Reform Movement Raises $1 Million+ for Haiti Relief: Nearly 9,000 individual donors have contributed more than a million dollars to the Union for Reform Judaism’s Haiti Relief Fund in the aftermath of the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Allocations have supported emergency relief efforts (mobile clinics, medical and other supplies, meals, and more) and will fund long-term recovery endeavors. To donate, visit www.urj.org/haiti.
200 Years of Progressive Judaism: July 2010 marks the bicentennial of Progressive Judaism in Europe. German Jews introduced an alternative approach to Orthodox Judaism in 1810; Progressive rabbis emigrating from Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries brought this new brand of Judaism to communities worldwide.
On July 17 (Shabbat Chazon), congregations throughout the world will celebrate this historic milestone. For more information contact the World Union for Progressive Judaism, www.wupj.org.
A Siddur for the Southern Hemisphere: This summer the CCAR Press will issue Mishkan T’filah—The World Union Edition, a new prayerbook for Progressive congregations in the Southern Hemisphere with editorial contributions from WUPJ leaders in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and South Africa. This distinctive version of Mishkan T’filah, reflecting the more traditional rituals practiced by Progressive Jews in the Southern Hemisphere, includes the full classical version of the Sh’ma in the weekday morning service; a full four-page version of the Birkat Hamazon; and an extended Yizkor, which can be used as part of an evening minyan service.
References to weather have also been changed. In the original Mishkan T’filah, the prayers for wind and rain are meant to be said in the winter months, and dew in the summer months. Because the seasons are the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere, the weather in the Land of Israel is referenced or a general prayer offered (“Mashiv haruach u’morid ha gashem, mazriach hashemesh u’morid ha’tal —[We praise God] Who causes the wind to blow, the rain to fall, the sun to shine and the dew to fall”), which can be used in any part of the world in all seasons. The volume will also include national anthems and local poetry. Visit www.ccarnet.org.
Restoring Florida’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery: Over the years, neglect and vandalism had taken their toll on Florida’s oldest Jewish cemetery, where three soldiers who served with the Confederate Army during the Civil War as well as the father, brother, and sister-in-law of Jacksonville’s only Jewish mayor were among those laid to rest.
From time to time, Jacksonville’s Congregation Ahavath Chesed had engaged mitzvah crews to pick up trash and rake leaves, but such efforts were insufficient, says Temple Archivist Hazel Mack, who initiated the temple’s cemetery restoration project in 2007. A monument company has since repaired broken stones, lifted and resettled marble stones properly on their bases, and cleaned all the stones. Trustee Douglas Oberdorfer hailed the effort, noting that it was the first time in many years that he was able to read the gravestone of his great-great-great-grandfather, Abraham Zacharias.
Recipes of Love: The not-so-secret other name of the Rabbi Bernard and Emily Mehlman household was the Do Drop Inn, where visitors from around the corner (“Our pipes froze”) or around the globe (“Greetings from Kyoto”) stayed over in a spare bedroom and were graced with Emily’s culinary prowess and warm hospitality. And so it was that when 12 of Emily’s friends, all members of Temple Israel, Boston, decided to honor her life (1941-2006), they worked for three years to assemble her special recipes into Emily’s Table (2009). The book invites readers (including every TI member) to create some of Emily’s favorite preparations for their own Shabbat, holiday and family dinners and special celebrations; and proceeds from its sales will benefit the Riverway Program (TI’s outreach to Jews in their 20s and 30s), one of Emily’s favorite projects. For more information visit www.tisrael.org.