“I am saddened that the debate over Israel’s decision regarding two US congresswomen is tearing the Jewish community apart. Can we keep our eye on the ball? Israel was founded as a state as a safe oasis from anti semitism. Shall we now use debate about it to tear ourselves apart and hate on one another? Whatever your opinion, why the vitriol? Sigh. And don’t do it in the comments please. Don’t lobby. Don’t pontificate. Comments should be related to Jewish unity only – unity without uniformity.”
It used to be my embarrassing secret, like a schoolgirl who didn’t actually do her homework. Everyone would be talking about their turkeys, and guest lists, and leftovers, and I’m over here shopping for Shabbos dinner. After a number of years my husband would go buy some smoked turkey and have some on Thursday just so he could tell people he had his Thanksgiving turkey.
Exactly two years ago, at the close of 2014, I wrote a post about that year. It was a gut-wrenching year full of bad news and sad moods. Since that time, I find myself getting especially reflective this time of year, looking back on the year and deciding what I want to say about it.
In my neighborhood, there used to be four large Orthodox congregations: Heights Jewish Center, Young Israel, Green Rd. Synagogue, and Chabad. There was also an ad hoc congregation that had begun in a home, called “Zichron Chaim.” It was commonly referred to as “the shteeble,” which is a Yiddish word for “little house” and refers to a small, organic, grass roots congregation, loosely formed and typically without a rabbi, that meets in a home and then sometimes, if it grows, migrates to a more spacious space.