By Vincent Kahwaty
Members of the CBH community embarked on a Tu B’Shevat hike at South Mountain Reservation. We met at Hawk Hill and began our journey to celebrate “the birthday of the trees” that occurs each year on the 15th of the month of Shevat.
Social distancing? You bet! Everyone kept at least 6 feet apart with masks on at all times, even when chatting.
The hike was truly beautiful. We got to see some amazing sights including an area where the path went through a thick grove of Norway spruce trees.
All in all, the hike was one to remember, and seeing some familiar faces -- or just other faces in general -- was all we needed to have a good time. The hike ended just as the first snowflakes of winter storm Orlena began to fall.
By Vincent Kahwaty
On a chilly December Sunday morning, the teens and group leaders of the CBH River Health Monitoring Committee braved the cold to head over to Stanley Park for a health check of the Passaic River. Their task was to observe and log information about specific aspects of the river environment to make sure that it can accommodate a wide variety of wildlife species.
Jackson Levine, Nate and Joe Laposky, and committee leaders Helene Goldfarb and Stephanie Tran took notes on water pollution, sewage, water speed, aquatic vegetation (including algae growth), man-made structures in or around the banks of the river, and assessed the erosion of both the left and right banks.
The group logged their observations and compared them to previous records. In the spring and summer months, the team will return to the river and collect samples to test and submit to the Great Swamp Association of Water Monitoring, who then send a report to the Department of...
We are privileged to have this Czech Memorial Torah Scroll, written in 1820. It is believed to have be one of the torahs from the town of Slany about 20 miles north of Prague. When the Nazis closed the country's synagogues, our torah, along with torahs, mantles and other religious items from all over Czechoslovakia were sent to the Jewish Museum in Prague. Jewish workers were forced to tattoo a number on each torah and to record the number and the place from which each item had been taken. In 1948, after the war was over, the torahs were transferred to a warehouse that had previosly been Michle synagogue. The scrolls remained in the warehouse on damp, dusty, dirty shelves for many years until they were rescued in 1964 by the Memorial Scrolls Committee of Westminster Synagogue. 1564 scrolls were shipped in sealed railroad cars to London where they were catalogued, repaired and restored when possible. Each torah was given a brass plaque to identify its origin.
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
As a Zumba Instructor for almost 12 years I often ask myself outside of the music and movement what the appeal is of a Zumba class. One of my students recently gave me some insight.
But she also pointed out to me that the magic moments of a Zumba class are when all these people come together moving in unison to the same song. As an instructor, those are the moments that make me love my job.
Thinking more about this,...
It’s often lamented how fragmented and polarized civil discourse has become. Discussing the weather and your health used to be considered safe topics, but we’re in such a state now that even those topics can lead to tense conversations.
If we can’t talk about the problems we’re experiencing in society, how will we solve them? Perhaps our biggest problem is that we’ve stopped listening to each other. Journalist and interviewer Celeste Headlee gave a TED talk in which she offered 10 tips for a better...