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As we approach Thanksgiving this year, I want to offer two observations. The first is that there are Jewish connections to the holiday. There is historical evidence that, prior to coming to the New World, the Pilgrims lived among Sephardic Jews in Holland for a brief time. During that period, they would have experienced Sukkot celebrations, which then served as part of the inspiration for Thanksgiving, including eating seasonal foods that would have been harvested, such as apples and squashes. In addition, there are those who say that the cornucopia imagery of Thanksgiving is drawn from the shape of a shofar.
The definition of “serve” is varied. For example, as an intransitive verb (not having a direct object and, yes, I had to look that up), it has seven different meanings, including:
Shalom! I am so happy to be starting my third year serving BJEP as your Director.
As you might expect, the start of school and High Holiday preparations are always daunting for a Jewish professional and no prayer brings that point home more than the Hineni (הִנֵנִי), which reflects on the ability to pray with humility and sincerity, while fearing that one is unworthy of the task. Hineni ִmeans much more than just the perfunctory “here” some of us may remember from attendance in school. Rather, Hineni ִis “I am ready” or “I am prepared” or, more liberally, “I am present and paying close attention to what is being asked of me.”
Written by Cantor Jeri Robins
Shavuot is one of my favorite holidays. It is the third of our three festival holidays, so-called because, in Temple times, Jews from all over would travel to Jerusalem to make sacrifices. In fact, in Hebrew, Shavuot, along with Sukkot and Pesach (Passover), are called the Shalosh Regalim ([literally] the three legs or feet), because for each of these three holidays people went walking on a pilgrimage. Just as Passover is associated with freedom and redemption from slavery, Shavuot is associated with receiving the Torah or revelation. To mark the occasion, the Ten Commandments are read on Shavuot. Each of the festivals is also marked by a special reading: on Sukkot, we read from the Book of Ecclesiastes (“for everything there is a season” – as we enter fall and winter); on Pesach, we read from the Song of Songs (love poetry); and, on Shavuot, we read the Book of Ruth.
Cantor Robins shares her thoughts (pdf) with BJEP families on What makes learning possible and How do we build Jewish identity?
BJEP's Book Club discusses the graphic novel: Maus. I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman.
Discussion Lead my Jennifer, mom of a BJEP student and is a member of the faculty at Colorado State University - Global Campus. At CSU-GC, she serves as Lead Faculty for English and Humanities. She has 20+ years of higher education teaching experience, authored and edited numerous works on teaching English and information literacy, and is currently serving as a representative on the State of Colorado’s GT Pathways curriculum.
All parents (family and friends) are welcome!
This special Family Day is designed to celebrate the BJEP community. Please plan to stay at Family Table with your children.
Family Table is the largest kosher food pantry in New England. As volunteers we will be setting up the pantry, sorting food donations, packaging orders for recipient families, and delivering to recipients many of which are unable to drive or lack transportation.
Please plan to attend Family Table with your children and keep in mind we will be using our own cars so you may want to coordinate carpools to make the delivering more fun! Read more about volunteer and recipient experiences at Family Table: https://www.jfcsboston.org/Our-Services/Community-Services/Center-for-Basic-Needs-Assistance/Family-Table
Join us for a very fun morning filled with games, prizes and more!