|Volume 3 Number 71||Sun Dec 26 23:55:05 1993|
Date: Sun, Dec 26 20:45:03 PST 1993 From: Your Moderator <email@example.com> Subject: Administrivia: Another Rabbi Joins The List Well, I'm quickly writing this note whilst on vacation in Laughlin NV. As is our current tradition, I'd like to welcome another new Rabbi to the list: Rabbi Irvin Ehrlich. Rabbi Ehrlich (HUC, 1970) writes that he is "finishing up a 20-year stint in the USAF, and am stationed at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. In the middle of March, I will retire from the AF, and will become the rabbi of a new congregation here in the Springs." Welcome! Daniel
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 93 09:42:09 EST From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sherman Kaplan) Subject: Re: An Appropriate Blessing Another common phrase is "Leich L'shalom" - "Go towards peace". This is a common send-off blessing. Do _NOT_ say "Leich B'shalom" - "Go in peace". That phrase should only be used when saying farewell to a deceased person and is bad luck to say to a living person. (The reasons for this belong in a different thread, though.) Is this an area to discuss serious issues, or superstitious benedictions, amulets, etc? I was under the impression that this thread would include and welcome material from religious scpetics, i.e. those of us who consider ourselves Jewish, but have no belief in God, a Supreme Being, or other such entity. We respect the concept of Creation, from whatever source from which it may have eminated, though without any Supernatural connotation or connections. The difficulty for Jewish Humanists is in working out a proper language (something short of ritual) to express our concepts, and our desire to be connected to The Jewish People, culturally and historically, respecting the beliefs and practises of others, but having our scepticisms respected, too. If there are others reading this thread who feel as do I, please respond. >From my point of view, no aspect of Judaism that I know has come to grips with the simple, but central problem of an omnipotent, and Good god who allows Evil to exist in his Domain. Pardon my oversimplification, but at the moment, time is short. I would hope that someone will pick up on this thought so we can engage in rational discussion. [We've had discussions of that type before (but folks, please, pick a different subject line). However, discussants must be careful not to let the discussion degenerate into a shouting match, or a "Does God exist" discussion. That has led nowhere in the past. -- Yr. Mod.]
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1993 21:17:47 -0600 (CST) From: Adrian Durlester <email@example.com> Subject: Any Small Town Jews Out There? I currently live and work in Fargo, ND, where I manage the performing arts facility at North Dakota State University. I was born and raised in NYC, where I received a non-religious jewish upbringing and education (Yiddish schul at the "Y"). Living in a small community has made me rethink my judaism, and I became active in the local Reform congregation several years ago. As would happen in a community with only 100 jewish families (50 of which belong to the Reform congregation, 20 of which belong to the Orthodox, the rest unaffiliated), I am now on the temple board, I teach religious school, lead services about once every two months, and serve as congregational keyboardist/co-music leader. My wife converted to Judaism several years ago, and is as active at Temple as I am. I don't know how many small-town jews you have on your subscriber list, but I'm sure I can bring an interesting perspective from a part of the country where the dominant christian culture is oblivious to the point of total insensitivity (except for lip-service to multi-culturalism.) Thanx for hearing me out. Adrian A. Durlester
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 93 18:26:28 EST From: Kurt Allen Gluck <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central NJ Kindergarden We are trying to set up a liberal Jewish kindergarden in central New Jersey (New Brunswick area) for next fall. We are not sure we have sufficent students. If anyone might be interested please send Kurt Gluck (email@example.com) email.
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1993 21:58:15 EST From: TGHK14A@prodigy.com (Andrea L Herrera) Subject: Religious School In the last issue I touched on something, that I really felt needed to be elaborated. The issue is Religious training for our children. I am the assistant to the Director of Education at our Synagogue, and being in this position, I see more than I probably ever wanted to. (G) I have come to the conclusion, that something happens to our kids around grade 3. The kids who are in the Pre-K through 2nd or 3rd grade programs, are wonderful. They love being there, they want to learn, they are like little sponges, wanting to absorb everything they can. But once Hebrew School starts, in addition to to Sunday school, the attitude seems to change. Many children begin to dislike the additional "school" time, the additional homework, the added pressure of more schooling. (In addition to secular school) This is (almost) to be expected. They are children, they want to be free to pursue the pleasures of life! Where I see the problem is in the attitude that a number of kids bring from home. For example: A child did not do his homework. His teacher asked him about it, and the response was, "I didn't have enough time, and my parents said it was ok not to do it". I cannot tell you the number of times that I have heard this comment, not just in my present position, but back in CA where we were involved previously. What is this parent actually teaching this child? It feels as if the parent is saying, "your religious training isn't all that important, or at least important enough that he be responsible for his homework". Do parents realize how much time and effort Religious school teachers put into their work, for what I may add, very little monetary benefit. I know, my husband teaches 8th grade, and some weeks, it takes him 7 or 8 hours to put together one school session. The teachers at our Religious school are the most dedicated I have ever seen, and it seems that many times their biggest obstacle is a parent. More than just this attitude, I think the thing that bothers me the most, are the parents who, once their child reaches their Bar/Bat Mitzvah, allow their children to completely drop out of any formal Jewish schooling, and in many cases, drop out of anything involving Judaism. I have seen 7th grade Hebrew school classes with 30 to 40 kids in them, and by the time they reach 10th grade, (Confirmation age), if the Synagogue is lucky, there may be 7 to 10 kids in that class. What are we teaching our children? What is it that seems to stick in the minds of many Jewish parents that once their child becomes a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, it all stops? I am in no way condemning all parents, but it just seems to me that there are too many parents who allow their children to drop out after they turn 13. How do we keep these kids involved in Judaism, if their own family doesn't expect them to do so. My concern is for the future. Obviously, the Jewish children of today, are the Jewish leaders of tomorrow. If these children end their education at age 13, then they become "ignorant" of anything but how to celebrate Shabbat, and how to read (or possibly memorize) Hebrew. Is there a solution? Is there a way to entice parents to keep themselves as well as their children involved in Judaism? Is this an age old problem, or one that has come about as more and more Jews assimilate into a predominately Christian society? Are there any answers? Shalom, Andrea
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 93 21:57:15 EST From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Muriel Horowitz) Subject: Tu B'Shevat Seder I'm interested in organizing a TuB'shvat Seder for my Rosh Chodesh group. How can I get advice, ideas, etc. through this network. MurielH@aol.com
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 93 08:53:19 EDT From: David Regenspan <email@example.com> Subject: Youth Programming This is another question to Rabbi Smith re youth programming: *Na'im m'od*, Rabbi Smith. I'm Rabbi David Regenspan, associated with the Ithaca Reform Temple in Ithaca, N.Y. We're not yet official Union members, but I think that this is something that's going to happen in the relatively near future. Meanwhile, I see the question has been raised with you about what to do with youth between b'nei mitzvah age and NFTY age. We ourselves have an interesting situation here: a b'nei mitzvah class that is rapidly evolving into something more akin to a youth group/Confirmation group (the focus of the class is on general Jewish topics, and some kids are remaining in the class after their bar or bat mitzvah day because they like its chemistry so much). If we don't restructure and formalize the evolving situation with this group of young people, the group will dissolve and be lost. Our thought is to let this group go on as a post-b'nei mitzvah entity, and organize a totally new b'nei mitzvah class on another day. So I too would like to ask you if the Union has resources and tools for structuring this not-quite-NFTY age group. Does anyone else out there have ideas? It really is a situation that must be common and needs to be addressed. Thanks.--D.R.
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