Don‘t Let The Light Go Out!
קהילהKehila Issue No. 2 December 2010/5771 Editor & Publisher: Talisha A. Harrison Published By: Talisha A. Harrison P.O. Box 520392 Longwood, FL 32752 (407) 388-8216 Printed by: Talisha Harrison Editor: Talisha Harrison Design: Talisha Harrison Cover Photo: Photograph courtesy of http://www.alainu.com/catalog/item/7242124/7468787.htm Hanukkah Lights Giclee Canvas Print KEHILA is a monthly magazine that gives a voice to Jews of Color while educating and informing the Jewish and non-Jewish community as a whole. © Talisha Harrison 2010 Printed in the USA, all rights reserved. KEHILA welcomes comments from our readers. Please send comments to: Email: Kehila23@yahoo.com
Table of Contents 40 Keeping Warm & Looking Good! Fashions for Fall & Winter 2010-2011
4 From the Editorâ€™s Desk Chai-Life
45 Anish Kapoor
5 Preparing for Chanukah-Great Ideas for celebrating the Festival of Lights
50 The Abayudaya 52 Poetry
15 My Viewpoint: Blogger Erika Davis shares her thoughts on not celebrating Christmas anymore.
Spirituality 53 Discussion Series: Maimonides 13 Principles
Whatâ€™s Going On?
18 In the News
34 Hot Topic: Stop Asking Me That! Converts to Judaism
59 Upcoming Events
36 Festival Foods for the Festival of Lights: Delicious Recipes for Chanukah
From the Editor’s Desk Happy Chanukah and welcome to our second issue! We are happy to be part of your community as we celebrate the festival of lights. Among the Jewish holidays, Hanukah is one of the most celebrated. It‘s a fun time where friends and family come together to the menorah, make latkes, sing songs, play dradels, and just enjoy spending time together. In this issue, we have ideas and tips for making this year‘s Chanukah a memorable one. From decorating to gift suggestions to great ideas for children, it‘s all inside. Food is an integral part of the celebration and our Hanukah recipes don‘t disappoint! Fall is here and winter is on its way, and we have the fashions to not only keep you warm, but also looking good. Also, we have four new features entitled My Viewpoint, People, Jews of Color Around the World and Poetry. Each month in the People section, we will feature a famous Jew of Color. In the Jews of Color Around the World section, we will feature a JOC community from around the globe. . Also this month, we are welcoming two contributors to this issue in the My Viewpoint & Poetry sections. They are Erika Davis and Eliyahu Enriquez. Since our first issue, we have received great feedback and we have also taken a few steps in the growth of the magazine. Kehila has an official website! We‘re online at: http://kehilamagazine.web.officelive.com/default.aspx We are also on Twitter @kehilaJOC and we have a Facebook group page that is being updated on a daily basis : http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/home.php?sk=group_172683242746209&ap=1 The theme for this issue is ―Don‘t Let the Light Go Out!‖ During a time of immense anger, hatred, bullying, and just plain meanness in our country and abroad, it is very important to keep our light burning. At this time of year, we are constantly reminded on a daily basis that we are minority. Whether it‘s seeing Christmas trees in our neighborhoods, the various Christmas decorations hung around in the cities & towns we live, the Christmas carols & plays that our kids aren‘t participating in, we might feel left out. But we shouldn‘t. As Jews it‘s important to keep our lights burning brightly, for the sake of future generations. We must keep our traditions alive. Whether it‘s spending time with one‘s family or forgiving others, there are many ways to keep our flame lit. As you read through this issue, I hope that you will be inspired to continue to keep your light burning so that it will warm someone else‘s heart and then they will pass on that warmth to others. Chag Urim Sameach. Tali Adina
Preparing for Chanukah: Great Ideas for celebrating the Festival of Lights Chanukah is finally here and you might prepared and all set to go. This might be you and your family‘s very first Chanukah, or you might be a season veteran. Whatever the case may be, here are some tips for enjoying these eight crazy nights! Getting Started: If this is your first rodeo, then you might not know where to begin. First of, you‘ll need the basics: a menorah, Hanukkah candles, and a driedel. Once you have these items, you can then build upon from there. If you need a Hanukah guide to help you get started and to learn about the holiday and/or to teach the youngsters, then Big Tent Judaism.org Has a nice guide entitled Hanukkah: A Guide for Newcomers that you can download for free from their website: http://joi.org/bigtent/?sec=find&page=hanuk kah. Party Ideas: If you want to have a Hanukah party, then you should plan ahead. Get those invitations out early. The invitations set the mood and you should pick out the one that you feel suites you. You can buy invitations at a store or you can create them on your computer or via a website. www.evite.com has many Hanukah invitations that you can create for free. Christmas isn‘t the only holiday where numerous decorations abound. Hanukkah also has them and they are important too. And whether or not you‘re having a party, decorating your home helps to make the kids and you really get into the spirit of the holiday and plus it‘s fun decorating! Party City has a whole lot of decorations, and there are many sites where you can order decorations. Another site http://holiday-party-decorations.com/hanukkah/party-ideas.htm also has great ideas to make your party the talk of the town-whether it‘s the kids or the grownups talking. Food and drinks are vital to having your party be a success and we have a few recipes that you can try in the Food section. Activity Ideas: To keep the party festive and upbeat instead of down and boring, activities are a great way to keep your guests or family entertained. Here are a few: 5
Family You can also make your own candles for the menorah. Many craft stores and online retailers sell candle kits as well as primed wicks and sheets of beeswax that you can roll into beeswax candles. On www.familyeducation.com, there are many printable activities that keep kids involved and they are able to have fun at the same time. Activities such as a Menorah that you can print and color, a printable Hanukkah book, to a worksheet that explains the Hebrew letters on the dreidels and how to play two games with the dreidel, there are plenty of activities that you as a family can do! Other activities that can be done are creating Hanukkah cards, singing Hanukah songs, reading Hanukah books and watching Hanukah movies. There are many songs, books, and movies to choose from and hereâ€˜s a list of a few of them. Also listed below are song lyrics to a few of the songs. Books: For Sides, Eight Nights: A New Spin on Hanukkah by Rebecca Tova Ben-Zvi and Susanna Natti (Illustrator)
The Miracle of the Potato Latkes by Malka Penn Chanukkah Guest by Eric Kimmel
Hanukkah Around the World by Tami Lehman-Wilzig and Vicki Wehrman (Illustrator)
A Hanukkah Treasury
Hanukkah Moon by Deborah Da Costa and Gosia Mosz (Illustrator)
The Trees of Dancing Goats
Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes
Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Hanukkah: With Light, Latkes, and Dreidels by Deborah Heiligman My First Chanukah by Tomie de Paola A Picture Book of Hanukkah by David Adler All About Hanukkah by Judye Groner and Madeline Wikler Latkes and Applesauce by Fran Manushkin
Family Movies: Lambchop’s Chanukah and Passover Surprise Lambchop‘s Chanukah and Passover Surprise‘ is a highly entertaining presentation of the two famous Jewish festivals, Hanukkah and Passover. It is divided into two distinct parts, showing Hanukkah in the first part, followed by the Passover in the second part. It is full of melodious songs and engaging music. It presents a great theme with such simplicity that it wins over people of all age groups. The Hebrew Hammer ‗The Hebrew Hammer‘ is a Jewish film that was released in 2003. The film was premiered at Sundane Film Festival and also many other film festivals. Jonathan Kesselman is the director of the movie and the main star casts include Adam Goldberg, Judy Greer, Andy Dick, Mario Van Peebles, Peter Coyote, Nora Dunn, Sean Whalen, Tony Cox, Rachel Dratch, and Melvin Van Peebles. Lights: The Miracle of Chanukah Released in the year 1987, ‗Lights: The Miracle of Chanukah‘ is a blockbuster that is based on the festive occasion of Hanukkah. The entire movie is a reflection of the true spirit and mood of the festival. The director has very beautifully captured the essence of the event in all its glory. Colorful and bright animation, a strong storyline and mind-blowing set decorations - that‘s ‗Lights: The Miracle of Chanukah‘ for you. It is particularly a rage amongst kids, as they love to see the funny and amusing animated characters therein. A Rugrats Chanukah ‗A Rugrats Chanukah‘ is a special animated series of the Rugrats. Written by J. David Stem and David N.Weiss, it revolves around the narration of Hanukkah story by Grandma Minkus, to the children. It was originally broadcast on Nickledeon, on December 4, 1996 and received high appreciation and large audience. The movie candidly brings out the stories and legends associated with Hanukkah. The presentation of the series is simple and lucid. Eight Crazy Nights This is a story of a troubled man who is forced to stay with his former basketball coach Whitey and his sister. As the story moves on, we watch the young man turn from a horrible person into a decent, caring human being. Adam Sandler voices the main character. Here are a few more: Shalom Sesame Chanukah Special There's No Such Thing as a Chanukah Bush, Sandy Goldstein
Chanuka & Passover at Bubbe's Lights: The Miracle of Chanukah Chanukah on Planet Matzah Ball Lovely Butterfly: Chanukah Songs: In the non-Jewish community, the most popular Chanukah song might be Adamâ€˜s Sandlerâ€˜s The Hanukkah Song. However, there many more songs that are sung during the holiday and whether you prefer hearing the Barenaked Ladies sing their verison of Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah there are versions of the songs to choose from. Here are is a small list of some of the popular Hanukah songs: Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah
Rock of Ages (Ma'oz Tzur)
Sivivon, sov, sov, sov
The Hanukkah Song
Light One Candle
I Have a Little Dreidel On Chabad.org you can listen to the audio as well as read the lyrics of a few Hanukkah songs that they have listed. There are many websites where you can find the lyrics and music to the songs listed here as well as other ones.
Family Gifts: For the 8 day period of Hanukkah, parents give a one present each day to their kids, and oftentimes adults give other adults presents as well. Well what gifts should I get for someone? Here are a few great gift ideas: On Be‘Chol Lashon‘s website you can order beautiful handmade gifts from Jews in Africa and China. http://bechollashon.org/cart/index.php?cPath=22 Not only are these great gifts, but the money goes to a great cause. On Jewish Gift Place (http://www.jewishgiftplace.com/HanukkahGifts.html), there many gifts for all ages. From beautiful necklaces, to candle holders there are gifts for everyone. Another gift idea is to send a Hanukkah basket to a loved one, neighbor, or a friend. Gourmet Gift Baskets (http://www.gourmetgiftbaskets.com/Kosher-Hanukkah-GiftBaskets.asp) has a variety of baskets to choose from. There are many gift ideas out there and there are more websites to find gifts at a price that is right for you! Chanukkah, Hanukah, Chanukah, Hanukkah, no matter how you spell it, is a wonderful festive time that is meant to be shared with family, friends, neighbors and strangers. If you have any ideas about how to make this year‘s Hanukah a special one to remember, share it on our Facebook or Twitter pages. You can also email us the ideas and we‘ll post them on the website. Chag Urim Sameach. Happy Chanukah!
Photo Courtesy Microsoft Office Word 2007 Clip Art
Chanukah Song Lyrics Here are the lyrics to three of the songs listed above: Chanuka, oh Chanuka Chanuka, Oh Chanuka, come light the Menorah Let's have a party, we'll all dance the hora Gather round the table, we'll all have a treat Sivivon to play with, and latkes to eat. And while we are playing The candles are burning bright One for each night, they shed a sweet light To remind us of days long ago. One for each night, they shed a sweet light To remind us of days long ago. Sivivon, sov, sov, sov Sivivon, sov, sov, sov Chanuka, hu chag tov Chanuka, hu chag tov Sivivon, sov, sov, sov! Chag simcha hu la-am Nes gadol haya sham Nes gadol haya sham Chag simcha hu la-am. (Translation) Dreidel, spin, spin, spin. Chanuka is a great holiday. It is a celebration for our nation. A great miracle happened there. Maoz Tzur - Transliteration Maoz tzur yeshua-si Lecha na-eh li-sha-beyach Tikone bais ti-fee-lasi Vi-sham todah ni-za-beyach. Li-ase ta-chin mat-beyach
Mee-tzar ham-na-beyach Az eg-more vi-sheer meez-mor Chanukas ha-meez-beyach Az eg-more vi-sheer meez-mor Chanukas ha-meez-beyach. (Translation) O Rock of my salvation, with delight we praise You. Restore the Temple where we will bring offerings. When You will eliminate our enemies, Then I shall sing at the rededication. I Have a Little Dreidel I have a little dreidel I made it out of clay And when it's dry and ready Then dreidel I shall play! (Chorus) Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel I made it out of clay And when it's dry and ready Then dreidel I shall play! It has a lovely body With legs so short and thin And when my dreidel's tired It drops and then I win! (Chorus) My dreidel's always playful It loves to dance and spin A happy game of dreidel Come play now, let's begin! Lyrics from http://hanukkah.123holiday.net/hanukkah_songs.html
Family LIGHT ONE CANDLE By Peter, Paul & Mary Light one candle for the Maccabee children Give thanks their light didn't die; Light one candle for the pain they endured When their right to exist was denied; Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice Justice and freedom demand; light one candle for the wisdom to know When the peacemaker's time is at hand! chorus: Don't let the light go out, It's lasted for so many years! Don't let the light go out! Let it shine through our love and our tears! Light one candle for the strength that we need To never become our own foe; Light one candle for those who are suff'ring The pain that we learned long ago; Light one candle for all we believe in, That anger not tear us apart; And light one candle to bind us together With peace as the song in our heart! (chorus) What is the memory that's valued so highly That we keep it alive in that flame? What's the commitment to those who have died? We cry out "they've not died in vain," We have come this far, always believing That justice will somehow prevail; This is the burden and This is the promise, This is why we will not fail! (chorus) Don't let the light go out! Don't let the light go out! Don't let the light go out!
Hanukkah Blessings For each night of Hanukkah, one candle is added to the menorah. The first night, you light only the shamus-the one at a different height-and one Hanukkah candle. By the eighth night, all of the candles will be lit. Candles are added to the menorah from right to left. The shammus candle is lit first. While holding the shammus candle, sing or recite the blessings below. Blessings over the Candles:
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah. (Amein) to light the lights of Chanukkah. (Amen). Blessings for Hanukkah:
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
she'asah nisim la'avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh. (Amein) Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time. (Amen)
Shehecheyanu (first night only):
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. (Amein) who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season (Amen)
When youâ€˜re done reciting or singing the blessings, use the shamus candle to light the Hanukkah candles from left to right (newest to oldest) each day. Let the candles burn until they go out on their own. They must burn for more than 30 minutes. Standard Hanukkah candles burn for about an hour.
Photos Courtesy of Microsoft Office Word 2007 Clip Art
My Viewpoint Early this month my partner, Miriam, and I had an intense and impassioned discussion about Christmas. I'm not sure how the topic was brought up while we enjoyed brunch after hours of spending money to help improve NYC's economy in SoHo (a.k.a excessive shopping). We sat down at a cute brunch location on Elizabeth street and ordered food. By the time the calamari was set before us to share we were deep in discussion and I could tell that we were trying with difficulty to both understand the other while trying to defend our point without causing pain. I caused pain. I "belittled her entire Jewish experience" which made me feel about as small as the period at the end of this sentence. In my fervor to express my desires and expectations for the creation of a Jewish home I belittled my Jewish girlfriend's Judaism. The case was Christmas and how, if at all, it would be celebrated in our home. 5771/2010 is the first year that I will not be celebrating Christmas. I actually don't even know the date this year and I've offered myself to work on Christmas Eve and the day following. I've made those offers for a few reasons, one being that as the newest member of my management team I have not acquired any vacation time that would warrant me leaving NYC for Ohio for even a few days. The other reason is that Christmas isn't mine any more. I've had 30 years of Christmas in my life. 30 years of family time, presents, memories, laughter and disappointment. If I'm being honest after high school the Christmas that I'd grown to love had started to fade rapidly. As a child, Christmas was the best day of the year. Santa Davis would always outdo the previous year. One Christmas morning in particular the entire half of the living room in our Victorian Mansion was filled with presents. I remember this one quite vividly because I got the Julie doll I'd been coveting (she talked and read stories) my sister got her Teddy Ruxpin talking bear. There were piles of Barbie Dolls, Legos, a Nintendo, clothes, we both got new bikes, roller skates, ice skates it was overwhelming even to my child's mind. When our extended family showed up for dinner a few hours later we compared notes on our loot. As my cousins looked at the ridiculous pile of games, toys, and clothes not able to fit under our tree, let alone a corner of a room I felt guilty. When our family's finances took a nose-dive it wasn't mentioned to my sister and I, so as to not spoil our childhood. We moved out of the home my parents were able to repurchase last summer to a much smaller home and our Christmases got smaller. The way I saw it, a sixth grader didn't need as many toys as I'd gotten previously but when doing the tally at school after break I was the one who was envious of my peer's presents. I found myself lying to them telling them more presents than I actually received. By high school we exchanged presents on a very small scale and my sister and I would confide in each other that my parents had gotten cheap, that Christmas was a waste, we barely woke up early on Christmas morning any more. As a 31-year-old having talked to my mother in depth about what happened to our family financially during that time of my life I'm over whelmed with a feeling of selfishness and guilt. My sister and I were very spoiled children and the silver spoon shoved so far up our rears were tarnished by an inability to appreciate anything and take everything we'd had for granted. Still, it does pain me on some level to know that I 15
My Viewpoint won't be able to celebrate Christmas on that level again. Yet, I have friends to this day, that after Christmas want to know what I'd gotten and then run a tally of what they'd received. They'd get new Kindle, an iPod, clothing, shoes...can't we buy these as adults? The meaning of Christmas is lost on so many adults to this day. I am one of those adults. I have given up Christmas, as it is no longer my holiday, wholly and without regret. I will, of course, celebrate with my parents and my nephews will definitely be getting some Christmas presents (okay lots of Christmas presents) from their aunt Erika. It's unfair to expect my family to make new traditions because of my decision to convert to Judaism. I will not turn my nose up on them and will gladly send them holiday cheer. It will be neutral, though and I may send them a Hanukkah book with an inscription about who their aunt/daughter is if I can find one that pictures Jews of various ethnicities, rather than just blonde haired ones. I will do that not to push my conversion onto them, but to better help them understand who I am. I'm sending my parents a copy of Anita Diament's book "Choosing Judaism" as well as Ernest H. Adam's book "From Ghetto to Ghetto" so that they can understand what I'm doing and where I'm coming from, along with a link to my blog so they can chart my progress and understand better. Back to the heated discussion over brunch. I said to my partner, who's always celebrated Christmas because her grandmother on her mother's side is Baptist, that we would not do so. She told me that on Christmas morning her Jewish grandfather gave each of his grandchildren a crisp $100 bill. I shook my head that it would not be in our home. As a woman who grew up Christian, Christmas is about the birth of Christ. To that, she shook her head. She argued that Christmas was about consumerism and spending time with family. I told her that we could spend time with family on Christmas, we'd all be off work, after all, but that there wouldn't be an exchange of presents on any level. I told her that if we did not celebrate every single holiday on the Jewish calendar with all of the joy, celebration, and history that they remind us of that we definitely would not celebrate Christmas in a Christian way. I told her that attending temple only for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and leaving the others out just to turn around and exchange presents on Christmas made little our Jewish identity. That was the knife in the side. I turned it by saying that I would not be that kind of Jew. I looked across the table to the woman that I love, the woman I will marry under a chuppah, the woman who I will bear children with, the woman I will live my Jewish life with and I could see that I'd hurt her deeply. In my new Jew craze haze I forgot that what I want and expect and need from my Jewish religion is not what she needs, wants, or expects from her Jewish identity. Then she dropped a bomb on me, she's an Atheist. I smiled with relief and joy-Hallelujah! Do you think I'm crazy that I'm overjoyed that my Jewish girlfriend has admitted that she's an Atheist? I don't. When we left the restaurant we were holding hands and the uncomfortable but much needed conversation about the Case for Christmas was cleared. While she does not believe in God as I do, she very much feels an affinity, love, respect, and personal connection and obligation to her Judaism. Miriam is a born 16
Jew and I am a Jew by Choice. Learning all aspects of what it is to become a Jew is not the same as growing up as a Jew, especially a Jew in Texas. She wants to raise Jewish children, she wants them to attend Hebrew school, she wants to celebrate the entire Jewish year, she wants to attend and celebrate Shabbat every single Friday with our children. For that, I'll give her dinner with family on Christmas. No Tree. No presents. No Santa. And we're doing mitzvah on Christmas, tikkun olam, specifically before hand by volunteering our time to a soup kitchen. Which is how I will be spending my Christmas this year, as a proud Jew. I will admit to some inner struggle as the carols are starting to be played on the speakers of stores. I have the strong desire to string Twinkle lights in the window of my apartment and I feel like a wreath of greens would look lovely on my front door-next to my mezuzzah. It's a slippery slope. I could reason in my newish Jewish mind that Lights are more Jewish with reference to Hanukkah than Christmas and therefore not an inappropriate decoration to add a more festive feel to my home. I could argue that greens of garland isn't a tree and reason it's place on my mantle (if I had one). The fact is that those things still represent Christmas to me even though they have little to do with Christmas at all. As a Jew-to-be it doesn't seem appropriate to try to make Hanukkah like Christmas. While Hanukkah isn't a major holiday it's proximity to Christmas makes it more visible to Christians and the public at large. It deserves the fanfare, but I'd like to make it as Hanukkah-like as possible. I'll light my menorah for 8 days and get an electric one for my window so my neighbors will see the light shining from my apartment but that's it. Perhaps as the years go by and Christmas fades away into my memory the decorations for Hanukkah will come but for this year, at least, I'm satisfied with my menorah, my Hanukkah party, and spending time with my partner and Jewish friends. ~ Erika Davis is an Ohio transplant living in New York City. Currently in the process of converting to Judaism her blog, "Black, Gay, and Jewish" charts her progress, insights, thoughts, frustrations, and joy of Jewish learning. Erika is currently working on a memoir by the same title that will be finished when her conversion process is complete.
In the News
Taking a Shyne to Judaism By DAVID BRINN 11/12/2010 From the Jerusalem Post Online
Shyne's three life stages: an impoverished child in Belize with Jewish lineage, a gifted hiphop rapper who topped the charts in 2000 before going to jail, and now in Jerusalem strengthening his Jewish identity. Halloween‘s already gone by, and Purim is still far beyond the horizon, but it seems like the slight figure standing in the lobby of a luxury Jerusalem hotel is dressed for some kind of masquerade. The juxtaposition of the dapper black garb of the Belz Hassidim – including fashionable top hat, high, white stockings and tapered suit – with reflector shades, his bronzed skin and his enigmatic presence indicates that this is no ordinary young man from Mea She‘arim. But on closer scrutiny, it emerges that his peculiar combination of dress is no mere capricious costume. He‘s had at least three names – Jamal Michael Barrow, Moshe Levy Ben David and Shyne. And they represent the three stages of his life: the first as an impoverished child in Belize with Jewish lineage the third as a gifted New York-based hiphop rapper who hit the top of the charts in 2000 before being sent to prison for 10 years, and the second as we see him today – a Jew spending time in Jerusalem exploring and strengthening his Jewish identity. The shades are big, black reflectors, and he wears them inside and out. They conceal his eyes, so you can never really know what his expression is. Maybe, they‘re a symbol of the street, of his untamed past, or of being on the threshold of a return to international stardom, but this time on his own terms where gangsta shades and haredi chic can coexist. ―It‘s been a tremendous year. It‘s my 10th anniversary [of his eponymous album being released], and just to have 10 years of anything is a miracle,‖ said the 31-year-old Shyne sitting in the hotel lounge, taking his hat off – but shades still on – to reveal a big, black kippa that covers his close-cropped hair. ―But to celebrate it with a new album coming out, and to be in the place where my forefathers dwelled, it sounds like something out of central casting, man. You know, Spielberg couldn‘t script something better.‖ Try this on for a synopsis, Steven. A 19-year-old Belize-born, New York street rapper with an Ethiopian Jewish grandmother 18
In the News releases his smash debut album in 2000, soon after he‘s charged with attempted murder in a night club shooting involving his friends Sean (P. Diddy) Combs and Jennifer Lopez. After serving most of his 10-year sentence, the rapper is deported from the US and returns to Belize, where his estranged father serves as prime minister. Becoming religiously observant while in prison, the rapper makes his first visit to Israel over Rosh Hashana, decides to stay, undergoes a symbolic conversion and begins studying at a number of yeshivot. While still fighting his deportation, the rapper signs a lucrative deal with Def Jam Records, and begins plotting his comeback – not as a misogynist, profane disciple of the Notorious BIG – but as an inspirational hip-hopper aimed at exposing the ills of society and through the back door, showing kids the righteous path of Jewish values. Fade to white as the hero rides off into the sunset. SHYNE REGULARLY peppers his speech with yeshiva terminology, eagerly recalling biblical stories and figures and regularly inserting himself and his struggles into the narrative. He embraces his Jewish identity with a still-electric fervor, complete with childlike innocence and Hebrew mispronunciations, part and parcel for someone growing up in an inner city environment far from traditional Judaism who is suddenly exposed to its treasures. But he‘s no Johnnycome- lately to Judaism, and when he unfolds his long, roller-coaster ride, he does so with such an intensity, it almost seems like his eyes are piercing through those reflector shades. His Jewish grandmother immigrated from Ethiopia to Belize, and her daughter Frances Franklin, gave birth out of wedlock to Jamal Michael Barrow in 1979. Shyne‘s father, attorney Dean Barrow, initially failed to acknowledge his son, leaving Franklin to raise the child alone with her mother in near poverty. While not traditionally observant, the older woman passed on the Jewish biblical traditions to her grandson. ―My grandmother taught me about the different struggles that Moshe Rabbinic and David Hamlet went through – those were the point people, the standard bearers in my house,‖ said Shyne. ―I lived the stories she was telling me about. David was always going to war, but his calling card was always Hashed, no matter whether he was a shepherd or a king, whether he made mistakes or was celebrating in his kingdom.‖ When the family decided to move to the US, young Jamal was left behind with his uncle until they got settled. He was sent to them in Crown Heights in Brooklyn when he was seven years old. Later the family moved to East Flatbush, where Shyne‘s mother cleaned houses and took care of children to make ends meet. ―You know, life was tough. I wasn‘t an angel,‖ he said about his integration into the US. 19
In the News By the time he was 13, Shyne‘s brushes with the law for minor infractions got him taken away from his mother and sent to a boys‘ home in Spring Valley, New York, where he turned himself around and excelled in studies and played on the football team. ―I was pretty fortunate. They say you become the son of the congregation when you‘re 13, so that was my bar mitzva. My mom wasn‘t religious, so Hashem took me away from her,‖ he said, looking back on that period, which he called a major transition in his life. It was around that same time that he discovered his musical talent, after latching onto the hip-hop and dance hall music he grew up hearing. Shyne credited his bumpy childhood for giving him the confidence to believe in his ability to perform. ―I had been through so much, I had lived through a nightmare. And the more you go through difficulty, the more fearless you become. So at that point, I wasn‘t afraid to believe I could make music. Because it was all about the ghetto and the struggles and suffering going on there. So it was an easy thing for me to sing about exactly what I was going through – the poverty, the ambitions, the dreams.‖ BACK IN BROOKLYN for high school, Shyne was shot when he was 15 in a neighborhood incident, but recovered and graduated three years later, then enrolled in community college. All the while, he was working on his music, writing material and dreaming. ―Obviously I loved music, but I had to be practical about life,‖ he said. ―After I graduated high school, I bought an 18- speed bike and rode around Manhattan as a delivery boy. That‘s when my music went to a new plateau. I would ride over the Brooklyn Bridge, and by the time I got to the other side, I had another record written. As someone who never imagined I could make music like my hero Bob Marley was making, or any of the guys I was listening to, all of the sudden I realized that my music was great.‖And so did some other people, most notably hip-hop producer Clark Kent who, according to urban legend, happened to enter a Brooklyn barbershop where Shyne was freestyle rapping. Impressed by what he heard, Kent brought the rapper to the attention of hip-hop giant Sean ―P. Diddy‖ Combs who signed Shyne to his Bad Boy Records label and featured him on his album Forever. "I blew the right person away, he told Sean Combs and he heard and he was blown away,‖ said Shyne, who went from sleeping on his mother‘s couch to flying to Beverly Hills first class to record with the giants of hip-hop. 20
In the News While enjoying the fruits of the lucrative deal he signed with Bad Boy to pro-duce his debut album, Shyne said that the sudden luxury was a by-product not the end all of his desire to make music. ―Obviously, I didn‘t have to deliver messages any more. But just like you don‘t question when you don‘t have anything to eat and you‘re stuck with eating bread and sugar, when Hashem decides to put a little rice on your plate, you know, it‘s okay, you‘re just thankful.‖ Shyne admitted, however, to getting caught up in the bling bling mentality of the hiphop world of Combs and his homeboys while he was recording his debut album in 1999. ―I made a few mistakes when I got my recording contract. I really got into that popular mainstream existence,‖ he said. ―My t‘kuma was rough, and it always happens like that when you‘re on that derech. You start to clean it up, but in order for you to get over the hump and have a clean stride, you gotta get slapped up to get rid of the blemishes. They say at age 20, you become the son of the kadosh baruch hu, and this was around the time that all this stuff was starting to happen.‖ He‘s referring to having a series of cataclysmic incidents beginning with having shots fired at him in December 1999 while outside a New York recording studio. ―It‘s crazy. I was working in the studio one day, really focused, determined, and the next thing you know shots are fired. I went into post traumatic stress disorder. I was shot when I was 15; I had seen guys in my neighborhood get their heads blown off. And the policecivilian relationship in the urban world was nonexistent so that wasn‘t an option. I didn‘t know what to do, I was afraid for my life. So I got a gun. It was a terrible mistake‖ About a month later, at the end of the year, Shyne entered a New York nightclub with Combs and his then-girlfriend, actress/singer Jennifer Lopez. An argument between Combs and another patron ensued. According to Shyne, he knew trouble was rearing its head. ―I know for a fact that this guy is a stone cold murderer from Brooklyn, and I know there‘s not going to be too much talking before he pulls his gun out. The next thing you know, someone who was with the guy from Brooklyn pulls the gun, so I did too. I was just defending myself.‖ Three people were wounded in the shooting incident and Shyne was arrested and brought to a New York lockup. He claims that Combs refused to bail him out, and that for solace, he returned to the Bible stories his grandmother used to tell him growing up in Belize. 21
In the News ―What happened to me was a wake-up call, like Hashem saying to Adam, ‗Where are you?‘ This was my Adam moment. He was saying to me, ‗Where is your soul? What are you doing? You gave me these big ambitions and dreams, and I took you from nobody believing in you to giving you every dream you ever wanted. Get it together!.‘ So sitting there in the detention center for a couple of weeks with the new year on us was perfect wisdom on Hashem‘s part.‖ Eventually released on bail, and awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder, Shyne was back to living with his mother in Brooklyn, as all his money went to his defense counsel. Then things got even stranger. His Big Boy debut album was released and became a huge hip-hop hit, rising to the top of the Urban charts – and it wasn‘t only due to his newfound notoriety. Fans and critics also found a real authenticity to Shyne‘s brand of hip-hop, fueled by an innate talent to verbalize his frustrations and struggles into honest, but obscene and sometimes misogynist, rhymes. ―I went from January 1, 2000, not knowing where my life was going, barely having $3 to get on the train to see my lawyer and make sure my mom had something to eat, to having a hit record, becoming one of the most popular urban artists, touring in front of 50,000 people and being on MTV,‖ said Shyne. ―And it was all through the grace of the kadosh baruch hu. I‘m not a guy to wax religiosity, but when I was in jail, I got on my knees, I cried, I prayed. I said to Hashem, ‗Listen, I gotta get my album out. You can‘t do this to me, You can‘t send me back to the ghetto. You can‘t do this to all the kids who are going to have their lives changed by my music. What do I gotta do?‘ And He said, ‗Be a shomer brit, make all these sacrifices and everything is going to work out.‘ ―The problem with most men is that when they get a response from Hashem, and the response isn‘t conducive to what they want to hear or the sacrifice they‘re willing to make, they‘re not willing to hear it. You can say what you want, ‗What is this guy talking about? God talks to him?‘ but all my dreams came true that year,‖ he said, adding that the trial that was hanging over his head was inconsequential to the ―miracle that just took place.‖ DESPITE THE MIRACLES, Shyne was convicted of possessing a firearm, reckless endangerment and assault, and in late 2001, began serving a 10-year sentence at a New York maximum security prison. In prison, he began keeping kosher and observing Shabbat, and in 2006, changed his name to Moses Michael Levy. Shyne explains it as the continuation of a long process that didn‘t start with prison, but with the Jewish identity he‘s felt ever since he was a child. ―When I was in that boys‘ home in Spring Valley, praying to help me get out of that place, it wasn‘t to Jesus or Muhammad, it was to Moshe Rabbeinu,‖ he said. ―It‘s like when you go in the army, you need to get all your equipment first. I was doing that with Judaism in prison – getting to the different stage of being that I needed to live as an Israelite. Obviously, as far as becoming a halachic Israelite and learning the law, I 22
In the News had a lot of time on my hands in the pen, and that process was accelerated there.‖ But, like the forefathers of Judaism who Shyne identifies with so much, there was another challenge awaiting him when he was released last year, after serving nine years of his 10-year sentence. He was deported from the US to Belize after federal authorities determined that, although he was in possession of a green card, he had never become a naturalized US citizen. ―Yeah, it was kind of being given a Band-Aid with vinegar on it, but it wasn‘t too much of a surprise,‖ said Shyne who admitted that while his mother was a US citizen, he had never bothered to go through the process. His father, Dean Barrow, who had moved up the political landscape in Belize and in 2008 became prime minister, was behind a petition sent to New York Governor David Paterson asking for a pardon for his son to enable his return to the US. Noted civil rights Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree, whom Shyne calls ―my other father,‖ also has gotten involved in the campaign to clear his name. So far, the process has not borne any fruit, butShyne is optimistic that it‘s only a matter of time. ―It‘s a process, Rome wasn‘t built in a night, not with a snap of the finger,‖ he said. Meanwhile, he made lemonade out of this lemon by returning to Belize and taking on the role of a goodwill ambassador, promoting the country and working with youth there. ―Instead of going boo hoo hoo, I looked at the deportation as an opportunity to do what I can for my people, whether monetarily or spiritually. It‘s a great country, a diamond in the rough,‖ he said. ―Of course its devastating that I can‘t walk down Fifth Avenue and smell that polluted New York air, but I try not to dwell on the negative.‖ And with the story of Shyne, as many negatives as there are, there always seems to be even more positive elements. One is that soon after his release, he was approached by Def Jam Records, the biggest hip-hop label, to sign a distribution deal for two new albums he is planning to release next year – Messiah and Gangland. ―There was was no guarantee I would come out of jail and have investors or have anybody interested in who I am. You know, in the entertainment world attention deficit disorder is the rave and 10 years is a long time. So the fact that I came out and I had guys like Jimmy Iovine [chairman of Interscope-Geffen- A&M], Lior Cohen [Warner Brothers] and LA Reid [chairman of Def Jam] wanting to be in business with me and feeling I had any potential left was a miracle.‖ ―We‘re very excited about working with Shyne. He‘s a revered hip-hop star, and we want to give him that special attention he deserves,‖ said Steve Carless, national lifestyle director of Def Jam, in a phone call from his New York office. Carless and 23
In the News colleagues from Def Jam flew here last week to meet with Shyne in Jerusalem. JERUSALEM, where Shyne is spending most of his time now, is the other positive that resulted from a negative in his life. There‘s virtually no Jewish community in Belize, meaning that upon his return there earlier this year, the Shabbat observant Shyne, flew to a nearby country with vibrant synagogue life, like Argentina, Guatemala, Panama or Costa Rica, each Shabbat. ―I was trying to figure out where to go for the High Holy Days. I‘m an organic kind of guy, and even though everyone was telling me go to Israel. To me it‘s not about just going to Israel. It has to be real – it has to be the emet, and for some reason my neshama wasn‘t driving me there,‖ he said. ―Then I started thinking, we say next year in Jerusalem, how is it that I‘m out of prison and not going there? By the grace of God, I‘m in a position where I can decide to come and go pretty quickly, so I just flew here. So what do I do when I get to Israel? Go to a kosher McDonald‘s or do I go daven Shaharit? That decision determines the kind of relationship you‘re going to have with Israel. I went to Bnei Brak and davened Shaharit. When you have a beginning like that, things tend to work out for the rest of the trip.‖ Shyne has become an ubiquitous presence in Jerusalem in recent weeks, whether working out at the David Citadel fitness center, studying at the Or Sameach, Belz or Mirs yeshivot or visiting the Gilad Schalit tent to talk with Noam and Aviva Schalit.
―I‘m just a guy getting connected,‖ he said. ―I met the head of a yeshiva who told me I should learn, but he understood I have to be in the world – I‘m a businessman and an artist, but my intellect could always use some more refining and studying Talmud is a good thing, so I set some time aside.‖ Saying that his time spent here has surpassed all expectations, Shyne added that it wasn‘t very difficult to do so. ―I‘m a guy that has simcha and kedusha in a prison cell with rats running – and walking – around. Under the most inhumane circumstances, I would daven with as much fervor as you can imagine. So to be at the center of the universe now, I knew that whatever I was doing in exile would be multiplied tenfold,‖ he said. ―I plan on making aliya and buying a home here. So even if I‘m not really here, my soul will be. It will be my stake in the ground here.‖ 24
In the News Since his arrival, Shyne has undergone a symbolic conversion that the Chief Rabbinate provides for all olim from Ethiopia, including a symbolic brit mila and the adoption of a new name – Moshe Levy Ben David. ―Once I took care of everything, then you gotta get a new name,‖ he laughed. ―So I replaced Michael with Levy.‖ ―He has a humbleness about him and a respect for the rabbis and authorities,‖ said Jeff Seidel, a rabbi who learns with Shyne at the Or Sameach yeshiva. ―He‘s very dedicated to learning; his questions are intellectual, to the point and not from left field. He‘s focused and concentrating on what he‘s learning.‖ SHYNE JOINED SEIDEL this past Shabbat in Prague for a shabbaton Seidel organized for overseas university students here. ―He spoke to the students and was very well received. He‘s a warm, sincere individual,‖ said Seidel, an observation seconded by Charley Levine, the head of Lone Star Communication, who is advising the singer on ways to use his Jewish identity to inspire Jewish youth worldwide. ―I see that he electrifies young people; he sincerely wants to use his newfound Jewish identity to not only excite young people but excite them in a direction of Judaism and Israel,‖ said Levine. ―He‘s a very intelligent guy. I may have been biased, not knowing much about his world and knowing he‘s just out of jail. I‘m expecting one thing, and the guy shows up and he‘s very smart, articulate, is very sincere.‖ That observation emerges despite the two sides of Shyne that Levine has seen – the pious hassid, and the T-shirted hiphopper. ―I believe that he reflects Jews who are going through a strong identity transition in their lives. All the rest is sort of a sign of the tumultuous period he‘s going through,‖ said Levine. ―That‘s why it‘s one day one thing, another day another thing. On the first day I met him, he came in wearing a Pink Floyd shirt and a kippa, The next time he comes in with the whole black suit gig, and I said, ‗What‘s this?‘ He said, ‗Trust me, I‘ve got the Pink Floyd shirt on underneath.‘ And I hope he continues to do that because that‘s part of who he is.‖ Shyne acknowledged that he‘s not going 100 percent haredi, but insisted that it was not done on a fashion whim. 25
In the News ―I dress both ways. But on Shabbat? Absolutely. Mondays and Thursdays? Absolutely. But Tuesdays, Wednesdays? I have some leeway,‖ he said. Leeway has not been something that‘s been part of Shyne‘s lexicon much in his life, as he‘s always seemed to live on the edge. With his new physical and spiritual base in Israel, he‘s hoping to take some of the edge off, and that begins with his new persona as a PG-rated rapper instead of the XXX rhymer he started as. With lyrics still focusing on the difficulties of inner city life, the difference in the new Shyne rhymes is the omission of profanity, the N-word, and misogynist references. ―With my first album, I was a baby, I was a fetus, I was wounded and I was just crying, complaining,‖ he said ―Already on my second album, there wasn‘t any misogyny, but I was still a little more Ishmael and Esau – you know, a beast. But on my new records, I‘m finally Ben David. I‘m still a warrior, I‘m still on the front line, but it‘s sanitized.‖ ―I‘m not a Jewish rapper, I‘m not making Jewish music,‖ said Shyne, explaining how intends to incorporate his budding beliefs into a form of music built on rebellion, violence and negative images. ―Back in the 1950s, music came from the churches and the choirs. Ray Charles took gospel music and turned it into hit records. Aretha Franklin was a choir singer. So music comes from a place of kedusha. So what I‘m singing about is relative to all human beings. There‘s poverty and people stand by and watch it happen. I don‘t rap about it in a halachic way using Hashem‘s name; I talk about it in layman‘s terms,‖ he said, beginning to recite the lyrics to one of his new song called ―Roller Song.‖ ―My name ain‘t Obama and I ain‘t Lebron/I ride a baby on the wing/And life is hard/There‘s nobody to blame/This is all I walk/I say an ex-con can‘t get no job/So what am I supposed to do/To feed my mom.‖ ―The honesty of those words is devastating,‖ he explains. ―There are so many Africans and Latins in the US and around the world who have this problem. My music may be sanitized, but I always say that vulgarity and obscenity is not in the words, but in actions. People starving, and people not caring about people starving, there‘s nothing more obscene than that.‖ DEF JAM‘S Steve Carless doesn‘t see the double issues of a clean Shyne decked in haredi getup and his inability to currently enter the US as obstacles to returning him to the public eye, merely challenges. ―With the rise of technology, it alleviates a lot of the complications about promoting him without him actually being here. It‘s always great to be able to sit down and see 26
In the News someone perform live, but I don‘t think it will hinder our efforts to reintroduce him to the audience,‖ he said. ―As regards to his Judaism, hip-hop is all about self expression. Look at the Brand Nubians, they‘re Muslim, and Russell Simmons, the head of a major label like Def Jam, is Buddhist. So Shyne‘s Judaism won‘t be a problem at all, when we‘re able to explain to everyone what he‘s is all about now.‖ What Shyne is all about, or what he‘ll be about when and if his entry ban to the US is rescinded, is a good question. Is his seemingly sincere interest and adoption of a Torah life here to stay, or will it fall by the wayside now that the bling and temptation it brings is returning to his life? As a reporter pulls his car to the front of the hotel to take Shyne for his study date at Or Sameach, he reaches across and opens the passenger side door. ―That‘s okay, I‘m used to sitting in back,‖ the rapper said, as he closed the front door and sidled in to the back seat. It was unclear whether he was referring to the times in his life he‘s spent in limousines or in the backs of police cars. Either way, it was impossible to tell what he was thinking, because his shades were still on. Photo Courtesy of Google Images
In the News
Women Who Write Torah A New Generation of Female Scribes Makes History By Elissa Strauss Published November 10, 2010, issue of November 19, 2010 From the Jewish Daily Forward
Nearly a decade ago, when the Kadima Reconstructionist Community, in Seattle, was looking for a Torah to purchase for its congregation, it decided to have one written by a woman. This seemed like a reasonable request to the members of the small congregation, who knew female rabbis, female cantors, even female mohels. Women around them taught Torah, sang Torah, read Torah and learned Torah. Now they just needed to find a woman who wrote Torah. ―We began to look around for the unicorn that was the female Torah scribe,‖ Kadima member Wendy Graff said. ―We eventually realized that the reason we couldn‘t find a Torah written by a woman is that there were no female scribes.‖ This, however, did not deter the congregation from its desire for a female-scribed Torah, and so in 2003, Kadima started the Women‘s Torah Project, with Graff as its director, and issued the first-ever commission for a Torah to be scribed by a woman. The Torah, which was finished this past October, was completed by a team of six scribes, part of the small but growing group of females around the world who have taken it upon themselves to write Torah despite limited access to formal training, and despite the fact that Jewish law prohibits it. Kadima‘s new Torah joins the two Torahs independently scribed by Jen Taylor Friedman, which she started and finished since the time of the commission, making it the third Torah in history to be scribed by women. Kadima originally intended for the Torah to be scribed by one woman, but when those plans fell through, it decided to involve a community of women around the world, including female scribes, or sofrot, in Israel, Brazil, Canada, New Jersey and California. All these women had formal training during which they learned the 4,000 rules needed to be upheld when scribing, from the way one cuts her quills, to the different formations for letters, to the level of intention required for each act. Many studied with men willing to teach women to write Torah, but not willing to read from a Torah scribed by a woman nor to issue any woman official certification. Most of the women are doing their best to make sure the Torahs they scribed — which, like all Torahs, are unsigned — do not end up in communities that would deem them unfit for use. For Shoshana Gugenheim, the lead scribe on the project, the desire to write Torah started about 20 years ago, when the North Carolina native first spent some time in Jerusalem and became familiar with Jewish practice. Gugenheim, a 41-year-old artist, 28
In the News was taken with how emotional the physical contact with the text felt, and so she became interested in Hebrew calligraphy. In 1999, while doing research for an academic paper on the laws pertaining to female scribes, she started thinking about writing Torah herself. Gugenheim moved to Israel in 2000 and found a Hasidic man willing to train her secretly. ―It is very important for women to have access to Torah in any way that is fulfilling for them.… Getting to interact with cloth and letters was my way in. That is how I communicate with the world, through materials. When I see the Torah raised during prayer, I get goose bumps,‖ Gugenheim said. Linda Coppleson, another scribe on the project, had spent years as a Jewish educator and calligrapher before learning how to write Torah. Coppleson, 60, studied with a Conservative rabbi and later with Taylor Friedman for about five years before she joined the project two years ago. She said that even though she has always been engaged in Jewish text through study and the writing of ketubot, or Jewish prenuptial agreements, and mezuzas, scribing the Torah felt profoundly different.
―It is easy to sound clichéd when you talk about spiritual things, but there really is this spiritual feeling you get, something about the way every letter is formed. It is like an 29
‘In the News athlete being in the zone, just a certain frame of mind you are in, and I know all the women feel the same,‖ Coppleson said. The other scribes on the project included Rachel Reichhardt, who studied in Buenos Aires and is the only officially certified scribe of the group; Irma Penn, a Canadian artist who recently fulfilled a 40-year-old dream by learning to scribe in Jerusalem; Rabbi Hanna Klebansky, a native of the former Soviet Union who immigrated to Israel in 1996 and founded a house of study for Russian-speaking immigrants, and Julie Seltzer, the youngest of the group, who studied with Taylor Friedman and Gugenheim and is currently writing Torah in public as part of an exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, in San Francisco. Taylor Friedman, 30, credits the recent growth in female scribes — today they number nearly 50 — partly to the Internet. ―A lot of it is knowing you aren‘t the only one who wants to do this,‖ Taylor Friedman said. And while the women are aware that this is a new practice and a departure from tradition and law, their practice is not, at its core, intended to be provocative. ―If I wanted to do a political act, there would be better things to do,‖ Taylor Friedman said. ―This is a way for me to engage with my commitment as a Jew. It happens to be political, but that is a side-effect.‖
In the News
Settler Leaders are Beginning to Struggle Against the Extension of the Moratorium From http://www.newsru.co.il/israel/14nov2010/borba456.html on 11/14/10
Leaders of the settler movement gathered Sunday night at an emergency meeting, during which they discussed methods of dealing with the extension of the moratorium on construction in settlements. They also intend to initiate a discussion in the Likud possible interventions in the Knesset, if this proposal is accepted. It is reported today, 14 November, RFE / Reshet Bet. Parallel to this, several dozen activists of the ultra-camp staged a demonstration near the house of the leader of Shas, Eli Yishai, requiring him not to allow the extension of the moratorium. This rally was a short time later dispersed by police. No acts of violence, arrests and detentions were made. Earlier, some media reported that Shas is ready to abstain from voting on this issue in exchange for permission to continue construction in Jerusalem. As previously reported, in exchange for refraining from building in Judea and Samaria within 90 days, Washington has promised to give Jerusalem a "package of military aid, which includes 20 combat fighter jets F-35. Israeli media noted that this proposal the White House has yet to support the Congress. The cost of supplies to Israel two dozen F35 is about U.S. $ 3 billion. In addition, the U.S. promised in the coming years to veto all anti-Israel resolution in the UN and its affiliated organizations. U.S. State Department also intends to step up pressure on Arab countries to achieve the recognition of Israel's right to defend itself. Netanyahu stressed that he was able to get a promise from Washington: a request to freeze the construction will be the last. In this three-month moratorium will not address the construction of the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. The decision will be taken by the Cabinet on policy and security. Ministers from Shas said that abstain from voting. Ministers from the NDI and some ministers from the Likud would vote against the freeze.
In the News
Report Details US Letting In Nazis After WWII By PETE YOST, Associated Press Pete Yost, Associated Press â€“11/14/10
WASHINGTON â€“ A report chronicling the history of the Justice Department's Nazi-hunting unit criticizes the government for knowingly allowing some Nazis to settle in the United States after World War II. "America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became in some small measure a safe haven for persecutors as well," says the 600-page document. The New York Times obtained a copy of the report, which the National Security Archive, a private group, posted on its website. Earlier, the Justice Department had declared dozens of pages from the document off-limits to the public after the archive sued to get it. The long-secret report provided new details of many of the major cases handled by Justice's Office of Special Investigations. The report reflects the ways in which American officials, who were assigned to recruit foreign scientists after World War II, circumvented President Harry S. Truman's order that they not bring in Nazi Party members or people who had actively supported Nazi militarism. Arthur Rudolph, one of hundreds of scientists brought to the United States after the war, told investigators in 1947 of attending a hanging during the war of inmates accused of sabotage at a plant near Nordhausen, Germany, where Rudolph was operations director. The plant he ran manufactured V-2 rockets using slave labor. U.S. immigration officials knew Rudolph had been a Nazi party member, but he was admitted to the U.S. anyway. Rudolph went on to become honored in the U.S. as the father of the Saturn V rocket, enabling the United States to make its first manned moon landing. Rudolph went to Germany in 1984 and forfeited his U.S. citizenship. The report also details a discussion at the CIA over whether former Nazi party member Otto Von Bolschwing should acknowledge his Nazi past if confronted about it when applying for U.S. citizenship. Reversing earlier CIA advice, the agency concluded that Bolschwing should tell the truth. The agency hired Bolschwing during the Cold War for his contacts among ethnic Germans and Romanians. The Justice Department sought to deport Von Bolschwing when it found out about his past. Von Bolschwing, it turned out, had worked with Adolf Eichmann, helping devise programs in the 1930s to persecute and terrorize Germany's Jews. Eichmann was one of the architects of the Holocaust. "Some may view the government's collaboration with persecutors as a Faustian bargain," the report states. "Others will see it as a reasonable moral compromise borne of necessity." 32
In court filings in the lawsuit brought by the National Security Archive, the Justice Department said that the report was never finalized, contains numerous factual errors and omissions and does not represent the official position of the Justice Department. On Sunday, a Justice Department spokeswoman, Laura Sweeney, said: "The department is committed to transparency and providing information in accordance with relevant laws. Attorneys with expertise in the Freedom of Information Act make determinations about certain redactions based on privacy and other considerations under the law." According to portions of the report that were deleted by the Justice Department: _The department established in 1997 that Switzerland had bought gold from the Nazis that had been taken from Jewish victims of the Holocaust. _Meetings in 2000 in which U.S. officials pressured Latvian officials to pursue Nazis were "a hideous failure." _In hopes of establishing whether Dr. Joseph Mengele, known as the Angel of Death at Auschwitz, was dead, a director of the Office of Special Investigations kept in his desk a piece of scalp thought to belong to Mengele. OSI was the Justice Department entity created in 1979 to deport Nazis. Also deleted was a portion of a 1993 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit that raised ethics accusations against Justice Department officials.
Stop Asking Me That! Converts to Judaism ―Are you Jewish?‖ ―Yes.‖ ―Did you convert?‖ I‘ve been asked that question many times and to be honest with you, I‘m really tired of being asked. This is my final answer: ―It‘s none of your bloody business.‖ Simply put, if a person doesn‘t tell you that they converted, it‘s not your place to ask them. Here‘s my question: Why do some people feel like they must ask this question? Why do they really want to know? Are they really curious and want to know why this person chose to become a member of this persecuted group? Or are they just ―curious‖ and trying to justify how a person who in their mind doesn‘t look Jewish (ever hear this line: ―Funny you don‘t look Jewish‖? Well guess what? It isn‘t funny.) is Jewish? Well let‘s think this through. There are two ways that a person is Jewish: Either they‘re born a Jew, or they convert. These are the only ways. Unfortunately, some Jews can‘t fathom how some people-say a person of color-can be born into the faith (I‘ve addressed this in my Jews of Color blog). It boggles their mind, so they just assume that they converted. But I digress. Regardless of color, a convert to Judaism can be treated unfairly by those who have been born into the faith. If someone says, ―I‘ve converted.‖ They often get a response like ―Oh okay,‖ meaning that a person who converted isn‘t really Jewish, that they don‘t really count as a Jew. If that‘s true, then I want to ask question: Does this mean that Ruth-who converted to Judaism-isn‘t really Jewish? If so, then that also means that King David, a descendant of Ruth‘s, isn‘t Jewish either. If he‘s not Jewish then I guess that means that the Messiahwho is to come through David‘s lineage-wouldn‘t be Jewish either. We can see how having this view that converts aren‘t officially Jewish doesn‘t make any sense! So to be clear: Whether by birth or by conversion, a Jew is a Jew, period. End of story. Throughout Jewish history, it has been stated many times that a convert to the Jewish faith is a Jew and should be treated as one. Here are a few examples: "When a proselyte comes to be converted, one receives him with an open hand so as to bring him under the wings of the Divine Presence." -Leviticus Rabbah 2:9 34
Hot Topic “Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried" -Ruth, a Moabite and the great-grandmother of King David, who chose to convert to Judaism. Ruth 1:16-17 "Dearer to God than all of the Israelites who stood at Mount Sinai is the convert. Had the Israelites not witnessed the lightning, thunder, and quaking mountain, and had they not heard the sounds of the shofar, they would not have accepted the Torah. But the convert, who did not see or hear any of these things, surrendered to God and accepted the yoke of heaven. Can anyone be dearer to God than such a person?" -Tanhuma (ed. Buber), Lekh Lekha 6:32
"Beloved are proselytes by God, for the Bible everywhere uses the same epithet of them as of Israel" -Talmud, Gerim 4:3 “You shall love the convert" -Deuteronomy 10:19 "You must understand the feelings of the convert." -Exodus 23:9 Every year at Shavout, we celebrate the harvest, and G-D giving the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. We also read the book of Ruth. In his book Jewish Literacy the most important things to know about the Jewish religion, its people and history, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin says this about Ruth: “In four simple Hebrew words, Ruth, a Moabite woman who wishes to convert to Judaism, describes the essence of what it means to be a Jew. „Ameikh ami, ve‟Elo-haiikh Elo-hai--Your people shall be my people, and your G-D my G-D‟…The Book of Ruth has long served as an important antidote for any Jew prone to exaggeratedly nationalistic leanings. How chauvinist can one become in a religion that traces its Messiah to a non-Jewish convert to Judaism?” To conclude this blog, I ask one more question: With so many people who make a personal choice to convert to Judaism, who decide to dedicate themselves wholly to practicing the rituals and following the laws and customs-often more so than those who are Jews by birth-shouldn‘t we welcome them into the community instead of treating them like outsiders? Photo courtesy Microsoft Office Word 2007 Clip Art
Festival Foods for the Festival of Lights: Delicious Recipes for Chanukah Here are some festive recipes to light up your Chanukah meals! Sweet Potato Pancakes (Latkes) From http://recipes.holidays.net/view_recipe.php?id=499
Ingredients 2 lg. cooked sweet potatoes, mashed 2 eggs, beaten 2 carrots, grated and lightly steamed 1 lg. zucchini, grated 6 tbsp. flour 3/4 tsp. salt 1/4 cup olive oil
Directions 1. Mix all ingredients except oil. 2. In non-stick large skillet, heat olive oil over low heat for 2 minutes. 3. Drop 2- tablespoons of the sweet potato mixture into hot oil. Use spatula to flatten pancakes slightly. 4. Cook each pancake for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Test for doneness. 5. Serve immediately or keep warm and crunchy in a 250 degree oven.
Food Hanukkah Sweet-and-Sour Brisket From http://www.pastrywiz.com/archive/hanukkas.htm
Yield: 8 Servings Ingredients: 6 lb Brisket 1/4 c Water 2 lg Yellow onions; 1/2" slices 4 lg Celery stalks & leaves1/2" slices 8 oz Chili sauce or spicy catsup 4 lg Cloves garlic; minced 2 Bay leaves 1/2 c Dark brown sugar; firm pack 1/3 c Dijon mustard 1/4 c Soy sauce 1/4 c Red wine vinegar 3 T Molasses 12 oz Beer 1/2 t Paprika 4 lg Baking potatoes; 1/2" slices Salt/pepper Photo courtesy: http://www.ingredientsinc.net/tag/jim-n-nicks/
Directions: This dish can be cooked two ways: it can be simmered on top of the stove as well as cooked in a crockpot. You may make it 3 days in advance and chill or freeze for up to six months. Wrap before freezing. Simmered on top of the stove: Sear meat, fat side down for from five to ten minutes. When brown, turn and brown on the other side. Remove brisket. Skim off any fat and discard, leaving drippings in pan. Add water, onions, celery, chili sauce, vinegar and molasses to pan and mix well. Return meat to pan, cover and cook over medium-low heat for 3 hours. Add beer, paprika and potatoes. Re-cover and cook for an hour longer, adding water, if needed, to keep moist.
Crockpot: Seat meat as directed, then place all ingredients except salt and pepper in a large crockpot set on high heat. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours or until tender. Let brisket cook in liquid for 30 minutes, then transfer to a container. Pour the cooking liquid and potatoes in a bowl. Discard bay leaves. Let cool for at least 2 hours, then skim off fat. Return liquid and potatoes to pot with a lid. Cut meat across grain into 1/4" slices; add to the liquid. Cover and reheat over low or
Food heat in the microwave. Adjust seasonings. Serve on warmed platter surrounded by potatoes and cooking liquid. Colorful Vegetable Latkes From Lisa Katz, former About.com Guide
4 large baking potatoes 2 large carrots 2 small zucchini 1 medium onion 1 egg 1/4 cup mitzvah meal 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. white pepper 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary canola oil for frying
Preparation: 1. Shred potatoes, onions and zucchini. Be sure to drain for about 15 minutes, squeezing down every five minutes. The shredded vegetables should be dry. 2. Shred carrots and add to above shredded and well-drained vegetables.
3. Blend with remaining ingredients. 4. Fry in minimum amount of oil (approximately 2 tablespoons per cake). 5. Serve with applesauce or sour cream.
Photo Courtesy Microsoft Office Word 2007 Clip Art
Food Cranberry-Raisin Dessert Latkes From http://www.caryn.com/store/hanukkah/recipes/cranberry_raisin_latke.html
Ingredients 12 oz bag cranberries 3/4 c. water 1/2 of a 15 oz box of raisins 1/2c. orange juice 2 c. sugar or sucanat 1c. flour 2 eggs canola or peanut oil Directions In a large pot, simmer cranberries in water until they pop. Add raisins, juice & sugar, mix well, then boil until mixture is thick (about 15 minutes). Let cool. Add flour and eggs to cranberry mixture and blend well. In a large skillet, heat oil over a low flame. Drop batter in by tablespoons, flatten with spoon. Turn when latkes are golden, but keep turning often. Because of all the sugar, these latkes will burn easily. Latkes are ready when both sides are golden brown, but soft--figure about 20 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve.
Photo Courtesy Microsoft Office Word 2007 Clip Art
Keeping Warm & Looking Good! Fashions for Fall & Winter 2010-2011 It‘s autumn and the temperature is dropping. Winter will be soon approaching and we definitely want to keep warm but also at the same time look good for what our day calls for. So whether it‘s a Hanukkah party, a day at the office, or spending the day out chilling with your friends, family, or significant other, these fashions will keep you warm and looking good in any situation!
Women Turtlenecks. This clothing is essential in keeping you warm during those breezy autumn days and cold wintery nights. But they‘re not known for being an exciting piece of clothing. Everything depends on how you wear it. Try to mix colors and add some funky accessories to your look and the turtleneck will change from the very dull to a stylish piece. High collars on Jackets. Not only will it make you look modern the high collar will keep you warm from cold winter winds. It‘s fashionable and practical at the same time. Patchwork. Wearing patchwork can be tricky, as you must be creative. If you wear too many accessories you will definitely overdo it, but if don‘t wear any something will be missing. What is great about patchwork is that you‘ll never be part of a crowd, you have millions of ways to stand out while keep warm. Quilting. T he warmer garments you wear the better. The quilting technique is always used for making coats because it provides warmth to the wearer and also looks great too! Thigh-high boots. These boots have become a favorite with many women. Not only do they look sexy, they also feel comfortable. And, they provide a great coverage to the leg that is crucial for winter time. Gloves. Another important item to wear for the freezing season of the year, you can rock stylist gloves that also keep your fingers from getting frost bite. Coats. Whether you‘re walking down the street, or entering a building during the snowy days, a coat is essential and one of the first pieces of clothing that people see on you. So here are three types of coats that keep you warm and looking good.
Camel coat. It‘s making a comeback and looking great while it does so. Cape It doesn‘t have to be red. The more blanket-like a cape is the better. Hoodie is a statement coat accessory-on your head, instead of a cap. Fur is always hot in winter and it also keeps your warm and snug.
Photo Courtesy Google Images
Men & Teen Guys Classic Winter Hats. Basic ski caps, fedoras, newsboy hats, and bowlers keep heat and style intact. Leather. Whether it‘s synthetic or the real deal, this is a style that keeps you warm and fashionable. Vests. Vests are at the top in layering pieces. The vest can be an extra barrier against the cold or act as a final finishing piece on slightly warmer days. Throw it over a sweater to keep your limbs covered and core toasty. It‘s essential to keep everything equal. You can pair thicker sweaters with similarly sturdy vests and thinner ones with leaner, lightweight ones.
Scarves. When tied correctly, this accessory heats the neck and adds style. There are three simple ways to wear them. The Parisian is created by folding the scarf lengthwise and pulling the two ends through the loop created on the opposite side. This style is the best for maximum warmth. The more casual once-around knot works by placing the scarf on the neck with one side slightly longer than the other and then wrapping it around and through the loop. If it‘s not that cold yet, keep the once-around loose and limber. This only works with longer scarves.
Photos courtesy of Google Images
Kids We don‘t want kids & teens dressing and looking older than they are. They should dress age appropriate-and they can while looking stylist and keeping warm. Wool, leather, cotton and rich stretch knits. These keep children warm and stylish. Girls’ dresses with short sleeves. Wear it with a stylish and cute cardigan or sleek long-sleeve tee underneath for a cool and sophisticated look.
Jeans. Is a basic item that every kid or teen should have in their wardrobe. They should have it both in Jeeps or trousers because it‘s so practical and always in fashion. It keeps the cold out and does well with the wear and tear that kids do in their play. Coats and Boots. Every kid and teen can wear a coat for winter while adding some accessories to give it a stylish look. Boots are so fashionable this winter for all ages and it looks great with striped shirts in different colors.
Photos Courtesy Google Images
Teens Stylish Leggings. The latest leggings trends vary from the printed to the latex as well as acid styles. All these ensure style while providing you with warmth and comfort during the winter. Leggings can be paired with chic boots as well as heels. Chunky Cardigans and Sweaters. These cute clothing items can be worn over a thinner and top as well as in an outfit completed with pants styles that would compliments your shape. The length of these clothes can also vary depending which length compliments your shape. Below-The-Knee-Skirts. These cute skirts prove that you donâ€˜t need to wear miniskirts to look good. This piece can be worn for school or the weekend further with kneehigh socks or simply a blazer and a top. Trench Coat. When it comes to deciding what to wear on those autumn or winter rainy days, wearing a trench coat that is both practical and also stylish is a great solution! There are various styles to choose from. From the military or the pastel color, there are many various all-figure-flattering designs as well as colors that you can select from. Match your coat with the perfect outfit to look good as well as keep warm.
Photo Courtesy Google Images
Anish Kapoor Anish Kapoor is a notable sculptor whose works of art are found all over the world. He has won numerous awards and was the first living British artist to take over the Royal Academy, London, from September 26 - December 11, 2009. His work is collected worldwide. His art is mostly viewed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, Fondazione Prada in Milan, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the De Pont Foundation in Tilburg, Netherlands, and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan. He also has gallery representations which include the Lisson Gallery, London and the Gladstone Gallery, New York. Anish was born in March 12, 1954 in Bombay (Mumbai) India to his mother, a Jewish immigrant from Baghdad; and to his father, a hydrographer in the Indian Navy from a Punjabi family. Speaking of his mother‘s family Anish says, ―My mother was then only a few months old. She had an Indian-Jewish upbringing. Her father, my grandfather, was the cantor in the synagogue in Pune. At the time, the Jewish community in Bombay was quite large, mostly consisting of Baghdadi Jews.‖ Kapoor spent his early years in India, first in Bombay (Mumbai), and then in Dehra Dun at the Doon School. From 1971-1973, he studied electrical engineering in Israel. In 1972, he moved to Britain where he attended Hornsey College of Art and Chelsea School of Art and Design. In the early 1980s, Kapoor emerged as one of a number of British sculptors working in a new style and gaining some international recognition with their work. He initially began exhibiting as part of New British Sculpture art scene. He went on to exhibit internationally at venues such as the Tate Gallery and Hayward Gallery in London, Kunsthalle Basel, Haus der Kunst Munich, Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, Reina Sofia in Madrid, MAK Vienna, and the ICA Boston. In 1990, he represented Britain in the XLIV Venice Biennale and was awarded the Premio Duemila Prize. It was at this event, that Anish achieved widespread recognition. In 1991 he received the Turner Prize. In 2000, one of Kapoor's works, Parabolic Waters was shown outside the Millennium Dome in London. It is a work consisting of rapidly rotating colored water. In 2001, Sky Mirror, a large mirror piece that reflects the sky and surroundings, was commissioned for a site outside the Nottingham Playhouse. 45
Since 2006, Cloud Gate, a 110-ton stainless steel sculpture with a mirror finish, has been permanently installed in Millennium Park in Chicago. Viewers are able to walk beneath the sculpture and look up into a navel above them called an omphalos. In the autumn of 2006, a second Sky Mirror was installed in Rockefeller Center, New York.
Sky Mirror, Kensington Gardens, London
In 2007, he showed Svayambh, a carved block of red wax that moved on rails through the Nantes Muse des Beaux-Arts as part of the Biennale estuary. It was shown again in a major show at the Haus Der Kunst in Munich and in 2009 at the Royal Academy in London. Svaymbh means ‗self-generated‘. In 2008, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston exhibited Kapoor's first U.S. mid-career survey. In the same year, Kapoor created the sculpture "Memory" in Berlin and New York for the Guggenheim Foundation.
In 2009 Anish Kapoor became the first Guest Artistic Director of Brighton Festival. As well as informing the content of the festival as a whole, Kapoor installed 4 sculptures for the duration of the festival. They were: Sky Mirror at Brighton Pavilion gardens, C-Curve at The Chattri, Blood Relations-which was a collaboration with author Salman Rushdie, and 1000 Names, both at Fabrica. He also created 2 new works: a large site-specific work entitled ‗The Dismemberment of Jeanne d‘Arc‘ and a performance based installation entitled ‗Imagined Monochrome‘. The public response was so overwhelming that police had to re-divert traffic around C Curve at the Chattri and exercise crowd control.
People When asked if engagement with people and places is the key to successful public art, Kapoor said, ―I‘m thinking about the mythical wonders of the world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Tower of Babel. It‘s as if the collective will comes up with something that has resonance on an individual level and so becomes mythic. I can claim to take that as a model for a way of thinking. Art can do it, and I‘m going to have a damn good go. I want to occupy the territory, but the territory is an idea and a way of thinking as much as a context that generates objects.‖ Also that same year, Kapoor and two other artists, were asked to create three "permanent, site-specific works in harmony with the light and colors" of Pollino National Park, the largest national park in Italy, as the first edition of project ArtePollino – Another South. Kapoor's work, Cinema di Terra or Earth Cinema, is in the thermally active spa area of Latronico. It is cut into the landscape and is made from concrete and earth. People can enter from both sides and walk along it until they reach a small square from where they can see the landscape from within. It officially opened to public in September 2009. In 2010 a new Anish Kapoor sculpture called "Turning the World Upside Down, Jerusalem" was commissioned and installed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The sculpture is described as a "16-foot tall polished-steel hourglass" and it "reflects and reverses the Jerusalem sky and the museum's landscape, a likely reference to the city's duality of celestial and earthly, holy and profane." Kapoor's pieces are often simple, curved forms, usually monochrome, and frequently brightly colored. Powdered pigments sometimes cover the works and sometimes lie on the floor around the works as well. This practice is inspired by the mounds of brightly colored pigments Kapoor saw on his visits to the markets and temples of India. A lot of his most recent works are made of solid, quarried stone, many of which have carved apertures and cavities, often alluding to, and playing with, dualities such as earth-sky, matterspirit, lightness-darkness, visible-invisible, consciousunconscious, male-female and body-mind. His most recent works are mirror-like, reflecting or distorting the viewer and surroundings. The use of Turning the World Upside Down, red wax is also part of his current collections. It is Jerusalem evocative of flesh, blood and transfiguration. Anish acknowledges that his work is inspired by both western and eastern culture. 47
People Kapoor has also produced a number of large works, including the Taratantara (1999), a tall piece installed in the Baltic Flour Mills in Gateshead, England; and Marsyas (2002), a large work of steel and flesh-colored PVC that reached end to end of the 3,400-square-foot Turbine Hall of Tate Modern. A stone arch by Kapoor is permanently placed at the shore of a lake in Lødingen in northern Norway. He also designed the ArcelorMittal Orbit, a spiral sculpture of the Olympic rings. Planned to be built in time for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the piece will be the largest example of public art in the UK when completed. Throughout his career, Kapoor has worked extensively with architects and engineers. Kapoor insists that his body of work is neither pure sculpture nor pure architecture. Kapoor's recent work increasingly blurs the boundaries between architecture and art. Notable architectural projects include:
The recently announced Tees Valley (England) "Giants", the world's five largest sculptures in collaboration with Cecil Balmond of ARUP AGU; Two subway stations in Naples in collaboration with Future Systems An unrealized project for the Millennium Dome, London, (1995) in collaboration with Philip Gumuchdjian, a proposal for the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain ―Building for a Void", created for Expo '92, Seville, in collaboration with David Connor ―Taratantara‖ (1999–2000) was installed at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead and later at Piazza Plebiscito, Naples Kapoor has also completed the massive Dismemberment Stage 1, installed in New Zealand on the private "art park" known as "The Farm" and owned by New Zealand businessman and art patron Alan Gibbs
In Naples, Italy, he worked on the Cumana Station in Monte Sant‘Angelo which finished construction in June 2008. Concerning his vision for the project, Kapoor has said: ―It‘s very vulva-like. The tradition of the Paris or Moscow metro is palaces of light, underground. I wanted to do exactly the opposite-to acknowledge that we are going underground. So it‘s dark, and what I‘ve done is bring the tunnel up and roll it over as a form like a sock.‖
The Cumana Station in Monte Sant’Angelo
Anish Kapoor still residing in Bristol, he frequently takes trips back to India. His unique style and Indian heritage have combined to make him one of the world's most acclaimed artists and he continues to create beautiful works of art for museums, private collectors, and the public to see all over the world. From London to Paris, Seoul to Tokyo, Beijing to Toronto, and Chicago to New York and beyond. He is in 48
People constant demand. His most recent and forthcoming projects and exhibits are the following: The National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, India from December 2010 to February 2011, and the Mehboob Studio in Mumbai, India also December 2010 to February 2011. For a closer look at his art go to his website: http://www.anishkapoor.com/
One of Kapoor's early works that will be displayed in India
Photo Courtesy Google Images
Jews Around The World
The Abayudaya: The Jews of Uganda In the Jewish and non-Jewish community, there is this belief that Jews look a certain way, and are a certain color. This of course, isn‘t true at all but a lot of people cannot imagine Jews being any other color but white. The truth is, Jews are found all over the world and come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes. The Abayudaya are proof of this. The Abayudaya live in Eastern Uganda in villages in and around Mbale, Uganda near the foothills of Mt. Elgon. Abayudaya means in Ugandan means ―people of Judah‖ or ―Jews. This Jewish community has existed for about 91 years. The history of the Abayudaya starts in 1919 when Semei Kakungulu a local well-known chief of the Buganda tribe of the Bantu, studied and meditated on the Old Testament-brought by Christian missionaries-and adopted the observance of all of Moses‘ commandments. He rejected Jesus, circumcised himself and his sons, and wrote a guide to Judaism that he distributed. Encouraged by the chief over three thousand of his followers also converted and formed the Jewish community. Kakungulu also deputized teachers called Abawereza to teach Jewish law to the people. Over the next 7 decades, the Abayudaya isolated themselves from the Christians for fear of reprisal, as their neighbors used to harass them and accuse them of ―killing Christ,‖ an inaccurate charge that has historically been brought against the Jewish people. They were only visited by American, European, and Israeli Jewish travelers who instructed them in Rabbinical Judaism from the 1960‘s onward. During the 1970‘s they endured Idi Amin‘s virulent anti-Semitism. Amin‘s soldiers outlawed their Jewish rituals and destroyed their synagogues. During this turbulent time, the community hid their practices. They worshiped in private to avoid persecution. After the 1979 overthrow of Amin it took 2 years for the Abayudaya community to rebuild. Today there are about 500-1000 people in the community. Like most Ugandans, the Abayudaya live in poverty without running water or electricity but the situation is slowly changing. In 1995, Kulanu- non-profit organization that supports isolated and emerging Jewish communities around the 50
Jews Around the World world- delegations visited the Abayudaya. In 2002, they arranged for a rabbinical beit din that allowed hundreds of Abayudaya to affirm their Judaism so that they are now recognized by world Jewry. Today there are twenty or more education and sustainable development projects that Kulanu and the Abayudaya collaborate together on. An example of a project is the Thanksgiving Coffee company. This company was set up to bring Jews, Christians, and Muslims together in the five villages. It was founded in 2004 and they use coffee to teach peace. Not only do the people of these three religions work together their children attend the two schools-a high school and a grammar school-together. The two schools educate 700 children total (350 at each school) in their own religion-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-along with their normal studies. The Abayudaya children also learn Hebrew. Since Samei Kakinguluâ€˜s time, the Abayudaya have maintained their community by passing on the Jewish traditions from generation to generation. They continue to wear kippas, they faithfully keep Shabbat, and only eat meat that has been slaughtered in accordance with Jewish law. During prayer services some men wear tallit. Some of the Abayudaya have mezuzahs placed on the doorposts of their homes. They follow the same holidays as Western Jews praying sometimes in Hebrew and other times in Luganda (the local language). They sing Hebrew psalms employing African melodies and rhythms that engulf the Abayudaya.
Photo Courtesy: A young man wrapping tefillin around his arm and Students at the Abayudaya SK High School; Google Images
Poetry If you would like to submit a poem for the next issue please send it in! Our first submission is by Eliyahu Enriquez. Follow his blog: http://www.bahayyosef.com/?zx=8e46aa0569635260
J.O.C. Eye Wright Science Pulp Friction Shitty payo-yos Rich after-life Pleasure to mete Jews of Colores
Discussion Series: Maimonides‘ Principles The Fundamentals of Jewish Faith This month we focus on the second principle which is chapter two in Rabbi‘s Aryeh Kaplan‘s book Maimonides‘ Principles: The Fundamentals of Jewish Faith. To obtain a copy simply sign up at www.FreeJewishBooks.com and order a free copy of the book from the site (shipping & handling are free). If you do not have a copy of the book, a copy of the hymn Yigdal is just as useful. The discussion questions will come from Rabbi Kaplan‘s book. Coming soon, we will be also having live streaming of the discussions on Ustream.tv. The second principle: I believe with perfect faith that G-D is one. There is no unity that is in any way like His. He alone is our G-D-He was, He is, and He will be. Yigdal: He is One, no unity is like His. He is hidden, His unity has no end.
Discussion Questions: 1. What do we mean when we say that G-D‘s unity is unique? 2. Would you describe G-D as being simple? If so, can you imagine anything as simple as G-D? 3. Can G-D exist in space? Can the concept of position apply to Him? 4. The main difference between physical and the spiritual involves the concept of space. If there is no space in the spiritual realm, then how are things differentiated? Explain the statement, ―Equal things can only be separated by their physical qualities.‖ Is position one of these qualities? 5. Can an absolute unity such as G-D exist in two different times? How are then would the concept of time apply to Him? Explain the statement in the second principle, ―He was, He is, and He will be.‖ Why is this included in this principle? 53
6. Can an absolute unity be visible? What would you see? Discuss this in the context of Yigdal.
7. Can an absolute unity be bounded? By what would it be bounded? Again discuss this in the context of Yigdal. 8. Discuss the Christian concept of the Trinity in the light of this principle.
Photo courtesy of http://www.freejewishbooks.com/index.php?page=book_details&bid=64 and Microsoft Office Word 2007 Clip Art
Announcements Personal Announcements: Since we are part of the community, we want to be able to share any announcements that you would like to make. If it‘s a joyous occasion-a birth, a bar/bat mitzvah, a marriage, a graduation, or an anniversary-we will print it in the magazine for a small fee of $1.00 per announcement. If you happen-G-D forbid-to have a death-we will print the obituary in the magazine free of charge so everyone in the community can say a prayer. Yahrzeits will also be printed for free. If you want to just give a shout out to anybody that is $.50 per shout out. Kehila Announcements: We‘re live! Come visit us online at the following: Contacts: http://kehilamagazine.web.officelive.com/default.as px www.twitter.com/KehilaJOC KehilaJOC@groups.facebook.com Read back issues and Purchase a copy of the magazine! Back issues of the magazine will be uploaded to Issuu.com. Also each issue will be available to purchase to download and keep forever for only $5.00 at Scribd.com. For details please visit Kehila‘s website. Advertising: Advertising in throughout the magazine is also available. A whole page is just $5.00, ½ a page is $2.50, and anything smaller is a $1.50.
Community Happenings We need your help!
This magazine is currently being created with limited resources. If you would like to contribute to this magazine monetarily or by writing articles, taking pictures, helping to create an official magazine website, etc. it would be appreciated. Feedback! Feedback! We appreciate all the comments that we have received, but keep it coming! Tell me what you do and don't like and let us know what we can do to improve the magazine so it can be at its best. Also let us know what you would like to see in future issues of the magazine. If you're interested in becoming a part of the Kehila staff, please let us know! The more help we have to create this magazine, the better!
Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office Word 2007 Clip Art
Resources Here is some helpful information to help you stay connected to the JOC Community. If you know of any more resources please contact me so I can add them to the resources section each month. The focus this month is on books. The Colors of Jews: Racial Politics and Radical Diasporism By: Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz
BLACK, JEWISH AND INTERRACIAL: ITâ€˜S NOT THE COLOR OF YOUR SKIN, BUT THE RACE OF YOUR KIN, AND OTHER MYTHS OF IDENTITY By: Katya Bibel Azoulay
IN EVERY TONGUE: THE RACIAL & ETHNIC DIVERSITY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
By Diane Tobin, Gary Tobin, Scott Rubin
LOVESONG: BECOMING A JEW By Julius Lester
THE JEWS OF AFRICA AND ASIA By Tudor Parfitt
More Websites: Swirl Inc.
The China Judaic Studies Association promotes Judaic studies in China.
A national multi-ethnic organization that challenges society's notions of race through community building, education, and action.
http://www.oakton.edu/user/~friend/chi najews.html JEWS FOR RACIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
http://swirlinc.wordpress.com/ The International Society for the Study of African Jewry (ISSAJ)
An activist organization based in New York City.
A community of scholars and students engaged in the study of African Jewry and its diverse cultures, historical environments, religious beliefs and practices.
This is another blog by poet Eliyahu Enriquez
THE CHINA JUDAIC STUDIES ASSOCIATION
Photos Courtesy Amazon.com
Upcoming Events December 1 Hanukkah begins at sundown Shemspeed Sephardic Music Festival - Opening Night - Sponsored by Be'chol Lashon 220 36th st Brooklyn, NY Deadline to Submit Videos for the Y-Love "This is Unity" Music Video New York, NY December 2 The Wailing Wall 440 Warren St., Hudson, NY 12534 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Hosted by The Spotty Dog Life as a Visitor: A talk and presentation by Angella Nazarian BJE Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco Shemspeed Sephardic Music Festival - Paharaoh's Daughter and Soulfarm - Sponsored by Be'chol Lashon 200 Hudson St, Tribeca, NYC December 3 Clare Burson 249 Fourth Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Hosted by The Rock Shop December 4 Clare Burson 155 Varick St, New York, NY 10128 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Hosted by JDub Shemspeed Sephardic Music Festival - Romemu Chanukkah Bash - Sponsored by Be'chol Lashon 122 West 27st 8th floor, NYC
Community Happenings December 5 Festival De Luces 4212 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90029 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Hosted by JDub and Jewcy Guilt-Free Gelt: A Fair-Trade Festival of Rights Women's Building, 3543 18th Street, San Francisco Shemspeed Sephardic Music Festival - Performance by Asefa - Sponsored by Be'chol Lashon 11 East 63rd st. NYC December 6 Shemspeed Sephardic Music Festival - Sepharad: Voices From Across the Strait Sponsored by Be'chol Lashon 15 West 16th Street, NYC December 7 Shemspeed Sephardic Music Festival - Layali El Andalus & East of the River - Sponsored by Be'chol Lashon 3 West 70th St., NYC December 8 Shemspeed Sephardic Music Festival - Culture Mash (Closing Night Party!) - Sponsored by Be'chol Lashon 361 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NYC December 14 Generation D: Identity Flamenhaft Gallery Annex, 547 W 27 St, Suite 528, New York, NY December 16 Live from NY's 92nd Street Y Miriam's Mosaic: Diverse Women of the Rabbinate at 8pm
To see more events visit the website! If you have any events that you would like to share with us please email or tweet us!
From the Kehila Staff:
Chag Urim Sameach!
KEHILA is a monthly magazine that serves as a voice for the Jews of Color community while educating and informing the Jewish and non-Jewish...