Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rosh Hodesh Group of the Grand Strand

A few years ago, I formed a Rosh Hodesh group with another person in the Jewish community. Unfortuately personalities clashed.But, I was very busy with school, and still am.

I am happy to say a new Rosh Hodesh group is starting up again. It is called Rosh Hodesh Group of the Grand Strand.

The ladies are from the more traditional sect, of Chabad.   I just want to see it succeed this time. The other group was getting dry, and doing more social events, it was getting too dull,the activities were basically the same.

This time these ladies are doing the traditional route. Where there are discussions of women's values, being Jewish, sometimes making Challah, etc.. I used to belong to a RH group up north that was more discussion based, and not so much on social activities.

I am looking forward to the group re-starting with fresh blood.  I must thank, Susan Cohen for keeping me in the loop.  The group is starting on Nov. 24th, which most of us, I don't think will make because it is too close to Thanksgiving. Instead they are having a launch party to let the ladies know about RH. On Monday they will be having a party on Monday, date, and time will be posted soon. I hope y'all can make it. If you are female, live in the Grand Strand community,  Jewish, and over the age of 12, please come join the Rosh Hodesh Group.

This excerpt is copied from one of my favorite sites, Jewish Learning, for more info, go visit, Rosh Chodesh has long been considered a special holiday for women. Some say that this is because the women of Israel did not offer their jewelry for the creation of the Golden Calf. As a result, they were given Rosh Chodesh as a day when they could abstain from work. To this day, some women refrain from some forms of labor on Rosh Chodesh. Others have connected the waxing and waning of the moon to a woman's menstrual cycle. Whatever the reason, Rosh Chodesh has long been a time for Jewish women to gather for a wide variety of activities, from reciting tradition liturgy, to sharing a meal, discussing Jewish ethics, and working for social change. 

You also can visit them on their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rosh-Chodesh-Society-of-Myrtle-Beach/865323760165326

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Aleppo Codex: Book Review

The Aleppo Codex
Matti Friedman
Complimentary copy from
Algonquin Publishing

The Jewish Grand Strand Reads and Rabbi Avi adult education class are meeting together to discuss,

The Aleppo Codex, by Matti Friedman on November 5th at Temple Emanu-El at 2 PM, everyone is welcome and there is no charge. 

I will give you a update of the Jewish Grand Strand Reads after the event. 

It is very interesting that we are reading Aleppo Codex. The Aleppo Codex was written to keep the Jewish community together after the destruction of the Jewish temple. Interesting that we, the entire Jewish community of Myrtle Beach are also reading the same book, but not the actual Aleppo Codex. 

The Aleppo Codex, known as the, "Crown of Aleppo",  is a very important book for the Jewish community.   More important than the Dead Sea Scrolls.  

We go to synagogue on Saturday morning. The weekly ritual is on Saturday, the Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark. It must be read perfectly without any mistakes.  This is very different from any other religion. They can't be any mistakes, if there are there are two men that witness and correct your spelling, and chanting of the vowels, etc. The codex makes sure you make no mistakes. 

 The codex is the book instead of the Torah scrolls. This is what keeps the Jewish community together. 

In 70 A.D, The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. There wasn't anything to keep the Jewish people together. They were exiled, and then the Jews traveled to different locations to settle permanently, called the diaspora.

 There wasn't anything that kept the Jewish people together. There wasn't any institutions, the  Catholic religion had their pope and the Catholic Church, in Rome. The Jewish people didn't have anything to glue them together, until the writing of the codex in 930 A. D.,  in Tiberius.  Then in 1099, during the Crusades, the Jewish Community, of, Jerusalem didn't have any other choice but to give it to the Jewish community of Egypt.

Here at the time is when Maimonides did his scholarly work. He used the codex to write the Mishneh Torah.  After he used the codex, many people thought the Codex was the most trusted book for Jewish scholars.  From there one of  Maimonides (very important sage)descendants traveled to Syria, and was placed with the Jewish Aleppo community where it remained for almost 600 years.  In Aleppo, the codex was kept with double locks. Each one of the sexton's had a key. This meant both men had to be present to get access of the book. Many years before, the book had religious significance. But in later years the book has become a good luck charm, talisman, kept evil away, rather than the true meaning of the book.

After the UN's resolution which established the state of Israel there was rioting across the Middle East. The Great Synagogue of  of the Aleppo Jewish community in Syria was burned. It was thought the codex burned with it.  But many years later it was discovered the Aleppo Codex wasn't burned at all. Instead it miraculous turned up in a Aleppo Grotto, for safe keeping, by a very wealthy Jewish merchant.  For almost 10 years it did not resurface. 

The Jewish community of the Middle East was dwindling after the establishment of Israel. Was there still a need to hide the codex? The codex was priceless, and the Aleppo Jewish community was afraid that the Syrian government would try to steal it. Instead they told a lie to keep it from being confiscated.  During this time the great rabbi's of Aleppo wanted to hide it in Israel for safekeeping. They made plans to give it to a man that was immigrating to Israel. It was not suppose to go to the Jewish government, but the learned Rabbi's in Israel. 

This is where the story becomes murky. I am not going to go into the rest of the story. Because the book is a compelling read, that you want to keep turning the pages. Who does the book truly belong to? Who owns Jewish history? Did some of the Aleppo Jewish community take it with them to NYC? Or does a antiquities dealer have it? Why won't he come forward? These are questions that Matti Friedman wants you to consider.  

They mystery is never answered, but it gives you insight, and leads you to do your own research. There are a few articles out there about the disappearance, and reappearance of the Aleppo Codex. There are a few good articles written after the book that gives you an update.  Also a video, from the Dallas JCC where he discusses the reason why he wrote the book. 

If you read the book, here is the followup after the book was published by the author:

Here is the author at JCC in Texas

I enjoyed reading Aleppo Codex it is very informative. not just for the enjoyment of reading. But learning about the Codex. The book This is a very important book. Because before reading it, I never heard about it. The book is full of conspiracy, mystery, thieves, politicians, crooked antiquities dealers, Hasidic learned men. Who is the true thief, and where did it go?

 It takes you from Tiberius, to Egypt, Israel, and even Brooklyn, NYC.. People you wouldn't think wouldn't be have any dealing with this.  But, when it has to do with sacred text, and valuable items for exchange of money. everyone comes out of the wood work don't they? 

The Aleppo Codex is in Israel, at the Shrine of the book. It also is housed with the Dead Sea Scrolls. 

The Codex isn't entirely exhibited. It only shows four pages, and the rest is held in another part of the museum, for safe keeping.  

I give it five bagels!!!! 
Nothing since The Golem and the Jinni has been as good.
I would like to thank the Jewish community of Aleppo for protecting the Codex.  I would also like to thank Matti Friedman for writing this important book for the Jewish community. 

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