Thursday, April 30, 2009
For the last several years, we've helped to put on a Labor Seder together with the New England Jewish Labor Committee. This year I had the honor of co-chairing the event on April 2nd. It was a wonderful, inter-generational evening of learning and celebration with new friends and old. And more than anything, it was an example of how strong our community partnerships are after more than three years of working to strengthen a young Jewish social justice presence throughout Greater Boston. As I get ready to transition out of the Moishe/Kavod House, this is one event I'll certainly look back on with pride, as our community continues to move forward and to build!
This month has been pure CRAZINESS. Between work trips (New Orleans, Chicago and Palm Springs), Pesach and spring having sprung, there was much to be done. We had a lovely K for P picnic, and clearly I wasn’t the only one aching for outdoor time, because despite the fact that it was actually kind of cold out, almost 20 people showed up. We came, we lounged, we ate matza w/various delicious toppings – it was delightful. Which brings me to another wonderful event – our SEDER! We held a seder at the house with about 20 of our closest buddies. Adam cooked up a delicious storm, I slathered matza in butter, sugar and chocolate (what would be better?) and we feasted, sang and celebrated the night away. It’s always interesting when people with a variety of Jewish backgrounds come together for an event like a seder. Both this year and last I’ve thoroughly enjoyed melding the various traditions and creating a sort of hybrid – everyone experiences something completely new and also something totally comfortable and familiar – the best of both worlds, me thinks. Anyhow, summer is on the horizon and I can’t wait…
We arrived at Jug Bay farm and farmer Scott Hertzberg. He walked us around his organic farm and showed us his chicken pen and led us to the strawberry patch. He apologized giving us the boring work of weeding he strawberry patch, but promised us we could return in a month to pick the strawberries. No one was saddened to the thought of weeding and everyone got down in the dirt. After a few hours, we went to the bay for lunch. Several people brought some food to share and we all enjoyed each others company and food. Due to the chilly weather and grey skys, we decided to post pone our canoe trip for next time.
As I organized this trip I was excited to see many people were interested in spending some time at the farm. We're all so focused with our city/ suburban lives that it's really good sometimes to escape and put yourself in the land and learn about healthy and organic farming. It was a great opportunity for me to forget about my daily stresses and just focused on pulling the weeds.
We ended the trip with a dessert of freshly cut (i'm talking not 30 seconds before entering our mouths) greens that farmer Scott had in his car. Apparently, the greens were too long for restaurant, to me they were absolutely delicious and I could think of no better way to end my lunch.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Shalom from Vienna!
The Jewish Motifs Film Festival is among the many international festivals focused on the Jewish nation, its tradition, identity and history, both past and present.
During Jewish Motifs you can see films from Israel,Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Hungary and other post-soviet countries as well as films from Western Europe.
This is an opportunity to present non-profit productions, pioneer or seeking new ways of expression, which do not clash with the universal requirement of truth in artistic work
This time guest of honour on this film festiwal is Adam Holender and we are going togehter to see his film "Smoke" on friday.
In Poland now is something that we called "majówka" And we have 3 days off,with beautifull weather .
Really though, Moishe House has been an awesome opportunity and I really think we have left our mark on the St. Louis jewish community in 8 short months. The House will continue without me as Jordan Mandel, he plays cello in a rock band!, is taking my place, pretty literally, as he's already bought my bed. Now we just gotta work on his skills as a dispute negotiator (critical for anyone living between Ross and Yoni) and he will be good to go!
Oh, and before I go, Go Sox!
Posted by Dave, MH STL
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Meeting went quite well, there weren't any scandalous situations. But I have some impressions after it. First of all, 'our' Palestinians were saying different things in a public meeting (such as this one) in comparision to what they say in personal, informal talk after the meeting (then, they are more realistic). Secondly, both sides had a problem with being tolerant to others' side history, especially with traumatic parts of it. Also, there is a problem that both sides just couldn't come to an agreement on a common version of their history. That's why we were trying to talk more about the future and what we should do to make our peace-making efforts more effective. We came to the conclusion that such meetings definetely helps, but still there is a long way ahead us.
Anyway, I think it was a good idea, and I got some feedback from participants that it was also important and meaningful for them.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I recently turned 24 (on April 15 - tax day!) and to commemorate this occasion we hosted a little kid themed party with some adult aspects to it. We had a some chocolate fondue (a crowd favorite), a milkshake bar (with some recipe twists incorporating the liquor cabinet), and a Dance Dance Revolution set up at the TV. An amazing time was had by all and I felt tremendous pleasure in all my friends enjoying themselves.
Here's looking at future creative parties that draw in strange crowds from across the city!
On Tuesday, the Israeli embassy had a Holocaust memorial ceremony. The main speaker was the daughter of He FengShan, one of the two Chinese righteous among the nations. He served as a diplomat in Vienna before WW2 and helped many Jews get exit visas to Shanghai. Some of them just used the visas to leave the war, and then chose their own destination, but many actually settled in Shanghai. Learn more about him at Yad Vashem website.-
Friday, April 24, 2009
In April we have something called spring holidays (it is a free week because of Easter), so i spent this time with my mom and dad . I haven't seen them for two months so it was very nice to talk with them and tell them about what is going on in our MH. They live 100 km from Warsaw in a small town - Brok, so it was also an occasion to observe how the nature is awaking.
On Thursday we will be making a picnic together with the polish jewish youth organisation. We are all very excited and it looks like many people will spend this time with us. I hope that the weather will be as great as it is today!
And it is also a new chapter for MH Warsaw because of our new moishemate Kuba. I think that he is really a suitable person for this. He has a lots of ideas and determination. And what is most important - he enjoys this! I believe that working and living with him will be a pleasure.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Things are rolling nicely here in suburbia. Our community is booming and I felt real pride in my roommies who put together the Birkat Hachama event. I think that really represented our house and the people that we serve. I am getting ready to do some traveling, spending shabbats in different cities and may be knocking at your door pretty soon ...
The mussar group is going well and there is interest from the larger community to reproduce the model. We are learning about ourselves and for me it is a really therapeutic activity.
Shabbat is coming. Can you smell that challah!
Blessings all around!
Friday, April 17, 2009
We marked the end of Pesach with havdalah, and then, to the rhythm of Sephardi music, a little production line formed around the kitchen - people chopping vegetables, spicing couscous, mixing dough and frying mufleta which are yeasted pancakes, traditional at Mimouna. A Middle-East flavoured evening to usher out Pesach for another year.
Monday, April 13, 2009
It's wonderful to have our house filled with new people and ideas. Got to say, it's hard to know when to relax, there are so many events we could run, but only so many days in a month!
I'm looking forward to Mimounah already (bring on the Chametz!) and am signing us up to www.landshare.net to see how our garden can grow...
Sunday, April 12, 2009
After our frantic Pesach cleaning, and our fabulous Bircat Hachammah service, which my other housemates have blogged about, the house is very peaceful. This is compounded by today being Easter Sunday (Christians sometimes think they always coincide, they don't), which, despite Britain really not being much of a Christian country any more, means that everything is closed. Its a strange phenomenon-all the Jews emerge from a 3 day food and sleep fest (2 days yom tov + shabbat) all ready to reengage the world, and suddenly the world is sleepy and bloated from over eating, and, well, shabbat like. Still the sight of the closed supermarket is ameliorated by the fact the door is covered with 2 signs, one wishing customers a happy easter and the other a happy passover (with hebrew texts-noch!). Now one shouldn't get too excited about this; religion ought to be a subversive, anti materialist force, and we certainly don't want to be co-opted by multinational corporations. But the public recognition of Judaism, especially outside the major Jewish areas, which is so common in America, is still quite new to us Brits. As a Jew who think Judaism ought to be loud, proud, brash and above all out of the closet, this is a minor cause for celebration.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
We're super stoked for Pesach here at Moishe House in Portland, OR!
The sun is coming out, and we did our spring cleaning! We even steam-cleaned the carpet (or tried to lol...apparently I miss big red buttons).
This is the first time Rachel and I have kept Pesach to this standard of observance and we both were talking about how great and curious we feel about it. The ritual of kashering pots with boiling water is really a nice one. Something about it just seems cleansing, much like the mikveh I imagine...
Sometimes I get really indulgent with things like...buying groceries, or organizational supplies for my room, or hygenic products...I just get really into taking care of myself and making things organized haha. Hopefully I'm not too insane about it, actually quite messy...but ANYWAY I got really into Pesach shopping today.
It's so cool that we can pick out so many Kosher for Passover products and have so many options. We are a part of the bustling observant Jewish populous of SW Portland, eating imported Israeli spreadable cheese, provided by the Beaverton Hillsdale Albertson's in order to meet the demands of the local market...
It feels great, to not just be participating in, but to be a contributor to the economic and representational Jewish figure in Portland.
"I am making this a better place for Jews," I say to myself.
"I am learning an immense amount."
I would like to blog about other things house-related, but will save that for a later post as we have a retreat sort of event later this month. I look fwd to addressing all kinds of issues and coming up with some larger picture plans.
This last phrase sums it up. I am learning an immense amount.
The class’s teacher, MoHoLo community member Marcus Freed, has pioneered a Jewish approach to yoga that he calls biblioyoga. Our four week course looked at Biblical and Rabbinic Jewish texts on the elements – fire, water, air and earth – over each of the weeks, whilst expressing them physically through yoga moves and meditation.
We were full to capacity in the class for two of ours weeks, with as many people in the room as possible without knocking each other over when you change position.
The final one in the series was particularly challenging. Happening yesterday, the day before Birchat HaChamah, when you mark the sun’s return to its original position every 28 years, we did 28 sun salutations to prepare ourselves. Unfortunately, at 6am in the morning, in misty, wet and cold London, people were not so keen to do quite that many.
Chag sameach to all from London’s pesach-clean house!
I was up, with the rest of the house, at 5:30am today, as we led a merry troop of about 12 Moisheniks to the local park to say the once-every-28-years Birkat HaChamah, a blessing over the sun which marks (apparently) the coincidence of the sun's original position at the time of creation with the time of the week (Wednesday, in the first hour) of its creation.
We had to break into the park because it wasn't open yet - this was guerilla Judaism, on a mission to do something utterly bizarre on what was in fact a very damp and windy early morning. Cloud covered the sky and we shivered through some yoga and renewal-style chants hoping that by the time we got to the end of our personal meditations the sun would shine through and we could say the blessing.
You see, you're only supposed to say the blessing if you can actually see the sun.
As we approached the end of the ceremony a tiny hole of blue had opened up in the grey firmament.
"Put on your tefillin," one of the other devotees urged me, "that'll do it."
So I unwrapped my jacket and wrapped on my tefillin and... could it be... well, we could see the reflection of the sun's light on the cloud. It would do. We said the blessing.
But no. Now the we could just about see the outline of the sun through the clouds. Quick! Cancel the last blessing ("Baruch shem kavod malchuto l'olam va'ed" is the traditional formula to annul a blessing said in vain) and say the blessing again!
OK done. But... wait. Suddenly the sun emerged and shone through in all its glory.
A second annulment quickly followed and we proceeded to recite the blessing for the third time.
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha'olam, oseh ma'asei b'reishit.
Blessed are you Lord our God, ruling principle of the universe, who fashions the original creation.
Meet you back there in another 28 years (and happy Pesach everybody)!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The few highlights for me were the following:
We had a several Yoga events at the house. We managed to arrange for a professional instructor to come to the house 4 times during the month. About 5-8 people experienced something new and we all left the events with a sense of balance and sore muscles.
We ran two Israeli Events this month. One was a look at how the elections in Israel will shape Israel for the next while and the other was an Israeli Movie and pizza. About 25 people came to both events. We feel its really important that we run Israeli themed events every month.
We held many Moishe lunches this month. It fits in really well with people's college schedule for them to come for lunch, and it is also great to do it on Sundays as a relaxing way to end the weekend. The lunches are pretty well attended and it also gives me an opportunity to test my cooking skills.
Thats it for me for this month.
Weather in Cleveland has always been unreliable, often severe, and fairly cold. Yesterday is started snowing again, with a blizzard and a few inches of accumulation. Oh that's alright, I didn't really like riding my bicycle o the park and hiking through the forests that much anyway. Inside the house, we've had another great month of relaxed gatherings and study. Finals are coming up and I know this month is going to be insane because of everyone's courses, aside from the holidays and the constant threat of tolerable weather. I think my favorite evening this last month was spontaneously deciding after getting off of work, that since it was so nice out we should invite a few friends over to smoke hookah... 2 hours later 18 really awesome people were here.
Monday, April 6, 2009
- The painting pottery joint event with GesherCity Crafts & 25-30 Clusters was excellent! Everyone had a great time painting and chatting. (More cross-pollination of segmented Jewish communities in the area - how fabulous!)
- I participated in the Afikomen scavenger hunt. That's a first for me!
- Cherry Blossoms! (I am loving the flowering trees in general...and it turned out that I spent my day at the Japanese Street Festival with a handful of Jews. We're everywhere....)
- MHSS Cleaning-for-Passover "party" & picnic was nice! I enjoyed spending time together on a common project. (I was also happy for that project to be cleaning.) I like our new standard of "clean" & hope we maintain it post-Pesach.
- Looking forward to Birkat HaChama and the matza-pizza movie night
- A bit apprehensive at the amount of people that will be staying in my house for 3 days / nights straight (first two days of Passover and then Shabbat) and eating meals in my house. That's a lot of people to share close quarters with for so long.
- Curious and anticipating what the coming month will bring
- [Some] seeds are sprouting (yipee!!), & weather-wise, it feels sometimes like autumn, which I find very weird
And that wraps it up for now. As this is my April post, I may not post again until May (unless something really enlightening happens) -- so, TTFN till then!
This week I tried something I've wanted to make for a while: a savory custard. I've been experimenting with buttermilk before, but this time it actually worked. I also put some cubed Russian rye bread in it, and my goodness! I think this is the peak of my culinary genius.
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 whole egg
4 egg yolks
salt to taste
2-3 slices of rye bread, cubed
Put the cornstarch in a bowl first, then add buttermilk (very important to do it in that order, otherwise it will clump). Add the egg, yolks, and salt. If you've got rye bread, cube it and add it to the batter. If you don't have rye bread, just bake as is, or put in sauteed vegetables, like zucchini, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. Bake in a pie or cake pan at 325 F for 30 minutes. Enjoy warm or cold.
This can be made for Passover if you sub potato starch for cornstarch and omit the bread.
It's a wonderful summer recipe. The custard comes out so delicate and creamy, and it tastes almost cheesy. The tang of the buttermilk is the perfect compliment to the intense rye bread, a true delight to anyone who grew up eating Russian.
And that, of course, is the caveat. I offered the dish to my housemates, and even Neal, who actually likes rye bread (and grew up in Germany, which is pretty close!) said those particular flavors were not to his taste at all. Oh well, it wouldn't be the first time... :) If anything, my time here with my housemates made me realize just how much tastes are acquired regionally. I'm not even going to tell you about the Russian herring with beets dish. :)
Book Club was definitely a highlight for me this month. We read When A Crocodile Eats The Sun, a memoir about Peter Godwin's experiences growing up as a White man in Zimbabwe and his nation's struggles under Mugabe's dictatorship. It was especially meaningful for me because this is an issue that I am particularly involved with. And it was inspiring that the discussion evoked action-oriented questions about what we, as fortunate, White, American Jews can do about the situation.
Although it is an extremely overwhelming issue to attack, I was comforted by how strongly Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) resonates amongst the Jewish people. "Al shlosha d'varim" kept repeating itself as the group of 6 women, from very different Jewish backgrounds, all expressed their desire to make change happen. Unfortunately I am not sure how much we can do, but at least we can start taking baby steps, such as book clubs, to address issues like this...
...And I made a delicious, vegetarian, Zimbabwean lunch, from recipes from my friend Nesta Mlambo. She was raised in Zimbabwe, but regretfully her family is captive there. If you, MH Bloggers, would like more information about the current situation in Zimbabwe I would be happy to share as much with you as I can. Let me know.
I am currently sitting in the Shrewberry neighborhood center, a stop and go 10 min car ride from the moishe house. Around me are 20 New Orleans residents armed with their very own hhc - handheld computer for you non-federal employees. Everyday for this week I will be training as an address enumerator for the 2010 US census. As a second job, my primary incentive was the position's generous hourly wage. Additionally, it is also providing me with inside look at federal programming.
One example of federal bureaucracy: with every person I talk to I have to give them the D-31 slip of paper ensuring that all the information is confidential. If anyone has questions about the D-31 piece of paper they can send an email to the "Paperwork Reduction Project 0607-0809".
New Orleans is eagerly anticipating for the completion of the official census, the key measure of population demographics. The entire New Orleans community is holding its breath to see exactly what type of change it is. Has the population grown? Where is it distributed? What are the income and education demographics?
City hall and businesses point to the census as key driver to spur investment. It also has a very immediate impact - federal dollars are allocated to districts based on their population size. New Orleans has had a tough time getting its population numbers with any clear certainty.
Alright, I need to go. But keep your eyes open for your friendly neighborhood census taker. Hopefully I won't get canned for taking a few days off over Passover.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
there've been shifts of passover clean-ups galore around moishe house boston over the past few days. teams of 2-3 people have come every day to clean, straighten, purchase food, and tomorrow to cook second seder meal for the house. its certainly the cleanest ive ever seen the house. its been an incredibly show of organization, teamwork, and a desire to be a part of a community ritual (we couldnt allow everyone that wanted to come to the seder to come). its also a sign of warmer weather.
we're also running a series of bike mechanics workshops to get people up and on working bicycles. there's been a tremendous amount of interest to get back on the road (for commuting and recreation) but also to learn the tools to sustain one's own bike so as not to need to rely on a bike shop for maintenance. itll be a fun and team-building activity for the community.
and our winter csa's shares have been running for a few weeks now (partly a result of the local foods tu bshevat seder in february). the produce is a mix of local conventional and not local/organic. but its been an amazing way to reconnect to food in the off-season. given that, we're all excited for warmer weather and farmer's markets.
last summer the community was fairly quiet. to some extent i imagine the same will be the case this summer, with a focus on the outdoors and working on some ongoing projects that the house has established.
which all leads me to the question: is colder weather a harbinger of community building? if so, what does this mean? and given that summer is also a time of being out of town for students and young professionals, how can communities find ways to engage community members during the summer?
To whoever those hackers are who are the cause of the "clerical error": That was really not cool, but I do give you props on an excellent hack-job.
The month of March capped off with a special visit from Moishe House Commander in Chief David Cygielman. As one might expect, when a man of David’s profile travels he roles deep – bringing with him a posse of 20 hard hittin’ well-mannered thugs from the Santa Barbara B'nai B'rith Congregation youth group.
The mark this crew left on NOLA won’t soon be forgotten…
Got to give props to these kids. They gave three days of hard-time and volunteer service to the Broadmoor community, sweating in the sun, and breaking their backs to build back houses still in shambles from the hurricane.
To show our thanks we had the gang over for a good ol’ MH Shabbat chicken fest, and gosh-darn was it a blast. We ate ourselves silly, the kids hustled us in pool, cooked up some smores on the fire pit, and one little dude would have Dj’d an all night dance party if it weren’t for their curfew.
And when it was all said in done, David got all his little soldiers to fall in line and clean up the whole house.
Santa Barbara B'nai B'rith Youth Group, we salute you!
we suppose that if you are reading this post right now, is that you are finish with your pessah cleaning! well done! and enjoy the hametz burning! You now have free time to write on your blog (or read other blogs), or maybe even cook something very special for your seder night! how about a good Viennese Carp Gefilte Fish???
So for those of you who just finich pessah cleaning the recipe is below;
For those who didn't finich cleaning (like us) just go to the kosher shop and buy everything already made. It won't be as good as a traditional Gefilte fish but at least you will have something to serve on your table!! :) :) :)
We wish you all a happy, beautiful, meaningful, and kosherful Pessah Sameah!!!
Love from Vienna!
Eytan, Daniel and Michael
Carp Gefilte Fish
4 pounds carp, ground
In blender whip up onion, eggs, and vegetables. Combine with ground fish and all seasonings. Mix well and set aside.
Prepare Basic Fish Sauce, (water, onions, carrots, celery, and seasonings to taste) and heat to boiling. Form fish mixture into balls (wet hands with cold water), and drop carefully into 8 quart pot one at a time. When broth returns to a boil, lower flame, cover and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on size of balls.
Remove balls from liquid, arrange on a large serving platter with a slice of carrot on each, and pour on a bit of the sauce if you want an aspic. Chill. Yields 12-18 portions.
Once a year, for 8 or 9 days, it's not so bad. I like the tradition!
so what's your nickname?
I want to thank all of my roommates (Danny Blum, Ashley Warner, Brady Gill, Amelia Cunningham and Julia Pivnick) for all of their hard work and dedication to Moishe House. I would like to thank Summer Shapiro and Jeremy Moskowitz for all their support and leadership. Finally, I would like to thank each and every person who stepped through the door at the East Bay Moishe House. Without you, our vision wouldn't be possible.
Yet I've been eaten by Passover.... we had a great month of events at mhss but now we're in the midst of the craziness that is Pesach prep.
I can't wait for the Birkat HaChama ritual we're doing this wednesday at sunrise. It's a blessing only said once every 28 years, when the sun was believed in Talmudic times to be completing a cycle started on the first day of creation.
Shabbat at MHSS 2 weeks ago was the biggest yet...40 people!
And we had the greatest time at the party we put on with MHDC. So many people showed up, and we raised over 750 $$ for Moishe Foundation and for Jews United For Justice through a date auction!
its a beautiful time of year here and our house is great for enjoying the weather. spring is here and that means passover! one of my favorite holidays! our seder is always loud, rowdy, unorganized, and exciting. it reminds me of some of the best childhood memories i have. its also my birthday month but 23 is not such an exciting birthday, mostly it feels like the pressure is really on to figure it all out, since i've been graduated for a while now. maybe i can hold off that reality a little longer.
overall, i'm hoping for april to bring promising opportunities and new ideas, both things that i could use a little more of right now.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
So next week we'll tell all of the stories about our ancestors' action-packed liberation from Pharaoh, and if we're being sophisticated we'll also talk about the internal resistance, all that kvetching and near-mutiny in the wilderness -- because liberation is tough and the Israelites knew it.
But I never get away with just the metaphors. Every year life gives me a real first-hand Passover lesson, and this year it is that I am being laid off by my floundering tech company, another statistic in the economic collapse. I just found out. My last day at work will be the day before first-night seder.
It's tough news. I've never been laid off before. It beats being fired, I guess, and it's even arguably better than sticking around a place that's falling apart, but it's scary to not have that security of knowing where the next paycheck comes from. I'm trying to take it all in the spirit of the season. Springtime: everything pushing through the dirt to come back to the fullness of life. And Passover: sweet freedom through a harrowing process. I'm excited, scared. Excited. Here we go!
But sometimes I value that uncertainty, because it keeps me on my toes!! I never bother checking weather.com in the winter, because I know it's gonna be cold as hell. But in March, well, it could go either way. How exciting! I was contemplating comparing this to Moishe House, and saying that my favorite part about MH is the diversity - of our housemates, events, community members... Every event and group of attendees is exciting and unique (like the snowflakes that may or may not be falling in March), and you never know what exactly you're going to get. But then I realized that was really cheesey, and besides, I'd be comparing MH to the middle child. We are definitely the oldest child. Actually, I'm an only child, so I don't know any of this stuff.
But I digress. Rather than compare March to MH, I'll compare it to the delicious Hamentaschen we baked for Purim, which was my favorite event of the month. G-d were they delish!!! And just like a day in March, you never knew what you were going to get. Poppyseed? Chocolate chips? Walnuts? Apricot? Chocolate chips AND walnuts (pretty sneaky, huh)? There's no way to know! I mean, unless you look at them before you eat...
So on second thought, maybe March should not be compared to Moishe House OR Hamentaschen. And I should probably never try to get creative again, or someone is bound to get hurt. Thank goodess I'm in law school, not writing school, and only have to write once a month...
Many Moishe House Hugs!
Jews be eatin' food
Kibbutzin' and feelin' good
Kippah keepin' on
Ari is a noodle
Workin' in a nice office
Saucy and complex
Danny is classy
Is hummin' to his baby
Bridge away his bay
Sarah's joy today
The lost and found of Frisco
A bastion of hope
Due to a recent neck injury that sidelined me from kickball today, this month’s posting will be devoid of wit and humor.
March was one for the books at MHDC. Our Ethical Kashrut event, led by NYC-based activist and rabbinical student Ari Hart of the Orthodox social justice movement Uri L’tzedek, provided a compelling examination of the Jewish textual basis for worker’s rights, the importance of ethics in food preparation, and his organization’s campaign to introduce ethical certification at up-to-snuff kosher restaurants. We discussed the state of affairs of the kosher meat industry, including the shameful case of Agriproccesors, the gargantuan Postville, IA - based plant that supplies most of the kosher beef and poultry in the US, which, following a federal raid that exposed atrocious labor and human rights abuses, has left many Jews questioning how kosher their meat really is when it’s produced at the expense of the workers (most of whom are undocumented immigrants at Agriprocessors.)
Our date auction was (by most male accounts) a resounding success, and has led some to postulate that it may have done more to up the Tribe's birthrate than a Birthright. Our most recent Shabbat dinner was attended by a photographer from the Washington Post, so look out for an article on MHDC, most likely in the April 19 edition. Pesach begins this week, and as the last-born of the MHDC clan, I'd bet that our doorpost won't be slathered in any paschal juice.חג שמח
"Ten birds roosted upon our roof," the father said to his clever son. Along came four hunters and each shot one. How many birds were left on the roof?""Four!" replied the boy."Why do you you say that?" asked the father. "Don't you know your arithmettic? If four were killed, six were left."The Boy calmly explained, "When the hunters fired their rifles," he said, "they must have made a loud noise, frightening away the other birds. Thus, only the four dead birds who will no longer be frightened by any noise in the world remained. We can sell the birds and use the money!"How right you are my son," beamed the father. "You are a clever lad!"A person, with his limited vision, tends to think that the money he gives away to charity is gone, lost forever - 'dead', while the money he still owns is all his. It is 'live' money, to do with as he pleases. The father hinted to his son that the six birds on the roof were alive and his to enjoy, while the clever boy pointed out that the live birds could fly away and were not necessarily theirs to keep. The only ones they could be sure of were the four dead birds which would neverfly away!This is exactly how it is with money. The money a person thinks he possesses can easily leave him and go to another person while the money a person gives to charity is his eternally; for the reward of that good deed is set aside for him in the World to Come."If you lend money to My people, to the poor man in your midst..." (Shemot 22:24) - If you lend the money and give charity to the poor, that money will remain in your midst', that is, in your possession, forever! Such money cannot fly away to any other person for it is yours eternally and will accompany you to the World to Come.