November 23, 2008

Josh Gomes is scoring points for Israel

We are family. Yup.

Looking at our faces in the photo, you might wonder, How? What’s up with that?

Watch the video (7.5 minutes).




Then, come back to "listen to" more of Josh's unique voice in his email below.

On Feb 20, 2008, at 9:37 PM, Josh Gomes wrote:
I just got home [to Binyamina] from the Jerusalem trip! Wow, it was the best. ... I have things on my phone like the Western Wall (where people put their prayers to Jesus or God in cracks between the stones), Mt. Zion where King David was buried, Mt. of Olives, and the walk that Jesus made to Calvary on the Cross (aka Via Dolorosa). I will show you in time.

But yeah, after that we went to The Holocaust Museum [Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority]. 6 million Jews and more died, and over 3 million of them were from Poland! We had a 3-hour tour lady, and she was the best. The sights I saw I will never forget. The devil had to be full force in Hitler for him to get an entire country to abide through all this.

The most interesting fact about the gas chambers in Germany is that only 30-40 Nazis ran each camp. And over an entire year, well 13 months, 900,000 Jews died in one camp through just 30-40 men's doing. Also, I didn't know that Americans knew what was going on, not from the beginning, but they knew during the stages of this and did nothing besides a few bombs in not effective areas. All they had to do was bomb Auschwitz and the railroads that took the Jews to the gas chambers. They came when it was all said and done, and acted like they were shocked! I mean, I am sure some were, but still.

I didn't really know how much Poland was hit. The towns they did it in... I saw those towns every road game and not knowing history was there 60-65 years ago. They had the "Ghetto" in Warsaw. How they did those people I will never forget. When the people were dead, they had a bulldozer like they do snow and just piled and pushed the dead people into these caves that they made. Aw, man, that time had to be one of the worst periods ever.

The tour lady made sure we knew everything so we can continue the story for generations to come! I'm glad I took the opportunity.

By the way, I have the 'net and TV up, haaa. Do you want to talk on Skype on Friday? It's cheaper for the both of us. I will add you in now.

To learn more about our "family," see Family reunion in Atlanta.

November 05, 2008

בָּעֶרֶב, יָלִין בֶּכִי; וְלַבֹּקֶר רִנָּה | Psalm 30:6

At evening, one beds down weeping, / and in the morning, glad song.

The scholar Robert Alter, in his notes from The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary, writes on his English-rendering of the Hebrew verse, "This upbeat vision of life has, of course, been manifested in the recent experience of the speaker." Further, it precedes a thanksgiving for having been rescued from death.

On November 4, within hours after the epoch-making rescue of America from its death and dying, I heard the speaker-psalmist's Hebrew voice.

The death? Of historic fears, of democracy run aground, of cynicism.

The rescue?
The tectonic-like shift from nearly three hundred years of poisonous racism on the body politic to reason, plans, strategies, and passion for hope and change for all Americans.

. . . the dream of our Founders is alive in our time . . .

. . . lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, . . . [of] people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

. . . [wisdom] spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states; we are and always will be the United States of America.

. . . It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
— From a transcript of Senator Barack Obama’s victory speech in Chicago, November 5, 2008

My tears of joy, sobs of gratitude are for the greatness which is the human spirit, for our country, and for the trust we have put in Barack Hussein (a name that does not mean a terrorist or an assassin) Obama. Our president-elect, an American just like the rest of us — a mortal, not a deity, not a rock star, as someone viciously described him (really, revealed his own cynicism and envy) in his email among the genuine congratulations Skyped, called, and emailed to me from abroad.

בָּעֶרֶב, יָלִין בֶּכִי; וְלַבֹּקֶר רִנָּה | At evening, one beds down weeping, / and in the morning, glad song.

Voting today in DeKalb County, Georgia

I waited in line only 40 minutes,
thanks to early voting nationwide

(
39 percent of DeKalb County voters
cast their ballots before today).


The wait in line was easy and fun. As with all elections the past ten years, I met many neighbors, fellow synagogue members, and friends — all in my district.

It's a five-minute walk from my front door
to my polling place, Briar Vista Elementary School.














The line waiting to vote snaked along halls
covered with children's work. Here,
the life cycle of . . . pumpkins!














A Venn diagram using Goldilocks and
the Three Bears
and the Three Billy Goats
Gruff
to learn, it appears, size (big, small
medium) and number (3).














Goldilocks and the Three Bears
again,
this time in a lesson on charting
narrative elements (characters, setting,
problem, solution), methinks.



















The grand finale: the state of Georgia!
A map showing Native American Cherokee
and Cree tribe areas, and a note: "The men
went hunting and the women harvested."

November 03, 2008

Ramaz School e-reminder: Vote on Election Day, November 4


With Election Day on Tuesday, our current students are eagerly anticipating the result of this historic vote on the national level, and already understand that voting is both a privilege and a responsibility.

We hope that you share their enthusiasm and interest, and we encourage all registered voters in the Ramaz family to vote on Tuesday, November 4.

° ° °

When I was growing up in New York City, my father, of blessed memory, a pioneer American Jewish educator, enrolled me in the Ramaz School family. There, with a double curriculum (religious and secular studies), by eighth grade, I was taking 17 subjects!

Since its beginning, in 1937, Ramaz has been widely recognized for its academic excellence, reflecting the vision of founder Rabbi Joseph Lookstein: ". . . an integrated program of religious studies combined with general studies — a school in which the culture of America would blend with the heritage of Judaism." In this yeshiva day school, "a child would not experience an intellectual or emotional clash between being a Jew and an American."

Between growing up in a traditional Jewish home and attending Ramaz, where I learned Torah, Mishna, Talmud, and cantillation, among other religious subjects, I began to acquire basic tools and confidence to participate as an active member of the Jewish community. Since those early years, followed by continuing studies and experiences, I have been at home anywhere in the Jewish world. Whether I participate in a worship or life cycle service in an orthodox, post-denominational, or secular setting, I am at home. Whether the language is Hebrew or English, I am at home.

My Jewish education and the values that I inherited are liberalizing and universalizing influences in my life. And while my Jewishness plays into my identity, ideas, and activities, no rabbi, political party, lobby group, nation, or Jewish civil law necessarily determines my choices or decisions. I am neither a captive of my greater community nor am I a renegade. The tradition is rich; the tent is wide.

Bottom lines:
  • Daddy, your love and legacy are my strengths.
  • Ramaz School, your continuing education informs my choices.
  • Every American registered voter, if you haven't already done so, cast your ballot tomorrow, and vote!