Be’chol Lashon Newsletter: December 2008

Chanukah Be'chol Lashon Chanukah Celebration
with Congregation Sherith Israel

Celebrate Jewish Diversity!
Free and open to the public

Sunday, December 21, 1-4pm
2266 California Street @ Webster
San Francisco

For more information, click here. RSVP here.

Super 8: Hub Hanukkah Party
The HubSunday, December 21
, 6pm
111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna Street
San Francisco

For more information: click here.

Family Day at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
CJMThursday, December 25
, 11am-3pm
736 Mission Street (between 3rd and 4th Streets)
San Francisco

For more information: click here.

Equality for All Shabbat - Commemorate the Birthday of MLK, Jr.

WornickCongregation Emanu-El & Third Baptist Church Pulpit Exchange
Friday, January 16, 2009, 7pm
2 Lake Street (at Arguello)
San Francisco


RSVP to the Social Justice Coordinator, Sandy , or 415-751-2451 x177



Ruach Chayim Family Chanukah Shabbat Service

BCC Be’chol Lashon and Beth Chayim Chadashim Present a Latke and Lighting Chanukah in Los Angeles
December 26, 2008 6-10pm
Beth Chayim Chadashim – 6000 Pico Blvd
Los Angeles

For more information and questions, email


MumbaiTargeting Tolerance in Mumbai
By Sadia Shepard, December 4, 2008,

When my Indian Jewish grandmother married my Indian Muslim grandfather in the 1930s, their marriage was unusual in some ways. But in others it was commonplace. Theirs was a romance of pre-Partition India, and their courtship and early marriage, like so many in Mumbai, unfolded in the grand and intimate spaces of the Taj Hotel — its restaurants, ballrooms and long, grand hallways. Read on...

MumbaiA Day of Reckoning for Indian Jewish Detective
By Larry Cohler-Esses, December 4, 2008,

In the midst of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Samson Talkar did something he had never done before on Shabbat: He packed a pistol before leaving for synagogue. Talkar, a retired chief of homicides with the Mumbai police, was not frightened. But as last week’s terrorist siege on his city entered its third day, the unflappable pensioner considered the situation in which his congregation would be meeting to pray. Read on...


MumbaiJews of Mumbai, a Tiny and Eclectic Group, Suddenly Reconsider Their Serene Existence
By Jeremy Kahn, December 3, 2008, The New York Times

The peeling turquoise facade of the colonial-era Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue in the heart of the city’s financial district has long been a tourist attraction, a reminder of the centuries of Jewish influence that have helped shape Mumbai and of the acceptance Jews have enjoyed here. But after the terrorist attacks last week, Mumbai’s Jews are dismayed to find another building suddenly vying with the 124-year-old synagogue as a symbol of their presence: the charred remains of Nariman House, where gunmen killed Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife, Rivka, and four other Jews. Read on...



NetsLooking for a meaningful Chanukah gift... How about mosquito nets?

HELP provide mosquito nets to significantly reduce malaria, the primary cause of death in Africa. Be’chol Lashon is helping the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda to improve health care. And, one of the best ways to improve healthcare is to prevent people from getting sick. Additionally, life saving services provided by the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda to their Christian and Muslim neighbors fosters good will and cooperation.

Donate Here


The Gift of a Miracle
By Marla Feldman, December 7, 2008, JTA

Each year at Chanukah we spin the dreidel, reminding ourselves that "a great miracle happened there." With faith and activism the Maccabees led our people to a great victory and assured the survival of the Jewish people in ancient days. With faith and activism, we, too, can make miracles happen in our own time. We can assure the survival of millions of children in Africa who unnecessarily fall prey to the deadly bite of malaria-infested mosquitoes. We can make a great miracle happen there for the cost of a $10 bed net. Read on...

BagelA Bagel-Flavored Beat Rocks Its New Fans
By Dave Itzkoff, December 11, 2008, The New York Times

The musician Erran Baron Cohen has used the coming holiday as an occasion to release his album “Songs in the Key of Hanukkah,” which offers 21st century takes on the holiday’s familiar tunes. (For example it includes a hip-hop version of “Dreidel” performed by the Orthodox Jewish rapper Y-Love.) Among the missions of the label is to appeal to Jews “in a globalized world, where we no longer want to assimilate and be like everybody else,” Mr. Bisman said. “Now we want to find the uniqueness that we have to share.” Read on...


Recommended Chanukah Reading

Hanukkah MoonHanukkah Moon, by Deborah da Costa

When Isobel is invited to Aunt Luisa’s for Hanukkah, she’s not sure what to expect. Aunt Luisa has recently arrived from Mexico. “At Aunt Luisa’s you’ll get to celebrate the Hanukkah Moon,” Isobel's father promises. Isobel’s days at Aunt Luisa’s are filled with fun and surprises – a new camera, a dreidel piñata filled with sweets, and a mysterious late night visit to welcome the luna nueva, the new moon that appears on Hanukkah.

An unusual Hanukkah story with a multi-cultural focus, this title celebrates a little-known custom of the Latin-Jewish community. Buy it here


HolidaysHolidays Around the World: Celebrate Hanukkah: With Light, Latkes, and Dreidels, by Deborah Heiligman

Celebrate Hanukkah, part of the National Geographic Society's Holidays Around the World series of nonfiction children's books, is an excellent resource for information about Hanukkah. Celebrate Hanukkah provides information about Hanukkah observances in many different countries, including the United States, Canada, Israel, Ghana, Italy, Poland, and Uganda. The book is illustrated with striking color photographs. Buy it here


Hanukah LightsHanukkah: Eight Lights Around the World, by Susan Sussman

This collection of eight Hanukkah stories, one for each day of the hol iday, is unique because each of the sto ries takes place in a different country. The settings are Israel, Mexico (where some Syrian Jews have emigrated), Ar gentina, the United States, France, In dia, Morocco, and the Soviet Union. The special customs and styles of Ha nukkah menorahs are woven into each tale. These stories show that the mean ing of the holiday is the same every where: a reminder that the freedom to worship as one chooses is a precious right that all people must keep alive. Shaded blue-and-white illustrations lead readers into each story, each of which is simply told and filled with fam ily warmth. Buy it here


BruceBruce Bruce The Hanukkah Moose, by Howard and Elaine Behnken

Warm illustrations bring the Behnkens’ story to life. Not too silly and not too sappy, the accessible images provide both depth and whimsy.

On the accompanying CD, Howard sings and reads the stories, and then Reno—now a fifth-grader—does the same. Reno’s exuberant and heartfelt rendition is sure to capture the imagination of young listeners and the wanna-be rock stars among them. The CD is crowned by a karaoke version of the song, making it easy to stage your own family performance at home! A portion of the proceeds will go toward planting trees in Israel. Buy it here


OliveChanukah Dishes Around the World, Excerpted from Gil Marks's book, World of Jewish Cooking

Click on the following recipes:

Keftes de Espinaca (Sephardic Spinach Patties)
Couscous Hiloo (Couscous with Dried Fruits and Nuts)
Bimuelos (Sephardic Doughnuts)
Shamlias (Sephardic Pastry Frills)

Buy it here




SpainGene Test Shows Spain's Jewish & Muslim Mix
By Nicholas Wade, December 5, 2008, The New York Times

The genetic signatures of people in Spain and Portugal provide new and explicit evidence of the mass conversions of Sephardic Jews and Muslims to Catholicism in the 15th and 16th centuries after Christian armies wrested Spain back from Muslim control, a team of geneticists reports.

Twenty percent of the population of the Iberian Peninsula has Sephardic Jewish ancestry and 11 percent have DNA reflecting Moorish ancestors, the geneticists have found. Historians have debated how many Jews converted and how many chose exile. Read on...


arentinaArgentina to Halt Trade with Iran over Jewish Center Bombings
By Haaretz Staff, December 3, 2008,

Argentina has decided to suspend trade with Iran over the Islamic Republic's links to a a string of deadly terror attacks targeting Jews in Buenos Aires in the 1990s, the Argentine Jewish News reported this week. Read on...


Mexican SchindlerGilberto Bosques Saldivar, the "Mexican Schindler," is Honored by the Anti-Defamation League
By Ari Bloomekatz, December 1 2008, Los Angeles Times

Gilberto Bosques Saldívar has never been the subject of a major motion picture by Steven Spielberg. American history books seldom, if ever, mention his name, and he does not have his own Wikipedia page, in Spanish or English. But the former Mexican diplomat, stationed in France during World War II, helped save as many as 40,000 Jews and other refugees from Nazi persecution. Read on...


harvey milkHarvey Milk, in Life and on Film, Typifies the Proud Jew as Outsider
By Rebecca Spence, December 11 2008,

In an early scene in “Milk” — the new biopic starring Sean Penn as slain gay activist and San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk — Milk, a proud new shop owner in the city’s Castro district, seeks to join his neighborhood business association. He initially gives assurances to a skeptical association leader, saying, “I’m not an interloper.” But in a bit of self-effacing humor, he adds, “I may be a Jew.” Read on...


obamaMultiracial Families See Barack Obama as "Other" like them
By Don Terry, November 28, 2008, Los Angeles Times

A rainbow runs through Tyler Winograd's veins. His mother, Maile, is half black and half Chinese American. His father, Jeff, is white and grew up Jewish in Evanston, Ill. "I always check 'Other' on my college applications," Winograd said. But on election day, Winograd was filling out a different kind of form. The 18-year-old accompanied his parents to the polling place across the street from their Glencoe, Ill., home to cast a ballot for president for the first time. Read on...


Funnye and BarackRabbi Funnye Reaps Nachas over his Cousin-in-Law Barack
By Julie Gruenbaum Fax, November 26, 2008, The Jewish Journal

Capers Funnye has a lot in common with his cousin-in-law, Barack Obama: They have both shattered longstanding barriers and are both committed to reaching across traditional divides. Read on...



BedoinBedouin Women Weave Tradition, Economics Together
By Jo-Ann Mort, November 26, 2008, JTA

Every April, the sheep in Israel’s southern Negev are sheared by their Bedouin herders, beginning a process that ends with the production of hefty rugs woven by women from this Bedouin village using a 4,000-year-old technique. Though the method is old, the women who run the project are part of a new generation of Bedouin women whose work is empowering women who for millennia were denied social and economic opportunities in their conservative society. Read on...


OyPutting the Oy Back into "Ahoy"
By Steven Plaut, October 15, 2008, The Jewish Press

Swashbuckling buccaneers who took time to put on tefillin each morning? Better get used to the idea. Long overlooked, the history of Jewish piracy has been garnering increasing interest, with several serious books and articles telling its epic tales. Many Jewish pirates came from families of refugees who had been expelled by Spain and Portugal. Read on...


Things Fall Apart

Igbo Prepare for Ahiajioku Lecture
By Johnson Ndukwef, November 23, 2008, Daily Sun

The Igbo in Nigeria, across the seven states they dominate Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers, will not just be part of the of the commemoration of the golden jubilee of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, they have also devoted three months - November 2008 to January 2009 as soul searching, using the novel as a guide. Read on...


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Please send us information about events in your community or articles of interest that relate to Jewish diversity. E-mail newsletter submissions to Esther Fishman, Submissions are subject to editing for content, clarity and style.

Special thanks to all the contributors who make the newsletter interesting and informative.

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