Looking to go to services in the convenience of your own home? Check out OurJewishCommunity.org, which brings a contemporary Jewish service (mostly in English) to your computer screen with live-streaming (and archived viewing on-demand). Join tens of thousands of Jews from around the world to celebrate the High Holidays online.
On your computer, simply go to www.highholidayslive.com; on your iPhone or Droid device, you can access services through their free app called OurJewishCommunity.org.
- Streaming Rosh Hashanah live September 16 8:15 PM ET and September 17 10:30 AM
- Streaming Yom Kippur live September 25 8:15 PM ET and September 26 10:30 AM
- Yom Kippur Memorial live September 26 4:00 PM ET
- Streaming Services for Kids September 17 1:30 PM ET and September 26 1:30 PM ET
You can also watch Shabbat services live every Friday at 6:00 PM (Eastern Time) throughout the year.
This year, the folks at Craig N Co again put together an exciting list of writers and thinkers for their Jewels of Elul series. Each day during the month of Elul will feature a different take on the “Art of Aging.”
Here’s yesterday’s piece from Rabba Sara Hurwitz, the Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, the first Orthodox institution to ordain women as spiritual leaders:
As we age, our brains are hardwired to reject change. We are conditioned to resist new challenges and remain within our comfort zones. However, growing older should not mean that we must exist within self-imposed boundaries.
In the 1960s, President Eisenhower received the gift of a rare, white tiger named Mohini. For years, Mohini lived in the Washington Zoo and spent her days pacing back and forth in a 12-by-12 foot cage. Finally the zoo decided to build her a larger cage so Mohini could run, climb and explore. But when Mohini arrived at her new home, she didn’t rush out, eagerly adapting to her new habitat. Rather, she marked off a 12-by-12 foot square for herself, and paced there until her death, never enjoying the new opportunities in front of her. Mohini exemplifies the classic conditioning most of us live within. Although she was a magnificent, powerful creature, Mohini was convinced her “place” was just a 12-by-12 foot square. We all have the propensity to behave exactly like Mohini. Based on our conditioning, we create invisible cages for ourselves, limiting our lives within their boundaries.
But we don’t have to succumb to our internal imprisonment. Throughout the High Holidays, we will hear the shofar blast. Historically, the shofar signaled the release of all slaves at the end of the Jubilee year. That sound should make us ask, “What enslaves us? What weighs us down? What baggage do we hold onto?” And then, let it go. The High Holidays present us with a tunnel, an opportunity to break free from our self-imposed cages, to find our route to freedom and live life with renewed passion. The shofar inspires us to free the Mohini inside and move beyond our boundaries.
The intern will help create innovative content, update existing material, and upload articles to the sites as well as support a number of upcoming editorial projects. The ideal candidate should be eager, able to work independently, and comfortable working on multiple projects at the same time. Experience writing for web publications, using a Content Management System, and knowledge of Photoshop are essential. Qualified candidates will also have an interest in Jewish culture and tradition.
The intern will work out of MyJewishLearning.com’s Manhattan office. The internship is available immediately and would last at least through the end of 2011. The position is 10-15 hours a week and pays $10 per hour.
To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and links to writing samples to email@example.com.
Recently Mayim Bialik posted for our friends at Kveller about a 2-year-old boy named Ezra who is desperately in need of a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately there are too many people, especially children, also in Ezra’s situation like 1-year-old Ayelet Galena.
Fortunately registering to be a bone marrow donor is super easy. It involves swiping the insides of your cheeks with a long-handled cotton swab and mailing it in an envelope. So easy you can do it yourself by registering here.
If you’re a match, donating is easy. Eighty percent of the time that you are a match for someone, you can donate stem cells from the blood in your arms, just like giving blood.
As Mayim wrote:
“If I had the power to save a life, I would. I would do it in a heartbeat. And I hope God gives me that chance if that’s what I am here to do.”
“He who saves one life, it is as if he has saved the entire world.” -Talmud
MyJewishLearning, Inc. is seeking a full-time Editorial Assistant to join its dynamic team. The Editorial Assistant will work on both MyJewishLearning.com, the leading transdenominational Jewish website, and Kveller.com, a new website site offering a fresh take on Jewish parenting.
Tasks for this entry-level job will include researching editorial and visual content, loading and updating content to the websites, creating and writing e-newsletters, responding to inquiries, as well as supporting the general projects and needs of the editorial team.
Qualified candidates should have an interest in working in web publishing and have some knowledge of Jewish life and traditions. We’re looking for someone who can manage multiple projects at one time, has an eye for detail, and brings energy and creativity to their job. Previous experience writing, working with content management systems, and Photoshop are helpful.
Benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance, retirement plans, and an allotment for professional development. This position is located in New York City.
Preferred Experience: 0-2 Years
To apply for this position please submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org
Growing up, I didn’t know anyone who played mah jongg. Yet when I moved to the suburbs of New York three years ago, it was a matter of weeks before the local synagogue ladies pulled me into their game, and I was hooked. Last year, I explored the connection between mah jongg and Judaism. I found very little documented, but I was able to pull together just about everything I could find for an article on this site. Still, I was left with many questions.
Needless to say, I was curious when the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan announced it was putting on an exhibit about mah jongg. Why was a Holocaust museum hosting the show? And how did they find enough material for an entire exhibit?
When I visited Project Mah Jongg, the staff guided me to a not surprisingly small room–the museum’s rotunda–which contains the entire exhibit. Inside the room, six large pillars covered in oversized mah jongg tiles hold display cases filled with old mah jongg sets, rule books, and related artifacts. The outer walls feature commissioned illustrations and photographs. And in the middle stands one lone mah jongg table, complete with cards and tiles–just waiting for people to sit down and play.
I asked curator Melissa Martens why would the museum–known as “A Living Memorial to the Holocaust,” feature an exhibit about mah jongg. She explained that the Museum of Jewish Heritage is unlike most other Holocaust museums, because its mission is to explore life before, during, and after the Holocaust (most others focus just on “during”). Some of the museum’s exhibits capture more of the memorial feeling. This one embodies the living tribute. Mah jongg’s popularity in America peaked in the 1920s. Even after it faded as an American pastime, Jewish women embraced the game fervently. The National Mah Jongg League, founded in 1937, raised money during World War II and later for Jewish refugees in Palestine. And to this day the League sells rule cards and donates the proceeds to Jewish and other causes.
The museum also focused the “living tribute” by adding design elements that infuse the exhibit with the voices of mah jongg players. CD players on the wall, when activated by visitors, play recordings of games and interviews. The clicks and the clacks of the tiles from the soundtracks fill the air with the familiar sounds of the game.
Yet what made this exhibit truly come alive was the lone mah jongg table in the middle of the room. Guests can just sit down and play. Starting later this month, the museum will have teachers one day a week giving lessons.
And so I sat down to a game with Martens, along with two other staff members. They told me that about 30 people at the museum learned to play the game over the course of putting the exhibit together. The three women I played with are now part of a group that meets weekly in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
It was a great game, and not just because I won. While playing, I realized these staff members had become part of the exhibit’s story. They have added themselves as another link in the history of the game, by creating new generation of players.
As the exhibit itself notes, “In many Jewish households, mah jongg was a ritual created by and for women.” Women creating new Jewish rituals has become a significant movement in the past few decades. And while mah jongg may not be a religious ritual, it’s one with deep cultural and communal roots. Those roots continue to plant themselves firmly in the story of American Judaism.
Project Mah Jongg runs from now until January 2, 2011. For more information about visiting the exhibit, visit www.projectmahjongg.com, where you can also see images from the show. For those not in the New York area, don’t worry. Just like a mah jongg set, the exhibit was designed to travel and will be appearing across the country next year.
Photo Credit: Melanie Einzig
For the past three years, MyJewishLearning.com has been proud to feature weekly d’vrei Torah from American Jewish World Service, connecting the weekly Torah portion to pressing issues of social justice. Now AWJS is looking for new contributors:
AJWS is pleased to announce that we are accepting applications for the Dvar Tzedek Lisa Goldberg Memorial Writers’ Fellowship for 5771 / 2010-2011. AJWS Dvar Tzedek Fellows receive a modest stipend and write weekly Torah commentaries relating to the Jewish imperative for social justice. The Dvar Tzedek currently reaches more than 5,000 people a week over email.
We invite you to apply for the fellowship. Applications are due on May 24. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
MyJewishLearning.com is seeking a full-time Parenting Editor in New York City to supervise and grow a new parenting subsite (currently in development). The subsite will be aimed at parents of Jewish children age 0-5 and will include articles, a blog, discussion boards, and calendars of events for select communities.
The Parenting Editor will help create, launch, and manage the parenting website. Tasks include content planning and conceptualization, soliciting and editing new articles, developing newsletters, and writing for the website and related blog. The Parenting Editor will also supervise a part-time Editorial Assistant and bloggers.
Qualified candidates must have 4+ years of relevant experience, an expertise in parenting issues (particularly pertaining to the early childhood years), and a significant knowledge of Judaism and Jewish life. Experience in web publishing is desired. Those applying should be self-motivated, efficient time managers, and responsive to deadlines.
The job includes full health and dental benefits, as well as professional development opportunities.
To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and a writing sample of no more than 1500 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are lots of characters on TV that happen to be Jewish. Like the emergence of African Americans into mainstream American television in the 1960s, where many shows had a token black character, it now seems to be in vogue for every television show to have a token Jew. The following are the characters who in 2009 rose above the rest — the characters who, instead of merely being Jewish, did Jewish.
Ziva David, NCIS (CBS, Tuesdays 8 p.m.)
Ziva David started at NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) a few years ago as a liaison from the Mossad, where her father is the director. This year, after her partner Tony kills her boyfriend (a Mossad agent working in the US), Ziva returns to Israel in an episode call “Aliyah.” Her father questions whether she is loyal to the Mossad or NCIS and if it is even possible to work for both countries at the same time.
NCIS‘s entanglement with the Mossad began in 2004, but this year for the first time, questions of the relationship between America and Israel — and the dual loyalty that American Jews sometimes feel — were at front and center of the show.
Rachel Berry and Noah “Puck” Puckerson, Glee (Fox, Returning April 13, 2010)
Glee, the musical-comedy-drama following an Ohio high school’s show choir, has made a splash this fall.
From the get go, viewers were suspicious that Lea Michele‘s Rachel, the over-achieving star of the show choir and daughter of an interracial same-sex couple, was Jewish. This hunch was confirmed when Rachel vies for the spot of Maria in West Side Story, arguing that: Natalie Wood was a Jew, you know. I have had a deep, personal connection to this role since the age of one.
Noah “Puck” Puckerman (played by Mark Salling), the Mohawk-sporting football player also reveals his Jewishness, when he flashes back to his family’s annual Simchas Torah screening of Schindler’s List. He says, “It makes my mom feel connected to her Jewish roots.” While offering Puck some sweet and sour pork, his mom begs “Why can’t you date a Jewish girl?
Later that night Puck dreams that Rachel climbs into his window, wearing a massive Jewish star necklace. It’s not 24 hours later that the two are making out.
While this storyline was fantastically absurd, it expresses the very real pressures that young Jews face to date Jews. And I thought that the Puckerman’s holiday celebration might just be hyperbolic expression of the way families create new rituals.
Howard Wolowitz, The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Mondays 9:30 p.m.)
The Big Bang Theory is quite possibly the funniest show on TV these days. Argue with me if you want. You will lose. One of the great characters on this ensemble sitcom is Simon Helberg‘s Howard Wolowitz. Wolowitz is a nerdy Jewish aerospace engineer, who lives with his overly stereotypical Jewish mother (at least vocally, we only know her through the things she yells to her son through his bedroom door).
Wolowitz is best described as a gastronomical Jew. When the price of moo shu pork from the group’s favorite Chinese restaurant increases, he complains, “It’s getting harder and harder to be a bad Jew.” His mother makes Turbriskafil every Thanksgiving–a turkey, stuffed with a brisket, stuffed with gefilte fish.
While some might scoff at a Jewish-food Jew, we at MyJewishLearning know that food can be a powerful force in shaping Jewish identity. Just ask the more than 33,000 people who receive our recipes e-letter every week.
Cyrus Rose, Gossip Girl (CW, Mondays 9 p.m.)
However, Blair Waldorf did gain a new Jewish stepfather, Cyrus Rose (played by Wallace Shawn). In the spring, Cyrus and his family and friends celebrated Passover, and the Jewish customs confused Eleanor Waldorf, Cyrus’ wife: I don’t even know how to say half the words in this prayer book named after Joe Lieberman’s wife. She’s informed, “She’s Hadassah. This is a Haggadah.”
While some people find the show superficial (they are wrong), its inclusion of one of the most popular Jewish rituals is significant. Even if it is in the outlandish Gossip Girl way.
Stevie Ray Botwin, Weeds (Showtime, Returning in 2010)
Weeds has had some heavily-Jewish plot lines in the past including a family sitting shiva and the quest of one man to enter rabbinical school (even if only to dodge the army). But this season we face Nancy Botwin’s pregnancy and her son’s subsequent bris, with an intermarriage twist.
Though the drug-dealing suburban mother of the newborn isn’t actually Jewish, her late husband was. And when she employs her former brother-in-law Andy to be the adoptive father, he demands a bris–complete with bagels and whitefish. “Wait, he’s Jewish now?” Nancy asks. Andy replies, “Reform, but yeah.”
Since neither of baby Stevie Ray’s parents are Jewish, his bris might seem a bit out of place. That being said, in today’s society the question of “who is a Jew?” is a growing complexity.
One of my favorite college classes was Introduction to Linguistics. A particular class stands out in my mind. Our professor put up a picture of this object:
People were then asked to find other people who called the object the same thing as them and sit together. Quickly a “bucket” group and a “pail” group emerged.
She put up a picture of a second object:
“Spigot” people moved to one part of the room. “Faucet” to another. And “tap” to a different place.
After a few more examples, we have created a map of where people grew up, simply based on the words they used.Â I ended up sitting with other Southerners. East Coasters were all together. And then there was the one British guy in our class, all alone in a corner.
Yesterday I had the chance to participate in a webinar led by Professors Sarah Bunin Benor and Steven M. Cohen about a survey they did on American Jewish Language and Identity. There were many fascinating observations, which can be found in the full summary. (You can still take the survey here.)
I was most interested in the question “Have people said you sound like you’re from New York?” Among people who didn’t grow up in New York, Jews (33%) were twice as likely as non-Jews (15%) to say yes. Among that who didn’t have a parent who grew up in New York, Jews were still more likely (25%) than non-Jews (11%).
I fall into that 33%. I grew up in Texas. My family is fifth generation on my father’s side. But my mother immigrated* to Texas from Queens when she was in high school. I always assumed that somehow I had inherited a bit of my mother’s accent.
But now I doubt that. As Benor pointed out studies have found that people link Jewishness with New York. And that when someone says “You sound like you’re from New York” they are actually hearing Hebrew & Yiddish words, certain constructions & pronunciations, or an aggressive speech style. Or in my translation, “You sound like a loud-mouth, obnoxious, bitch.”
I don’t think I sound like a New Yorker at all. To non-Jews I clearly sounded Jewish, but to my parents, my father in particular, I was way too Texan. My sister and I would say we’re “fixin’ ta” as in “We’re fixin’ ta go to the mall.” “We don’t fix things,” my dad would say (ironically, they’ve had a broken washing machine for 10 years). “We’re going to the mall.”
I wonder if telling someone “You sound like you’re from New York,” is really that different from telling someone “You look Jewish.” They are identifying stereotypes, perhaps rooted in some truth, that are often not true measure of identity.
* After first publishing this blog, my mother emailed me to say I used the word immigrate incorrectly. True, immigration is to another country. I would argue that moving from New York to Texas is moving to a new country.Â