Betsy Frank is UHC para-rabbinic fellow and president.
So many of us travel to warmer climates during winter to escape the cold. This year, Dick and I made our escape with a cruise to the Caribbean.
As you know, when we travel, we try to engage with the local Jewish community, whether on ship or in port.
During this most recent cruise, we joined 30 passengers for Erev Shabbat services on ship led by a gentleman from Mobile, Ala.
During this most recent cruise, we joined 30 passengers for Erev Shabbat services on ship led by a gentleman from Mobile, Ala. Yes, there are Jews in Alabama!
On Saturday morning, about half those from Friday’s session joined Shabbat services at Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, 40 miles from the Venezuelan coast on the Dutch Caribbean Island of Curaçao.
The synagogue was consecrated in 1732 and has been in continuous operation ever since, making it the oldest in the Americas.
Lay leaders conduct Reconstructionist/Reform/Sephardic service
Just as lay leaders conduct Shabbat services at UHC, an adult woman and young man, just 18, led services that morning at Mikve Israel, as the hazzan was out of town.
However, the Torah service followed the Sephardic rites. The service languages were English, Hebrew and a bit of Portuguese. Observing Jewish custom, Kiddush followed the service. Dick modestly noted that while the challah was good, his is better.
Learning first-hand about Jews around the world enriches our practice of Judaism.
Traveling certainly enriches our lives in many ways. At the same time, learning first-hand about Jews around the world enriches our practice of Judaism.
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I have kept up somewhat and can certainly see why scholars spend a lifetime studying Talmud. I encourage you to join the 5,000-plus engaged in this experience.
Featured photo credit: René Bongard