Oy Chanukah, Oy Chanukah!
Please join us for the annual BAJC Chanukah Party on Friday December 23. We will start at 5:00 pm with an hour of story and study; we’ll look at how the story of Chanukah is told in the Books of the Maccabees and after, and what it means to us now in this era of zealotry and intolerance. Then at 6:00 pm we’ll light Shabbat candles – it’s the day before Chanukah really begins, so (sadly) we won’t be lighting our Chanukiot (menorahs) this year.
We'll sing Shabbat blessings and a Chanukah song. Then we’ll feast on latkes (potato pancakes), applesauce and sour cream, with veggies side dishes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) and chocolate gelt for dessert. After our latke feast we’ll hear and share stories of the season.
Just what is Judaism, anyway? A religion? A culture? A way of life? All of the above? Starting in mid- to late November, Cantor Kate Judd will be offering an eighteen week class at the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community in West Brattleboro, exploring some of Judaism’s many facets. Using the Union for Reform Judaism’s , but jumping off in the directions that are prompted by discussion, the class will consider how Judaism approaches life cycle events, God, worship and spirituality, holidays, personal responsibility, justice and mercy, partnership and family life, and more.
Please join Brattleboro Area Jewish Community, Congregation Shir Heharim, for Shabbat services.
Shabbat morning services in November take place at 10 am on the 5th, 12th, and 19th.
Shabbat morning services are followed by an oneg (coffee and a snack) and a chance to shmooze (chat) with friends old and new.
Kabbalat Shabbat service (A musical Shabbat service) at 7:00 pm on Friday November 25th. Come and relax on the day after Thanksgiving with music and prayers and a potluck dessert.
At sundown on Sunday, October 2nd, Jewish people all over the world will welcome Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish year 5777. Rosh Hashanah begins a sacred period known as the Days of Awe that culminates ten days later on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, observed this year on October 12th.
Daniel Kasnitz, President of Congregation Shir Heharim, announces that the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community will offer Rosh Hashanah services beginning at 7pm on October 2nd at the West Village Meeting House of All Souls Church on South Street in West Brattleboro, and continuing there the next day at 9:30 am. The traditional second day of services will be offered at the congregation’s synagogue at 151 Greenleaf Street in West Brattleboro, on Tuesday morning at 9:30 am.
The author of a recent polemic, titled, The Separation of Science and Belief - "Give No Solace to the Faithful” posed a great question. He asked:
“Is it irrational to believe in something that cannot be proven?”
It was clear that he intended it as a rhetorical question, to which there could only be one right answer. Some dialogue followed, and a lot of insult. I think this question is too important to get lost in the fog of verbal warfare. I hope we can revisit it… more productively this time.
On Friday August 26, come mark the shift from summer to fall with a stroll on the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community's land followed by a delicious Shabbat dinner with songs, blessings, and a story. Dinner will be supplied by Cantor Kate Judd, Chelsa Roy of Monkey Moon Challah & Catering, and others.
At 5 pm Kate will lead a reflective walk on the land with prayer and song. At 6 we’ll gather to light candles, share blessings, and sit down to eat together. Following the dinner we’ll enjoy our dessert accompanied by a story from Rebecca Golden. We’ll wrap up with Birkat HaMazon (blessing after the meal) and some z’mirot (Shabbat evening songs).
Join Brattleboro Area Jewish Community Friday evening, August 26th, for a community Shabbat. Starting at 5 pm we’ll have some time to enjoy our beautiful land in late
summer with a Shabbat walk. At 6 pm we’ll gather for an end-of-summer dinner, with blessings, candle lighting, and songs. Donations are requested in advance for the dinner that will be provided, but no one will be turned away. Please let Cantor Kate know you (and how many others) are coming.
It’s not too late to register children in the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community Hebrew School. Congregation Shir Heharim (Song of the Mountains), the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community, offers a once-a-week religious school for youngsters from the age six up to thirteen or older. The school offers a vibrant child-centered program that teaches Hebrew language studies as well as songs, stories, prayers, holiday observances, customs and traditions, history, current events, and all things Jewish. Students can begin school at the age of six. Anyone who is planning to become a bar- or bat-mitzvah must be enrolled for a minimum of two years.
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
Very sad weekend… We have lost the Greatest Of All-Time: Mohamed Ali.
Such a brave brave man in and out of the ring. He conquered Liston (twice), Frazier (two out of three), and Foreman. And we never even saw him fight in his prime… In those years he was barred from boxing and had his passport taken away for his refusal to fight in the unjust Vietnam War (a stance he took out of principle alone; if he did allow himself to be drafted, he would have had a cake walk of PR appearances and exhibition matches). It short he was a true Peoples' Champ; one who stood up for the underdog, the working man, against imperialism, and for Black Liberation.
An interfaith service for Holocaust Remembrance Day will take place on Wednesday May 4th at 7 pm, at the First Congregational Church in West Brattleboro. BAJC (Brattleboro Area Jewish Community) and BAICA (the Brattleboro Area Interfaith Clergy Association) will offer a service in commemoration of the six million Jews and five million homosexuals, political protestors, Catholics, handicapped, and others who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis.
There will be two Shabbat morning (shacharit/Torah) services this month, at 10:00 on April 2nd, led by Cantor Kate Judd, and on the 9th, led by a guest leader. Morning services are followed by a light kiddush snack and time for shmoozing.
There will be a Yizkor service on the last night of Passover, April 29th, at 6:30, the third of the four required Yizkor services in the Jewish calendar--the special memorial prayer recited by all those who have lost a parent or a close loved one. A minyan is needed for the service, which will be quite brief. Please come for Yizkor, then stay, if you wish,for a musical Kabbalat Shabbat and dessert potluck (no chometz, please!).
Join us Sunday April 10th from 3:00-5:00 p.m to explore Gnosticism with Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Keiner.
Gnosticism is the shared root of Jewish, Christian and other ancient Mediterranean faiths and cultures. But just what exactly is shared between these various religions? What is Gnosticism? How is it embedded in Jewish text, life and practice today? During our afternoon with Rabbi Andrea, we will explore the core concepts of the Jewish mystical tradition and its Gnostic roots. We will ask what the core insights of this tradition are, and how it is reflected today in our communities. As these principles draw us into a deeper understanding of our own beliefs and practices, we will also gain the ability to have meaningful interfaith dialogue with others.
Please join Brattleboro Area Jewish Community for a community seder on the second night of Passover, Saturday April 23, 2016 at the West Village Meeting House at 5:30 p.m. Main dishes will be catered by Sharon Myers, and Cantor Kate Judd will be leading us through a traditional Jewish seder. You don't have to be Jewish to share this journey and feast with us - all families and individuals are welcome!
We will be accepting reservations by phone and through our Sign Up Genius portal. Sign Up Genius is easy to use and has no membership fee, nor do you have to become a member of Sign Up Genius to reserve your space, see how you can contribute and see what others have already pledged to bring. If you don't feel comfortable signing up this way, just call Laura Berkowitz 257-0922 or BAJC 257-1959, and we'll happily make your reservation for you!
A Christian professor from Wheaton College has been censured for wearing a Habayyah in solidarity with her Muslim counterparts. The College claimed she violated their “evangelical Statement of Faith." by publicly stating that Christians and Muslims “worship the same God”.
The irony (and ignorance) of this is that she was literally correct.
Allah translates directly to “the God” or more correctly, “THE God” (In the sense of the “one and only”). Arabic Christians and Arabic-speaking Jews also refer to God as “Allah”.
Join in Remembering Children: The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting
The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor the memories of the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and grandchildren who left too soon. As candles are lit at 7:00 p.m. local time, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of all children gone too soon.
Brattleboro Area Jewish Community’s annual Chanukah party and latke feast will take place on Friday, December 11th, the sixth night of Chanukah, which is also the time to welcome Shabbat.
We will start at 6:00 with lighting of Shabbat and Chanukah candles. Please bring your chanukiah (menorah) and candles so we can create a beautiful light as we sing the blessings and enjoy a variety of latkes. We will supply applesauce and sour cream but we need folks to bring cooked latkes to share. They can be microwaved or warmed in our oven.
At 7:00, we will hear Chanukah stories and sing favorite Chanukah melodies, accompanied by our Friday-night band. There will be dancing and dreidel-spinning also. We hope you can be there!
Jesus wasn’t the first.
Ancient Greek stone carving of Orpheus
Each of us, regardless of our age, has a need to be known, to be remembered, to feel that our lives made a difference and to express our values and our love.
Many of us may have prepared legal wills to distribute our belongings after we die. But few of us have considered leaving a spiritual/ethical will: a record of who we are, a document that can be offered to loved ones either while we are still alive or after we are gone.
Brattleboro Area Hospice invites you to explore and reflect on your legacy in two free events with Claire Willis:
Here is a short excerpt from a reprint of an article written by Jim Sleeper for the Huffington Post. I found it on Alternet.org.
"Once again, we've heard that the gunman was deranged. Once again, we've heard that gun control is imperative. What we aren't hearing is that Americans, for many more years and with greater intensity than inhabitants of other countries, have been groped and goosed and pummeled by a sophisticated, multi-trillion dollar drive to short-circuit deliberation and dialogue in order spur the self-centered impulse buying that is ruining our civil society.
As summer turns to fall, I sometimes look into old traditions to cheer myself up. This year, I discovered Michaelmas. Although it's been forgotten over the years, it was once celebrated by English and Celtic peoples across the British Isles as the big annual harvest festival. We still hold harvest festivals to this day but they can't hold a candle to the harvest fests of yore. Here is a sample of what you might have might have experienced if you had to woken up late in September somewhere north of Liverpool: