Rabbi Dan Ain’s Six-Word-Memoir: “Beat Your Chest, Repeat After Me”
The Jewish holidays - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur - are just around the corner. As part of our ongoing series that brings Smith Mag‘s fantastic Six-Word Memoir Project to life, 92YTribeca’s Rabbi-In-Residence Dan Ain took the stage at last week’s “Oy! Only Six? Why Not More?” a Six-Word Story Show on The Jewish Life.
His six-word memoir? “Beat Your Chest, Repeat After Me.” Lucky for you, we got it on tape. Above is Rabbi Dan’s take on High Holidays past and present. Curious? Check out 92YTribeca’s services led by none other than Rabbi Dan himself. More info, and tickets, here.
In conjunction with the new 92Y.org/Worlds campaign, we’ve got lots of fun facts to share with you. We will be doing that on a daily basis, here on the 92Y Blog and on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook!
Here’s today’s fun fact: There are more than 250 beehives in Manhattan. And as of last year, beekeepers in Manhattan are no longer outlaws!
During Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to eat apples and challah dipped in honey, a symbol of the sweetness we hope to enjoy during the coming year. Enjoy honey, apples and Rosh Hashanah at 92Y and 92YTribeca.
Sam Hoffman is the founder of OldJewsTellingJokes.com. He is not an “Old Jew” yet, but give him a couple more decades. He is however, the latest subject of the 92Y Culture Klatsch Q&A. On July 12, he’s coming to 92YTribeca to share videos from his site and reveal some of the best jokes about everything from rabbis to Jewish mothers.
Where do you go for news when you start your day?
If I’m home I read The New York Times on paper. If I’m away I read it on my iPad. I still prefer the paper, though. It takes less time to load.
What are your favorite websites?
Of course I’m a fan of oldjewstellingjokes.com. I also have to admit to an addiction to metsblog.com. If you have the unfortunate habit of being a dedicated Mets fan, it’s the best way to punish yourself a few times a day.
How much do you use Twitter and Facebook (or other social networking services)?
I don’t use Twitter. I’ll check in with Facebook occasionally. I think the novelty is fading, though, now that I know what all the children of my elementary school acquaintances look like.
Dan Ain, 92YTribeca’s Rabbi in residence, prefers Twitter. But he thinks Facebook has its moments. “...it can be,” he told us in the latest 92Y Culture Klatsch, “an InTouch or a People Magazine for the people that you do care about.”
Speaking of Twitter, just a short while ago, Rabbi Dan Ain inquired there: “Can we find a space to talk about #God in this town?”
We can and will this Friday, when 92YTribeca Rabbi in residence Dan Ain and Bill McGarvey host a Shabbat dinner at 92YTribeca with discussion about faith and culture.
Where do you go for news when you start your day?
Certainly not Cable TV. Drudge, The New York Times, Zerohedge, Al Jazeera, Haaretz, Russia Today, The Huffington Post, Google News and local papers. I think it’s important to listen to as many sides as possible and try to get an understanding of what it is they believe (or want to believe or want us to believe that they believe) is going on.
When a story breaks, I try to find a news source that’s as close to the situation as possible and yet still somewhat reliable - like a local paper, blogger or radio station (which I get via the “tune-in radio” app).
Barrel aging is one of the most noteworthy aspects of whiskey making. It endlessly fascinates me that producers will take a clear “white dog” whiskey off the still at eyebrow-singeing proof, pour it into a barrel and let the liquid sit and mellow inside the wood — sometimes for decades.
Magical things happen inside that barrel in terms of flavor, texture and aroma. Beyond what sort of wood is used, the location of where the barrel sits in the warehouse matters greatly — a barrel sitting at ground level ages differently than one resting on a higher floor. In this way, the warehouse becomes a man-made terroir — similar to a winery, in which grapes from different geographic locations will take on different characteristics.
I’ve previously discussed the importance of aging and blending in the process of making whiskey. The craft of distillation is certainly of utmost importance — if mediocre whiskey comes off the still, it’s not going to get better after 10 years in a barrel. But how whiskey ages in a barrel is just as critical.
Aish.com has produced this fun video, “What if Moses had Facebook?”, showing a web-based story of Passover. “FAKE!!!,” a YouTube commenter wrote. “His iGoogle says he’s from Los Angeles @ 0:42. Obviously not the real Moses.”
Cue fawning: In this video we spotted on Jezebel, Jake Gyllenhall hides the afikomen for Shalom Sesame, a Sesame Street series about Judaism. “The afikomen,” Jake explains, “is a piece of mazza you eat for dessert at the Passover seder. Before you can finish the seder, you have to find it.”
If you attend one seder this year, make it the second one—at 92YTribeca. You can engage on your own terms, ask anything, eat (or not eat) many things and find your own meaning in this elaborate and multi-layered Passover ritual. See the incredible smorgasbord of food that will be served, below.
If you want a hint, we can tell you the first word in the event name rhymes with a city in North Carolina and the event is taking place at 92YTribeca this weekend. Leave your guess in the comments! The answer can be found below by highlighting or clicking the space in between the brackets.
Chocolate doesn’t care whether you’re single, searching, or super-committed. A sweet for your sweetheart, a comfort for the dumped — it has long been associated with love and romance.
At their Chocolate Shabbat Dinner on Feb 11, 92YTribeca’s Rabbi-in-Residence Dan Ain and Rabbinic Intern Adena Kemper will give the lowdown on some of the Torah’s greatest love affairs and most dangerous liaisons at the which would make even the editors of Us Weekly blush. Afterward, dine on a special Shabbat meal created to enhance the unique flavor notes of chocolate and enjoy a not-to-be-missed chocolate dessert tasting (four different kinds of chocolate paired with four unique and flavorful drinks) led by 92YTribeca Head Chef Russell Moss. See the dinner and chocolate menu below.
92YTribeca’s 3rd annual Beer + Latke Hanukkah Celebration took place last week. Those in attendance sampled the classic and innovative latke creations of 92YTribeca head chef and culinary daredevil Russell Moss, alongside carefully chosen beer selections handpicked by cicerone (beer expert) Dan Moss. Then they held a fierce dreidel competition and a Hanukkah trivia contest! Check out the photo album on 92YTribeca’s Flickr.
It was fun, but don’t be to hard on yourself if you missed it. Chinese and a Movie, featuring Airplane! and The Naked Gun—with an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet!—will happen December 25.
Grand Revival of the Jewish National Holiday of Chanucka
Children from the School of Music play songs in the lobby of 92nd Street Y during Hanukkah in the 1950s
While Hanukkah celebrations in America probably date back over 350 years ago when Jews first came here, they developed a formal flair in the late 19th Century with social clubs in New York. Such as one in 1863 at Irving Hall under the auspices of the Orpheus Club, reported in The New York Times as a “Fancy Ball and Masquerade.”
In 1995, historian Jonathan Sarna published an essay titled “A Great Awakening,” that included the first celebration in the 92nd Street Y’s history (then called the YMHA):
Of primary significance, for our purposes, was their campaign, carried out in association with the YMHA of New York (founded in 1874), for the “Grand Revival of the Jewish National Holiday of Chanucka,” complete with appropriate pageants and publicity. This was an effort “to rescue this national festival from the oblivion into which it seemed rapidly falling,” and was a direct challenge to Reform Judaism, which had renounced national aspects of Judaism as antithetical to the modern spirit; presumably, the campaign also sought to counteract the evident allure of Christmas. In 1879, the “revival” proved a triumphant success. “Every worker in the cause of a revived Judaism,” one of the organizers wrote, “must have felt the inspiration exuded from the enthusiastic interest evinced by such a mass of Israel’s people.”
The New York Timesreported on this occasion as well and noted: “The throng that assembled in the Academy last evening completely filled the building...The evening’s entertainment included a series of tableaux, interspersed with Hebrew melodies, the whole followed by a ball.”
That spirit lives on today with our annual Hanukkah Festival, this year on Dec 5, a family favorite and highlight of the season.
The holidays are right around the corner, (yah!) and 92YTribeca is back with some old favorites and new traditions. For example, everybody’s favorite (and the city’s only) Beer + Latkes Hanukkah Celebration returns on December 2 for a memorable night.
First, we’ll taste the innovative latke creations of 92YTribeca head chef and culinary daredevil Russell Moss, alongside carefully chosen beer selections handpicked by cicerone (beer expert) Dan Moss. Then, a fierce dreidel competition and Hanukkah trivia contest!
And finally, you’ll enjoy chocolate gelt and sufganiyot (traditional jelly donuts). OH YAH. See you there.
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “I tried to make pathways through which people will be able to enter the Talmud without encountering impassable barriers.”
This Sunday, Rabbi Steinsaltz will formally conclude his 45-year project to produce a Hebrew translation of the Babylonian Talmud and to mark the occasion hundreds of Jewish communities around the world will celebrate with a Global Day of Jewish Learning. JTA reports:
For Steinsaltz, the Talmud is not a rarefied tome that should remain in the hands of experts, but the foundational text of Judaism itself. As a teacher who has spent his life bringing Jewish knowledge to students around the world, most notably through the Aleph Society he founded, Steinsaltz says he could not ignore the challenge of opening the Talmud for as many Jews as he could.
“The Talmud is the central pillar of Jewish knowledge, important for the overall understanding of what is Jewish,” he told JTA. “But it is a book that Jews cannot understand. This is a dangerous situation, like a collective amnesia. I tried to make pathways through which people will be able to enter the Talmud without encountering impassable barriers. It’s something that will always be a challenge, but I tried to make it at least possible.”
A major part of studying Talmud is working through the accompanying rabbinic commentaries, which guide as well as confound those who tackle the books. In addition to his straight translation of the original Talmud text, Steinsaltz added his own commentary, in Hebrew, alongside the text, as his contemporary take on the ancient debates.
The 92nd Street Y is proud to be the flagship location for this once in a lifetime day. We will present a full day of panel discussions, broadcast via satellite throughout the United States and Canada, focusing on the themes of Leadership, Prayer, God and Love, with participants such as Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Rabbi Harold Kushner, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Rabbi Leon Morris, Rabbi Jennifer Krause, David Ellenson, Richard Joel, Arnold Eisen and many more.