What is your Chanukah tradition?

Tue, 12/27/2011 - 8:33am

Posted in: Test cat 1, Test category 3

What is your Chanukah tradition?

907 Every holiday, Jewish, Christian, secular or other has its own traditions. In the Jewish calendar, some traditions are mandated by halacha, Jewish law, others are based on minhag, or custom. For example, the whys and hows of kindling the lights of the Chanukiyah or Chanukah menorah are prescribed by halacha, the eating of sufganiyot (jelly donuts) or latkes (potato pancakes) is minhag.

Minhag traditions vary between Ashkenazi Jews (those from Eastern European descent) and Sephardim (those of Spanish or Middle Eastern lineages). I find that they vary even from family to family.

My husband, David, and I have some friends back in Baltimore who make it a tradition to fry up latkes of unexpected tubers—or combinations of vegetables and spices. Not content with mere potatoes, they spend November and December scouring grocery stores and Asian markets to come up with the most unexpected flavors of deep-fried goodness. My personal favorite was a combination of expected potato and unexpected daikon radish. (Of course, the way I slather latkes in apple sauce, I’m just taking their word for what vegetables went into the pancake.)
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What Will You Do on December 25? (Chinese Food and Movies. Again? Really?)

Fri, 12/23/2011 - 8:27am

Posted in: Test cat 2

902 Two weeks ago, my neighbor Ed took a break from placing yet another string of lights on his bushes to ask me why my lights weren’t up yet. “I’m Jewish,” I reminded him. “We just don’t do it in my family.” He tried to persuade me, I kept resisting and finally he gave up. But, true to Ed’s nature, he didn’t stop talking.

“Do you know David Beloff?” he asked, presumably thinking, as many do, that all Jews know each other. “I don’t think so,” I replied, opening the window of talk-time even wider for Ed (forget the sub 40 degree temperature and the fact that it was close to 11 p.m.; Ed likes to talk).

“He’s an amazing kid. I met him at the JCOC [Judeo-Christian Outreach Center] on Christmas day. He was there volunteering—cooking, helping out, serving—doing whatever needed to be done.

“I told him it was so generous of him to give up his Christmas day to come out and feed the homeless. He said—and I wasn’t expecting it: ‘It is Christmas, but I’m Jewish. So to me, it’s not Christmas. It’s Thursday!”
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UJFT Advances Strategic Plan with Two Recent Hires

Wed, 11/30/2011 - 1:33pm

Our Vision:
The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater nurtures a vibrant, engaged, inclusive and caring community whose collective action is guided by our Jewish Values.
― From the Strategic Plan of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

878 In the past year, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater (UJFT) crafted a strategic plan regarding its own role and purpose in these changing times. The resulting document details the organization’s mission, its vision, its values and a detailed action plan for actualizing all three. To arrive at the final document, the committee responsible for the plan—more than 20 people representing a broad segment of the community—sought the input of over 100 people through interviews and focus groups.
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Where is Tidewater? Let me tell you...

Mon, 11/28/2011 - 12:41pm

875 “Where is Tidewater?” It was a question I heard over and over again as I wandered around the Denver Sheraton wearing my name and our community’s name on a badge around my neck. My questioners were wearing similar badges that said “New York,” “Toronto,” “Louisville” and “Jerusalem,” among hundreds of others. Three thousand of us were gathered as attendees at the annual General Assembly (GA) of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), which met from November 6 – November 8, 2011.

Each year, JFNA’s GA brings together thousands of Federation professionals, lay leaders, agency representatives, clergy and students from around the world. In my first few hours on site, I admit I felt pretty intimidated. It seemed everyone already knew each other. I thought I must be the only one for whom it was their first GA. That discomfort quickly dissipated, however, as people shared their own stories and asked with genuine interest about Tidewater and the work of our Federation, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater (UJFT).
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COMMYou & ITY

Wed, 11/09/2011 - 1:29pm

855 The UJFT undertook a strategic planning process this past year regarding its own role and purpose in these changing times. Intersecting with this role was the engagement and collaboration with Temples and Synagogues to build a strong and vibrant Tidewater Jewish Community. It was in this spirit that Alvin Wall, UJFT President, Carolyn Amacher, UJFT staff and Harry Graber, Executive Vice President, are leading the new initiative to engage synagogues and reenergize communal efforts to connect Jews in Tidewater to our vibrant Jewish community.


Kol hamatkolot kasheh.  “All beginnings are difficult.”  This Hebrew saying has been my mantra for my 10-year-old son during his transition to his new school and life here in Tidewater.  When life becomes challenging this means that real change is happening.  We don’t grow individually nor as a community without change.  Much like my son’s journey to adulthood, our collective Jewish journey will be encumbered by hills and even mountains, but it is in this sometimes arduous climb that we fulfill our destiny, dreams and vision as a community.

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"How beautiful is your tent, O Tidewater"

Wed, 10/12/2011 - 7:07am


825 You have made the bold and brilliant statement that people matter more than anything; that creating an embracing, welcoming community creates an effective community; that making people count is more important than counting people.
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Statehood Move Violates Palestinian Peace Pledges

Wed, 09/14/2011 - 2:14pm


 Resolutions 242 and 338 are not diplomatic boilerplate. They became the cornerstones of the U.S.-mediated Egyptian-Israeli and Jordanian-Israeli peace treaties, as well as the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles.

 U.N. recognition outside 242 and 338 would reward PA leaders for not negotiating “a just and lasting peace” with Israel and would diminish the world body’s own standing since Security Council resolutions are meant to be authoritative.

 The PA is not “frustrated with stalled negotiations with Israel.” It spurned their resumption during Israel’s 10-month freeze on settlement construction, returning under U.S. pressure only as time ran out and with non-negotiable demands. 

 * PA leaders insist on a West Bank and Gaza Strip “Palestine” based on Israel’s “1967 borders.” But Israel had no pre-1967 borders with those territories.
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When Worlds Collide Great Conversations Can Begin!

Tue, 09/06/2011 - 8:23am

The 1980’s were my “wonder years.” During these years I graduated from high school and college; declared independence from my Mom and Dad; and began to determine my life’s course. In 1984, ten days after graduating from high school, I walked through Vickery Gate at the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. The days and years to come would see me donning a uniform, mustering morning, noon, and night, and ultimately going “down to the sea in ships to ply my trade in the mighty waters” (Psalm 107).
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JCC Maccabi Games: Building Jewish Pride Through Sports

Mon, 08/15/2011 - 8:24am

It’s 6 am Tuesday morning in Tel Chai, Israel.   My alarm goes off and BANG! Rebecca Bickford and I are out the door for another action-packed day at the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest.

On this day, our 10 teens from the Virginia Beach delegation are being pulled in 10 very different directions. Rebecca and I split up the schedule. I will go to the swim meet at 10 am, then a tennis match at 11am, come back to Har Va Guy (the central location) for an ArtsFest workshop, then back to the tennis center for another match at 2pm, then take the bus to Amir Field for a 4pm soccer match, and finally meet the rest of the delegation for evening activities.
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Hineni! Graduates Travel on Tom Hofheimer Young Leadership Mission to Israel

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 9:59am

Two years of leadership training culminated in June 22nd  when fifteen young adults embarked on a week-long mission to Israel.  For seven days graduates of the Hineni! Institute for Leadership Development Program, sponsored by the Simon Family Foundation of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, travelled throughout Israel, learning about her history, politics, social and security issues, and experiencing first-hand how Federation campaign dollars support Jews in need.
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