A Community Holds Candlelight Vigil in Face of Hate-Based Activity

Candlelight vigil at Ambler Church of the Brethren. Photo credit: Andrea Cantor

“Hate has no home here,” Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, said to a room of around 300, during an interfaith candlelight vigil in response to recent anti-Semitic and racist attacks.

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Race for Peace: Open Forum with Police

This forum will discuss community and police relations, with a panel of clergy, local community leaders, politicians and law enforcement. The Race for Peace is an ongoing dialogue between police officers and community members in Philadelphia and its suburbs. By seeing one another as people first, attendees can develop a greater understanding of the interaction between police and community members and the way each group may see the world. Children are welcome.

Registration starts at 6:30 p.m.

Saying “YES” When You Really Mean “YES”, and Saying “NO” When You Really Mean “NO”

We are combining yoga and psychology to determine your true boundaries. Yoga invites us to quiet our minds so that we can listen.  It allows us to connect deeply with what we truly want.  Psychology incorporates various strategies to create and ultimately maintain appropriate boundaries. We will use both modalities to discover how to have more effective limits in your life, in order to feel authentic and powerful in each and every interaction. There is something in this workshop for everyone who ever struggles with setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries in their personal and professional lives.

Here are the details: May 2nd, from 1-4 p.m., at The New Leaf Club, 1225 Montrose Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010. The cost for the workshop is $50. Please RSVP to me at amyalfred@aol.com if you can come so we know how many chairs to set out there to welcome you! No mats or previous yoga experience necessary. Feel free to wear comfortable clothing–we can’t wait to see you.

Dr. Amy Alfred is a licensed psychologist in Narberth with 25 years of experience.  She sees individuals, couples, and groups who come in with a variety of concerns, including self-esteem, relationship issues, anxiety, depression, conflict resolution, grief and loss, abuse, and chronic illness.  Amy finds that a common thread underlying many of these issues is the need to create and maintain appropriate boundaries for optimal functioning.

Julie Pogachefsky has been teaching yoga since 2001.  She received her 200 hour teaching certification at Wake Up Yoga and her 500 hour Pranakriyateaching certification from Yoganand/Michael Carroll.  Julie is also certified to teach Yin Yoga and is in the process of finishing her PranakriyaYoga Therapy Teaching Certification. Julie challenges your mind to expand beyond its current ideals and perceptions in order for you to find more space and freedom in all aspects of your life.    

An Evening with Abby Joseph Cohen

Abby CohenAbby Joseph Cohen is president of the Global Markets Institute and senior investment strategist at Goldman Sachs. That prestigious title does not give the full picture of a legendary Wall Street figure who has had enormous influence on the stock market and the American economy since the 1990s. Mrs. Cohen has been recognized as a leader in US Portfolio strategy for two decades, and was previously ranked No. 1 by numerous industry surveys. Her career has been the subject of a Harvard Business School case study and a BusinessWeek cover story. Despite the pressures of being a highly sought after financial markets expert, Mrs. Cohen has found time to lend her skills to other pursuits, such as chairing the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Theological Seminary, serving as a board trustee of the Smithsonian Institution and as a Presidential Councillor at Cornell University. She serves on the White House-appointed Innovation Advisory Board for economic competitiveness.

Abby and her husband David are dedicated supporters of Hillel International. David is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, and together they serve on the Board of Governors which offers counsel and provides substantial financial support to Hillels nationally and internationally. They received Hillel’s Renaissance Award in recognition of their leadership.

This event is for both dinner and the reception. Dietary laws will be observed. Tickets range from $500 – $18,000 with portions tax-deductible. They can be ordered here.

Ugandan Children Don’t Give Up on Education

— by Coby Schoffman013

Imagine living in the Middle East studying political science with an emphasis on conflict resolution. Nothing could be more present, yet at the same time, nothing could be more abstract.

I’m my last year at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel (Israel’s only private university). I decided to avail myself of the unique opportunity to study “abroad” at Koç University in Istanbul. I’m from L.A. and I graduated from Santa Monica High School, so you would think that going to college in Israel would be foreign enough for me. When I was told that no one from IDC had been sent to Turkey since the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident. I signed up right away.

All these major world events were happening around me: Israel’s 2012 Operation Amud Anan (Pillar of Defense), Istanbul’s 2013 Gezi Park and Taksim Square demonstrations, The Arab Spring, the turmoil in Egypt. As a student trying to makes sense of all this through the prism of my textbooks and the lectures of my professors, I always kept myself emotionally detached from these developments. Even while taking cover from a Fajr missile from Gaza and watching it be intercepted by the Iron Dome, I still felt strangely disconnected from what was happening around me

In the classroom I learned to simulate situations and to analyze societal crises and cleavages. What I desperately wanted to experience was how to acts on my convictions. I wanted to know the palpable side of what conflict, poverty and social injustice really mean. I knew I could not do this in school but I also knew that school was an invaluable tool in order to give meaning and perspective on the world of events. That’s why I decided to take a semester off before I graduate, and insert myself into a completely unfamiliar environment where I would be forced to adapt and react. I wanted to choose a place where the conditions, the culture and the lifestyle would be almost completely disorienting.

I decided on Africa. I contacted a number of organizations and schools that hosted volunteers. Many of these programs seemed somewhat diluted and overly protective in that the volunteers were housed together and remained somewhat sheltered from the population. I wanted to have as few filters as possible. I wanted to go into something pretty much blindly and find my way and create my own experiences.

006After a lot of research I decided on going to a small village about seven kilometers north of Kampala, Uganda. I had committed myself through a series of email exchanges, to work as a sports coach at the Kikaaya College and Vocation School in the village of Kikaaya. I’m ashamed to admit that before my trip, all I knew about Uganda was what I was able to gather from the movie The Last King of Scotland, and the gruesome 1976 Air France hijacking and the climactic rescue at Entebbe. So imagine what was going through my head as I flew from Istanbul to Entebbe International Airport. Suffice it to say I was extremely nervous and had no real idea what to expect and what was awaiting me. The school’s director picked me up at the airport at around midnight and my first 45 minutes in the country was filled with polite yet forced conversation and near complete darkness.

My first impression was one of shock. The level of poverty, the absence of plumbing, and the inconsistency of the electricity astonished me. I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming stench of burning garbage or the dilapidated infrastructure of the classrooms and the dormitories. Kikaaya seemed like a place that had been forgotten. Forgotten by whom, I don’t know. Maybe by God, or by the developed world. Either way, the place was like nothing I had ever seen before.

During my first days I was taken around the village and was briefed on my tasks and duties at the school. I was to be the sports coach and the computer science teacher. The computer ‘lab’ was consisted of about six or seven functioning computers from the early 2000’s serving about 700 students. The sports facility was a large, empty pitch of grass. Even with my limited experience I was able to see how much could be done to alleviate the school’s distress by the simple and responsible allocation of funds and labor.

001_straightenedI spent almost two months living with the staff and children of the Kikaaya College School. I was the only white person that I saw during my time there. And to say the least, I felt like I had been adopted into a big extended family. From the staff to the students to the other member of the village community, I felt welcome. I became close to a number of the students, and heard their stories. What was especially sad was how after a while, hearing about dead parents, childhood diseases, personal misery, and pain became oddly pedestrian. The ubiquity of hardship turned tragedy into a grotesque form of normal.

But you would never know it from the bright, beautiful aura that surrounded the children of the school. Through all this adversity, the children demonstrated not only an incredible work ethic and discipline, but also radiated sheer, unambiguous happiness. Despite the unreliable power system and lack of a steady water supply, the broken down classrooms and the crumbling infrastructure, the lackluster library and outdated computer lab, these children still found a way to be motivated. Studying from 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM, the hard work and diligence these students exhibited made me, the privileged American middle-class college student, feel like a worthless, lazy, ungrateful slob. These kids were more than inspiring. They changed my life, and now I want to repay them in kind.

I returned to the United States determined to find a way to help the students and community I had just left behind in Uganda. I immediately mobilized these ideas, and this eventually led to the creation of The Nation Foundation. The Nation Foundation is a non profit organization which focuses on rebuilding schools and investing in quality 21st century, up-to-date education in the developing world. The first project of the non-profit is the Kikaaya Project.

014Our goal with the Kikaaya Project is too raise enough money to rebuild the school top to bottom. This means new facilities, new student compounds, renovated libraries, restored classrooms and an adequate supply of class materials. It means investing in new technologies that will ensure a reliable water source, and a consistent power source. And it means helping the students with their tuition fees so that no one is in danger of suspension or expulsion due to lack of funds.

Kehillah of Lower Merion Selichot Program and Services

Adath Israel, Beth Am Israel, Beth David Reform Congregation, Har Zion Temple, Main Line Reform Temple and Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El invite you to a moving and meaningful evening of study, conversation and worship.

Neighborhood clergy will challenge and enlighten, leading concurrent study sessions on relevant topics. These sessions will set the perfect stage for Selichot (Hebrew for forgiveness) which are special penitential services that serve as a prelude to the High Holy Day season.

Schedule:

8:00 p.m.      Reception and Havdalah

8:30 p.m.      Concurrent Learning
Choose from a variety of session taught by the congregational clergy.

9:30 p.m.      Concurrent Worship
– Participatory Traditional Davening Service
– Contemplative Service: Chanting and Meditation
– Gates of Forgiveness Service with the Community Choir: Traditional prayers, contemporary readings and stirring High Holy Day music
– Short film with discussion

10:30 p.m.   Evening Concludes

 

Ester Rada: Concert at World Cafe Live

Ester Rada’s cross-cultural sound is a deep reflection of the Israeli born Ethiopian’s heritage. Growing up in a religious Jewish family in more than modest conditions in Israel, gave Rada the drive to change her way of life and fulfill her dream of creating music. Critics describe her genre mixing sound as “gracefully combining Ethio-Jazz, Urban-funk, Neo-Soul and R&B, with mixed undertones of black grooves”.

Presented in conjunction with the Consulate General of Israel in Philadelphia.

Click this link to buy tickets online.

 

 

Klezmer Concert

The Dan Blacksberg Ensemble is presenting a concert of folk, theater and Klezmer songs.

This concert is part of the 15th Anniversary celebration of the Bob and Molly Freedman Jewish Sound Archive at the University of Pennsylvania.

This free concert is sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program, Germanic Languages and Literature, and the Penn Libraries.

Grandparents Day

Grandmothers, bubbies, and nanas! Grandfathers, zadies, and pops! Grab your grandkids for a day of fun at the Nation Museum of American Jewish History.

Explore Chasing Dreams:Baseball and Becoming an American, take a journey through time in our interactive, family-friendly permanent exhibition, participate in a Spotlight Talk, watch a film, or read a story together in a cozy spot.

Release your creative spirit with Chasing Dreams-themed arts and crafts. and have fun outside with special activities on the Museum Plaza. 

Reflect with our Friends on Israel – Part 3

Tonight’s topic is: “Through the Lens of American Students Who Have Just Return from Israel”.

Learn about the perspective of those who have recently visited Israel. What are their thoughts? What are their concerns?  What is their advice for those considering traveling to Israel? How have the recent military activities in Israel and Gaza affected their viewpoints? What are their hopes for Israel?

This series is sponsored by Har Zion Temple, Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, Main Line Reform Temple, Beth Am Israel, Adath Israel and Beth David Reform Congregation.