Section Jewish Culture & Yiddish: 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section


צוק איתן – קליפ המוקדש באהבה לכל חיילי צה״ל

20.07.2014

 

Vaetchanan-KL

WEEKLY Parshat Hashavuah 

 

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Holocaust Survivors’ Yiddish Cultural and Literary Activity

29.12.2009
כנס ירושלים: מאה שנות יידיש 2008-1908
The Jerusalem Conference: A Century of Yiddish 1908-2008

Sponsored by:
The Institute for Advanced Studies, The Hebrew University
and The Israel Science Foundation

with the support of:
Israel National Commission for UNESCO
The Yaakov Groper Foundation (Jerusalem)
The Yiddish Forward (New York)
YUNG YiDiSH (Israel)

the organizing committee:
The Yiddish Chair,
The Institute for Contemporary Jewry,
The Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

DVDs of the full conference are available for purchase. Please contact hguys@vms.huji.ac.il or dovsadaninst@mscc.huji.ac.il
————————————
שארית הפליטה: הפעילות התרבותית והספרותית ביידיש
יום 4 יום חמישי 10 דצמבר 2009
אלה פלורסהיים תרבות יידיש במחנות העקורים בגרמניה בראי העיתונות של אנשי שארית הפליטה (עברית)

קרי פרידמן-כהן החוליה החסרה בביוגרפיה האינטלקטואלית של רחל אוירבך: יצירתה הספרותית בין שתי מלחמות העולם (אנגלית)

יחיאל שיינטוך הכתבים ביידיש של אלי ויזל (עברית)

Holocaust Survivors’ Yiddish Cultural and Literary Activity
Ella Florsheim Yiddish Culture in the DP Camps in Germany as Reflected in Holocaust Survivors’ Press (Hebrew)
Day 4 Thursday, December 10, 2009

Carrie Friedman-Cohen The Missing Link in Rokhl Auerbach’s Intellectual Biography: Her Interwar Yiddish Literary Creativity (English)

Yechiel Szeintuch Eli Wiesel’s Yiddish Writings (Hebrew)
כנס ירושלים: מאה שנות יידיש 2008-1908
The Jerusalem Conference: A Century of Yiddish 1908-2008

די שארית-­הפּליטה און אירע ליטעראַרישע און קולטורעלע אויפֿטוען

אלה פֿלאָרסהיים די ייִדישע קולטור אין די די. פּי.-לאַגערן פֿון דיַיטשלאַנד, אין שפּיגל פֿון דער פּרעסע פֿון דער שארית­הפּליטה (העברעיִש)

קערי פֿרידמאַן-כּהן דער אומבאַקאַנטער בינדרונג אין רחל אויערבאַכס אינטעלעקטועלע ביאָגראַפֿיע: איר ליטעראַרישע שאַפֿונג צווישן ביידע וועלט­מלחמות (ענגליש)

יחיאל שיינטוך אלי וויזעלס ייִדישע כּתבֿים נאָך בוכנוואַלד (העברעיִש)

Michal Tal

Israel in the Media

The Spielberg Jewish Film Archive – Jerusalem On Line Broadcast to JTN LA

28.07.2014
Jerusalem On Line Broadcast to JTN Los Angeles
1987
62:17 min.
English

Panel discussion between MKs Eliyahu Ben Elissar, Rabbi Menachem Porush and Simcha Dinitz over the question of religious pluralism in Israel and Jewish identity.

“A kas fun a yidene” fun Y.-L. Perets (Khane Fishman-Gonshor)

28.07.2014
י.־ל. פּרץ און די ייִדישע פֿרױ
פֿיפֿטער טײל׃ „אַ כּעס פֿון אַ ייִדענע”
חנה פֿישמאַן־גאָנשאָר

Lectures sponsored by the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal.

דער לײענזאַל
Leyenzal – A Yiddish Literacy Project

“Being Connected in Any Way is Important to Me”: Yiddish and My Jewish Identity

28.07.2014
Bina Addes, Wexler Oral Historian and child of Holocaust survivors, speaks about her own connection to Yiddishkeit, the diffusion of Yiddish into mainstream culture, and the need to actively preserve Jewish traditions following the Holocaust.

To learn more about the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project, visit:
http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/tell…

I AM A JEW — Introduction

29.01.2013
The American Jewish pre-teen considers their Bar or Bat Mitzvah to be various things. For some it is the end of religious schooling. For others it is the task of learning a Torah portion. For many, it’s plans for a big party. And while formal Jewish education may indeed conclude at the age of 13, a young person’s understanding and appreciation of their roles as Modern Jews has only just begun to develop. As these perceptive ‘tweens’ approach the often-confusing stages of adolescence, their Judaism can continue to be an integral source of dignity and strength in their lives. The time for answering their questions about Judaism will soon be over. The opportunity to build an intellectual foundation of progressive Jewish pride is now.

The goal of the film ‘I Am A Jew’ is not to teach students ‘how to be a Jew’, but rather how to think about and practice Judaism in a proud new way. Only then will they understand and appreciate what it means to say, “I Am A Jew.”

For more information, visit http://www.TheOllendorffCenter.org


LET US BE JOYOUS — BORIS DORFMAN A MENTSH

27.07.2014
A kind of making of …

edited by Marek Gajczak

BORIS DORFMAN OFFICIAL TRAILER /SHORT/

27.07.2014
A radically Yiddish Film: Boris Dorfman – A Mentsh
by Uwe & Gabriela von Seltmann
© Apfelstrudel Media Berlin/ Stowarzyszenie Film Kraków

Architect of the Jewish Future (Mordecai M. Kaplan)

21.03.2014 The Program for Jewish Civilization, the Mordecai M. Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood, and the Department of Jewish Studies of McGill University are hosted a conference on the life, work, and legacy of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan.

Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan (1881-1983) is now widely acknowledged to have been one of the most influential Jewish thinkers of the 20th century as a founder of Reconstructionist Judaism. During the conference presenters explored the ways in which his thought may be even more important in the 21st century.

JewishOperaLives!@KulturFestival,FAU

140306 Rachel’s Romance – from LA JUIVE 19.03.2014
Soprano Helene Williams, accompanied at the piano by Leonard Lehrman, sings Rachel’s Romance, “Il va venir,” from Act II of Jacques Fromental Halevy’s LA JUIVE, at the Jewish Kultur Festival of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Mar. 6, 2014.

Popular Erwin Schulhoff Videos

Schulhoff Mayerova 1931.jpgErwin Schulhoff (Czech: Ervín Šulhov; 8 June 1894 – 18 August 1942) was a Czech composer and pianist. He was one of the figures in the generation of European musicians whose successful careers were prematurely terminated by the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany and whose works have been rarely noted or performed.

Schulhoff was born in Prague into a family of Jewish German origin. The noted pianist and composer Julius Schulhoff was his great-uncle. Source Wikipedia

Popular Alfred Schnittke Videos

 

Alfred Schnittke April 6 1989 Moscow.jpgAlfred Schnittke (Russian: Альфре́д Га́рриевич Шни́ткеAl’fred Garrievič Šnitke; November 24, 1934 – August 3, 1998) was a Sovietand Russian composer. Schnittke’s early music shows the strong influence of Dmitri Shostakovich. He developed a polystylistic technique in works such as the epic First Symphony (1969–1972) and First Concerto Grosso (1977). In the 1980s, Schnittke’s music began to become more widely known abroad with the publication of his Second (1980) and Third (1983) String Quartets and the String Trio (1985); the ballet Peer Gynt (1985–1987); the Third (1981), Fourth (1984), and Fifth (1988) Symphonies; and the Viola (1985) and 1st Cello (1985–1986) Concertos. As his health deteriorated, Schnittke’s music started to abandon much of the extroversion of his polystylism and retreated into a more withdrawn, bleak style.Schnittke’s father, Harry Viktorovich Schnittke (1914–1975, rus.), was Jewish and born in Frankfurt.[1] He moved to the USSR in 1927 and worked as a journalist and translatorfrom the Russian language into German. His mother, Maria Iosifovna Schnittke (née Vogel, 1910–1972), was a Volga German born in Russia. Schnittke’s paternal grandmother, Tea Abramovna Katz (1889–1970), was a philologist, translator, and editor of German-language literature. Source Wikipedia

Popular Viktor Ullmann Videos

Viktor Ullmann (1 January 1898, in Teschen – 18 October 1944, in KZ Auschwitz-Birkenau) was a Silesia-born Austrian[1] composer, conductor and pianist of Jewish origin.

Viktor Ullmann was born on January 1, 1898 in Těšín (Teschen), modern Český Těšín / Cieszyn. It belonged then to Silesia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and is now divided between Cieszyn in Poland and Český Těšín in Czechoslovakia. Both his parents were from families of Jewish descent, but had converted to Roman Catholicism[2] before Viktor’s birth. As an assimilated Jew, his father, Maximilian, was able to pursue a career as a professional officer in the army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In World War I he was promoted to colonel and ennobled. Source Wikipedia

SFJewishFilmFestival

Yiddish Theater Director Szymon Szurmiej

23.07.2013
Szymon Szurmiej.jpg17.07.2014
Szymon Symcha Szurmiej (18 June 1923 − 16 July 2014) was a Polish-Jewish actor, director, and general manager of the Ester Rachel Kamińska and Ida Kamińska State Jewish Theater in Warsaw. He was formerly director of the Yiddish Theater of Warsaw.[1]Since July 2004, he has been an honorary citizen of Warsaw.[2] Member of the World Jewish Congress. aged 91. Source  Wikipedia

Szymon Szurmiej – Małgorzatka (Festiwal Warszawa Singera 2008)

12.03.11

Popular Yiddish theatre & Yiddish Language videos

German-Jewish Culture in Turkey | Arts.21

17.03.2013
In the 1930s, Turkey as the refuge for many persecuted European Jews. Artists and intellectuals, in particular, found safety from the Nazis here. But many of them left again when Turkish nationalism and anti-Semitism reared their heads in Turkey again in the 1950s. Those who remained enrich the city’s cultural life to this day. For more go to http://www.dw.de/program/arts21/s-788…

Hershey Felder

Felder was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on July 9, 1968 to Jacob Felder (born in Ustrzyki, Poland, 1929) and Eva Surek Felder (born in Budapest, Hungary, 1946). A first-generation North-American, much of Felder’s upbringing included Eastern European traditions, in particular traditions associated with the Jewish faith into which he was born. Early schooling included Hebrew Academy Day School of Montreal as well as synagogue affiliations with Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Synagogue in Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec.(Hershey Felder (born July 9, 1968) is a Canadian pianist, actor, playwright, composer, producer, and director. He created (as playwright, actor, and pianist) the role of American composer George Gershwin for the theatrical stage in the stage play George Gershwin Alone. Combining the craft of acting and concert-level piano performance, George Gershwin Alone was followed by the creation of the role of Fryderyk Chopin, the Polish composer/pianist, the roles of Ludwig van Beethoven and Gerhard von Breuning inBeethoven, As I Knew Him, the role of Leonard Bernstein in The Making of a Maestro: Bernstein, and Franz Liszt in Rock Star. These works comprise “The Composer Sonata.”Wikipedia)

Afghan Jewish Cultures & traditions with Michael Choen

27.06.2013
A book (Biography) was published about Afghan Jewish Cultures & traditions by Michael Cohen.
With Shabbat and holidays music, that we all want to listen to and read the book.
Which will bring back the old good memories?
This book will bring back childhood memories.

To order a copy of this book please visit:
http://michaelcohenbook.com/

Natan Sharansky – This is Your Life – Limmud Conference 2013

30.12.2013
From being a refusenik in Russia to deputy Prime Minister of Israel, Natan has led an extraordinary life. He talks about his life to Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of the Jewish Daily Forward.

COJECO 10th Anniversary Celebration – Feliks Frenkel

Alon Nechushtan Videos

Alon Nechushtan Trio performs “Muppet Shock” at the Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City. Celebrating the release of the “Words Beyond” CD on Buckyball Records.
Alon Nechustan – piano, Michael Bates – bass, Howard Owen – drums

Mark Rothko (Марк Ро́тко) Artworks and Analysis (Abstract Expressionist) – The Powerful Story of Art

06.07.2014
Mark Rothko (Latvian: Markus Rotkovičs, Russian: Марк Ро́тко; born Ма́ркус Я́ковлевич Ротко́вич; Marcus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz; September 25, 1903 — February 25, 1970) was an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. He is generally identified as an Abstract Expressionist, although he himself rejected this label and even resisted classification as an “abstract painter.” With Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, he is one of the most famous postwar American artists.
“If you are only moved by color relationships, you are missing the point. This documentary is interested in expressing the big emotions – tragedy, ecstasy, doom.”

“Di farshtoysene” fun Y.-L. Perets (Khane Fishman-Gonshor)

30.06.2014
י.־ל. פּרץ און די ייִדישע פֿרױ
דריטער טײל, חלק ב’׃ „די פֿאַרשטױסענע”
חנה פֿישמאַן־גאָנשאָר

Lectures sponsored by the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal.

דער לײענזאַל
Leyenzal – A Yiddish Literacy Project

Magillah : Rozhinkes mit Mandlen [Raisins and Almonds] (Live 2012)

02.08.2012
April 5th, 2012 – A huge yiddish hit by A. Goldfaden, from the yiddish theatre (Michelle Heisler – voice, Henri Oppenheim – accordion, Julie Triquet – violin, Andy Dacoulis – guitar, Mathieu Deschenaux, double bass, Eric Breton – drums, Damian Nisenson – sax).

Music In the Holocaust – A Sonja Larson Presentation



Encounters with the Past: Remembering the `Bygone’ in Israeli Culture: Part 1-3

02.07.2014
The University of Washington’s 34th Annual Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies featured Professor Yael Zerubavel, director of The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers University. Zerubavel concludes the three-part series, Encounters with the Past: Remembering the “Bygone” in Israeli Culture, by looking at the new commemorations of Israel’s pioneering period, which have transformed into an “old past.” These changes illuminate profound transformations in contemporary Israel and Israelis’ understanding of their identities as well as their pasts.

A Guest at the Forverts – Motl Gordon

Motl Gordon visits “FORVERTS”
A program hosted by Boris Sandler

The Pin at Anne Frank Center

06.11.2013

L’Chayim – Janusz Makcuh – Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow

16.06.2014
The non-Jewish founder and director of the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Poland, Janusz Makuch sits to discuss his connection to the Jewish heritage and how he came to create one of the largest Jewish culture festivals in the world. With Mark S. Golub on LChayim.

The Dorel Livianu Music Museum

The Belzer Rebbe by the Kotel on Rosh Chodesh Sivan 5774 אדמו”ר של בעלז בכותל בראש חודש סיוון

31.05.2014

Answering Kidnapping with Kindness – Salomon Says

22.06.2014
Our role in the rescue mission

Please pray for the safe and speedy return of Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah, Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim, and Eyal ben Iris Teshura.

For more articles and videos by Rabbi Salomon visit http://www.aish.com

Special Mass Prayer at Talmon

20.06.2014

The Jewish Mobsters

Etgar Keret

Talk Yiddish To Me (Nisht-Dirty Parody)

Doni zasloff thomas

 

Elie Wiesel Interview with Oprah

Ben Gurion University

Lithuanian Jewish Culture

Temani Yemanie Hebrews

JEWISH WORLD : JewishNewsOne

Israel and Jewish Culture Michael Laitman

Popular Festival of Jewish Culture in Warsaw videos

 

Popular San Francisco Jewish Film Festival videos SFJFF Presents: The Tailor

12.02.2014
Culture and confusion meet on a Brooklyn street, in this hilariously charming tale of similarities amid diversity. Film directed by Gordon Grinberg

This short film is part of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival short film showcase program, SFJFF Presents. To discover more great Jewish short films each month, join the SFJFF YouTube channel by clicking the red SUBSCRIBE button above.

For more details about SFJFF films and programs, visit http://www/sfjff.org.

24j-latest2

 

 

Variations on a liturgy for Tisha b’Av


Variations on a liturgy for Tisha b’Av

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 12:00 PM PDT

Tisha b’Av is almost upon us — that painful day when we remember the fall of the first Temple in 586 BCE, and the fall of the second Temple in 70 CE. The anniversary, tradition teaches, of all kinds of other atrocities, from Crusades to the Expulsion from Spain to the Chmielnicki massacre in Poland in the 17th century to the expulsion from the Warsaw Ghetto during the last century.

It’s a dark day. It’s also a darkness which contains within it the seeds of light and redemption. Tradition teaches that the messiah will be born on the afternoon of Tisha b’Av — that from the depths of our grief will come the spark of our greatest hopes for transformation and wholeness.

This year I’m delighted to be able to share two versions of a Tisha b’Av liturgy — a collaboration between myself and Reb David (rabbinic student David Markus) who serves Temple Beth El of City Island. One version will be used at his “shul by the sea;” the other will be used at Congregation Beth Israel here in the Berkshires:

 

Download For the Sake of Ascent TBE [23 pages, 1.7mb, pdf]

Download For the Sake of Ascent CBI [17 pages, 173k, pdf]

 

Both versions feature excerpts from Eicha (Lamentations), the prayers of the evening service, and poems by Yehuda Amichai, Toge Sankichi, and Mark Nazimova, among others. Both feature prayers written by David and by me.

The TBE version draws a closer connection to the 9/11 bombings (after all, from City Island they could see the smoke rising); the CBI version draws a closer connection with recent trauma in the Middle East. The TBE version has a few songs which aren’t in the CBI version; the CBI version contains a text study which isn’t in the TBE version. The CBI version interweaves Eicha with the evening service, while the TBE version doesn’t. They’re variations on a theme.

I hope that these siddurim will open up some of this holiday’s power and potential for the daveners who use them.

Tisha b’Av begins next Monday, August 4, at sundown. (CBI’s service will be at 8pm on Monday evening; all are welcome.)

 

Preparing for Elul

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 06:05 AM PDT

ElulReflections-FrontCoverToday is Rosh Chodesh Av, the first day of the lunar month of Av. One month from now we’ll enter Elul, the month immediately preceding the Days of Awe. Many of us strive to make Elul a month of introspection and spiritual preparation for the powerful holidays ahead.

Last year I blogged daily during the month of Elul, as part of #blogElul, an internet-wide carnival of posts on pre-high-holiday themes organized by Rabbi Phyllis Sommer (a.k.a. Ima Bima.)

Some weeks after the holidays were over, I began receiving email from my friend and teacher Rabbi Daniel Siegel in response to my #BlogElul postings. He suggested that I might share these Elul meditations in printed form, for those who would enjoy having a tangible book to hold and leaf through.

I did a bit of editing and pruning and layout work. And now, in time for the Elul to come, I offer a new chapbook of Elul material: Elul Reflections. Here’s a description:

Prepare for the Days of Awe (the High Holidays) by reading these daily meditations for the lunar month of Elul, exploring the season’s themes of forgiveness, transformation, and change. Each day of Elul is matched with a short essay or poem arising out of that day’s theme. And each theme is a verb, an invitation to action, from “Prepare,” “Act, and “Bless” to “Know,” “Believe,” and “Return.”

This volume is meant to help you enter wholly into the spiritual potential of this month, the season of teshuvah, repentance/return. Also in these pages: a Psalm 27 variation by Rabbi Brant Rosen, a set of other Elul resources, and ample space to jot down your own responses as you do your Elul work.

Of course, you’re also welcome to simply return to my 2013 archives and reread last year’s posts here. And who knows, it’s possible I’ll do #blogElul again this year too, in which case those who subscribe to this blog will receive new material every day of Elul once again! But for those who liked what I shared last year and would enjoy being able to reread those posts in bound form, here you go. My thanks are due to Reb Daniel for his encouragement, and to R’ Phyllis Sommer / Ima Bima for running #BlogElul in the first place.

$9 at Amazon |£ 5.61 at Amazon UK | €6.59 at Amazon Europe

Orthodox Union Orthodox Union

Today in Israel, children and teens in bomb shelters are profoundly affected by the continual Hamas bombardment. They in particular need emotional and physical support right away. The OU is providing that assistance and you can help now, by supporting the Orthodox Union’s Israel Emergency Fund. 100% of proceeds go directly to help people in need.The OU Israel team has programs currently in action across the country. Whether it’s offering respite to traumatized children and teens in the south with day trips to northern Israel away from the barrage of rockets, providing called-up IDF reservists with food and artwork from children, or providing psychological services in towns like Sderot, Beit Shemesh and Ofakim, your support provides direct assistance during this period of uncertainty.

In the coming days OU Israel’s efforts will expand to other towns and cities in need and so we ask for help in ensuring their success.

Support the Orthodox Union’s Israel Emergency Fund.Please share this:   Facebook   |   Twitter

With much appreciation,

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb
Executive Vice President, Emeritus
Orthodox Union

Fasting today with Jews and Muslims for peace

Fasting today with Jews and Muslims for peacePosted: 15 Jul 2014 07:04 AM PDT

10504985_10154414238775171_7317168910845165076_oI don’t usually fast on the 17th of Tamuz.

For that matter, I didn’t even take on the practice of fasting for Tisha b’Av until a few years ago. (See This year’s wrestle with Tisha b’Av, 2011.) I didn’t grow up observing the minor fasts, and I’ve never taken them on as a practice.

Instead I’ve tended toward finding other ways of understanding 17th Tammuz. Instead of focusing on the breach of Jerusalem’s walls 2,586 years ago, I ponder breaches in the emotional walls which keep us safe, or the internal and interpersonal walls which need to come down in order for genuine connections to form.

But this year there is so much trauma and tragedy in Israel and Palestine, so much grief and destruction and fear happening right now, that I am fasting today and I am dedicating my fast to peace, compassion and kindness in that beloved corner of our world where so many people are suffering.

This was not my idea. Across Israel and Palestine, groups of Jews and Muslims are consciously choosing to fast on this day in solidarity with one another as what was initially called a Hunger Strike Against Violence, and has become part of an initiative called בוחרים בחיים / اختيار الحياة / Choose Life. The idea came from Eliaz Cohen, an Israeli Jew who lives in Gush Etzion, and Ali Abu Awwad, a Palestinian Muslim who lives in Beit Ummar, north of Khalil (Hebron). Cohen is a poet and a self-identified second-generation “settler kid” who supports the idea of one homeland for two peoples. Abu Awwad is founder of Al Tariq (The Way), which teaches Palestinians principles of nonviolent resistance.

(For more, see the front-page story in yesterday’s Times of IsraelAided by calendar, Jews and Arabs Unite in Joint Fast: West Bank activists organize Choose Life, a shared initiative to combat political violence and promote coexistence.)

ChooselifeprayerThough the fast originated in the Middle East, it has spread around the globe. Joint Jewish-Muslim fasts (and dual-faith study sessions and communal joint iftar / break-the-fast meals) are taking place not only in Israel and Palestine but also around the United States, in various locations around Europe, even in Kuwait. (For more information, you can check out the Choose Life FB page; for English speakers, I recommend the parallel site Fast for Peace, which arose independently but is very much the same.)

What does abstaining from food and drink for a day actually accomplish? I know that it won’t change the external realities on the ground. But communal fasting is a very old Jewish way of connecting with others in grief and in hope. I hope that the fast will make an impact on we who are participating in it, and will inspire us to take action to bring peace and healing. And perhaps the fast will bring some hope to those who hear or read about it, and will inspire them to take action, too. Here’s something written by Rabbi Jill Jacobs at T’ruah:

As Jews, we know that fasting is one of our tradition’s main expressions of a public crisis. While most of us don’t believe that God will literally heed our fast and come to intervene, we nevertheless yearn for a way to express our sorrow and to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. Publicly embracing an interfaith  spiritual action is a small step, but it is better than privately wringing our hands and beating our breasts.

I know from my other experiences of religious fasting (on Yom Kippur, which I’ve done almost every year since I became bat mitzvah, and on Tisha b’Av in more recent years) that a religious fast entails a kind of spiritual journey. I was in one spiritual / emotional place when the fast began this morning; I expect that I will be in a different place by the time it is over. I won’t know where the journey is going to take me until I get there.

The original call to fast for peace arises out of the violence, fear, and heartbreak happening in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza right now. There’s a natural commonality in the fact that both Jewish and the Muslim communities will be fasting today from sunup to sundown. I am glad to join Jews and Muslims around the world in dedicating our fast to praying for an end to the violence in the Middle East.

I also find myself returning to prayers for kindness and compassion, both in those wartorn places and in the rest of this world. The violence isn’t happening on the ground where I live, but the hatred and mistrust which have ousted kindness and compassion from the hearts of those who commit that violence — that hatred and mistrust are everywhere.

Fastforpeace-01My online friend Lee Weissman, who blogs and tweets under the moniker Jihadi Jew, recently posted that he can no longer engage in conversations about Israel and Palestine via social media because the vitriol is so great that he has given up that public discourse. I understand the impulse. The rhetoric I’ve been seeing (from all “sides”) has been bringing me to the brink of panic attacksbecause I am so emotionally invested that my heart feels bruised by every instance of violence, every angry comment, every insistence that “they” deserve whatever they get. If we can’t collectively transcend that kind of thinking, I don’t see how the situation will ever improve.

17 Tamuz is the day when the Jewish community remembers the breach of Jerusalem’s city walls by the Babylonian army in 586 BCE. That breach was the first damage to the city’s integrity. Three weeks later, the Babylonian army destroyed the Temple and exiled the Jews. This year what is broken on 17 Tamuz is my heart. I’ve always been a “sensitive soul,” moved by strong emotion (both my own feelings, and those expressed by those around me). And I was in Israel and the West Bank only a few months ago, which rekindled my feeling of connection with that land and with its peoples. Maybe these are the reasons why this year the renewed violence and bloodshed there are so emotionally and spiritually devastating to me.

In the traditional Jewish understanding, a public communal fast can be a tool of teshuvah / turning-toward-God, an expression of grief and mourning, and/or an opportunity for supplication and pleading with God. My fast against violence today aims to be all three of these. I seek to make teshuvah for the ways I’ve been complicit in allowing violence to continue. I grieve every single death in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most especially those of children. And I ask God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my might to help us build a different world, a world of connection and compassion and peace. Please, God, please, God, please.

I’ll close this post with a prayer written by Sheikh Ibtisam Mahamid and Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum, distributed by the Choose Life folks along with prayers and scriptural quotations for study in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. They write:

God of Life
Who heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds

May it be your will to hear the prayer of mothers
For you did not create us to kill each other
Nor to live in fear, anger or hatred in your world
But rather you have created us so we can grant permission to one another to sanctify
Your name of Life, your name of Peace in this world.

For these things I weep, my eye, my eye runs down with water
For our children crying at nights,
For parents holding their children with despair and darkness in their hearts
For a gate that is closing and who will open it while day has not yet dawned.

And with my tears and prayers which I pray
And with the tears of all women who deeply feel the pain of these difficult days
I raise my hands to you please God have mercy on us
Hear our voice that we shall not despair
That we shall see life in each other,
That we shall have mercy for each other,
That we shall have pity on each other,
That we shall hope for each other

And we shall write our lives in the book of Life
For your sake God of Life
Let us choose Life.

For you are Peace, your world is Peace and all that is yours is Peace,
And so shall be your will and let us say Amen.

Amen.


German-Jewish cultural heritage in China | DW.DE
DW presents a look at the development of German-Jewish culturalheritage in China.
dw.de

A prayer in remembrance – now in Hebrew

A prayer in remembrance – now in HebrewPosted: 14 Jul 2014 08:26 AM PDT

Not long ago I posted a prayer co-written with Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb in remembrance of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Sha’ar, Eyal Yifrah, and Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir. (It’s here: A prayer in remembrance.)

Rabbi Lila Veissid, who serves Kibbutz Ha-Ma’apil in central Israel,  has translated that prayer into Hebrew. With her gracious permission, her translation is reprinted here.

 

תפילת זיכרון
מאת הרבה רחל ברנבלט
והרבה לין גוטליב

 

יהי רצון שזכרם של בנינו
שנהרגו בשל שנאה חסרת פשר
יהיה לברכה.

יהי רצון שרוחם תעלה
ותתנחם בחיבוקה החם
והאימהי של אלוהים.

יהי רצון שילדינו היקרים יהיו בטוחים מכל צרה.
יהי רצון שכל הילדים יהיו ילדינו.
יהי רצון שנגן על כל ההורים מן השכול.

יהי רצון שלבבנו ולבבם של בני עמנו
יירפא במהרה בימינו
מפצעי העבר וההווה.

יהי רצון שכל הורה אבֵל ימצא ניחומים.
יהי רצון שנזכה לראות את היום
שבו לא יהיו עוד הורים אבֵלים
(You can read the prayer in English at the original post: A prayer in remembrance, July 3 2014.)

Poetry and prayer are all I’ve gotPosted: 13 Jul 2014 04:44 AM PDT

I have been watching the news (and reading blog posts and tweets and Facebook updates) out of Israel and the Palestinian territories with a sense of unbearable heartbreak. It brings me to the brink of something like a panic attack: my chest tightening, my throat choked with tears, the embodied feeling that the grief will wash me away altogether. And I am aware that those who live there are experiencing something far more powerful.

The only thing which brings any comfort is poetry and prayer. Bethlehem Blogger posted A prayer in times of violence,which though it is explicitly Christian speaks to me nonetheless. Wendell Berry’s poem The peace of wild things speaks right to my heart. I daven the oseh shalom blessing — “may the One Who makes peace in the high heavens make peace also for us” — with particular fervor.

If there are prayers or poems which bring you comfort at times like these, please feel free to share them in the comments so that other readers (and I) can benefit from them.

I wrote a prayer in 2012 called Prayer for the Children of Abraham / Ibrahim, which begins:

For every aspiring ballerina huddled
scared in a basement bomb shelter

For every toddler in his mother’s arms
    behind rubble of concrete and rebar

For every child who’s learned to distinguish
“our” bombs from “their” bombs by sound…

 

I hate that it is once again resonant. I yearn for the day when this prayer will look outdated and ridiculous — when the children of our children, running across this prayer in some shred of their grandparents’ generation, will say “I can’t believe that war went on for so long.” Please, God, may the day come speedily and soon.

 

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