Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

On this Labor Day holiday, it's worthwhile to reflect upon the role that Jewish-Americans have played in the labor union movement and the struggle for workers' rights that this day officially commemorates. While recognizing that there are many issues involved, and many sides to those issues, there is no question that the Torah places enormous emphasis on social justice, including fair treatment of workers. And that powerful ethical message reverberates throughout the millennia of Jewish history, and is especially central to the Reform movement.

Whether you agree or disagree with the sentiments expressed in this song, I think we can recognize how Bob Dylan's "Union Sundown" from his 1983 album, Infidels, is rooted in Jewish ethical tradition and the Jewish-American experience:





And here are the lyrics:

Well, my shoes, they come from Singapore
My flashlights from Taiwan
My tablecloths from Malaysia
My belt buckles from the Amazon

You know, this shirt I wear comes from the Philippines
And the car I drive is a Chevrolet
It was put together down in Argentina
By a guy makin' thirty cents a day

Well, it's sundown on the union
And what's made in the U.S.A
Sure was a good idea
Till greed got in the way

Well, this silk dress is from Hong Kong
And the pearls are from Japan
Well, the dog collars from India
And the flower pots from Pakistan

All the furniture, it says "Made in Brazil"
Where a woman, she slaved for sure
Bringin' home thirty cents a day to a family of twelve
You know, that's a lot of money to her

Well, it's sundown on the union
And what's made in the U.S.A
Sure was a good idea
Till greed got in the way

Well, you know, lots of people complainin' that there is no work
I say, Why you say that for
When nothin' you got is U.S.-made?
They don't make nothin' here no more

You know, capitalism is above the law
It say, "It don't count less it sells."
When it costs too much to build it at home
You just build it cheaper someplace else

Well, it's sundown on the union
And what's made in the U.S.A
Sure was a good idea
Till greed got in the way

Well, the job that you used to have
They gave it to somebody down in El Salvador
The unions are big business, friend
And they're goin' out like a dinosaur

They used to grow food in Kansas
Now they want to grow it on the moon and eat it raw
I can see the day coming when even your home garden
Is gonna be against the law

Well, it's sundown on the union
And what's made in the U.S.A
Sure was a good idea
Till greed got in the way

Democracy don't rule the world
You'd better get that in your head
This world is ruled by violence
But I guess that's better left unsaid

From Broadway to the milky way
That's a lot of territory indeed
And a man's gonna do what he has to do
When he's got a hungry mouth to feed

Well, it's sundown on the union
And what's made in the U.S.A
Sure was a good idea
Till greed got in the way


Again, acknowledging that there are differing opinions on these issues, on this Labor Day we should also stand together in agreement on the basic principle of social justice for all!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Amazing Israeli A Cappella

Another video circulating on social media features the Israeli a cappella group, The Voca People:







Here's the write-up from YouTube:

The Voca People is an international vocal theater performance combining vocal sounds and an acapella singing with the art of beat-box. WWW.VOCA-PEOPLE.COM Artistic Director: Lior Kalfo Music Director: Shai Fishman Producers: Revital & Lior Kalfo. Performers: Eyal Cohen, Oded Goldstein, Liraz Rahmin, Adi Cesare, Adi Kozlovsky,, Naama Levi, Boaz Ben David, Inon Ben David Video Photographer: Shlomi Albo, video editing: Peleg Netanel, Light design: Roy Milo


We think they're pretty amazing! How about you?



Thursday, August 28, 2014

The IDF Choir Performing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in Hebrew

Maybe you've seen it, it's been all over the internet and social media lately. This recording made by the official choir of the Israeli Defense Forces is five years old, but as moving and haunting today as it was then. And many are suggesting that it's the best version of the song that was written by Leonard Cohen, and recorded by a multitude of artists—there are over 300 known recorded versions according to Wikipedia!  Or maybe it's 301? Anyway, is this version better than all the rest? You decide!





Whatever the verdict, I think we can all agree that it's a great rendition of what Rolling Stone magazine called one of the greatest songs of all time.

Leonard Cohen will turn 80 next month, and will celebrate with the release of his 13th studio album, entitled Popular Problems. In addition to being a songwriter and recording artist, Cohen is a widely respected literary figure, as a poet and a novelist. And not surprising, he is especially popular both in his native Canada, and in Israel, where he has performed many times.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Come Join Our New Tot Mitzvah Program!

Announcing our new Adas Emuno Religious School program for children of pre-school age:




The program is free, so spread the word!


 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Poetry Garden

On the success of our first few gatherings in the Adas Emuno garden, we decided to make our poetry readings a regularly scheduled monthly event. Our next Poetry in the Garden will be this Sunday, August 24th, at 7 PM. Then, starting in September, we'll be meeting on the second Sunday of each month. Here's a summary:







We're calling the event Poetry Garden even though we'll only meet in the garden when weather permits. Otherwise, we'll have the readings in our social hall. And in October, we'll do Poetry in the Sukkah! Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Neighborhood Bully

In our previous post, Maximum Restraint, we shared a recent music video by Bob Dylan's son-in-law, Peter Himmelman, which makes a strong statement in support of Israel, in response to the recent conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. And as pointed out by one of our readers, Himmelman's song was meant as an updated sequel to Bob Dylan's own pro-Israel anthem of 1983, entitled "Neighborhood Bully" (the title is meant to be taken sarcastically, as can be seen by the lyrics):





You can also listen to the track on Bob Dylan's official site, where they also have provided the lyrics:

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
His enemies say he’s on their land
They got him outnumbered about a million to one
He got no place to escape to, no place to run
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn
He’s always on trial for just being born
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad
The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him
’Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac
He’s the neighborhood bully

He got no allies to really speak of
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side
He’s the neighborhood bully
Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep
He’s the neighborhood bully

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command
He’s the neighborhood bully

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health
He’s the neighborhood bully

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say. He just likes to cause war
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed
He’s the neighborhood bully

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers? Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill
Running out the clock, time standing still
Neighborhood bully


We of course recognize there is a diversity of viewpoints on recent events, what else would you expect from the Jewish people?



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Maximum Restraint

Bob Dylan's son-in-law, Peter Himmelman, has released a new song in support of Israel, entitled "Maximum Restraint" that makes a very strong statement, and whatever our stance on the current conflict with Hamas, we all can appreciate his passion and concern. The recording features Himmelman on guitar and vocals, Al Wolovitch on bass, Greg Herzenach on guitar, and Jimi Englund on drums, and here is the accompanying video:




And here are the lyrics:

Rockets raining down from Gaza, they can tear a man to shreds
Just imagine what they can do to babies sleeping in their beds

Close to 3000 comin in so far, on our cities and our towns
Obama looks confused, John Kerry wears a perpetual frown

When someone comes to kill you
In the middle of the night
Don’t try to defend yourself

Don’t use an ounce of might
Just sit there quietly and try hard not to faint
As the world calls out for–maximum restraint

They’re shooting grads and quassams, from hospitals, mosques and schools
When they photograph their dead and dying Hamas just sits and drools

Another photo op to take, take straight to CNN
they paint Israel as the aggressor–and then it all begins again

When someone comes to kill you
In the middle of the night
Don’t try to defend yourself
Don’t use an ounce of might
Just sit there quietly and try hard not to faint
As the world calls out for–maximum restraint

Even France is getting the picture, Canada sure does too
Time to take the gloves off, time this sh-- is through

But the White House wants a cease fire, they wanna hand Hamas a win
Not only is that insane, it constitutes a sin

When someone comes to kill you
In the middle of the night
Don’t try to defend yourself
Don’t use an ounce of might
Just sit there quietly and try hard not to faint
As the world calls out for–maximum restraint

We gave them back Gaza and they started their missile attacks
Then they went cryin to the UN when Israel hit them back
Too few Jews have died, there must be something wrong
Israel must be cheating, it’s not fair that they’re so strong

When someone comes to kill you
In the middle of the night
Don’t try to defend yourself
Don’t use an ounce of might
Just sit there quietly and try hard not to faint
As the world calls out for–maximum restraint


A tough message that you may or may not agree with, but we all can join together to pray for peace for Israel, and her neighbors, and all over the world.