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January 2023

Our Community News

On Wednesday, November 30th, our community came together for a night of fellowship in support of the inaugural Lisa Lerman Community Bridge Award, named in memory of the Federation’s late president Lisa Lerman Z”L, who selflessly gave her time to bring together all Jews of our community.

Nature constantly reminds us how to orchestrate change. Inevitably, trees let go their leaves. There’s no fuss. It’s expected. And for our part? We plan for the change every year.

But, before a forest lets go the leaves, it dazzles us with a final burst of glorious color. This, after all, is a celebration. Leaves are like the memories from which trees receive energy. The forest celebrates this good fortune each autumn.

And so today, I talk about orchestrating change in our own Jewish community. Change presents itself whether it’s welcomed or not. And just as in nature, we too celebrate the memories that give us strength.

On the evening of Sunday, December 18th, nearly a hundred people showed up to celebrate the beginning of the festival of lights by lighting the giant Chanukiah in the Jon Hunt Plaza outside the Morris Performing Arts Center -- an annual tradition in South Bend thanks in large part to the organizing efforts of Jody Freid.

Recent antisemitic events involving well-known celebrities have drawn widespread attention to a disturbing trend in American society. We have seen this develop over the past several years: the resurgence of antisemitism. According to the ADL (the Anti-Defamation League), “Antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in the United States in 2021… This represents the highest number of incidents on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979…”

In Israel of 2022, most people will not only know the phrase ‘Novi Godd’ means ‘New Year’ in Russian, but they will recognize it as a holiday. Before I talk about how and why it is so relevant to Israel, and to me personally, let me give you some background.

NEXTGen is constantly redefining what it means to be young and Jewish in the Michiana region, creating space for Jewish young adults (age 21-45) to build connections beyond religious affiliations. The NEXTGen group provides the opportunity for Jewish Young Adults in our community to Learn, Grow, and Lead together to build a better future for our community.

Whenever I ran into a particular friend of mine, I asked what he was doing, and he would retort, “Just trying to remain relevant.” I always got a kick out of that response, but never thought much about it. I figured it was a cute throwaway line. That was until I did my Chaplaincy residency.

This month, I’ve decided to share one of my very favorite recipes with you. It is the recipe I use for rugelach. If you are not familiar with this delicious pastry, rugelach are cookies that are made from dough that is rolled into circles, cut into wedges like pizza, and rolled into crescents. The most popular fillings are chocolate and cinnamon, but fruit filings are very common as well.

The group agreed that Anne Tyler, while being obtuse, is a master of characterizations and relationship nuance. We discussed in great detail aspects of protagonist Willa’s quirky new family-of-choice as opposed to her family-of-origin, which is the crux of the story.

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