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Agudagram

February Agudagram 2024

These are some of the places I
recited Kaddish with my
fellow mourners: grocery store
aisles, airports, restaurants,
cafes, subway stations, ATM
lobbies, cars, street corners,
doctors’ waiting rooms, the
beach, the woods, my office, my bedroom, my kitchen, my daughter’s gymnastics gym, my son’s flag football game, and the middle of Park Avenue with traffic blaring around me. I stopped to say Kaddish while in the midst of cooking, cleaning, working, driving, answering emails, tending my houseplants, doing errands, running in the park, and biking over the Manhattan Bridge. At various points in the compressed period since both of my parents died—my father in March 2021, my mother in November 2022—alarms dinged on my phone throughout the day to alert me that a minyan was about to begin.

Winter Agudagram 2023-24

New Year’s Day arrived to cheers from thousands in New York’s Times Square, where a sparkling crystal ball descended to start 2024 with hope for some even as the world’s ongoing conflicts subdued celebrations and raised security concerns across the globe. “It’s beautiful,” Corin Christian of Charlotte, North Carolina, said of the scene seconds past midnight as Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” blared from speakers in the square and many in the crowd held cellphones in the air, trying to capture the spectacle.
There were snapshots of joy from country to country as the new year was welcomed with optimism that its days will bring more joy than sorrow. In Times Square, Tyrell Jacobs, 27, and Sarah Crayton, 26, arrived from New Orleans 15 hours before midnight and got engaged in streets packed with tens of thousands of people counting first the hours and then the minutes until midnight. “It’s definitely a must-see,” Crayton said of the colorful cast of strangers nearby in tall hats blowing noisemakers even before the ball dropped. “At least go once, you know, just to experience the magic.” A small army of thousands of police officers worked to keep New York City safe, just as heightened security had done in the cities midnight hit first. New York has seen near-daily protests sparked by the Israel-Hamas war.

November 2023 Agudagram

Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7 was thousands of miles away for Jewish teens in the
United States — yet they have found themselves caught in a crossfire of opinions, misinformation and anger about the situation ever since. JTA Teen Journalism Fellows interviewed their peers about what they have been hearing and feeling over the last three weeks. Our reporters discovered that many high
schoolers were afraid to go on the record, saying they feared aggravating tensions or didn’t want to get “canceled” within their community. The ones that did agree to talk, however, say they are doing their best to stay strong and feel united, not divided. Some of the teens interviewed expressed their concerns about antisemitism while others offered insight into what’s happening in their social media circles.

Register NOW for Upcoming Zoom Course: “The Poetry and Music of the Psalms”

Register now for the upcoming interactive Zoom course presented by Cantor Ramón Tasat in conjunction with the Hazleton JCC, starting Friday October 27th, 2023 from 12-1PM, weekly for 4 weeks. We invite invite you to join us for an upcoming lecture series presented by Agudas Israel’s Cantor Ramón Tasat in conjunction with the Hazleton JCC on “The Music and Poetry of the Psalms”. The interactive & musical lectures will be broadcast live on Zoom as well as recorded for registered participants. The cost for the course is $20.  “We are all overwhelmed by the tragedy that has befallen our beloved State of Israel. During this difficult time, the Psalms provide us with moments of great inspiration, passion, introspection and beauty. Join us for 4 Fridays starting Oct. 27th from 12-1 p.m on ZOOM to connect together as a community to discuss the ideas expressed in the text and sing beautiful musical settings that enlarge the already vibrant meaning… Read More »Register NOW for Upcoming Zoom Course: “The Poetry and Music of the Psalms”

October 2023 Agudagram

The origins of Sukkot are found in an ancient autumnal harvest festival. Much of the imagery and ritual of the holiday revolves around rejoicing and thanking God for the completed harvest.
Beginning five days after Yom Kippur, Jews are supposed to dwell in a special hut, or sukkah, during this week-long celebration. According to rabbinic tradition, these huts represent the tents in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt. The festival of Sukkot is one of the three great pilgrimage festivals (chaggim or regalim) of the Jewish year.

September 2023 Agudagram

We can differentiate between the
Shofar of Elul, which is primarily
a wake-up call, “Wake up, you
sleepers, from your sleeping, and
those of you who are in deep
slumber, arouse yourselves from
your slumber. And Return to
Hashem!” By the end of Elul, we
are, hopefully, fully awake and
ready, or at least aware, of the
“Fear and Trembling” required by
Rosh HaShanah in democratic America comes with complicated strings attached. They present us with huge political and moral choices between self-protection and fighting for what is right in the greater society. That’s why Daniel can be such a powerful model for us. He rises so high in the court of the king that the latter calls upon his wisdom and good counsel before all his nobility. Yet the favor that Daniel curries with Belshazzar doesn’t prevent him from severely chastising Belshazzar for his wrongdoing. Daniel serves the king, but he serves God and God’s truth even more.

Week 1 – “Days of Awe” Course with Cantor Ramón Tasat & Agudas Israel – August 18, 2023.

Watch the recording of the first of Cantor Ramon’s “Days of Awe” classes, which was live streamed on Zoom for participants on August 18. In this class, we learned about the concept of Teshuva, the importance of process and preparation in Judaism, and a prayer of selichot or forgiveness, Ben Adam Mah Lekha Nirdam.

If you would like to be part of the remaining 3 weeks, you can register here or contact the AIC office to sign up.

Register NOW for Upcoming Zoom Course: “The Poetry and Music of the Psalms”

Register now for the upcoming interactive Zoom course presented by Cantor Ramón Tasat in conjunction with the Hazleton JCC, starting Friday October 27th, 2023 from 12-1PM, weekly for 4 weeks. We invite invite you to join us for an upcoming lecture series presented by Agudas Israel’s Cantor Ramón Tasat in conjunction with the Hazleton JCC on “The Music and Poetry of the Psalms”. The interactive & musical lectures will be broadcast live on Zoom as well as recorded for registered participants. The cost for the course is $20.  “We are all overwhelmed by the tragedy that has befallen our beloved State of Israel. During this difficult time, the Psalms provide us with moments of great inspiration, passion, introspection and beauty. Join us for 4 Fridays starting Oct. 27th from 12-1 p.m on ZOOM to connect together as a community to discuss the ideas expressed in the text and sing beautiful musical settings that enlarge the already vibrant meaning… Read More »Register NOW for Upcoming Zoom Course: “The Poetry and Music of the Psalms”

Summer 2023 Agudagram

The story of the handwriting on the wall occupies the realm of biblical mythology and miracle. Removing this literary dressing, we’re left with a message and a mission, a “writing on the wall” of contemporary life, which we Jews are obligated to place incessantly before society: we must speak truth to power. This is difficult to do, especially when it places us at great potential risk; it has always been a fraught endeavor for us, especially in the Diaspora. Like Daniel, we Jews have struggled over many centuries to survive with political cunning under regimes that tolerated us, used us, were hostile to us, and most horribly, tried to destroy us. Even Jewish life
in democratic America comes with complicated strings attached. They present us with huge political and moral choices between self-protection and fighting for what is right in the greater society. That’s why Daniel can be such a powerful model for us. He rises so high in the court of the king that the latter calls upon his wisdom and good counsel before all his nobility. Yet the favor that Daniel curries with Belshazzar doesn’t prevent him from severely chastising Belshazzar for his wrongdoing. Daniel serves the king, but he serves God and God’s truth even more.