How-To Celebrate Pesach 5773/2013 in Tidewater

Mon, 03/11/2013 - 8:16am

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater

The How-To Live Jewishly in Tidewater blog will feature posts throughout the year with information about Jewish life in Tidewater. Articles will discuss topics such as how-to celebrate the holidays in Tidewater, how-to keep kosher in Tidewater, how-to give back in Tidewater, and more! Feel free to contact Rebecca Bickford, Community Concierge, if there is something specific that you would like more information on.

1285 The story of Passover is one that we learn at a very early age. This is the story of our Exodus from the land of Egypt after suffering as Pharaoh's slaves for generations.

Moses, a man who is raised in Pharaoh's palace as a son, learns he is of Jewish heritage. He looks out over the land of Egypt and sees his people enslaved, beaten, hungry, and suffering. He decides to join them in the mud pits, toiling under the unforgiving sun.

Pharaoh attempts to entice Moses back into the comfort of the palace but Moses is steadfast in his decision. Moses implores Pharaoh to let the Jewish slaves go. He warns Pharaoh that God is on his side and he must obey Moses' request for freedom.

Pharaoh ignores Moses, and soon the first of ten plagues is set upon the land of Egypt. It is the final plague that brings mighty Pharaoh to his knees -- the killing of all Egyptian firstborn.

Moses warns to the slaves to smear lambs blood at the threshold of their homes effectively telling the Angel of Death to "pass over" this house and spare the child. When the Angel of Death reaches the son of Pharaoh, Pharaoh demands the Jews leave his land.

With no time to spare, the Jews pack up their meager lives, strap everything to their backs, and begin the long journey toward freedom. Their bread, not given the proper time to rise, bakes flat on their backs under the desert sun. Matzah, the unleavened bread, is an important component during Seders, as it represents the haste of the Jews, the heat of the desert, the desperation, and the lure of freedom.

As the Jews travel from Egypt, they are met with one more obstacle. The Red Sea.

This great expanse of water seemed to barricade the Jews from reaching their land of milk and honey, their freedom. Once more, God intervenes and splits the Red Sea. The waters draw back, allowing safe passage for the Jews to the other side.

As the last Jewish foot touched the opposite bank, the Red Sea converges on the Pharaoh's men who are in pursuit. Still, freedom is not yet achieved.

For 40 years, our ancestors traveled through the desert following the leadership of Moses until finally, they reached the land that is now called Israel.

The word "Israel" can be loosely translated to mean "struggle". Each year during Passover, we are reminded of the struggle of our ancestors. Their daily dose of bondage that nearly lasted a lifetime. We remember their courage to stand up to a mighty Egypt and their courage to follow a man who, for most of his life, walked side by side with the very whips that scarred their backs.

The struggle of the Jewish people did not begin or end in Egypt. It did not end with the slaves safely on the opposite bank of the Red Sea. The struggle defines our people, warms our Jewish hearts, and propels us forward through hundreds of years of oppression, nationalism, and ultimately, peace without borders.

So what’s happening in Tidewater this Passover?
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How-To Celebrate Purim (5773/2013) in Tidewater

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 10:49am

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater

The How-To Live Jewishly in Tidewater blog will feature posts throughout the year with information about Jewish life in Tidewater. Articles will discuss topics such as how-to celebrate the holidays in Tidewater, how-to keep kosher in Tidewater, how-to give back in Tidewater, and more! Feel free to contact Rebecca Bickford, Community Concierge, if there is something specific that you would like more information on.

1285 Purim, celebrated on the 14th day of Adar (February 24, 2013), honors Queen Esther, who saved the Jews from the evil Haman in the Book of Esther, also known as the Megillah. Communities across the Jewish world are gearing up for the most festive and joyous of all Jewish holidays. During Purim, children and adults dress up in costumes and masks as they enjoy the carnival-like celebrations and delicious feasts. There are a few customs that come with Purim including mishloach manot, the reading of the Megillah, and of course, delicious hamentashen. Mishloach manot or “sending of portions” is the act of sending food and drinks to friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and other persons as well as providing gifts to the poor.

This holiday is a rambunctious celebration of triumph. From Jewish homes across the globe to synagogues full of congregants, the collective sound of thousands of groggers--noisemakers used to “drown out” the sound of the evil Haman’s name--can be heard loud and clear. In-between the sound of the groggers and the costume contests, we feast on hamentashen -- the traditional tri-cornered shortbread treat designed to resemble Haman's hat. Hamantashen can be found with a variety of fillings including chocolate, apricot, raspberry, poppy and more! Some shops are stepping up their Hamantashen game this year to include trendy flavors such as goat cheese and pesto.

Whatever your flavor, put on your costume, enjoy some hamentashen and ask yourself…

So, how can I celebrate Purim in Tidewater?
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Racking Up Flight Time

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 10:57am

1342 Jewish Women’s Salon Live invites all women in the Jewish community to Who’s Your Esther?, a facilitated discussion about the women who’ve inspired us, moved us, and helped make us the people we are today. Farideh Goldin, Director of Jewish Studies at Old Dominion University will lead an interactive presentation on Sunday, February 17 from 10 - 11:30 AM at the Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community, 5000 Corporate Woods Dr, Virginia Beach

For inspiration in thinking about your own Esther, read the below (originally published in 614 HBI ezine) about a woman who refused to accept the idea that “women can’t.”

Racking Up Flight Time
Lisa Stein had no intention of following the military's existing rule that women could not fly combat missions—and accrued over 1,800 hours of combat flight time.

At the National Museum of Jewish History in Washington, D.C., there is currently a wonderful exhibit called "Women in the Military: A Jewish Perspective," that profiles Jewish female veterans of U.S. conflicts from the Civil War to the Gulf War. The purpose of this exhibit is to showcase the numerous contributions Jewish women have made to America's war efforts throughout history. Below is the story of Lisa Stein from Florida, a very determined veteran. (Article is courtesy of the National Museum of American Jewish Military History.)

 In 1983, Lisa Stein of Plantation, Florida, obtained a military scholarship to attend the University of Miami because she "thought it sounded like fun and they would foot the bill for school." Upon graduation in 1987, Lisa was commissioned into the United States Air Force.
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A Sorority from Scratch

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 12:32pm

1342 Jewish Women’s Salon Live invites all women in the Jewish community to Who’s Your Esther?, a facilitated discussion about the women who’ve inspired us, moved us, and helped make us the people we are today. Farideh Goldin, Director of Jewish Studies at Old Dominion University will lead an interactive presentation on Sunday, February 17 from 10 - 11:30 AM at the Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community, 5000 Corporate Woods Dr, Virginia Beach

For inspiration in thinking about your own Esther, read the below (originally published in 614 HBI ezine) about a woman who refused to accept limits for herself and her fellow women.

A Sorority from Scratch
A college student fights exclusion by creating a sorority that honors differences.

by Lois Greene Stone

When I went to college in the mid-1950s, there were an overwhelming number of regulations women were expected to follow. Co-eds were required to adhere to dress codes, such as wearing skirts six days a week (pants were permitted only on Saturday afternoons). There were social 'teas,' for which white gloves actually had to be carried. Curfew was enforced, 10:30 p.m. on weeknights, midnight on Saturday, and each girl had to sign out (in a ledger) the time she was leaving a dorm, where she could be located, and then sign in upon return.
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How-To Celebrate Tu B’shevat (5773/2013) in Tidewater

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 12:15pm

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater

The How-To Live Jewishly in Tidewater blog will feature posts throughout the year with information about Jewish life in Tidewater. Articles will discuss topics such as how-to celebrate the holidays in Tidewater, how-to keep kosher in Tidewater, how-to give back in Tidewater, and more! Feel free to contact Rebecca Bickford, Community Concierge, if there is something specific that you would like more information on.

1285 “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”
-Anonymous

Tu B'shevat is a day we celebrate the New Year for Trees. It is during this season that trees begin to bloom in Israel and as they bloom, so begins a new life cycle of fruit.

In the past, it is this fresh cycle of fruit that was celebrated. We live in a modern world, one where we are not reliant on new seasons to bring about fresh fruits to sustain us. We live in a world where everything we require - food, information, companionship - is available at the click of a button. As our world continues to grow and change, we must remind ourselves of the simple things and return to our roots.

Consider all of the things a tree can provide: shade, sustenance, and nearness to water. The abundance of life is unlimited and with each cycle of life, seeds drop to the ground or are carried away by wind. These seeds settle in the earth, drink the rain, and grow into new life; starting the cycle anew. As we grow and learn, so too must we scatter our seeds to the wind - seeds of hope, peace, and new life. We must become the Tree: wise, deeply rooted, and giving. We must become the branches, sharing our shade and distributing our fruit to the youth; telling stories of old, explaining profound lessons, and encouraging new beginnings. Our children are the fruit, fresh and tender with the season, clinging to our branches until they are ready to venture out on their own.

This Tu B'shevat, consider your new year's resolution. Now, consider a resolution for the Trees. How can you deepen your roots, expand your branches, or strengthen the power of your fruit?

So how can you celebrate Tu B'shevat this year?
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Enrich Your Life By Volunteering

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 3:11pm

1334 For years I have wanted to volunteer for the Meals on Wheels program which delivers meals to seniors through Jewish Family Service. I finally decided that this was the time since I am in between careers and actually have the time. At first I was just delivering the meals without much communication due to caretakers answering the door, or not much interest. I still felt good about what I was doing, knowing that this was a much needed service, and I was really helping out. I did spend an afternoon helping a blind woman go thru her mail and pay her bills. She was convinced we would not get through the two large piles of mail but I assured her we would, and we did, as well as paying the bills, and addressing the envelopes. It took a couple of hours but she was so appreciative and happy to have taken care of all of it. I can't tell you how good it made me feel to help her out and feel that immense sense of satisfaction. It was a feeling like none I've ever had.
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How-To Celebrate Chanukah (5773/2012) in Tidewater

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 11:25am

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater

The How-To Live Jewishly in Tidewater blog will feature posts throughout the year with information about Jewish life in Tidewater. Articles will discuss topics such as how-to celebrate the holidays in Tidewater, how-to keep kosher in Tidewater, how-to give back in Tidewater, and more! Feel free to contact Rebecca Bickford, Community Concierge, if there is something specific that you would like more information on.

1285 Chanukah? Hanukkah? Hannukah? I once asked my Rabbi which was the most correct spelling. He answered with a smile, “So long as there are eight letters!” No matter how you choose to spell it, Chanukah is a time for celebration and rededication. The story of Chanukah is one that we all learn at a very young age: The Second Temple in Jerusalem was looted by Antiochus’ military forces who, among other atrocities, used the alter to sacrifice pigs. After ten long years under Antiochus’ control, the Jewish people grew fed up with this invader who had outlawed Judaism and banned all Jewish customs. Led by a Jewish priest, the people revolted, eventually defeating Antiochus and his forces. As the people rejoiced in the taking back of the Temple, it was discovered that only a small amount of oil remained to light the Temple Menorah throughout the night. While the people thought this oil would barely last through one night, it in fact lasted eight days; the exact time needed to procure more oil. This “Miracle of Lights” was celebrated with an eight day festival and eventually became known as Chanukah! Modern day Jews all over the world gather in their homes with friends, family, and neighbors to light the candles on the Chanukiah, sometimes called a Chanukah Menorah, in honor of this miracle and what our ancestors endured.

This holiday comes with many traditions, some old and some new, some special to just your family or community. Latkes, sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts), and dreidels are among the more universal symbols of Chanukah. Chanukah begins at sundown on Saturday, December 8 and runs through December 16. The 8th candle is lit Saturday, December 15. This year, as you continue on your special traditions, join in a new tradition with your community!

So, as you run around town looking for candles and stocking up on oil, ask yourself … how can you celebrate Chanukah in Tidewater?
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Dear Mom, Love, Liz in Israel - Update

Tue, 11/20/2012 - 11:35am

1281 Dear Mom,
 
As per your request, here is another daily email updating you on what's happening over here.  As I've said before, life continues as normal for me here in the north of Israel, except for a few small changes.
 
One, like every other citizen of Israel, I'm glued to the news, whether on TV, radio, or internet.  Just like when there is a major storm or other disaster in the USA, you don't want to miss an update, but on the other hand, you get tired of hearing all the over-analysis of the situation.
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Dear Mom, Love, Liz in Israel

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 12:46pm

1281 Dear Mom,

I'm worried too. I understand why we attacked Hamas, Israel needs to provide to its citizens a life that is free from a constant threat of rocket attacks. Ever since the last operation into Gaza in 2008(Operation Cast Last), there has been rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. Sometimes just a trickle, sometime much heavier. But enough to impact the daily lives of the Israeli citizens living near Gaza. The generation of children growing up in the South is now referred to as the “rocket generation”, due to the impact of the constant rocket fire on their childhood.

In recent weeks, the attacks on the South had been steadily increasing and Hamas had started to take part in the rocket fire, not just the Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups.  No person should have to live with that threat.  It was a huge undertaking and risk for Israel to assassinate the head of Hamas.  From what I've heard on the news, the goal of this operation is to restore peace in the South, which means destroying as much of the rocket infrastructure in Gaza as possible.
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Israel's Gaza sea blockade is an act of self-defense

Wed, 11/14/2012 - 9:56am

1268 Israel Today Speaker (Nov. 27th at 7PM at the Sandler Family Campus) and Guest blogger, Amos N. Guiora, is a law professor, commentator and respected expert on issues such as Global Perspectives on Counterterrorism and International Law and Morality in Armed Conflict. Before teaching law, Guiora served for 19 years in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the IDF JAG Corps, where he led the development of interactive software to train IDF soldiers in applying a moral code when in combat. Here, he shares his opinions on viewing armed conflict with a moral lens.

Activists plan to challenge Israel's high-seas Gaza blockade, but the blockade is legitimate — and important.

Originally published as an Op-Ed, The Los Angeles Times, July 1, 2011 By Amos N. Guiora

Self-defense against threats to national security and individual citizens is a core right and duty of all nation-states. No one seriously disagrees. And yet this week, the Mediterranean Sea will once again be the site of a dangerous attack on this basic right.

Activists from around the world, seeking to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, plan to launch a flotilla of ships from Greece to challenge Israel's high-seas Gaza blockade. Drawing attention to the Palestinian cause is legitimate, indeed important. And yet Israel's blockade is equally legitimate and important; it represents the essence of the nation-state's right to self-defense.

The flotilla organizers and participants have publicly emphasized that they will carry no arms and have no hostile intentions; they are on a humanitarian mission. Sound familiar? Similar promises were made in 2010 about a peace-loving flotilla sailing from Turkey. Those promises were quickly shattered.

The loss of life in last year's flotilla was tragic; it was also largely avoidable. After all, had flotilla organizers agreed to Israel's offer to land their cargo at the Israeli port of Ashdod, the goods would have been safely transferred to Gaza: Humanitarian mission accomplished.

But that wasn't the point. Read more »

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