Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Spring 2023 @ OASIS Abq

Great Courses of Jewish Interest

Jewish Star

Abq Jew is pleased to inform you that
OASIS Albuquerque has just announced
their Spring 2023 line-up of classes!
Registration opens on

Wednesday January 4
but you can Wish List your selections now.


OASIS Albuquerque Executive Director Kathleen Raskob and her staff continue (as always) to bring you new and interesting class offerings, and continue to make sure there are plenty of courses of Jewish interest.

Ducks Lined Up

This fall, OASIS Albuquerque plans to offer many
classes LIVE and many classes via Zoom.

Spring 2023

This session's courses and instructors include,
but are by no means limited to:

Three Rs

The Grapes of Roth
Three Literary Giants (Joseph, Henry, and Philip) 
Tuesday January 24 @ 12:30 - #159Z
Instructor: Jack Shlachter
What It Is: Three remarkable writers, Joseph Roth, Henry Roth, and Philip Roth, share a common last name and were colorful characters whose award-winning works are classics. Joseph (1894-1939) was a successful journalist and novelist; Henry (1906-1995) lived in Albuquerque for the last years of his life; Philip (1933-2018) is arguably the best known of the three. Learn some biographical details about them and listen to selected passages from their works.

A Ukrainian Chapter

Witness to Pogroms:
Ukraine 1917-1921

Thursday February 16 @ 10:00 - #146, 147Z
Instructor: Michael Nutkiewicz
What It Is: The Russian Civil War (1917-1921) was fought among Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, and Germans, and transformed Eastern Europe. Horrific pogroms against Jews were perpetrated by all sides. Michael Nutkiewicz’s uncle, Eli Gumener, was a Jewish aid worker in Ukraine during the war. Gumener’s memoir, originally published in 1921, and newly translated by Nutkiewicz, recounts the dislocations and violence, and the complications of bringing relief to the victims. The geo-political consequences of this war can be seen in today’s conflicts.

Los Lunas Mystery Stone

The Los Lunas Mystery Stone
Thursday March 9 @ 12:30 - #218
Instructor: John Taylor
What It Is: About halfway up a small, unpretentious hill, about 16 miles west of Los Lunas, is an “artifact” that is known as the Los Lunas Mystery Stone. It is a 60-ton boulder inscribed with the Ten Commandments in Paleo-Hebraic, a language used primarily by Samaritans during and after the Babylonian captivity. Taylor discusses the Mystery Stone and its archeological context and offers some possibilities for its origin.

Lonely River Village

Memoir Writing
How to Tell Your Story
Tuesday April 4 @ 12:30 - #187
Instructor: Norma Libman
What It Is: Everyone has a story to tell, and now is the time to tell yours. Learn how to retrieve memories you thought were forgotten, how to get them written down, and how to organize them into your own life story. You will have a start to your memoir when the workshop is complete. Bring paper and a pen for writing exercises. Limited enrollment.

CCC Logo

The CCC in New Mexico
Wednesday April 5 @ 10:00 - #221
Instructor: Richard Melzer
What It Is: The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was the New Deal’s most popular and successful program in the Great Depression era. Millions of young men benefited from good work, wages, a healthy environment, training, and a chance to help their families back home. This class focuses on the CCC in New Mexico, especially the impact of the program on the young men and their futures.

Religious Liberty

Changing Nature of Religious Liberty
Monday April 17 @ 12:30 - #115, 116Z
Instructor: Andrew Schultz
What It Is: The Supreme Court has steered a careful path between the First Amendment’s religion clauses: the “free-exercise” clause, which requires a degree of friendliness towards religion, and the “establishment” clause, which cautions against too much friendliness. Recently the Court has signaled that it is willing to find a new balance between these clauses. This talk surveys the Court’s past religious liberty cases and examines the Court’s recent decisions that may change America’s law of religious liberty.


But Wait

Jane Ellen Farewell

Beloved OASIS Albuquerque instructor (and award-winning composer and recording artist, and now Floridian) Jane Ellen also continues (as always) to bring you new and interesting class offerings via Zoom@OASIS or Zoom@Home, and continues to make sure there are plenty of courses of musical and Jewish interest.

Jane's courses this session include,
but are by no means limited to:

Hopelessly Devoted
to Olivia Newton-John
Thursday January 26 @ 12:30 - #165Z
What It Is: Singer, actor, and activist Olivia Newton-John (1948-2022) enjoyed a career spanning nearly six decades. Born in England, Olivia’s family immigrated to Australia when she was only five. As a vocalist Newton-John sold over 100 million albums, but many remember her from her film roles including Grease (1978) and Xanadu (1980). The singer fought breast cancer three times, becoming an advocate for breast cancer research. She was also an activist for animal rights and environmental causes.

Abq Jew Learn

Monday, December 19, 2022

The Battle: Xanuqa vs Xmas

Answers, Questions, Music: Why, Abq Jew hears you, his loyal readers, ask, does Xmas have twelve days - while Xanuqa, the earlier and clearly more important holiday, have only eight?

Hanukkah PBS
Happy Hanukkah      Alex Woz

Surely you, his loyal readers, will recall that Abq Jew answered that question in his inimitable December 2019 post A Petri Dishes the Twelve Days

More about Alexandra Petri - and more music - to follow. But first, Abq Jew wishes to bring to your attention the life, the thought processes, and the work of Rabbi Mike Harvey.

Rabbi Mike

The Life. Rabbi Mike's website tells us:

Michael E. Harvey is the Amazon bestselling author of Let’s Talk: A Rabbi Speaks to Christians. An ordained rabbi, he has led congregations and served as a hospital chaplain. Rabbi Mike is passionate about social justice, interfaith cooperation, and bringing deep Jewish learning to the lay public. 

He has followed these passions in serving his community, including founding and directing the Interfaith Council of the Caribbean as well as directing the Interfaith Leaders of Greater Lafayette. He also serves on the rabbinic advisory council of the American Jewish Archives.

When he isn’t writing, Rabbi Mike can be found building community and offering a listening ear in a different kind of congregation: as a bartender in Indiana.

The Thought Processes. OK. So, even though Abq Jew has been following Rabbi Mike on Twitter for (as is everything on Twitter) an indeterminate and indeterminable amount of time - thought processes? Ich veys?

That was, until Abq Jew read Rabbi Mike's Twitter threads last week. Which do, clearly and succinctly, express - Abq Jew thinks - an intriguing and highly viable point of view. With which Abq Jew (of course) agrees - why else would he share this, verbatim?

Anyway, here is Rabbi Mike's introduction and his 24-part thread. Which Abq Jew presents in its original Twitter format as a solemn remembrance.

"We really did have everything, didn't we?"

Well, even though Twitter is becoming a dumpster fire, I will continue to teach as long as I can until it is simply not worth it anymore. So with that, I'd like to do a #thread about the differences between Jewish and Christian thought processes and the ramifications. #threads

One of the greatest challenges I face in Jewish-Christian relations is the challenge Christians face in trying to understand Jewish thought processes and interpretations.  They attempt to see Judaism through a Christian lens which, inevitably, fails.  It's important to see why./1

Often I teach the phrase, "Judaism is about deed, not creed."  Christianity has creeds.  You believe this.  You pledge that.  This is the answer.  That's it.  Judaism does not.  Any question to a learned Jewish person is inevitably answered with, "yes but..." meaning there.../2

...is a staunch complexity behind the answer.  That is because Judaism cherishes the questions.  The answers are, "well this rabbi said this, but this rabbi said that." or "The Torah said this, but some rabbis think this, and some think that..." etc.  It is the nuance, yes.../3

...the nuance that gives meaning.  It is why Jews have (or had, until Christians had their way) the largest libraries in the world.  It is why we have the idiom "2 Jews, 3 opinions."  The conversation, the study, the argument, the source material and interpretation, this is.../4

...what gives Judaism its beauty, its meaning.  And, not to be too direct, it matches how the human mind processes ideas, with what is known as critical thinking.  I shudder at Jews who say "this is what Judaism says."  Judaism has never said one thing.  And it doesn't now. /5

Learned Jews understand that yes there are majority opinions that have become put in place, but we retain the minority opinions because they may one day become relevant again.  Times change, people change, the world changes, and the answers from long ago do not always work. /6

This is why Judaism continues to evolve and change, whether from Torah and Biblical thought, to cultic Temple rituals, to rabbinic and oral law, to halacha, agadah, commentary etc.  Jewish study is to be done in "hevruta" at least with two people.  Why? Because your thoughts.../7

...alone are simply not enough.  In order to think critically, you need another mind, at least one other mind, to help you challenge yourself, the text, the interpretation. Now, how is this different from Christianity?  I do not mean to generalize, but having studied Christian /8

...history, thought, and canon, what jumps out is simple creeds of faith.  This is what it means. This is what we belief.  End of story.  This has troubling ramifications internally and externally, the least of which is a failure to understand Judaism.  What are some internal /9

...ramifications of creed, and short simplistic answers of faith?  Well, for one, if you question something you are not praised, as you would be in Judaism.  In Judaism, the question is what gives meaning.  Christian creed and canon leaves little room for questions.  Instead../10

...if you question, you are seen as someone diverting from the flock.  Your faith must be weak.  Something must be wrong with you.  This is your fault.  There are elements of shame, guilt, and toxicity that inevitably follow this mindset.  Examples include ideas about.../11

...sexuality, purity, and the like.  More simply put, when Christians want people to have "decorum" what they mean is they want "obedience."  Obedience to faith is simply not a natural understanding in the human mind.  Faith does not stand on a one sentence declaration. /12

Faith is complex, and it sits on a tower of sand.  This leads to the external problems.  Why did Christians (and still to this day) burn Jewish libraries, outside sources, and attempt to shelter their flock from the outside world?  It is because the "faith" is not strong.../13

...enough to take criticism, nuance, and conflicting information.  Christianity has for millennia relied up on "might is right," meaning that the faith is strong because so many people have it.  I have been told this on multiple occasions in my discussions.  "How can 3 billion/14

...people be wrong about something?" Well, if Christians were taught HOW their answers were crafted, they would understand.  Most are taught simply, "this is what we believe" or "this is what Jesus said,"when really it was much later, perhaps a church father or a later writing/15

...that came from someone with a differing agenda, and it has now become canon, now become part of the creed.  This brings fear and toxicity to the outside world, thus leading to the motivation to not only burn books and libraries, but to engage in genocide of "non-believers"/16

This is compounded by threats of eternal damnation, that if you break the "faith" or question it, not only is something wrong with you, but an eternity of torment awaits you.  Think about what this does to the human psyche.  Think about how one must shape their world to feel /17

...that this is an acceptable way to live.  Then think of the trauma brought to so many Christians who express critical thinking towards the "faith." Think about those who ostracize their own children for being LGBTQ+ or atheists, those who are told they are wrong for thinking/18

..different thoughts.  Think about the abusive words Christians have heard inside churches, that all blame is on you, you are worthless, a sinner, and only Jesus can save you from yourself, and if you don't fully give yourself to the creed, you will be nothing in the eyes/19

of a God that would happily send you into the arms of demons and the devil for eternity to suffer. Now, think about why the antisemitic tropes exist about Jews "controlling the world." Why are there so many Jewish Nobel Prize winners?  Christians are quick to say it must /20

...be rigged!  It does not occur to them that Jews are built to be critical thinkers.  To be creative. To ask questions, and find different ways to think about the world. Why are Jews so successful despite Christian laws in place to restrict them for 2,000 years?  Because Jews/21

and all of Judaism teaches that we should find ways around things, think creatively, find success elsewhere and in different ways.  The arrogance of the creed of Christianity leads to confusion and jealousy.  A Christian thinks, "why am I not as successful? I do as I'm told." /22

It never occurs to them that it is the creed itself, the restrictions of "faith" that keeps them from their own success, that teaches them to obey rather than to find new creative ways to think and work. For a Christian, one must "break out" of the restrictions, whereas for.../23

...Jews, it is a natural occurrence. Again, I speak of Christian canon and faith, and am generalizing.  But if Christians truly wish to engage in talks with Jews, they must let go of the Christian ideals of obedience and creed, and enter our world of nuance. Come and learn. /END

The Work. It will come as no surprise to you, Abq Jew's loyal readers, that Rabbi Mike has written a book. Which Abq Jew has not read yet nevertheless recommends. Available on Amazon as Kindle and "wherever books are sold," one imagines, in paperback.

Let's Talk

Not sure what to get a loved one for Hanukkah or Christmas? 

“Let’s Talk” makes an excellent addition to “book night” and fits in a stocking!  

Start your new year off with being a better ally! 

In the meantime ...

Alexandra Petri

Alexandra Petri has provided us, once again, her ranking of 100 - yes, 100 - Christmas songs.

You may recall that Ms Petri's ranking was first published in December 2018; and then updated in November 2021.

Whereupon she wrote:

If you are on the Internet long enough, there comes a year when you will be forced to rank something. Now it is my time. 

So I am taking the liberty of going through the 100 holiday songs being foisted upon us everywhere and ranking them from Most Especially Heinous to Best. 

This is probably a good idea, and I feel fit and confident! I bet this will be an easy, pleasant process. I’m amazed I haven’t already compiled several lists just like this! 

Drummer Boy

Number 100 on Ms Petri's list - the worst holiday song of all - is (no surprise) Little Drummer Boy. Of which Ms Petri says:

My hatred for this song is well-documented. I think it is because the song takes approximately 18 years to sing and does not rhyme. The concept of the song is bad. The execution of the song is bad. 

There is not even an actual drum in the dang song, there is just someone saying PA-RUM-PA-PUM-PUM, which, frankly, is not a good onomatopoeia and probably is an insult to those fluent in Drum. I cannot stand it. 

Nothing will fix it, even the application of David Bowie to it. Every year I say, “I hate this song,” and every year people say, “Have you heard David Bowie’s version?” Yes. Yes, I have. It is still an abomination.


Number 97
 on Ms Petri's list - and this is a surprise - turns out to be Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Created (see December 2011's Yiddish Rudolph) by Robert Lewis May - a Yid, of course. Song by John David Marks - also a MOT. About which Ms Petri says:

One of my chatters correctly describes this as a song about how differently abled people are bullied until the system finds a way to exploit them for profit. 

The only good thing about this song is that Rudolph is a reindeer with a people name, and all the other reindeer have dog names. Prancer, Blitzen, Dancer!

Chrstmas Goat

But, Abq Jew hears you ask - how about goats? Well, how about them? Here is the famous (see December 2020's Greyhounds, Reindeer, and Goats) video of goats singing - what else? - Rudolph! You're welcome!

Happy Hanukkah

Monday, December 12, 2022

Elana Arian @ Congregation Albert

1st Night Chanukah Concert: Is it Chanukah yet? Well ... no, not really. Not just yet. But then again, yes it is! At least as far as music and celebration go ... which, Abq Jew firmly believes, is pretty far.

Elana Arian

Which means that Congregation Albert is bringing noted (you should probably not forgive the expression) singer / songwriter Elana Arian to the Land of Enchantment, to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with us.

This will be, Abq Jew notes, the first of eight (8) nights of candle-lighting and celebration which have been arranged for us by RACAA, the Rabbinical and Cantorial Association of Albuquerque. With special guests from the place called HaMakom in Santa Fe.

Please note once again that Abq Jew is not now and has never been a rabbi (or cantor), and is (therefore) not a member of RACAA, even though he did, for a time, attend Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (see May 2011's Wanna Be A Rabbi?).

Candle Lighting

So, you may ask, as if you have not been closely following her career - who is Elana Arian, anyway? Well, Cantor Aviva Marer of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (who has a herstory of her own) says of Elana Arian:

"I have no doubt that she is one
of the greatest Jewish voices of our time."

Isn't that nice? OK ... so here's proof. Let's look at one of Elana's songs and follow its trajectory all the way up to singer / songwriter heaven.

The song Abq Jew has selected is Ken Y'hi Ratzon - not, strictly speaking, a Channukkah song - but one is and two or more are allowed to sing it on Xanuqa, so why not? Elana says of the song:

Ken Y'hi Ratzon was born out of a shocking and painful loss in my life. And as I travel to communities around the country, it is the piece that people most often mention to me as having had the greatest impact on them. 
Until now, the only version available has been an old video of me singing in a hotel room in El Paso. I am delighted to offer this complete version of Ken Y'hi Ratzon, which is the final track on The Other Side of Fear

So. What do you do, if you're a young(er) singer / songwriter who has written and performed a really good one? You take it on the road (hence the hotel room video)! But next - you hit the shul circuit.

In this case, you head for Temple Israel in Memphis, toward which (the city, not the temple) we pray each day, it being (see May 2017's Walking to Jerusalem) almost directly east of Albuquerque.

Once you've done a slew of out-of-town tryout shuls, you head for NYC. The Great White Way. The Theater District! Broadway! Well ... 55th and Lexington. To Central Synagogue (see November 2014's Rabbi Cantor Angela Buchdahl).

Mazeltov! You've made it!

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukkah!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Happy Joyous Hanukkah!

Greetings from Panoramaland: Yes, Abq Jew has consulted Rabbi Google. And, according to almost all contemporary American poskim (two), it is entirely kosher (one says permissible, one says required) to start playing Hanukkah music after Thanksgiving.

So here we go!


Starting in Panoramaland, close on to NOLA, we have the Panorama Jazz Band in their rendition of Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanukkah. Featuring Mark Rubin (see A Day of Revenge), aka "Jew of Oklahoma."

Happy Joyous Hannukah

Wait what

Abq Jew is sure he has covered this before (say, in Hanukkah 5781 (Hanukkah 2020), but here goes with Ben Schenk's explanation.
Did you know that dustbowl troubadour Woody Guthrie (1912-67) wrote a batch of Hanukkah songs? His second wife, (Marjorie Greenblatt, a professional dancer and Arlo's mom) was Jewish, so they celebrated in their home. No original music has been documented for his Hanukkah songs but he did leave behind some lyrics.

Well then, who better to interpret a Woody Guthrie Hanukkah song than the "Jew of Oklahoma" himself, Mark Rubin! He brought up the idea and we talked about potential vibes. Mark said, "barrelhouse," that medium-tempo New Orleans four-on-the-floor groove found on tunes like Jelly Roll Morton's "Jungle Blues." 
He came up with a straight-ahead chord sequence and worked out the phrasing including the call and response between himself and the band. Then Mark sent me a demo, I banged out the arrangement and we recorded it on the October 12th session.

This year Hanukkah begins at sundown on Dec 18 but it's kosher to start playing Hanukkah music after Thanksgiving. Thanks for listening and for all your support.

Ben Schenk
Panorama Jazz Band
New Orleans, LA

And - as if this weren't enough - here is a version by

The Indigo Girls

And here is a version by -

The Klezmatics

Hanukkah Family

And thus we begin our celebration -
Happy Joyous Hanukkah!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Federation's Last Day

But Don't Say Kaddish Yet: As we shocked and saddened New MexiJews have come to realize, the days of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico have come to a painful end. 

The Federation's Board has recently voted to dissolve the Jewish Federation as a New Mexico non-profit corporation, and is filing paperwork with the State to that effect.

And, as Abq Jew has previously reported (see Before the Law and Train Wreck at Federation), the Federation has no money and no employees. And - as of midnight - no directors and no 501(c)(3) operating insurance. 


In short - the Federation is kaput.


Kaput (broken and useless; no longer working or effective) is, of course, a technical term. Lili von Shtupp put it - more, shall we say, colloquially - in Blazing Saddles. As we all remember.

Madeline Kahn

Fertig! Verfallen! Verlumpt! Verblunget! Verkackt!

Temporarily, for the next short period of time, while the State of New Mexico processes the paperwork and the Federation cleanly shuts down - 


The Jewish Federation will both
continue to exist and cease to operate.
Sorta like Schrödinger's cat

Community Calendar

You may be wondering - what happens to Jewish New Mexico's Community Calendar now that it is no longer supported (or displayed) by the kaput Jewish Federation? 

The answer: For the time being, as new community support is being collected, the complete Community Calendar will still be available on Abq Jew's website, right here.

Upcoming Community Events

And you may be wondering - what happens to Abq Jew's Upcoming Community Events weekly eblast now that it, too, is no longer supported by the kaput Jewish Federation? 

The answer: For the time being, as new community support is being collected, Abq Jew will continue to send out the Upcoming Community Events weekly eblast to current subscribers. 

If you no longer wish to receive the weekly eblast, you can easily unsubscribe. If you haven't subscribed but wish to - click here!

Green Microphone

And you may also be wondering - 

What happens to the New Mexico
Jewish Community's singular moral voice
now that the Jewish Federation is kaput?
The answer: That remains to be seen. Other communities have put together a Jewish Community Relations Council. Will that model suit us New MexiJews?

End Beginning

The messiah will come only when he is no longer necessary;
 he will come only on the day after his arrival;
he will come, not on the last day, but on the very last.
- Franz Kafka -

Monday, November 21, 2022

Thanksgiving 2022

Happy Thanksgiving: This Thanksgiving week, let's be happy.

Thanksgiving Turkey

And let's give thanks - to God, to the Fates, or to Fortune - for who we are, for where we stand, and, yes, for what we have.

And let us pray that hard times - poverty, war, destruction, disease, or random events that just seem to happen in the world - come again no more.

Here is the song Hard Times Come Again No More, written by Stephen Foster in 1854, performed by Kate & Anna McGarrigle and friends: Rufus Wainwright (son of Kate), Emmylou Harris, Mary Black, Karen Matheson, and Rod Paterson.

Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh! Hard times come again no more.

'Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh! Hard times come again no more.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Or, as we say in Yiddish:
Only Simchas!

Alex Jake
Alla famiglia

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Before the Law

Sits a Gatekeeper: Yes, there will be much, much more about that gatekeeper in just a bit. But first, Abq Jew would like to say yasher koach to ... let's keep him anonymous, for now. 

For emailing Abq Jew the Zoom link to Monday's Motion Hearing for Bernalillo County Case D-202-CV-202105917, which, Abq Jew is sure you'll recognize, is one of the cases in which the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico is, to an extent still to be determined, "involved."

Soccer Kick

What a kick!

Abq Jew has mentioned, as he is sure you'll recall, that Abq Jew is not a rabbi, even though he did, for a time, attend Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (see May 2011's Wanna Be A Rabbi?).

In addition to not being a rabbi, Abq Jew is proud to say that he is also not a) a lawyer; or b) a Latin scholar. Which is why it was a special treat for him to attend Monday's hearing and hear all about the legal concept of

Ultra Vires

Ultra Vires. Which may or may not be a factor in the JFNM case being ... heard. Just don't ask Abq Jew - who, as previously and proudly stated, is neither a) lawyer; nor b) a Latin scholar. 

Besides, when Abq Jew heard "Ultra Vires," all he could think of was Ultra Violet for Sixteen Minutes, the remarkable film that his son, Dov Yellin the Film Editor, was honored to edit. Way back in 2011!

So let's talk about gatekeepers. The Chief Gatekeeper at Monday's Motion Hearing was, of course, the Judge. Alas, not current free agent Aaron Judge - that would have made it much more lively. Judge Joshua A Allison.

Other speakers at the hearing included Renni Zifferblatt, Esq, Attorney for the Plaintiffs; and Charles J Vigil, Esq, Attorney for the Defendants. Ms Zifferblatt is credited in IMDb for the 2007 film Garbage Warrior; an IMDb search yields no results for Mr Vigil or Judge Allison.

There were lots of silent observers at Monday's hearing, which was expected by many to produce the Final Answer(s) to the question(s) raised in last week's Train Wreck at Federation.

However -

No Final Answer was produced. No Final Answers were produced. But more questions were raised! What could Abq Jew do, before the law? He turned to Before the Law, a parable contained in Franz Kafka's novel The Trial.

Hockey Goalie Black

Before the Law

Before the law sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the country who asks to gain entry into the law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in later on. 

“It is possible,” says the gatekeeper, “but not now.” 

At the moment the gate to the law stands open, as always, and the gatekeeper walks to the side, so the man bends over in order to see through the gate into the inside. When the gatekeeper notices that, he laughs and says: 

“If it tempts you so much,
try it in spite of my prohibition.
But take note: I am powerful.
And I am only the most lowly gatekeeper.
But from room to room stand gatekeepers,
each more powerful than the other.
I can’t endure even one glimpse of the third.” 

The man from the country has not expected such difficulties: the law should always be accessible for everyone, he thinks, but as he now looks more closely at the gatekeeper in his fur coat, at his large pointed nose and his long, thin, black Tartar’s beard, he decides that it would be better to wait until he gets permission to go inside. The gatekeeper gives him a stool and allows him to sit down at the side in front of the gate. 

There he sits for days and years. He makes many attempts to be let in, and he wears the gatekeeper out with his requests. The gatekeeper often interrogates him briefly, questioning him about his homeland and many other things, but they are indifferent questions, the kind great men put, and at the end he always tells him once more that he cannot let him inside yet. 

The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, spends everything, no matter how valuable, to win over the gatekeeper. The latter takes it all but, as he does so, says, 

“I am taking this only so that you do not
think you have failed to do anything.”

During the many years the man observes the gatekeeper almost continuously. He forgets the other gatekeepers, and this one seems to him the only obstacle for entry into the law. He curses the unlucky circumstance, in the first years thoughtlessly and out loud, later, as he grows old, he still mumbles to himself. He becomes childish and, since in the long years studying the gatekeeper he has come to know the fleas in his fur collar, he even asks the fleas to help him persuade the gatekeeper. 

Finally his eyesight grows weak, and he does not know whether things are really darker around him or whether his eyes are merely deceiving him. But he recognizes now in the darkness an illumination which breaks inextinguishably out of the gateway to the law. 

Now he no longer has much time to live. Before his death he gathers in his head all his experiences of the entire time up into one question which he has not yet put to the gatekeeper. He waves to him, since he can no longer lift up his stiffening body.

The gatekeeper has to bend way down to him, for the great difference has changed things to the disadvantage of the man. 

“What do you still want to know, then?”
asks the gatekeeper. “You are insatiable.”

“Everyone strives after the law,” says the man, “so how is it
that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?

The gatekeeper sees that the man is already dying and, in order to reach his diminishing sense of hearing, he shouts at him, 

“Here no one else can gain entry,
since this entrance was assigned only to you.
I’m now going to close it."

What Abq Jew

The talking and the hearings will continue. Decisions that affect Abq Jew and the New Mexico Jewish Community will be made - they will have to be. In the meantime, Abq Jew continues to support the community -

The complete Community Calendar is still
available on Abq Jew's website, right here.

Abq Jew Community Calendar

Please support Abq Jew!

Abq Jew Ko-fi

Monday, November 7, 2022

Train Wreck at Federation

Hope For The Future: As many of us New MexiJews recall, January 28, 2013 was not a good day for the Jewish Family Service of New Mexico (JFSNM). And it was a terrible day for the New Mexico Jewish Community. That was the day that the JFSNM Board announced that the organization would soon cease operations.

As many of us New MexiJews recall, January 13, 2015 was not a good day for the Jewish Academy of Arts & Sciences. And it was a terrible day for the New Mexico Jewish Community. That was the day that the Jewish Academy Board announced that the school would soon cease operations.

Train Wreck

But now, as many of us New MexiJews are suddenly aware, November 4, 2022 - last Friday - was not a good day for the Jewish Federation of New Mexico. And it was a most terrible day for the New Mexico Jewish Community.

Worse than the closing of the Jewish Family Service of New Mexico (JFSNM). Worse than the closing of the Jewish Academy of Arts & Sciences. 

The absolute worst.

Last Friday, many of us New MexiJews received this email letter from Robert Efroymson, President of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico (JFNM).

Dear members of the New Mexico Jewish Community,  

 I am proud to have recently been elected President of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico by its board of directors. The Federation has played an important role in the life of Jewish New Mexico for decades. However, I must be blunt: my tenure will be a short one. The main task we face is an orderly shutdown of the organization. 

There have been news articles and rumors aplenty, so I will be brief, and make only a few points. We are almost out of money. We have no employees. Critical insurance has been canceled. We cannot fulfill the purposes for which the organization was founded. 

 You might ask if we can recover. Surely, we can raise money again, hire new employees, get another insurance carrier? That might be true, but we must be honest. Decisions made by the prior leadership of the organization have placed us in a very poor position.  It is regrettable that it has been months since the former Executive Director sent his “report” to the community.  It is also regrettable that it was sent. 

I would like to say more about how we came to this pass. The truth is that there is much we still don’t know. One of the chief tasks the board has undertaken is to conduct an independent accounting review so we can report to the community what has happened.   

 In the meantime, I would ask members of the community to continue the charitable activities which the JFNM has historically facilitated. The Jewish Care program is now under the auspices of the Jewish Community Center, and money to support it can be directed to them. Organizations like UNM Hillel and others that previously were supported by JFNM can accept contributions directly.  

 There are many other charities that we have supported, both locally and internationally, over the years. You will have your favorites among them, and I urge you to look up the best way to give. Now is an excellent time to contact the Jewish Community Foundation about setting up a Donor Advised Fund.  

 I know this is not the news you wanted to hear. We will communicate further as we have more information. 

Robert Efroymson
President, JFNM 

Many of you have known for months that things were not good at the Jewish Federation. But many of you may not have been informed, may not have read about it, and therefore may not have known. 

And now, the Big Question seems to be

What's Going On Here

The first thing you may have noticed is that the Jewish Federation of New Mexico's website is down, and has been down for a while.

JFNM Website

One immediate effect of JFNM's "temporary maintenance" period is:

 The Jewish New Mexico's Community Calendar of events and classes,
which is powered by Abq Jew and shared with the Jewish Federation,
appears to be unreachable.

Therefore, let Abq Jew assure you:

The complete Community Calendar is always
available on Abq Jew's website, right here.

Abq Jew Community Calendar

But that, as we are now all aware -

Tip of the Iceberg

was just the tip of the iceberg.

Where JFNM?

The Jewish Federation of New Mexico
was in trouble. Deep trouble.

JTA Logo

To begin to understand what has happened and (at least, to some extent) why, Abq Jew points you, his loyal readers, to a series of three articles written by JTA's Asaf Elia-Shalev.

Sephardic citizenship bids at risk amid ‘implosion’
of New Mexico’s Jewish community leadership
March 30, 2022

Read More

New Mexico’s Jewish federation is on brink of collapse
with no staff or funding for programs
September 19, 2022

Read More

New Mexico’s cash-strapped, lawsuit-plagued
Jewish federation announces closure
November 4, 2022

Read More

At this point, Abq Jew is sure that many of you are asking -

What, Abq Jew hears you ask, is gonna happen next? To which Abq Jew can only reply, in the now-famous words of Tevye der Milkhiker -

Don't Know

However -

In the past few weeks, a new JFNM Executive Board has taken office, and some progress has been made.

Want to help your favorite programs?
Please contribute to them directly.

  • And, as stated above, 

The complete Community Calendar is always
available on Abq Jew's website, right here.

Abq Jew Community Calendar

Abq Jew chooses to conclude with the hopeful words of Shelly Prant, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque - as reported by JTA's Asaf Elia-Shalev in his September 19, 2022 article. 

... she believes the community will rally to ensure essential programs will continue and that her organization and others are prepared to pick up any slack created by the problems at the federation.

“There’s a core group of people in Albuquerque and around the state that are really caring, passionate and philanthropic,” Prant said. 
“And they’re really taking all this very seriously and trying to help, and so at the end of the day, we’ll be okay even though right now, it is challenging.”
OK In The End