The Meyer Brothers, a Jewish family of successful clothing store owners in New Mexico; 1909. x

New Mexico’s first Jewish population consisted of hidden Sephardi Jews (so-called ‘crypto-Jews’) attempting to escape persecution from the Inquisition.  When the Inquisition was brought to Mexico City many of these Jewish people attempted to escape north and ended up in what is now New Mexico, Arizona, and California.  The takeover of the southwest by the United States ushered in a new era of religious freedom for the Jewish population that was previously repressed.  Many Sephardi Jews could at last openly declare their Jewish identities and new Ashkenazi immigrants from Eastern Europe began arriving too.  Presently, the Jewish community of New Mexico is home to several synagogues - Sephardi as well as Ashkenazi - day schools, an annual Klezmer festival, and an estimated 24,000 Jewish people.

To learn more about the history of Sephardi Jews in the Americas, you can visit the New Mexico History Museum from now until December 31st, 2016 to see their exhibit, “Fractured Faiths: Spanish Judaism, The Inquisition, and New World Identities”.

Everyone must have two pockets, so that he can reach into the one or the other, according to his needs. In his right pocket are to be the words: “For my sake was the world created,” and in his left: “I am but dust and ashes.”
—  Rabbi Bunam

anonymous asked:

hey! what does it mean to be a Zionist? and why there are people that find it a bad thing? thanks in advance

Zionism is the belief that there should be a Jewish country, with a Jewish government, just the same as how so many other religions and ethnic groups have their own national homelands too. In practical terms today, it means a support for the existence of Israel as a Jewish country. It does not advocate any one particular policy of Israel, any particular leader or town-building or military campaign. You’ll find energetic debate within the Zionist community about which Israeli policies are right or wrong, and where the borders of Israel should be.

There are basically 3 reasons why people are opposed to Zionism:

-It had bad outcomes for the Palestinian Arabs. Zionism is one of the most conspicuous reasons why there is no Palestinian state and millions of Palestinian Arabs are stateless refugees…. though it isn’t the only reason, and it’s extremely likely that even if Zionism hadn’t happened there still wouldn’t be an independent Arab state of Palestine anyway.

-Some ultra-religious Jews think the right divine signal didn’t happen yet, so it wasn’t the right time to establish an Israel and the current one is unholy.

-Lots of people really hate Jews and have for a long time. They come from cultures that for thousands of years were specifically based on declarations of Jewish evil, greed, primitiveness, and inferiority. They judge Jews by a different standard than they do themselves, and so they see evils in Zionism that they would see as average or even heroic in other independence movements. Antisemitism is one of the oldest bigotries in the world and it can be found in nearly every modern philosophy and movement.

Zionism is the foremost mechanism of advancing Jewish independence and equality in the world. It is hated for the same reason Jews are hated.
Our inability, as young Jews in the movement today, to talk about anti-Semitism is a product of internalized anti-Semitism itself, and it is killing us. It puts us and our families at risk, weakens the political struggles of which we are a part, denies us our full agency, and makes it impossible for us to ask for help from our would-be allies.

So often, we collaborate with the silence around anti-Semitism, erase our own stakes in the struggles of which we’re a part, do everything we can to impress the non-Jews in the movement so they’ll keep us around. We perform our Jewishness for gentiles — tattooing our bodies with Jewish slogans about justice and making claims about how our ancestors wouldn’t stand for this sort of oppression — but put so little of ourselves in actual Jewish community. We spend our time surrounded by one another, because so many of us are drawn to the struggle for freedom and justice for all peoples, but we so rarely speak to each other as Jews, so rarely look each other in the eye — like scared high school sweethearts who put their heads down as they pass one another in the hall. When the movement asks us to prove we are Good Jews by taking personal responsibility for everything Israel does, we oblige, and wear our Jewishness full to the brim with shame. We even, when we are asked to, compare ourselves to the people who murdered our families in Europe.
For over four thousand years of turbulent history, Jews have lived-and continue to live- in almost every region throughout the world. But though each group of voluntary or involuntary immigrants of course picked up elements of the cultures surrounding them, and though some customs have been abandoned or altered over the centuries, the fundamental principle of Judaism remains unchanged: Judaism is first and foremost concerned with living an honest, ethical life.
—  Josepha Sherman

I used to be puzzled by why there were ten plagues. If God can split the sea, then surely God can free the children of Israel with a snap of the (divine) fingers. Furthermore, why would God harden Pharaoh’s heart and thereby deprive him of any moral culpability for his obduracy? The answer, I am convinced, has more to do with the Jews than with Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Remember that while the Jews complained about their slavery, they also were distrustful of Moses and fearful of rising up. Indeed, before the first plague their hearts were frozen hard by the bitterness of their slavery. 

Each successive plague seems to have an incremental effect on Pharaoh and on the children of Israel. One heart they harden, the other hearts they lighten with hope. For the Jews the effect will be that even contemplating serving God frees your heart. For Pharaoh the inescapable conclusion will be that enslaving others, serving yourself, and calling yourself a god gradually seals you off from life until your heart turns to stone that sinks in the sea. 

The rate at which Pharaoh’s heart becomes sclerotic is precisely the rate at which Israel’s heart begins to lighten. Pharaoh does not lose his freedom, he merely lives out the consequences of his own arrogance and ambition. 

This is the lesson: You refuse to know of anything sacred beyond yourself, you call yourself a god—go ahead, but it will turn your heart into a brick. And this is the other lesson: If you are willing to consider that your present slavery is of your own choice and that there is a Holy One beyond yourself who wants only that you be free to “serve in the wilderness,” then your heavy heart can soar like a bird on eagle’s wings.

Lawrence Kushner, God Was in This Place & I, i Did Not Know

[Personally I’m not a fan of Kushner’s insistance that one must believe in the existence of a Holy One, but at the very least I can agree that arrogance is something that can make things worse. We may be a powerful creation, but gods we are not.]

anonymous asked:

Somebody said that as a convert, I'm not a real Jew.

Yes, you are. You are absolutely as Jewish as I am. Fuck whoever told you that. 

You’re not a “real Jew”? Well, a real Jew doesn’t ever bring up another Jew’s conversion unless that Jew invites conversation about it, and a real Jew doesn’t treat another Jew differently if they’re by blood or by choice.

And you? You chose to be a part of our family. You weren’t Jewish by accident of birth like me. You went out of your way to study and learn and do everything that you could to satisfy a Beit Din. You’ll know more about Judaism than a ton of Jews who were born into Judaism. You earned your Jewishness.

Just fuck them. You’re as real a Jew as I am.

The Hebrew term that translates as “equanimity” literally means “calmness of the soul.” Seeking equanimity means achieving an inner equilibrium that is not upset by the ups and downs that are a part of everyday life. We can’t insulate ourselves from life’s trials, but we can prepare for them, and fostering a calm soul readies us to be the kind of people who can and will pass their life tests.
—  Alan Morinis
washingtonpost.com
The rabbis of Conservative Judaism pass a resolution supporting transgender rights - The Washington Post

“The rabbis’ resolution begins by stating, “Our Torah asserts that all humanity is created b’tzelem Elohim, in God’s Divine Image.” It discusses historical evidence of “non-binary gender expression” in Jewish texts dating back to the third-century Mishnah, and points out current-day discrimination against transgender Americans in employment, medical care and voting rights.”

Yashar Koach, Mazal Tov!!!!

Once upon a time in the 1980s, when I was a twenty-year-old graduate student full of arrogance and attitude, I worked in the Hebrew books and manuscripts division of the Judaica Department at Sotheby’s New York. My boss was the “Judaica expert,” the late, great Jay Weinstein, a man truly deserving of his title, which he bore with immense modesty and humour. My own title was also “expert” but, by way of contrast, it only exacerbated my supercilious arrogance when I found myself called to the front desk to meet a client… The client I was about to meet on the day I am describing had called a week before to tell me that he was in possession of “a very old Hebrew book.” I was not looking forward to the encounter, since auction experts know very well that the hoi polloi consider anything more than ten years old to be ancient and hence of untold value. Disabusing clients of this notion as it applies to their particular treasure is an often painful but necessary task…
Mr. X, I was dismayed to find, embodied all my worst fears. Stooped, elderly, still in his coat, and eager — very eager. Authoritative and disdainful though I made myself, he was simply unimpressed by my “impressiveness.” With total focus and trembling hands, he reached into a plastic shopping bag and produced, wrapped in newspaper older than I was, his “treasure” — a book of Psalms, printed in Warsaw in 1920. I couldn’t believe this monumental waste of my precious time — a brand new book of Psalms would be worth more than this! I was exasperated by this schlepper, and I wanted to tell him so. I wanted to show him the real treasures — gold, silver, ancient, and precious illuminated manuscripts — that had been entrusted into my “expert” care. I wanted to show him the door as I told him with authoritative disdain, “That book is worth whatever you paid for it!”
But at that moment, like the angel in the legend who moves Moses’ hand toward the glowing coal rather than the glittering crown, thus saving his life, some kindly spirit moved my tongue. And instead of that anticipated send-off, I faltered, “Um, what did you pay for this?” The old man drew himself up to his full 5 feet, 2 inches. “For this, I paid seven days’ Auschwitz bread,” he replied with a dignity that totally deflated my pose. It seems that the Nazis had caught him with the little Psalm book, and as a penalty for possessing it, imprisoned him without food — only water to drink — for an entire week. Like Moses touching the coal to his lips, I was struck dumb. “This,” I stammered, “is too valuable for us to sell.” And I stumbled out of the room, a changed young man, with a new appreciation of what is meant by the words precious, valuable, and treasured.
Send A Message About Marvel's Antisemitism

Marvel’s Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016-) #1 costs $4.99 on comixology. Instead of supporting Marvel, donate to the ADL. While there is no space for a message on the regular donation form, the ADL offers a variety of ecards, including ‘In Memory’ and ‘In Tribute’. Let’s donate $5 (or whatever you can afford) in memory of Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, the two Jewish men who created Captain America when the USA had not yet entered World War II. When you send an ecard, use the email for the executive VP of Media Relations: jeff_klein@dkcnews.com (most of the Marvel email addresses are locked down tight). 

What is the Anti-Defamation League? From their site

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Now the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.

I feel like people don’t understand that Jewish tradition holds that the acts of Sodom that were so bad were 1. Rape 2. Starving homeless people for fun 3. Covering foreign women in bee honey and letting the native insects eat her alive in the public square 4. Cutting off people’s limbs for the lolz 5. Being a mega douche to anyone different from them 6. Ect

And the act banned in Leviticus is, according to us Jews, not the ~gayness~, but rape, as done as a military conquering tactic.

Source: years of Jewish schooling in orthodox and conservative environments, growing up in an orthodox community, ect