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High Holidays 5777

Supplement to Jewish News October 3, 2016


High Holidays 5777

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hile the holidays remain the same, ways to observe and celebrate continue to evolve—in some cases, bringing forth more tradition, as well as new festive and fun customs. Consider Sukkot, for example. As a child, the only sukkah I experienced was the one at my temple. I have vivid memories of the structure on the bema with plastic food hanging from its small frame. During our Sukkot Religious School service, while the music teacher played upbeat melodies on the piano, we paraded one class at a time to place canned goods brought from home around the sukkah. It was so exciting to be on the bema! Today, however, is another story all together. Families regularly build their own outdoor sukkahs where they celebrate with friends. In fact, Sukkot has become a favorite holiday for many. Children love dining alfresco in structures they’ve helped put together and adults are generally proud of their annual handiwork. Who can blame them? And so, this year we asked some families to tell us about the sukkahs. Their stories are scattered throughout this section. We hope you enjoy…and maybe even get inspired to build your own! Jasmine Amitay of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Shalom Tidewater collected holiday service times from area congregations. The list begins on page 23. Clearly there are ample places to worship here. We caution you, however, to call in advance to determine ticket policies. We have plenty of other articles in this special section, including one that highlights some good news out of Israel in 5776. Imagine that! From all of us at Jewish News, we wish you a sweet New Year with good health and peace.

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High Holidays 5777

Five feel-good stories from Israel that will echo into the High Holiday season Andrew Tobin

TEL AVIV (JTA)—The Jewish state has nearly made it through another Jewish year and, as always, there was plenty to kvetch about in 5776. But Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a time to take stock and celebrate. Before the shofar blowing begins and throughout this season, here are five Israeli stories from the past year worth trumpeting. Expect them to echo into 5777 and beyond. The Olympics gave Israelis reason to hope.

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or Israel, the margin between Olympic disappointment and glory can be a single medal. The country came up empty in 2012, but two Israeli judokas grappled and leg-swept their way to bronze at the Rio games in August. Their fellow citizens rejoiced: Waving flags and singing patriotic songs, hundreds thronged Ben Gurion Airport to give Yarden Gerbi and Or Sasson a hero’s welcome. The athletes were showered with flowers and hugs, and were immortalized by countless selfies. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later met with the judo team. The Olympics have special meaning in Israel, where everyone remembers the 1972 Munich massacre of 11 athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists. The Rio games kicked off with Lebanese athletes refusing to share a bus to the opening ceremony with the Israeli delegation. And days before Sasson won his medal, a defeated Egyptian adversary pointedly refused to shake his hand. Israelis booed along with the crowd at the stadium. Israel’s new medals brought the country’s total to nine since 1952. Hoped-for windsurfing and rhythmic gymnastics successes proved elusive—and, as usual, some Israelis bemoaned inadequate national investment in the Olympics.

Yet there were reasons to be buoyant. Seven Israelis made it to the finals in Rio, and the country competed in 17 sports, up from 10 in London, including three newer ones: golf, triathlon and mountain biking. Israel Olympic Committee CEO Gili Lustig has promised to do “some thinking” about improving Israel’s showing at Tokyo in 2020.

Israel made new friends in a hostile world.

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s the Olympics reminded Israelis, their country is unlikely to win any international popularity contests. But in the past year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government managed to find some new friends and potential allies. Israel and Turkey officially reconciled recently following a six-year falling-out over the Mavi Marmara affair. While the deal, signed in June, may not make the countries BFFs again, it should help them cooperate amid the chaos of the Middle East. Exporting Israel’s natural gas bounty and rebuilding the Gaza Strip are potential joint projects. Meanwhile, the shared threats of Islamic extremism and Iran have brought Israel closer to the region’s Sunni Muslim states, even if those states are loath to admit it. Weeks after a telling handshake with Israel’s Foreign Ministry director-general, Dore Gold, Saudi government

adviser Anwar Eshki publicly led a Saudi delegation to Jerusalem. And Gold flew to Cairo to reopen the Israeli Embassy there—four years after protesters stormed the building and forced its closure. In an update of former Prime Minister Golda Meir’s Africa policy, Netanyahu toured the continent for four days in July. Offering Israeli high-tech and security know-how and seeking diplomatic support, he was received in country after country like the leader of a world power. Looking east, Gold has said Israel is building new relations with Asia, and Chinese investment in Israeli companies and venture capital funds has reached record highs. Spurred by the civil war in Syria, Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin are in regular contact, and the Russian president may be plotting an Israeli-Palestinian peace push of his own. Who isn’t?

Haredi Orthodox men in Israel rolled up their sleeves.

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majority of haredi Orthodox men in Israel have jobs. That may not seem worth blowing the shofar about, but it’s a first. Since officials started keeping track, most of the demographic has been

out of work. In 2015, the workforce participation rate for haredi men was 52 percent, part of a 12-year rise since the figure was 36 percent in 2003, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported in February. Haredi men in Israel have long preferred Torah study to work or army service, living off yeshiva stipends, state benefits and perhaps their wives’ salaries. Haredi women are even better represented in the workforce at a rate of 73 percent, according to the government— more or less the same as among secular Israeli women. Israel’s overall workforce participation rate is 80 percent. Many observers see a larger trend of haredi society opening up to the outside world due in part to public and private investment—despite successful haredi reversal of political reforms aimed at integrating the community. Today, an estimated 11,000 haredi Jews are studying at institutes of higher education, 5,000 are in the army and most are said to have internet access. On a seemingly related note, haredi birth rates have fallen. A surge in the continued on page 22

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High Holidays 5777 Despite the ideological diversity, the women relative size of haredi prelawmakers someschool enrollment during times come together to the first decade of the miltackle issues related to lennium provoked much number of three-day women, including in the handwringing about the weekends a year in Knesset’s Committee on growing economic and Israel starting in 2017 the Status of Women social burden. But the and Gender Equality. trend has quietly reversed, Given lawmakers’ perwith haredi schools sonal experience, sexual accounting for less than 23 harassment may well percent of preschoolers be on the agenda when in 2015, down from more the Knesset starts its winter session in than 25 percent in 2008, according to the October. Taub Center for Policy Studies in Israel. The share of preschoolers in ArabIsraeli schools has fallen even further. The government backed adding But the government has some work to Sunday to the Israeli weekend. do to reach its goal of putting more Arab t’s not often that something happens women to work. with the potential to redefine how an entire country understands the relationship between time and space. More women than ever were But that something happened in Israel making Israel’s laws. in June, when ministers approved a bill he 28 women elected to Israel’s parthat would give Israelis six three-day liament in 2015 set a record. Since weekends a year starting in 2017 as a step then, political reshuffling has seen the toward making Sunday a day off. The number move a little higher. legislation is to be reworked in committee When Avigdor Liberman became before going to the full Knesset for voting.  defense minister in June, his Knesset seat Israeli weekends now run from Friday went to Yulia Malinovsky, a member of his afternoon through Saturday to accomhawkish Yisrael Beiteinu party—sending modate the Jewish Sabbath and Muslim the number of female lawmakers to 33. Friday prayers. Many Israelis don’t work That’s right, more than a quarter of the on Friday. But for religiously observant 120 legislative seats are now occupied by Jews, Shabbat rules prevent them from women. driving or visiting most entertainment These lawmakers span the political venues from Friday night until Saturday spectrum. From left to right, there is night, allowing precious little time for fun. the anti-Zionist firebrand Haneen Zoabi Economists are divided on the merits of the Arab Joint List; peacenik Zehava of adding Sunday to the weekend. Galon, the chairwoman of Meretz, and Supporters argue the plan would boost self-described “religious right-winger” the economy by syncing Israel with the Tzipi Hotovely of the ruling Likud. rest of the world and promoting conNotably absent are any haredi Orthodox sumption by a wider swath of Israeli women, whose parties prohibit them from society. Opponents worry it would reduce running. productivity, with observant Jews and Four of the 21 government ministers Muslims getting less done on Fridays, and are also women: Justice Minister Ayelet everyone potentially struggling through Shaked of Jewish Home; Culture and longer days to compensate for the long Sport Minister Miri Regev and Minister weekend.  for Social Equality Gila Gamliel, both But c’mon: Sunday Funday! of Likud, and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver of Yisrael Beiteinu. continued from page 21

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High Holidays 5777

High Holiday Services 5777 Compiled by Shalom Tidewater Contact specific congregations for ticket information and policies. For information on Shemini Atzeret and Smichat Torah services, go to www.shalomtidewater.org or www.jewishnewsva.org.

B’nai Israel Congregation 627-7358 Erev Rosh Hashanah Sunday, October 2 Minchah 6:30 pm Candle Lighting 6:28 pm Rosh Hashanah Monday, October 3 Shachris 8 am HaMelech 8:45 am Torah Reading 10:25 am Sermon and Shofar 10:45 am Community Tashlich 5 pm Minchah 6:15 pm Class with Rabbi Katz Maariv 7:15 pm

Tuesday, October 4 Shachris 8 am HaMelech 8:45 am Torah Reading 10:25 am Sermon and Shofar 10:45 am Minchah 6:15 pm Class with Rabbi Rudin Maariv/Havdala: 7:22 pm Erev Yom Kippur–Kol Nidre Tuesday, October 11 Slichos: 6:30 am Shacharis: 7 am Mincha 2:45 pm Kol Nidre 6:15 pm Candle Lighting before Kol Nidre

Yom Kippur Wednesday, October 12 Shachris 8 am HaMelech 9:30 am Torah reading 11:20 am Sermon 11:50 AM Yizkor (Approximately) 12:10 pm Minchah 4:45 pm Neilah 5:45 pm Havdalah 7:11 pm

Chabad of Tidewater 757-616-0770 Rosh Hashanah Sunday, October 2 Evening Services: 6:40 pm Community Dinner: 8 pm

Monday, October 3 Morning Services: 10 am Shofar Sounding: 11:45 am Kiddush Luncheon after services Mincha and Tashlich Service: 5 pm Evening Services: 7:30 pm Community Dinner: 8 pm Tuesday, October 4 Morning Services: 10 am Shofar Sounding: 11:45 am Kiddush Luncheon after services Mincha and Evening Services: 6:15 pm Holiday Ends at 7:22 pm Yom Kippur Tuesday, October 11 Kaparot Morning Services: 8 am continued on page 24

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High Holidays 5777 continued from page 23

Afternoon Service: 3:30 pm Fast Begins at 6:29 pm Kol Nidrei Services: 6:20 pm Wednesday, October 12 Morning Services: 10 am Yizkor Memorial Service: 12 pm Mincha and Neilah Closing Service:   4:50 pm Fast Ends at 7:10 pm Followed by light dinner

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Mincha and Evening Services: 6 pm Holiday Ends at 7:03 pm

Congregation Beth Chaverim 757-463-3226 Rosh Hashanah Sunday, October 2 Eve of Rosh Hashanah Service, 8 pm Monday, October 3 Rosh Hashanah worship, 10:30 am Yom Kippur Tuesday, October 11 Kol Nidre Service, 8 pm Wednesday, October 12 Yom Kippur Morning Service, 10:30 am Youth Services, 10:30 am Discussion with guest Rabbi Dan Roberts, 2 pm Afternoon Service, 3 pm Yiskor & Concluding Service, 4 pm Break-the-fast to follow in Social Hall

Congregation Beth El 757-627-4905 Rosh Hashanah Sunday, October 2 Erev Rosh Hashanah Congregational Service 5:45 pm Family Service 5:45 pm Monday, October 3 Shacharit 8:15 am Babysitting 9:30 am Children’s programming 10:30 am Tashlikh (at The Hague) 5 pm Mincha-Maariv (at Beth El) 6:45 pm Tuesday, October 4 Shacharit 8:15 am Babysitting 9:30 am Children’s programming 10:30 am Mincha-maariv 6:45 pm Yom Kippur Tuesday, October 11 Erev Yom Kippur Kol Nidre 6 pm Babysitting 6 pm Wednesday, October 12 Shacharit 9 am Babysitting 10 am Children’s programming 10:30 am Yizkor 12:45 pm

Study session 3:15 pm Mincha 4:15 pm Neilah 5:30 pm Maariv 7 pm Blowing of Shofar/Havdalah 7:10 pm Light Processional 7:10 pm Erev Sukkot Sunday, October 16 Mincha-maariv 5:45 pm Sukkot Monday, October 17 Festival service 9:15 am Children’s program 11 am Mincha-maariv 6:30 pm Tuesday, October 18 Festival service 9:15 am Children’s program 11 am Mincha-maariv 6:30 pm

Kempsville Conservative Synagogue Kehillat Bet Hamidrash 757-495-8510 Rosh Hashanah Sunday, October 2, 6:30 pm Monday, October 3 Services, 9:30 am Meet at KBH to walk to Tashlich   6:30 pm Tashlich services followed by Mincha and Ma’ariv at KBH, 6:45 pm Tuesday, October 4 Services, 9:30 am Yom Kippur Tuesday, October 11 Candle Lighting, 6:14 pm Kol Nidre, 6:15 pm Wednesday, October 12 Services, 9:30 am Yizkor, approximately 12 Noon Mincha and Neilah, 5:30 pm Sukkot Sunday, October 16 Sukkah construction, 10 am Ma’ariv at KBH, 6:15 pm Monday, October 17 Shacharit at KBH, 9 am Mincha and Ma’ariv at Temple Israel,   5:30 pm Tuesday, October 18 Shacharit at Temple Israel, 9 am


High HOLIDAY reflections

High Holidays 5777 Ohef Shlolom Temple 757-625-4295 Erev Rosh Hashanah Sunday, October 2 Early Service Family-Friendly Worship and Child Care 6:15 pm Late Service 8:15 pm Rosh Hashanah Monday, October 3 Early Service, Family-Friendly Worship and Child Care 9 am Late Service 11:30 am Tashlich at the Beach 4:30 pm Kol Nidre Tuesday, October 11 Early Service, Family-Friendly Worship and Child Care 6:15 pm Late Service 8:15 pm Yom Kippur Wednesday, October 12 Early Service, Family-Friendly Worship and Child Care 9 am Late Service 11:30 am Yom Kippur Afternoon Services Study Session (in Chapel) 1:30 pm Afternoon Service (in Chapel) 2:45 pm Interlude 4 pm Memorial and Concluding Services   4:15 pm

Temple Emanuel 757-428-2591 Eve of Rosh Hashanah Sunday, October 2, 6 pm Rosh Hashanah Monday, October 3, 9 am Babysitting 10 am Family Service 10:30 am Tuesday, October 4, 9 am Family Service 10:30 am Tashlich with Religious School Sunday, October 9 Family Beach Picnic 12:15–1:15 pm Kol Nidre Tuesday, October 11, 7 pm Yom Kippur Wednesday, October 12, 9 am Babysitting 10 am Family Service 10:30 am Torah Service and Yizkor 11:30 am Mincha and Neilah 5 pm Community Break the Fast 7:20 pm

Carin and Mike Simon

Temple Israel (757) 489-4550 Rosh Hashanah Sunday, October 2 Evening Services: 6:30 pm Monday, October 3 Morning Services: 8:30 am Tashlich Service: 5:45 pm Minchah Services: 6:30 pm Children Ages 3-6 Education Wing: 10:30 am Ages 7-12 Sandler Hall: 10:30 am Arts & Crafts 12 pm Tuesday, October 4 Morning Services: 8:30 am Minch Services: 6:30 pm Yom Kippur Tuesday, October 11 Minchah Services: 6:15 pm Lei Lei Berz – Cello Solo 6:25 pm Kol Nidrei Services: 6:30 pm Wednesday, October 12 Morning Services: 8:30 am Mincha Service: 5 pm Ne’ilah 5:45 pm Shofar and Break Fast 7 pm Children Ages 3-6 Education Wing: 10:30 am Ages 7-12 Sandler Hall: 10:30 am Arts & Crafts 12 pm

Home “ready-made” for a sukkah Mike and I have always loved Sukkot, but neither of us grew up with our own sukkah. When we bought our first home as a newly married couple, the deck had these wooden poles that made it easy to put up a makeshift sukkah. The first year, we constructed one ourselves with materials from Home Depot. The following year, we found out how easy it is to order a sukkah kit online. Mike, being a builder, enjoys putting up our sukkah with our kids each year and has even added an extension so that we can fit more people in it. Sukkot has become our family’s favorite holiday. We love to invite our family and friends over for various meals and playdates in the sukkah!

Seniors paint pomegranates, celebrate 5777

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eniors celebrated Rosh Hashanah at the Simon Family JCC at bit early this year—on Tuesday, September 27

Temple Sinai (757) 596-8352 Rosh Hashanah Sunday, October 2 Eve Service, 8 pm, childcare available Monday, October 3 Morning Service (Yamin Noraim Sheli, Educational childcare available) 10 am Yom Kippur Tuesday, October 11 Eve Service, 8 pm (childcare available) Wednesday, October 12 Morning Service (Yamin Noraim Sheli, Educational childcare available) 10 am Afternoon Service, 2 pm Yizkor Service (childcare available)   3:45 pm Ne’lah Service followed by   Break-the-Fast, 4:45 pm

Carin and Mike Simon’s sukkah.

to be exact. Artist and teacher Michele Barnes led the group as they painted pomegranates during the mid-morning event, and Rabbi Israel Zoberman facilitated a New Year ceremony. After completing their canvases, the group sipped coffee and tea while sampling honey cake and apples dipped in honey, two traditional New Year’s customs. This free program, especially for seniors, was made possible by the Joseph Flesichmann Memorial Fund and the Tidewater Jewish Foundation.

jewishnewsva.org | October 3, 2016 | High Holidays | Jewish News | 25


High HOLIDAY reflections Mark Lipton

Brackets and screws I have had Sukkot for over 15 years since I bought a kit from The Sukkot Project. It was a kit of brackets and screws with an instruction book that even a Jewish boy with only a hammer and drill could follow. My children, Seth and Maya and their mother, Ilene started the tradition and it followed me to my current home. I have entertained the kids’ HAT classes over many years, but since they left HAT more than seven years ago, it has been a place of many fall weather parties with great food and great friends of mine and Seth and Maya’s. It is such a beautiful tradition that enables us to enjoy fall days here in Virginia Beach and at the same time, identify with our Jewish traditions. It is a memory that I share with my family, friends and I hope that my children with carry with them.

High Holidays 5777

Commit to good health this holiday season Tom Purcell

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he Jewish New Year is as good time as January 1 to make a commitment take care of our health. With each “New Year” people often try to cleanse themselves from bad habits. After all, how we take care of ourselves should be a top priority. There’s no magic pill or surgery that can make people healthy other than good exercise habits and sound nutrition.  Try these three simple strategies for better health this year:

Move. Take at least 30 minutes a day to move your body, which, by the way, was designed to move. Watch portions. We need food and water to survive, however we tend to consume more than that’s required.  There’s nothing wrong with a good variety of

foods, however it’s the amount we take in that can lead to overweight issues and other health problems.   Strengthen. Adding weight resistance training and flexibility exercises during the week will provide you with a strong foundation to support daily functions. New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be broken. This is the time of year we can work hard to actualize real change. And if there is ever a time we can change, it is now. Up to half of all premature or early deaths in the United States are due to behavioral and other preventable factors—including modifiable habits such as tobacco use, poor diet, and lack of exercise, according to studies reviewed in a new National Research Council and Institute of Medicine report.

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26 | Jewish News | High Holidays | October 3, 2016 | jewishnewsva.org


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High Holidays 5777

Letters to God delivered to Western Wall JERUSALEM (JTA)—Hundreds of letters addressed to “God,” Our Heavenly Father” and other monikers, as well as to the Kotel, were delivered to the Western Wall. Israel Post Director General Danny Goldstein handed the letters over to the rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, Shmuel Rabinowitz, on Monday, September 19. Rabinowitz placed them in the cracks of the stones of the Western Wall, according to an Israel Post spokesman. The letters, which usually arrive without a return address, are sent to the Israel Post Lost and Found Department. They are delivered before the Jewish High Holidays. Written in many languages, the letters have come from countries around the world, including Russia, China, France, Nigeria, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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Birthday in the sukkah THE INNOVATORS OF COMFORTTM

We started building a sukkah several years ago after realizing there was a website

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The kids absolutely love helping us build, decorate, paint and set up our little house under the stars. In fact, our son’s birthday fell on Sukkot one year when he was about four or so, and we had his party outside at our home. Because we sang and served the cake inside the sukkah, every year thereafter he thought the sukkah meant it was his birthday! We generally just have to mention pumpkin black bean soup being served in the sukkah, and our friends come running. Personally, I love Sukkot. The symbolism of celebrating our people’s everlasting will to survive, remembering how we used to be on-the-move and now we have a homeland, the connection to nature and something greater than ourselves, fills my heart with hope and gratitude.

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Religious Holidays 5777 Leil Selichot September 24, 2016 Rosh Hashanah October 3–4, 2016 Yom Kippur October 12, 2016 Sukkot October 17-18, 2016 Shmini Atzeret October 24, 2016 Simchat Torah October 25, 2016 Hanukkah December 25, 2106– January 1, 2017 Tu BiShvat February 11, 2017 Purim March 12, 2017 Pesach April 11–12, 2017 Lag BaOmer May 14, 2017 Shavuot May 31–June 1, 2017 Tish’a B’Av August 1, 2017 Tu B’Av August 7, 2017

Modern Holidays 5777 Yom HaShoah April 24, 2017 Yom HaZikaron May 1, 2017 Yom HaAtzma’ut, May 2, 2017

High Holidays 5777

Yom Kippur lessons from my quirky Jewish mother Diana Bletter

(Kveller via JTA)—My mother died on the morning right before Yom Kippur two years ago, and my sister and I were not at all surprised. Irreverent, quirky and eccentric, my mother always kvetched about Yom Kippur and would have done anything to miss it. Dying right before the fast day, the holiest day of the Jewish year, meant my mother was up to her old tricks until the very end. It wasn’t because she was anti-Jewish; she was fiercely Jewish, but she’d made up her own brand of Judaism. She always said that Jews should never apologize to God: God should apologize to the Jews. On Yom Kippur, instead of following a traditional fast, she sat at the kitchen table all day as if on guard, manning the telephone, reading the newspaper and watching the news on TV in case something bad happened, primarily to her people. A first-generation American, she rebelled against her Polish-born mother’s traditions because she viewed them as a blend of superstitions and limitations. Yet she was still my best teacher when it came to understanding what being a Jew was all about. To my sister, Cynthia, and me, she passed on an enormous sense of pride. Freud was Jewish! Ralph Lauren was Jewish! All the really talented people on Saturday Night Live were Jewish! On Sunday mornings, armed with a cup of her strong, black coffee from her Corning Ware percolator that seemed about as ancient as the Dead Sea Scrolls, a sesame bagel with the insides pulled out and a cigarette burning, she’d comb the Style section of The New York Times, studying the names and faces in every wedding announcement, making her own calculations. She counted how many Jews she thought were lost (if the couple was married by an officiating minister), who was gained (if there was only a rabbi) or if it was a tie (both a minister and a rabbi or a judge). When Yom Kippur rolled around each autumn, her anger at God was reignited. On a macro scale, God let Hitler get away

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with the Holocaust. On a micro level, God caused her father to die of a heart attack when she was five, forcing my grandmother to raise five children on her own in the Bronx. Despite her outrage, my mother still trooped into the kitchen and followed my grandmother’s recipes for brisket, stuffed cabbage, matzah ball soup with matzah balls so light they defied gravity, and kasha varnishkes. But she cooked while doing a dozen other things, so Cynthia and I held contests each holiday about who found the oddest item in her dishes: Besides the usual stray hairs, we discovered cigarette ashes, a fake fingernail and a rubber band. My mother claimed her belonging to a people who had lost so much to the world and who, despite it all, gave so much back. She was convinced that a Jew’s inheritance was the task of setting things right, and took Cynthia and me out of school to attend demonstrations and marches for civil rights and liberal causes. There’s a Jewish saying, “If you save one life, you save the world,” and my mother taught me that with just your own life, you can try to at least improve something. With her pulse on Jewish American culture, she offered her scathing critiques to anyone who happened to be within the circumference of her cigarette smoke. She railed against the stereotypes of the Jewish mother and the Jewish American Princess because she sensed, far earlier than most social commentators, that these caricatures of Jewish women would push Jewish men away from Jewish women. Intermarriage statistics proved her right. That Jewish men laughed at Jewish women, distancing themselves, outraged her. She taught me that words have power. She wasn’t too thrilled, to put it mildly, when I picked up and moved from New York to Israel, leaving her behind, even though she was the one who sent me to Israel when I was 16 in the first place. She ranted each time she called me, but she still paid for my four kids and me to fly back to visit her each summer. What was the lesson? You can—you must— rail against what is bashert, or fated for

you, and then you have to do whatever you can to make things better.The last conversation I had with her was right before she slipped into unconsciousness, the night before I flew back to New York to be with her. Cynthia—who took care of her better than the best of caretakers in her house— had set up Skype for her and I got to see her in her favorite armchair, the whirl of her oxygen machine stopping only so that she could smoke another cigarette. “I love you and I’ll always love you,” she told me into the camera. Then she shouted, “Cynthia! How do I shut this damn thing off?” Rain pounded the roof, lightning flashed and the thunder was louder than fireworks the night she died. It was the perfect theatrical exit for my subversive mother. In the morning, after her soul left for who knows where, after the rains moved on, and the sky went back to empty and blue, a rabbi came to the house to make funeral arrangements. He stood at the foot of her bed, talking quietly to Cynthia and me. I said politely to the rabbi, “I don’t think my mother would have wanted you seeing her when she’s dead.” And then I heard my mother’s voice, and I could have sworn I heard her grumbling I didn’t want to see him when I was alive. So, nu, as she would have said, she didn’t instill in me how to be a Jew in the conventional way. She didn’t teach me how to believe, but she taught me how to question. And is there anything more Jewish than that? —Diana Bletter is the author of the novel A Remarkable Kindness (HarperCollins), the intertwined stories of four American women who are friends and members of a burial circle in a small beach village in Israel. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Forward and other publications. Diana lives with her husband and children in a real beach village in Israel, where she is a member of a burial circle. She can be found at www.dianabletter.com. Follow her @dianabletter.


High HOLIDAY reflections Lisa and David Leon

Taking advantage of mild weather 8903 Three Chopt Road, Richmond, VA 23229 • 804-285-0962 Mon – Fri 7am – 10pm • Sat 7am – 7pm • Sun 7am – 5pm

We have been putting up a sukkah since our girls have been going to Strelitz Early

For your High Holiday Celebration

Childhood Center and now the Hebrew

Kosher Turkeys ...............................................................................$3.29/lb

Academy of Tidewater.

Kosher Cut up Chickens................................................................$2.88/lb

The whole family enjoys decorating

Kosher 1st Cut Beef Brisket (frozen) ..............................................$7.99/lb

it. And with other sukkahs in our bud-

Benzi Gefilte Fish ..........................................................................$6.99/rol

ding shtetl of Middle Plantation, we try

Round Challahs (plain & raisin) ........................................................ $3.99/ea

to have friends over for dinner and visit

Wines for your Holiday Table

our friends’. Luckily, the weather here is usually mild which makes for enjoyable

750 ml

Emily, Isabella and Daphne in their sukkah.

and winds last year made for a shortened, but memorable season as we needed to

Gabriele Moscato ........................ $8.99 Terra Vega Melot .......................... $6.99 Gabriele Malvasia ........................ $9.99 Manischewitz Wine ..................... $3.99 Gabriele Pinot Grigio .................. $9.99

dismantle our sukkah for safety reasons. But it certainly was a lesson in the challenges

Wines from Israel

dinners. Unfortunately, the heavy rains

of living in temporary structures.

Growth rate steady as Israel’s population reaches 8.58 million Israel will have a population of 8.585 million citizens this Rosh Hashanah. The growth rate, 2 percent, was similar to previous years, according to an annual report released Tuesday, September 27 by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. The country’s Jewish population, which makes up nearly three quarters of the country at 6.419 million, grew at a rate of 1.9 percent, while the Arab population, which makes up just over a fifth of the country at 1.786 million, grew at a rate of 2.2 percent. Other groups, including non-Arab Christians and those identifying with other religions, which make up 4.4 percent of the population at 380,000, grew at a rate of 3.8 percent. The birth rate surpassed the death rate, with 189,000 births and 46,000 deaths. In the past Jewish year, 30,000 people moved to Israel, including 25,000 new immigrants. (JTA)

Hai ‘Noah’ Merlot .................................................................................................... $8.99 Hai ‘Moshe” Cabernet Sauvignon ...................................................................... $8.99

May the New Year bring you and your family good health and happiness.

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The excitement of the first SHOFAR BLAST The sweet taste of APPLE DIPPED IN HONEY The blessings of a NEW YEAR How will you inspire future generations?

THE YEAR AHEAD IS STILL AN OPEN BOOK. Inscribe your vision for a sweet Jewish future with a legacy gift through TJF’s LIFE & LEGACY program.

L’SHANA TOVA! Contact Amy Weinstein at (757) 965-6105 or aweinstein@ujft.org

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30 | Jewish News | High Holidays | October 3, 2016 | jewishnewsva.org

High holidays Jewish News Oct 3, 2016  
High holidays Jewish News Oct 3, 2016