Sofʻers Get Creative

Traveler’s Poem

March 4, 2021

by Antonio Machado, Translation by Beatriz Aguirre Haymer

Caminante son tus huellas el camino y nada más;

Caminante no hay camino se hace camino al andar.

Al andar se hace el camino, y al volver la vista atrás

Se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar.

Caminante no hay camino sino estelas en la mar.

Wayfarer your footprints are the path and nothing else;

Wayfarer there is no path, the path is made as one walks.

As one walks the path is made, and turning the gaze behind

One sees the trail that never again will be trod.

Wayfarer there is no path, rather, wakes on the ocean.


Meditation on a Rock Wall

March 3, 2021

By Fran Margulies

The rocks in this strong Hawaiian wall were fit together in their natural shapes. I walk past the wall and think of God’s words at the end of Yitro 20:22. Use only natural “found” rocks in my altars, he orders! He warns against using “hewn” stones because “wielding your tool upon them” will profane them.

Why?

One possible answer is that iron tools are instruments of war, thus inappropriate for worship. But another thought occurs to me. These altars will be the immediate human response to God’s revelation at Sinai, a wildly emotional, explosive event! The God who spoke was “an impassioned God, Eyl kana!” (Yitro 20:5). That passionate God expects, even longs for, an equivalent response!

The most impulsive, passionate human response of a man standing in the desert would be to reach down and mound up the very earth beneath his feet!

Second best, and sturdier, would be to use stones. But they must be found stones, natural, uncut! Because only those would be “kana,” a fittingly passionate response.


Gale Warshawsky Sings These Islands June 2020

Aug 19, 2020

These Islands was written by Danny Couch. This song was to be Gale’s solo for the Ke Kula Mele Hawaiʻi concert under the direction of Kumu Alan Akaka. The concert was scheduled for June 20, 2020 at Windward Mall in Kaneohe, HI. However, the concert was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. This video was created in Gale’s home, so she could share it with others.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKqNQheNfik


Synergy

Finding the biology in the book of Genesis

May 18, 2020

By Malka Rappaport

Synergy Podcast cover

David and Malka have started a podcast on the intersection of biology and our beloved Torah text! Western society seems to suffer from the idea that science and religion are in perpetual conflict.

While there has, historically, been bitter conflict between Christianity and science, our podcast aims to show that Torah has never taken an antagonistic stance. Some Jews have tried previously to dispel this myth of conflict through various books, but none have dealt specifically with the subject of biology, and (as we hope you’ll discover) Torah and biology can actually work in harmony with each other.

Perhaps most importantly for this day and age, our podcast seeks to emphasize the importance of allowing religious principles to guide scientific endeavors as new technological advances give us more and more power to create. Without the grounding of ethical principles in our Torah, science can easily become the means of inflicting terrible damage.

Our show is currently available on the Spotify and Anchor Podcast apps. Hopefully, other streaming platforms will follow in the near future. Keep in mind that Spotify works best with a subscription (it is possible to use Spotify for free, but there will be commercials).

Anchor is an easy and free alternative to listening. Just make sure to search ‘anchor podcast’ in your app store when downloading the initial app. Once you have the Anchor app, it’s best to type in the whole title (Synergy: Finding the biology in the book of Genesis) when searching out the show. There are a lot of other shows with the word ‘synergy’ in the title, so this will help you narrow your search.

We hope you enjoy this labor of love, and please subscribe to the show! The more subscribers, the easier it will be for others to find it. If you feel so inclined, writing a favorable review also helps, as it will boost the show in the various algorithms used to search the streaming platforms. Happy listening!


Aloha ʻOe

July 29, 2020

Gale Warshawsky Sings

This is the direct link to the Rotary International Conference’s House of Friendship for the International Fellowship of Rotary Musicians (IFRM), booth 124. Gale was asked by Lee Denlinger, the Chair of this fellowship, to sing and play her ʻukulele for Aloha ʻOe. There are other performances at this direct link from the World Choir. Gale was honored to have the opportunity to perform for this fellowship at the virtual House of Friendship booth. Many thanks to Gale’s Kumu Alan Akaka, Director of Ke Kula Mele Hawaiʻi – School of Hawaiian music, for teaching her to sing and play Aloha ʻOe.

Gale Warshawsky Sings

 


Twelve Tribes Artwork: in Honor of the 60th Anniversary of Temple Emanu-El’s Sanctuary

Mar 27, 2020

Text, Images, and Artwork by Alice Flitter

In 2018, as hurricane Lane threatened Hawaiʻi, Temple Emanu-El removed the jalousie windows from their sanctuary and boarded up the 12 openings. When my husband, Marc, and I saw that raw plywood, in December of that year, I thought of Chagall’s stained-glass windows that we have visited in the Hadassah chapel in Jerusalem. I had recently been reflecting on an essay by Rabbi Tiferet Berenbaum: “Each and every one of us has a set of talents, experiences and blessings that are uniquely ours. Our task is to figure out how to use the tools that we are given. (The) Aleinu allows us to connect our unique being back to the very nature of creation, as it says in the prayer’s opening line, Aleinu le-shabei-ach la-adon ha-kol, la-tet gedulah l’yotzer bereshit— ”It is our obligation to praise the Master of it all, to ascribe greatness to the author of creation.” For all of these skills and talents that we possess, we are obligated to praise. But how? I knew I could fill those spaces with art. The theme was obvious, not just to me, and after approval by the Temple president and Board, and precarious measurements of the nearly 20-foot high spaces, I began the mental planning with the intention to paint the work at my studio in New Mexico, where we would return in April. While visiting our daughter in Florida that month, and counting over 90 Jewish houses of worship in the greater Miami area, many adorned with depictions of the 12 tribes, I suffered a hand injury. HaShem then gave me six months of contemplative time to work out my project. Finally, in October, after my recovery I began 21 days of non-stop painting of 36 canvases, three canvases comprising each of the total 12 panels. We shipped the work to Honolulu in December of 2019.

These 12 tribes panels are a gift from myself and my husband Marc, whose love and support I enjoy every day, in everything I do. For which I feel blessed beyond measure. The panels are in honor of this year (2020) being the 60th year of Temple Emanu-El‘s building. Chagall’s windows were done in honor of Hadassah’s 40th anniversary, in 1962. These are the only 12 tribes panels in a Jewish house of worship in the state of Hawaii. I chose colors to reflect the vibrancy of Hawaii’s nature, with softened shapes to complement Edward Sullam’s geometric design of the Temple sanctuary. The images and colors derive from Jacob’s blessings to his sons (Genesis 49), Moses’ blessings (Deuteronomy 33), and Midrash Rabah Bamidbar 2.

“Aleinu concludes with a vision of sacred unity, Bayom ha-hu yih-yeh Adonai echad u’shemo echad —“On that day, G-d will be one and His name will be one.” This vision sees a world where we will all come to prioritize the connections between us, to serve in a way that benefits the greater good and others even if it does not appear to immediately benefit us. On that day, G-d’s name will be one. The service of all religions, all who wrestle with G-d, will then be complete and all will come to know that we’ve truly been serving the same purpose…But to bring us to that day, we must first each discover where we are being called into service.”

For me, as an artist, I could do this through the gift of these panels. I am so grateful to Temple Emanu-El for letting me share my gift.

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