Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The History of American Jewish Chaplaincy: Kudos to Bob on his article!

Rabbi Robert Tabak, a longtime chaplain, discusses the field with rabbinical student Elinor Knepler in the chapel at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Tabak sees Jewish and non-Jewish patients.
Photo by Greg Bezanis

"Future historians will be grateful to Robert Tabak for his efforts to create
a foundational reconstruction of the history of Jewish health-care chaplaincy
in America. His essay begins by noting that although many histories strive to
document the evolvement of Jewish military chaplaincy, little has been published
on the historical development of Jewish health-care chaplaincy. According to
Tabak, the true professionalization of Jewish health-care chaplaincy begins in
the aftermath of World War II. Interestingly, the unprecedented surge in the
number of Jewish military chaplains during World War II may have actually
spurred rabbinical interest in a venue of religious service that was based on
“interreligious cooperation,” “a shared sense of mission,” and pluralistic values.
Tabak proceeds to document the steady development of health-care chaplaincies
in various cities during the last third of the twentieth century, culminating
in the founding of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC) in
1990. This article constitutes a pioneering effort to preserve the basic data
relating to the professionalization of Jewish health-care chaplaincy. In due
time, others will no doubt come forward to enlarge and reevaluate Tabak’s
groundbreaking effort."  - Gary Zola

 Here's Bob's whole article:
The Emergence of Jewish Health-Care Chaplaincy: The Professionalization of Spiritual Care
Robert Tabak URL  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thanks to All!

We had a wonderful Purim celebration last night. Once again our community has joined together to create an inspiring (!) service and joyful celebration.

With deep appreciation, we would like to thank the following people who helped make it happen:
Naomi, Coordinator of Coordinators!
Dovvener: Howard Spodek
Megillah Reading:
Toby Kessler
Shulamit Izen
Rabbi Adam Zeff
Barbara Pearson
Sheila Erlbaum
Jacob Staub
Shira Kamm

Purim Shpiel:
George Stern
Betsy Teutsch
David Mosenkis
Aviva Perlo

Tsedakah Coordinator: Carol Tinkleman
Finance: Joel Schneier

Eleanor Brownstein
Ken Cohen
Michael Blackman
Sheila Erlbaum
Helen Feinberg
Carol Tinkleman
Doug Lerner

Ruth Loew
Danielle Stillman
Helen Feinberg
Adam Zeff
Deb Cohen
Anna Herman
Betsy Teutsch

Additional contributions:
Arnie Lurie (grape juice)
Betsy Teutsch (hangers)
Eleanor Brownstein (hamentaschen)
Green Mountain Coffee

Yasher koach to all!!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy Purim Hangers

Fun time tonight!
Thanks to all who chanted megillah, and made the night festive.
You might be wondering why we included a hanger in the Mishloach Manot; maybe a gag about Haman's fate?
Actually it's following our custom of including a sustainability tool.  Other years we've included cfl's (back when they were new and weird), bowl covers, even coffee mugs.
I found hangers like this one in Europe once and brought a few home.  They are the sturdiest I've ever used for hanging laundry to air dry - for sure a way to save energy.  These are heavy enough to hang up a heavy wet towel to dry, for example.
One day this winter I decided to treat myself to a dozen of them.  Life is short.  Buy great hangers.  But I couldn't find them anywhere.  A google image search finally turned some up. In quantities of 100.  All reused.  (even greener!).  And only available in - you guessed it - Philadelphia, PA.  So enjoy your hanger!

ubhtn.jpg  (UBHG) Used Plastic Pant Hangers $19.00 Box of 100
Plastic pant hanger with metal swivel hook. 14" with adjustable clips. There may be printing on the hangers. Available in Grey only. While supplies last. Larger Image & More Info

Shipping Notes: This item ships in one 16 lb. box by UPS. Available in Philadelphia, PA only.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dorshei Derekh Gets a Social Action Shout Out

Sue Fishkoff included Dorshei Derekh, along with a number of other Jewish communities, who have integrated social justice tie-ins to Purim in a JTA article.  DD alum Leah Staub is there, too!


Turning Purim on its head with social action instead of drunkenness

Or is it?SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- Purim is about costumes, outrageous Purim spiels and drinking until you can’t tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman, the hero and villain of the Purim story.
A number of American synagogues and Jewish organizations are eschewing, or at least downplaying, the drunken revelry to focus more on the socially conscious aspects of the holiday, which begins on Saturday night.
“I’ve always hated the drunken side of Purim,” said rabbinical student Ilan Glazer, spiritual leader of Conservative Temple Beth El of North Bergen, N.J., which will hold an alcohol-free Jewish comedy festival this year on Purim afternoon. “It seems counter to what we try to teach our children about the Jewish tradition.”
The most widespread alternatives involve “mishloach manot,” the mitzvah of giving food baskets to friends, and “matanot l’evyonim,” the mitzvah of giving to the needy.
In New York, the Israeli Consulate is teaming up with City Meals on Wheels and the Netanya Foundation to deliver meals to the homebound elderly, complete with “Happy Purim” cards decorated by children in Netanya, Israel.
Ahavat Olam, a progressive synagogue in Vancouver, British Columbia, is joining with local Muslims to prepare a meal for 300 to 500 hungry and homeless people as part of its ongoing Muslim-Jewish Feed the Hungry Project.
In Philadelphia, the Reconstructionist Dorshei Derekh Minyan at the Conservative Germantown Jewish Center raises money for collective mishloach manot baskets that are assembled at the synagogue building. Minyan attendees each get one basket of goodies instead of one for each purchased, so the bulk of the funds, about $1,200 a year, goes to local nonprofits. Other synagogues use the same method to raise funds for themselves or other causes.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

We're Good on Clementine Boxes!

As you can see, Doug has matters in hand. Thanks to the many planners, collectors, bakers, errand runners, assemblers, and schleppers - GJC staff was especially accomodating!

See you Saturday night at 8:00 in the Maslow. If you've got little ones and it's too late, please come by and help yourself to a Mishloach Manot basket. And if you haven't contributed, you can still do so on Saturday night or anytime before by heading to PayPal and sending money to our account:

Chag Sameach!
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Purim is Coming - Saturday night megillah at 8:00

Dorshei Derekh will join at 8:00 in the Maslow Auditorium.
Come in a costume.
Laugh at our jokes.
Volunteer for megillah reading.
Bring dollars for tsedakah.
Don't forget to take home a Clementine Mishloach Manot basket!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Purim - This Saturday Night at 8 PM!!

Join Dorshei Derekh for our annual Purim Megillah reading, spiel, and merry making.  In advance, please consider donating to our Mishloach Manot collective - everyone who attends receives a lovely basket of goodies.

Most of the $$ will go to tzedakah!  We’ve donated over $1200 annually. The organizations that will receive our tzedakah this year have already been chosen:
  • Hazon, which promotes a Jewish approach to local, sustainable food, organizing and supporting synagogue-based CSA’s, Jewish farming initiatives, and education around healthy eating.
  • The Ashkelon, Israel, Ethiopian immigrant community Passover Food Fund, through our own “shalichah”, Rabbi Anita Steiner.
  • The Kibera School for Girls’ food program (near Nairobi ) which, for 15¢ per day  feeds each student 2 meals a day + fruit and nutritious snacks – which means we are covering over 2000 days!
  •  A local food cupboard – we hope to work with area gardeners who donate produce for the hungry.

    Become a Purim Baker: This lowers our costs and leaves more to donate. Please email    Abby Weinberg at if you can bake.  Please leave your baked goods in the Maslow by 3:00 PM on Thursday.
    Donate Items for Baskets: If you have items for the baskets, such as fun promotional items (pens, etc) or educational materials, [there are 65 baskets], contact
    Basket Assembly: Doug Lerner and Ken Cohen are coordinating the basket assembling.  It will be held at GJC on Thursday, March 17, 3-6.  Please join them – it is fun!  

    This year D”D is going “Green.”  There are 3 ways of donating money: 
    • Electronically through our account at, our account is 
    • Mailing a check made out to MINYAN DORSHEI DEREKH to Carol Tinkleman, 316 Glen Echo Road, Phila., PA. 19119.  Please let Carol know if your donation is in honor/memory of someone. 
    • Bringing cash or a check to D”D during our Purim Megillah reading, Saturday night.

    Wear Costumes, Of Course!