Back to Shul Fest! Yes, Abq Jew is once again dreaming of beautiful downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire (see May 2021's Portsmouth Parking & The Jews).
But first - and, not coincidentally, within the same context, as you will shortly see - Abq Jew must tell you (he must! he must!) that Jacob's Ladder, one of his favorite young Jewgrass bands, has just released Beit El, their first LP album!
Our first ever full length album is available on all streaming platforms. This album bends all genres- prepare yourself for an immersive and eclectic listening experience across choral and cantorial traditions finding their way into communal prayer and American folk song.
Beit El is sourced from the original encounter and location between Jacob and the Divine Presence. This is an immensely powerful and meaningful experience, one that has permeated Jewish thought for millennia.
The core of Jewish spirituality, belonging, connection and its needed place in our world today sets the tone for this record.
Which brings us to Sunday, November 5, 2023. This is the day when we in New Mexico - and many of us in the United States - will say goodbye to Daylight Saving Time and return to our winter favorite, Standard Time.
Yes, we Jews have holy places and holy people. But what is most sacred to us is time. When we Jews bless Shabbat, Festivals, and Life Events, we sanctify time and declare that time to be separate from the ordinary time that we experience day to day.
Yet there are no Jewish blessings or ceremonies associated with the annual (in New Mexico and the United States) Return to Standard Time.
Why not? Abq Jew hears you ask. Is it because clock changing is (to put it mildly) just a tad post-Biblical, and thus not recognized by חז״ל, Our Sages, of Blessed Memory?
Well. Chanukah is also post-Biblical, and Our Sages had ... well, only a small problem recognizing it! (Military victory? NO! Let's go with the the Oil Miracle!)
Are you looking forward to Standard Time as much as Abq Jew is? If you are (and even if you're not) - here's a handy countdown timer - so you and Abq Jew can ... well, count down the happy days until we turn the clocks back!
But weddings, for example? Yes, we Jews bless and sing for weddings. Oh, yes. Jacob's Ladder does indeed do weddings.
Od Yishama, for example, a traditional wedding tune, captures the purest of joy and Jewish expression during this deeply meaningful life cycle event.
עוֹד יִשָׁמַע בְּעַרֵי יְהוּדָה וּבְחוּצוֹת יְרוּשָלַיִם
קוֹל שָשוֹן וְקוֹל שִמְחָה
קוֹל חָתָן וְקוֹל כָּלָה
Yet again there shall be heard,
in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem
The voice of joy and the voice of gladness,
the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.
Which brings us back to beautiful downtown Temple Israel in beautiful downtown Portsmouth.
Where the Jewish community of Portsmouth and surrounding areas are planning to hold a Back to Shul Fest this very Sunday.