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Like Minds Marrying in 2014

September 19, 2014 by Rabbi Claire Ginsburg Goldstein   Comments (0)

interfaith marriages work, right choices, clarifying choices, choosing the right religion

I have just begun performing interfaith marriages. I have been surprised, in a good way, by the people who have sought me out and I will tell you why. I am all for continuing on in our faith and preserving our culture. I think that for those of our people who are not going to observe being Jewish in an Orthodox way, intermarriage offers a positive choice for many people. I would never have said this a few years ago but I have noticed several of the people who I have met are genuinely enthusiastic about supporting our faith and living a Jewish life style. For whatever reasons, the non-Jewish partner has not converted according to the Orthodox way or not converted. Yet, many claim to know more about being Jewish than many Jews do and know. I have seen this time and time again. I have married several who are all for forgoing on their past religions and observing what they can of the Jewish faith. It might be buying challah on Friday afternoon to observing Rosh Hashanah besides Passover or Chanukah. It might be not observing but not observing Christian holiday observances. There are many people out there who have embraced living Jewish in their own ways. One man told me that he has lived with Jews now over 35 years and feels more oonnected to Judaism than he does to his religion. One woman began to convert but was turned off by the Rabbi who was teaching her. She stopped learning but she didn't stop practicing. She is waiting for the right Rabbi to come along. One young man told me that he would do whatever his wife wants Jewishly.
There are those who tell one another that they will figure it out when their children begin to come of age. I worry about the children. I don't think that it is fair to expect children to choose at such a young age what religion will fit them the best. What happens is a Jewish-Catholic version of living that has taken over where all holidays get observed and no one knows why. It resembles a Messianic Jewish lifestyle and that is not what these couples are saying that they want. They know what they don't want. They just don't know what they want exactly.
I am hoping to teach these couples as I meet more of them that there is a Jewish way to figure this out. Our tradition teaches us how to live, if we just give it a chance. In this week's Torah portion we learn that Moses taught us. Joshua taught us. It is up to us.
What we may want in life fits us know, but what about in ten or twenty years from now? It seems to me that we need more people to step up like the ones that I have met and define what living Jewish means to each of them and how we can make these interfaith marriages work. I know that they can work. I have seen it. It is trying to help this younger generation see what they need to clarify and need a vision of what their religious life will look like in the future, when life changes.
I am here to assist those couples who may be struggling with making their future choices. I have now met those who have made it work. I can share from those like minded people's experiences.

Metal roofing: pros and cons

May 22, 2014 by luwehazcu   Comments (0)

metal roofing, roofing contractor, roofing materials, roof replacement, reroofing, roofing company, roof installation

Deciding on your next roof can be extremely difficult. That is because it is a decision you will probably have to live with for many years to come. Also, there is a lot of factors to keep in mind when deciding on a roofing material. First there is the cost you have to keep in mind; prices can vary widely from one roofing material to the next. Then there is the question of how long you want your new roof to last. Asphalt shingles might last 20 years but other roofing options can last a lifetime. Then there is the question of maintaining your roof over the years. Finally, you cannot ignore the aesthetic qualities of a roofing choice. Each material has its own distinct look.

Let us look at one roofing material you probably overlooked: metal roofing.


Metal roofing is growing in popularity across the nation. And for good reason. There are a lot of advantages to a metal roof. Here are a few of them

*Longevity. A properly installed metal roof can last up to fifty years, about twice as long as an asphalt shingle roof

*Maintenance free. Metal roofing is the most low maintenance roof you can have installed. Metal is impervious to anything short of golf ball sized hail and tornadoes. A protective coating protects the metal roofing from rust. With a metal roof you don not have to worry about mold or damaged shingles

*Style. Believe it or not metal roofing does not have to be the bland sheets of aluminum you might see on some commercial buildings. Metal roofing can be made to look like wood, slate, or even asphalt shingles. In comes in a variety of colors and styles to complement virtually any home


As you might expect of a roof with so many great advantages, the only real con is the price. Expect to pay a lot more for a metal roof than you would for a traditional asphalt shingle roof. If you can afford a metal roof however, it is a great long term investment because you will be benefiting from it for years to come.

Other considerations

Roofers use different techniques when installing different types of roofs. Just because a roofer has a lot of experience installing asphalt shingle roofs or tile roofs does not mean that roofer has the experience and training to install a metal roof. Make sure you choose the right contractor for the job. Finally, if you belong to a homeowners association, make sure a metal roof is allowed.

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University Teaching

May 7, 2014 by ravsandy   Comments (0)

Judaic Studies, University of Central Florida, Hebrew Language and Culture

In the 2014 Spring semester I taught two courses in Hebrew Language and Culture at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando. I had Jewish, Christian and other non-Jewish students in my classes. In the 2014 Fall semester I will be teaching three courses in Hebrew Language and Culture at UCF. You can read about these courses and other Judaic Studies offerings at

My Pesakh Seder

April 23, 2014 by REB ALIZA ERBER   Comments (0)

To all who have a Passover Seder:
Well I finally passed on the preparations for a Seder to my adult children. Both daughters are in Interfaith marriages and I always had the Seder at my home. So, my daughter Lori volunteered to shift the entire evening to her apartment in Manhattan. Now Lori, director and screen writer of the film 'A Place At The Table' is married to 'Top Chef' Tom Colicchio. Tom prepared the Pesakh feast for us and it was the most remarkable meal. I wish you could have all been there:-)
Rabbi Aliza

The Cold War Reversal

April 12, 2014 by Roxann   Comments (0)

I recently read an article by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn in his monthly magazine -"Sapphires". This particular piece caused me great despair in my spirit, as it shined a light on a certain kind of 'role reversal' which has taken place in our cultures and society's both here in the U.S. and of course, world wide.
He noted a recent address that was given by President Vladimir Putin, and it was given at a state of the union address. This is what it said:"Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation."The former KGB officer spoke of Russia as a staunch defender of "traditional values" against the moral bankruptcy of the West. Putin pointed to social conservative values and religious conservative values as the force needed to prevent the world from descending into "chaotic darkness." Along these lines, Russia adopted a law banning "homosexual propaganda" and another that makes it a criminal offense to insult the religious sensibilities of believers -- actions which have been condemned in the West.Putin's words were echoed by Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow, leader of the Orthodox Church. Patriarch Kirill accused Western nations of fostering the 'spiritual disarmament' of their people. Kirill criticized the laws of several European nations that ban believers from displaying religious symbols, including crosses, on their necklaces at work. In an address on Russian television, the patriarch spoke of the underlying thrust of Western culture:rn"The general political direction of the [Western political] elite bears, without doubt, an anti-Christian and anti-religious character....We have been through an epoch of atheism, and we know what it is to live without God... We want to shout to the world, 'Stop!'"
You might get a similar feeling of dread too, after reading this? I mean, I, as an American Christian, am all too aware of the condition of our country, and one would have to be dead not to see the way life has taken a deadly turn over these last couple of decades.. I just never had it put to me so bluntly.
This is when I really felt a shift in the direction of my heart. I must make a change, first in my own life, and then my family's. I am desperate. I will do whatever it takes to change the course we are on, God help us.


March 27, 2014 by Rabbi Rizzolo   Comments (0)

Rabbi Rizzolo received his ordination, Semikhah, from Esoteric Theological Seminary in Gainesville, State of Florida, United States. He Is an independent Rabbi in USA and Europe.

Gemilut Chasadim

March 10, 2014 by Ilene Mogavero   Comments (0)

hebrew school, Gemilut Chasadim, tzedakah, Tikun Olam

A Word from Dori Stern, Education Director

At the Sunday School for Jewish Studies we teach our students that people should be more concerned with how we treat our fellow human beings than with strict ritual observances. Educating our students about the rituals and observances of Judaism is critical, but we also emphasize the importance of kindness, respect and compassion, concepts that are a significant portion of the essence of Torah and Judaism.

We all know the meaning of tzedakah, the giving of charity, but there also exists a wider scope of charitable activity called gemilut chasadim - acts of caring and responsibility. The differences between tzedakah and gemilut chasadim lie in a couple of areas. Tzedakah is carried out by giving money, whereas gemilut chasadim involves giving of one's person, for example by a kindly word or a pat on the shoulder or by generally offering words of comfort and consolation. Tzedakah is usually directed towards the poor, whereas gemilut chasadim involves the expression of goodwill to all, rich or poor, healthy or sick, successful or to those who fall short of success. Tzedakah is a part of gemilut chasadim and gemilut chasadim is a part of the Jewish effort to "repair the world" (tikun olam).

Each of our classes is responsible for a gemilut chasadim activity. Projects vary from class to class. The following are a few samples of activities that your children might be engaged with in his or her class:

In Ms. Gerber's class, students are bringing in new/gently used books for a book drive helping out Read Boston. Closer to Passover they will be doing a matzah collection for Family Table.

In Ms. Lapuck's class students will be creating Passover decorations and sending them to Hebrew Senior Life.

Ms. Smith's class is the "go to" class in raising funds to plant trees in Israel. Ms. Smith's students have collected money from all classes and have been responsible for planting 11 trees in honor of The Sunday School.

Ms. Scolnick's class made tzedakah boxes at the beginning of the year and have collected a lot of tzedakah. They will be having an in depth discussion (third grade style) about where to send their tzedakah.

Mr. Heller's class has been responsible for the two "Healthy Snack" sales we have had this year. Sixth graders chose the Make A Wish Foundation to be the recipients of their tzedakah efforts.

Ms. Yanofsky's class have agreed to do extra chores around their homes for a quarter. They then bring their quarters to class and purchase cereal that they will donate to the Boston Food Bank.

Along with the efforts above go the frequent classroom discussions about kindness, and the need for us all to lend a hand in repairing the world.

The doing of gemilut chasidim, is supposed to come from within, from the compassionate heart. It is not supposed to be imposed from without, nor does it come from a sense of duty. Gemilut chasidim is what must be done to "repair the world." As the old Jewish saying has it: "Charity awaits the cry of distress. Benevolence anticipates the cry of distress." Learning to have a compassionate heart, comes from parents, teachers, schools and community. We believe this to be such a fundamental Jewish value that we have incorporated it into our Sunday School curriculum.

You can see my work on youtube

March 4, 2014 by Mitchell Kowitz   Comments (0)

Go to youtube and type in Cantor Mitch to see and hear over 20 videos

Congregation Beit Chaverim of Calvert County - Trip to Washington Hebrew and Adas Israel

January 7, 2014 by Rabbi Arnold Saltzman   Comments (0)

Congregation Beit Chaverim of Calvert, Maryland visits Washington Synagogue and Temple

Sunday January 12, 2014

Congregation Beit Chaverim religious school students and parents will visit the Washington Hebrew Congregation to see the 'Voices of the VIgil' photographic exhibit of the Vigil and struggle for Soviet Jewry. There is a history of the vigil and it includes a photo of me conducting a choir across from the Soviet Embassy. The photo was originally in the Washington Post and is now part of the Jewish Historical Society collection. The poster for the vigil includes one of the photos I took during those years to document what we were doing. A collection of my photos and description of those years was given to the Historical Society for their archives.

Our students will read through the exhibit and and think about the importance of these events: How many years did they go on? Who participated? What was the role of our government in opening up emigration?
Did the Vigil effect our government's actions? Who protested? What did they look like? Did other religious groups participate? How many people have emigrated since then? To Israel? Elsewhere? What was the Jackson-Vanik Ammendment?

About the Washington Hebrew Congregation - Its history; tour the building; Sanctuary and Chapel; What is the Reform Moevement? What did you like most? Would you join a congregation like this if you lived in the city?

Coming from communities where there no synagogue buildings, we have taken the view of a school without walls, by visiting a number of congregations and learning from other communities.

These visits are a follow up to our visit to 6th and Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC

Part II: Visit Adas Israel - Review the history; Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke here; What is synagogue architecture? How is this different from Washington Hebrew? What is Conservative Judaism? Would you join Adas if you lived in the city? What should a synagogue accomplish during a year?

Leaving your infant at home? How to work best with your nanny

September 17, 2013 by Roger Bravo   Comments (0)

Nobody likes leaving their precious bundle of joy with a stranger but there are times when we don’t have an option. The lucky among us have loving family members who can babysit for us, but the vast majority of women in big urban centers don’t have that luxury. We need to hire nannies, which comes with its own set of problems.

It need not be all that problematic though. Start with hiring well, and stay on top of a fast-changing scenario with the following tips.

(*We know nannies could be male or female but for the sake of this post and to keep matters simple, we will refer to them as she.)

Non-negotiable traits in a nanny

• Dependability

She should always be on time (unless in case of a personal emergency that we assume won’t come calling too often). She should know her job well and be reliable.

• A cheerful demeanor

Nobody should put up with a sulking face looking after their kids, especially if you are paying them. Nannies as a rule should not just be good with children but love being around them. Watch her body language around your baby. Do her eyes light up kind and happy?

• An impressive background

Do a background check on her. Cross-check the references, and only hire from agencies you trust.

• Quick on her feet

Since being a nanny is all about being in charge of a situation, you need a person who is a quick thinker. Gauge the nanny’s present-mindedness by running a few hypothetical scenarios past her.

How to work best with your nanny

• Make the nanny feel welcome

Treat her as a well-meaning friend than hired help. Tell her you are available whenever she needs you. Leave home with all the important information that your nanny may need. That includes your contact details, list of emergency contacts in case you are not available, their numbers, the contact details of your baby’s doctor.

• Maintain baby’s routine charts

Provide the nanny with a well thought-out and properly presented routine chart of your baby. From the time the baby gets up to its first meal, then progressive nap timings, meal timings, poop timings, the list of toys it likes and are safe to be given to the baby. That’s the best way for the nanny to know your baby’s schedule and work around it.

Ask the nanny to maintain a similar chart herself so you can keep an eye on how your baby is doing.

• Keep the supplies well-stocked

If you want the nanny to use something, it should be handy. Keep the supplies well-stocked and handy. Encourage the nanny to check for bum rash when changing the diapers and accordingly apply a soothing cream.

• Keep checking on the baby every hour

Try to be home as soon as you can but in case you get delayed, keep yourself in the loop about what’s going on at home.

• Regulate your time away from kids

Never leave your infant alone with the nanny for long, regardless of how great she is. Two or three hours, max, especially if your child is less than a year old.

• Invest in electronic surveillance

This need not reek of desperation or paranoia. Purchasing a home security camera system will have many benefits to it if you have young children at home and you are often required to be away. You can keep tabs on what’s going on at home behind your back, which will keep your mind at peace.

If you don’t have the dollars to spend on a proper home security system, turn to home security smartphone apps. Many of them give you all the basic benefits of a full-fledged system at little to no cost. You will be able to remotely monitor your home, your children, and your nanny via your smartphone. Look up the laws in your state regarding this, and if you do install the cameras don’t forget to let your nanny know about them.

You need to keep the nanny happy, too.

Dealing with people is always a two-way street. The more considerate you are toward the nanny, the more likely will she be to reciprocate with consideration toward you, your situation, your child, and your family.

• Be punctual

If you want her to be on time, you will have to show the same regard for her time as well. Show up on your scheduled hour and release the nanny on time.

• Be structured and communicate clearly

Create a structure for yourself and for the nanny and stick to it. Be upfront about your expectations of her and make sure the nanny understands her duties well. The clearer you are in this respect, the lesser scope there will be for misunderstandings.

• Pay her on time

It drives us mad if our salaries at work are even slightly delayed. Why should the nanny react any differently? You keep your end of the bargain and she’ll keep hers.

• Check if you have trust issues

We understand it is normal for new mothers to feel anxious about leaving their children in the care of a stranger, but you don’t have to make that very obvious. Trust is of paramount importance in the mother-nanny relationship. If you absolutely cannot trust your child with anybody, we suggest don’t leave him or her alone in the first place. Take time off, as much as is necessary, and be there for them all the time.