Our recent event celebrating Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Escape from Tehran, was a big success. It will air on Jewish Life Television sometime around the High Holidays. Thanks to all who supported the event. The story of a young Jewish couple in love running for their lives pulled on some heartstrings. And why wouldn’t it? Most Jews have ancestral escape stories, from the Holocaust, pogroms, expulsion, etc. To be Jewish is to be a survivor. It’s a miracle we’re here, which is the emphasis of some of our holidays.
We have a homeland to escape to if necessary. Living in beautiful Santa Fe can make us feel removed from anti-semitism. We still need community even if we don’t currently feel the direct threat of expulsion or persecution to bring us together.
From the Harvard Gazette: “The Harvard study, almost 80 years old, has proved that embracing community helps us live longer, and be happier.”
We don’t live in a vacuum and there’s nothing new under the sun. When we pull out the Torah from the ark on Shabbat, we sing “Al Shlosha Devarim,” an excerpt from Perkei Avot, the sayings of the fathers, which is centuries old. On three things stands the world:
1. Torah, the five books of Moses that show us how to live with each other
2. Avodah, which is work and prayer
3. Gemilut Chasadim, or acts of kindness.
We would not survive without these things.
In the past, we had to stick together to survive. Now we come together because we share a unique identity as Jews. We know what it’s like to be a minority in the diaspora— we have shared values of tzedakah, making the world a better place, and preserving our Jewish legacy. We come together for a sense of belonging, purpose and for support.
We are working hard at Congregation Beit Tikva to bring community together in a variety of ways, so that we include all. We have Jewish education classes in the Rabbi Helman Education Center. Currently, Rabbi Levy is teaching an Aleph Bet class for adults, and in August, a conversational Hebrew class will be led by Joy Rosenberg. In July, Dr. Petr Chylek will share his knowledge of Kabbalah. A representative from the Chevra Kadisha will come in June to educate us on Jewish burial practices.
Some fun classes include Board Member Ashrei Gyorgi teaching us how to cook Ukrainian borscht, and Rob Reider facilitating “Food for Recovering Jews—Pass the Bagels,” a discussion on what being Jewish means to you. We will also have a discussion on the intersection of Buddhism and Judaism with Dr. Glassman, Buddhism expert and Rabbi Levy, Jewish Scholar.
Jordan Wax comes in May to combine entertainment with education in a series of three events featuring Yiddish language, music, singalong, and intro to Klezmer ending, with a Klezmer performance.
On the tzedakah side of things, we will be going to Pete’s Place to serve a meal on May 24th.
Check out our calendar. I will be delighted to see you and get to know you at some of these events. Come enjoy the benefits of being with your community. You may live a longer, healthier life. Ad meah ve esrim – May you live to be 120!
In joyful community, Elisheva