Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Israel's Scientists & Soldiers

Hot News from the Land of Milk and Honeys: Abq Jew immediately and profusely apologizes to all those who believe this introductory phrase to be extremely sexist and incredibly inappropriate, and to all those who do not.

Tali Sharot, Scientist

Getting down to business: The Forward has reported that
2 Israelis Make List of World's 'Sexiest Scientists'
MIT Genetics Whiz and London Neuroscientist Have Looks
The Business Insider blog [Meet The Sexiest Scientists Alive] managed to find 50 scientists who are rising stars in their fields of research, as well as being sexy. Two of them are from Israel.
Who are these two Israeli scientists? Abq Jew hears you ask.

One is Tali Sharot, pictured above.  Dr Sharot is
a doctor of psychology and neuroscience who works at University College London. She is considered to be one of the world’s most promising cognitive researchers.

Sharot studies emotion, social interaction, decision making, and memory, specifically how our experience of emotion impacts how we think and behave on a daily basis, and when we suffer from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
The other is the astoundingly appropriately-named Uri Laserson,
Uri Laserson, Scientist
from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.
Laserson, who holds a Ph.D in biomedical engineering and mathematics from MIT, co-founded Good Start Genetics in 2007, a company that screens parents-to-be for hereditary diseases like cystic fibrosis, which they could pass on to their children.
Business Insider wasn’t the first to notice Laserson, who works today at the Cloudera software company. He also made Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list back in 2011.
Please don't blame Abq Jew (too much) for reporting this news. It's all over the Internet. HaAretz has picked up this story. So have news aggregators (no, they're not all U of Florida alumni),,,, and

Note: A Google Search of The Jerusalem Post for "sexy scientists" turned up - nothing. But the Post did cover the also hot news about Aly Raisman joining ‘Dancing with the Stars’ cast.

And then there's, the official blog of the Israel Defense Forces, as they're know in English.  צה״ל, as Israelis say. Anyway: The IDF Blog has issued a stunning pictorial report on:

Miss Israel 2013: Soldiers and Beauty Queens
Miss Israel 2013: Soldiers and Beauty Queens

They’re paratrooper instructors, Air Force operators, squad instructors and logistic specialists. That’s right – this year, six of 20 nominees for the Miss Israel pageant are IDF soldiers.
To which Abq Jew can only shout:

כּל הכּבוד לצה״ל

Love the IDF? Want to be connected to Israel and the IDF online? Well, now you can. Here at the IDF Blog you can join IDF Ranks – the ultimate army network.

Earn points, get badges and help spread IDF content online. Start your journey through the IDF ranks now!
Yes, the Israel Defense Forces have a new, interactive, online game!
IDF Ranks is an interactive game, directly implemented into all of the IDF’s social platforms allowing YOU to be a virtual part of the IDF. Every action you take — reading, commenting, liking, sharing or even just visiting — will earn you points and help you climb the ladder of IDF Ranks. Specific actions will win you beautiful badges, and one day you might even become the Chief of Staff of IDF Ranks.
With almost no effort at all, Abq Jew has achieved the level of Veteran Private, which (says the IDF) only 62.2% of players (not soldiers) achieve. Mrs Abq Jew is so proud!

Time to get your game on!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Queen Esther Obsession

Purim is Forever: Can't get enough of Purim? Our Sages Of Blessed Memory (חז״ל) couldn't either. In fact, the Orthodox Union (OU) tells us:
Actual Photo of Queen Esther
from the Abq Jew Archives
Our Sages teach that when the Messiah arrives the festivals will cease to be observed, but Purim will continue to be observed.
The Midrash derives this unusual conclusion from a statement in Megillat Esther:
The memory of Purim will never cease from among their descendants.
And, as it fortunately turns out, noted Albuquerque author Naomi Sandweiss (Jewish Albuquerque 1860 - 1960) can'r get enough of Purim either.

Actual Photo of Naomi Sandweiss
from the Abq Jew Archives
Naomi will be leading a session of Open Mind at Congregation Albert this Thursday:

The Queen Esther Obsession
Congregation Albert
Thursday Feb 28 @ Noon

Please call Janice Goodman (821-9302) today if you'd like to reserve a lunch. Or you can bring your own and just come for the talk.

Queen Esther was considered a model of womanhood by Jews and non-Jews in 16th - 17th century Italy. Come find out why.

Open Mind is just one of the programs presented by Lifelong Learning at Congregation Albert!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Acoma Celebrates Shushan Purim

Jewish American Princess Revives Tradition: In an ancient ceremony involving music, dancing, noisemaking, eating, drinking, and the wearing of masks, Acoma Pueblo ("Sky City") today celebrates the holiday of Shushan Purim.

Acoma Pueblo Shushan Purim Mask
How did this celebration come to be? It starts with the traditions surrounding the observance of Shushan Purim itself.  My Jewish Learning tells us:
Among all the Jewish holidays, Purim has the singular distinction of having its date determined by whether or not a person lives in a city surrounded by a wall.
The distinction is derived from a passage in the Megillah:
But the Jews in Shushan mustered on both the 13th and 14th days and so rested on the 15th and made it a day of feasting and merrymaking. That is why village Jews who live in unwalled towns observe the 14th day of the month Adar and make it a day merrymaking and feasting and as a holiday and an occasion for sending gifts to one another.
My Jewish Learning further explains:
The story differentiates between Jews who lived and fought their enemies for two days within the walled, capital city of Shushan and those who lived in unwalled towns, where only one day was needed to subdue the enemy. The Rabbis determined we should make that same distinction when memorializing the event.
Accordingly, if a person lives in a city that has been walled since the days of Joshua (circa 1250 BCE), as Shushan was, Purim is celebrated on the fifteenth of the month of Adar, a day referred to as "Shushan Purim."
Those who live in unwalled cities celebrate on the 14th, the day referred to as just "Purim." The sages considered making Shushan Purim conditional on whether a city was walled from the time of Ahasuerus; but they did not wish to honor a Persian city over one in the Land of Israel, given that Israel was in ruins at the time of the Purim miracle.
Joshua was chosen because, in the Book of Exodus, he is the general who begins the effort to annihilate the descendants of Haman's ancestor, Amalek.
A View of Acoma Pueblo

Acoma Pueblo, Wikipedia tells us:
...  is a Native American pueblo approximately sixty miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico in the United States ...
The Acoma have continuously occupied the area for more than 800 years, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States.
Acoma tribal traditions estimate that they have lived in the village for more than two thousand years.
Why, then, does Acoma Pueblo celebrate Shushan Purim (and not "Purim")? What are the criteria? The Orthodox Union (OU) tells us it all depends on:
The condition of the city during the days of Yehoshua [Joshua]. That is to say, walled cities either found by Yehoshua in the Land of Israel, or built with walls in his time, are assured of eternal existence. Their present destruction is viewed as passing.
Today, there are only three cities in which Purim is celebrated on the fifteenth of Adar: Shushan, of course. And, certainly, Jerusalem. And, thanks to Solomon Bibo (Moses On The Mesa) and (especially) his Jewish American (Indian) Princess wife, Juana - Acoma.

Painting of Solomon Bibo by Unknown Artist

Yes, Acoma. Just to refresh our memory, Wikipedia tells us:
[Solomon] Bibo married into the Acoma tribe. His wife, Juana Valle, was the granddaughter of a former Acoma governor; raised Catholic, she converted to Judaism ... The marriage made Solomon a member of the Acoma tribe.
In 1885, the Acomas elected Solomon Bibo as their new governor, the equivalent of the tribal chief. "Don Solomono", as he was known by the tribe, served as governor four times ....
These facts are, of course, well known. More obscure - but just as relevant - is the story of how Juana and Solomon came to re-introduce the forgotten celebration of Shushan Purim to the Acoma.

Shushan Purim Celebration in Acoma Pueblo

Juana, as many converts did and do, turned to Orthodox Judaism. She kept a strictly kosher home, observed the Sabbath in all its splendid peculiarities, and even shlepped once a month to the Mikveh at Ojo Caliente (Hot Springs Mikveh she did not think was kosher enough).

Solomon, on the other hand, was brought up in the loosey goosey tradition of German Reform. The newly wedded couple resolved this theological and gastronomical impasse by establishing the first Conservative synagogue in New Mexico.  Shushan Purim was the new shul's first fundraiser / mixer.

Years later, when the demographics of Acoma Pueblo changed, Temple Anshei Acoma removed itself to Duke City, where it became Congregation B'nai Israel.

Today, the citizens of Albuquerque celebrate Purim on Purim. But that's another story.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Atomic Cocktail & Uranium Rock

Jane Ellen Plays Radioactive Hits: Yes, it is almost Purim! Last year, Abq Jew entertained you (or at least attempted to entertain you) with the satirical piece West Bank Settlements To Be Removed. Yes, that was satire!

This year - just in time for Purim! - Jane Ellen taught a class in Radioactive Hits: Music of the Cold War at OASIS Albuquerque. Here's what the syllabus said:
Paranoia inspired hundreds of songs during the Cold War. With the possible exception of Tom Lehrer's "We'll All Go Together When We Go", most of them have been forgotten. It may be hard to take songs like "You Hit Me Like an Atom Bomb" and "My Fallout Filly with the Atomic Kiss" seriously today, but dozens of these songs filled the airwaves. Your safety is assured; no duck and cover drills will be conducted.
You know about OASIS, right?  Abq Jew has featured OASIS Albuquerque on several occasions, and lists OASIS Abq courses of Jewish interest on his Learn/FiftyPlus page.

Who is Jane Ellen? Abq Jew blogged about here once before (5 Years, 65 Years, 19 Years) and will doubtless do so again. Just to remind you, there's a bio on her website, which you can download here. It begins:

Jane Ellen is an active composer, performer, and recording artist, with four CDs and over 50 print publications to her credit.
Currently living in the southwestern US, she holds a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of New Mexico and received permanent Professional Masters certification from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) in Washington, DC after completing 15 hours towards a M.M. degree in composition. 
Jane Ellen did a lot of research for this class, then threw most of it away. She whittled down the Radioactive Hits playlist to about 20 songs, of which Abq Jew is about to share four with you.

Why four? To go along with the four bottles of wine we're each supposed to drink for Purim, until we can't tell the difference between "Blessed be Mordechai" and "Cursed be Haman." Or - to go along with the Four Hoarse Men with the Alpaca Lisp.

Just one more thing before we begin: You gotta play these videos!

Now, Abq Jew knows that you're all busy, with a zillion things to do! Just gotta get the hametz out of the house before Purim! But really - you gotta listen! If you're reading this in the Weekly Abq Jew Blog Update - you can always find this blog post right here.


1. The Sun Is Burning

Here's a soft, sweet song to get us started. Written by Ian Campbell, it is performed here by Simon & Garfunkel, our boys from Forest Hills. This song was on their debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. - but nobody remembers it. The Sound of Silence - that we remember.

Need the lyrics? Probably not - S&G sing slowly and clearly. But here they are anyway.
The sun is burning in the sky
Strands of clouds go slowly drifting by
In the park the lazy bees
Are joining in the flowers, among the trees
And the sun burns in the sky

Now the sun is in the West
Little kids go home to take their rest
And the couples in the park
Are holdin' hands and waitin' for the dark
And the sun is in the West

Now the sun is sinking low
Children playin' know it's time to go
High above a spot appears
A little blossom blooms and then draws near
And the sun is sinking low

Now the sun has come to Earth
Shrouded in a mushroom cloud of death
Death comes in a blinding flash
Of hellish heat and leaves a smear of ash
And the sun has come to Earth

Now the sun has disappeared
All is darkness, anger, pain and fear
Twisted, sightless wrecks of men
Go groping on their knees and cry in pain
And the sun has disappeared
Such happy music! Such cheerful words! Are we in the Purim mood yet?


2. Old Man Atom

Moving right along, let's listen to this classic by the Sons of the Pioneers (Cincinnati born Leonard Slye, later known as Roy Rogers, was a founding member).  The lyrics are mesmerizing, and whoa, when they sing out the chorus in four-part harmony -

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Alamogordo, Bikini!

Too serious for you? Well, Jane Ellen brought in this gem to cheer us up:


3. Crawl Out Through The Fallout

This swingin' tune was written by Sheldon Allman. Never heard of him? Possible. But you've certainly heard him. Wikipedia tells us:
Sheldon Allman (June 8, 1924 – January 22, 2002) was a Jewish American-born Canadian raised actor, singer, and songwriter.

He began his singing career with the Royal National Guard during his World War II service with the RCAF. Relocating to Los Angeles, he appeared in twelve movies, including such notable films as Nevada Smith, The Sons of Katie Elder, Hud and In Cold Blood. His co-stars included, respectively, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and John Wayne. He also made appearances in numerous TV series during the 1960s and 1970s.

He was the singing voice for TV's Mister Ed, for which he also wrote and recorded "The Pretty Little Filly with the Ponytail" and "The Empty Feedbag Blues". Mr. Allman wrote longer versions of these songs, but never recorded the longer versions. He was the lyricist for the theme song to George of the Jungle ("George, George, George of the Jungle, friend to you and me! Watch out for that tree!!").

You're gonna want the words to this one.
Crawl out through the fallout, baby, when they drop that bomb
Crawl out through the fallout with the greatest of aplomb
When your white count's getting higher, hurry don't delay
I'll hold you close and kiss those radiation burns away
Crawl out through the fallout, baby, to my loving arms
      through the rain of Strontium 90
Think about your hero when you're at Ground Zero
      and crawl out through the fallout back to me
Crawl out through the fallout, baby, you know what I mean
Crawl out through the fallout, 'cause they said this bomb was clean
If you cannot find the way, just listen for my song,
      I'll love you all your life, although that may not be too long
Crawl out through the fallout, baby, to my loving arms
      while those ICBMs keep us free
When you hear me call out, baby kick the wall out
      and crawl out the fallout back to me
Cause you'll be the only girl in the world for me
Why don't crawl out through the fallout back to me

4. We Will All Go Together When We Go

For the class finale, Jane Ellen selected Tom Lehrer's famous anthem of camaraderie and fellowship. And how could she not? Surely you've heard this one before. And Abq Jew promises to stop calling you Shirley - right after Purim.

Here are the lyrics. Everybody sing along!
When you attend a funeral,
It is sad to think that sooner or
Later those you love will do the same for you.
And you may have thought it tragic,
Not to mention other adjec-
Tives, to think of all the weeping they will do.
But don't you worry.
No more ashes, no more sackcloth.
And an armband made of black cloth
Will some day never more adorn a sleeve.
For if the bomb that drops on you
Gets your friends and neighbors too,
There'll be nobody left behind to grieve.

And we will all go together when we go.
What a comforting fact that is to know.
Universal bereavement,
An inspiring achievement,
Yes, we all will go together when we go.

We will all go together when we go.
All suffuse with an incandescent glow.
No one will have the endurance
To collect on his insurance,
Lloyd's of London will be loaded when they go.

Oh we will all fry together when we fry.
We'll be french fried potatoes by and by.
There will be no more misery
When the world is our rotisserie,
Yes, we will all fry together when we fry.

Down by the old maelstrom,
There'll be a storm before the calm.

And we will all bake together when we bake.
There'll be nobody present at the wake.
With complete participation
In that grand incineration,
Nearly three billion hunks of well-done steak.

Oh we will all char together when we char.
And let there be no moaning of the bar.
Just sing out a Te Deum
When you see that I.C.B.M.,
And the party will be "come as you are."

Oh we will all burn together when we burn.
There'll be no need to stand and wait your turn.
When it's time for the fallout
And Saint Peter calls us all out,
We'll just drop our agendas and adjourn.

You will all go directly to your respective Valhallas.
Go directly, do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dolla's.

And we will all go together when we go.
Ev'ry Hottentot and ev'ry Eskimo.
When the air becomes uranious,
And we will all go simultaneous.
Yes we all will go together
When we all go together,
Yes we all will go together when we go.

Now we're ready for Purim! Just remember:

Life is like a sewer.
What you get out of it
depends on what you put into it.

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!
Happy Purim, World!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shmulik Kraus, Israeli Musical Pioneer, Dies at 77

Israeli Singer - Songwriter, 77: The Jerusalem Post sadly reports:

Israeli musician who "changed the face of music" passes away from Swine Flu at the age of 77
[Shmulik] Kraus died from swine flu on February 17 at Ichilov Hospital ... in Tel Aviv, at the age of 77.

On Monday mourners in Petah Tikva recalled him as a gifted artist with an outsized influence on Israeli culture, and a man plagued by the turmoil of his personal life.

Actor Shlomo Vishinsky said his friend was “like an Israeli Ernest Hemingway” both because of the cultural imprint he left and the hectic lifestyle he led.

Vishinsky, Kraus’ commander during the Six Day War, said “every young person who plays music has Shmulik’s tunes in his head. He brought us all types of things that weren’t in Israel before, that weren’t part of our music.”
Wikipedia notes:
In the early 1960s he met Josie Katz, later his wife, who came to Israel from the United States to volunteer at a kibbutz.
He became her partner and produced her as a club singer in Eilat and Tel Aviv.
In 1966, he, Katz and Arik Einstein established The High Windows band. Kraus composed all the group's songs, pop songs and rock that were innovative for their time.
Here, to remember Shmulik Kraus, is Zemer Nugeh:

Zemer Nugeh (A Sad Song), based on a poem by the Hebrew poetess Rachel,
was played by Ilan Ramon in space, and is one of the songs now associated with him.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

There Is A Future

Yesh Atid's Dr Ruth Calderon: The Times of Israel reported last week on the debut speech of newly-elected Member of Knesset (ח״כּ) Dr Ruth Calderon.

Who is Dr Ruth Calderon?

She is a member of the relatively new Israel political party Yesh Atid (There Is A Future).

Just as importantly, she is a Founder and Chairperson of ALMA, Home for Hebrew Culture in Tel Aviv.

Here is Dr Calderon's bio, from the ALMA website:
Dr. Ruth Calderon is one of Israel's leading figures spearheading efforts to revive the Jewish bookshelf, Hebrew Culture and a pluralistic Israeli-Jewish identity. In 1989, Dr. Calderon was a pioneer when she established the first Israeli secular, pluralistic and egalitarian Bet Midrash for women and men, with an Orthodox colleague.
She then went on to host a TV show on classic and modern Jewish texts, publish several writings and books, and in 1996 founded ALMA - Home for Hebrew Culture. Today Calderon serves as the Chairperson of ALMA, located at the heart of Tel Aviv, which serves as a cultural and studies center for Hebrew Culture and the Jewish text.

Dr. Ruth Calderon is the author of "The Market, the Home, the Heart" a personal homiletic reading of Talmudic legends (2001). Calderon got her PhD in Talmudic literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is also a graduate of the first class of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership and a recipient of the prestigious Avi Chai Prize in recognition of her contribution to the propagation of the legacy of Israel.
Here is more about ALMA, again from the ALMA website::
Vision Statement: Hebrew Culture (the meeting point between Jewish culture, Israeli culture and general culture) will become a meaningful, living element of the identity of Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora.

Mission Statement: To operate an educational institution for adults in the field of Hebrew Culture, to train cultural change agents in this field, and to be a creative source for renewed and contemporary Hebrew Culture contents, working within major Jewish communities in Israel and around the world.
And here is what ALMA says about its Beit Midrash:
ALMA acquaints non-affiliated and secular Jews and Israelis with the wealth of Hebrew Culture as a relevant and vital element of today's Jewish identity and Israeli society.
ALMA offers a varied study program covering the many fields of Hebrew and Jewish Culture: Bible, Mishnah, Talmud, Jewish mysticism including Kabbalah and Hassidic texts, Piyut, Jewish Philosophy – from the Middle Ages to the present time, and modern Literature – Jewish, Hebrew, Israeli. 

Just the headline from The Times of Israel's article is enough to draw attention:
Resonant response to maiden speech by Yesh Atid’s secular, female Talmud scholar
Tens of thousands watch clip of Dr. Ruth Calderon in Knesset debut quoting traditional sources, urging ultra-Orthodox and Zionist communities to better understand each other
How many times have you heard the phrase "secular, female Talmud scholar"?

Not often, Abq Jew is willing to bet.

Abq Jew notes with radical amazement that the English term "maiden" is translated from the Hebrew "בּכורה"- which we recognize as "birthright" (as in what Jacob bought (not stole) from Esau); in modern Hebrew, "premiere" or "first". Abq Jew loves the Hebrew language and The Academy of the Hebrew Language!

The Times of Israel went on to say:
An educator, Talmud scholar, and founder of Israel’s first secular, male and female study center, Calderon (No.13 in the new, 19-strong Yesh Atid Knesset faction) used the platform to deliver an impassioned, gracious plea — complete with Talmudic quotations, anecdotes, passages in Aramaic, and constructive interaction with the acting Knesset speaker for the session, ultra-Orthodox Shas MK Yitzhak Vaknin — for the widespread study of Jewish and Hebrew texts as the basis for a new Hebrew culture.

As Abq Jew posts this blog, Dr Calderon's speech has garnered more that 164,000 views on YouTube. Maybe she is on to something.

And here is what Abq Jew believes Dr Calderon is on to: Claiming the Talmud and other Jewish texts as the shared literary heritage of all Jews. Not just the Haredi. Not just the Orthodox. Not just the Dati'im. All Jews.

And The New Jersey Jewish News reports that it was a sabbatical in Northern New Jersey that helped shape Dr Calderon's vision. Imagine that!

Sounds simple enough. Ready to learn?


Friday, February 15, 2013

KENW Issues Zombie Alert!

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP): A New Mexico television station sent out an official emergency alert this week warning people that dangerous zombies were attacking. [And the Zombie Alert Level went from Elevated to High.]

Abq Jew first reported on the zombie relationship with Judaism back in 2010 (Torah and Talmud and Zombies; The Final Tisch: No Zombies). But now the situation here in New Mexico has apparently gotten serious. Or not.
KRQE-TV reports ( that KENW in Portales was among several around the country whose emergency alert systems were hacked.

As a result, it put out an alert on Monday saying,
Local authorities in your area have reported the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous.
The station says it appears the stations had not updated the passwords on their EAS systems, making them easy targets.

KRQE also reminds viewers that while the alert was fake, if there is a real zombie attack, the only way to kill a zombie is to sever its head.

It doesn't surprise Abq Jew one bit that KENW was one of the TV stations hit by the zombie attack. KENW is actively involved in raising the dead, bringing back The Red Green Show on Thursday nights long after it had disappeared from the airwaves, cablewaves, and satellitewaves. 

The return of Red Green (see Red Green Teaches Life Lessons) has made Abq Jew very happy. Here's another reason why.

Be Happy!!  It's Adar!!
Once Adar begins, our joy increases!
Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Country Music Pope

Re-introducing Jim Terr: Do you know Jim Terr? Abq Jew doesn't, really. Jim and Abq Jew met about a year and a half ago, and we've been Facebook friends ever since.

Jim is one of the more ... interesting people Abq Jew has met since he moved to the Land of Enchantment.

Jim ran for President back in 2011 (Jim Terr for President). You see how far he got.

Jim does do a lot of self-promotion, and with good reason: he really needs the money.

He has, in the words of Groucho Marx (as Jim quotes on, worked his way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

What, exactly, does Jim do?  

Abq Jew is not entirely sure, but it seems to involve recording and uploading a shipload of videos to YouTube and then letting everyone know about his grand accomplishment via Facebook.

And he often records, and occasionally sells, CDs of his music.

So what? Abq Jew hears you ask.

So this: Jim Terr is vitally concerned about all world issues, from hunger in the Third World (and the Second, and the First) to the selection of the next Pope to the battle for peace in the Middle East.

What was the second thing? Abq Jew hears you ask.

The selection of the next Pope. Why shouldn't the job go to a nice Jewish boy from ... Abq Jew forgets exactly where Jim is from.

Nepotism, you say? It's true that Jim has yichus and protektzia, which is more than you can say for most of the candidates. But Jim Terr also sings country music.

Be Happy!!  It's Adar!!
Once Adar begins, our joy increases!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pesach Watch 2013 Begins!

How Can You Tell When Pesach is Coming?  Yes, Abq Jew covered this exciting event last year, in the now classic blog post Pesach Watch Begins! 
If you're thinking "Pesach is coming when the flowers begin to blossom" - nope, not in this age of Global Warming.  Flowers began doing their thing weeks ago.  And if you're thinking "Pesach is coming when the winds finally die down" - nope, the winds are still blowing.
But that was last year. And now, Abq Jew is here again to tell you that Pesach is indeed coming!  How can he tell?

Here are a few signs that Pesach is coming:

1.  The first Albuquerque sighting of Pesach food is reported.  This year, it was Rabbi Arthur Flicker of Congregation B'nai Israel, who emailed Abq Jew on February 12 with the news that the Smith's at Constituion and Carlisle has started to assemble what in past years has become (thanks to Rabbi Flicker's efforts) the Mother Lode of Passover Food. Available now: matzah, macaroons, and grape juice. Way more to come! 

Last year, the first sighting took place on February 27 (4 Adar). This year, February 12 corresponds to 2 Adar. That's an extra 2 days before Purim, and almost as early as the ShopRite in Livingston, New Jersey, which raises Abq's Pesachdikity a few points.

2.  Abq Jew opens up his Pesach Watch page.

3.  Abq Jew moves his Pesach Countdown Timer from his Calendar and Pesach Watch pages (where it perennially resides) to his Home page. Right at the top.

Now the only question is: Will the hamentaschen that Whole Foods on Wyoming traditionally orders for Pesach (you read that right) arrive in time for Purim?

Be Happy!!  It's Adar!!
Once Adar begins, our joy increases!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ziz Flaps Wings; Wind Hits NM Jewish Link

KlezmerQuerque Article Blown Away: If you have read (or glanced at) the February 2013 issue of The New Mexico Jewish Link, you may have seen this advertisement (at the bottom of page 4) for KlezmerQuerque 2013, which will be held (אי״ה) this very Presidents' Day Weekend.

Of course, you may not have seen it - because The Link's ad was in good old black and white (and grey) tones, without Abq Jew's eye-catching color treatment and border. Potential advertisers - please take note!

But even if you saw the advertisement, you surely did not see the accompanying article, KlezmerQuerque Presents a Weekend of Extraordinary Jewish Music.

And that you can blame on the Ziz.

Says Ariela Pelaia, former Guide, in her article What is the Ziz?
The Ziz is a mythological bird that is sometimes called "The Queen of Birds." 
It is said to be so gigantic that it can stand in the middle of the ocean and the waters will only reach its ankles, while the head is in the sky. 
The beating of its enormous wings are [sic] capable of changing the direction of the winds.

According to some legends, it is destined to be served as an entree at the Messianic banquet along with the Behemoth and the Leviathan.
It was the beating of the Ziz's enormous wings, Abq Jew claims, that caused the page upon which was printed KlezmerQuerque Presents a Weekend of Extraordinary Jewish Music to fly out of each and every copy of The New Mexico Jewish Link and disappear into the wind.

That, further claims Abq Jew, is the only explanation that makes sense.

To fill in for this unfortunate omission - to keep the Jewish community of Albuquerque and beyond fully informed - and, of course, to encourage attendance at the final event in this year's immodestly eponymous Abq Jew Palooza!, Abq Jew is pleased to provide a handy PDF of the entire missing article. As well as the full text (and picture), below.

KlezmerQuerque Presents a Weekend of
Extraordinary Jewish Music

By Beth Cohen, Cantorial Soloist, Congregation Nahalat Shalom
Albuquerque’s annual klezmer music and dance festival celebrates its 11th year over Presidents’ Day weekend. 
The 11th Annual KlezmerQuerque is a three-day festival of concerts, workshops and dance parties featuring klezmer which is the traditional dance and instrumental music of the Eastern European Jewish people. The festival  will take place from Friday evening, February 15 to Sunday evening, February 17. 
KlezmerQuerque is produced by Congregation Nahalat Shalom, its 20-piece intergenerational Community Klezmer Band and Rikud Yiddish dance troupe.
KlezmerQuerque presents a wide variety of events for all ages and abilities with prices ranging from free to $15-$20 per event and an all-event early registration discount of $85 for general admission and $70 for seniors, students and those with a fixed income.
KlezmerQuerque 2013 features dancer and choreographer Bruce Bierman and Philadelphia’s renown, award-winning mother and daughter klezmer dynasty duo: Elaine Hoffman-Watts (drums and percussion) and Susan Watts (trumpet and voice). 
Highlights of the festival include a cameo concert performance by the duo as part of Der Freylekher Shabbes on Friday evening, February 15 and a full concert and dance party on Saturday evening, February 16. Yiddish dance master Bruce Bierman will lead the dancing at both evening events.  
On Sunday, February 17, between 10:00 am and 5:30 pm, there will be three 90 minute hands-on workshops taught by the guest artists in instrumental music and dance. Bruce will teach three unique Jewish dance classes: sacred ecstatic Jewish dance, bawdy and profane Jewish dance (aka Yemenite hip-hop), and Yiddish Tango. 
Bruce Bierman, an award-winning actor, director, playwright and choreographer, never suspected that Yiddish dance would play a big part in his life. Upon hearing an album by The Klezmorim during his college years in the 1980’s, he became wholly inspired and soon adapted, directed and choreographed a klezmer musical based on Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Gimpel the Fool for his senior thesis.  
After graduating with a degree in theater arts, he toured the country with the acclaimed Aman Folk Ensemble of Los Angeles performing and teaching traditional dances from around the globe. Bruce Bierman is a leading presenter of Yiddish dance for major festivals, performances and conferences including the prestigious Berkeley Jewish Music Festival and the Jewish Contemporary Museum of San Francisco.
Elaine Hoffman Watts and Susan Watts are descendants of Philadelphia’s prominent Hoffman family musical dynasty. Beginning with Susan’s great-grandfather, musician, composer, cornet-player, and poet, Joseph Hoffman, this important klezmer dynasty reaches back to the Jewish Ukraine of the 19th century. Third and fourth generation klezmorim (musicians), Elaine and Susan are internationally celebrated for their musical skill, ingenuity, and cultural knowledge.
Elaine is a musical national treasure. Born in 1932, Elaine Hoffman Watts is a winner of the prestigious 2007 National Heritage Award from the National Endowment of the Arts. She is one of only eight artists from Pennsylvania, and one of only six Jewish artists from the entire country, to be so honored over the last 28 years. Elaine is also the recipient of the Leeway Transformation Award and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. 
She was the first woman percussionist to be accepted at Curtis Institute, from which she graduated in 1954. Hoffman-Watts has performed and taught drums, timpani, and mallet instruments for more than forty years, working in symphonies, theaters, and schools.
In addition to performing with a variety of noted klezmer musicians from around the world, trumpeter and vocalist Susan Watts has shared the stage with Mandy Patinkin at Carnegie Hall, Dudu Fisher, Theodore Bikel, Claire Barry, Boban Markovic,  So-Called, Alicia Svigals, Margot Leverett, Hankus Netsky, and the Klezmer Conservatory Band, among others. Susan is a member of the Fabulous Shpielkes, Frank London’s Klezmer Brass AllStars, Mikveh, and the Klez Dispensers. Recently, she scored and recorded the soundtrack for the award-winning film Breath, and recorded the soundtrack for a documentary on Philadelphia klezmer A Joyful Noise. Susan teaches at klezmer festivals, is an ambassador for women’s rights around the world, and loves good coffee, fine vodka, singing, and playing her trumpet.
KlezmerQuerque begins on Friday, February 15 at 6:30pm, with Der Freylekher Shabbos and also features local klezmer favorites the Rebbe’s Orkestra, Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band, and Rikud dance troupe. A free joyous Shabbos Koydesh service is on Saturday, February 16th from 10 am to 12 pm with Nahalat Shalom’s Rabbi Deborah Brin.
The BIG concert and dance party begins at 7:00 pm (doors at 6:30 pm) with local klezmer band the Rebbe’s Orkestra as the opening act for the Hoffamn-Watts/Watts duo. 
On Sunday, February 17, there will be three 90 minute music and dance workshops as well as a Lunch ‘n Learn program with the documentaries: Eatela: A Life in Klezmer and Good Night Mishegas featuring Elaine (Eatela) and Susan. Enjoy a delicious milkhik (dairy,fish, veggies, no meat) lunch, and watch the two films.  Afterwards, there will be a brief question and answer period with Elaine and Susan. The reservation deadline is February 8 for the Lunch ‘n Learn. 
For more details, contact: Beth Cohen, KlezmerQuerque co-ordinator at (505)243-6276,, or go to, and click on Klezmer Music/Dance or KlezmerQuerque. Also, KlezmerQuerque is found on Facebook.
All events take place at Congregation Nahalat Shalom, 3606 Rio Grande Blvd NW (between Candelaria and Griegos) in Albuquerque.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Rockin' The House!

Abq Jew Palooza! Continues Tonight!  Abq Jew has come to realize that there's way more Jewish stuff happening in Albuquerque - and Santa Fe and Taos and Las Vegas and everyplace else in New Mexico - than most folks realize.

The February events that Abq Jew has collected and modestly named Abq Jew Palooza! are just the beginning. There's much, much more to come!

And remember two weeks ago, when the Mama Doni Band performed at Congregation Albert? Were you there? Was that a great concert, or what? Abq Jew was thrilled to be in the crowd (yes, there was indeed a crowd!) that Sunday.

Yep, Mama Doni [Was] In The Building!  Which goes to show that the New Mexico Jewish community knows how to party when we want to!

Here are a bunch of photos, courtesy of Stu Fein, CA's resident photographer. A fine photographer he is! You can visit him online at

Here's another photo, courtesy of Peter Weinreb, CA's PR guy. This one shows Mama Doni with CA's belle troika - (right to left) Dale Cooperman, Cantor Barbara Finn, and Tammy Kaiser - each of whom played important roles in making Mama Doni Band's appearance possible. Thank you all!

Didn't make it to either of the Mama Doni Band's performances? Can't make it out of the house this weekend?  Abq Jew is sorry to hear that - so, to cheer you up for Shabbat, here is Mama Doni performing I Love Herring!

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

KlezmerQuerque 2013 Is Coming!

KlezmerQuerque 2013 Next Weekend!  Surely Abq Jew has mentioned this just a few times, but here he goes again:

KlezmerQuerque 2013
Presidents Day Weekend
Congregation Nahalat Shalom
Susan Hoffman Watts
Elaine Hoffman Watts
Bruce Bierman

Here is just a taste of what you'll experience next weekend :

This week - see you at

Next week - see you at