jtnews | august 16, 2013
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DESCRIPTIONJTNews | The Voice of Jewish Washington for August 16, 2013.
www . j t n e w s . n e t n a u g u s t 1 6 , 2 0 1 3 n 1 0 e l u l 5 7 7 3 n v o l u m e 8 9 , n o . 1 7JEWISHthe voice ofJTnews w a s h i n g t o n now arriving in israel page 28high holiday services page 18
@jew_ish @jewishcal/jtnewsprofessionalwashington.comconnecting our local Jewish community
Bringing fresh produce
to our food Bankson page 7
g for good
2 opinion JTnews . www.JTnews.neT . friday, augusT 16, 2013
2013 AJC SeAttle AnnuAl AdvoCACy In ACtIon InSIght. ACtIon. ImpACt.
Community Reception and Campaign EventThursday, October 10, 2013
Bret StephensDeputy Editorial Page Editor, Wall Street Journal; Principal Columnist on Foreign Affairs; 2013 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Distinguished Commentary
WIth Q & A modeRAted By
david S. domke, ph.dProfessor and Chair, University of Washington Department of Communications
presenting Sponsor: mark Bloome
6:00pm: Light Supper Reception and Program5:00pm: VIP Pre-reception for 2013 Marshall Society
RSVP Required by October 1, 2013
THE STRENGTH OF A PEOPLE.THE POWER OF COMMUNITY.OF GREATER SEATTLE 206.443.5400
SCHOOLS AROUND THE CORNER!
The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle proudly supports day school scholarships, enabling
parents to give their kids a Jewish education.
Day school scholarships: Just one of the things we do.
Between myself and GodKnate Stahl Special to JTNews
I live in a senior-housing complex in Seattle. Many of the residents are Jewish. Each Saturday my wife and I coordinate a program with the help of other vol-unteers that provides free food to our fellow residents donated by a local grocery store. Recently, one resident contacted other residents about the Saturday Market coinciding this year on September 14 with the observance of Yom Kippur, insisting if the market is held that day it is disgraceful and it represents a lack of respect for the memory of those who founded this building. I disagree.
Im not a Jew because I wear special clothing. Im not a Jew because of a Bar Mitzvah, a circumcision, because I wear a Star of David or have a mezuzah on my door. Im not a Jew because of rituals I follow. Im not a Jew because of what I show in public or because of what I pro-claim. Thats not what makes me a Jew. Im a Jew because God has chosen to make me a Jew. Being Jewish is solely between myself and God.
How I live my life as a Jew is my choice; the choice and obligation given me by God. Its not the choice or the right of anyone to tell me how to live or worship
as a Jew. Its not their choice or right to tell any one of us the requirements or respon-sibilities of being Jewish. Its not their right to judge. My life, my requirements and my responsibilities as a Jew can only be judged and will only be judged by God.
And what are my responsibilities as a Jew?
Yom Kippur is a sacred holiday in Judaism; often called the holiest day of the Jewish year. For many, its a day of rituals, its a day of fasting, it is for many a day of synagogue attendance. Its a day of atonement, a day of prayer; its a celebra-tion of renewal. Most important, the com-munication one has on Yom Kippur, as a Jew, is between ones own heart and ones self and God.
How is that affected by the outward activities of others around us on Yom Kippur? This year, the celebration of Yom Kippur coincides with our Saturday free-food market, as it did years ago. At that time, we contacted local rabbis Reform, Conservative and Orthodox and asked their opinion. We asked, would holding the Saturday Market, in any way at all, show disrespect for or be considered an obstruction to someone commemorating
and following the rituals of Yom Kippur? Would holding the Saturday Market show disrespect or be disgraceful to Judaism or to the memory of anyone who is Jewish? Their answers were the same: The outward activities of those around us, unless they directly challenge or obstruct our rights as Jews, arent disgraceful; their activities arent a problem. As Jews, their activities dont concern us.
Our most important concern, as Jews on Yom Kippur, is our communication with God. Yom Kippur isnt about what others around us do. Yom Kippur isnt about telling others what they need to do. Yom Kippur isnt about judging the actions of others. Yom Kippur is about our communication and connection with God.
The Saturday Market doesnt prevent any of us, as Jews, from observing Yom Kippur. The market and all the other sec-ular activities that will occur on Yom Kippur show no disrespect for Jews, or for Judaism, or for the Jewish founders of our senior-housing complex. The Satur-day Market has nothing to do with Yom Kippur, and Yom Kippur has nothing to do with the Saturday Market. Theres no conflict.
On Yom Kippur, God doesnt say to us, Tell others what to do. God doesnt say, Judge the actions of others or look and comment about what others are doing. Yom Kippur isnt a time to judge or make demands of others.
Yom Kippur is a sacred blessing and a celebration; a choice among many choices when we can look into our hearts, when we can communicate with God. Yom Kippur is an opportunity among many to renew ourselves in goodness and our faith, to repair our-selves and hopefully, in the process, repair our world. The choice of how we, as Jews, act on Yom Kippur, of what we choose to renew and repair, is our individual choice, our individual obligation and responsi-bility. Yom Kippur is solely between our-selves and God.
No matter how lost and broken we may be, Yom Kippur reminds us we are blessed; it reminds us we have the ability to share our true hearts with God so we can renew and repair ourselves and repair our world.
As our great teacher Hillel might possi-bly add, The rest is commentary.
letters to the editorthe rabbis turn
friday, august 16, 2013 . www.jtnews.net . jtnews
Well be moving to our country, our homeland. Tzippy Twersky, who will be moving to Israel with her husband in the fall. Read about several now-former Washingtonians who have made aliyah on page 28.
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With mutual respect, we can resolve our differencesRabbi Sholom beR levitin Regional Director, Chabad of the Pacific Northwest and Rabbi, Congregation Shaarei Tefillah Lubavitch
Ill begin with three short stories. In June of 1967, I was sitting in the central Chabad Lubavitch Yeshiva at the famous 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, N.Y. At approx-imately 1:45 p.m., Yankel the Beder, who took care of the mens mikvah, which I and others used beginning at 5 a.m. each morning, ran into the yeshiva and gave a loud shout: Men sloked a Yid! a Jew is being beaten up!
Religious and racial strife was accel-erating in those years in many Brook-lyn communities. Within 15 seconds, the whole yeshiva was on the street, everyone asking breathlessly, Where? Where? Someone shouted, On Kingston and Lin-coln Avenue!
We all ran, weaving through heavy traf-fic. A major altercation was taking place even the police were already there. Everyone had instinctively responded to the call, to the extent that no one had closed his Gemorah (Talmud) or other religious book of study. No one asked the affiliation, level of observance, or gender of the Jew being beaten. We only heard Men sloked a Yid.
In the summer of 1968, the situation in Brooklyns Jewish communities was dete-riorating. Our family lived in an apartment complex that housed a mix of Chassidic, Afri-can-American, and Latino families. Gangs of young people lived there, and it was very dangerous, especially at night, to navigate the streets and even our complex. I had three younger teenage sisters (Rebbetzin Devorah Kornfeld is the youngest of my sisters), and other young Chassidic teenage girls also lived in the complex. We had a real problem.
The head of the gang was a young fellow by the name of Jos, and I made it my busi-ness to befriend him. Here I was, a Chas-sidic rabbinical student, black hat and all, only about a year or two older than he was. If you had dropped me in Manhattan, I would have had difficulty navigating back to Brooklyn. Our community was insular and did not assimilate with other cultures at that point. All I did was talk to him, ask him about school. He was a Dodgers fan, and I was a Yankees fan (full disclosure: I once played hooky to go to Yankee Sta-dium in the Bronx to watch my baseball idol Mickey Mantle belt some home runs).
We schmoozed, and over time he became a friend. After that, whenever the teenage girls would walk through the halls, or the elderly Chassidim would walk
down the street near our com-plex, Jos and his friends were mentschlach and respectful.
After Id moved to Seattle as part of my regional respon-sibilities I began to travel to Alaska first to Anchorage, where I have developed some lifelong friendships, and then to Fairbanks. In December 1979, it was a freezing, win-tery day and I mean freez-
ing. By then we had organized a group, and it was their first evening with Chabad. Fifteen people showed up from a cross section of the general Jewish community. I tell my children and grandchildren that 15 people in Fairbanks, Alaska at that