Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Report from Azazel, 5776

B'nai Israel's eScapegoat: Yom Kippur 5765 has come and gone, and Congregation B'nai Israel's eScapegoat (see Our eScapegoat Returns) is no longer roaming the Internet collecting sins.

As all those who attended shul (even for a short period) on Yom Kippur know, that our inscriptions in the Book of Life are

Signed on Rosh Hashanah. Sealed on Yom Kippur.

For most of us, that's about as far as we need to go. This is what we were taught in Sunday School, and this is what we (fervently or un-) believe. But wait!

What many of us do not realize is that our inscriptions
in the Book of Life have not yet been delivered

And until the FedEx box arrives at the Gates of Heaven - and until the KBH (Holy One, Blessed Be He) signs for it - there is still time to repent.

How much time? Abq Jew hears you ask. Until, the Rabbis say, our inscriptions are

Delivered on Hoshanna Rabba.

More on Hoshanna Rabba later. First, let's take a look at the Top 10 Sins that Albuquerque's eScapegoat collected. (Click here to read them all.)

Top 10 Sins of the Abq Jewish Community
1. I haven't attached shul since I moved  to Albuquerque [held over from 5775]. 
2. I lost my patience with co-workers and acted exasperated when they didn't "get it" fast enough! 
3. I have not lived up to my personal commitment to make the world a better place. 
4. I didn't communicate better with my family during the past year. 
5. Sometimes I enjoy schadenfreude just a bit too much. 
6. Being angry ... just plain angry. 
7. Being selfish, self centered, and narcissistic.
8. Not doing enough for G-d. 
9. Lashon hora ... think before I speak! 
10. Don"t ask [also held over from 5775]!!! 

Abq Jew (and, lehavdil, the Rabbis) remind you:

If you didn't repent by Yom Kippur,
you've still got until
what's the name of that holiday again?

For more on Hoshana Rabbah, see The Great Hosanna.

Here is one place - Congregation B'nai IsraelAbq Jew is sure will have services for Hoshana Rabbah:

Until then  ....

Hag Sameach, Albuquerque!
Good Yontif, New Mexico!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

When Is It Over?

A Simple Question; Three Answers: We have just emerged from the solemn holiness of Yom Kippur, only to learn that the great, the incomparable Yogi Berra passed away at age 90 while we were chanting Kol Nidre.

With one Yizkor down and one to go (on Shemini Atzeret, October 5) in this round of fall holidays - plus the description of the death of Moses in this week's parsha, Ha'azinu - perhaps it is a most appropriate time to ask the question

When is it over?

Here are three possible answers to guide us through the remaining, happy, fall holidays.

1. It's Over Before It's Over

Let's start with Roz Chast. Or, more accurately, with Roz Chast's parents, of blessed memory.

Do you know Roz Chast? Here is what Wikipedia says about her.
Rosalind "Roz" Chast (born November 26, 1954) is an American cartoonist and a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker. 
She grew up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, the only child of an assistant principal and a high school teacher who subscribed to The New Yorker
Her earliest cartoons were published in Christopher Street and The Village Voice. In 1978 The New Yorker accepted one of her cartoons and has since published more than 800. She also publishes cartoons in Scientific American and the Harvard Business Review.
Abq Jew notes with pleasure that Roz Chast is a graduate of Midwood High School in Brooklyn, Mrs Abq Jew's alma mater.

Roz Chast's most recent book, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, is a hilarious (to those who have gone through it) memoir of her parents' first days at The Place and last days on Earth.

As The Wheel of Doom illustrates - in Jewish households of a certain era, sometimes it's over even before it's over.

As Alex Witchel wrote in The New York Times Sunday Book Review (May 30, 2014):
Here is some well-considered advice from Roz Chast on “How to Prepare for Very, Very Advanced Old Age”: 
Make sure to scrimp and save every penny of your precious earnings ... And when your scrimpings run out: 
  1. Go into your children’s scrimpings, and/or
  2. Play and win the lottery, and/or
  3. Apply for a Guggenheim, and/or
  4. Start smoking, and/or
  5. Take hemlock.
If you read this list and laughed ruefully, chances are you have parents who are living (if that’s what you call it) forever, costing a fortune and driving you insane. If not, you are probably young enough to have parents who are white-water rafting, eating Greek yogurt and driving you insane. 
Never fear. Your day will come.

2. It's Over When It's Over

Based upon Yogi's famous saying (which he probably actually said, referring to the 1973 pennant race):

It ain't over till it's over.

This is, Abq Jew believes, the mainstream, middle-of-the-road position, about which it's hard to argue.

3. It's Never Over

But we are Jews, so - even though it's hard - let's argue.

And let's start with Abq Jew's early (2010!), prescient, and now famous blog post, Torah and Talmud and Zombies. In which Abq Jew stated:
When it comes to the afterlife, Judaism (among many religions) found itself in a theological and theodical box:  If we believe that God is just, how do we account for evil in the world?  And how do we account for the misfortune of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked (tzaddik vi'ra lo, rasha vi'tov lo)? 
It is clear to Abq Jew and most disinterested observers that there ain't much justice in this world, so it must be that God's justice is delivered somewhere else - in Olam Ha'ba, the World to Come. 
But how does the World to Come actually work?  Well, you've got two ideas that compete with each other (in the sense that you only need one of them to answer the question): 
  • Resurrection of the Body.  This is the high octane form of the afterlife.  Yes, God has the power to lift us up from the dead, and to enable us to . . . well, exactly what is hard to say.
  • Immortality of the Soul.  This is the unleaded afterlife.  Since we have no need for our physical components, they are jettisoned . . . well, exactly when is hard to say.
Read more here.

On a more practical level, we Albuquerque Jews have institutions and organizations and, most importantly, the Chevre Kaddisha of Greater Albuquerque, to help us approach things with a tiny modicum of sanguinity.

The Chevre Kaddisha is looking for new members!
Please contact Abq Jew!

But to be more practical, we need to talk about ... "things."

Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death ®  (based right here in Albuquerque!) has often said

Just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant,
talking about funerals won’t make you dead.

Here is an ELI Talk by Dr Michael Slater (President of the Board of Kavod v'Nichum (Honor and Comfort), a non-profit educational and advocacy organization on end of life issues) that tests this theory.
Living Jewishly Means Dying Jewishly, Too. 
In much of society today, death is to be avoided at all costs - in polite company and modern medicine alike. Jewish tradition, explains Dr. Michael Slater, has a very different approach.  
In a talk that is part memoir, part history, part communal call-to-action, we see the wisdom of Judaism as not only life-affirming, but death-affirming, as well.

There now ... That wasn't so bad, was it?

Shabbat Shalom, New Mexico!
Good Shabbos, Albuquerque!

Hag Sameach, New Mexico!
Good Yontif, Albuquerque!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Write Your Own Script

Chabad Inspiration: Among the many inspiring messages on the Internet these past few Days of Awe, this one in particular caught Abq Jew's attention.

From's Daily Dose of Jewish Wisdom, based on letters and talks of the Rebbe, Rabbi M. M. Schneerson.

You came on stage with a script in your hand. The script tells of you, the hero of the story, bringing light into places of darkness, repairing that which is broken, healing that which has fallen ill, creating beauty from scattered fragments of everyday life. 
Your soul is tied to that script. Without it, you have no reason to be here. For you were conceived within that context, born to fill that role. 
And should you fail to perform according to script, what then? 
Then you must write your own script, one that can heal even that which you yourself have broken. 
And your Creator who conceived you and conceived this entire plan, what will He think of this new script you have composed? 
He will laugh in delight, exclaiming, “Look at my child! She has written her own script!” 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Sermon for Rosh Hashana 5776

Rabbi Adam J Rosenbaum: Since Abq Jew has quoted him often (most recently in Rosh Hashanah 5776), it is altogether fitting and proper that more be said about him.

First of all, Rabbi Adam J Rosenbaum is the former assistant rabbi of Abq Jew's former Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston, New Jersey. But these days, Rabbi Adam is the rabbi of Synagogue Emanu-El in Charleston, South Carolina, whose website tells us
Rabbi Rosenbaum was born in Winnipeg, Canada and grew up in Denver, Colorado. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. 
He was ordained as a conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2005, where he also earned a Master of Arts degree in Bible and Semitic Languages. 
While at JTS he served as a Student Rabbi at Degel Israel Synagogue in Watertown, NY, and as Rabbinic Intern at Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston, NJ. Upon ordination, he served as Temple Beth Shalom’s assistant rabbi for four years. 
Rabbi Rosenbaum and his wife, Ellen Miriam Brandwein, and their children, Shoshana, Jonathan and Eliana, love living in Charleston and being a part of the Synagogue Emanu-El community. Rabbi Rosenbaum feels privileged to serve this congregation and is committed to helping foster a synagogue of learning and caring.

What the synagogue's website doesn't tell us is that Rabbi Adam is a real mensch and, not surprisingly, a fervent fan of the Chicago Cubs.

Or that it was an honor and a privilege for Abq Jew & Family to live across the street from Rabbi Adam & Family for many of those were the Livingston days.

On Day Two of Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Adam had the courage to speak about the Iran Nuclear Deal: what the debate about the deal has done to the Jewish community; how we can learn to argue for the sake of heaven; and how we can learn to live with one another despite our personal differences.

With permission, Abq Jew has transcribed the RH2 sermon from Rabbi Adam's blog.
With Friends Like These …
Rabbi Adam J. Rosenbaum
Synagogue Emanu-El, Charleston, SC
I’d like to speak with you about the nuclear deal with Iran, but not in the way you might expect. I’d like to do so by telling you about the actions of two modern rabbis, as well as two ancient rabbis.

The first contemporary rabbi is my stepfather, Fred Greenspahn, whom some of you may remember meeting on one of his previous visits to Charleston. He was ordained by Hebrew Union College but his main profession is a Biblical studies professor at Florida Atlantic University. Over the years, Rabbi Greenspahn has never shied away from controversial topics, certainly not in public. 
A few weeks ago, Rabbi Greenspahn joined hundreds of rabbis by signing a petition in favor of the Iran deal. The petition expressed hope that the agreement would slow Iran’s nuclear capabilities, all the while acknowledging that Iran remains a threat to Israel and the entire Middle East. 
I should say at this point that you may very well disagree with my stepfather’s stance, but if you read the petition, you’d have a hard time calling it radical or extreme. 
Yet the ensuing days were anything but peaceful for Rabbi Greenspahn. I’d like to read you some of the messages that my stepfather received in the days after he declared his support. 
The first was a voicemail on his home phone that said, “Hey Greenspan, You’re probably one of those [expletive] Jews that sold themselves out to the Nazis. You [expletive] little weasel coward. What is it with you self-hating creatures. You’re just weaklings. You are an embarrassment to our race. No wonder so many people don’t respect Jews because people like you are just so afraid of their enemies: ‘Let’s make peace.’ You [expletive].” 
The second was another voicemail: “You are at a…you are some Jew. I mean don’t even say you are Jewish. God. You’re really a rabbi? A leader? You’re horrible. Get out of there. Good-bye. Oh God, you are disgusting. Good bye.” 
A third message, this time an email: “You pathetic [expletive] -you put your name down to a paper that is meant to help the worst enemy Israel has ever had-a plan that the Muslim President has helped create so that the Jews would be incinerated-you-you traitor-you are disgusting; [it’s] 1938 – and you are leading the march to the ovens.” 
My stepfather received eight more messages like the ones I quoted. Understandably, he contacted the police so they could ensure his safety, and so far, thank goodness, both he and my mother are fine. 
This is where we are in 2015 in the American Jewish community. Our ability to have sane, rational arguments about difficult topics is evaporating as we speak. I know it’s tempting to dismiss these hostile statements as the unfortunate spewings of a few cranks and yahoos, but I fear that vitriol like this has entered the mainstream. 
Each day, there are more reports about those active in the Jewish community shying away from Jewish organizational meetings or religious services for fear of rancor over the issue, while those who are not involved in the community use this controversy as another excuse to avoid involvement altogether. 
As one observer put it, the Jewish community is on the verge of committing “fratricide” against one another. A poignant example was the angry outcry when Congressman Jerold Nadler of New York announced that he supported the deal. 
I’m all for vigorous debate and feeling passionate about the key issues of the day. But there’s a line between arguing fervently and launching personal attacks and hatred. Again, you’re welcome to take issue with my stepfather’s stance, and I’m sure at least some of you do, but I also know for a fact that he is someone who loves the state of Israel, and is not, as one of his emails accused him, a “Judas goat”. 
I’d like to tell you about a second modern rabbi, someone I don’t know nearly as well, but someone whose courage is worthy of the same amount of respect. His name is Victor Urecki, and he’s the rabbi of a synagogue in the place that I refer to as “the other Charleston” – that is, Charleston, West Virginia. 
Rabbi Urecki has a keen interest in politics and has been attending AIPAC events for years; he’s even become something of a point person for AIPAC activities in the state. 
When the Iran deal was finalized and made public, Rabbi Urecki, who actively uses Facebook to communicate with his congregants, announced that he would reserve judgment until he read the entire text of the agreement. While he was ruminating, he posted articles both for and against the deal, saying that he wanted his followers to take a careful and informed position. 
Eventually, Rabbi Urecki announced that he was against the agreement, and he argued his position publicly, but he never stopped posting articles on all sides of the issue. 
What’s more, when Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, one of our most prominent Jewish legislators, announced that she would support the deal, the rabbi defended her publicly against those who called her a traitor. 
Rabbi Urecki’s approach to the issue also deserves our respect. He was able to embody an all-too-uncommon trait of arguing for the sake of heaven. 
This very phrase is mentioned by our Sages in Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of the Fathers, and tells of two more rabbis who are worthy of our admiration: Hillel and Shammai, who lived more than 2,000 years ago, during the early formations of Jewish law. 
These two men and their disciples were well-known for disagreeing on numerous aspects of the law. Both men were great scholars, yet Hillel is often thought of as the greater of the two, because we are taught that the law agrees with Hillel’s point of view in all but a few cases. Also, Hillel is known as a man of great patience, while Shammai sometimes would lose his temper. 
The reason why Hillel’s opinion is more accepted is because, when he would teach Jewish law to his students, he would always explain Shammai’s opinion before arguing for his own position. 
The house of Shammai, meanwhile, would share the house of Hillel’s position only after it would argue for Shammai’s opinion. It’s fair to say that Rabbi Urecki has emulated the admirable behavior of Hillel by sharing articles both for and against the Iran nuclear agreement. 
But the story of Hillel and Shammai has another aspect, perhaps the greatest reason why Jewish tradition honors both men. The Talmud tells us that the descendants and students of each scholar often socialized with one another, leading to several marriages between people on either side of the proverbial fence. 
This is a tribute to a spirit of cooperation and community in spite of personal differences – a spirit that has been evaporating in today’s American Jewish community. 
I share all of this today because I am concerned on multiple fronts. I am concerned about the Iran deal; while it may very well be better than no deal at all, I remain highly skeptical. 
But I am even more worried about the state of discourse in the Jewish world. For those who argue that this agreement might annihilate the Jewish population, I say that it might not even come to that, since the verbal abuse in this argument is fraying our connections enough as it is. 
And for those who claim that being against this deal is the equivalent of warmongering, it pales in comparison to the warmongering uttered by Iran’s leadership every day. As with every generation, we face people who wish to destroy us, but we need to learn that self-inflicted wounds cut the deepest of all. 
Rather, we should follow the example of Rabbi Greenspahn, who refused to be intimidated by the verbal threats that arrived on his doorstep. Rather, we should follow the example of Rabbi Urecki, who chose to educate others about the issues facing the Middle East rather than engaging in insults and demeaning others. 
And rather, we should follow the example of Hillel and Shammai and their disciples, who found ways to coexist in spite of deep intellectual divisions. Let us not forget to speak with one another with care and respect so that we may combat the threats of the future together.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rosh Hashanah 5776

Dip Your Apple In The Honey:  It's Rosh Hashanah! And, as we begin a New Year, please remember - as Rabbi Adam Rosenbaum of Synagogue Emanu-El in Charleston, South Carolina has taught us -

There is hope for the world.
There is hope for your life.
The way it is now is not the way it must be. 

Abq Jew warmly invites you to check out
this now-classic Rosh Hashana hit from 5772:

Dip Your Apple!

No apples, pomegranates, babies, or smartphones
were harmed in the filming of this video.
Please don't feed babies honey.


L'Shana Tova U'Metuka, Albuquerque!
A Good & Sweet Year, New Mexico!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Greatest. Meetings. Ever.

Answering The Stewball Quiz: And now back to the Stewball Quiz (see Dissecting Stewball), which consisted of exactly one question.

Based upon all that you have read in this blog post -
to what great historical event may the formation of
Peter, Paul and Mary as a folk group be compared?

First, a little (very little) history about the formation of Peter, Paul and Mary. It all started with Peter Yarrow, as Wikipedia tells us:
Yarrow began singing in public during his last year at Cornell while participating in Professor Harold Thompson's popular American Folk Literature course, colloquially known on campus as "Romp-n-Stomp."   
The experience of performing in front of a large audience was a thrilling one for Yarrow, who discovered he loved it. He branched out to lead community sings on weekends. 
Upon graduation he played in folk clubs in New York City, appeared on the CBS television show, Folk Sound USA, and the following summer performed at the Newport Folk Festival, where he met manager and musical impressario [Albert] Grossman
One day, the two were at Israel Young's Folklore Center in Greenwich Village discussing Grossman's idea for a new group that would be "an updated version of the Weavers for the baby-boom generation ... with the crossover appeal of the Kingston Trio". 
Yarrow noticed a picture of Mary Travers on the wall and asked Mr. Grossman who she was. 
“That’s Mary Travers,” Grossman said. “She’d be good if you could get her to work."
The lanky, blonde Kentucky-born Travers was well connected in Greenwich Village folk song circles. While still a high school student at the progressive Elizabeth Irwin High School she had been picked out by Elizabeth Irwin's chorus leader Robert De Cormier to sing in a trio called The Song Swappers, backing up Pete Seeger in the 1955 Folkways LP reissue of the Almanac Singers' The Talking Union and two other albums. 
As well as performing twice with Seeger at Carnegie Hall, Travers had also played a folksinger in a short-lived Broadway play called The Next President, starring satirist Mort Sahl, but she was known to be painfully introverted and loath to sing professionally. 
To draw her out, "Mr. Yarrow went to Ms. Travers's apartment on Macdougal Street, across from the Gaslight, one of the principal folk clubs. They harmonized on 'Miner's Lifeguard', a union song, and decided that their voices blended. 
To fill out the trio, Ms. Travers suggested Noel Stookey, a friend doing folk music and stand-up comedy at the Gaslight." 
They chose the catchy "Peter, Paul and Mary" as the name for their group, since Noel Stookey's middle name was Paul, and rehearsed intensively for six months, touring outside New York before debuting in 1961 as a polished act at The Bitter End nightclub in Greenwich Village. 
The rest, as they say, is history. Or, as Abq Jew prefers to call it, History.

So, to what great historical event may the formation of Peter, Paul and Mary as a folk group be compared?

Here are a few possibilities, based upon the scores of responses Abq Jew did not receive in response to Dissecting Stewball.

Meetings of Two

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel grew up in the 1940s and 1950s in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Forest Hills in Queens, New York, just three blocks away from one another, and attended the same schools, Public School 164 in Flushing, Parsons Junior High School, and Forest Hills High School. 
Individually, when still young, they developed a fascination with music; both listened to the radio and were taken with rock and roll as it emerged, particularly the Everly Brothers.
When Simon first noticed Garfunkel, he was singing in a fourth grade talent show, and Simon thought that was a good way to attract girls; he hoped for a friendship which eventually started in 1953 when they were in the sixth grade and appeared on stage together in a school play adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.
That first stage appearance was followed by the duo forming a street-corner doo-wop group, the Peptones, with three other friends, and learning to harmonize together. They began performing for the first time as a duo at school dances.
They moved to Forest Hills High School in 1955,[14] where, in 1956, they wrote their first song, "The Girl for Me"; Simon's father sending a handwritten copy to the Library of Congress to register a copyright. 
While trying to remember the lyrics to the Everly's song "Hey Doll Baby", they created their own song, "Hey Schoolgirl", which they recorded themselves for $25 at Sanders Recording Studio in Manhattan. 
While recording they were overheard by a promoter, Sid Prosen, who – after speaking to their parents – signed them to his independent label Big Records.
Other possibilities for Meetings of Two: Ferrante and Teicher; Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Meetings of Three

The Limeliters

After (actually before) the meeting of Peter, Paul, and Mary, the Greatest. Meeting of Three. Ever. was surely that of The Limeliters. Wikipedia tells us:
The Limeliters are an American folk music group, formed in July 1959 by Lou Gottlieb (bass violin/bass), Alex Hassilev (banjo/baritone), and Glenn Yarbrough (guitar/tenor). The group was active from 1959 until 1965, when they disbanded.   
After a hiatus of sixteen years Yarbrough, Hassilev, and Gottlieb reunited and began performing again as The Limeliters in reunion tours. On a regular basis a continuation The Limeliters group is still active and performing. 
Gottlieb died in 1996 and Hassilev, the last founding member who had remained active in the group, has retired, leaving the group to carry on without any of the original members. 
Gottlieb, fresh from obtaining his Ph.D in musicology, was in the audience when Alex Hassilev and Glenn Yarbrough appeared on stage to sing a duet together. Gottlieb, who was then working as an arranger for The Kingston Trio, originally thought that "these two guys" could help him make some demos for the Trio. 
Soon, they packed up and headed to Aspen, Colorado, to work at a club called "The Limelite," which Yarbrough and Hassilev had purchased after singing there during the previous ski season. 
After a short period of perfecting their act, they set off for the "hungry i" in San Francisco, which at the time was the California nerve center for the mushrooming contemporary folk movement.
The owner had just had a group with three long names strung together and wasn't about to put "Yarbrough, Hassilev, and Gottlieb" up on the marquee. But the group had not yet decided on a name. They chose "The Limeliters". 
Their success was immediate. Only two days after their professional debut, the group received offers from three recording companies. In early 1960 they released their first album on Elektra. Soon after they signed with RCA Victor and a string of best selling albums followed.
Other possibilities for Meetings of Three: The Kingston Trio; The Chad Mitchell Trio; DreamWorks SKG; The Yalta Conference.

Meetings of Four

Wikipedia tells us:
In March 1957, John Lennon, then aged sixteen, formed a skiffle group with several friends from Quarry Bank school. They briefly called themselves the Blackjacks, before changing their name to the Quarrymen after discovering that a respected local group was already using the other name. 
Fifteen-year-old Paul McCartney joined as a rhythm guitarist shortly after he and Lennon met that July. In February 1958, McCartney invited his friend George Harrison to watch the band. The fourteen-year-old auditioned for Lennon, impressing him with his playing, but Lennon initially thought Harrison was too young to join them. After a month of Harrison's persistence, they enlisted him as their lead guitarist. 
[Producer George] Martin's first recording session with the Beatles took place at EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London on 6 June 1962. Martin immediately complained to Epstein about Best's poor drumming and suggested they use a session drummer in his place. Already contemplating Best's dismissal, the Beatles replaced him in mid-August with Ringo Starr, who left Rory Storm and the Hurricanes to join them.
Other possibilities for Meetings of Four: The Four Seasons; The Mills Brothers; The Statler Brothers; The Brothers Four.

Meetings of More

Meetings Bloody Meetings

"I’ve got to go to a meeting."

The Enterprise Media website tells us:
It’s a phrase that makes most people’s hearts sink. It echoes with boredom, frustration and a general waste of valuable time. And yet, we all know you can’t manage without meetings.  
A team isn’t a team unless we all get together to discuss problems, share ideas and come to decisions. And while they continue to take place "face to face" we are increasingly using technology to meet with colleagues online as "virtual teams".  
The answer of course is to have efficient, effective and productive meetings but we all know that’s easier said than done. A recent survey revealed that 49% of managers felt they were wasting at least 3 hours a week in meetings. And 21% believed that 4 out of 5 meetings were a total waste of their time.  
Indeed, a meeting is often the only time the whole team comes together and is the only place where the leader is seen as a leader rather than "the official" individuals report to. If they feel like their time has been wasted, they lose respect not just for the leader but also for the wider organization that put that leader in place.  
However many leaders aren’t even aware that running meetings is a teachable, learnable skill. But of course, it’s not a gift, it’s a technique. In fact, a technique with five key elements that applies to both face to face and virtual meetings. 
These five elements supply the framework of Meetings Bloody Meetings, one of the most popular training DVDs ever and one of the most widely used training videos of all time.  
[In Meetings Bloody Meetings 2012,] John Cleese returns in the classic role of the Judge and demonstrates how the rules for running a meeting parallel those of a court.
Abq Jew must (he must! he must!) tell you that he is a big fan of the now classic 1976 version of Meetings Bloody Meetings, which he deployed with some success at Lucent Technologies at the turn of the century. At least we all had a few good laughs before the layoffs.

In case you get lost - or in case the MBM folks decide to vigorously enforce their copyrights - you may find additional links to the 1976 version here and here and here; and to the 2012 version here. Otherwise -

But we don't have to worry about business meetings for a while!

Happy Labor Day!
Remember how we got here!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fall 2015 @ OASIS Albuquerque

Great Courses @ OASIS:  The mission of OASIS (as stated on the organization's website) is
... to promote healthy aging through a three-fold approach: lifelong learning, healthy living and social engagement. 

OASIS Albuquerque Executive Director Kathleen Raskob says

You may have noticed that OASIS experienced quite a bit of growth over the past year.

We have expanded class offerings and this fall, we have 140 classes, field trips, workshops and concerts for you to select from.
For those of you interested in statistics, our growth is measured in how many class “slots” are filled. Our summer programs grew 10% (as of mid-July 2015) from 2014, and winter/ spring programs grew 35%!
OASIS Albuquerque has just announced their Fall 2015 line-up of classes.

Registration opens on Wednesday September 9.

Kathleen continues to make sure there are plenty of courses of Jewish interest. This session's courses and instructors include but are by no means limited to:

Syria's Little-Known Jewish History
Mon 28 Sep 2015 Sukkot @ 10:30 am - #45
Instructor: Claudette Sutton
What It Is: Today, Syria is associated with images of religious extremism and few people can imagine that Syria had a Jewish community for well over 2000 years. Less than a century ago, Claudette Sutton's father attended school in Syria with other Jews, Christians, and Muslims. What happened? Come explore Syria's amazing, little-known Jewish history - from the Biblical legend of Abraham to the Sutton family's escape after Syria prohibited Jewish emigration in 1948.

Theodore Herzl & the Founding of the Zionist Movement
Mon 5 Oct 2015 Shemini Atzeret @ 10:30 am - #93
Instructor: Michael Nutkiewicz
What It Is: Theodore Herzl (1860-1904) is regarded as the "father" of modern Zionism, a movement that advocated the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. How did this thoroughly secular man initiate the movement that seemed a wild and impossible utopian dream after 1,800 years of Jewish life in exile? This talk focuses on the life and times of Herzl and Jewish national movement(s) in the late 19th century.

Columbus & the Jews of Spain
Mon 12 Oct 2015 @ 10:30 am - #47
Instructor: Norma Libman
What It Is: The year 1492 resonates in history as the year Columbus set sail on his first journey of discovery. It is also the year of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. What connection did Columbus have with the Jews of 15th century Spain? Though there are many unknowns in Columbus' story, there are also many tantalizing hints about this part of his life. This presentation looks at the Jews of Spain in 1492 and at the role Columbus may have played in their story.

Nobody Does it Better: Marvin Hamlisch
Mon 12 Oct 2015 @ 1:00 pm - #67
Instructor: Jane Ellen
What It Is: Son of an accordionist bandleader, child prodigy Marvin Hamlisch (1944-2012) was accepted into The Juilliard School Pre-College Division at the tender age of seven. His career would take him from rehearsal pianist to composer/songwriter for stage and screen, esteemed conductor, and winner of a Pulitzer Prize for the 1975 Broadway musical A Chorus Line. Hamlisch is one of only twelve people to win all four major US performing awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.

13th Century Spain: Tolerance & Cultural Diversity
             Embodied in Songs of the Time

Thu 22 Oct 2015 @ 1:00 pm - #71
Instructor: Karl Hinterbichler
What It Is: What can 13th century Spain teach us? Tolerance, cultural diversity, a quest for knowledge, the beauty of creation, working for the advancement of society: all traits embodied in King Alfonso X. His court was a multicultural haven for artists, scientists, philosophers, translators, writers and musicians -- Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike. Alfonso left an enduring legacy that continues to this day.  An audio/visual presentation of his collection of songs (Cantigas de Santa Maria) will demonstrate the vibrant and diverse cultural life of his court.

The Bystanders During the Holocaust
Mon 26 Oct & Mon 2 Nov 2015 @ 10:30 am - #49
Instructor: Noel Pugach
What It Is: Having covered the perpetrators (Nazi Germany and its collaborators) and the victims (mainly Jews) in previous lectures, Noel Pugach now examines the role played by the bystanders of the Holocaust. What did they do or not do in the face of such evil and human destruction? The class focuses on the churches and democracies, most notably the United States. The former maintain they are the conscience of mankind and the source of morality. The latter claimed to be fighting for the Four Freedoms and liberty. An accounting of their conduct is in order.

Jesus in a Jewish Context
Thu 3 Dec 2015 @ 10:30 am - #98
Instructor: Paul J Citrin
What It Is: We will examine texts from the Gospels, Josephus, as well as from rabbinic literature to understand the political, religious and social issues in ancient Israel at the time of Jesus' life. Our goal is to understand more clearly the issues of those days, the idea of messiahship, and the nature of the teachings of Jesus.