Yom Kippur: Apologies, Technology and More

Yom Kippur 5773 begins at sundown on Tuesday and Jews are currently in the midst of reflecting on the past year, clearing their schedules for holiday observance, and seeking to be included once again in the Book of Life.

JTA has put together list of the top apologies of 5772. We might question the sincerity of some of them, but either way it’s a good recap of those who have wronged us.

Chicago White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis is pleased with the resolution to change the time of the September 25 game against the Cleveland Indians to 1:10 pm to accommodate the observance of Kol Nidre. Called “The Sandy Koufax question” the Yom Kippur vs. baseball dilemma is nothing new.

Techy generation: A rabbi at a Miami Beach Rosh Hashanah service encouraged twenty-somethings to engage with the service by anonymously texting their regrets, goals, musings and blissful thoughts for everyone to see.

The Huffington Post is Live-Blogging the High Holy Days and incorporating pluralistic thoughts and all kinds of online mediums into this communal celebration.

Finally, if words fail you, Tablet’s got some punchy ecards to send to your family and friends:

 

Shana Tova and Shabbat Shalom!

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Shabbat Surfing: What’s New?

Suze Orman thinks you should be going to a cool Jewish summer camp.
Image (c) suzeorman.com

Shana tova!

We’re days away from the Jewish New Year and it seemed the right time to focus on all things both Jewish and new.

Because it’s hard to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Suze Orman just making lanyards…
New Camp: Four new Jewish summer camps are gearing up to create more memorable overnight camp experiences for underserved populations, thanks to the Foundation for Jewish Camp, in the areas of business and entrepreneurship, health and wellness, sports, and science and technology.

Because it’s about time…
New Name: “Jew Pond” in New Hampshire, named as a pejorative in the 1920s when the hotel to which it was connected was bought by two Jewish businessmen from Boston, has been officially renamed Carleton Pond.

Because sexism and agism are so passe…
New Shofar Blowers: DC Congregations, including Adas Israel and Tifereth Israel, are seeing more and more women, plus young and older adults who want to blow the shofar, and are learning for these High Holidays.

Because we notice when one of the oldest Jewish communities in the Middle East is denied the right to worship…
New Place Without a Minyan: “For the first time in some 2,000 years, Alexandria [Egypt] will not have a minyan,” as Egyptian authorities cancel services at Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue and deny visas.

Because welcoming all Jewish families is a core value…
New Info on Interfaith Families: With interfaith relationships making up a not-insignificant amount of the Jewish community, new survey data helps Jewish organizations engage these families, who are looking for outlandish things like a welcoming attitude, invitations to learn about Judaism, and events for interfaith families.

 

Shabbat Surfing: History

This year marks the bicentennial of the start of the War of 1812 and today marks the 198th anniversary of the Battle of Bladensburg. After defeating the Americans, British troops marched to Washington and set fire to many public buildings (most notably the Capitol and the White House).

Tom Freeman’s painting of the August 24, 1814 burning of the White House by British troops during the War of 1812.

Though there were perhaps fewer than 10,000 Jews living in the United States at the time of the war that inspired our national anthem, Jewish soldiers and volunteers contributed their strength and helped to defend against the British.

Today also marks the centennial of Alaska’s granting of territorial status.  Jews first arrived in sizable numbers during the Gold Rush and set up stores and mining operations. Today’s Alaskan Jews only number about 6,000 but they still have made a their mark on The Last Frontier.

Speaking of frozen… it’s still summer and the season for frozen treats. Did you know that Jews helped launch the craze over premium ice cream? Yum.

Shabbat Shalom!

Shabbat Surfing: The Ties That Bind

As the Olympic Games are winding down, moments of awe come hand-in-hand with moments of human solidarity. The Jewish community has rallied behind golden girl Aly Raisman not only for her gymnastics prowess, but also for her widespread appeal (not just to Jewish mothers) and maturity that has accompanied her elevation to stardom.

Raisman’s floor routine set to “Hava Nagila” was not the only nod to Jewish heritage to capture the attention of the Jewish community: interest in French swimmer Fabien Gilot’s Hebrew tattoo helped to soften the blow of American defeat in the 4×100 relay. Gilot’s tattoo translates to “I am nothing without them,” and is a tribute to Gilot’s grandfather figure, a Holocaust survivor.

While athleticism serves as a common thread amongst the Olympic athletes in London, the Washington Post reported on a special meeting bound by a very different common thread.  This past weekend Holocaust survivor and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum volunteer Margit Meissner gave a very special tour to Freddy Mutanguha, Rwandan Genocide survivor and director of the Kigali Genocide Memorial. The two first met when 90-year-old Meissner was visiting Rwanda and share an interest in survivor testimony and educating others about preventing genocide.

Tragedy unfortunately brings us together and reaffirms our shared values. Following Sunday’s shooting at a Sikh temple, Milwaukee’s Jewish community has shown great and respectful support to the Sikh community by commemorating the lives lost and reaching out in solidarity.

NASA’s Curiosity rover  successfully made it to Mars and now begins its new phase of discovering the Red Planet. As a “world asset” Curiosity is already sending back incredible photos to satisfy Earthlings’ curiosity.  Despite the fact that the mission is a NASA project, Israeli software played an important part in its success. Software company Siemens develops all of its Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software in Israel and Siemens PLM Israel helped to develop the system “needed to figure out how to ensure that Curiosity could stand up to the harsh conditions on Mars.”

Shabbat Surfing: Tu B’Av – It’s All About the Love!

If you’re feeling an extra bit love and affection floating around today, it’s the effects of Tu B’Av, the Jewish holiday of love.

(Or as other Jewish denominations pronounce it, lurve.)

If you want to pass along the love, you can send a free Tu B’Av ecard to your special someones, designed by contest winner, Rachel Scheer.

Tu B'Av ecard by Rachel ScheerAnd isn’t a Day of Love the perfect time for a Kiss-In?

The Jewish community was recently polled to find that 81% support equal marriage for all. Some will be celebrating the today with National Same-Sex Kiss Day, in support of equality for all, and in response to Chik-Fil-A’s Chickens for Bigotry* campaign. It seems all expressions of affection (kisses, hugs, holding hands) will be welcome, as will as any and all who would like to come and kiss.
*Not the actual name

Whether you are celebrating with a quiet dinner at home, or a huge white party with hundreds of your nearest and dearest, our Tu B’Av wish is that you know how much we love our readers and all who join us at the DCJCC.

Shabbat Surfing: Olympics

Today marks the first day of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 B.C.E , where they were held for nearly 12 centuries before being banned due to their pagan roots. The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896 and have evolved and grown ever since.

Tisha B’Av is also this weekend. At the same time when the Jewish community will be participating in communal mourning of the destruction of the Temple and the loss of thousands, the 11 Israeli athletes killed 40 years ago at the 1972 Munich Games will also be on many people’s minds–official recognition or not.

Looking back to more uplifting Olympic moments, this story of the 1936 US Olympic rowing team certainly highlights a proud achievement in the face of adversity. Called the “high spot” of the Games by sportswriter Grantland Rice, it must have been an especially uplifting moment for the USA as a group of college rowers from the University of Washington came from behind to defeat Germany as Hitler and other Nazi officials looked on.

And lastly, if you were ever curious about Jewish Olympic athletic prowess here is a list of all Jewish Olympic medalists. Feel free to tally up the total number of golds, silvers and bronzes.

Shabbat Shalom!

Shabbat Surfing: When the Lights Went Out in DC

While Europe was discovering the power of the universe with the Higgs boson breakthrough, back here in DC, many of us spent days without power in the aftermath of the storm – including a simcha or two that went forward even without electricity.

If the storm had you all shaken up, that’s okay, as we learn in the Arty Semite’s post this week, because Jews are awesome at anxiety – recognizing it, dramatizing it, grasping it, differentiating it, talking about it, and even dealing with it.

Dan Fishback, who joined us last year at the Washington Jewish Music Festival, is taking that anxiety and putting it to productive use in The Material World, which “features an anachronistic cast of neurotic Jews, all trying to save the planet. (…) And unlike other pop musicals about Madonna and socialism, this play has scenes in Yiddish.”

For those still feeling unsettled and needing more assurances about the future, Jewcy has begun prognosticating, introducing Jewcy Horoscopes, and explaining the Jewish astrological tradition, which has been around for centuries, apparently.

Since my horoscope is warning against ruining things by over-analyzing, I’ll sign off with a final Shabbat wish: may your A/C be humming, your summer salads be chilly, your swimming pools open for everyone.

 

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