What’s nu? January 2023 | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

What’s nu? January 2023

Madison tops Ramah College Network 

The University of Wisconsin Madison is one of 11 “top Ramah colleges,” according to a ranking released by Reset Ramah, an affiliate of the Conservative movement. 

Camp Ramah is the camping arm of Conservative Judaism, and the colleges were ranked by the number of students enrolled at a school after serving the prior summer as Ramah staff. Madison had 21 for 2022. At the top of the pack were Queens University in Ontario, Canada, with 29, followed by University of Maryland, College Park with 27. 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign didn’t make the “top” list, with 12. 

The Ramah College Network brings together college-aged Ramah alumni to connect, celebrate Shabbat and holidays, and reminisce about their summers at camp. Since the beginning of the fall 2017 semester, Ramah College Network programs have engaged thousands of students on over 27 campuses, according to a news release.  

Ramah College Network student coordinators plan events on their campuses throughout the academic year for Ramah alumni and extended friends of Ramah. Coordinators include Camp Ramah Wisconsin alumni Rocky Cohen, Washington University in St. Louis, and Lena Bromberg, Muhlenberg College. 

Church-synagogue Thanksgiving 

Congregation Shalom, Fox Point, last month held its 67th Interfaith Thanksgiving service, with the North Shore Presbyterian Church.   

A photo shows Rev. Nicole Melara, with Assistant Rabbi Taylor Poslosky and Rabbi Noah Chertkoff, performing the priestly benediction.   

Melara is the church’s interim pastor.   

Rev. Nicole Melara, with Assistant Rabbi Taylor Poslosky and Rabbi Noah Chertkoff, performing the priestly benediction.

Winter coats sought for asylum seekers 

Never Again Action Wisconsin, a Jewish activist group, is partnering with Voces de la Frontera to help asylum seekers. 

“As has happened in larger cities like New York and Chicago, refugees from Central and South America are being bussed to Wisconsin from Texas,” said Geoff Adelsberg, an organizer with Never Again Action Wisconsin “These refugees arrive without contacts in the area, and without the necessary supplies, including warm outerwear.” 

Never Again Action Wisconsin is seeking new or gently used coats for new arrivals. Drop off the coats now at Voces de la Frontera, 1027 S. 5th Street, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to Never Again Action Wisconsin.   

Never Again Action Wisconsin is affiliated with the national Never Again Action, which describes itself as Jewish-led mobilization against the persecution, detention and deportation of immigrants in the United States.   

For questions or porch pick-up, email Never Again Action Wisconsin at neveragainactionwi@gmail.com. 

Jewish Family Services to add more housing 

Milwaukee County and the Community Development Alliance have awarded a $2 million grant to Jewish Family Services, to assist with providing affordable housing.  

Jewish Family Services reports this starts it on a path to creating more affordable housing in Brown Deer. 

Plans call for 56 units, with 14 reserved for those with disabilities, to be built adjacent to the existing Jewish Family Services affordable housing site of 210 units at Bradley Crossing. 

“JFS is proud to partner with Milwaukee County and the Community Development Alliance to develop affordable housing in the Milwaukee County suburbs,” said John Yopps, president and CEO of Jewish Family Services, in a news release. “We know that stable housing is the foundation of health and well-being for all people. For years, JFS has provided a wide range of community-based social services in Milwaukee County. Our model of affordable housing with on-site supportive services will provide persons with and without disabilities an opportunity to thrive in a beautiful new housing community.” 

The $2 million is a federal American Rescue Plan Act grant. 

Note issued on pope’s statement 

The pope indicated in an interview that there were essentially four kinds of Jews during the time of Jesus, prompting a leader at the Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, Hales Corners, to issue a Dec. 2 statement indicating that first century Judaism may have been broader.  

The Pope spoke about Jesus and first century Judaism in a way that led to some conversation on discussion boards for scholars, according to Jon M. Sweeney, interim director at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, the Hales Corners institution that trains the Catholic leaders of tomorrow.  

“Jesus had four possibilities: either to be a Pharisee, or to be a Sadducee, or to be an Essene, or to be a Zealot,” the pope said in a Nov. 28 interview with “America: The Jesuit Review.” Scholars say these were different kinds of Jewish sects at the time. 

The Second Jewish Temple, model in the Israel Museum. Second Temple Judaism may have been broader than indicated in an interview with the pope. Wikipedia photo.

“These were the four parties, the four options at that time… Jesus went beyond all this by proposing the Beatitudes, which are also something different,” said Pope Francis. 

In response, Sweeny provided information from Malka Z. Simkovich, Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Simkovich argues that the vast majority of Jews in the late first century were not active participants in a sect and practiced common Judaism. 

Simkovich will be visiting the Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, Sunday, March 26, 3 p.m., as a spring lecturer, and her topic will be “Jewish Sects in the New Testament.”  

“Jesus’ interactions with Pharisees and Sadducees can give the impression that Jewish leadership in the first century was dominated by sectarian groups that competed with one another for authority,” reads a description of the talk. “In fact, the authors of the New Testament provide little context regarding the core ideas and practices that made these groups distinctive from one another and from non-sectarian Jewish life. We will explore early Jewish literature outside the New Testament to gain insight on what these groups stood for and how they interacted with the broader world of late Second Temple Judaism.” 

Register at shsst.edu/lux-events.