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November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘dancing’

A Torah

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

The Torah is the holiest of books in the Jewish religion. The Torah is the first 5 books of the Bible – in English – Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy…in Hebrew the names flow more easily, have more meaning. They are – Bereshit, Bamidbar, Shmot, Vayikra, Devarim.

The Jews and the Torah have a very unique and ancient history. The Torah is a gift that God gave to us thousands of years ago. It is something we as a people cherish. We stand when the Torah is taken from its resting place in the synagogue. We kiss it as it passes us. We stand as it is walked to a center table where it is read aloud, three times a a week and on holidays. We stand in respect, and in love – always in love.

On Simchat Torah – a holiday that translates as the “Happiness of the Torah” – we celebrate having successfully read the entire Torah over the space of a year. We dance with the Torah and sing. We gather our children and bless them before it – and then, having finally finished the very last word (which is the word “Israel”), we immediately start reading it again so that not a day goes by without there being more we have to read.

On this Simchat Torah, I sat with my mother and watched the men circling and dancing below. And I pointed to one Torah, smaller than the others and started to tell my mother its story. Unsure of some details, I turned to the women behind me and asked them to again tell me about it. These are the daughter-in-law and her sister of the man who owns the Torah, who saved it and brought it to my synagogue.

On November 9, 1933, the Nazis went on a rampage and burned synagogues, Torahs and holy books throughout Germany. They beat and murdered Jews – it was a national celebration of hatred that would herald more than a decade of agony and anti-semitism and culminate in the murders of more than 6 million Jews. It was called the Night of the Broken Glass – Kristallnacht – for all the broken windows and destruction. It should have been a signal to the world, had they only listened and in the deafening silence that resulted, it was a signal back to Hitler. Go ahead – murder your Jews, burn their holy Torah scrolls. Go ahead…and they did.

Yesterday, there were about 8 or 9 Torah scrolls around which the men in our synagogue were dancing. One was written a bit over a year ago in memory of a friend of mine and so I watched the men dance around Ziva’s Torah. Ziva was a beautiful and lively woman who died too young and as I watched her Torah circle below, I saw the beautiful woodwork on the edges of her Torah and smiled – she always had so much style.

But the one that caught my eye over and over again was the small Torah in the green velvet wrapping. The green material was a bit faded and looked very old. In 1933, that Torah had been in a synagogue in Germany when the Nazis came and set the building on fire. The roof collapsed the next day and it rained; the Torah scrolls in the synagogue were badly damaged. The elderly father who was in our synagogue for the holiday took the Torah scroll and tried to have it fixed but it was too badly damaged.

Most Torah scrolls are buried when they can no longer be used. This one could never be read again to a congregation to fulfill the commandment of reading the Torah out loud three times per week. It was taken to France and then, after the war, when the family came to Israel, the Torah came with them.

It is taken out each year, honored for its history – it survived the Nazis; today, they are long gone but the Torah remains. It is given a special honor – it leads the other Torah scrolls around as the men dance and circle and sing.

Seven hakafot – seven circles are made on the holiday – each circle taking long moments as everyone sings and dances. One of the circles was led by an elderly man who walks painfully slow. He is bent over and I cannot even begin to guess his age. He held his Torah, wrapped in the ancient green material and I watched as my mother’s eyes filled with tears.

90,000-plus Crowd in NJ Cheers Siyum HaShas

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Some 90,000 people packed MetLife Stadium to celebrate the completion of the page-a-day Talmud cycle in the largest-ever Siyum HaShas.

The gathering Wednesday evening, which was simulcast to some 60 U.S. cities and more than 20 countries, marked the completion of the 7 1/2-year cycle it takes to complete the Talmud (known collectively as Shas) at the rate of a folio — two sides of a page — per day. The program, known as Daf Yomi, was begun by the late Rabbi Meir Shapiro in 1923, and the first siyum, or completion, was celebrated in Lublin, Poland, in 1930. This year’s siyum — the cycle technically ends Thursday — celebrated the completion of the 12th cycle since that time.

“Fortunate is the person who sees, who experiences, this great gathering,” said Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, the emcee of the event. “Try to visualize the singing and dancing that’s going on right now in shamayim [heaven] watching tens of thousands celebrating the masechtos [tractates] they worked on so diligently!”

The stadium event consisted mostly of speeches in English and Yiddish and short video tributes, including to the late Jerome Schottenstein, to whom the event was dedicated and whose family sponsored the ArtScroll English translation of the Talmud. No women appeared onstage or on the videos, but several thousand women were seated in an upper tier of the stadium outfitted with curtains that were pulled closed during the prayer services that opened the event.

Rabbi Malkiel Kotler of the Beth Medrash Govoha, a yeshiva in Lakewood, N.J., taught the final section of the Talmud to the crowd. Once the ceremony was complete, the crowd erupted in thunderous singing and dancing.

The new Daf Yomi Talmud cycle begins Friday with page 2 (all Talmudic tractates begin on page 2) of Tractate Brachot.

Original Jewish Press Video: Beauty and Joy of Israel’s Heart – Jerusalem

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

The streets of Jerusalem on the special day commemorating the city’s reunification. A celebration of youthful energy, enthusiasm, and love of the Jewish homeland. Everyone is included and dancing together from all backgrounds in an overflowing expression of unity. Original footage 2012 shot by JewishPress.com’s Jerusalem based videographer Natan Epstein. Music by Shlomo Katz, “There Will Be Heard”. Shlomo is seen performing at the concert next to the kotel (Western Wall of the Temple Mount) at the end of the video below.

If you are wondering where all the women are at the Jerusalem Day celebration, you can see them in the video made last year at the event by the Jewish Press’s own Yishai and Malkah Fleisher who captured the ladies side of the festivities in 2011.

Jerusalem Day Parade

Monday, May 21st, 2012

30,000 boy and girls from schools around the country participated in the Jerusalem Day Dance and Flag Parade on Sunday, May 20, 2012.

The parade began with dancing in front of the Great Synagogue, followed by a march to the Old City, walking through the gates of Jerusalem, and finally, culminating at the Kotel.

The parade celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.

Photo Credits: Stephen Leavitt, Flash90: Noam Moskowitz,  Miriam Alster

Calendar Of Events

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

WHAT: Nefesh B’ Nefesh aliyah mega-event with information, resources & workshops all under one roof WHERE: Hilton Ft Lauderdale Airport 1870 Griffin Rd, Dania Beach WHEN: Thursday, March 22nd at 6:30 –10 p.m. CONTACT: www.nbn.org.il/megaevent 1-866-4-ALIYAH * * * * * WHAT: Jewish War Veterans of America Point East Post 698 monthly meeting. Speaker Carol M Brick-Turin, director of Jewish Community Relations Council, will explain the role of the JCRC in the community. Coffee social will follow. WHERE: Aventura Community and Recreation Center, 3375 NE 188th Street WHEN: March 26 at 7:30 p.m. CONTACT: 305-652-5233

* * * * *

WHAT: Luncheon honoring Holocaust survivors: Na’amat Or and Mazal will be holding a luncheon honoring Edith Castoriano, Ruth Gold, Anita Karl, Basia Lederman, Ann Rosenheck and Annie Rotter. Book presentation by author Stanley Aaron Lebovic, “Black is a Color.” WHERE: Aventura Turnberry Beth-Jacob 20400 NE 30th Ave, Aventura WHEN: March 28 at 11 a.m. CONTACT: raquelrub@live.com or call 305-965-4779

* * * * *

WHAT: Talent competition for South Florida Israel 64 Independence Day Celebration – grades 6-12. Acts may include: singing, acting, dancing and stand-up comedy. First place winner receives airline ticket to Israel on El Al Airlines.
WHERE: Michael-Ann Russell J.C.C., 18900 NE 25th Ave, North Miami Beach
WHEN: April 25th at 8 p.m.
CONTACT: Romina at 305-932-4200, extension 148

Jewish Black Youth Wins Third Irish Dance Competition

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

What’s a good Jewish Press Story for the Irish national day of beer and more beer? We’ve got one for you! It’s about Drew Lovejoy, 17, from Greenville, Ohio, who is the son of a black Baptist from Georgia and a white Jewish mother from Iowa. But his fame is international, after winning the all-Ireland dancing championship in Dublin for a third straight year.

According to the NY Times, Drew has been dancing since the age of six, but neither he, nor his mother, can remember when he first became interested in Irish dance. It certainly had something to do with the musicals he’d been watching, also since age six.

Later, when Drew watched his first Irish dance competition in Indianapolis, he found the part tap, part ballet dancing irresistible.

But his mother, Andee Goldberg, didn’t think it was possible for him to become part of the Irish dance world. “You’re biracial and you’re a Jew,” she told him, and she later admitted, “We thought you had to be Irish and Catholic.”

Nevertheless, in 2010 Drew became the first person of color to win the World Championships.

Drew Lovejoy is so driven that he once danced an entire competition on seven broken toes. Dedication!

Jerusalem Court Releases Jewish Activists Charged with Surveilling IDF to House Arrest

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

The Jerusalem District Court ordered five Jewish activists to house arrest, two days after being indicted for tracking the IDF in Judea and Samaria in an attempt to foil the evacuation and demolition of outposts.

Attorneys from Hanenu, an NGO that provides legal representation to the activists, said that the individuals were involved in a legitimate protest and that no justification existed to incarcerate them. The presiding judge agreed, writing that “the defendants’ actions do not present a high level of danger . . . The indictment shows that the majority of their activities, beyond intelligence collection, centered around non-violent protests in areas patrolled by the military, including singing songs, dancing, and telling soldiers the actions they must take.”

The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office plans to appeal the decision before the Supreme Court.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jerusalem-court-releases-jewish-activists-charged-with-surveilling-idf-to-house-arrest/2012/01/11/

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