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All Jewish kids deserve camp experience

Posted on 20 July 2017 by admin

Bradley Laye, the Dallas Federation’s CEO, recently wrote to our community praising the beneficial effects of Jewish summer camp on children’s future lives. I’m seconding his motion, because my love for Judaism, and all my involvements in it, are rooted in that experience.
My camp began at the turn of the 20th century as a needed getaway for overworked immigrant women and their small children living in a teeming, smoke-filled city. A wealthy family first endowed a settlement house to help with Americanization, naming it after a daughter, Irene Kaufmann. The camp came next, named for Emma. Because the site was a quiet place in the farming area 30 miles outside Pittsburgh, Emma Kaufmann Camp quickly became known as Emmafarm!
My childhood home was Jewish in name only. Mother, a social type, served as president of her Sisterhood but attended synagogue only on the High Holidays. Father didn’t even do that; remembering his unhappy childhood in cheder (and when I read Philip Roth’s amazing story, The Conversion of the Jews, I know what he went through), he would never again walk into a institution headed by a rabbi! But as a doctor who was a declared, although never devout, Jew, he volunteered annually to do all required pre-camp physicals for kids going to Emmafarm at no charge.
The summer I would turn 9, he asked if I’d like to go to camp, too. I said yes. And the time I spent there 74 years ago shaped my Jewish future!
It wasn’t the physical place that did it; Emmafarm was practical and undistinguished. Far away from any lake front, it had only a pool. The flat main campus, like a rectangular college quad, had four large buildings running down each of its two longer sides — on one, the boys’ units; opposite on the other, the girls’. All were named for birds: Girls began as wrens and eventually grew up into woodpeckers; boys progressed as they aged from robins to eagles.
But at the head of the quad was the dining hall, and that’s where Jewish magic took place every Friday evening. We would file quietly into that huge, echoing room, which was full of chaos three times a day every other day as kids reached and grabbed across tables for whatever bowls and platters they wanted, hardly deterred by their exhausted counselors. Yet with Shabbat approaching, without anyone having to say a word, the mood shifted into something totally different. Something quietly wonderful…
First of all, the tables were clothed in white. And so were we. Everyone, all white, from head to toe. And as we entered, we sang that old, old hymn: “Come, O Sabbath day and bring … Peace and healing on thy wing … Thou shalt rest. Thou shalt rest …”
I recently read a piece, written by a minister, suggesting that Christians should look again into their hymnals and bring back the singing of some very old songs. I think we Jews should do the same. I don’t know how many of my fellow campers (and many of us, including me, continued on as Emmafarm counselors) still remember that song. But I sing it to myself, in my head, every Friday evening as I walk into synagogue. That one hymn alone was enough to make me Jewish for a lifetime!
I don’t know, either, how many others those Shabbat evenings similarly affected, but I do know that Emmafarm “graduated” an astounding number of adult Jewish professionals — teachers, social workers, camp directors and — yes — rabbis! Among them: the distinguished Earl Grollman, who served a Massachusetts congregation for 36 years while establishing an international reputation for his counseling and writings on bereavement. (And, btw: He met his wife at Emmafarm!)
So: Thank you, Bradley, for reminding our entire community that every Jewish child deserves a Jewish summer camp experience. Truly, its positive effects will last forever!

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Do your part to improve world

Posted on 20 July 2017 by admin

Dear Families,
All of us who work with families hope that children will realize that each of us has the power to make the world a better place. Tikkun olam is one area of action where you don’t have to be perfect.
Sometimes just doing anything is a step in the right direction. The responsible actions to take are those that will help others when they are in need. When we don’t act when others need help, we close our eyes to the world. We must not say that someone else will do what is needed — we must do our part to make the world a better place.
Text of the Week: Hillel was accustomed to say: If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, when? — Pirke Avot 1:14

  • Why does Hillel focus first on taking care of yourself? Why is that the responsible thing to do? What happens if you do not take care of yourself?
  • Hillel goes to the next step and wonders what kind of a person we are if we only care about ourselves. What kind of person cares only for themselves?
  • The last phrase of this mishnah tells us to act now and not wait. Why is that important?
  • An important way to fix the world is by being responsible — in Hebrew the word is achrayut. Being responsible means that others can depend on you. It means you are willing to be accountable for what you do or not do — you accept credit when you do things right and you accept corrections when things go wrong. When you take responsibility, others can count on you. Making excuses is not something a responsible person does — you want to be trustworthy.

There are simple and easy ways to demonstrate that you are a responsible person. However, simple and easy is not always simple and easy. To be considered a responsible person is a quality that is earned by actions such as these:

  • When someone asks you to do something, do it to the best of your ability.
  • Focus on your own part, not someone else’s.
  • Be willing to accept credit or correction when you do something.
  • Admit mistakes without making excuses.

Shalom…from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

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Military’s expanded recognized religions list worthwhile challenge

Posted on 20 July 2017 by admin

I vaguely recall in filling out my Army enlistment papers in the 1950s, being asked to either check one of the six or so religions shown, check no preference, or to write one in on the blank line provided.
Fast-forward to the present, when I recently received a government news release announcing the Department of Defense increasing its list of recognized faiths and belief systems from a little over 100 to an expanded list of 221.
Some of the faiths I had never heard of included; Eckankar, Heathen, Church of the Spiral Tree, Troth, Wicca, Pagan, Deism and Asatru.
What a shocker! Obviously I have not been following developments in this area. It seems that there have been growing numbers of military enlistees whose faiths and belief systems were not among the mainstream and not officially recognized.
So, how does this recognition of religious belief systems outside the traditional mainstream faiths help the military and its members?
The Chaplains Corps believes that by being all-inclusive, service members of the non-mainstream faiths will now feel more accepted and will be more willing to approach Chaplains of any faith with the expectation that they will be heard and helped.
For incoming Jewish military, they can still choose “Jewish” or one of the three (Orthodox, Conservative or Reform), bringing the number of Jewish choices to four.
Before one criticizes our military leaders for possibly making things more complicated and confusing than they need to be, consider the following.
There is a rational justification for developing a more accurate, complete list of faith groups to which a military member may belong.
This change means that servicemen and -women who are members of small faith groups will now have the same rights and protections granted to service members of the larger, traditional faith groups.
Before the faith group list was expanded, there were some military who were refused time off for religious observances because their faith was not listed. Some service-members were even punished and given extra duty for requesting time off.
Our military now recognizes the 200-plus listed faiths, allowing all service-members to attend and/or observe legitimate holidays, if possible. Of course, the needs of the military always come first, no matter what the religion or holiday.
On one hand, this expanded list of recognized faiths by the U.S. Military sounds fair, democratic and inclusive, but at the same time it must present a challenge to the Chaplain Corps who are generally not members of those sects.
Let us wish them well. Hopefully this expansion of faith acceptance will serve to further strengthen the unity of the men and women of our military.
Bless them all, whatever their faith.

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Differences in big-T, little-T truths in Torah

Posted on 13 July 2017 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
I’m curious if you can help clarify the concepts of personal (little “t”) truth and Torah (big “T”) Truth.
Within Judaism, we allow enough wiggle room to claim, for example, that both Ashkenazi and Sephardi traditions can be True. Similar examples touch all aspects of life and law, where multiple contradictory truths are considered True. Thus, the concept of Torah Truth seems to be more of a spectrum than a definitive (view-)point. It seems that as long as one’s approach to Torah study is genuine, then groups or even individuals can bring down different Truths.
How does this concept hold up outside of Judaism? If someone of another religion is also living a moral life, and is toiling genuinely in their religious texts, they will surely also report a genuine relationship with God, and access to Truth. From the Jewish perspective, can a non-Jew access (a piece of) the Truth?
All the best,
— Michael
Dear Michael,
It is true that there is a spectrum of observance within the scope of Judaism and Torah, such as Sephardic, Chasidic, German, Hungarian and Lithuanian customs. These are not different versions of Truth, as you suggest, rather different approaches of how to approach the same Truth.
Let us look at an example of this. Imagine three people standing next to a large lake, discussing its beauty. One says that the water is blue, reflecting the sky; another feels it looks green, like its lily pads, and the third sees it as gray, like the clouds. Which one is correct? The answer is, all of them! There’s probably a smattering of all three colors in that lake and each feels more connected, from his or her perspective, to one of those hues. As long as all three agree upon the key axiomatic makeup of the lake that it is H2O, then there is a “gray area” which is up for interpretation and individual connection and all those viewpoints are equally valid.
So too with Torah; we have certain axioms both in belief and in practice. All of the above-mentioned sects, Ashkenazic and Sephardic, etc., believe in the same Torah from Sinai, the same 13 Principles as outlined by Maimonides which form the framework for our belief system, our definition of Truth. Even with regard to observance, take for example the observance of Shabbos, they are all basically the same. They all accept the same 39 categories of creative activity from which to refrain on the Shabbos; they all recite the same Kiddush over a cup of wine, enjoy the same three Shabbos meals, etc.
Then there are certain gray areas, such as, does one spend more time on Torah study or song and dance? When studying, does one spend more time on the Talmud and Jewish law, or on the Kabbalah and more esoteric subjects? Even within the actual laws of Shabbos, there are subtle nuances, gray areas that may differ, at times, between these sects based upon custom. All are equally valid because they are based upon a true understanding of the sources with the integrity of keeping within the axiomatic truths accepted and agreed upon by all.
They all take into account the H2O of Torah and differ in the gray areas, the subtle hues and nuances. If you look carefully, this is true of all arguments and disagreements throughout the Talmud; it’s not about the general axiomatic principles but about the details, the nuances, the gray undefined areas that are subject to interpretation.
This is the true definition of one’s approach to Torah being “genuine,” not only in intention, but with inherent integrity: playing by the rules defined by the Torah itself.
With regard to other religions, you are correct that according to the Torah a sincere Gentile can also connect to God and develop a genuine, meaningful relationship to Him. We are not a religion that believes that either you’re Jewish or doomed!
There is, however, one caveat. This is as long as that Gentile has not only good intentions, but also fulfills his or her minimum requirement of the service of God according to the Torah with regard to Gentile observance. This means a scrupulous observance of the Seven Noahide Laws. If their religion jibes with these Noahide laws then it is considered, by the Torah, to be consistent with the Truth, and its adherents will merit a portion in the World to Come.
Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried, noted scholar and author of numerous works on Jewish law, philosophy and Talmud, is founder and dean of DATA, the Dallas Kollel.
Questions can be sent to him at yfried@sbcglobal.net.

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My birthday prayer at 83

Posted on 13 July 2017 by admin

This-coming Shabbat will mark my 83rd birthday. It might be an occasion to celebrate my second bat mitzvah — if I had had a first …
When I was a youngster, I went to Sunday School, of course, but I couldn’t attend weekday Hebrew school. And I couldn’t stand on the bimah of our shul, or hold a Torah.
I don’t say I was denied these experiences so much as brought up to recognize that they were meant only for males. I wasn’t resentful, just resigned. But I wasn’t happy with the restrictive roles that Judaism then assigned to women. I didn’t question the expectations: Certainly I would marry and have children. But I didn’t like the centerpieces of that life: I was totally un-fond of the kitchen, and hated dusting, sweeping, washing, ironing, and all the other routine chores that fell to my sex.
Years later, as my children still recall, I once told them that some mothers stay home and bake cookies, and other mothers do other things; like it or not, life had given them one of those “other mothers.” So I stepped outside my home, working even when that was frowned on by the traditionalists surrounding me. In this I was enabled by a neighbor woman who had sought help from her minister: Staying home and baking cookies caused severe depression. She was able to face down the local critics only because she’d received “permission” to take a paying job and hire some household help.
A journalist, she opened the local newspaper’s door for me. I compromised, working only when my children were at school; my understanding employer granted me the freedom to leave my office when those children were doing something at school that mothers should be attending. (How interesting: Nobody ever thought fathers had to attend those daytime functions …)
But look at all that’s happened since! Women not only learn Hebrew; in non-Orthodox congregations, they stand on their bimahs, holding Torahs, leading services — even as rabbis! And soon, after a struggle of years, I thought they would be able to worship openly and freely at the Western Wall, in an egalitarian venue created specifically for this purpose. Imagine a woman standing by her son for his bar mitzvah instead of having to peek at him over a barrier! Imagine her there, with a daughter or granddaughter becoming a bat mitzvah!
But the voices of dissent to all of this are loud ones. Not surprising, because Israel, with all its exciting freedoms, is still bound religiously by traditionalists who cling most closely to the old, women-restricting ways. The backlash has not been pretty, and even reasonable protest has been less effective than hoped for. However, although the Torah tells us that Eve was brought forth from Adam to be his helpmeet, it does not say that she or her female descendants should be relegated forever to kitchen duty and household chores. Yes, it says she will bear children for them both, in pain, while Adam sweats to earn a living for them. But nowhere does it specify that the Torah and its mandated reminders, those threads of blue, are altogether forbidden to her.
When all the women of my generation are gone, these dichotomies will have virtually disappeared in modern Diaspora Judaism. However, I continue now to straddle the issue, with one leg firmly planted in my traditional upbringing, the other steady in the camp of the more non-restrictive life my heart and soul long ago led me to pursue.
Today, I applaud each bat mitzvah of my congregation as her parents present her with her own tallit. I do not wear one myself. I do not carry a Torah. But maybe, just maybe, I will do both — if I am privileged, someday, to stand by the Wall in Jerusalem, in a place that our once-and-forever homeland will see fit to grant for women. This is my 83-year-old birthday prayer…

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Private, public actions should match

Posted on 13 July 2017 by admin

Throughout my years in Jewish outreach I have heard the phrase “Don’t judge Judaism by the Jews” utilized numerous times in response to bad behavior exhibited by religious Jews.
I have even employed the expression myself once in a while.
The problem? The words have always rung somewhat hollow in my ears. For as much as there lies philosophical truth in this expression (after all, it is not necessarily the fault of a religious system when its adherents make sinful free-will choices), the dynamics of human cognition perceive it quite differently. Jews, and non-Jews for that matter, judge Judaism by the actions of Jews!
Maurice Glazer, a savvy, active 77-year-old man I met earlier this year, shared with me his story of adolescent Jewish disenchantment, a story that is unfortunately not uncommon, and a disillusionment that finds its roots, not surprisingly, in the actions of Jews, not Judaism.
Maurice, or Morey, as he is known to his friends, loved his Yiddishkeit as a young boy. He diligently studied his Jewish studies, even tutoring others as he got older, and imagined that rabbinic or cantorial school might be in his future. Like most other boys nearing bar mitzvah age, Morey began preparing his readings many months before his date with Jewish manhood, and had his Torah portion ready on the early side.
Unfortunately, the family’s synagogue informed the Glazers that there was a last-minute hiccup with their reserved bar mitzvah date. A wealthy family had recently moved to town and they wanted Morey’s bar mitzvah date for their twins, even offering the synagogue a hefty donation of many thousands of dollars for the privilege.
The family was asked if they would share the date and split the portion in three to accommodate all three youngsters. When it became evident that Morey wasn’t open to giving up on the leining (Torah recitation) that he had already prepared, it was made clear to the family that the synagogue wasn’t really asking. The shul needed the money and that was that. Morey ended up finding another synagogue for his bar mitzvah, but the message from his childhood synagogue rang clear to him — Judaism wasn’t about lofty ethical ideals, or rapturous prayer. It was, as Morey would emotionally share with me some 55 years after the fact, “all about the money.”
The rest of Morey’s life reads like many future Jewish American family assimilation narratives. He had three biological children, only one of whom received a bar/bat mitzvah, and none of whom married Jewish, and three stepchildren, only one of whom married Jewish.
Morey sees the bar mitzvah debacle as the beginning of the end of his Jewish love affair, and the distant source of his children’s lack of investment in their familial religion. As Morey puts it, “I tended not to be strong enough to force them back into the circle of Judaism.”
These days, Morey involves himself with all sorts of Jewish philanthropic causes, regarding these good deeds as a way of “making up for his past” (he also asked that I use his real name for this article to warn others of the dangers of not educating one’s children in their heritage at a younger age).
Morey, like most others, wouldn’t or couldn’t distinguish between Judaism and Jews. If Jewish representatives could put money over principle, then the system they represented wasn’t worth his time or his commitment.
I have also found that the opposite is true. Whereas I had quietly hoped that most ba’alei teshuva (newly observant Jews) found themselves primarily aroused by the search for truth and a recognition of the Torah’s Godly nature (call it the search for empirical truth), the reality, as I would quickly discover, is that the positive experiences that they encounter with observant Jews and their Jewish practice are of central influence (call it experiential truth).
Delicious cholent at a Shabbos table holds greater sway than lengthy late-night conversations on the historicity of the Sinai revelation. (It’s worth noting that this is all the more understandable in light of recent discoveries in neuroscience that find the hugely significant part played by emotion in decision-making.)
I believe that it is for this reason that the Torah is so concerned with our public behavior. The sanctification of God’s name, “And I shall be sanctified amongst the Jewish people” (Vayikra 22:32), is certainly in contention for foremost positive commandment in the Torah, and the desecration of God’s name, “And you shall not profane my holy name” (ibid.), is considered by Rabbi Akiva as a sin for which no repentance is available.
You see, even as we regard the Torah as the faithful transmission of the divine will from Sinai, and inasmuch as we consider ourselves on solid intellectual ground in this belief, it is not like an algebraic equation, mathematically impervious to all lines of questioning and skepticism. The Torah does require an element of faith, however small that may be.
And it is precisely because of this “faith gap” that the experiences we have with observant Jews make all the difference in the world. A positive experience with a religious individual or community closes the “faith gap” and ignites that long-dormant, yet ever-present spark of emuna (faith) found in every Jew, and a negative Jewish experience widens the gap and makes it all that much more difficult to find the way home.
The voice of the Almighty is described by the prophet Eliyahu not as a loud “boom,” but as a “still small voice” (Melachim 1 19:12). It’s a voice that gets easily drowned out by the the many noises of life, all vying for our attention. It’s a voice all that much more challenging to hear when you’re not aware of its existence.
It’s a voice that many of our fellow Jews need help detecting. It behooves us to be the kind of people that lead the kinds of lives, both privately and publicly, that amplify God’s voice, helping newcomers hear its sweet sound and make the “leap of faith.”
To contact Rabbi Yogi Robkin email him at yrobkin@dataofplano.org.

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Enjoy our world, but remember to preserve it

Posted on 13 July 2017 by admin

Dear Families,
Summer is a great time to think about nature. The value for this week is: Bal taschit, Do not destroy!
The rabbis tell us a story in Ecclesiastes Rabbah that, after the creation of humans, God took Adam and Eve around the Garden of Eden. God showed them all of its beauty, then said, “See how beautiful is my handiwork. I have created all of it for you to use. Please take care of it. Do not spoil or destroy my world.” This is a special message to us even though the rabbis could not have imagined that we would do such damage to our world.
The mitzvah of bal tashchit comes from this verse from Deuteronomy 20:19 — “When you wage war against a city…do not destroy its trees.” The rabbis tell us that we must not destroy any object from which someone might benefit.
Shabbat teaches us the relationship between nature and mankind. We were given six days to manage the earth but on Shabbat, we must neither create nor destroy. On Shabbat, we can just enjoy the beauty of the universe. Jewish agricultural laws also give us the “sabbatical year” to give the earth a rest. Talk about these texts:

  • Care is to be taken that bits of broken glass should not be scattered on public land where they may cause injury. Pious people often buried their broken glassware in their own fields. Talmud, Baba Kamma 30a
  • A tannery must not be set up in such a way that the prevailing winds can send the unpleasant odor to the town. Jerusalem Talmud, Baba Batra 2:9
  • Whoever breaks vessels, tears clothes, demolishes a building, stops up a fountain or wastes food in a destructive way, transgresses the law of bal tashchit. Mishneh Torah, Melachim 6:10

There are also so many things to do to help save our world — try one of these:

  • Recycling is a beginning to help the world. What can we do or do more of in recycling?
  • Can you go through your toys and clothes and give any away? What are other ways you can give to others?
  • What are other things that would fit under “do not destroy?”

Take a Jewish nature hike — look with eyes that see God’s creation. Enjoy beauty — say a blessing.

Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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What does respect mean?

Posted on 06 July 2017 by admin

Dear Families,
There are many ways to use the word respect or honor.
The Hebrew word kavod comes from the Hebrew word meaning “heavy,” which gives us an important message that respect is a pretty heavy responsibility.
Respect, kavod, begins with each person. If we feel proud of ourselves, what we achieve, and how we behave, it is self-respect. Imagine what a wonderful place the world would be if we all showed respect to one another.
The rabbis taught that every person should have two pockets. In one pocket, put a piece of paper that says, “I am but dust and ashes.” In the other pocket, the paper should say, “For my sake alone was the world created.” When we feel too proud, we remind ourselves that we are but dust and when we are feeling low, we remind ourselves that God created the world for us. When we recognize and acknowledge the value and worth of every human being, when we honor and respect the uniqueness of each person, then we will work with God on tikkun olam — to repair the world.
Who is honored and respected? One who honors and respects others. (Pirke Avot)
Let your neighbor’s honor be as dear to you as your own. (Pirke Avot)
Talking about respect to children or even other adults is important and sometimes hard to define. Try using these questions for conversation:
Ask your children what respect means to them. If they cannot give a definition, share an example.
Talk about people you respect. Who is (or has been) a role model for you? What are the characteristics of the people you respect?
How is following rules a form of respect? What are the rules we follow to show respect?
The Torah teaches: You shall rise before the aged. (Leviticus) What does this mean? Why is it so important to show respect to older people?
Shabbat Discussion: What does it mean to “love your neighbor as yourself?”
Is this hard or easy to do? Why?

A Story for Shabbat: from Brainteasers From Jewish Folklore by Rosalind Chaney Kaye

The Most Precious Thing

A rich man fell in love and got married. The couple lived happily, but they had no children. Believing that a marriage without children is not really a marriage, the husband followed an old custom and asked his wife for a divorce.
“It’s no more my fault than yours that we haven’t been blessed with children,” she protested.
“I know that,” he sighed. “And we have had a wonderful life together. Even so, you must leave and return to your parents’ home. As my parting gift, you may take with you the most precious thing you can find in the house.”
Their home was filled with beautiful dishes, silverware, candlesticks, samovars, blankets, and rugs, as well as fine clothing and jewelry. What did the wife choose to take with her?
She took her husband himself. He was so touched by her love that they stayed married. In less than a year they were blessed with a child.

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Brief chapter of Old West’s Jewish chief

Posted on 06 July 2017 by admin

In case you thought that the only Jewish Native American Indian chief was the Yiddish-speaking one portrayed by Mel Brooks in that hilarious film, Blazing Saddles, you are mistaken.
Among the European immigrants who came to “America, the land of opportunity,” was a Jew, destined to play an important leadership role in America’s Indian Southwest.
Sixteen-year-old Solomon Bibo decided in 1869 to join his two older brothers who had emigrated years earlier.
With America’s Civil War over, the transcontinental railroad completed, free farmland available under the Homestead Act, and sporadic announcements of gold and silver strikes out west, European immigrants surged across America’s West seeking a better future.
While his brothers were building a trading business in the New Mexico territory, Solomon, at first, stayed in the East, finding work and learning English before eventually joining them.
While hard-working European immigrants like the Bibos envisioned a better life, Native Americans were facing a losing battle: loss of ancestral lands and traditional lifestyle, broken treaties, and an ever-uncertain future.
Bibo and his brothers became successful traders and transporters of goods, earning a reputation for honesty and fairness.
Other traders often treated Native Americans unfairly, taking advantage of their English-language deficiencies in the signing of contracts and agreements, often cheating the Indians.
The Acoma Pueblo of New Mexico came to accept the Bibos as honest and fair. Solomon had learned their language and, with their permission, he became their spokesperson in a land dispute with a neighboring tribe.
The disputed survey would give the Acoma people less land than they felt they historically owned.
Letters to the Department of the Interior by Solomon and his brother Simon resulted in the victory of a second survey being taken, but in the end the agency ruled against the Acomas.
The Acomas were disappointed to have lost their case, but they appreciated the Bibos’ effort to win their case.
Solomon Bibo endeared himself even further when he announced his forthcoming marriage to Juana Valle, the granddaughter of a former Acoma governor.
No rabbi was to be found in the New Mexico Territory so two weddings took place.
The first wedding was a traditional Indian ceremony supervised by a Catholic priest, automatically making Solomon a member of the tribe.
The second ceremony, four months later, was before a JP. Juana had renounced her Catholic faith and converted to Judaism.
That same year, 1885, Solomon Bibo was elected by the Acoma Indians as their governor (the equivalent of chief) and was re-elected three more times for eight straight years.
The highlight of Governor Bibo’s leadership was his overseeing of the installation of the federal government’s mandated educational system for the Pueblo’s children.
Showing support for the educational initiative, Bibo turned one of his buildings into a school for the educators’ use until the new school under construction was completed.
In supporting the new educational program, Bibo soon ran into opposition by parents who complained that their children were being taught to give up traditional tribal beliefs. So Solomon began to feel unwelcome as a supporter of the government’s program.
In 1889, after his governorship was over, Solomon decided it would be a good time to move his family to San Francisco, where his businesses were expanding and his children could get a Jewish education.
Solomon would make occasional return visits, but the era of the Jewish Indian Chief had passed, a most unusual but proud chapter in America’s Jewish pioneer history.

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Wisdom from variety of voices

Posted on 06 July 2017 by admin

This week: words of wisdom culled from a wide variety of sources that stretch from medieval times to today. “Wising up” can even be fun! So here we go …
Let’s start with one of recent history’s most famous, influential men: Albert Einstein. Did you know he also had a sharp sense of humor? Try this, from the theoretical physicist who appears here as a pop philosopher: “The devil has put a penalty on all the things we enjoy in life. Either we suffer in health, or we suffer in soul, or we get fat!” Who would have expected that?
This bit is from Kahlil Gibran, a true pop icon about a half-century ago, with soulful writings that often found their way into wedding ceremonies. People called him “The Prophet” and thought he was from ancient days, but not so unless you consider the late 19th century to be “ancient.” Here’s a sample to ponder: “When life speaks, all the winds become words, and when she speaks again, the smiles upon your lips and the tears in your eyes turn into words…”
Way back in the 16th century, Dominican priest Giordano Bruno was already something of a forward-looking scientist; he believed that “Every human thought, like every speck of nature, is connected to all other things…human thought resembles the structure of the natural world…”
Now, moving into much more modern times, we encounter Bill Clinton, who as he was growing older recommended this: “Never waste a day wishing you could do what you can’t do any more.” Do you think all former presidents wasted, or still waste, time like that? A well-known non-president, Martin Luther King, Jr., also thought practically rather than philosophically when he said something about Americans that every one of us should be taking seriously today: “We all arrived on different ships. But we’re in the same boat now…”
The following quote was chosen to end a long obituary, written as a letter to a much-beloved woman and signed by “Your Adoring Family.” These are words of the great, remarkable Helen Keller: “That which we once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us.”
I haven’t (yet) been able to properly verify the source of this quote, but the writer is, or was, a religious Catholic, and I wish more people agreed with him: “There is a strong connection between Jews and Christians…Catholics and all Christians tend to forget the fact that Jesus was Jewish. This is a part of our heritage that’s been lost, and has to be regained.”
Let’s move once more far, far back into the past, to learn from the 13th-century mystic poet, Jalaladin Rumi, how to be a truly human being: “Be a lamp, be a lifeboat, be a ladder. Walk out of your house like a shepherd, and help someone’s soul heal…”
This amazing lesson was left by the late comedian Gilda Radner, quite serious at the close of her too-short life: “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it — without knowing what’s going to happen next…”
Our own Ben-Tzion Spitz, former chief rabbi of Uruguay, recently applied the practicality of long-gone but certainly not forgotten novelist Henry Miller to today, using this quote in one of his weekly Torah Shorts: “There is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy…”
And finally: “I learned a lot,” a bat mitzvah father’s friend said, “when Phil stood on the bima and told his daughter that he had no material wealth to give her, but that he has given her the culture and background of his people, which he hopes will shape her life.” Wisdom for us all!

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