He doesn’t like to rush.
He doesn’t multitask.
That’s why he feels at home on Shabbat.
Who is it? Coco the sloth. His preference for moving very slowly makes Shabbat (the Jewish day of rest) his favorite day of the week, and by extension, Shababa™ at 92Y his happiest! Even if you don’t celebrate Shabbat, Coco is all about taking a break, slowing down and enjoying the people around you.
If you’ve never met Coco, here’s an introduction:
See more of Coco – and Karina Zilberman – at Shababa™ the Concert on February 5 (and still get home in time for the Super Bowl). And you can pick up a copy of the brand new Shababaland CD (which includes the full version of “Coco’s Song”). Coco is a regular at Shababa™, a warm, inclusive and growing Jewish community that gives families lots of different ways to explore and celebrate Jewish life and culture. Just think how Kristin Bell would react if she ever attended!
This week’s Parshah (Torah Portion), Parshat Bo, mentions the Mitzvah (Commandment) of Kidush Hachodesh, the Mitzvah of sanctifying the month according to the Sefer Hachinuch Mitzvah 4. It can be found in the Torah in Shemot (Exodus) Chapter 12 lines 1 and 2. The mitzvah of Kidush Hachodesh results in us having the Jewish holiday of Rosh Chodesh which marks the first day of the new Hebrew month. The first day of the new month is based on when the new moon comes. All of this forms the basis for the entire Jewish calendar, which all of the Jewish holidays are dependent on.
To truly understand the importance of the holiday of Rosh Chodesh, we need to examine the story of the creation of the moon and the sun in the Torah. The story can be found in Bereishit (Genesis) Chapter 1, lines 14 and 15: God creates two lights that appear to be equal in strength and are responsible for separating day and night, as well as for marking the holidays, days, and years. Though the Torah does not name these lights, we can assume that the light of the night is the moon and the light of the day is the sun. In line 16, the Torah does make a distinction between the lights: God pronounces the light of the day (the sun) to be the greater light and the light of the night (the moon) to be the lesser light.
What causes the change from the apparent equality of the sun and the moon in lines 14-15 to the dominance of the sun in line 16? In Judaism, the moon plays a more dominant role in marking holidays and determining the calendar. Why, then, does God pronounce the sun to be dominant over the moon?
Shababa™ The Concert Is Taking Over The Big Stage!
Shababa™ the Concert is taking over the big stage at 92nd Street Y!
Karina, Rebecca and a live band together with The Shababa™ Mamas and “The Miracle Makers,” a children’s vocal group directed by Rebecca and Mordechai, will perform in Kaufman Concert Hall on February 5! What’s more, the new Shababa™ CD will be released at the hour-long concert. And we’re giving away tickets!
Win 2 tickets to Shababa™ the Concert by visiting the Shababa Facebook page and sharing this poster by using the Facebook “Share” button. Everyone who shares the poster will have a chance at two tickets to Shababa™ the Concert, plus an invitation to the private party with Karina, Rebecca and Coco! Winners will be announced January 31, so get sharing!
The Yosef (Joseph) story begins in Bereishit (Genesis) Chapter 37 and ends at the conclusion of the book of Bereishit. Yosef, the second youngest of Yaakov’s (Jacob’s) twelve sons, is hated by his ten older brothers. They hate him because their father favors Yosef and because of his dreams of becoming their leader. Eventually the dynamics between the brothers and Yosef become so negative that they throw him in a pit, after which he is sold into slavery and ends up in Egypt.
In Egypt, Yosef eventually rises from slavery to become the second most powerful person in Egypt, the Viceroy to the Pharaoh. In that capacity, he prepares Egypt to survive the impending famine he foretold. The famine reaches the land of Canaan and the brothers have to come to Yosef to get food for their family. The brothers do not know that Yosef is the Viceroy of Egypt. When they come before him they do not recognize him. He of course recognizes them.
Finally in Bereishit Chapter 45 Yosef reveals himself to his brothers. When he does this he says in line 3 “Ani Yosef, Ha’od Avi Chai”, “I am Yosef, is my father still alive?” It seems strange that this would be the first question that Yosef would ask his brothers upon revealing himself.
Yosef has been separated from his family for twenty-two years. For nine of those years he has been the Viceroy of Egypt with almost unlimited power. He had every resource in the world to contact his father and yet he made no effort to do so. Why now upon revealing his identity does he suddenly demonstrate such concern for his father in his opening line, “I am Yosef, is my father still alive?”
In this week’s Parsha (Torah Portion), Parshat Miketz, the story of Yoseph (Joseph) that began in last weeks Parsha, Parshat Vayeshev, continues, as does the theme of dreams.
A question that is often asked about the Yoseph stories in the Torah is: what is the nature of Yoseph’s ability to have dreams and interpret them? Are Yoseph’s dreams a message from God? Are they prophetic or just Yoseph’s mind at work? In Freudian terms, are the dreams a manifestation of Yoseph’s subconscious? When Yoseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh, is this simply Yoseph interpreting a dream, perhaps using psychology or God giving over a revelation?
The readings of the stories of Yoseph in the Torah always come in close proximity to Chanukah. Perhaps by looking more closely at Chanukah, we can begin to answer questions about the nature of Yoseph’s dreams and his ability to interpret them. According to the way the story of Chanukah is told in the Talmud, Shabbat 21b, after the Jews were successful in their revolt against the Assyrian-Greeks, they went back to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), to the Beit Hamikdash (The Temple), and they saw that the Beit Hamikdash had been defiled by the Assyrian-Greeks. They purified the Beit Hamikdash and then began to search to find oil to light the Menorah, seven-branched candelabra, which was used in the religious experience of the Beit Hamikdash. They eventually found one container of oil that still had the seal of the Kohain Gadol (High Priest) on it, but there was only enough oil in the flask that was found to last one day. As we know, a miracle happened and the amount of oil that was only supposed to last one day lasted for eight days. As a result, we celebrate Chanukah by lighting the Chanukiah (the special eight-branched Menorah used on Chanukah) for eight days.
The Beit Yosef, a commentator on the Tur, and Shulchan Aruch (two of the most important Jewish Legal Codes) asks an interesting question in Orech Chayim 670. Why is Chanukah eight days long? The miracle of the oil was really seven days, not eight. The Maccabees found one container of oil that was enough for one day. Therefore, Chanukah should be celebrated for seven days, not eight? Seven lights for seven nights, not eight?
Come To Our Annual Hanukkah Lighting Ceremony Today!
A reminder for our friends and neighbors: Join us in our lobby at 4:30pm today, tomorrow and next week for our Annual Hanukkah Lighting ceremony. It really is a great time and Karina and Rebecca know how to sing and have fun! AND… we end the celebration with Hanukkah chocolate gelt candies!
For more Hanukkah fun, you can come to our Hanukkah Dinner with Karina and Rebecca on December 23.
Related: How do re-emerging Jewish communities around the world celebrate Hanukkah? 92nd Street Y Resource Center for Jewish Diversity partner Shavei Israel made an awesome video to show you.
Video: Shavei Israel Celebrates Hanukkah Around The World
How do re-emerging Jewish communities around the world celebrate Hanukkah? 92nd Street Y Resource Center for Jewish Diversity partner Shavei Israel made the awesome video above to show you.
Shavei Israel works with Lost Tribes and Hidden Jewish communities around the world.” Join us now,” they wrote, “as Jews from Spain, Portugal, Russia, Poland, China and India all celebrate Hanukah together. Many faces, one song!”
And on January 10, Michael Freund, founder and chairman of Shavei Israel, will moderate an event at 92Y: The Hidden Jews of the Holocaust: Poland’s Re-emerging Jewish Community. After the fall of the Soviet empire and Poland’s transformation to democracy, a growing number of Poles are rediscovering their families’ concealed Jewish roots, with many choosing to live a full Jewish life and return to the Jewish people. Join members of this re-emerging Jewish community for a fascinating and inspiring account of young Polish Jews reclaiming the heritage that Hitler sought to extinguish.
And here’s to you Mrs. Robinson . . . (or Mrs. Potifar ....)
In this week’s Parshah (Torah Portion), Vayeishev (found in Bereishit/Genesis 38-40), we are introduced to Yoseph (Joseph), the second youngest of Yaakov’s (Jacobs) twelve sons. Despite being the second youngest, Yoseph has dreams of one day being the leader. This coupled with Yaakov favoring Yoseph causes feelings of resentment by the brothers towards Yoseph. His brothers eventually sell Yoseph into slavery in Egypt. While Yoseph is a slave, he rises to a high position as a slave. He becomes the Head Slave, in charge of the entire household of his master Potifar. Yoseph is described in the Torah as a very attractive man Bereishit/Genesis 39:6 “… Now Yoseph was handsome of form and handsome of appearance”. He is so attractive that in verse 7 the wife of Potifar tells Yoseph to have sex with her. Yoseph realizes the obvious moral wrong of agreeing to the indecent proposal of the wife of Potifar, and he refuses to have sex with her. Later on in verses 10-18 she continues to pursue Yoseph unsuccessfully, and eventually one day she tears his clothes off and Yoseph runs away. Presumably to save face and protect herself from what Yoseph might say and the potential reprisals her husband might take towards her, the wife of Potifar lies to the entire household and her husband, and says that Yoseph attempted to take advantage of her. Yoseph is then thrown in jail by Potifar.
92Y Video: Rabbi Meir Lau In Conversation With Rabbi Menachem Genack
Did you miss Rabbi Israel Meir Lau in conversation with Rabbi Menachem Genack at 92nd Street Y in November? Enjoy a clip from that extraordinary evening, above.
Rabbi Lau regaled the audience with tales of his childhood during the Holocaust and his experiences as Chief Rabbi of Israel. Audience members had the opportunity to ask questions and Rabbi Lau was candid and authentic. He commented on questions such as the recent exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and whether or not Yom HaShoah should be commemorated on Tisha B’Av.
This endowed lecture, the annual Francine and Abdallah Simon State of World Jewry Lecture, is just one of the incredible lectures offered by the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at 92Y. See all upcoming lectures of Jewish Interest, here.
If you’re interested in more stories from the Holocaust, don’t miss the series of special program at 92Y, Will to Create, Will to Live: The Culture of Terezín in January. One featured event, The Story of Terezin, on Jan 18, will delve into one of the most moving and inspiring stories of the Holocaust era with documentary film clips and stories from survivors of Terezín itself.