UUJA at General Assembly 2018

Visit us at our booth, # 418, in the Exhibition Hall!
Join us Friday morning in the Exhibition Hall at 10:45 to find out how Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons’ new book No Other Gods reclaims the Ten Commandments as political resistance. The author will be present, and can sign your copy of her book, available at the UUA Bookstore. Come to our booth for directions to the event.
Our popular Shabbat service will be held in Room 2103B. Service begins at 7 pm, Friday, followed by wine, challah and networking.
Join us Saturday at 3:00 in Room 2102B for discussion on how to include meaningful Jewish celebrations in congregational life and worship. We’ll explore an inclusive approach that appeals to UUs with a Jewish heritage and feel the absence of their tradition in our typical worship services, closing with a Havdalah service.

Latest News

Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I care for myself only, what am I? And if not now, when?" Hillel, Pirke Avot.
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Just a reminder during Hannukah this year, UUJA has quite a few resources available. Please be sure to use appropriately and cite your source. http://uuja.org/?page_id=28
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
“Imagine your cell phone is at 6% and it lasts 8 days -
That’s Hanukkah”
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
I found this to be an interesting article
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Rabbi Michael Lerner's Beyt Tikkun synagogue-without-walls is calling on Jews and our non-Jewish allies to take an act of solidarity with the murdered Jews, their families, and all those who have been troubled and scared by the massacre of 11 Jews in Pittsburgh. Remembering the way that the Danish people during the second world war took an act of solidarity by wearing a yellow star to be in solidarity with Jews who were being rounded up by the Nazis to be sent to death camps, we are suggesting that all those non-Jews AND Jews put on a kippah/yarmulke (or some other form of head covering) for the 30 days of mourning, which would end at dark on November 22nd (which happens to be Thanksgiving, a good day to have that attire on as a way of raising the issue of what needs to happen to challenge anti-Semitism and all other forms of hate, particularly against African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, gays and lesbians, and immigrants). Of course, people will ask you why you are doing that, and you can then tell them about your opposition to anti-Semitism and every other form of "othering." If you are interested in doing this and want something to read on Thanksgiving to explain to others why you are doing this, send that request to chris.tikkun@gmail.com. A kippah/yarmulke is worn by religious Jews (according to one tradition) as a symbol of humility, as though signaling that our ego ends right here at the top of our heads, and doesn't extend further into the world. Think of it also as an anti-Trump arrogance and narcissistic grandeur.

Book Review – “Anne Frank and the Remembering Tree”

Teaching without Terrifying: Younger Children and the Holocaust

By Rev.Marti Keller

Memoirist Deborah Feldman, who walked away from her Hasidic upbringing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as a young adult, has been on an exodus to discover who she is as a Jewish person now that she has rejected her ultra-Orthodox roots. Part of her journey was a trip through Europe retracing her grandmother’s life during the Holocaust, including time in a concentration camp.

At the Holocaust museum in Berlin, she wandered into one room where there was an explanation of death camps: what they were, how they were run. While she was there, she saw a little boy of around seven in an audio booth with headphones listening to an explanation of how millions of Jews were transported to and processed for their deaths in the Auschwitz gas chambers during World War 11.

In her book Exodus, she wrote, “You shouldn’t be here I wanted to say. You are too young.” Upon further reflection, she observed that there really was such a thing as a small child who needed to be educated about those death camps in order to grow up to be a decent human being.

For a non-Jewish German child, this was the expressed reason for such early and explicit teaching on ethnic hatred and its too often horrifying consequences

For contemporary Jewish parents and their children, as Tablet magazine religion columnist Marjorie Ingall wrote in a column on Holocaust books,  seemingly disregarding what happened 75 years ago ( and for centuries before) because we wish them to be carefree and happy is simply an impossibility.

Really? She asks. We are Jews with a history that hasn’t been carefree and happy. Our children need to know the darker side of what it has meant to be Jewish for so many years in so many places. If we don’t do the educating about anti-Semitism and about genocide, she reminds us, as it is with sex Ed, someone else will do it for us. Certainly by the time our child is eight years old, we should be doing so in a way that is not too graphic, too terrifying to both caregiver and child.

I don’t recall an intentional conversation with any of my own kids when they were elementary school age, or   knowing about any in their public schools or religious education classes: even while having experienced a petrifying incident as a 10 year old myself. I was thrown against a chain link fence by two female classmates and accused of killing Christ.

It is not a matter of us wanting to forget the Holocaust and the virulent loathing of the Jewish people that undergirded it. Those of us who are self-identified Jewish Unitarian Universalists are more than likely to be aligned with the 73 percent of American Jews who ,when surveyed by the Pew Research Center a couple of years back, said that remembering the Holocaust is essential to their sense of Jewishness. We need appropriate materials, as do all parents, that begin to tell the distressing but very real stories of discrimination and annihilation, to teach our kids about our history, as Marjorie Ingall proposes, without scarring them for life.

In light of the recent horrendous, hate triggered , murderous events in Pakistan, Paris and Nigeria, it is both terribly unfortunate and also fortuitous that our own UU Skinner House press has just published  Anne Frank and the Remembering Tree , a  children’s  book written by well- known Jewish author Sandy Sasso, with enticing illustrations by Erika Steisal. Some of the story of the girl, whose diary was key in exposing the evils of the Holocaust to millions of Jews and non-Jews around the world, is told using a clever and effective narrative device. The now famous horse chestnut tree that Anne could see from the attic of her family’s hiding place from the Nazis describes her life before she was taken away to a camp. What happened there, her death from typhus and the obliteration of all of the others who had hidden in that Secret Annex in Amsterdam is not shared. But the humanness of Anne and her sister Margot in particular, the injustice of their treatment, and the trajectory of hatred are vividly conveyed.

As the parent of three grown children now (and a former UU religious education teacher), I wish this book had been available when my school age children were beginning to be aware of the Holocaust and other genocides. This is a book to be read with our children, or by our children, and certainly in group settings where the story of Anne and her family, and of the chestnut tree whose saplings are now planted  in so many places in remembrance and in hope is unfortunately too much needed today.

Rev. Marti Keller is a lifelong, self-identified Jewnitarian, was co-editor of Jewish Voices  in Unitarian Universalism and past president of UUJA

Rev. Marti Keller

website www.revmartikeller.com

Interview with Rabbi Marcia Falk

A piece worth sharing from Lilith Magazine.  http://lilith.org/articles/a-womans-tashlich/

 

A Testimonial

Dana Snyder-Grant has given the UUJA permission to share the following testimonial given March 2014 at First Parish in Concord (MA).

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Hello.  My  name is Dana Snyder-Grant.

First Parish has become very precious to me over the last 10 years, and so even though this is scary, I’ve decided to stand up here and talk about four things: being Jewish, being disabled, how Pastoral Care has become a calling, and why First Parish has become a home for me.

I was raised Jewish, and coming to a place many call a church was very scary. First, I felt I was betraying the millions who died because they were Jewish.  I figured that joining a place with deep Christian roots meant I had to leave Judaism behind, or risk rejection.

But that hasn’t been so. First, I can be Jewish and Unitarian Universalist, or, as some call it, Junitarian.  No one here has asked me to give up what it is I value about my upbringing. A few weeks after I started coming here, Margaret Stewart asked me to sing the Chanukah blessings at a service. I love sharing those beautiful melodies.  Soon after, I started the Jewish Awareness affinity group that’s still going on. It’s helped me sort through what Judaism means to me, what I like about it, and what I want to leave behind. And I keep finding this overlap between Judaism and Unitarian Universalism: the natural empathy for the marginalized and downtrodden, the notion that doing what’s right is more important than what you happen to believe, that behind all our diversity, we are one.

I’ve had MS, multiple sclerosis, for more than 30 years. That’s why I look a bit drunk when I walk. Meeting new people is scary because some people like to fit me into a box they have for ‘disabled people’. In all my dealings with First Parish members and staff, you have been welcoming, supportive, and seen me as a person first. (Pause)

Because of my journey with MS, a big part of my social work career has been with people with illness and disability.  After I was invited to talk to the lay ministers about that work, I knew I wanted to be part of their warm, caring circle.  Compared to the counseling I was used to,  pastoral care was more about simply being present with people, using my heart and soul, more than my head.  I know how hard it is to ask for, and accept, help in this culture.  But I’ve learned here that it is a blessing to give and to receive.  Two years ago, I added pastoral singing to my activities, by joining the By Your Side singers, our pastoral care choir.

That’s the most important thing I’m doing in my life.

First  Parish has let me become more myself, by helping me find new ways to express my care, and new confidence that I’m fine just the way I am. I want that miracle to happen for others, and so Jim and I give what we can, with our time and money, and are proud to be members of First Parish.