DAY // WAY 10 – Thoughts on Shabbat with Rabbi Kravitz

By Rabbi Harold J. Kravitz, Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Minnetonka, MN

rabbi kravitzCuba has taken center stage in the news this past month with the historic visit of President Obama. I had the privilege of leading a congregation trip to Cuba sponsored by our Adath Jeshurun that just preceded the President’s. Though ours had a somewhat lower profile, it was a deeply meaningful experience for all of us who had the privilege to participate. We were a group of 31 whose hope was to learn more about this island that Columbus referred to as the “pearl of the Antilles.” The first Jew to set foot on the island was Luis De Torres, a converso who arrived with the Columbus expedition in 1492, perhaps fleeing the inquisition. Fluent in Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic, he served as the ship translator, hoping to be able to communicate with the indigenous people they would encounter.

Torres did not live beyond that first year, but Cuba became a welcoming port to Jews for much of its future history. Most of the island’s Jews fled the country around the time of the 1959 revolution. Our trip was an extraordinary opportunity to encounter some of the approximately 1200 Jews who continue to live in Cuba and have been rediscovering their Jewish heritage since greater religious freedom began in the 1990s. I highly recommend reading Ruth Behar’s compelling study, An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba, which powerfully conveys that story and features many of the people we met during our travels.

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It was deeply impressive to see firsthand the ways that the Jewish life has been revitalized in Cuba. Much of this is attributable to the effective work of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) or “El Jointo” as it is referred to in Cuba. Through the efforts of the “Joint,” synagogues have been rejuvenated, Jewish life and learning has been revitalized, and Jews have reconnected to our people. The JDC could not function so effectively around the world (other than Israel) were it not the beneficiary of the nearly one million dollars that our Minneapolis Federation directs to it from our annual campaign.

Our Cuban brothers and sisters deeply appreciate our support and solidarity. It was positively inspiring to see the dedication of the lay leaders we met who have made possible the rejuvenation of Cuban Jewish religious and communal life. It was perfect that the week we visited Cuba’s synagogues, among other touring we did, was when the Jewish people were reading parshat Vaykhel, which starts with Moses assembling the people to build the ancient Tabernacle. Vaykhel is from the same Hebrew word as kehillah, meaning “community.” It was incredible to see the common impulse that drives us at Adath Jeshurun, in the Minnesota Jewish community, and in these revitalized Cuban synagogues to build meaningful Jewish communities to support another generation in creating a vital Jewish life. We look forward to seeing what warming relations between the USA and Cuba will bring in the years ahead.

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To learn more about our incredible global partner the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which we call JDC and Cuban’s call “The Joint,” visit their website.

Be sure to check out the rest of our 100 Days events and posts on Facebookon Twitter as well as on our website.

Have you made your donation to the Community Campaign this year?

A gift as simple at $18 can support the important work going on in Cuba to create the kind of vibrant Jewish community that ensures a Jewish future in every corner of the world.

Donate $18

 

DAY // WAY 13: Join 30 Days of Biking

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We are pleased to have 30 Days of Biking agree to join us on one of our 100 Days // 100 Ways—and you should be, too! For those unfamiliar, 30 Days of Biking is a promise to ride your bike every day in April and share your adventures online at #30Daysofbiking.

Minneapolis has been voted as the most bike-friendly city in the nation, a fact that each of us in our community—Jewish or otherwise—can be proud.

Still unclear what 30 Days of Biking is? They have a great video that tells their story better than we can.

Another great thing about 30 Days of Biking? You don’t necessarily have to bike outside. Enjoy taking spin classes at the JCC? That totally counts! All rider levels are welcome: children, teens, young adults, and don’t forget about Bubbe!

We encourage you to sign up to ride, download the Spoke Card to show your support, and share your biking adventures online at #30Daysofbiking or on our very own hashtag of #100DaysMPLS. Happy riding!

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Be sure to check out the rest of our 100 Days events and posts on Facebook and on Twitter, as well as on our website.

Like posts like this? Why not give us a “chai” five?

Donate $18

DAY // WAY 6: Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest

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The What?

The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest (JHSUM) is the leading organization in the Upper Midwest dedicated to telling the story of 170 years of Jewish history in the region. Founded in 1984, JHSUM provides programming, publications, exhibits, and curriculum to the local and regional community, as well as offering reference and reproduction services to all interested users.

Archives now housed at University of Minnesota

In 2012, JHSUM gifted nearly 1,000 linear feet of paper archives and thousands of photographs to the University of Minnesota Anderson Library Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives.
This provides permanent housing at the University and makes this exciting, rich historical treasure to stay open to the public.

What’s in the archives?

The archives are filled with synagogue and Jewish institutional records, as well as historical materials from rural Midwest communities, family and personal histories, oral histories, photographic and film collections, and genealogy materials. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of Jewish homesteading in the Dakotas, Northern Minnesota Iron Range Jewish communities, Minneapolis and St. Paul synagogue records, Jewish women’s organization records, and materials reflecting life on Minneapolis’s North Side Jewish community. Visit the archives online to search the database and schedule a visit to the archives in person.

Now that collection preservation is handled by the University, JHSUM is focused on interpretation, education, and programming—including increasing the number of public displays of historical materials.

Where can I see materials on display?

  • The Sabes JCC’s Kaplan Family Jewish History Center, Tychman Shapiro Gallery
  • Shared Walls Exhibition Areas at the St. Paul JCC
  • Sholom East Display Case
  • Sholom West / Knollwood Plaza Exhibit Spaces

scrap storiesWhat’s next?

“Peddlers to Processors—Scrap Stories from the Upper Midwest” is an exhibit that runs from April 3 to May 26, 2016 at the Sabes JCC.

Learn how the barely tolerated Jewish junkman, who picked up everything from bones and bottles to rags and iron, became a leader in the Green Revolution. You may find your grandparents’ story here. Produced by the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest.

On display in the Tychman Shapiro Gallery & Shared Walls Exhibition Areas www.jhsum.org

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Be sure to check out the rest of our 100 Days events and posts on Twitter as well as on our website. Like posts like this? Why not give us a “chai” five?

Donate $18

 

P2G Update: Synagogue via Skype, JWRP visits Rehovot

Have you met our sister? It’s true, Minneapolis has a sister city in Israel: the beautiful town of Rehovot! Through this Partnership2Gether initiative, Minneapolis is strengthening a connection to Israel and building a stronger sense of Jewish peoplehood. Here are just a few recent stories of partnership, from Darchei Noam and  the #MOMentum mission, and click here to learn more about Partnership2Gether (and make sure to like us on Facebook!)

Thanks to technology, we are able to bring two synagogues, with a deep love of learning, together.

Beginning November 17, Congregation Darchei Noam in St. Louis Park will begin simultaneous study sessions with synagogue The Berman Shul in Rehovot, Israel.

The six classes will be held on Tuesday evenings, the Minneapolis group meets at Darchei Noam at 7PM and on Sundays at 11AM. The following Sunday the groups will gather via Skype in Minnesota and Israel to discuss what they learned and share insights.

These classes are free and open to the community. The schedule is below, and we hope to see you there!

  • Amos – NOV 17th | Sunday Skype discussion on NOV 22nd
  • Hosea – DEC 15th | Sunday Skype discussion on DEC 20th
  • Micah (Micheas) – FEB 9th | Sunday Skype discussion on FEB 14th
  • Habakkuk and Zephaniah – MARCH 8th | Sunday Skype discussion on MAR 13th
  • Obadiah – MAY 17th | Sunday Skype discussion on MAY 23rd
  • Haggai and Zechariah – JUNE 14th | Sunday Skype discussion on JUN 19th

For more information, contact:

Congregation Darchei Noam
2950 Joppa Ave. S. at Minnetonka Blvd. | 952-452-8476
DarcheiNoamMN@yahoo.com | www.DarcheiNoamMN.org


Minneapolis women visit Rehovot!

The #‎Momentummn‬ delegation of the‪#‎MOMentumtrips‬ of women visited Rehovot on Tuesday, October 27th as a part of our Partnership2Gether program through the municipality of Rehovot, the Jewish Agency and the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.

The visit was hosted and sponsored by Rehovot’s Deputy Mayor, Zohar Blum, and David Ashkenazi, Rehovot’s Chief of Staff and Head of Foreign Relations Department.

The group spent the day touring the city (Weisman Institute and the Ayalon Institute), visiting kindergartens and early childhood care facilities in Kiryat Moshe as well as a little bit of shopping.

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The highlight of the visit was dinner at the Minkov Citrus Orchard Museum along with Rehovot members of the partnership’s Steering Committee which is Co-Chaired by Dr. Yoram Blachar.

The meeting between members of the Steering Committee and the women from the Minneapolis community was successful, exciting and left a taste and desire for further development of the relationship.

Fun fact: Melanie Ginsburg, a MASA Israel student from Minneapolis on a Teachers Fellows program in Rehovot, spoke with the group while they were there about how Federation supports Masa (which is also a Jewish Agency for Israel program), and about what she is doing in Rehovot.

Dozens of members of the Minneapolis Jewish community are scheduled to visit Rehovot in the upcoming months to continue establishing relationships and friendships with the residents of Rehovot.

 

We raised $20,380,850 – thanks to YOU

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Thanks to nearly 200 dedicated campaign volunteers, Federation professionals, and 4,900 gifts from generous donors, The Minneapolis Jewish Federation raised over $20.3 million during the 2015 Campaign year (including close to $540,000 through special emergency campaigns to help Jews in crisis in Nepal, Israel, and Ukraine).  Of that total, more than 11.3 million was distributed through the Community Campaign (including $187,000 dedicated from the unrestricted fund of the Jewish Community Foundation towards community needs, and support from corporate sponsorship).

Here are the facts:

  • Together we raised $10,760,561 – an increase of $126,194 from 2014
  • Together we raised $9,082,460 through planned giving & endowments
  • An additional $537,829 was raised for special initiatives

Beth Kieffer Leonard and Todd Leonard, Campaign Chairs

“As 2015 Community Campaign Chairs, we are thrilled,” says Todd Leonard on behalf of himself and his wife, Beth Kieffer Leonard. “$20,380,850 represents thousands of people who will benefit—thousands of faces of gratitude and hope.”

“These critical dollars will improve, strengthen, and transform Jewish lives around the globe,” adds Beth. “We couldn’t be more proud of our community. Together, with our donors, partner agencies, and volunteers, we are doing great work.”

A gift to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation goes beyond funding any single organization or building—it helps map out the programs and services that strengthen and enrich Jewish life here in Minneapolis and around the world. Federation professionals and volunteers from the community spend thousands of hours annually vetting the menu of needs in our local and global Jewish community. These needs range from social services and Jewish education to community security and Jewish arts and culture. This difficult work helps leverage resources and ensure every dollar goes to the highest and best use.