where a rich multiplicity of cultures continue to thrive. 

From the winding High Road between Santa Fe and Taos to Warriors Spirit Way across the Black Range; through ghost towns and on to Silver City; to the Old Spanish Trail that originates in Abiquiu, you ll find the pathways that spiritual seekers have followed for centuries. The mysteries of sacred sites, natural wonders, power spots, feast days, and festivals are here explained by one of the state's most prolific and knowledgeable authors.

In addition to providing cultural context that answers visitors questions about history and practices found only in New Mexico, the award-winning author provides clear directions, maps, and guidance on the best places to stay, dine, shop, and recreate on your route. 

Signs & Shrines is an innovative guide that will enrich the experience not only of spiritual seekers, but of every visitor drawn to tour the Land of Enchantment.

Info:  Bookworks   4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW    (505) 344-8139

Rabbi Min on Working Together

Basic Jewish Values - Let Us Be Strong: 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.

Why eighteen? Because that number is associated with life; the word "Chai" has a Hebrew numeric value of 18.

This month, we celebrate the completion of the first cycle; we have discussed one of those 18 values each month for the past 18 months! There is a Jewish tradition of having a celebration when completing study of a body of literature; after a tractate (major chapter) of Talmud, for example. After completing the reading of each of the five books of the Bible we recite the words: "Chazak, chazak, v'nitchazek," which is translated as "Strength, strength and let us be strong." Even if this study was done alone, we use the term "let US be strong."

Next month we begin again, discussing the first on the list of 18 values, but this month I want to comment briefly on the concept of ‘strength' and why we celebrate completion of a cycle of study in this way.

Jewish tradition regards strength as being much more than physical (although healthy eating and exercise to maintain the body have been an important part of our tradition for a long time). Rather, strength is seen as the kind of fortitude necessary to do things that are difficult, which challenge our assumptions about ourselves. When we, as an organization, establish a new and innovative program, like the Honey Do Home Helper program, we ask whether we have the necessary staff and administrative infrastructure to launch such a venture.

But, more importantly, we ask whether we have the strength of vision, depth of information, and breadth of community support necessary to carry this (or any) new venture through the initial phases of development. We remember that the kind of strength we need is PLURAL…we do not say ‘let ME be strong." When we work together as an organization, supported by a community that is working together with us, helping a community of people who are helped by the services we provide, only then is our collective strength increased. So may it be!!!


And Speaking of Working Together:  Rabbi Min Kantrowitz appeared last week on KASA TV's New Mexico Style program to provide A Passover Education to hosts Nikki Stanzione and Kristen Van Dyke.

Rabbi Kantrowitz explained what Passover means, and described the rituals and traditions of a Seder. 

She explained the meaning of each item on the Seder Plate, and talked about her book Counting the Omer, a Kabbalistic Meditation Guide.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Whack Fol the Daddy-O

There's Whiskey in the Jar: Today we have Celtic Tenors, Celtic Thunder, Celtic Woman.  It is almost impossible for us now to recall a time when most things Celtic - even (or especially) in Old Ireland - were suppressed and repressed.

Back then, the Irish in Ireland had the Dubliners. Soundtreks: An Annotated Guide to the Dubliners says:
Many groups can claim to have influenced the revival and flowering of Irish traditional music, but the Dubliners were, in so many ways, the first. This was the group that went to the country and resurrected dying songs ... and brought live music ... back to bars in Ireland at a time when it was nearly nonexistent.
Barney McKenna was the group's tenor banjo player. The New York Times sadly reports:
Barney McKenna, whose racing, raucous and often lyrically haunting banjo playing helped propel the Irish folk band the Dubliners to fame, died on Thursday [April 5] at his home in Dublin. The last of the original members of the band, he was 72.

Michael Howard, a classical guitarist who was with Mr. McKenna when he died, told Irish and British newspapers that they were at the kitchen table when Mr. McKenna seemed to have “nodded off.”

“He passed away very peacefully sitting at his own breakfast table having a quiet cup of tea and a chat,” Mr. Howard said. 
Abq Jew first heard Whiskey in the Jar, one of his favorite traditional Irish tunes, from one of his favorite folk groups, the Limeliters. 

But in tribute to Barney McKenna z"l and all the Dubliners, here is Whiskey in the Jar as recorded by the Dubliners themselves.

Abq Jew Featured in Faceshuk!

We're Kind of a Big Deal:  Abq Jew is proud to announce that this very Abq Jew Blog that you are now reading is now featured in

Please stop by and visit!        You can find Abq Jew by 830d8d71670a831730deb6bf542fc747

Abq Jew uses the power of the Web to bring Jewish communities together.  Abq Jew's blog ( and website ( are dedicated to uniting organizations, businesses, and individuals – those who are active and involved and those who aren’t yet – to build and strengthen the Jewish community of Albuquerque and beyond.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Dream for Next Year

Next Year in ... Albuquerque!   A 62-year-old man in New Mexico calls his son in New York and says, "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing. Thirty-seven years of misery is enough.“

"Dad, what are you talking about?" the son screams.

"We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the oldish man says. "We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Boston and tell her," and he hangs up.

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone, "Like heck they're getting divorced," she shouts, "I'll take care of this."

She calls her father immediately and screams at the oldish man, "You are NOT getting divorced! Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow.  Grandma is coming with us.  Until then, don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?" and hangs up.

The oldish man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife.

"Okay," he says. 
"They're coming for Passover and paying their own airfares."

לשׁנה הבּאה בּאלבּוקערקי

Perri Yellin @ 60

To the Love of My Life:  Today, April 9, 2012, Abq Jew's wife, Perri Yellin the Artist, has turned 60.  And she is not taking it well.

Abq Jew understands this.  After all, when he turned 60 just 1 year and 7 months ago, he went into a funk that lasted ... who remembers how long.

Most of the funk involves the twin questions of 1) what have I achieved in my life so far? and 2) how much time have I got left to do what I want to do with my life?

How much time does Perri have left?  Ad Mayah Ve-essrim! Biz a Hoondred oon Tzvuntzig!  The Social Security Administration suggests 25.3 more years.  But the truth is - we just don't know.

And what has Perri achieved so far?  Here is a brief synopsis of Perri's artistic achievements:

1974            Designed Wisconsin Telephone Directory Covers
1978-1986       Independent Fashion Consultant, CA, NJ
1987-1988       Decorating Consultant, Fabric Tree Inc.: 
                Organized new Home Decorating Fabrics Departments, NJ, NY, CT
1988-1992       Hand Painted Furniture and Home Accessories, NJ
2003-2010       Perri Yellin Art Studio Classes, NJ:
                Taught Various Media to Children and Adults
2003            Livingston Arts Association Exhibition
2003            North American Butterfly Association Art Contest,
                NJ: Honorable Mention, Publication in NABA Magazine

2006            Ridgewood Art Association Open Art
                Exhibition, NJ
2006-2007       Annual Perri Yellin Art Studio
                Exhibitions, NJ
2006-2010       Essex Fine Art Gallery, NJ
                The Great Frame Up Gallery, NJ
2007            Temple Beth Shalom Art Auction
2008-Present    CBL Fine Art, NJ: Retail
2008            Digital Mosaic Yearbook
2008-Present    Creation of
2008            9th Annual Gaelen Art Exhibition, NJ
2009            Temple Beth Shalom Spring Fair, NJ: Retail
2009-2011       Teanacious, NJ: Retail
2009-Present    www.New Mexico Creates: Museum of New Mexico Webstore
2010            Temple Beth Shalom Art Collection, NJ
2011            90th Anniversary Celebration Silent Auction, Bnai Israel, NM
2011            Bnai Israel Nursery School Silent Auction, NM
2010-Present    Arts Judaica Committee Chair, Temple Bnai Israel, NM: 
                Managed Art Collection, Designed Display Cases
2011            Albuquerque Chanukah Holiday Festival, NM: Retail
2012            Consuelo Luz Concert Fundraiser Silent Auction, NM
2012            Bnai Israel Nursery School Arts and Crafts Fair, NM: Retail

Abq Jew was always impressed with Perri's talent and drive, even when the list was shorter. And the list just keeps growing.  Furthermore, Abq Jew recognizes that he is married to a true artist: someone who must create, as many hours of the day as are available.

Perri's life - and therefore, the lives of Abq Jew and their children - were turned upside down a few years ago.  That's when Perri, an educated, trained, and gifted oil painter, discovered mosaics:
I’m now 6+ years into making mosaics, having been an oil painter most of my life. Mosaics have made the creative process much more exciting and enjoyable. I’m more aware of the mental and physical journey taken with each piece. My ideas frequently come from phrases I can’t get out of my head, and I’m inspired by the feel and look of the materials I use. I frequently find I’m sitting with piles of “stuff” and intuiting various uses before actually planning what to do. My work has also become 3-D, and sometimes mixed media.
I still believe in the beauty of art, and strive to have my work look wonderful as a whole. I crave a lot of visual stimulation, so my work is often very detailed in execution, with many parts forming the whole. These parts are meant to give the viewer continuing pleasure when explored as well as further insight into my ideas.
Much of my mixed media work is figurative. I like the incongruity of expressing voluptuous, mortal flesh with the hard permanence of glistening mosaic materials. The materials can be so staggeringly beautiful that the viewer gets caught up in this facade, forgetting the complexity of the women they describe. And that is the point.
Perri has also discovered that her unique artistic sensibility lends itself to making gorgeous jewelry.  But Perri's most precious jewels are our children. 

First, there is Dov Yellin the Film Editor.  Who last September married Jessica Robin Schnur the Surgeon.  Who are expecting their first child (Abq Jew's and Perri's first grandchild!), in August, kayna hara, G-d willing. 

And then there is Alex the Boston University Student, who possesses talents and drive that are all her own.

Both of our kids are (kayna hara) turning out OK.  And Abq Jew firmly recognizes that most of the credit for that goes to his wife, Perri Yellin the Artist, aka Perri Yellin the Eyshet Chayil.

So what is Abq Jew driving at here?  Longevity seems to be a combination of luck and good choices - but mostly, choosing your parents well. 

But living your life well - that's all about making good choices. Abq Jew is just saying that Perri Yellin the Artist, aka Perri Yellin the Love of My Life, has made very, very good choices.

G-d only knows what He has in store for us.  But Abq Jew hopes and prays that His plan involves many more years together.  Happy birthday, Perri!