Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Learning New Mexico

As Compared To, Say, New Jersey: Yes, of course. Abq Jew has already announced that Tesla Will Choose New Mexico. But that was way back on Rosh Hodesh April.

Ken O'Hara
from this Abq Jew Blog to G-d's ears

Others aren't quite as sure as Abq Jew that this is the way it will end up.

Albuquerque Business First's April 25 cover story, Sweating It Out, tells a more painful story. Reporter Dan Mayfield points out that
Legislatures in the four states vying for Tesla’s Gigafactory are using a variety of strategies to woo the company. The governors of Texas and Arizona have made moves to encourage Tesla Motors to set up the Gigafactory in their states.
That much we already knew. But Mr Mayfield also quotes Eclipse Aviation and Titan Aerospace founder Vern Raburn, who has disturbingly disenchanting views about the state of education in the Land of Enchantment..
Schools may be deal-breaker 
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson said that the new Tesla Gigafactory, if it does land in New Mexico, would need thousands of construction workers to build. 
But keeping workers here over the long term will be hard. 
“If New Mexico is ever to become an Austin, or a Phoenix, there are barriers,” said Vern Raburn, who started Eclipse Aviation and recently sold Titan Aerospace to Google. 
Eclipse was the last large company to be successfully recruited to New Mexico. “We looked at facilities, weather, access to the Sunport. It’s a complete set of equations. We had 19 different criteria,” Raburn said. 
“But the schools are a joke. I lost my best employees because they wouldn’t put their kids in the schools and could not afford the private schools.” 
But Elon Musk is looking at a place where his employees will want to live. Raburn said he’s sure Musk is watching the state’s battle to confirm a secretary of education. 
“But things like the battle with the secretary of education not being confirmed for three years? Absolutely,” Raburn said. “That’s obscene. There are good teachers, but the system is broken.” 
Johnson, who was a two-term governor in the 1990s, is also the founder of Big J Enterprises, the firm that built most of Intel’s factory in Rio Rancho in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It’s the only factory in New Mexico comparable to the giant Gigafactory in size and scope.

How bad, Abq Jew hears you ask, could the situation be? After all, US News & World Report tells us that
The U.S. is on track to graduate a record number of high school students by 2020. 
That's the good news. The bad news?
That's the good news in a report released today, but the bad news is that certain groups of students - special education, low-income and minority students - continue to lag behind. 
The nationwide graduation rate reached 80 percent in 2012, the highest in U.S. history, and is on pace to reach 90 percent by 2020, according to the 2014 "Building a Grad Nation" report released by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, America's Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education. 
But for the majority of the states, achieving a 90 percent overall graduation rate will not be possible without significant improvements in graduation rates for these populations of students, according to the report.
Let's compare New Mexico, where Mr & Mrs Abq Jew now cheerfully reside, with good old New Jersey, where both of Mr & Mrs Abq Jew's children graduated high school.


      Rank   Overall      Low-Income    Non-Low-Income   % Low
             Grad Rate    Grad Rate     Grad Rate        Income

NJ     9     86%          75%           90%              27%

NM    48     70%          65%           77%              57%

US    --     80%          72%           87%              45%


This picture is not pretty.

You may think that the high proportion of low-income students in New Mexico is skewing the results. And you would be partially right. But not completely.

Let's now compare - still using numbers from US News & World Report  -
  • Cibola High School, the pretty good local public high school (AP® participation rate 25%, total minority enrollment 67%) in the non-low-income area where Mr & Mrs Abq Jew now reside, with
  • Livingston Senior High School, the pretty good local public high school (AP® participation rate 57%, total minority enrollment 32%) in the non-low-income area whence Mr & Mrs Abq Jew's daughter Alex the Boston University graduate was graduated.

         Student:Teacher   College     Math          Language
                   Ratio   Readiness   Proficiency   Proficiency

Cibola              17:1   18.6        2.6           2.7

Livingston          11:1   55.7        3.4           3.4

This picture is even uglier.

But neither picture is complete. For example,
  • Albuquerque Institute of Math & Science, the #1 ranked charter high school in New Mexico (#64 in the US), has an AP® participation rate of 100% and a College Readiness Index of 84.4. But the school only has about 300 students.
  • Albuquerque Academy, a highly regarded private high school, probably has a very high AP® participation rate; other rankings are not readily available. But the school charges about $20,000 (retail) annual tuition.
Where does this leave us? With even more questions, and a continuing conversation.

Let's skip over US News & World Report's National University Rankings: University of New Mexico is #181. New Mexico State University is #190. University of Maryland (for example) is #62. Boston University (for another example) is #41.

Let's instead take a brief look at the role hunger plays in New Mexico's education disaster. Did Abq Jew really use the term disaster? Yes, he did.

Rick Nathanson, of the Albuquerque Journal, reported yesterday that
NM tops in childhood hunger
For the second year in a row, New Mexico ranks No. 1 for childhood hunger, according to the Map the Meal Gap study produced by Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity and the largest network of food banks.   
With one of every three children 18 and younger in the state growing up hungry, New Mexico has a childhood hunger rate of 29.2 percent, far exceeding the national average of 18.6 percent. 
Bernalillo County, which has the state’s largest population, is ranked 11th among all counties in the state, with a 25.5 percent hunger rate among children and a 16.6 percent combined adult and children hunger rate. 
Since 2011, the number of children in the state classified as hungry grew from 137,720 to the current total of 150,390; during that same time period, the total number of hungry people, children and adults, grew from 336,430 to 387,100.
So, Abq Jew hears you ask:

Is it time to head for the hills?

To which Abq Jew must reply:

Too late! We still love it here!
New Mexico is a work in progress ...
but we need to do some work before we see some progress.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin

The Full Concert-Drama: Maestro Murry Sidlin will lead the University of New Mexico Concert Choir, University Chorus, and UNM Symphony Orchestra in a performance of the full concert-drama Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín, at Popejoy Hall on May 8, 2014.

Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin
Thursday May 8 ~ 7:30 pm ~ Popejoy Hall
Click here for for a complete schedule of Brundibar and Defiant Requiem events
Click here for Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin tickets

The story of Terezín (aka Theresienstadt), the Requiem, and of Conductor Murry Sidlin’s return to conduct a memorial concert is eloquently told in director Doug Shultz’s powerful documentary Defiant Requiem.

In late 1943, a chorus of 150 Jews imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp engaged in 16 performances of Verdi’s Requiem - learned by rote from a single vocal score and accompanied by a legless upright piano - before audiences of other prisoners, SS officers, and German army staff members. Their purpose: to sing to their captors words that could not be spoken.

Thus begins an extraordinary saga that touches on politics, power, and the manner in which a timeless choral work provided people at the nadir of human existence with a soaring sense of hope and meaning that according to them could have been found in no other endeavor.

At the center of this series of performances was the Jewish conductor Rafael Schächter, hailed before his internment as a conductor of exceptional skill, and possessed of a persuasive and charismatic nature. His story is both powerful and poignant: During his confinement he worked tirelessly to bring inspiration and meaning to the lives of his fellow inmates - yet ultimately fell victim to the death march of the Third Reich.

The exceptional story of Schächter and the performances of the Verdi Requiem came to the attention of conductor Murry Sidlin, currently Dean of the School of Music at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and resident artist/teacher and associate director of conducting studies at the Aspen Music Festival, in the late 1990s.

The achievements of Schächter and the chorus in the midst of monumental suffering, disease, and death had a powerful effect on Sidlin, and following considerable research he conceived of a concert drama to tell their noble story:

Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín

This performance of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin is part of the observance of Yom HaShoah in Albuquerque, which will also include the performances of Brundibar. 

Click here for for a complete schedule of Brundibar and Defiant Requiem events.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Brundibar Returns to Albuquerque

UNM Children's Chorus Presents: The University of New Mexico Children's Chorus, under the direction of Dr Regina Carlow, presents four performances of the opera Brundibar: A Tribute to the Children of Terezin.

Brundibár is a children's opera by Jewish Czech composer Hans Krása with a libretto by Adolf Hoffmeister, originally performed by the children of Theresienstadt concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia. The name comes from a Czech colloquialism for a bumblebee.

The plot of the opera shares elements with fairy tales such as Hansel and Gretel and The Town Musicians of Bremen.

Aninka and Pepíček are a fatherless sister and brother. Their mother is ill, and the doctor tells them she needs milk to recover. But they have no money. They decide to sing in the marketplace to raise the needed money.

But the evil organ grinder Brundibár chases them away. However, with the help of a fearless sparrow, keen cat, wise dog, and the children of the town, they are able to chase Brundibár away, and sing in the market square.

A Tribute to the Children of Terezin

Congregation Albert
Thursday May 1 2014 ~ 6:00 pm
UNM's Keller Hall
(Across the lobby from Popejoy Hall) 
Sunday May 4 2014 ~ 1:00 pm & 3:00 pm
Albuquerque JCC
Wednesday May 7 2014 ~ 6:30 pm

The UNM Children's Chorus last performed Brundibar in 2010. Here is a video of the first part (Act I Part 1) of that performance.

You may also wish to view Act I Part 2; Act II Part 1; and Act II Part 2.

These performances of Brundibar are part of the observance of Yom HaShoah in Albuquerque, which will culminate in the performance of Verdi's Requiem (Defiant Requiem) on Thursday May 8. 

Click here for for a complete schedule of Brundibar and Defiant Requiem events.

The May 7 performance at the Albuquerque JCC will honor our esteemed guest,
Mrs Ela Weissberger, who played the Cat in Brundibar at Terezin
more than 50 times during the Holocaust.
She is the co-author and subject of the book
The Cat with the Yellow Star: Coming of Age in Terezin.

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque
Good Shabbos, New Mexico

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Holocaust Day Remembrance

Yom HaShoah Observance: This year, there will be several ways in which to observe Yom HaShoah (Sunday sundown through Monday night) in Albuquerque. Here are the first two events, scheduled for this weekend.

Ani Ma'amin

Ani Ma’amin (Hebrew for “I Believe”) is a powerful and thought-provoking modern dance piece exploring the impact of the Holocaust on American Jews.

Choreographed by Shira Greenberg, the 85-minute piece runs with no intermission.

Five dancers recreate the experiences and themes expressed by multiple generations, beginning pre-war and culminating at the present-day.

Dynamic and emotional movement is threaded together with poetry and video testimonies from Holocaust survivors and children of survivors, with footage compiled from the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.

All performances are followed by a Q&A audience discussion session to provide an avenue for the community of performers and audience members to process and discuss the work while exploring their reactions to the event and the intense subject matter.

Due to the intense nature of the piece, parental guidance is suggested for children under 13.

Click here for tickets.

Walk of Remembrance

For the first time (since Abq Jew has been in New Mexico), there will be a Holocaust Remembrance Day Walk in Albuquerque.

The walk will start at 1:00 pm in front of UNM's Dane Smith Hall, and will finish at the Duck Pond.

The approximate distance between the start and finish is 1.5 miles.This is in remembrance of the distance that many Jews walked to their death, and some to their liberation.

There is a parking structure on 601 Yale Blvd, Albuquerque, NM 87131 that is a short distance from Dale Smith Hall. But it's not free on Sunday!

However, we are allowed to park for free in any lot on campus or on the streets within the campus as long as it does not say RESERVED.

Feel free to bring your Israeli flags to wave high and proud! Feel free to bring banners or posters to carry, and candles to carry throughout the walk!

The organizer of this Holocaust Remembrance Day Walk is Samara Miller, a 20-year-old CNM student who came up with and is implementing this idea largely by herself.

Samara told Abq Jew:
When I first started [CNM] I had a class full of people that had never heard about the Holocaust. 
For my final, I actually had the opportunity to interview two survivors and film the interview. 
Both of the survivors stories were different experiences. But they both told me something in common. 
Now that I had heard their stories, I had to keep it going. 
Not to mention I am Jewish, so it's really close to my heart! 
I want this to be a walk of life for us Jews! And for others to stand with us, as we remember the Holocaust and fight anti-Semitism, hatred, and intolerance.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Interfaith Memorial: Overland Park

Memorial & Healing Event: The Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque will host an interfaith memorial and healing event responding to the recent shootings in Overland Park, Kansas.

Interfaith Memorial & Healing Event
Albuquerque Jewish Community Center
Wednesday April 23 @ 5:30 pm

Albuquerque clergy leaders from several faiths (including Jewish, Methodist, and Catholic, the faiths linked to the Overland Park shootings) will gather on the steps of the Albuquerque JCC a short distance from a senior living facility - sites similar to where the Overland Park shootings took place.

Joining them will be representatives from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the NAACP, and other community members.

The JCC is also collecting donations to aid the families of the victims of the Overland Park shootings, Contributions can be made through the JCC of Greater Albuquerque online at, or by calling (505) 348-4455.

Said Dave Simon, JCC Executive Director:
Our thoughts are with the victims’ families. 
We are deeply saddened by this senseless violence, but it will not divide us or defeat us. 
An attack on any JCC is an attack on all JCCs, and we mourn the loss of the innocent victims, all of whom were not Jewish. 
Albuquerque stands with Kansas City to say ’no’ to hate and ‘yes’ to life, community, and tolerance.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Away By The Sea That Was Red

The Jews Safely Crossed: On the seventh day of Passover - the anniversary of the day when this glorious event happened - we again read the story of the Crossing of the Red Sea and the ensuing celebrations.

And for those who are a bit Torah-challenged (aren't we all?), Abq Jew's sources tell him that some guy named Cecil B DeMille shot a movie of the whole affair. Here's a photo: 

That photo looks so old-fashioned! But had there been cellphones at the Red Sea:

The Passover Haggadah, you may remember (after two Seder nights, eight "cups" of wine, and - already! - too much food), barely mentions Moses.

Lest we think that Moses is the hero of the Passover story, the Rabbis who compiled the Haggadah remind us that it was The Holy One Blessed Be He who brought us out of Egypt. "With a strong hand and an outstretched arm."

But Abq Jew (whose Hebrew name is Moses = משׁה) wants to give Moses his due. Thus and so, the song Little Moses. As Abq Jew first described in Little Moses, the Carter Family recorded Little Moses on February 14, 1929, in Camden, New Jersey.

Here is an absolutely splendiferous version of Little Moses by The Seekers, Australia's first international super-group.

FYI: The Seekers are about to head to the UK to continue their 50th Anniversary 'Golden Jubilee' Farewell Tour. Tickets may still be available!

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!
A Zissen Pesach, World!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fun on Pesach: 2014 Edition

Just A Few Things: Once upon a time, a famous Jewish scientist (Albert Einstein, in case you don't recognize him) said (in a relatively different context)

Such wise words! Unfortunately, the Albuquerque Jewish community has paid no heed; with the result (as you can see on the Abq Jew Calendar) that (without exaggeration)

Everything in the world is happening this Sunday.

This includes, of course, final cleaning and preparation for Passover. No one wants to be Pesachdik for Shabbos; everyone must be Pesachdik by Monday morning. Do these facts suggest a possible timeframe for an appropriate course of action? Never mind.

And if that's not enough, we have the customary festivities associated with the birthday of Thomas Jefferson with which to contend.

What Abq Jew is trying to say here is that his next blog post may be a few long, long days away. Please hold the applause. Let's get down to Passover business.

Let Us Go

The Atlanta area's Weber School has put together a fun and meaningful Passover parody of the hit 'Let It Go,' exploring the traditional themes of Passover while asking: "How do we adapt the Seder's idea of freedom to our modern lives?"

Students helped craft the lyrics and themes and performed all the vocals and acting roles. The School has posted a lyrics guide, a study guide, and lesson plans.


Which brings us to Andrew Silow-Carroll, Editor-in-Chief of the New Jersey Jewish News. Abq Jew has written about Mr Silow-Carroll before (see Laughing at Pew, Jewish Jokes for Dark Days, and Laughing at Pew 2)) and will (Billy Nader) undoubtedly do so again. Anyway, here is his latest, Passoverkill?.
by Andrew Silow-Carroll
NJJN Editor-in-Chief
April 9, 2014

When I was growing up, there were five foods on our seder plate: egg (beitza), shank bone (zeroa), bitter herbs (maror), vegetable (karpas), and haroset (haroset). At some point we began adding hazeret, another form of the bitter herbs, on the theory that a Jewish family gathering could always use a little more bitterness.

In recent years, the symbols on the seder plate have tended to proliferate. To honor the contributions of Jewish women, some people add an orange. Rabbis for Human Rights suggests a tomato to show that you support exploited farmworkers. And still others add olives as a symbol of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

All of these are worthy reminders, but how many symbols do we need during a ritual event already bursting with symbolism? Lots, that’s how many. If you really want to cover your bases this year, check out my suggestions for the 21st-century seder plate:

Apple: Celebrates how technology has changed Jewish life, like on-line Torah learning and the ability to play Candy Crush while sitting in the carpool lane at Sunday school.

Green pepper: Symbolizes our need to heal the planet, which you promise to do right after using up all the Styrofoam cups and plastic utensils that you bought for Passover.

Grapes: A reminder that if you really drink all four cups of wine, you can put up with your cousin’s boyfriend for one night.

Scallions: Persian and Kurdish Jews have a Passover custom of striking one another with scallions to symbolize the burdens of the Israelites. I like to put scallions on the seder plate to mock what sounds like a ridiculous and even dangerous custom.

Strawberry: Expresses solidarity with professional athletes struggling with addiction problems.

Carrot: Calls attention to the plight of gingers, and how people with red hair must really be careful in the sun.

Asparagus: A reminder that two hours after the seder you’ll be reminded what you ate at the seder.

Prickly pear: The national symbol of the Israeli Jew: tough on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside.

Kiwi: The national symbol of the American Jew: once exotic, now familiar, especially among college grads, who tend to marry them in greater and greater numbers. Jews, not kiwis. Marrying a kiwi would be weird.

Celery: Sounds like “salary,” and expresses the hope that your children will get jobs after graduation.

Potato: Placed on the plate piping hot, it reminds you not to bring up certain topics with your in-laws, especially but not limited to the high cost of prescription drugs and the traffic since they built the new development.

Rhubarb: Uh-oh, you brought up the cost of drugs when I told you not to, and now Uncle Harry is going on and on about Obamacare. Nice job.

Broccoli: The surprising fact that broccoli is a member of the cabbage species helps us understand how some of our family members can actually be related to us.

Prune: Doesn’t symbolize anything, but believe me, you’ll want one in the next few days.

Pineapple: Just as a pineapple starts out sweet and ends up causing cold sores, something something something about your cousin’s boyfriend.

Banana: Reminds us that a man, too, can wash the damn dishes after the seder.

Here are your favorites from Passovers past!

Google Exodus

Ready To Search For Chometz?

Pesach As She Oughtta Be

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!
A Zissen Pesach, World!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In The Rail Yards

Something New in Abq: Let's start out by stating the obvious: In not-too-distant terrible times, Jews and trains did not have a warm and loving relationship.

The Albuquerque Jewish community will commemorate those times on Sunday April 27, and on Monday April 28, which is Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Abq Jew, on the other hand, has always loved trains. In Valley Stream, he lived across the street from the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) tracks, and loved to flatten pennies and watch the trains go by.

From California, Abq Jew and his mother, Roselyn Yellin, of blessed memory, rode the rails to his Bar Mitzvah - in Valley Stream.

In Felton, California, Abq Jew's family were among the first investors in the Roaring Camp & Big Trees Railroad. Abq Jew still has the stock certificates somewhere.

And then there were the weekly rides on what Abq Jew fondly called the Very Erie Lackawanna Railroad from Hoboken to Summit Jewish Center - his first real job in Jewish education.

Abq Jew has recently learned about some new developments - downtown, in the Albuquerque Rail Yards - that could really make life here a lot more interesting, educational, and fun.

Almost as important - these new developments could make our city (and all of New Mexico) an even stronger travel and vacation destination.

We'll talk about two of these developments now, but stay tuned. There's lots more coming!

Here is what a 2004 PBS documentary said about Albuquerque's Historic Railroad Shops:
Like the bones of some odd prehistoric dinosaur, perhaps no other buildings in the Southwest have such a presence or history. The sprawling buildings sit quietly just outside Albuquerque's downtown. Walking through the empty interiors is an eerie experience, miles of glass windows, cavernous spaces, the remains of a shop bulletin board and curious remnants. 
For over 70 years the Santa Fe Railroad operated a huge repair and work shop in Albuquerque. At one time, the shops could rebuild over twenty locomotives in each of the huge five-story, glass story buildings. 
The impact of the shops was so pervasive, townspeople set their clocks to the shop whistle as it signaled the beginning and end of the workday. The shops were the heartbeat of the city and economic engine that helped power a nation. 
This documentary takes a fascinating photographic voyage through these tremendous buildings and hears of the remarkable experiences of the people who worked there.
Things have changed since that PBS documentary was filmed. Here are two big reasons why things are changing for the better.

1. WHEELS Museum

The WHEELS Museum organization was established to preserve history, educate the public, and provide current and future generations with an understanding of the impact of transportation on New Mexico and the West.

The Museum will be located on the site of the historic Santa Fe Railroad Shops in downtown Albuquerque. Built in 1914, the Albuquerque shops serviced steam locomotives operating on the Santa Fe Railroad.

Leba Freed, who family history in Albuquerque goes way back, has been the driving force behind the effort to build the WHEELS Museum. And there's a complementary effort to restore Santa Fe 2926 and rebuild the Roundhouse, as this video explains:

There are two big events coming up at the WHEELS Museum:
  1. National Train Day on Saturday, May 10, 2014
  2. WHEELS Benefit Gala on Saturday, June 14, 2014
Visit the WHEELS Museum's website for more information.

2. Rail Yards Market

The Rail Yards Market is a grassroots campaign to revive the Albuquerque Rail Yards by bringing in a weekly market featuring food, art, and music.

In September of 2013, the City of Albuquerque completed its renovation of the Blacksmith Shop, one of the historic buildings on the 28.3 acre site that comprises the Rail Yards. Improvements included new glass, fire-suppression, roof repair, electric service and a 130-car parking lot just outside the shop’s front door.

A team of committed community members has dedicated the last several months to activating that space by creating a weekly public market featuring food, art, music and community education.

Rail Yards Market
Sundays, May 4 - November 2, 2014

The Rail Yards Market is currently utilizing its website and - more importantly - the crowd sourcing site Indiegogo to help raise funds for its first year of operation.

Together we can bring new life to the Albuquerque Rail Yards
by creating the city’s first covered public market
and community space.

Abq Jew thinks this is a very cool idea. Take a look at this video, and you will, too!

Yes, there is a Master Plan for the Albuquerque Rail Yards. But Abq Jew suggests that you not get bogged down with all the reading. Instead -

Call ahead and go for a visit!
Learn how you can join the adventure!
WHEELS Museum       Rail Yards Market

Friday, April 4, 2014

Margot Leverett's Klezmer Fantazi

Got Weekend Plans? In case you've lost track, famed klezmer clarinet virtuosa Margot Leverett is in New Mexico (see Margot's in New Mexico!) and will be performing this very weekend - right here in Albuquerque!

Margot will be appearing on the same stage as the Albuquerque Concert Band, and actually performing Klezmer Fantazi (a free-form song, traditionally played at Jewish weddings to the guests as they dined )with the Mesilla Valley Concert Band.

The performance will be at Volcano Vista High School, which is on the Very West Side of Albuquerque. For all you NEers - yes, you get to go across the river! In case you've lost track, that's the Rio Grande.

And in answer to your questions (Abq Jew can hear you!):
  1. YES. There are volcanoes on the West Side of Albuquerque.
  2. YES. You can see the volcanoes very well from the high school. 
  3. YES, You can drive to and from the concert in broad daylight.
  4. YES. Here is a map. GPS coordinates: 35.177177, -106.732369
And if you'd like a forschbite of what to expect: Here is Margot performing the Klezmer Fantazi  (in two parts) with the Brown University Wind Symphony in April 2009.

And if, for some crazy reason, you find yourself in Santa Fe (and what better place is there to find yourself, outside of Albuquerque?), you should certainly drop by Chabad Santa Fe 's simcha - the Groundbreaking Ceremony for their new building, the Center for Jewish Life!

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!
Mazeltov, Santa Fe!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Mexico 2014 Seder Roundup!

Got Shmura Matzo? Got Horseradish? The story is told ... about the Jewish community in Madrid, who needed horseradish for Pesach
The Jewish community in Madrid needed horseradish for making chrain (horseradish) for Pesach, but all the European Union countries gave them the same reply, "Sorry, we have none to send." 
In desperation, the Rabbi phoned one of his Yeshiva friends in Tel Aviv and begged him to send a crate of horseradish by air freight to Madrid.   
Two days before Pesach, a crate of grade Aleph tear-jerking Israeli horseradish was loaded at Ben Gurion Airport onto the EL Al 789 flight to Madrid, and all seemed to be well. 
Unfortunately, when the Rabbi went to the Madrid Airport to claim the horseradish he was informed that a wildcat strike had just broken out and no shipments would be unloaded for at least four days.  As a result: 
The chrain in Spain stayed mainly on the plane!
Abq Jew thanks Chuck Glass and Jacob Richman for that story.

But more (or less) to the point - have you got your shmura matzah?
Regular ol' Passover matzo is carefully guarded from the time that the wheat is taken to the mill to be ground into flour, to make sure that it does not come into contact with water or other moisture that could make it rise.  
Shmura matzo, on the other hand, is made from wheat that is guarded from the time that it is harvested.
Is this necessary? Abq Jew hears you ask. Tell Abq Jew if you've heard this one before:

Most rabbinical authorities say no.
Some rabbinical authorities say yes.

But this technical explanation leaves out the best thing about shmura matzo:

Shmura matzo is always handmade.
As this video from Rabbi Berel Levertov of Chabad Santa Fe shows:

So here we are, each of us and all of us, making final arrangements for our Passover Seders. Where to go? To invite or (wait) ... to be invited?  Thus, Abq Jew thoughtfully provides a Seder Roundup for all of us last-minute reservation-makers.

First Seder & Second Seder

First Seder Only

Second Seder Only

Yes, we're getting down to crunch time! 
Got all your Pesachdik foods? 
Keep checking Abq Jew's Pesach Watch
And keep reporting in!