Share-itage your Heritage!

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 9:50am

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater

1636 May is Jewish American Heritage Month!

Since 2006, Jewish communities across the nation have celebrated our shared heritage and history through gatherings, book clubs, movie nights, festivals, and more. Museums, national organizations, and even the White House have joined in to honor Jewish contributions to the United States of America.

This year, in honor of the 100th anniversary of The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the theme of Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) is "American Jews and Tikkun Olam: Healing the World."

Our Tidewater Jewish community is rich with history both regionally and on an individual basis. Let's take the time to celebrate our community heritage and contributions to our country!
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FAQ: Jewish Tidewater 101

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 1:31pm

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater

1605 Relocating to a new state or city can be a daunting task; and whether you’re moving alone or with your entire family, the preliminary work of researching your new town can prove overwhelming. Shalom Tidewater offers numerous free services to help alleviate some of the stress of starting over in a new place.

Over the past three years, we have worked with dozens of new community members and we have complied a list of some of the more frequently asked questions about the Tidewater/Hampton Roads area and living Jewishly.
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A Pesach Rhyme, If You've Got the Time

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 2:32pm

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater

1617 It started one day, many years ago
when young Jewish boys weren't permitted to grow.
Moses' mother, with high hopes for her boy,
floated him down the Nile to be raised by a goy.

Baby Moses was rescued by Pharaoh’s young wife,
and grew up as royalty, living a palace life.
During his youth, he became suddenly aware
he was not who he thought, the Pharaoh’s young heir.
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How-To Celebrate Pesach 5774/2014 in Tidewater

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 2:13pm

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater

1605 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.

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 ignored 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 “Passover” this house and spare the child. When the Angel of Death reaches the son of Pharaoh, he 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 unleaven bread, is an important component during Seder’s as it represents the haste of the Jews, the heat of the desert, the desperation, and the lure of freedom. 
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How-To Celebrate Purim 5774/2014 in Tidewater

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 11:53am

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater

1605 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.

Purim is a very festive holiday that is celebrated on the 14th day of Adar (March 16, 2014) to honor Queen Esther, who saved the Jews from the evil Haman. 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.

The Tidewater Jewish community knows how to throw a party and Purim 2014 is no exception. From Purimshpiels and hamantashen sundae bars, costume parades to Latke vs. Hamantashen debates - there is something for everyone! So, dust off your graggers, make room for never-ending hamantashen, and get ready to let the good times roll!

So, how can you celebrate Purim in Tidewater this year?
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Expanding Kosher Tidewater: BJ’s Wholesale Club

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 9:04am

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater

1601 Shopping wholesale pays off in dividends for countless families across the nation with clubs like Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s offering the average consumer access to food, housewares, and miscellaneous goods without the normal retail mark-up. Some club locations even include gas, propane, tires, optometry services, and more. A trip to one of these stores can be an all-day family affair complete with a snack at the lunch counter or “just a nosh here and there” from the friendly employees offering free samples, a new cell phone plan, and freshly developed photos from the last holiday celebration. As families continue to grow, students return home from college, and grandparents retire in our basements, we can’t help but wonder how we can possibly squeeze more value out of these memberships and what the heck does this have to do with the Tidewater Jewish community? Funny you should ask…

The Vaad Hakashrus of Tidewater has been in contact with Rabbi Moshe Dovid Lebovits of the Kof-K Kosher supervision out of New Jersey in the hopes of adding a kosher bakery to a local BJ’s Wholesale Club here in Tidewater. Rabbi Lebovits and the Kof-K have been instrumental in working with communities across the country, setting up kosher bakeries and working toward stocking more kosher products throughout numerous BJ’s locations.
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The Story of Thanksgivukkah

Mon, 11/11/2013 - 4:41pm

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater


1507 The story of Thanksgivukkah will become American Jewish lore as two holidays, one Jewish and one secular, overlap into the most delicious celebration you will ever experience. This year, for the first time, the first day of Chanukah will fall on Thanksgiving Day. This once-in-a-lifetime holiday, dubbed Thanksgivukkah, will not occur again until the year 79,811!
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How-To Celebrate Thanksgivukkah in Tidewater

Mon, 11/11/2013 - 3:41pm

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater

1506 The stories of Chanukah and Thanksgiving are not so different.  Both tell the tale of a people who, despite all odds, survived and continued to live for generations based on their belief systems, history, and traditions. Both holidays evoke a kindness in our hearts of charity, family, and togetherness. At Thanksgiving, we offer gratitude to those who have assisted and supported us as we recall the surprising bond formed between two strange cultures. During Chanukah, we recognize the great sacrifices made by our ancestors as they fought to preserve our shared culture and traditions. As we recite the stories of the first successful harvest in a new land and the wondrous miracle of the burning oil, it is easy to be overcome with hope for the future.

Thanksgivukkah will become American Jewish lore as two holidays, one Jewish and one secular, overlap into the most delicious celebration you will ever experience. This year, for the first time, the first day of Chanukah will fall on Thanksgiving Day. This once-in-a-lifetime holiday, dubbed Thanksgivukkah, will not occur again until the year 79,811!

So, as you plan your menu (turkey or brisket?), send out invitations, and gather the necessary supplies, ask yourself … how can you celebrate Thanksgivukkah in Tidewater?
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How-To Celebrate the High Holidays 5774/2013 in Tidewater

Fri, 08/16/2013 - 2:31pm

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.

1473 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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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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