Archive for March, 2010

Passover on the Web

March 28, 2010

I am behind in preparing my grandma Sarah Zelda’s Chicken/Matzoh Ball soup for my family seder Monday night and the Charoset for our OWU Seder on Tuesday, so I’m going to have to refrain from writing something original.  Instead, I offer the following links to what others are saying about the Feast of Freedom this year.
Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday) and Bete’Avon! (Bon Appetite B’Ivrit – in Hebrew)

Next Year in the White House: A Seder Tradition (NYTimes – March 28, 2010)

Floaters of Sinkers? (Jewesses with Attitude, March 24, 2010)

Passover Viral Video Collection (Jewlicious – March 27, 2010)

Why Water and Booty Shaking Should Be Part of the Seder (Yo Yenta – March 25, 2010)

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OWUJew T-Shirt, Coming Soon…

March 19, 2010

Would you buy a shirt featuring this logo??  Cost will be $12-15.  Order forms coming soon….

National Day of Unplugging: An Ancient Mitzvah. A Modern Day Challenge.

March 11, 2010

I am not shomer shabbos.  In recent years, I’ve gotten better about following the commandment: “And on the seventh day thou shalt rest,” but my interpretation of resting does not adhere to the rules I learned in Hebrew school – no driving, no shopping, no electricity, no crafting…  When I joined my step-family, I took Friday nights off from my academic work to make pizza and watch a movie with my husband and the kids.  Not exactly kosher, but it felt like a kind of Shabbat to me.  We were taking a break from the weekly race to spend time with each other, to reconnect with one another – even if that connection was mediated by Shrek, The Incredibles, or the characters in Looney Toons.

Since taking my job as Chaplain for Jewish Life, I’ve tried to refrain from posting emails or Facebook status updates on Shabbat.  I still get online and occasionally even do some work for this job, but I try to appear unplugged in my public life online.  I realize this is somewhat deceptive.  And like anyone attempting to pull off a hoax, I have slipped up on occasion. Recently, I was questioned about this by a non-Jewish colleague.  She asked, “Isn’t this supposed to be a Sabbath day?  What’s up with the work e-mail?  ;)”  Her emoticon valediction made clear that she was just teasing me, but it got me thinking.

Not long after I moved to the midwest I read this essay by Rabbi Arthur Waskow in Utne Reader. I wasn’t doing much in my life to set myself apart as a Jew at that time and I was pleasantly surprised to find Waskow’s thoughts on “Reclaiming Our Day of Rest” in one of my favorite magazines.  Writing for a broad secular audience, Waskow weaves an argument for Shabbat around issues as disparate as the 24-hour workday to global warming.

Waskow reminds us that the Torah offers various reasons for observing Shabbat.  Amongst them, “to set us free from slavery.”  At OWU, we open our Shabbat services with a reading in English which similarly suggests:

“It is not easy to begin to know Shabbat.  But understanding what she is and what she is not can help.  Indeed, understanding what the rest of the week is and is not can help too. Put it all in perspective.  Figure out who is the master and who is the slave.  Does your telephone (mail, work, study, office, house, car) control you or do you control it?”

This month, a group of Jewish artists are planning The National Day of Unplugging (March 19-20) as one way to “reboot the cultures, traditions and rituals of Jewish life.”  This is an invitation to Jews, and anyone who’d like to join us, to take advantage of our mandated break from the busy-ness of 21st century life.  Interestingly, this project does not address prayer at all.  Rather, it takes a humanistic and inclusive approach to the notion of observing Shabbat.  Consider the Sabbath Manifesto’s 10 Principles for a Shabbat Unplugged: 1. Avoid Technology 2. Connect With Loved Ones 3. Nurture Your Health 4. Get Outside 5. Avoid Commerce 6. Light Candles 7. Drink Wine 8. Eat Bread 9. Find Silence 10. Give Back.  You decide your level of participation.  You decide what rest means to you.

I realize that Waskow’s words and the notion of de-stressing might not seem necessary a week after Spring Break.  However, I hope we can find some creative ways to celebrate the National Day (Shabbat) of Unplugging together at OWU.  We already have a Shabbat service/dinner planned for the 19th.  We have a bowling team going to Delaware Lanes to Bowl for Kids, and it’s not too late to join them!  How else can we fulfill the 10 Sabbath Manifesto Principles?  Are you willing to give up texting or Facebook for 25 hours?  Will you take advantage of the Spring weather and take a hike at Antrim Park?  Your recommendations in the form of comments posted here are, as always, welcome and very much desired!

Alfred Tibor: Anti-Semitism and the Second World War

March 1, 2010

Work by Alfred Tibor

On March 16th @ 7:30PM, OWU Hillel and a group of other campus offices and organizations will sponsor a talk by Alfred Tibor.  Mr. Tibor is a Holocaust Survivor who lives in Columbus.  The talk will be open to the public and all are encouraged to come.  As time goes on, hearing firsthand accounts of the Nazi Holocaust from survivors is becoming less and less feasible.  We hope all who are able will join us for this rare opportunity.

A sophomore, who knows Mr. Tibor from her hometown of Bexley, has taken the lead on planning this event as a response to the anti-semitic incident we suffered as a community in December.  When she first proposed the event to me she said, “There was an anti-Semitic attack in December, but many people on campus still do not know that it even occurred…I feel that it is very important for the OWU campus to host Mr. Tibor so this incident does not just go by and is forgotten about.”  A member of a sorority on campus, she has been working with the Panhellenic Council and Council of Fraternity Presidents to ensure that the audience for this talk is a large as possible.  She told me, “Mr. Tibor asked how big OWU was and when I responded around 1,800, he said he wanted 1,801 in the audience.”  I am impressed by her energy and efforts and hope others will be too.

Last year for Yom haShoah, John Koenigsberg spoke to us about his experiences as a child survivor of the Holocaust. Of all the Jewish children who lived in Nazi occupied Europe, he is among the 7% who survived. During the Second World War he was ultimately hidden by a Catholic Family and was able to survive.  He came to the United States after the war, at age 16.

Similarly, Mr. Tibor’s story is not one that follows the familiar ghetto-concentration camp storyline.  Originally known as Alfred Goldstein, Tibor was born in Hungary in 1920 and was drafted into the German Army in 1940.  He was one of only two survivors of a Siberian prisoner-of-war camp.  He and his brother changed their last name to Tibor in honor of their third brother, Tibor, who was executed in a concentration camp along with the rest of their family.  Tibor moved to the U.S. in 1957 were he worked as a designer and made a name for himself as a sculptor who creates work in response to the Holocaust.

Help us fulfill Mr. Tibor’s wishes and fill Gray Chapel to capacity on March 16th.