Friday, June 28, 2013

Our Prayers Are Heard

Murmur for Rain: This is an essay ... just right for the end of the fourth hottest June on record here in the Land of Enchantment ... by Abq Jew's good friend Diane Schmidt. Diane's got the copyright; all rights reserved.

Our Prayers Are Heard
Shavuot In a Time of Drought
by Diane J Schmnidt

The other night around a table 12 women scholarly students of Judaism discussed evil while waiting for the dawn. It was Shavuot, the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, when the Ten Commandments were received.

We were at the home of Rabbi Chavah Carp, ordained in the modern Jewish Renewal movement and leader of Makor-Jewish Source, studying to make a tikkun, a ‘repair’, a healing. [See Tikkun Leyl Shavuot 2013 and Preparing for Shavuot for more about this gathering.]

Rabbi Carp said, from evil, good can result. Chaplain Linda Friedman said evil is not relative. Evil does not need to be justified or explained. Evil simply is. For me, both statements were true; it was just good to be there, to be listening.      

I fell asleep. Sometime after midnight we were reading in Genesis that the waters of the firmament parted and then there was earth and sky. Earth and sky? Was Navajo cosmology from the same roots?

I lifted my head and looked again at the sacred study notes, selected and translated with great care by Rabbi R. Karpov, who once had come to work at the edge of the Navajo reservation in western New Mexico and then moved on.

What she had written there was, “In a beginning - - Creator created the Heaven and the Earth,” unusual in other ways. It was only I who had heard ‘earth and sky’ in the murmuring of the night's salted winds, winds that came bringing a heavy scent of flowers and a little rain. (And I learned some days later that it was said in ancient times that murmuring would bring rain in a drought.)

At dawn we stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai (the mountains around here standing in), ready to receive the computer-download of the Torah. The darkness lightened and the waters of the firmament parted and there were tiny clouds over the mountain. The clouds grew in a crescendo across the sky, rain fell in the west and a rainbow sprang up. Some are listening. Some are witness.

What is truth? Where is the path? I thought about how I came to be there. Having been around the world and to Cicero, mine would be the tell all, be all, wanna be story of a true believer who found out, after a long search for It, that there's no place like Home.

That the secret of life is in the tasting, the living of it, not in the prize - you don't get to take home an ashtray, some kind of party-favor, at the end. So do sometimes I still confuse the sound of fury with the sweet flypaper of life?

Lately, when I'm on a news trail I have dreams ending in bathrooms and dead ends – I’ve been writing newspaper stories again, thinking to make a difference.

One repetitious dream, after months pursuing stories about uranium, kept ending in a parking garage where trucks ferried in the deadly ore, and underneath which in a great windowless hall rows of reporters passed photos around.

Last week, while asking who will keep funding Na’nizhoozhi Center Inc., the alcohol detox center with a Native rehab program, in the dream I am sent along a tunnel at the end of which I am told the answer lies – past a curtain I find only a hall of mirrors.

There is drought, but a lot of people don't care yet. The livestock are suffering; I read that some have deformities now; I hear that some have died of thirst in a mountain meadow where last year there was water.

Last week I heard about an abnormally shaped foal that was stillborn. The owner said they tried to report it to local authorities, but no one was able to come. So now it won't be found in a government report, and if there are more unreported like that, no one will know to ask later either.

I have to wonder, if our waters and mountains are gone, will God still hear us? (For the Navajo give their offerings to natural waters and mountains.) There is an allegory, a story about learned rabbis, that is told by Jews, because, well, you know, we lost our homeland and went wandering, so we have had to ask such questions.

I found the story told in the frontispiece of a book, "Exiled in the Word, Poems and Other Visions of the Jews from Tribal Times to the Present,”** by Jerome Rothenberg & Harris Lenowitz (the one good that resulted from once dating an evil poet - finding this book):
The Baal Shem Tov used to go to a certain place in the woods & light a fire & pray when he was faced with an especially difficult task & it was done.
His successor followed his example & went to the same place but said, ‘The fire we can no longer light, but we can still say the prayer.’ And what he asked was done too. 
Another generation passed, & Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov went to the woods & said: ‘The fire we can no longer light, the prayer we no longer know: all we know is the place in the woods, & that will have to be enough.’ And it was enough.

In the fourth generation, Rabbi Israel of Rishin stayed at home & said, ‘The fire we can no longer light, the prayer we no longer know, nor do we know the place. All we can do is tell the story.’

And that, too, proved sufficient.
Later, when I read that the Baal Shem Tov, father of the Chassidic movement, passed away on Shavuot, I opened the book again, this time it was the last entry


       Whisper until it rains.

(1) The Hebrew word for magic — kishuf— literally “murmuring” or “muttering.”

(2) “If you see a generation over whom the heavens are rust-colored like copper so that neither rain nor dew falls, it is because that generation is wanting in whisperers. What then is the remedy? Let them go to someone who knows how to whisper.” (Talmud: Ta’anit 8a.)

(3) “In oriental countries in general, the Jews have acquired, for one reason or another, a special reputation as rainmakers.” (Raphael Patai, The Hebrew Goddess.)" JR.HL.
Perhaps, it is telling me, I could learn to be a rain whisperer.


Diane J. Schmidt is a writer and photojournalist in New Mexico who was raised in the traditions of Reform Judaism and is an admirer of all things spiritually resonant.

This column appears in the June/July, 2013 issue of The New Mexico Jewish Link. View this and Diane's earlier columns online at The Albuquerque Judaism Examiner.

**"Exiled in the Word" is out of print and a collector's item now. An earlier mass-market version of the book may be found more easily, with some of the content, known as "A Big Jewish Book," by Jerome Rothenberg and Harris Lenowitz. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer 2013 JEW-niversity!

Lifelong Learning at Congregation Albert:  Tammy Kaiser, Congregation Albert's Director of Lifelong Learning, has recently announced the offerings for the Summer 2013 JEW-niversity. Abq Jew's got 'em right here!

Introduction to Judaism
When & Where: Tue 09 July through Tue 29 October 2013 @ 5:30 pm
@ Congregation Albert
Instructor: Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld
What It Is: Is Judaism a religion, a culture, an ethnicity, a family? How and why do we celebrate the seasons of the year and of our lives? Why do Jews continuously argue about God? What does Judaism say about the issues being debated in society today? Whether you are interested in conversion, learning more about Judaism or want a “Sunday School” refresher, Join Rabbi Rosenfeld and some guest teachers for Introduction to Judaism.
Books: Jewish Literacy by Joseph Telushkin and Settings of Silver by Stephen M Wylen. Students are responsible for obtaining copies of the books prior to the start of class.
Cost:  $54 / Congregation Albert Member. $108 / Community.
Registration: or (505) 883-1818.

Medical Ethics and Values
When & Where: Sun 14 July 2013 @ 10:00 am @ Congregation Albert
Instructors:  Dr Gadi Rennert and Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld
What It Is: The Louis and Frances Levin Memorial Lecture on Medical Ethics and Jewish Values. Dr Rennert will speak about his cancer research in Israel and its connection to Jewish Genes. Rabbi Rosenfeld will speak on the ethics of genetic testing. Access to free genetic testing kits will be made available.
Cost:  Free
Registration: or (505) 883-1818.

Meet the Authors
When & Where: Sun 04 August 2013 @ 4:00 pm @ Congregation Albert
Instructors: Participating Authors To Be Announced
What It Is:  Published authors from the Jewish community will come together to meet with interested congregation members. Each author will spend five minutes or so doing a reading from one of his/her works or giving a bit of background about him/herself. Then there will be different stations set up, one for each author, where participants can speak one on one with the author, and if you wish purchase a book.
Cost:  Free, compliments of the Library Committee
Registration: Stacy Zlotkin
For questions contact Acy DeBois or (505) 881-6625.


This class has already started - but it's never too late to converse with Tammy בּעברית!

Conversational Hebrew for Fun
When & Where: Tue & Wed 11-12, 18-19, 25-26 June
and 02-03 July 2013 @ 5:30 pm @ Flying Star - Paseo & Wyoming
Instructor:  Tammy Kaiser
What It Is: This class is for anyone over Bar/Bat Mitzvah age interested in learning some fun conversational Hebrew in a relaxed environment. Sit outside on the patio and bask in the sun, fresh air, good company and Hebrew. 
Cost:  $18 / Congregation Albert Member. $36 / Community. Includes textbook.
Registration: or (505) 883-0306.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Penninah Schram in Santa Fe

Famed Storyteller in City Different June 28-30: Famed storyteller, teacher, author, and recording artist Penninah Schram will be the Shabbat Scholar in Residence at Kol BeRamah Torah Learning Center in Santa Fe; and will also present a Sunday afternoon program at Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse.

Kabbalat Shabbat June 28: Friday evening services, dinner, and program (suggested donation $18). Peninnah will share some of her "Sacred Stories for Shabbat." In the Jewish oral tradition, there are many beautiful stories and music centering around the theme of Shabbat. By hearing some of these, we enhance the Shabbat experience as a community.

Shabbat Services & Kiddush June 29: Peninnah will help us explore "What's in a name?" Our names carry many meanings and blessings; names can shape our lives and our personalities. We will explore sources, meanings, and our connections to our names.

Reservations: RSVP to Kol BeRamah

Sunday June 30 @ 2:00 pm:
Collected Works Bookstore, 202 Galisteo Street, all-ages public program entitled "Humor and Hokhma with a Detour through Helm." We will hear Jewish stories of wit and wisdom, including fool and trickster tales.


Peninnah Schram is an internationally known storyteller, teacher, author and recording artist. She is Professor of Speech and Drama at Stern College of Yeshiva University in New York City, and is the author of 12 books of Jewish folktales and a CD.

She is a recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for Outstanding Jewish Educator (1995) and has also been awarded the National Storytellers Network 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award “for sustained and exemplary contributions to storytelling in America.”

Penninah Schram
A Detour Through Helm

Friday, June 21, 2013

Balak Tchaikovsky Flashwaltz

How Goodly Are Thy Tents, O Jacob: This is (almost) Shabbat Balak, which contains the story of ... Balak, the king of Moab at the time, who hires Balaam, "reputedly the world's most powerful wizard," to curse the people of Israel.

But God said to Balaam, "You must not curse that people, for they are blessed."

And 1-800-LAWYERS have told Balak ever since: "Ya gotta read the fine print!"

Balaam explicitly warns Balak's emissaries that "Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, big or little, contrary to the command of the Lord my God." How much clearer could this be?

Everyone involved knew - or should have known - that this plan was never gonna work. Even Balaam's transportation service knew that this was a no-go, and stopped three times along the way to tell him so. What an ass!

Moving right along here ... with more good news and blessing from the land, people, and nation of Israel.
Forty students from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance took a classical approach to the flashmob as they flashwaltzed Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Flowers at the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower in Jerusalem. Doctors, patients and passers-by joined in the fun.

The surprise concert was part of Good Deeds Day, an annual event that originated in Israel in 2007 and now takes place in over 50 countries worldwide. On this day volunteers reach out to the less fortunate and the vulnerable.

The Academy students enjoyed the day so much that they have decided to schedule regular concerts at the hospital. Hadassah Medical Organization treats over one million patients annually, without regard to race, religion or national origin.

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Parking and Jews and Boston

Along Commonwealth Avenue: How much does it cost to park in Boston? That depends on two things. First - where in Boston would you like to park? There's Boston; and then, there's Boston. Second - how much are you willing to pay for this privilege?

Oy, there's the rub.

We already know (see To See and Not Believe) that Jews and parking don't get along. Well, here we go again.

This story has made its way from AP to The Boston Globe to the New York Daily News to ABC News. But Abq Jew first learned of this significant step in the annals of Jewish urbanity from an early morning (middle of the night) online perusal of the Huffington Post - so here goes:
Parking is such a precious commodity in Boston that one woman was willing to pay $560,000 for two off-street spaces near her home. 
Lisa Blumenthal won the spots in the city's Back Bay neighborhood during an on-site auction Thursday held in a steady rain by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS had seized the spots from a man who owed back taxes. 
Blumenthal, who lives in a multimillion-dollar home near the parking spaces, tells The Boston Globe ( she didn't expect the bidding to go quite so high for the spots she says will come in handy for guests and workers. 
The record for a single spot in Boston is $300,000. 
The median price of a single-family home in Massachusetts is $313,000.
Here is what Lisa Blumenthal got for her home at 298 Commonwealth Avenue (commonly called Comm Ave), just down the ave from the BU campus:

Ms Blumenthal purchased the two open spaces on the right. What a deal! Please note that the first car in can't get out unless and until the second car in moves.

Why is this a Jewish story? Ms Blumenthal's name suggests a Jewish connection, although (as we New Mexicans know) you can't always tell from names. And then - there's the issue of Jewish sumptuary laws.

In this era of million dollar Bar and Bat Mitvahs, perhaps you didn't know there were such things. The Jewish Virtual Library tells us:
Sumptuary laws [are] enactments issued by communities against luxury and ostentation; frequently combined with a distinctly class aim – that each should dress according to his standing in the community – allied to the wish to help people withstand the temptation of conspicuous consumption beyond their means
The sumptuary laws were also designed to put an end to anti-Jewish agitations stemming from accusations of ostentatious living.  
Takkanot of a sumptuary nature referred either to dress and jewelry or to the size of banquets held at weddings and circumcision ceremonies and the number of guests permitted to attend them: e.g., the Rhenish *synods of 1202–23 limited banquets to those who participated in the religious ceremony.  
A conference held in 1418 at Forlí, Italy, limited the number of guests who could be invited to a wedding to 20 men, ten women, five girls, and all the relatives up to second cousins. They also permitted the wearing of furlined jackets, in any color other than black, provided that the sleeves and the garments themselves were not fringed with silk.  
The Castilian synod convened at Valladolid in 1432 forbade Jews aged 15 and over to "wear any cloak of gold thread, olive-colored material, or silk, or any cloak trimmed" with these materials on occasions other than "a time of festivity or at a reception of a lord or a lady, or at balls or similar social occasions."  
In the 16th and 17th centuries the communities of Salonika, Mantua, and Rome issued periodic anti-luxury regulations. The Cracow community ordinances of 1595 contained paragraphs on sumptuary laws.  
The Lithuanian Council ... in 1637, referring to its previous regulations which had been wholly disregarded, empowered local rabbis to decide how many guests might be invited to festive meals.  
The Polish Council of Four Lands in 1607 enjoined Jews from wearing gentile apparel "in order that the Jews be distinguished by their dress." In 1659 the number of invited guests at a circumcision was scaled according to the host's means: "a person who pays two zlotys in taxes may invite 15 persons, four zlotys 20 persons, six zlotys 25 persons, including the rabbi, the preacher, the cantor, and the beadle."  
In Moravia the cost of wedding clothes was determined by the amount of the dowry. In Carpentras, the papal possession in southeastern France, sumptuary regulations were adopted in three stages (1712–40). 
In many places these statutes were honored more in the breach than in the observance.
Wait a minute! Abq Jew hears you cry. That's all about conspicuous consumption beyond one's means. How about conspicuous consumption within one's means?

To which Abq Jew must respond with

The Bar Mitzvah Safari
(Thank you,

Moshe was a bragger and loved to out-do his friends whenever he could and now it was coming up to the time of his son Isaac’s bar mitzvah. He gave it a lot of thought and then, after studying many brochures and maps, he hit upon a perfect, unique way to celebrate – a safari.  
So Moshe went ahead with the detailed arrangements. He started off by hiring a special flight to Africa to accommodate all the invited family and friends. Then he chose a guide and his bearers. He phoned the guide long distance and told him what he wanted.  
“I want my entourage to be able to hear jungle chants; I want to be able to shoot some wild animals, on film of course; I need a clearing to be found where my Rabbi can hold the service; and I want my son to be able to recite his prayers in Hebrew whilst standing on the body of an anaesthetised lion.”  
“OK,” said the guide, “no problem.”  
The guests were ecstatic when they received details of the weekend and all accepted their invite. Come the day of departure, they were all flown to Africa. On arrival, the guide and bearers were waiting for them, together with 30 elephants. Off they went with the guide leading the way and directing the elephants along the narrow trails through the rain forest. 
But then, just 5 hours into the journey, the column of elephants came to a sudden halt and the guide shouted, “There will now be a delay of 2 hours.” 
Moshe was angry at this. “Why the delay?” he asked his guide.  
“There’s nothing I can do,” said the guide, “there’s another two bar mitzvah safaris ahead of us.”
You could die. So could Abq Jew. Actually, we all could. In truth, we all will. So how should we dress when we come before our Maker? The Jewish Virtual Library tells us:
The dressing (halbashah) of the dead (even princes) in costly garments of gold or silver is forbidden (Maim., Yad, Evel 4:2), despite the rabbis' view that anyone who dresses the dead in comely shrouds (takhrikhim, from the Hebrew verb "to wrap up") testifies to a belief in the resurrection (Nimmukei Yosef to Alfasi, MK 17a). 
R. Judah ha-Nasi expressly ordered that he be buried in a simple linen shirt (MK 27b). 
Since talmudic times, it has been customary to bury a male in the tallit which he had used during his lifetime, after its fringes have been deliberately rendered ritually unfit. 
Now Abq Jew has a question. If we're not allowed to luxuriate in our luxury while we live, and we're not allowed to luxuriate in our luxury after we die -

When do Jews get to luxuriate?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Two by Two: Sandoval & Toro

Crypto-Jewry in New Mexico: Gaon Books and Collected Books Bookstore and Coffeehouse are pleased to announce a two-author book-reading and -signing joint event:

Isabelle Medina Sandoval & Sandra K Toro
Tuesday June 18 ~ 6:00 pm ~ Tonight!
Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse
202 Galisteo Street ~ Santa Fe NM 87501

Dr. Isabelle Medina Sandoval is a published poet, a genealogy researcher, and the Bilingual Director for the Santa Fe Public Schools.  She has won numerous short story and poetry contests. She has been recognized by Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who of American Women among other organizations. Her publications include Guardians of Hidden Traditions and Hidden Shabbat, both finalists for Best Book Awards, New Mexico Book Awards.

Dr. Sandoval’s Hidden Shabbat: The Secret Lives of Crypto-Jews is a “beautiful piece of literature and important in preserving our New Mexico history and culture. I recommend it for both youth and adults who want to understand New Mexico” - Prof. John B. Mondragon, University of New Mexico

Sandra K. Toro is an award-winning, best selling author who teaches creative writing at the University of New Mexico. She writes about Jewish life and history in her books By Fire Possessed, Doña Gracia Nasi and Princes, Popes and Pirates, the latter about the life of Joseph Nasi.

Toro is an officer of the Southwest Writers Association and is an active speaker on issues of writing and the representation of writers.

Ms. Toro’s latest novel is Secrets Behind Adobe Walls. Toro teaches history as she narrates the lives of the most powerful Jewish family of the sixteenth century, the Mendes, who used their personal wealth to save thousands of Jewish families from the Inquisition.

Professor Roger L. Martinez (University of Colorado) says “Through her exquisite prose, Sandra K. Toro recreates the lives of New Mexico's crypto-Jews … and rekindles our memory of that dramatic era."

Monday, June 17, 2013

A New Milestone: 500 Facebook Likes

To Life! To Life! L'Chaim!  On June 17, 2013, the Abq Jew Facebook Page achieved 500 Likes.

So, Abq Jew knows you business owners and organization leaders are asking, how does Abq Jew (an entirely online venture) serve the Jewish community of Albuquerque and beyond and fit into my marketing plan?

First, let's look at the numbers.
  • Abq Jew's Alexa Traffic Rank hovers around 980,000 (Facebook is Number 1) - which is very competitive for the Albuquerque market. (See the Abq Jew Traffic Report for current numbers.)
  • The Abq Jew Web gets about 2,000 pageviews per month; the Abq Jewish Events Calendar is the most popular page.
  • The Abq Jew Blog gets about 6,000 pageviews per month; that's about 200 pageviews per day.
  • Google searches will consistently produce Abq Jew fairly high in the results.
  • Each Abq Jew Blog post immediately goes to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Duke City Fix - to be read by Abq Jew's growing numbers of followers.
  • Each week's Abq Jew Blog posts are automatically sent every Friday to an always-expanding email list.
Second - the demographics.
  • Abq Jew appeals to those all over the world (especially in the US and Israel) who are interested in Jewish topics.
  • Abq Jew appeals to visitors and potential relocators who are particularly interested in Albuquerque and New Mexico Jewish topics - like synagogue locations, where to find kosher food, or how to learn about Jewish history and life in the Land of Enchantment.
  • Abq Jew tremendously appeals to those who want to stay up-to-date on Jewish events in Albuquerque and beyond.
  • Abq Jew's readers are typically highly educated high net worthers who are well-connected in Albuquerque and beyond.
Third - people are talking about Abq Jew! Rabbi Paul J Citrin, for example:
The blog and website present a constantly creative and fresh look at the dynamic activities and personalities of the Albuquerque Jewish community. 
They are outstanding resources for Jews who reside in Albuquerque as well as for Jews who are considering relocating to our city. This unique, exciting blog / website combination well reflects the enchanting spirit of Albuquerque Jewry.
Abq Jew hears you ask

What does this all mean?

To which Abq Jew responds:

We could work well together.
Abq Jew a call!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hava Nagila (The Movie)

Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival Presents: It's June! Time for the first film in the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival's Summer Sneaks: Cool Films for Hot Days summer series!

Hava Nagila (The Movie)
Sunday June 16 @ 4:00 pm
Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA)

1050 Old Pecos Trail Santa Fe NM 87505 

It’s to music what the bagel is to food – musical shorthand for anything Jewish, a happy party tune that you dance to at weddings, bar mitzvahs and even at Major League Baseball games.

Follow this infectious party song on its fascinating journey from the shtetls of Eastern Europe to the cul-de-sacs of America and for the first time, to the canyons and mesas of Santa Fe.
On Sunday June 16th the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival presents Hava Nagila (The Movie), the first of two
“Summer Sneaks” presented in response to a SOLD OUT regular season.
In its own believe-it-or-not way, Hava Nagila (The Movie) encapsulates the Jewish journey over the past 150 years.

It also reveals the power of one song to express and sustain identity, to transmit lessons across generations and to bridge cultural divides and connect us all on a universal level.

Hava Nagila (The Movie) uses the song as a springboard to explore Jewish history and identity and to spotlight the cross-cultural connections that can only be achieved through music.

 Santa Fe resident and multiple Emmy Award winner, Dyanna Taylor, the film’s cinematographer, will share an up-close Q & A immediately following the film.
Taylor is the granddaughter of noted photographer Dorothea Lange.

A reception featuring light “deli bites” follows the presentation with live klezmer music by Ot Azoy.

Tickets: $15 Advance. $12 Students, $20 Door.
Available from the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival

You have certainly heard the song ... over and over, again and again and again. But the movie? Not so much?

To help you decide that you really need to attend, here are reviews from the Chicago Tribune,, Rotten Tomatoes, and The New York Times.

But perhaps Harry Belafonte puts it best:
When you find a song that says ‘Let us rejoice,’ there’s no better song to leave an evening with.
Hava Nagila tells us who we should be and what we, in a fundamental sense, aspire to be — peoples of love and joy and peace.
And when it comes to singing Hava Nagila, there is Harry Belafonte - and then there is everyone else (for example: Glen Campbell, who also appears in Have Nagila (The Movie).

And when it comes to Harry Belafonte, there is (in Abq Jew's family tradition) the double album Harry Belafonte at Carnegie Hall (recorded April 19 and April 20, 1959) - and then there is every other Harry Belafonte album in the world.

Nu? Abq Jew invites you to join him at CCA Santa Fe on Sunday. Until then - and even though it's only Thursday 6/13 ------

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Got Seth Meyers?

Jewish Federation of New Mexico Benefit: Abq Jew is pleased to remind y'all that Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers will be bringing his stand-up comedy straight from the Weekend Update anchor desk to Albuquerque!

Saturday Night Live's
Seth Meyers
The KiMo Theatre
Sunday June 16
7:00 pm
Tickets: $54
via Hold My Ticket

Please note that Abq Jew feels he is qualified to use the term y'all because he is from Bensonhurst, a neighborhood in the south of Brooklyn. And Seth Meyers? He's from Evanston, Illinois.

And if you believe Wikipedia - he's not even Jewish!
Seth Adam Meyers (born December 28, 1973 is an American actor and comedian. He currently serves as head writer for NBC's Saturday Night Live and hosts its news parody segment Weekend Update. In 2013, it was announced that Meyers had been chosen to replace Jimmy Fallon the following year when his edition of Late Night ceases production.

Meyers was born in Evanston, Illinois, the son of Hilary Claire (née Olson), a middle school teacher of French, and Laurence Meyers, Jr., who works in finance. His younger brother is actor Josh Meyers. He was raised in Manchester, New Hampshire, and its suburb, Bedford, and graduated from Manchester High School West. He went on to graduate from Northwestern University in Evanston, where he became a member of the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta.
And more to the point,
Meyers joined the SNL cast in 2001. In 2005, he was promoted to writing supervisor, and in January 2006 he became co-head writer, sharing the role with Tina Fey and Andrew Steele. In 2004, he auditioned to co-anchor "Weekend Update" with Fey, but lost out to Amy Poehler. With Fey's departure, Meyers became head writer for the 2006–2007 season and also took on the role of Weekend Update co-anchor with Amy Poehler. Since Poehler left the show during the 2008–2009 season, Meyers has anchored solo. In fall 2009, Meyers co-anchored two episodes of Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday with Poehler.

On May 12, 2013, NBC announced that Meyers will be the new host of Late Night in 2014 succeeding Jimmy Fallon as Fallon will take over as the new host of The Tonight Show (NBC).

Meyers is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, the Pittsburgh Steelers (his father being a Pittsburgh native), the Northwestern Wildcats (his alma mater) and soccer club West Ham United in the Premier League.

Meyers has performed at several Jewish Community Centers, though he himself is not Jewish.
Hard to believe. Even so,  Abq Jew strongly encourages you to be there!

Here is another forshbite (that's Yiddish for hors d'oeuvres, one of the most-looked-up words on the Internet) of what's in store for Albuquerque. This one features New Jersey Governor Chris Christie - from Livingston, Abq Jew's former hometown - attempting to overcome his natural shyness.

The Jewish Federation is there for you!
Be there for the Jewish Federation!
Laugh! Enjoy! Do a mitzvah!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Festival Djudeo Espanyol 2013

Congregation Nahalat Shalom Presents: Congregation Nahalat Shalom is proud to present this year's Festival Djudeo Espanyol.

Festival Djudeo Espanyol 2013
Friday June 14 through Sunday June 16, 2013
Congregation Nahalat Shalom

The Festival will feature

Rabbi Dr. Jordi Gendra-Molina, a native of Barcelona, Spain, holds PhD in medieval Jewish literature from Universitat de Girona. He received his Master in Hebrew Letters and Rabbinic ordination from the RRC in 2006. Currently serving as rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and he is also adjunct professor of religion at Wilson College.


 Neil Manel Frau-Cortes is a hazzan, musician and teacher who currently serves as cantor in Pennsylvania. He has a long experience as a service leader, Jewish educator and performer, with an emphasis in Jewish spirituality, meditation and mysticism. Among his areas of research are medieval Jewish music and the transmission of Sephardic folklore. In addition to liturgical Jewish music, he has composed music for theater, short films and has received several composition awards. 

For more information or to make a donation visit
Funding by the Stratton Petit Foundation and the Jewish Federation of New Mexico
Admission by donation

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Good Day for the Movies

But It's Always A Good Day in Abq! And if you just can't make it up to Congregation Beit Tikva for the Claire Grossman Annual Meeting of the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society - featuring Marcia Torobin's talk A History of Jewish Cinema, the presentation of the Hurst Award to Marian Singer, and a tribute to the memory of Rabbi Leonard A Helman - well, Abq Jew must remind you that it's the

Final Day 
of the 2013
Albuquerque Film & Media Experience

AFME has featured a number of
Films of Jewish Interest this week.
Today's films are

Get thee to Congregation Beit Tikva!
Or to a theatre! Enjoy!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Passing of Rabbi Leonard A Helman

A Santa Fe Living Treasure: With great sorrow, Abq Jew must report the passing (this morning) of Santa Fe Living Treasure Rabbi Leonard A Helman, Founding Rabbi of Congregation Beit Tikva.

Rabbi Helman's funeral is scheduled for 11:00 am on Monday June 10, at the Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi. There will be a reception at La Fonda Hotel following the service. Interment will be at Santa Fe Memorial Gardens.

There is no measure to the enormity of Rabbi Helman's contributions to New Mexico Jewish life - indeed, to every aspect of life here in the Land of Enchantment.

Congregation Beit Tikva's bio of their Founding Rabbi states:
Rabbi Helman has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Beit Tikva since our founding in 1995. Walking in downtown Santa Fe with Rabbi Helman is an enlightening experience, for every third or fourth person you pass greets him and stops to tell a joke, to reminisce about friends and family, or to check on his standing in the latest bridge tournament. On any given day, he can be found at St. Vincent’s Hospital visiting and comforting ailing congregants, friends, and casual acquaintances, or discussing topical issues with the hospital’s medical ethics board. He continues to officiate at life cycle events including Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, and funerals, and inspires us with his spirit and his understated dignity.

Known around Santa Fe as the “Rabbi Different,” he served for many years as the chaplain for the State Senate, is a masterful song-and-dance man who leads the crowd in celebration at the annual Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast on the Santa Fe plaza, and is a world-class bridge player whose team took first place at the Polish National Bridge Tournament in 2006. The Leonard A. Helman Bridge Center was dedicated in Santa Fe in 2008. From 1974 until his retirement in 1987, Rabbi Helman served as an administrative law judge and attorney for the New Mexico Public Service Commission. In May 2004, he was honored as a Santa Fe Living Treasure, and February 3, 2006 was declared by then-Governor Bill Richardson as “Rabbi Leonard A. Helman Day” throughout the State of New Mexico. On July 10, 2010, Rabbi celebrated the 70th Anniversary of his Bar Mitzvah.
And Richard McCord of Santa Fe Living Treasures reported in May 2004
"I guess I get bored easily," Rabbi Leonard Helman shrugs, by way of explaining his myriad interests and achievements. In addition to his theological calling, he has been a lawyer, a physiology teacher, a championship contract-bridge player, a masterful dancer who performs in public, a public-utilities expert, and always a humanitarian.

As a young man he taught himself to love opera, by listening to hundreds of hours of music. He assiduously reads The New York Times, to stay current with the news.

And 30 years ago, in 1974, he found the perfect position for himself, as the rabbi for Temple Beth Shalom, which was then the sole Jewish congregation in Santa Fe. With only about 60 families at that time, the temple was seeking a part-time rabbi—which was also exactly what Helman was seeking.
That way, he could do other things as well. <Continue>
On Rabbi Helman's 80th birthday (2006), Kate McGraw of the Albuquerque Journal wrote:
When Santa Fe dentist Robert Wartell arrived in 1989, he began attending Temple Beth Shalom, then the only synagogue in town. It didn't take long for Wartell to fall under the spell of Beth Shalom's rabbi, Leonard Helman. "He took me to dinner, drove me around the town and talked about the places he liked, the people he knew— which seemed to be everybody," Wartell recalled recently. "One night we were in a restaurant and Leonard got up to talk to some people across the room. This ... waitress stopped by our table and whispered to me, 'Isn't that the town rabbi?'
"At that time, he was," Wartell said. "And in some ways, he still is."
In Santa Fe, there are several rabbis from Hasidic, Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Judaism. But it's Leonard A. Helman— once of Temple Beth Shalom, now the senior rabbi of Congregation Beit Tikva— who most readily comes to Santa Feans' minds when they hear the word "rabbi," which means teacher. Today, his congregation will celebrate Helman's coming 80th birthday with a dinner dance at La Posada. On Oct. 19, Beit Tikva's board of directors named Helman the congregation's "founding rabbi."
"He's obviously a very special person to a lot of us," Board President Paul Grace told the Journal. "He's the heart and soul of our congregation. We wanted to honor him in a way that no one else would ever be honored. No other rabbi will ever have that title as long as we last."
Helman, unassuming as always, seemed a little overwhelmed by the fuss over this birthday. "In the first place, it's unbelievable to me that I'm almost 80," he said. "I can't believe it. In fact, I don't think I do. And as for all this— I'm just not that important."
Oh, but he is. <Continue>
If you'd like to find out more about Rabbi Helman - just Google him. Or click here to read Rabbi Helman's obituary by Kate McGraw of the Albuquerque Journal; or here to read the obituary by David J Salazar of the Santa Fe New Mexican..

Or - here is an interview with Bill O'Donnell of Spirituality TV in Santa Fe.

May the memory of Rabbi Helman be forever a blessing.

AFME Presents: The World is Funny

One More Film of Jewish Interest: The Albuquerque Film & Media Experience is proud to present:

The World is Funny
Nominated for 15 Israeli Academy Awards
Sunday June 9 ~ 2:00 pm
UNM SUB Theater

The World is Funny - Israel's box-office hit of 2012, nominated for a record 15 Israeli academy awards - is a complex allegory on Israeli society, far away from news headlines.

Set in provincial sunny Tiberias, the central characters are estranged siblings who have endured childhood abandonment only to face new challenges in adulthood: a widower (Dani Shteg) whose older son has just awakened from a lengthy coma; a radio producer (Elli Finish) and his terminally-ill Russian girlfriend (Ola Schor-Selektar); and a travel agent (Assi Levi) whose daughter was killed in an army accident.

These stories are gradually knitted together, resulting in an emotional climax.

Purchase tickets here at Hold My Ticket. View the trailer here.

This is only one of the Films of Jewish Interest that the Albuquerque Film & Media Experience is presenting this year. Click here to learn more.

And there's much more to the Albuquerque Film & Media Experience than just Films of Jewish Interest. Click here to learn more about AFME Films, Panels, and Special Events.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A History of Jewish Cinema

The Movies The Moguls Made: The Claire Grossman Annual Meeting of the New Mexico Jewish History Society (NMJHS) will be held

Sunday June 9 ~ 2:30 pm
Congregation Beit Tikvah
2230 Old Pecos Trial ~ Santa Fe

Keynote speaker Marcia Torobin will give a talk on the History of Jewish Cinema.

Marcia Torobin is the founding Director of the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival, which has had an audience over 1,200 this year.

Marcia is deeply committed to cultural programming as a means of engaging the broader Jewish community, and she currently serves on the  boards of Jewish Federation New Mexico and Santa Fe Hadassah,  and she is a member of the Albuquerque JCC Arts Culture Education Advisory Committee.

Marcia's talk will trace the course of Jewish cinema in the U.S. during the first half of the twentieth century when the moguls held sway. The moguls, who were mostly Eastern European Jewish immigrants or of the first generation, shaped an industry that is quintessentially American. Their experiences and aspirations are reflected in the movies they made and those they did not and provide insight into the Jewish experience of the period.

Also at the Annual Meeting, NMJHS will honor board members who are stepping down or leaving the board, and welcomes new officers and board members. Naomi Sandweiss will be installed as NMJHS President, along with other new officers. New NMJHS Board members are Harvey Buchalter, Melinda Hess, Dianne Layden, Sharon Niederman, Yehuda Patt, and Stuart Simon.

And the NMJHS will present the Hurst Award to a person who has rendered outstanding service to the Society and to New Mexico Jewish History.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Seth Meyers @ The KiMo!

Jewish Federation of New Mexico Benefit: Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers brings his stand-up comedy straight from the Weekend Update anchor desk to Albuquerque!

Saturday Night Live's
Seth Meyers
The KiMo Theatre
Sunday June 16
7:00 pm
Tickets: $54
via Hold My Ticket

Meyers is in his eleventh season on Saturday Night Live as a cast member, and in his sixth season as both head writer and Weekend Update anchor.

As the sole anchor in this segment, the comedian charms audiences as he lampoons top news stories and hosts SNL fan favorite guests.

No, you can't miss this! And Abq Jew strongly encourages you to be there! Even if you haven't watched SNL since Chevy Chase left (1976, after the first season)!

Here is a forshbite (the White House Correspondents Dinner 2011) of what's in store for Albuquerque:

The Jewish Federation is there for you!
Be there for the Jewish Federation!
Laugh! Enjoy! Do a mitzvah!