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 »

Getting to Know You by Susan Michael, ICEJ

Tue, 10/30/2012 - 7:49am

Susan Michael, US Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

1248 One of the greatest obstacles to Jews and Christians working together on common issues, such as supporting Israel, is that we just do not know enough about one other.  We generally hear a lot about each other - and let’s be honest; a lot of what we hear is negative - but we do not have first hand knowledge and experience on which to base our perceptions and expectations.

For the Jewish and Christian communities to be more effective in their support of Israel, and in their fight against anti-Semitism, they must be able to join forces at times.  This requires relationship and the first step in relationship is to get to know each other.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to help build this relationship in the Tidewater area, Sunday Nov. 4th at Temple Emmanuel with the Community Relations Council. 
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Living on Food Stamps is No Cake Walk

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 3:15pm

Earlier this month, Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz joined the 46,000,000 Americans living on $4.50 a day.

1223 The week before Rosh HaShanah I was taking the Food Stamp Challenge, a program sponsored by many Jewish organizations, including the congregational and rabbinic arms of the Conservative Movement and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.  The Challenge’s purpose is to raise awareness about the growing problem of hunger and food insecurity, the lack of adequate nutrition for a person to live an active, healthy lifestyle.

The rules of the Challenge are fairly simple. I agreed to live on the average weekly allotment for an individual on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP and formerly known as Food Stamps. That allotment is $31.50 for the week or $4.50 per day.  By adhering to these rules, Challenge participants are forced to truly experience what it is like to be poor and hungry.
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How-To Celebrate the High Holidays (5773/2012) in Tidewater

Thu, 08/30/2012 - 2:27pm

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.

968 The High Holidays are a whirlwind of culture, spiritual revival, and community. Preparations begin more than a week ahead of time to ensure that enough food is prepared and enough beds are made. Family and friends travel, sometimes great distances, to reunite with one another for this most holy of times. We congregate as a People, led by our Rabbis, Cantors, and religious leaders, to reconcile ourselves with G-d, rejuvenate our souls, and rekindle our faith. We rise early before the sun to begin our Fast – we suffer through hunger pains as a reminder of our past transgressions. We suffer so that we may not only cleanse ourselves, but to repent for those transgressions with the promise of “never again.” We do this together, as a People, because on this Holiest of days, we must band together under His guidance, support one another, and nurture the delicate future of our children.

Now, dim the lights, sound the shofar, and ask… how can you celebrate the High Holidays in Tidewater?
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A mother reflects on her daughter’s naming ceremony

Mon, 07/30/2012 - 8:16am

1177 When I was in my first year of graduate school, Jonathan Z. Smith, the eminent historian of religions, was invited to give a guest lecture to one of my first year MA classes at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. J.Z. Smith makes quite an impression, with a wild beard and wilder hair. He walks with a cane and fills the room with his presence.  He was in my classroom that day to lecture about the importance of place in ritual. The blurb from his book To Take Place (which I read that year) says "Smith stresses the importance of place--in particular, constructed ritual environments--to a proper understanding of the ways in which 'empty' actions become rituals."
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Generosity is not scored or rated. Generosity is witnessed.

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 9:55am

“Klal Yisrael. We are one people, responsible for one another”.
Generosity is not measured by how much we give. Generosity is not scored or rated.
Generosity is witnessed. Generosity is felt, it is seen.

1070 I have a photo of Anne Frank taped to the walls in my cubicle here in the offices of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Her innocent face smiles down at me, critiquing my work, smirking at my bad jokes, and reminding me why I chose to work in the Jewish communal world. Under her photo, I have typed a quote she is attributed to saying. The quote reads “No one has ever become poor by giving.” I think about the diary she left behind in that small, cramped Amsterdam attic so many years ago. I think about the story she told – every day chronicled in her neat and careful script. The details of the sounds she heard, the boredom she experienced, and the endless gratefulness she expressed toward her hosts. As I think of her life, the last remaining months of what she called ‘freedom’, I am humbled. She, along with her parents, her sister, a family whom they were very close with, and eventually, a sour old man, lived together in that attic; sharing space, sharing food, sharing education and conversation. They lived in a tiny space barely suitable for one single person and yet, they lived.
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