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Interesting quotes from famous Jews
My father never lived to see his dream come true of an
I once wanted to become an atheist but I gave up. They have no holidays.
Look at Jewish history. Unrelieved lamenting would be intolerable. So, for every ten Jews beating their breasts, God designated one to be crazy and amuse the breast beaters. By the time I was five I knew I was that one.
The time is at hand when the wearing of a prayer shawl and skullcap will not bar a man from the White House, unless, of course, the man is Jewish.
Even if you are Catholic, if you live in New York, you're Jewish. If you live in Butte, Montana, you are going to be a goy even if you are Jewish.
The remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served us nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.
Let me tell you the one thing I have against Moses. He took us forty years into the desert in order to bring us to the one place in the Middle East that has no oil!
Even a secret agent can't lie to a Jewish mother.
My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me.
It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it.
Don't be humble; you are not that great.
I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days I had lost exactly two weeks.
-Joe E. Lewis
A spoken contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.
I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying.
Whoever called it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.
A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it.
Too bad that all the people who know how to run this country are busy driving taxis and cutting hair.
A committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours.
I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth, even if it costs them their jobs.
Television is a medium because it is neither rare nor well done.
When I bore people at a party, they think it is their fault.
"DAILY JEWISH WISDOM" is found @ Beliefnet.com
Fear builds walls to bar the light. - Baal Shem Tov
Engage in Torah and charity even with an ulterior motive, for that habit of right doing will lead also to right motivation. - Talmud: Pesahim, 50b
The sword comes into the world because of justice delayed and because of justice perverted.- Ethics of the Fathers 5:8
Ever since Rabbi Akiba used the Passover seder to plan a revolutionary struggle against the Roman occupiers, the Jews have used the seder to begin concrete work on tikkun (healing and transformation).
- Rabbi Michael Lerner, the Tikkun Magazine Passover supplement 2006
To work out ends of righteousness and love are you called; not merely to enjoy or suffer.
- S.R. Hirsch, "Nineteen Letters," 1836
“Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself.” Golda Meir
The worship of God, though desirable as an end itself, can somehow never be in the right spirit, unless it impels one to the service of man. - Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan
Concentrate on three things and you will not fall into the grip of sin. Know from where you came, where you are going, and before Whom you will have to give account and reckoning.- Pirkei Avot 3:1
We cannot learn from general principles: there may be exceptions. - Johanan, Talmud: Kiddushin
A truly generous man is he that always gives, whether it be much or little, before he is asked.- Orchot Tsadiqim
The best security for old age: respect your children.- Sholem Asch
A Jew can be Jewish with God, against God, but not without God.- Elie Wiesel
He who promotes his own honor at the expense of his neighbor's has no portion in the world to come.- Judah b. Hanina, Genesis Rabbah
Even if all the world tells you, "You are righteous," consider yourself a sinner. - Rabbi Simlai
Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism and falsehood. The liturgical movement must become a revolutionary movement, seeking to overthrow the forces that continue to destroy the promise, the hope, the vision.- Abraham Joshua Heschel, "On Prayer"
Lose with truth and right rather than gain with falsehood and wrong.- Maimonides, "Tzavaah"
Seek the good in everyone, and reveal it, bring it forth.- Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1811), "Likutey Moharan"
Just as we love ourselves despite the faults we know we have, so should we love our neighbors despite the faults we see in them.- Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov
A man should never impose an overpowering fear upon his household. - Babylonian Talmud, Gittin 6b
If you add to the truth, you subtract from it.- The Talmud
Love unaccompanied by criticism is not love....Peace unaccompanied by reproof is not peace.- Genesis Rabbah 54:3
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We finished off the year with yummy seasonal recipes during our last Library classes session. We also finished off our sessions on Dead Sea scrolls. This coming year will probably have a focus on Holocaust topics as well as recent newsworthy topics. We hope to see you all in 5772 for classes and other events!
July 20- With sorrow and joy we have bid farewell to Eve and her family as they trek cross-country to Miami to start their new lives with a good job at the Hillel and a majorly large Jewish community to revel in. Our turkey bon voyage Shabbat dinner on July 15th was enjoyable but wistful The eight of us really did a number on that turkey and the vegetables all but disappeared! Then after Shabbat was the push to help with packing, donating, and other tasks as expected with such a move. Last word, they are en route to Atlanta today [Tuesday the 26th]. Our best wishes for a wonderful future go with them. B'atzlacha! Success!
July 10th recording session a success!
Despite fears of a flop, the recording session of a service went quite well. OK, the sound quality is not optimal, but listening to it helps us realize that we actually have some melodic qualities to our singing! Thanks to Leah and Eve for enabling such a success. Also, thanks to Eve for her baking that topped off the event!
Shavuot study sessions and delicacies, 6/8-9
It is amazing how much new in understanding can be achieved each time we are going over the same readings yet again and again! Our amazement in learning certainly fulfilled the command of the season : Na-aseh v'nishmah! We will do the mitzvot and we will learn to try to understand them and why!
Then there was the food, and the food, and the food...There must be several of us on permanent dieting!!!
Lag B'Omer 5/22 relaxed and joyous
We have been running, running, running so much lately that it was very nice to have a small Lag B'Omer dinner get together over burgers [veggie] and activities for the children at Eve's. We now have a bit of a rest from the running until the 7-9th of June for Shavuot. Anyone up for an all night study session then?
Jackpot Ranch 5771, 5/15
Great fun was enjoyed by all, but the memory chip of the camera was corrupted and all our pictures were lost! More about the fun, food, dancing, songs, hayride, tree house, and water games coming soon!
Tuesday's Days of Remembrance Presentation- [5/3]
comments will be posted as they come in:
Stan: When I listened to Thomas [Toivi] Blatt tell his story on the webcast, it brought back memories of my Grandmother who spoke with the same, exact accent. So his story reminded me of stories I heard as a child, told in the same accent. It was an honor to hear Toivi Blatt speak about his teenage years living in Poland during the Holocaust and how he survived Sobibor and finally escaped so that the world became aware of the horrors brought by the final solution. Toivi Blatt's courage will always be remembered so we will never forget those dark days of the Holocaust.
Jerry: I was glad I did go although it was hard for me to understand what Blatt was sharing. Then there was the movie clip...
Karin: I tried to watch the program on the web site but it kept on starting and stopping and when Blatt spoke the sound on my computer was so low I couldn't hear him. Is there anywhere a transcript of his speech to read? In Rochester I knew a woman who had survived because her father had sent her from Poland as a child to work as a servant in Germany and she had some terrible and also a few good experiences to share. Her whole family in Poland perished.
I did go to hear him. It was very emotional. He was hard to understand, but very worth trying. The movie got me. I can still see those people running for the gate and being mowed down by Nazi machine guns. I have been depressed ever since. Let's pray and hope that the world has learned a lesson and will stop the killing. Irene
el Doctor Pepe: I was in the "overflow gym crowd". I understood only a very few words that Mr. Blatt spoke. However I stayed while many left the gym... maybe even 1/2 the attendees in the gym left. Afterward Mr. Blatt came to the gym for a q & a which was excellent. So overall the presentation was worth while.
Adele: In the theatre I was fortunate to get a very well located seat. While Toivi was hard to understand and sometimes briefly lost his train of thought, I was able to follow what he was relating. As with every time I have heard a survivor's story, there is part of me grieving for the vastness of the tragedies that fill that bleak period of history. Then there was the 12 minutes of the film, a film I had seen many years ago. The memories of how I felt then flooded back and added onto the grief and joy I felt upon hearing his story. Joy, you ask? Yes- for he did survive and still is able to pass on the legacy to others so that we do not forget and are spurred to act so that such horrors may never again be known. If for nothing else, then at least for that it was a most worthwhile evening.
Passover Seder [4/19] and all those leftovers
soon- maybe when all the matza and hard boiled eggs are gone and digested...
What can be said for now briefly is that the seder moved along enjoyably with lots of veggies and potato sticks to munch on while waiting for the main meal. The children loved being frogs jumping around everywhere and everyone enjoyed inflicting bitterness upon others with the scallion whips.
We had input from attendees about the Ethiopian seders, women's seders, and Freedom Fighters' seders and made mention of several other types of Haggadot. Then there were the 'new' symbols of freedoms: the orange, Miriam's cup, etc.
Most importantly was the FOOD. The Passover cookies disappeared as soon as they were opened. Not so the macaroons. After the children scarfed down the cookies we were treated to their musical version of Passover. Lastly there was the afikomen, duly found and distributed with all the children getting chocolate Passover lollipops but with the finder of the afikomen getting 2!
Jackie's matza balls brought back memories of our youth for us who grew up with the matza balls that sank to the bottom. The vegetable soup in which they were was scrumptious. In fact, all the food was most tasty. Particularly enjoyed was Adele's 3 layer potato vegetable pie.
In any case, NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!
Summer Study Schedule
As the History of Prayer and the Women's Issues study groups approach summer, it has been decided that they will be combined back to back once a month on a Monday, 9:45-11:45. Our study foci will be Women's Issues including Prophetesses, kitchen cultures, etc. and a closer look at the Dead Sea Scroll findings and their significance.
This is being done to improve ease of access to both classes and in view of the improving economic situation. Attendees have been able to get more jobs and hence have less available weekday time. It is news over which to rejoice!
Ellie on study sessions
Ellie's report on the study series at the library:
The Women's Issues have covered women discussing Talmudic decisions such as Bruria, the history of women as Rabbis or Rabbanot, and women taking on 'male' rituals and obligations such as Rashi's daughters wearing tefillin. Most interesting to me was the history of the matriarchs and patriarchs as they came from matrilineal/matrifocal Mesopotamia to patrilineal Canaan and their subsequent losses of women's status in a place that gave men the ruling power to be both leaders of the clan and priests of the clan.
We will be meeting again April 4th in the Bump room in the Library at 10 am to discuss Cultural Comparison of Women in the Kitchen and on April 14th for comparison of Haggadahs and other ways to tell the story of the exodus.
D. Miller on Germany
Report on David M.'s wonderful talk [Feb. 24th] about his views on modern Germany coming soon.
Children's Shabbaton enjoyed by all
Children's Shabbaton [Feb. 12, 2011] news coming soon from Leah!
What better time to have a children's Shabbaton than when Mom is out of town for interviews? Not only were they engrossed in seeing the Torah being read, but also they shared quite a few of their own opinions during the study discussion on what the proper dress and decorum for Shabbat should be. Of course lunch, songs, and games were even more important for the rest of the day. When it came time for Havdalah, all the little and medium sized campers were quite ready to go home and get ready for a good night's sleep! So Havdalah was done with gentle song followed by wistful goodbyes...until next time.
New Prescott Location Inaugurated, by Stan
Special Topics Study Group off to a Good Start on Environmental Responsibilities
In addition to our continuing Women's Issues study group [on the Matriarchal/ Patriarchal Pendulum for the January 2011 session], an interesting time was had by all on January 20th when we compared views on environmental responsibility from a number of different faiths. Not only did we learn about pro-environmental protection roots for these religions, but also we reviewed several statements by public figures including anti-environmental protection for the purpose of hurrying the apocalypse that some Christians believe in. Interesting statistics about public views vs corporate interests were also shared. This left us with the question of: how can we stop the corporate selfishness from overriding the vast majority opinions of the public?
History of Prayers Study Group, Prayers from Torah
Dec. 20th continued the History of Prayers study group with a look at many of the prayers that are excerpts taken from Torah. Uses in biblical, Temple, and more modern times as well as uses in non-Jewish settings were touched upon. Next time will cover "Music, When and Why".
Sunday Presentation enjoyed by all
Congratulations to Adele for surviving her presentation Dec. 12th at a local church about some significant women who lived during the last 4000 years. Unfortunately the audio recording did not tape completely, so no record for posterity. Sorry...
Joyful Prescott and Prescott Valley Chanukah Celebrations Just SOOO Yummy!
With 11 contributors of yummy delights, is it any wonder that we all felt overstuffed for Chanukah. Although scheduled for 2 hours, both parties continued on for more than an hour more. Yet the time was hardly noticeable what with the food and the schmooze, the singing and the food! Tsimmis, kugel, latkes, salad, cheesecake, soufganiot, crackers, fruit sweetened cheese spread, salmon patties, zucchini bread, cookies in holiday shapes, and so much more! Chag Sameach to All!
Women Protecting Family and Community
Women's Issues Study continues with great discussions on how to apply what we are learning about the history of women's accomplishments. The burning question of our Dec. 6th session was: "What things can we, as women, do now to help make the world a better place? -things that are not being done by the present governments of the world and the men that lead them...
History of Prayers Study Group off to a good start on Nov. 22nd ! [by Susan]
Adele is a talented and excellent tour guide to the origin and practices of Jewish prayer. Her class is a wonderful blend of historical perspective and insight into the benefits using spiritual wisdom to enhance daily effectiveness. I feel like I am finally learning how to connect the dots that were dropped and scattered so many, many years ago in Hebrew school. Thanks for this great opportunity!
Interfaith Thanksgiving Service enjoyed by all.
Thursday, Nov. 18th
The group of Beit Torah supporters who attended the Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service at the first Congregational Church found the event to be quite enjoyable. The choir music was inspiring, the bells arrangement enriching, and all the selections tasteful, meaningful, and well presented. The hot apple cider also helped make the evening welcoming and warming both to body and spirit.
Women's Issues Group continues with gripping topics
Hoshanah Rabah through Simchat Torah
What a wonderful farewell to Sukkot when the last of our sins were symbolically shed as we beat the willow branches bare! Afterwards Ellie treated us to mushroom and olive omelets. Wow! That woman can cook!
With the prayers for rain and the Hoshanot praises of the season we must have had a good influence on the scheme of things. As soon as Shabbat was over, it poured! Yet, since it was after the Sabbath, we were able to save all the rain sensitive parts of the Sukkah despite the dark.
Unfortunately we were not so lucky with the yiskor carpool. The illnesses of the season took their toll. What with surgeries and deaths of loved ones, stomach bugs, leg crampings, and exhaustion - we could not find a driver healthy enough to safely make the trek. So we felt grateful that during Yom Kippur we were able to read out the 40 names of loved ones memorialized in our ark by 17 households not just once, but twice: once during Yiskor and once just before the closing service.
A rebound happened for Simchat Torah though. It could not have been a lovelier day at Granite Creek Park. Okay, so it thundered a bit - but no rain. So I guess we were having good confirmation of our efforts from on high.
We prayed. We read Zot HaBracha and finished off Moses' discourses and blessings...we were strong and may we be strengthened for having done so! We sang and danced with flags and little Torah like scrolls, while the big scroll was rewound back to the beginning. Then finally we got to read Genesis, the Creation story - the first one. I know there is a la-la tune that goes to the end of each day, but no-one could remember it! Something to work on for next year...
Finally there was the food. The discussion about Genesis continued as we relished the spread of banana bread, honey cake, Challah [from the Phoenix JCC], cheese spread, home grown tomatoes, fruits of many kinds, honey, oatmeal cookies, mixed seeds and nuts and dried fruits, walnuts, peach flavored grape juice, and so much more. We finally went our separate ways after benching, but wistfully so it seemed...and joyously so: no more big Holy Days for quite a while!!!
Not only did our Beit Torah Sukkah withstand the weather of 25 mph winds the first day or two it was built, but it also survived the constant comings and goings of guests. We found that late afternoon was the best time to sit out there. The plastic tea set came out along with the lulav and etrog. People brought decorations such as a real pumpkin, real squash, real flowers, fake grapes and leaves; ducks of the ceramic, straw and stuffed toy varieties; and most importantly: joyous spirits. Those who wanted, got calendars thanks to the Board of Jewish Education in Phoenix. There are still more we can give out.
Word is that Rabbi Nina had a special favorite guest: a coyote [lower left corner!].
Two hardy souls even slept in the Sukkah. So what if they were cats... Nonetheless, they were still joyous spirits as were all the Ushpizim guests!
First Day Sukkot was held at Granite Creek Park. It could not have been more gorgeous. Ok- so the office did not know that they were going to be painting the Ramada/Gazebo and we had to sit on the far side under a beautiful old shade tree. It actually was far more into the spirit of Sukkot than the concrete and steel of the gazebo. Plus with good food, shaking of the four species, and discussion of Kohelet, Ecclesiastes... it was as though it was meant to be!
Our Congregational Sukkah is at Adele's. All are welcome to visit and be part of the great tradition of Ushpizim, honored guests. This is the first year that the wind of Chino Valley has not blown the Sukkah down!
If you can't come in person, then use these pictures to imagine yourself sitting at the table getting ready for a meal or a sweet snack, enjoying friendly conversation, and rejoicing in the Season!
WOMEN'S ISSUES GROUP CONTINUES
Another interesting session of the Women's Issues Group was held on Sept. 20th. The focus was on women and the festivals, esp. Sukkot. A comparison of women's treatments in the different groups of Judaism was presented with examples given by some of the participants. Recipes were shared. We are all looking forward to next month [Oct. 18th] when Louise will present a comparison and contrast of women in the Abrahamic religions.
For Beit Torah's first Yom Kippur service, there was a mix of new and old faces in roughly equal proportions. We missed sorely several of our regular activities' participants due to illness or illness of a loved one. They were in our thoughts and prayers as we went through the Yom Kippur Service, the Torah service, Yiskor, Jonah, Neila, Havdalah and shofar blowing. The discussions along the way throughout the day were deep in reflections and self analyses. We may not have solved the world's problems, but hopefully we made some headway into solving some of our own as to how to work for a better year with better efforts towards Tikun Olam, the Repair of the World.
After shofar we relaxed from the day through joining the communal potluck Break the Fast. With 9 contributors, the break the fast was quite a wonderful selection of yummy and healthy food options. Still there was no doubt that at the end, going home to sleep and to recover from the days efforts was on everyone's minds ! Now to build a sukkah and spend a festival week rejoicing!
A Rosh HaShanah miracle heralded the Rosh HaShanah service with Torah reading, Tashlich, and lunch at Watson Lake Park. After two failed attempts to remember to send them out, books were finally donated to Beit Torah from a schul in New York. The week before Rosh HaShanah the Rabbi sent them out himself media mail. Somehow, despite the intervening Labor Day weekend, they managed to show up on Tuesday just a few hours before our scheduled planning meeting. The Silverman Machzorim, the small [non-Reform] Gates books, and the Hertz chumash copies all contributed to making the services for both Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur better for us all.
Although not all of the seven people who planned and coordinated the Rosh HaShanah service were well enough to attend, those who did attend the welcoming dinner and/or the services in the park left saying they felt enriched by what we had done.The services in the park was truly spiritual. With phenomenal scenery and comfortable temperatures, there was only one thing more we could ask for: a bit, quite a bit, LESS wind! Still none of the food blew away, we managed to hang on to our supplemental pages, and we all came away feeling that the experience had been very special and unique.