Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Our Chaplain": Rabbi Abraham Klausner

& The Surviving Remnant in Germany:  Professor Avinoam Patt will give a talk on the life and work of Rabbi Abraham Klausner, who lived in Santa Fe after his retirement from Temple Emanu-El in Yonkers in 1989 until his death in 2007.

Rabbi Abraham Klausner
NMJHS Presents "Our Chaplain":
Rabbi Abraham Klausner
& The Surviving Remnant in Germany:
Avinoam J Patt
Temple Beth Shalom, Santa Fe
Sunday August 5 @ 4:00 pm

Rabbi Klausner is widely known as one of the first rabbis into the camps at the end of World War II when he arrived to Dachau. He had a major role in organizing people and helping the transition to life after the camps. Rabbi Klausner advocated on behalf of survivors before American military authorities and securing much needed medical, food, and clothing supplies for them after liberation.

Professor Avinoam J Patt
In this presentation, Professor Patt will examine Rabbi Klausner's work in postwar Germany, his impact on the survivors, and his historical legacy.  [Click here to read Rabbi Klausner's obituary in The New York Times.]

Avinoam J Patt, PhD is the Philip D. Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, where he is also director of the Museum of Jewish Civilization.   

He is also the co-editor of We are Here: New Approaches to the Study of Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany.

Tony Martin, Debonair Pop Troubadour, Dies at 98

Of Blessed and Melodious Memory:  Tony Martin, the debonair baritone whose career spanned some 80 years in films and nightclubs and on radio and television, died on Friday at his home in West Los Angeles. He was 98.

Mr. Martin represented the fantasy of the impossibly elegant troubadour warbling to equally elegant (and mythical) audiences at nightclubs and balls.

The New York Times continues:

Mr. Martin’s long life in show business began in the late 1920s, when he formed his first band at Oakland Technical High School in California. He was still performing in nightclubs around the country well into the 21st century.
Tony Martin was born Alvin Morris in San Francisco on Dec. 25, 1913; his family moved across the bay to Oakland soon after. His parents were well-off Jewish immigrants from Poland who wanted him to be a lawyer. He attended St. Mary’s, a Christian Brothers college in nearby Moraga, where he was in the class of 1934 for a time. “I left in 1932,” he once said, “after one of the brothers told me I was flunking everything and should stick to music.”

He headed for Hollywood, where a new name, his good looks and his voice soon had him working steadily ....
This musical tribute was posted on YouTube earlier today:

Monday, July 30, 2012

9th Annual Anousim Conference

August 3-5 in El Paso:  Abq Jew is pleased to announce this weekend's 9th Annual Anousim Conference, featuring speakers, poets,  musicians, and guests from throughout the Crypto Jewish world.

9th Annual Anousim Conference
Friday August 3 ~ Sunday August 5
Congregation B'nai Zion
805 Cherry Hill Lane
El Paso, TX 79912
(915) 833-2222

The Keynote Speaker will be writer, author, editor, curator, and historian of the Jewish world Shelomo Alfassa. Additional speakers will include Rabbi Stephen Landau, Miriam Herrera, Dr Roger Martinez, and Sonya Loya.

Special events will include a community concert with Moshav and an extra special

Tu b'Av Chupah Celebration

Conference Registration: $110. Includes all programs, Shabbat dinner, Shabbat Kiddush lunch, Seudah Shleesheet, and Sunday morning bagel and coffe breakfast. The community is invited to participate: $18 per meal.

For more information, please contact 
Sonya Loya tav_22@yahoo.com; or
Rabbi Stephen Leon rabbisal@aol.com

And now that Tisha b'Av has passed - let's get back to music! Moshav will be performing at the Conference. Here is their Come Back:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A New Milestone: 36K+120

To Life! To Life! L'Chaim!  On July 29, 2012, at 5:20 pm New Mexico (Mountain) Time, approaching the end of Abq Jew 's Tisha b'Av observance, this Abq Jew Blog achieved 36,000+120 All Time Page Views.

We achieved 30,000+3 All Time Page Views on June 12 - almost seven weeks ago.
That's just about 130 Page Views per Day.

Thank you!

Comfort: Israel Flyover

 Comfort, O Lord our God

the mourners of Zion, and the mourners of Jerusalem, and the city that is in mourning, laid waste, despised and desolate; in mourning for that she is childless, laid waste as to her dwellings, despised in the downfall of her glory, and desolate through the loss of her inhabitants: she sits with her head covered like a barren woman who has not borne.

Legions have devoured her; worshippers of strange gods have possessed her: they have put your people Israel to the sword, and in wilfulness have slain the loving ones of the Most High. Therefore let Zion weep bitterly, and Jerusalem give forth her voice.

O my heart, my heart! how it grieves for the slain! For You, O Lord, did consume her with fire; and with fire You will in future restore her, as it is said,
As for Me, I will be unto her, says the Lord, a wall of fire round about, and I will be a glory in the midst of her. 

Blessed are You, O Lord, who comforts Zion and rebuilds Jerusalem.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shabbat, Tisha b'Av, Munich

Three Reasons Not to Watch the Olympics:  Can it be an accident - or an oversight, if you will - that the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics are scheduled for Erev Tisha b'Av, the saddest day in the Jewish year, a fast day that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples, as well as other disasters that have befallen the Jewish people?

This year, Tisha b'Av actually falls on Shabbat. Since we are not permitted to mourn on Shabbat, the observance of Tisha b'Av is "pushed off" until Saturday night and Sunday. But the ninth day of Av begins, in fact, at the same time as the Opening Ceremonies.

So, there are the first two reasons not to watch the Opening Ceremonies - Shabbat and Tisha b'Av. But it's the third reason that has the entire Jewish world, certainly including Abq Jew, angry and upset.

It has been forty years since the terrorist attack on the Israeli Olympic team in Munich. It has been forty years since that terrible day the eleven Israeli Olympic athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

For those of you too young to remember, Wikipedia offers a full account of the Munich Massacre - which took place but a few days before Rosh HaShanah 1972.  

While we Jews have periodically and publicly commemorated the deaths of the eleven Israeli Olympic athletes, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) never has.

That is unlikely to change at the London 2012 Olympics - despite the IOC's hasty and unannounced - almost secretive - ceremony at the Athletes' Village on Monday.

The Olympic Moment, a recent editorial in The Jewish Daily Forward, points out:
All she [Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Andrei Spitzer, the fencing coach for the 1972 Israeli Olympic team] wants is a moment of silence, observed by the delegations of the 205 countries participating in the London games — a simple public recognition of the horrific events that needs to happen now, finally now, before memories fade and loved ones die.

But the IOC stubbornly refuses, contending that its members regularly pay tribute to the fallen athletes and coaches at memorial receptions held by the Israelis. That’s nice of them. An Israeli commemoration, however, is no substitute for an expression of mourning by the entire Olympic community. It sends a completely different message.

The nationalistic quality of the Munich massacre cannot be ignored. The victims, though they hailed from many different countries, were there as Israelis. That is why they died. Black September did not commit a random act of terror; theirs was a targeted political statement.

But to hide behind that political message as the IOC seems to be doing, and to pretend somehow that honoring the victims takes a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is deeply offensive and morally repugnant. A moment of silence, instead, sends this message: Terror is not a welcome participant in the Games. Ever.

And as Rabbi Shraga Simmons puts it in Olympic Silence, an editorial at Aish.com:
Forty years after 11 athletes were murdered in Munich, Israel still mourns alone.
But Deborah E Lipstadt describes the current IOC standoff best, with her July 17 opinion piece in Tablet Magazine, Jewish Blood Is Cheap:
In the years since [1972], the families of the victims have repeatedly told the IOC that all they want is a chance to mark the murder of athletes who had traveled to the games to do precisely what athletes do: compete at their very best. These victims deserved to be remembered by the very organization that had brought them to Munich.

Why the IOC refusal? The Olympic Committee’s official explanation is that the games are apolitical. The families were repeatedly told by long-time IOC President Juan Samaranch that the Olympic movement avoided political issues. He seemed to have forgotten that at the 1996 opening ceremony he spoke about the Bosnian war. Politics were also present at the 2002 games, which opened with a minute of silence for the victims of 9/11.

The families have also been told that a commemoration of this sort was inappropriate at the opening of such a celebratory event. However, the IOC has memorialized other athletes who died “in the line of duty.” At the 2010 winter games, for example, there was a moment of silence to commemorate an athlete who died in a training accident.

The IOC’s explanation is nothing more than a pathetic excuse. The athletes who were murdered were from Israel and were Jews—that is why they aren’t being remembered. The only conclusion one can draw is that Jewish blood is cheap, too cheap to risk upsetting a bloc of Arab nations and other countries that oppose Israel and its policies.
Plaque in front of the Israeli athletes' quarters

Ms Lipstadt concludes:
I have long inveighed against the tendency of some Jews to see anti-Semitism behind every action that is critical of Israel or of Jews. In recent years some Jews have been inclined to hurl accusations of anti-Semitism even when they are entirely inappropriate. By repeatedly crying out, they risk making others stop listening—especially when the cry is true.

Here the charge is absolutely accurate. This was the greatest tragedy to ever occur during the Olympic Games. Yet the IOC has made it quite clear that these victims are not worth 60 seconds. Imagine for a moment that these athletes had been from the United States, Canada, Australia, or even Germany. No one would think twice about commemorating them. But these athletes came from a country and a people who somehow deserve to be victims. Their lost lives are apparently not worth a minute.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The New JFNM President

Chaplain Linda Sue Friedman:  As of June 19, Abq Jew is pleased, honored, and just really happy to announce, the Jewish Federation of New Mexico has a new President. She is Chaplain Linda Sue Friedman, and she is the former JFNM Vice President, Financial Resource Development.

The Executive Committee of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico now includes:
  • Linda Friedman, President
  • Sabra Minkus, Vice President, Financial Resource Development
  • Edie Blaugrund, Vice President, Community Outreach
  • Player To Be Named Later, Secretary
  • Jon Bell, Treasurer
  • Hank Crane, Immediate Past President  

Here is how Sam Sokolove, Executive Director of JFSNM, announced the news:
Linda Friedman, a longtime community leader and philanthropist, was installed as President of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico at the JFNM Annual Meeting on June 19th.  She successes Hank Crane, who completed his two-year term that evening.
“For the past decade, New Mexico has been more than a home to me,” said Friedman. “It has been the place where I have been able to realize the values of the Judaism in which I was raised through Tzedakkah and acts of loving kindness.”
A Milwaukee native, Friedman grew up in the Federation movement, with her commitment to Israel and the Jewish people strengthened through her experience with WUJS Israel. 
While serving as the JFNM’s Campaign Chair for eight years,  Friedman completed the Presbyterian Healthcare Services Chaplaincy program in 2008, and joined Jewish Family Service of New Mexico’s Jewish Chaplaincy Program as a volunteer Chaplain and facilitator of the Chevra Kaddisha (Jewish Burial Society).
With JFNM, Friedman was instrumental in expanding the Federation’s reach statewide, as well as creating the Jewish Women’s Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Endowment Foundation of New Mexico.  
In recognition for her efforts, Friedman received JFNM’s Woman of Valor Award, Jewish Family Service of New Mexico’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2009, and also received the MOVE (Mayors Outstanding Volunteer Award) from the city of Albuquerque for her service as well.
Friedman is mother to Daniel and Anna, and grandmother to two. She lives with her partner, Jill Bulmash, in Albuquerque.

Ah, but Abq Jew got the real scoop, and - thanks to an exclusive interview - found out exactly how Linda has managed to rise to this position of influence and power.  Or, in other words - what has Linda done to deserve this?

First of all, there was Linda's grandmother - Minnie Dinkin, of blessed memory - who taught Linda "unconditional love." So much so that each of Minnie's nine grandchildren was convinced that he or she was Grandma's favorite. But Linda knows for certain that she was.

And then, there are Linda's "amazing" parents - father Sidney, of blessed memory, and (lehavdil) mother Elaine, of Milwaukee and (lehavdil) Boca Raton. And Linda's two kids and two grandkids, the "diamonds" of her life.

But, you ask, what has Linda done? Abq Jew refers you to the list above, to which he adds Linda's founding (with Diane Chodorow) of the Jewish Family Service's  DVora Project and Linda's position on the Board of Common Bond New Mexico.

In any event ... well, actually, at the JFNM Annual Meeting ... Linda sent in the remarks that follow, which were read by Sam Sokolove. Linda and her partner Jill, it seems, were on a boat to Russia at the time.
Shalom, my friends.

I’m sorry that Jill and I can’t join you this afternoon, but you’re very much in our thoughts.
I want to especially extend my best wishes and thanks to Art Gardenswartz for his incredible leadership and vision this past year. Our community is blessed to have this champion as our champion.
It is my great privilege and honor to begin my service as President of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico.
Taking the reins from my buddy Hank Crane is no easy task, but I’m confident that with the great JFNM Board I will have the support to assume this role with full confidence.
For the past decade, New Mexico has been more than a home to me – it has been the place where I have been able to realize the values of the Judaism in which I was raised through tzedakkah and acts of loving kindness.
Although I was raised in a strong Jewish community, I admit that I never understood more fully the power and pleasure of Jewish involvement than when I committed my passion and time to the Jewish Federation of New Mexico and the agencies that collaborate so vitally with JFNM.
Like you, I’m involved in the Jewish community because I believe we have a responsibility to one another.
A charity in New York City recently conducted a survey of volunteers who compared their involvement to a runner's high - when a person runs and exerts, but instead of feeling more stressed, he or she feels more relaxed and joyous.
In short, commitment makes us all feel good while doing good.
Here’s how I want to keep the good feelings going:
Over the next year, it is my goal to help this community develop a better understanding of the work that our Federation and its network of beneficiary agencies perform every single day to strengthen our Jewish community in New Mexico, Israel, and around the world.
The needs in our community are never-ending, and addressing these needs requires the ongoing engagement of funders and friends who are willing to meet these challenges with their philanthropy, talent, and time.
To be sure, Federation is more than just a place where you pay your pledge: it’s also the place where we can create new programs, sustain existent ones, or simply help maintain the network of agencies that work everyday to save and build Jewish lives.
As President, I will work hard to build on our many strengths while exploring new opportunities.
In particular, it is my goal to help the Jewish Community Endowment Foundation of New Mexico, under the extraordinary leadership of Erika Rimson, grow to meet the needs of generations to come.
As a mother and grandmother, that is my personal challenge and my obligation.
At JFNM, we respond to Jewish needs wherever and whenever they emerge through our Jewish values.
Indeed, the essential Jewish activity of raising funds and planning for our present and future is at the very heart of our mission.
But Federation is the sum of many parts: our partner agencies and the congregations that have joined with us to create relationships marked by trust — sharing thoughts, information, concerns, and ideas openly, and keeping the focus on one question — what kind of community do we want to be?
I look forward to working with all of you to answer that question for today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.

Mazeltov, Linda!

Friday, July 20, 2012


One of Our Boys:  The most interesting thing about the man who plays The Most Interesting Man in the World, in those TV ads for Dos Equis beer, is that he is interesting, too, perhaps even superlatively so. His name is Jonathan Goldsmith.

So says Nick Paumgarten, in Interesting (The New Yorker ~ February 7, 2011). 

And, from Jew or Not Jew:

His yarmulke is the same one that Moses wore. Because he once lent it to Moses.

Before he joined the fighting, it was known as the 14-Day War.

When he tells people "G-d bless you" after they sneeze, G-d actually listens.

He is The Most Interesting Jew In The World.

Stay kosher, my friends. 

Our old friend Wikipedia reports:
Jonathan Goldsmith ... is an American actor. He began his career on the New York stage, then started a career in film and television. He appeared in several TV shows from the 1960s to the 1990s. He is best known for appearing in television commercials for Dos Equis beer, beginning in 2007, as the character The Most Interesting Man in the World, in which he speaks with a distinctive deep voice inspired by his deceased sailing partner and friend Fernando Lamas.

Jonathan Goldsmith was born on September 26, 1938, in New York. His mother was a Conover model and his father was a track coach at James Monroe High School. He was raised Jewish. Goldsmith left home at 17 to attend Boston University to pursue a career in acting.

Beginning in April 2007 and continuing, Goldsmith had been featured in a high profile television ad campaign, promoting Dos Equis beer. The campaign, which transformed Goldsmith into "the most interesting man in the world", has been credited for helping to fuel a 15.4 percent sales increase for the brand in America in 2009 and also made him into a very popular meme ("an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture").
For the infinitesimally small chance that you don't know about what or whom Abq Jew is talking - here is a compilation of The Best of The Most Interesting Man in the World:

People hang on his every word ... even the prepositions.

Want to be just like him? Dos Equis has thoughtfully developed The Most Interesting Academy to help you.

Think he can solve Israel's problems? So does the website Solve Israel's Problems.

At museums, he’s allowed to touch the art. 

His blood smells like cologne. 

Sharks have a week dedicated to him.

He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels. 

The police often question him, just because they find him interesting.

As Nick Paumgarten tells us: The Most Interesting Man in the World, it turns out, is a Jewish guy from the Bronx.


This Weekend in Jewish Albuquerque

 Paloma @ National Hispanic Cultural Center
 Corrie Remembers @ Aux Dog Theatre
Stem Cell Research and Jewish Law @ Congregation Albert
SCJS 2012 Conference @ Hotel Albuquerque, Old Town


Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Time with Corrie ten Boom

Corrie Remembers:  Sandager Presentations and Albuquerque's Aux Dog Theatre are honored to present Corrie Remembers, a powerful one-woman dramatization by Susan Sandager, who portrays Corrie ten Boom, a Christian woman who hid Jews in her home during the Holocaust.

Corrie Remembers
a One-Woman Show based on the Life of Righteous Gentile Corrie ten Boom

Through this moving presentation, Corrie will challenge and inspire you to examine the meaning of living a life of faith.

Many people have heard the story of Corrie ten Boom through her book, The Hiding Place, and the motion picture released by the same name. It is the story of a Dutch Christian family that helped hundreds of Jews escape the Nazi extermination camps.

When Corrie ten Boom was miraculously released from the Ravensbruck concentration camp during World War II, she began telling her story to anyone who would listen.

Dressed as Corrie in the eighth decade of her life, Susan Sandager retells the story of the ten Boom family, melting both Christian and Jewish hearts with this presentation about a family of faith, courage, and love.

Tickets are available here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Paloma: Peace & Convivencia

By Anne Garcia-Romero. As Abq Jew was thrilled to announce back in May: Camino Real Productions, LLC and Albuquerque's National Hispanic Cultural Center are honored to present the world premiere of Paloma by Anne García-Romero, a contemporary play inspired by The Ring of the Dove, a medieval Spanish Muslim treatise on love.

World Premiere
by Anne Garcia-Romero 

National Hispanic Cultural Center
July 20 ~ August 5
Fridays & Saturdays @ 8:00 pm
Sundays @ 2:00 pm

Teatro Paraguas Studio
August 10 ~ August 12
Friday & Saturday @ 8:00 pm
Sunday @ 2:00 pm

When writing the play, Anne Garcia-Romero was intrigued by the notion of convivencia:
How did Muslims, Christians and Jews coexist peacefully in eleventh century Spain, when religious intolerance persists in present day U.S. society? 
Paloma is the beginning of the playwright's answer.
Paloma explores the lives of Ibrahim, a Moroccan-American and practicing Muslim, who falls in love with Paloma, a woman of Puerto Rican descent and nominal Catholic, while they study ancient Muslim Spain at New York University in 2003. The couple soon travels to Spain where they grapple with their religious differences. The play also toggles between various months in 2004 as Ibrahim and Jared, his friend and lawyer who practices the Jewish faith, face legal ramifications resulting from Ibrahim and Paloma's relationship. In a way, this play is my prayer for greater coexistence in our present age.
Paloma's director, Gil Lazier, writes:
With economy and grace, Anne García-Romero has crafted a gentle romance against the harsh backdrop of religious and ethnic conflicts. The story of Paloma and Ibrahim is so compelling and rich that we are reminded of those other romances of literature where tradition, racial strife, and social and religious barriers conspire to separate young lovers who belong together. Perhaps the biases that prevent the Montagues and Capulets from supporting their children's love are not so different from those of the Ahmed and Flores families. So as this play speaks of today's issues with a current voice, and searches for a time in history when these problems might have been resolved with equanimity, we are prompted to understand a little better our own biases and those of our neighbors.
You can read the Albuquerque Journal's review of the play here. And the July issue of abqARTS.com has an article about the play here.

This is a professional production starring Lena Armstrong as Paloma, Abraham Jallad as Ibrahim, and Ron Weisberg as Jared Rabinowitz, directed by Gil Lazier, with set and lighting design by Richard Hogle. 

There will be a lecture on la convivencia before each matinee. After each performance, there will be a talk-back about the issues of peaceful coexistence the play raises. You are invited to become part of the conversation.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Modern Jewish American Family Life

Making Connections to Judaism:  Congregation B'nai Israel invites the community to the fourth lecture in its Making Connections to Judaism Speakers' Series.  Evening lectures (7:00 - 8:00 pm), each preceded (6:30 pm) by a lite dinner.

 Rabbi Min Kantrowitz
Modern Jewish American Family Life
Congregation B'nai Israel 
Tuesday July 17
$8 CBI Members     $10 Community

Community Rabbi Min Kantrowitz speaks about modern Jewish American family life in Albuquerque and beyond.

What’s a Jewish family today?  What makes a family Jewish?  We’ve come a long way from the norm of a Jewish mom and a Jewish dad living together, married, raising Jewish children.

That family constellation, of Morris and Sadie, with their children Abe, Marvin, Ethel and Frieda gathering around the Shabbos table for a kosher chicken dinner every Friday night, with occasional visits from Bubbie and Zayde who lived not too far away, is a rarity now.  The talk will discuss issues of geographic diversity, ethnic diversity, religious diversity and great variety of familial configurations that make up the majority of Jewish families today.


Rabbi Min Kantrowitz is the Director of the Jewish Community Chaplaincy Program of Jewish Family Service of New Mexico, which provides spiritual support and pastoral care services to thousands of unaffiliated Jews.

Rabbi Kantrowitz also directs the Albuquerque Community Chevre Kaddisha, facilitates grief support groups and conducts Healing Groups for Jewish survivors of domestic abuse. She is a sought after speaker and teacher, having conducted services, workshops and lectures in Europe, California, Montana, Arizona, and across New Mexico.

She received her Rabbinic Ordination in May 2004 from the Academy of Jewish Religion in Los Angeles.  In addition, she holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Masters Degrees in Psychology, Architecture, and Rabbinic Studies, as well as a Masters of Science in Jewish Studies.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Arriving in Israel: July 2012

Aliyah Means Going Up:  It is so good to see that American Jews, young and old, still do make aliyah. Abq Jew has a video below of the latest Nefesh B'Nefesh arrivals. But who were the first?

ב י ל ו
בית יעקב לכו ונלכה
House of Jacob - let us go up
Bilu is an acronym based on a verse from the Book of Isaiah (2:5) "בית יעקב לכו ונלכה" Beit Ya'akov Lekhu Venelkha ("House of Jacob, let us go [up]").

The wave of pogroms of 1881-1884 and anti-Semitic May Laws of 1882 introduced by Tsar Alexander III of Russia prompted mass emigration of Jews from the Russian Empire.

In July 1882, the first group of Bilu pioneers arrived in Ottoman Palestine. The group consisted of fourteen university students from Kharkov led by Israel Belkind, later a prominent writer and historian. After a short stay at the Jewish farming school in Mikveh Israel, they joined Hovevei Zion colonists in establishing Rishon LeZion ("First to Zion"), an agricultural cooperative on land purchased from the Arab village of Ayun Kara.
Plagued by water shortages, illness and financial debt, the group abandoned the site within a few months. They then sought help from Baron Edmond James de Rothschild and Maurice de Hirsch, who provided funding that led to the establishment of the local wine industry. In 1886, construction began on a winery in Rishon LeZion that became a successful wine-exporting enterprise.

In the winter of 1884, another group of Bilu pioneers founded Gedera. Gedera was established on a tract of land purchased from the Arab village of Qatra by Yehiel Michel Pines of the Lovers of Zion through the auspices of the French consul in Jaffa.
Here's a L'Chaim to all the pioneers - past, present, and future!

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

5 Broken Cameras

A Birdsong of Perseverance:  An extraordinary work of both cinematic and political activism, 5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements.

5 Broken Cameras
Guild Cinema
Monday July 16 - Thursday July 19
4:30 pm & 8:15 pm

Shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, the footage was later given to Israeli co-director Guy Davidi to edit.

Structured around the violent destruction of each one of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of village turmoil.

Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost. “I feel like the camera protects me,” he says, “but it’s an illusion."

Click here to view the trailer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Great Blue Whales

Sunday Afternoon Dance Party
Congregation B'nai Israel
Sunday July 15 @ 2:00 pm
The Great Blue Whales
Bottomless Rock
Fun for the whole family!

The Great Blue Whales


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Travels with Tanya

Jewish Books Being Printed Throughout New Mexico:  Hot news from Raton and elsewhere in the Land of Enchantment - Abq Jew has learned that the Chabadniks are coming, and they're bringing Tanya with them.

Actually, that's not quite true. The Chabadniks are coming, but they're printing Tanyas after they arrive. Tanya?, Abq Jew hears you ask. Tanya is the defining text of the Lubavitcher (Chabad) Hassidim.  And Wikipedia explains:
The Tanya (תניא) is an early work of Hasidic philosophy, by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Hasidism, first published in 1797. Its formal title is Likkutei Amarim (ליקוטי אמרים, Hebrew, "collection of statements"), but is more commonly known by its opening word, Tanya, which means "it was taught in a beraita". It comprises five sections that define Hasidic mystical psychology and theology as a handbook for daily spiritual life in Jewish observance.

The Tanya is the main work of the Chabad approach to Hasidic mysticism, as it defines its general interpretation and method. The subsequent extensive library of the Chabad school, authored by successive leaders, builds upon the approach of the Tanya. Chabad differed from "Mainstream Hasidism" in its search for philosophical investigation and intellectual analysis of Hasidic Torah exegesis. This emphasised the mind as the route to internalising Hasidic mystical dveikus (emotional fervour), in contrast to general Hasidism's creative enthusiasm in faith. As a consequence, Chabad Hasidic writings are typically characterised by their systematic intellectual structure, while other classic texts of general Hasidic mysticism are usually more compiled or anecdotal in nature.
How did the Alter Rebbe (Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi) come to write the Tanya? An announcement from Chabad of New Mexico explains:
The founder of Chassidisim, the holy Baal Shem Tov, in a famous letter to his brother- in- law, printed in 'Kesser ShemTov' writes, that on Rosh Hashanah, 1747, he experienced an elevation of the soul to the celestial spheres. When he came to the abode of the righteous Moshiach, (a Jewish leader like Moses, a paternal descendent of King David, who will redeem each and every one of us from exile and usher in the completion of G-d's plan of creation, when, as the Maimonides states, there will be no war, no jealousy or famine, all people will live in true peace and harmony, delicacies will be as abundant as dust, and the entire world will be involved in higher endeavors, knowing G-d, and the world will be filled with the knowledge with G-d, as the waters cover the seas, thus, bringing heaven down to earth).

The Baal Shem Tov asked our righteous Moshiach, "When will the Master come?" Moshiach responded, "When your wellsprings shall spread forth to the outside." The Baal Shem Tov was the founder of Chassidus teachings and the Chassidic movement. Moshiach's answer meant that the world will be ready for his coming, when the wellsprings of Chassidus, (which is the soul of the Torah), would reach all Jews, i.e., Chassidus will pave the way for Moshiach's coming.
Ever since, the dissemination of Chassidus doctrines and teachings, has assumed top priority. In 1796 the first Lubavitch/Chabad Rebbe, the Alter Rebbe, founder of Chabad Chassidism, published, what was to become known as the "Written Torah of Chassidism", the Tanya, revolutionizing Jewish thought forever.
In 1984 the Rebbe, (7th Rebbe of Chabad), launched a world-wide campaign to print new additions of the Tanya, in every locale where Jews reside.  He explained; that by printing Tanyas locally, we ensure that ALL Jews have the wherewithal to study its teachings.  It also fulfills the answer of Moshiach to the Baal Shem Tov, that, not only the Baal Shem Tov's teachings spread forth, but also the wellsprings themselves, which is the source of the teachings. This means, that the source of the Tanya, becomes every locale where Jews reside, through printing it locally.

The Rebbe added that when a Jew sees that the Tanya he/she holds is an edition that has been printed in his/her very own city or town, he/she will be more enthusiastic about studying it.

So, Abq Jew reminds you, the Chabadniks are coming. The announcement from Chabad of New Mexico further explains:
This summer ... Chabad of New Mexico will be embarking on a monumental project, to print new editions of the Tanya in every locale throughout the state of New Mexico. 
This will also be the first time, since creation, that many of our cities and towns will receive the merit, of a holy Jewish sefer (book), being printed in its very own neighborhood.

Chabad will have Rabbinical students, traveling throughout the state, with all necessary printing equipment, and stopping in every locale where Jews reside. There, they will print a new edition (of at least one-hundred copies) of the Tanya. 
We encourage and ask all Jews to please participate in this monumental event, by joining or hosting the students and join in the studying from the new Tanyas, hot-off-the-press!  Also, please forward this email to your local friends. 
To date, over six thousand (!) unique editions have been printed in cities from Shepperton, Australia, to Alma Ata, Kazakhstan, from Juan, Sweden, to Reykjavik, Iceland. Before arriving in each city in New Mexico, the central Tanya printing office, responsible for coordinating the worldwide operation, will assign an individual edition number and title page for our Tanya. Did you know, that in the back of each Tanya, it lists all six thousand editions and which city they were printed in? 
Following every printing, the students will celebrate for approximately one hour, sharing their experience, studying together from the new editions, and celebrating with snacks, drinks and L'chaims.

In smaller communities, we can definitely use local help & knowledge with direction, logistics and getting the word out. Chabad will be printing new editions of the Tanya in every city or town were Jews reside in New Mexico, even if there resides only one Jew!

Since years ago, Albuquerque and Santa Fe have already merited to have editions printed, a second edition will not be necessary. Nonetheless, we encourage all Jews in Albuquerque and Santa Fe to participate in neighboring locations.
Abq Jew has it on reliable authority that the Chabadniks will be visiting Raton on Wednesday July 11.  As for future itinerary & schedule - please contact Chabad of New Mexico at 505 880 1181.  Or you can call the students directly at 347 987 0771.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Laugh! Sing! Last Chance!

For Three Weeks:  Sunday is the observance of the Fast of Shiva-Asar (17) b'Tammuz, the beginning of the Three Weeks leading up to the Fast of Tisha (9) b'Av,the saddest day in the Jewish year, a fast day that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples, as well as other disasters that have befallen the Jewish people.

But today is Erev Shabbat, so Abq Jew firmly believes that we can - no, we must - laugh and sing. We'll get to the singing (with Sarah Aroeste) a bit later.

But first, a cartoon from this week's issue of The New Yorker.  Yes, this cartoon pokes fun at those who practice the ancient art of bagpiping.  Many believe, erroneously, that bagpipes are made from pigskin, rendering bagpipes and bagpiping treif and forbidden d'Oraita.

However, Wikipedia informs us that
Materials used for bags vary widely, but the most common are the skins of local animals such as goats, dogs, sheep, and cows. More recently, bags made of synthetic materials including Gore-Tex have become much more common.
Let's jump right over the mention of dogs: Bagpipes (and, many claim, accordions and banjos) must be forbidden d'Rabbanan. What's the difference?  Judaism 101 states
Halakhah [Jewish Law] comes from three sources: from the Torah, from laws instituted by the rabbis and from long-standing customs.
Halakhah from any of these sources can be referred to as a mitzvah (commandment; plural: mitzvot). The word "mitzvah" is also commonly used in a casual way to refer to any good deed.
Because of this imprecise usage, sophisticated halakhic discussions are careful to identify mitzvot as being mitzvot d'Oraita (an Aramaic word meaning "from the Torah") or mitzvot d'Rabbanan (Aramaic for "from the rabbis"). A mitzvah that arises from custom is referred to as a minhag. Mitzvot from all three of these sources are binding, though there are differences in the way they are applied ....
It is difficult for Abq Jew to believe that some people do not like the sound of the banjo. Yet, here we are, with another cartoon from this week's New Yorker.

And, to bring accordions into the mix, a cartoon from a previous issue:

But now, back to Sarah Aroeste, one of the world's leading performers of Ladino music. The Forward recently published an article about Ms Aroeste and the new generation of Sephardi / Ladino performers, For Ladino Musicians, World’s A Stage: Artists Are Forging a Global Sephardi Culture.

Ms Aroeste's website offers
Sarah Aroeste, inspired by her family's Sephardic roots in Greece and Macedonia, has spent the last 10 years bringing her contemporary style of original and traditional Ladino music to audiences around the world.

Aroeste writes and sings in Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish dialect that originated by Spanish Jews after their expulsion from Spain in 1492.  Those who left Spain, including Aroeste’s family, carried the medieval language with them to the various points where they later settled, primarily along the Mediterranean coast and North Africa. In time, Ladino came to absorb bits and pieces of languages all along the Mediterranean coast, including some Greek, Turkish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Hebrew, and more.

This exotic pan-Mediterranean language has, unfortunately, been fading away. But the continued musical legacy of Spanish Jews highlights the strength of an oral tradition that spans many centuries and crosses many geographic boundaries.

American born and trained in classical opera at Westminster Choir College and Yale University, Aroeste became drawn to her Sephardic musical past after spending a summer in 1997 performing at the Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv ....
Here she is, performing in Tel Aviv earlier this year.  Enjoy!

An original Ladino song
written and performed by Sarah Aroeste live in Tel Aviv, March 2012.
Inspired by a poem by 11th century poet Samuel Ha-Nagid,
the song is about holding out hope when you think all is gone.
As the chorus says: "Even if you feel like you're standing at death's door,
just remember- the wounded lion still knows how to roar."


Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Baseball! Hot Dogs! Happy 4th of July!

Now Batting:

 Jay Satenspiel
 Regional VP @ Ovations Food Services
The Man
Who Brought
Hebrew National
100% Beef Kosher Hot Dogs

Albuquerque's Isotopes Park

Baseball lovers! Hot dog lovers! This is the guy we gotta thank for making it a real mechaya to watch the Albuquerque Isotopes play! Even when they lose - we win!

Jay is a graduate of Baldwin High School on Long Island (wouldn't you know) - and he's certainly come a long way since then.

He joined Ovations in 1999 (when they had 3 accounts) and helped open Isotopes Park in 2003.

In 2005, Jay briefly left Ovations - but took the opportunity to work at Detroit's Ford Field (home of the Lions & Super Bowl XL); Chicago's Wrigley Field; and the Las Vegas (NV) Motor Speedway.

Ovations Food Services welcomed Jay back in 2008. These days, Ovations has over 100 accounts. But Jay (we hope) will be staying in Albuquerque, where he is in charge of not only the Hebrew National Hot Dog cart, but, in fact, all food served at Isotopes Park.

So, Abq Jew is sure you readers want to know - why Hebrew National? The main reason, Jay says, is "no heartburn."

But really ... Jay heard through a friend that Hebrew National wanted to expand out West. So he called them up and said "Get me a cart! We'll try it."

The rest, as they say, is history.  The Hebrew National cart is among the most popular at Isotopes Park. Jay is even thinking about adding another, so fans don't have to walk quite so far to get premium, 100% beef, kosher hot dogs. With trimmings.

Premium is the key term, says Jay. As it turns out - all the hot dogs sold at Isotopes Park, each and every one, are 100% beef. But Hebrew National is, as Jay puts it, "a premium dog."  Sort of like Abq Jew's greyhounds, Henry and Belle. Lehavdil. (At our house, "hot dogs" are referred to as "sausages.")

Quality and value - that's what Jay is going for. He's got five managers working for him, and a team - another key word - of customer service experts working for them. And no turkeys in the bunch, says Jay. "You can't hire turkeys if you want to soar like eagles."

Yeah, sounds like hype. But when Abq Jew visited Jay "at the office," he saw how Jay and his people greeted and treated each other. Maybe Jay's got something here.

And in the meantime - we've got hot dogs!

The 'Topes are back at 6:05 tonight for a game against the Round Rock Express - to be followed by the carefully managed traditional 4th of July fireworks. Enjoy! Say hi to Jay!

Photo by Kyle Hartsock

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rabbi Min on Shmirat haAdamah

Guard the Earth - Basic Jewish Value #2:  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.

This refers to the idea that we all have the responsibility to take care of the earth and all within it; it's the ultimate ecological message, recognizing the deep interrelationship among plants and animals, soil and air, people and mountains.

The impact of industrial activity in one part of the world on the agricultural productivity in another part of the world demonstrates how each of us is connected, whether directly or indirectly.

In Jewish tradition, all things are on loan to us, for safekeeping, for nurturing, and for improving the world into which we were born.

For the staff, partners and donors who sustain Jewish Family Service of New Mexico, this implies a commitment to sharing the bounty with which we've been blessed-- economic resources, expertise or energetic commitment (or, in many cases, all of the above!).

Sharing food, providing transportation, volunteering, giving hope, extending quality of life, improving social opportunities, and helping sustain some of these activities through generous contributions are all specific examples of acting in accordance with this value.

When we appreciate all we have, and act to share that bounty, we are choosing to be responsible guardians of this amazing world in which we are blessed to live.