The Jewish Multiracial Network
16th Annual Retreat!
June 7-9, 2013
The Capital Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA www.capitalretreat.org
(Dining is under strict Star-K Kashrut Supervision, with glatt kosher meat and cholov yisrael dairy products.)
“You are not alone. Just pull up a mental vision of a Jews of Color (JOC) version of the Verizon [network] commercial where all those people are standing behind the technician – You in front and all of the rest of us standing behind you ready to assist – the days of any of us fighting alone are over – keep the image present in your mind as you encounter people’s ignorance…” ~Yavilah McCoy
Jewish unity is possible – really! It begins with acting decently toward one another; it follows with tolerating others as they pursue lives of goodness; it culminates with many different Jews, but just one heart. We are allowed to think and observe differently than one another, but we must always act decently toward one another.~Asher, Lev Echad
To love your neighbor as yourself is the major principle of the Torah.
~ Rabbi Akiva
Shavuot, the Feast of the Weeks, is the Jewish holiday celebrating the harvest season in Israel. Shavuot, which means “weeks”, refers to the timing of the festival which is held exactly 7 weeks after Passover. Shavuot also commemorates the anniversary of the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai. The Book of Ruth is read during Shavuot. Ruth, a convert, was the model of Torah acceptance and the great-great-grandmother of King David.
King David, Ethiopian Jewish Embroidery, NACOEJ
Judaism has welcomed those who voluntarily become Jews and considers them full-fledged members of the Jewish community. The Hebrew Bible, as well as later Jewish texts, includes examples of such individuals. The most famous and honored example appears in the biblical book of Ruth, where Ruth joins the Jewish people and eventually becomes the great-great grandmother of King David, from whose descendants, according to Jewish tradition, the Messiah will come.
In our day, most Jews welcome wholeheartedly those who have chosen to become Jews. Nonetheless, some Jews-by-choice report occasional offensive comments directed toward them. Although the reasons for such attitudes are complicated, they are based on ignorance and prejudice and are by no means sanctioned by Judaism. As more and more Jews-by-choice enter the Jewish community, as we promote education about Jewish views of conversion and sensitivity to Jews-by-choice, and as public discussion of such a choice grows more commonplace, these negative views continue to fade.
THERE ARE NO “CONVERTS’ IN JUDAISM – ONLY JEWS (PDF) by Rabbi Moshe Ben Asher & Magidah Khulda bat Sarah
On Shavuot, it is customary to eat dairy dairy food. Some say it harks back to King Solomon’s portrayal of the Torah as “honey and milk are under your tongue”
Carrot Cake Cheesecake
16 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 generous pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts(optional)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped coarsely)
Dash of salt
Grease a 9 or 9 1/2 inch springform pan. Set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together 2 packages cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in 1 tablespoon flour, 3 eggs and 1 teaspoons vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
For the carrot cake: in a large bowl, combine oil, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla, blending thoroughly. Stir in 1 cup flour, baking soda, cinnamon and pinch of salt, mixing well. Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts.
Spread 1 1/2 cups carrot cake batter over bottom of prepared pan. Drop large spoonfuls of cream cheese batter over carrot cake batter. Top with large spoonfuls of remaining carrot cake batter. Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter, spreading evenly with a knife. (Do not marble with the knife.)
Bake in preheated 350˚F oven 60 to 65 minutes or until cake is set and cooked through. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.
When cake is cold, prepare the frosting. In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine 2 ounce cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice and a dash of salt. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. Frost top of cheesecake. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Enjoy!
…Because Jews Come in All Colors
10 Tips Toward Racial & Cultural Sensitivity in the Jewish Community
Ahhh, feel the love. The crew at the Jewish Multiracial Network Retreat
10 Tips Toward Racial & Cultural Sensitivity in the Jewish Community
1 ~ Reach out to other Jews across difference because you will find our commonalities exceed our differences by far.
2 ~ Do not assume that Jewish history and the current Jewish population is comprised most significantly of Jews of European culture ancestry.
3 ~ Consider that within the customs and traditions of the Jewish people, there is a great diversity of language, culture, custom and color. Be willing to reach for and stay connected to the diversity of the Jewish people.
4 ~ Do not assume that because a person has dark skin that they must be a convert. This is not necessarily true or fair to individuals that have been Jewish all of their lives.
5 ~ Learn to value the “inner” Jew in yourself so that you can better appreciate it in others.
6 ~ Get to know the customs and traditions of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa and welcome this knowledge as a necessary component of your Jewish education.
7 ~ If you find a person’s journey around difference to be inspiring, be it their color, background, abilities, culture, traditions, etc., try not to limit your praise of them to their being “inspiring”. Tell them what about them inspires you specifically.
8 ~ Remember that it’s o.k. to be curious, but to become fascinated with a person because of an aspect of their physicality ALONE, is to turn that person into an object in your regard. Make efforts to make your relationships with people who are different than you, more than skin deep.
9 ~ Keep in mind that Jews of Color have a lot to offer the Jewish community, both in experience and perspective and should be welcomed to participate in all levels of Jewish social interaction, including leadership.
10 ~ Remember that denial is not just a river in Egypt (smile), it can also be an obstacle toward finding lasting solutions. When we sit with the things inside us that make us the most uncomfortable, we often find deeper truth and growth on the other side. ~Courtesy of Ayecha
“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”~Wade Davis
“Because Jews Come in All Colors” poster celebrates racial and ethnic diversity in the Jewish community.
In Text Boxes:
DID YOU KNOW?
The Jews of China built their famous “Purity and Truth” Synagogue in the third year of the Da Ding period (1163) of the Jin (Golden Tartar) Dynasty, in the ancient Chinese capitol city of Kaifeng.
DID YOU KNOW?
15,000 Black African Jews, who trace their 3,000-year history to the time of Israel’s King Solomon, were flown from Ethiopia to Israel in 36 hours in May 1991.
DID YOU KNOW?
Spanish & Portuguese “Crypto” (secret) Jews arrived in New Mexico some 500 years ago, fleeing the Spanish Inquisition. Their descendents still recite Shabbat blessings in Ladino (archaic Spanish).
DID YOU KNOW?
In India, the Bene Israel community – their ancestors arrived there 2,000 years ago – are called “Shanwar Telis” (Saturday Oil Pressers) as they refrain from work on the Shabbat.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Jews of Morocco make pilgrimage each year to the tombs of 13 Holy Sages, and celebrate a unique Jewish holiday called Mimunah.
Yom ha-Sho’ah ~ Holocaust Remembrance Day
At the rising of the sun and at its going down
We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter
We remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring
We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer
We remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn
We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends
We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us
as we remember them.
Personal photos from family visit to Dachau
We Remember the Afro-German Rhineland Children
There, but for the grace of God, go I… ~MochaJuden
Underscoring Hitler’s obsession with racial purity, by 1937, every identified mixed-race child in the Rhineland had been forcibly sterilized, in order to prevent further “race polluting”, as Hitler termed it.
The fate of black people from 1933 to 1945 in Nazi Germany and in German-occupied territories ranged from isolation to persecution, sterilization, medical experimentation, incarceration, brutality, and murder.
Two survivors prepare food outside the barracks. On the right is presumably Jean (Johnny) Voste, born in Belgian Congo, was the only black prisoner in Dachau.
Interview with Afro-German Survivor of Buchenwald KZ whose African-American Father perished at Auschwitz. (Interview in German)
In a nutshell, he is saying he was born in 1928, illegitimate son of an African-American and a white German woman. His father perished probably in Auschwitz, while he himself survived the Concentration Camp of Buchenwald.
NEVER AGAIN must remain more than a mere slogan!
“Contrary to the belief of some, the Jews are a multiracial, multi-ethnic group. But it should not be surprising that Judaism’s 4,000-year-old creed spans geography as well as time, or that its message appeals to members of all races, on all continents.” ~Karen Primrack, Author, Under One Canopy
The Seder Table – Artist Lynne Feldman
The scattering of the Jews around the world over thousands of years, to nearly every continent, has meant that these traditions have evolved and been adapted to different cultures and settings. Here are some Passover traditions from around the world.
PASSOVER CELEBRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD
Ethiopian Jewish women making Matzoh
Destroying Earthenware Dishes: The Jews of Ethiopia strongly identify with the story of Exodus — and indeed, the first of the famous airlifts that delivered them to Israel was actually called Operation Moses. In some Ethiopian families, the matriarch would destroy all of her earthenware dishes and make a new set to mark a true break with the past. Ethiopian Jews had no Haggadahs, and read about Exodus directly from the Bible. Matzahs were homemade, often from chickpea flour, and on the morning of the seder, a lamb would be slaughtered. They also refrained from eating fermented dairy like yogurt, butter, or cheese
Whipping Each Other with Scallions
Jews living in Afghanistan developed the tradition of using scallions or leeks to stand for the Egyptian slavedrivers’ whips, using them to lightly “whip” each others’ backs. Jews have lived in Afghanistan at least since the Babylonian conquest 2,000 years ago, but in 2004 only two Jews were left in the country. It is now estimated that only a single Jew lives in Afghanistan, as the other died in 2005. The largest group of Afghan Jews in the world is comprised of 200 families in Queens, New York.
Re-enacting Crossing the Red Sea
Moses Parts the Red Sea. Ethiopian Jewish Embroidery Project: NACOEJ
Hasidic Jews from the Polish town of Góra Kalwaria, known as Gerer Hasids, re-enact the crossing of the Red Sea on the seventh day of Passover by pouring water on the floor, lifting up their coats, and naming the towns that they would cross in their region of Poland. They raise a glass at each “town” and then thank God for helping them reach their destination.
Eating the Dust of Real Bricks
Every Passover, Jews prepare charoset, a sweet paste that can be made with fruits like dates, figs, and apples. The result is meant to remind sedergoers of the mortar in the bricks that Jewish slaves in Egypt used in their labor. In the British territory of Gibraltar, a tiny peninsula off Spain where Jews have lived for about 650 years, there’s a special recipe for charoset: the dust of real bricks, ground up and mixed in.
Tapping Guests on the Head: In a custom that began in Spain in the fourteenth century, the seder leader walks around the table three times with the seder plate in hand, tapping it on the head of each guest. Many Moroccan, Turkish, and Tunisian Jews adopted this tradition, which is said to bless those whose heads are tapped. This is sometimes connected to the Talmudic custom of “uprooting” the seder plate so that guests might ask questions about the Jews in Egypt.
Telling the Exodus Story in Costume: In many Sephardic traditions, (a term used to describe Jews originally hailing from the Iberian peninsula and North Africa), an elder member of the family enacts a skit in costume, posing as an ancient Jew who experienced the exodus from Egypt and describing the miracles he saw. In the countries of the Caucasus region, Iraq, Kurdistan, Yemen, and others, the seder (usually the head of household), would put the afikoman matzah in a bag, throw it over his shoulder, and use a cane to support himself. Sometimes a child participated, and there was a call and response with the table: “Where are you coming from?” “Egypt,” was the reply, followed by the story of the Israelites following Moses out of slavery. “And where are you going?” someone at the table would ask. “Jerusalem!”
Breaking Matzah into Hebrew Letters:
In the Syrian community, the custom of breaking the middle matzah on the seder table into pieces (known as yachatz) can sometimes take on Kabbalistic meaning. Matzah broken into the shape of the Hebrew letters “daled” and “vav” correspond to numbers, which in turn add up to 10, representing the 10 holy emanations of God. Jews from North Africa, including from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Libya, break the matzoh into the shape of the Hebrew letter “hey,” which corresponds to the number five.
Inspecting Rice for Defects: Jews have lived in Cochin, in the Indian state of Kerala, for 2,000 years. In the tiny community that remains, Passover preparation begins immediately after Hanukkah, about 100 days beforehand. After Purim, Cochin’s Jews scrub their house of chametz (bread and any fermented grain) and repaint them, keeping special Passover dishes in a separate room. Wells are drained and cleaned for fear of chametz, and every grain of rice is inspected for defects that might let impure chametz in. Jews usually maintain warm relations with the larger community, but during Passover and the preceding months, they keep entirely to themselves.
Cooking with Wine from Elijah’s Cup
Many different customs surround the welcoming of the prophet Elijah, who is said to visit every seder. While Ashkenazi Jews (whose families came from Germany and later Eastern Europe) commonly leave a goblet of wine for the prophet, in Casablanca, Morocco, Jews would set up an elaborate chair with cushions and ornaments and leave it empty for Elijah’s arrival. And in Marrakesh, dishes are prepared using the wine from Elijah’s cup. Ashkenazi Jews often open the door to allow Elijah in, a tradition that wasn’t historically a part of the Sephardic practice.
Wearing White: Both Hasidic Jews and Moroccan Jews have the custom of wearing white to seder, possibly to signify joyfulness. Some Jews wear white on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, or on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, although this varies.
Displaying Gold and Silver Jewelry: Three passages in Exodus say that the Israelites received gold and silver from the Egyptians (for example, 12:35: “The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing”). Accordingly, Hungarian Jews had a tradition of putting all of their gold and silver jewelry on the seder table.
Tossing Pebbles in the Ocean
Among Moroccan Jews, Mimouna is celebrated the day after Passover with a generous feast of baked goods. Some say it marks Maimonides’ birthday, while others link it to the Arabic word for luck. A table is heaped with items symbolizing luck or fertility, many repeating the number 5, such as dough with five fingerprint marks or five silver coins. Fig leaves, live fish, stalks of wheat, and honey might also be included. In some parts of the Moroccan Jewish community, Jews entered the ocean and tossed pebbles behind their backs to ward off evil spirits. Original article here.
The Inside Story on Passover
In each one of us there is an Egypt and a Pharaoh and a Moses and Freedom in a Promised Land. And every point in time is an opportunity for another Exodus.
Egypt is a place that chains you to who you are, constraining you from growth and change. And Pharaoh is that voice inside that mocks your gambit to escape, saying, “Why change? How could you attempt being today something you were not yesterday? Don’t you know who you are?”
Moses is the liberator, the infinite force deep within, an impetuous and all-powerful drive to break out from any bondage, to always transcend, to connect with that which has no bounds. But Freedom and the Promised Land are not static elements that lie in wait. They are your own achievements which you may create at any moment, in any thing that you do, simply by breaking free from whoever you were the day before.
Last Passover you may not have yet begun to light a candle. Or some other mitzvah still waits for you to fulfill its full potential. This year, defy Pharaoh and light up your world, with unbounded light!
EXODUS by Bob Marley
Open your eyes and look within: Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?
Exodus! Movement of Jah’s people
GET A GUIDED MEDITATION FOR YOUR PASSOVER SEDER HERE:
Guided visualization actually is reported not to work with about 10% of people, some of us are simply hard wired for different forms of spirituality. I mention this so those who have this difference won’t wear themselves out trying.
For those who can benefit from guided visualization it is a very powerful spiritual tool. Several major medical research centers have discovered that it can even be a tool for active healing (called psycho-neuro-immunology), although this meditation is primarily designed for shifting consciousness.
Be sure to read slowly, with feeling and honor all the pauses fully, they are very important elements…like rests between the notes of a score.
Go down Moses, Way down in Egypt land.
Tell ole Pharaoh to Let My People Go!
Now when Israel was in Egypt land..Let My People Go!
Oppressed so hard they could not stand…Let My People Go!
So the Lord said: ‘Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt land,
Tell ole Pharaoh to Let My People Go!’
So Moses went to Egypt land…Let My People Go!
He made ole Pharaoh understand… Let My People Go!
Yes, the Lord said ‘Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt land
Tell ole Pharaoh to Let My People Go!
Thus spoke the Lord, bold Moses said: Let My People Go!
‘If not I’ll smite your firstborn’s dead’ Let My People Go!
Thus the Lord said ‘Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt land
Tell ole Pharaoh to Let My People Go!’
Tell ole Pharaoh To Let My People Go
Moses in the Bulrushes by Mary Auld, Illustrated by Diana Mayo
Lavishly illustrated retelling of the Biblical story. Includes background information about the story, a useful word section and a section of questions to encourage further thought.
Ethiopian Jewish Embroidery-Making Matzoh for Passover – NACOEJ
~ May All Of Us Be Listened To & Embraced & Welcomed & Supported ~
Torah Study by Artist, Lecturer, Musician Chaim Parchi
Who Are These Jews?
by Ruth Brin
There were women who sat in the market
selling beets and cabbages so their men could study:
They were Jews.
There were men of Yemen, great swordsmen,
guards of the king: they were Jews.
There are dark women of India, wearing saris,
Black farmers from Ethiopia, Children with slanted eyes:
There are dressmakers and sculptors, thieves
and philanthropists, scholars and nurses,
beggars and generals.
There are women who follow every rule of Kashrut and
men who know none of the rules, yet all of us are Jews.
Though we are not alike in mind or body,
somewhere in the depths of our souls
we know we are the children of one people.
We share history, a hope, and some prayers:
We speak many languages:
We have heard one Voice:
All of us stood together at Sinai
When our past and our future
Exploded in thunder and flame before us.
(Ruth F Brin z”l was famous for her Jewish poetry, prayer services, scholarly articles, children’s books and librettos. Her liturgy was found in the pages of Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative prayer books around the country.)
King Abdulla Ibn Hussein of Transjordan sits under the watchful eyes of his Jewish bodyguards, Habanni Yemenite brothers Sayeed, Salaah, & Saadia Sofer (1922).
“The Jewish experience is built upon foundations of diversity as old as the Jewish people, a reality that may be lost to many Jews who tend to think of other Jews as being only like themselves. The historical home of the Jews lies at the geographic crossroads of Africa, Asia, and Europe. Jews are an amalgam of many peoples and Jewish origins include a multitude of languages, nations, tribes, and skin colors.” ~The History of Jewish Diversity/ Be’chol Lashon
I Love Jewish Faces by Debra Darvick
May All of Us Be Listened To & Embraced & Welcomed & Supported.
Queen Esther ~ Painting by John Cox
Listen to: She Said No To The King! by Rabbi Rayzel Raphael and MIRAJ
Long, long ago, a poor young Jewish woman named Esther is chosen, Cinderella-style, to be the Queen of Persia. But while her new husband, King Ahasuerus, drinks, eats, and plays, his dastardly prime minister, Hamen, schemes.
Infuriated by Esther’s cousin Mordecai’s refusal to bow down before him (“I am a Jew,” said Mordecai, “and Jews do not bow down to human beings”), Hamen vows that Mordecai, along with every Jew in Persia, will be killed. Ahasuerus is too distracted by his card games to pay much attention to Hamen’s decree, so it is up to Esther to save her people. Risking all, she approaches her hot-tempered husband (who did not know until now that Esther herself is Jewish) to see what can be done. Luckily, Esther’s courage and cleverness prevail.
Twenty-five hundred years later, Jews all over the world still celebrate Purim, a noisy, lighthearted holiday to commemorate the days when sorrow turned into joy.
It is customary to prepare and enjoy a festive meal on Purim, complete with wine, challah, and dessert. The traditional Ashkenazi pastry for Purim is Hamantashen. Queen Esther foiled Haman’s plans to murder the kingdom’s Jews. The pastries look like either pockets or the hat of of Haman and symbolizes his deceitfulness. As you eat the pastry, you “destroy” Haman’s secret deceit.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 1/3 cups plus 4 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Various jams (raspberry, blackberry, apricot, or prepared fillings such as poppy seed or prune pastry filing)
Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add sugar and mix for one minute longer, then egg, vanilla extract, orange zest and salt, mixing until combined. Finally, add the flour. The mixture should come together and be a tad sticky. If it feels too wet, add an additional tablespoon of flour.
Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
To form the hamantaschen, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter (3 inches is traditional, but very large; I used one that was 2 1/2 inches), cut the dough into circles. Spoon a teaspoon of you filling of choice in the center. Fold the dough in from three sides and firmly crimp the corners and give them a little twist to ensure they stay closed. Leave the filling mostly open in the center. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on racks. Resist the urge to try a still-hot one unless a jam-burnt tongue is as much of your Purim tradition as are these cookies. Enjoy! Freilichen Purim!
Purim Customs From Around the World
On Purim eve, torches containing gunpowder would be ignited. During the Megillah reading, the gunpowder exploded with a deafening noise. In one town in Germany, on the eve of Purim, two candles would be lit in the synagogue. One was called “Haman” and the other “Zeresh” (Haman’s wife). The candles were allowed to burn down completely, and were not extinguished. Thus should the haters of Israel be burnt. Doll-shaped cakes, called “Haman”, were also prepared. The children would cut off the doll’s head and eat it with great glee.
The youngsters would divide into two camps and throw nuts at each other. The adults rode through the streets of the town on horseback, with cypress branches in their hands. They also placed an effigy of Haman in a high place, and encircled it, to the sound of trumpets.
Children used to take smooth stones, write or engrave Haman’s name on them, and strike them together during the Megillah reading whenever Haman’s name was mentioned, in order to erase it, in compliance with the verse: “I shall surely wipe out the memory of Amalek”.
“Haman-shaped” cakes were baked on the eve of “Shabbat Zachor”, and placed on the window ledges until the festive Purim meal. During the meal, the cakes were sliced so that participants could fulfill the precept “And they shall devour Haman with open mouth”.
Many wax candles were lit for the Purim meal; children were invited to light the candles as on Hanukkah.
The young men rode through the Jewish street on horsebacks, camels and asses, in memory of the verse “and they brought him on horseback through the street of the city”.
The children prepared a large effigy of Haman, and filled its clothes with gunpowder. In the middle of the courtyard, they set up a large stick, from which they “hung” Haman. They then threw oil over the effigy and set it alight.
The men also participated in the great tumult, stamping their feet loudly during the Megillah reading.
All the schoolchildren participated in burning an effigy of Haman. The younger children made small “Hamans” out of paper, and the older children made a large “Haman” out of rags, old clothes and straw. All the townspeople gathered by the school. A large bonfire was prepared and everyone stood round it. By turn, all the children went up and threw the “Hamans” they had made into the fire. They then beat the burning “Haman” with special sticks that they had prepared in honor of Purim. After all the “Hamans” had been thrown on the fire, salt and sulfur were added. All the participants stood round the fire, hitting the burning Haman with sticks and shouting “Long live Mordechai, cursed be Haman, blessed be Esther, cursed be Zeresh”.
The youngsters threw an effigy of Haman into the fire and jumped over the fire, competing to see who could jump highest.
The ground would usually be covered with snow at Purim time. A large snow-Haman was built next to the synagogue. This Haman had a funny-shaped torso, long thick legs, like an elephant’s, a large head, eyes of charcoal, a carrot for a nose, and a piece of beetroot for the mouth. A “gold chain” made out of water melon peels was hung over the stomach as a symbol of office, and a broken pot was placed on the head.
After the meal, the whole community gathered round the Haman. A large fire was made around it of wood, rags and paper, and they stood and watched until Haman melted in the heat and disappeared, singing until it was completely melted.
The women prepared blackened wood by the kitchen fire. When the men came home after the Megillah reading, they would ask, what’s this, and the women would reply: Haman. The men then said: “burn him”, and the wood was immediately thrown into the fire.
The children drew pictures of Haman on planks or cardboard. During the Megillah reading, the planks were thrown to the ground and trampled on, making a lot of noise. Wooden gloves (a kind of wooden sandals) were held in the hands and clapped together, also making a loud noise.
The synagogue carpets were taken up and the congregants trampled underneath them, in case Haman was hiding there.
Even before Purim, the children of the “Heder” would set up two sticks “lengthwise and crosswise”, like a kind of cross, cover them and declare in a loud voice: “Haman the wicked.” This is the source of the Yemenite Jewish saying: “In Adar – we put up Haman crosses”.
In the Yemenite town of Asaddeh, it was customary to make a large effigy of Haman out of rags. This Haman was placed on a donkey and led by the children from house to house. Each householder gave the children sweetmeats, and beat, spat or even threw dirty water over the Haman on the donkey.
In some places in Yemen, the children used to put a kind of scarecrow in a wooden cart with a horse. Two beads were stuck into its head for eyes, a beard was attached, and it was dressed in colorful tattered clothes, and adorned with a kind of absurd decoration. The children placed the scarecrow on a wooden horse and preceded it, calling out: “thus shall be done to the wicked Haman”.
On the eve of Purim, they dragged the cart through the streets shouting: “Haman”, and dancing and singing: Here comes Haman Riding a lame horse He burst and exploded, woe to his mother, Here she comes.
The “Haman” was then hung from a high tree in the courtyard of the synagogue, where it was “abused” and taunted. Stones and “arrows” were hurled at it until it was torn to shreds. In some places Haman’s cross was left until the end of Purim, and then taken down and burnt. It was covered with kerosene and set alight. The participants departed only when nothing was left but dust and ashes.
“Purim”, a manual edited by the Center for Fostering Jewish Awareness;
“Purim”, teaching material edited by Y. Frishman;
“Hag ve-Moed”, Rivka Tzadik;
“Festivals and Holidays in Education”, Dr. Yehuda Bergman
92nd Psalm: A Prayer for Shabbat by Stacey Zisook Robinson
And so we stand
On the edge of this week
Pebbles strewn at our feet
The distance between us an endless heartbeat
The difference like night
Like light and darkness
Who separates the days
And brings us
Ever and always
To this holy edge
To this Shabbat
Where we stand
Trembling with effort
Weary from a week filled with
Noise and action and movement
Restless and driven
From one moment to the next
Until we are brought to this edge
This endless and always edge
To this Shabbat
Sacred and at peace
With one another
In a flooding of gentle light
The rising of the sun
From one breath to the next
We stand on the edge and cross into the infinite
Wishing You Hanukkah Lovin’
http://tiny.cc/HanukkahLovin – iTunes mp3 download
Music & Lyrics – Michelle Citrin & Molly Kane
Co-Directed – Michelle Citrin & Molly Kane
Produced & Arranged by Michelle Citrin
Director of Photography, Assistant Director, Camera – Ben Donnellon
Video Editing – Ben Donnellon & Michelle Citrin
Engineered, Mixed & Mastered – Ken Rich
Recorded at Grand Street Recording – Brooklyn, NY
The miracle of Chanukah is not just about a little bit of oil lasting eight days. It is about the inner healing light within each of us. Chanukah is a time when we can celebrate this inner healing light as we move toward wellness. Chanukah is also about the miracle of survival against all odds, about hope, courage and belief in one’s ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Chanukah Candle-Lighting Blessings
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our bodies.
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our minds.
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our souls.
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our children.
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our parents.
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our communities.
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the restoration of health and wellness to those who are ill, suffering, or grieving.
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our world.
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows through the Shekinah, the Source of Healing Wisdom and Inner Light.
Special thanks to Rabbi Malka Drucker, whose Hanukkah teaching can be found at malkadrucker.com
NPR: Blacks, the Jewish Faith and Hanukkah: Listen Here
Mi yimalel gvurot Yisrael, Otan mi yimne?
Hen be’chol dor yakum ha’gibor
Shma! Ba’yamim ha’hem ba’zman ha’ze
Maccabi moshia u’fode
U’v'yameinu kol am Yisrael
Yitached yakum ve’yigael!
Who can retell the things that befell us, Who can count them?
In every age, a hero or sage
Came to our aid.
Hark! In days of yore in Israel’s ancient land
Brave Maccabeus led the faithful band
But now all Israel must as one arise
Redeem itself through deed and sacrifice.
The story of the Maccabees still speak to us today, lighting our homes with faith and filling our hearts with pride.
DID YOU KNOW?
…in Germany, the eighth and last night of Chanukah used to be very special. All the leftover wicks and oil were lit in giant bonfires. People sang songs and danced around the fire, often until the small hours of the night.
…in Yemen it was the tradition to light bon fires according to the days of hanukkah
…Turkish Jews make candles from the flax fibers used to wrap the etrog. The remains of these Chanukah candles are then melted together to make another candle used to search for bread crumbs pre-Passover.
…If you are an Ashkenazi Jew (of European ancestry) it is traditional for every family member to light a hanukkiah (menorah). If you are a Sephardi (descended from Spain and Portuguese Jews) only the head of the household lights the hanukkiah.
HOW TO MAKE LATKES
Kavanot – Rededicating Our Inner-Sanctum~8 Meditations for 8 Nights of Hanukkah
Jerusalem poet Chaya Kaplan-Gafni has written a series of 8 kavanot (meditations) to be read after candlelighting, one for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. In addition she offers an opening meditation to recite immediately before the blessings for candle lighting.
Hanukkah honors the house. It is the Maccabees’ renowned rededication of the House, the House of Holiness, the Beit Hamikdash. It is the lighting of the fire in the heart, the hearth, the home of a People.
Hanukkat Habayit is the celebration of settling into a new home, a housewarming party of a sacred sort. It’s as if with every move to a new house we celebrate a miniature Hanukkah. For each home is the manifestation of the Holy Temple in our times, in our own lives. Thus our four walls call for a Hanukkah — a dedication — the lighting of the fire that warms and sanctifies our space.
And Hanukkah’s lighting of house is no less than the illumination of the inner Self. For the Self, with her secret stairways, her observing windows, her half-closed doors, is a many-storied home, the abode of the soul.
Our task on these eight nights is to rededicate the Temple, in our own times, in our own lives; each night illumines a new aspect of self, lighting a new alcove of our inner House of Holies. 8 Meditations for 8 Nights of Hanukkah
Hanukkah, Artist Varda Livney
Update your calendars. We DO have a holiday during the month Cheshvan!
The National holiday of the Ethiopian Jewish Sigd
The Knesset legislated the Sigd Law-2008, declaring the 29th of Heshvan as a national holiday. Sigd is a holiday of Ethiopian Jewry, the community named “Beta Israel.” The name of the holiday is derived from the Hebrew word for bowing or prostration, “sgida”.
Sigd is celebrated on the 29th of Heshvan – 50 days following Yom Kippur (similar to the holiday of Shavuot, celebrated 50 days after Passover), and the community rejoices for the renewal of the alliance between the people, God, and His Torah.
In Ethiopia, the community used to gather from all distant villages to celebrate communally. The day prior to the holiday was used for carrying out special prayers to welcome the following day and for washing their festive clothing. The Kes (spiritual leader) would prepare cow and sheep meat for the feast to be held to end the holiday, during which the community fasted.
The Sigd ceremony was held on a high mountain, considered to be pure due to its resemblance to Mt. Sinai on which Moses was given the Torah. Elder members of the community would climb up to the place of prayer and ensure its purity and strengthen its surrounding fence, in front of which they would prepare the area to place the Torah scroll. Early in the morning, the community would bathe in the river and gather at the prayer house. The Kes would then extract the Torah to the sounds of singing and cries of happiness and lead the crowd up the mountain. Some of those present would carry with them a rock symbolizing their surrender before God and as a sign of regret for their sins.
The ceremony opens with the Kes reading excerpts from the Bible, spoken in Ge’ez and translated to Amharic. The excerpts included: Receiving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai (Exodus, 19-20), Nehemiah’s ceremony for renewal of the alliance with those returning from the Babylonian exile (Nehemiah, 8-9), and excerpts from the books of Leviticus, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Psalms. Furthermore, the Kes would pray and accompany their service with sermons and preaching.
During the ceremony the members of the community would kneel, bow and direct their hands at the sky. This was followed by an interval of trumpets, while saying: “As we have had the fortune to celebrate the holiday this year, we shall have the fortune to hold it in Jerusalem in the next year.” The prayers following these words expressed joy, comfort and their hope for the return to Zion and the building of Jerusalem. The participants would return to the prayer house in the afternoon to hold a festive meal, accompanied with songs and dance.
Ethiopian Sigd Festival – a religious worship in Jerusalem: Slideshow
Today, as the majority of the Ethiopian Jewish community has made Aliyah to the State of Israel, members of the community make their way to Jerusalem, to the Wailing Wall and to the promenade at the “Armon Hanatziv” neighborhood in the city. The holiday serves as an annual gathering of the entire Ethiopian community and they see it as a chance to strengthen their affinity to their history and culture.
The Kessim carry the Bible holding colorful umbrellas. They stand on top of a stage to read the excerpts and prayers before the community. Many officials come and greet the audience, while the crowd continues to observe their fast until late in the afternoon.