CAS holds ritual burial for worn-out sacred objects
On Sunday, Nov. 14, students and adults of all ages from Congregation Ahavath Sholom joined Rabbi Gary Perras at the congregation’s cemetery in order to bury their old and worn-out ritual objects. Holy objects which have become worn and unusable are disposed of by burial in a sacred place, usually a Jewish cemetery. The place where these objects have been hidden away is called a genizah.
The experience began with a brief explanation from the rabbi and responsive reading led by Brian Kaye and Shayna Kisin students from the fifth-grade religious-school class. It was moving to see the children sitting next to their parents and grandparents, absorbed in the concept of showing respect to holy objects. In America, old prayer shawls are usually not buried, but saved by the chevra kadishah (Jewish burial society) for those Jewish men in the community who don’t have their own tallit. It should be noted that at different times and in different places, pious Jews would be buried with sacred books. After the lesson in the Kornbleet Chapel everyone went outside to say goodbye to their friends: the holy books and papers. The children especially were excited to participate in depositing the old scrolls, Chumashim and prayer books into the deep hole. After the burial, the older students and members went back to the chapel for a lesson in Jewish burial and the grieving process while the younger members returned to the shul for the rest of their lessons. Most of the participants, both young and old, agreed that it was a unique and memorable experience that most had never before experienced in their lives.
Dr. Ronald Flowers gives ‘Daytimers’ a school lesson
An overflow crowd came to “Daytimers” to hear Dr. Ronald B. Flowers, emeritus professor of religion at Texas Christian University, talk about “Going to School — with the State Board of Education.”
He explained how the religious right planned as early as the 1980s to take over local elected offices, and how the State School Board came to be populated with a majority of conservatives bent on putting their own spin on what is included in the textbooks of Texas. Issues that they especially targeted were the teaching of evolution, the role of Christianity in the founding of our republic and the teaching of the Christian Bible in public schools. He particularly remarked how they had, several times, overturned the recommendations of teachers’ panels on the curriculum needs of the students. He strongly recommended that interested persons check with the Texas Freedom Network, which follows the work of the State School Board closely.
More than 20 years ago Dr. Flowers spoke at the national convention of the National Council on Religion and Public Education on the subject of “They Got Our Attention, Didn’t They?: The Tennessee and Alabama School Book Cases,” so he has long been an expert in this field. The attentive audience questioned him on possible court cases and what effect their decisions will have on textbooks throughout the nation.
Dr. Flowers has a popular following in the community, and a dozen members of the West Side Unitarian Church came to hear him.
Emcee for the day was Irv Robinson, and Dr. Flowers was introduced by Len Schweitzer. Roz Rosenthal and Rosanne Margolis greeted guests at the door. Newcomers to the community, Shana and Yale Gancherov, were introduced.
Next event for the “Daytimers” will be a musical film, “Dudu Fisher in Concert from Israel,” Wednesday, Dec. 15, at noon, at Beth-El Synagogue. Fisher, who played the role of Jean Valjean in “Le Miz,” will do several songs from the show, in addition to favorites in Hebrew, Yiddish and even Ladino.
For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Irv Robinson, 817-731-7447, or checks can be mailed to Daytimers, Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109.
The Sylvia Wolens “Daytimers” is a program of Beth-El Congregation with financial support from the Jewish Federation.
‘Chanukah Cookie Craziness’
Girls ages 4–11, join the girls of Alton Silver BBG for a “Chanukah Cookie Craziness” afternoon of cookie decorating, games and Chanukah surprises! This fun event will take place Sunday, Nov. 28, from 2 to 4 p.m., at Emily Englander’s home, 1300 Washington Terrace, Fort Worth. Parents, enjoy the free time to shop for Chanukah on your own. The teens will be in charge of all the fun, and there will be adult supervision. Space is limited to the first 15 girls. For more information, please contact the Tarrant County Jewish Federation, 817-569-0892 or firstname.lastname@example.org.