Bar Mitzvah project raises $920
For his bar mitzvah project, Noah Sulman organized a fundraiser to donate books to Children’s Wisconsin. “The reason why I chose this project is because I wanted to help people feel happy and safe in the hospital,” he said. Noah raised $920, surpassing his own expectations.
His synagogue, Congregation Emanu-El in Waukesha, helped him raise money for the project. Then, he picked out books from a local bookstore, Books & Company, to deliver to the hospital and clinics.
Noah selected books that represented social diversity, including books in Spanish, books featuring Black and Native American people, and books about gender equality.
“I learned several things from this project,” he said. First, “giving to others in need is very helpful.” Second, “organization is crucial.” Lastly, “it is important to pick things that are valuable to those to whom you are donating.”
–Hannah Rose Mayer
Cantors of Wisconsin to hold Purim for hunger
A “Cantors & Friends Purim Party,” which will be fundraising for the Hunger Task Force, will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21.
This is a follow-up to a Chanukah concert offered in December.
‘We are focusing on the concept of matanot l’evyonim, or gifts to those in need,” said Cantor David Barash, who is an organizer for the group. “We are adding this other dimension to the concert.”
People who “attend” the virtual event may donate to the Hunger Task Force at HungerTaskForce.org/Give/Cantors-Friends-Purim-Party.
The family–friendly event is to include songs like “Haman Calypso,” “I like hamentashen,” “You Can Change the World,” and “Boo-Hamian Rhapsody.”
The Cantors of Wisconsin are Barash, Jerry Berkowitz, Karen Berman, David Blumberg, Enid Bootzin Berkovits, Marsha Fensin, Nancy Gorens-Edelman, Deborah Martin, Jacob Neimi, Richard Newman, David Perper, Michele Rozansky, Brian Serle, Jeremy Stein and Faith Steinsnyder. Most are to participate. Rabbi and Cantor Brian Serle, of La Crosse, is a recent addition to the group.
Most members of Cantors of Wisconsin are to participate in the event, which is to have cantors singing songs individually, handing off to one another.
To attend the ‘Cantors & Friends’ Purim party: https://bit.ly/CantorsFriendsPurimParty
One person’s COVID-19 story: Trudy Farber
Torah Academy of Milwaukee Administrator Trudy Farber is a living example of what many in Milwaukee and around the world have endured – she had COVID-19. She is recovered and back at work.
“I got sick the week before Rosh Hashanah,” Farber said. “I was just so exhausted. I don’t remember much.”
She was not hospitalized. For the first few days, she was able to work from home while sick, but then she couldn’t work at all because of the severity of her symptoms. She returned to the workplace after about five weeks. Upon returning to work, she was able to work a few hours per day, but then would get “foggy.” Now, she said, she’s fine.
Manitowoc congregation is shutting down
In 2016, when Manitowoc’s Anshe Poale Zedek congregation sold its synagogue building, there were media reports that it was “closing its doors,” but the congregation did not disband. It moved into a nearby chapel at a First Presbyterian Church complex.
Now, Anshe Poale Zedek really is closing its doors.
“It’s devastating. It hurts me very much, to have to make the final decision. But I’m not the only one,” said Manitowoc’s last synagogue president, Willian Schwartz. Manitowoc’s first synagogue was established in 1860, he said.
The congregation voted to shut itself down in December. The final services are slated for March 27.
“The pandemic is the big reason. The attendance of members. So far it has been either myself or another member who comes to services,” Schwartz said. “We would have eight or nine members that usually come but with the pandemic we have two or three that show up.”
People say the pandemic could be over in six months, but what if it’s another six months after that, then more after that? Schwartz said he doesn’t think it makes sense to wait that out. The synagogue has cash on hand, and rather than squander it on keeping itself open for a small and aging membership, he’d prefer to donate it for other Jewish needs.
“We don’t want to waste the money foolishly,” he said.
He said he and others will attend Beth El Congregation in Sheboygan, which is about 35 minutes to the south of the former Anshe Poale Zedek building. At some point, he hopes to have a carpool to Sheboygan.
Sinai hosts monthly discussion with Israeli shul
About 25 people from Congregation Sinai in Fox Point and Emet veShalom in Nahariya, Israel, are connecting on a monthly basis through Zoom to discuss coping with uncertainty.
The group reads and discusses, in English, Jewish texts relating to the theme “ ‘I just don’t know!’ – Dealing with (and Embracing) Uncertainty.”
In addition to sharing their interpretations of Jewish texts, participants have also gotten to know each other on a personal level, said Rabbi David Cohen, who leads the group.
“A goal of the class was to have Jews in Israel and Jews in Milwaukee forge a connection,” Cohen said. “We’ve tried to gain some understanding of each other’s lives.”
The group has discussed topics from the pandemic, to politics, to antisemitism, Cohen said.
In January, the group changed the usual structure of their call for one of the members of Emet veShalom to share her experience going blind. It was the first time she had spoken about it in English.
“There’s a certain amount of trust that’s built up in the group,” Cohen said. “It was really moving.”
Congregation Sinai has had a relationship with Emet veShalom for about 23 years, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that they had the momentum to create an online discussion group, Cohen said. They’ve been meeting monthly since December.
“This is the first time we’ve taken full advantage of what technology affords,” Cohen said. “People are very much enjoying it.”
The group is free for members of Congregation Sinai.
– Hannah Feuer
Tapestry season to focus on Broadway
The JCC’s Tapestry program will focus on Broadway this year, with events such as a Broadway-oriented jazz concert.
“Tapestry: Arts & Ideas from the JCC” is a program of the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center. It seeks to serve as a central hub for building community through the arts in Milwaukee.
From January to June, the season will offer virtual access to performances, author events, films, and classes, some with curbside pickup options to enhance the experience. Most programs offer a la carte pricing for tickets. Season tickets are $180 for members or $220 for the community.
Visit JccMilwaukee.org/Programs/Art-Ideas or JewishChronicle.org for more information.
Rabbi Kalmar offers class based on Rabbi Sacks
Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah, a Glendale congregation, is offering a series of standalone classes called “Ten Paths to God.”
The class is to be led by Rabbi Wes Kalmar, based on the teachings of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, z’tl. Sacks served as the chief rabbi for a key association of synagogues in the United Kingdom. The classes will be at 8 p.m. on the following Saturdays:
- Feb. 6 –The Way of Study: Listening to God
- Feb. 13– The Way of Mitzvot: Responding to God
- Feb. 20 – The Way of Tzedakah: Love as Justice
- Feb. 27– The Way of Chessed: Love as Compassion
- March 6 – The Way of Faith: Love as Loyalty
- March 13 – The Way of Israel: The Jewish Land
- April 11 – The Way of Kiddush Hashem: The Jewish Task
- April 18 – The Way of Responsibility: The Jewish Future
For Zoom information email: AsktShul@gmail.com