UHC members can relate to the PBS program, “There Are Jews Here”

By B. Scott Skillman

The PBS program “There Are Jews Here” follows the untold stories of four once-thriving American Jewish communities that are now barely holding on. As communities struggle with aging congregants and dwindling interest, families are moving to larger cities with more robust congregations.

A portrait of people who are doing their part to keep the Jewish spirit alive, the film celebrates religious diversity in small-town America.

Beyond that description, I found the 90-minute show to provide an excellent representation of our own experience and many of the ideas we have tried or considered in order to encourage engagement.

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Jolliff family honors late UHC member Dr. Jack Weinbaum

By Norma Collins

Recently, Cathy and Steve Jolliff sent a contribution in memory of Dr. Jack Weinbaum.

I sent the notice to Bobbie Weinbaum and she was curious as to who the Jolliffs were. I told Bobbie I knew the Jolliffs as very nice people who attended services on special occasions and were friends of Louise and Walter Sommers.

I emailed Cathy for further details to pass along to Bobbie. When Bobbie received this information, it warmed her heart to know how Dr. Weinbaum had touched the Jolliffs’ lives and still remembered him after all these years.

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On Presidents Day, Jews in America honor patriarchs and matriarchs

By Student Rabbi Jonathan Falco

You may be wondering, “what’s the big deal about Presidents Day?” Aside from local school closings on account of the regional holiday, the average American pays little attention to Presidents Day.

I would argue, however, that Presidents Day is in fact a very Jewish kind of holiday and one that is indeed worthy of reflection.

What is the connection between Judaism and this commemorative day in February honoring our country’s past leaders? The link lies in a rabbinic value concept known as Zechut Avot.

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Song is universal, and enriches our worship and spiritual lives

By Betsy Frank

During a recent Shabbat, we read the Torah portion B’shalach, which included the famous Mi Chamochah, or Song of the Sea.

This song is so integral to our liturgy that I wonder if we sometimes just sing it out of habit, without thinking about the lyrics.

When we sing out of habit, we might pay little attention, but we sing. Our prayers, even without music, have a rhythmic, musical quality. If we daven in the traditional way, we may sway with the rhythm of the prayers.

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