My New York Shabbat starts in my office at work! My team celebrates once a month, and this week we had an extra treat of dried fruit in celebration of Tu B'Shvat! Always a delicious way to end a week.
My fiancé and I are excited to be getting married on April 1st, almost five years after we met at Jewish summer camp...as adults. I was the Asst. Director and he was the Sports Unit Head. We both still work in camping and youth services at different JCC's, and my fiancé's colleague (who happens to be a rabbi) will officiate our wedding. #aprilfoolzinlove
I am catholic and work for a Jewish organization. My Jewish New York story was a time I spent Chanukah with a colleague. My son and I experienced traditional Chanukah dinner and played the dreidel. I was inspired by the values and traditions the Jewish culture shares and the similarities in my culture.
Ours is both a New York and British; Orthodox and Reform tradition - on Christmas day! We head to the movies in the morning, NY style, but then invite family and friends over in the afternoon for Christmas lunch of kosher roast turkey and all the trimmings, British style!
One of my favorite things about being Jewish in NYC was (is) the ability to join Synago. Synago is a social Jewish network for Young Professionals. Not only do they have amazing events such as a Hanukkah ball, but we are also able to attend services through them for those of us who are unable to head home . One of the neat features is that you have to be recommended by a friend, which creates this large network of Jews in NYC. So far I have attended 3 events and I can't wait for the next!
I love that there are so many Jews and there's so many different organizations and events to go to.
This year will be my 30th Anniversary at UJA-Federation. Every day I feel so blessed to work for an organization that does such good in the world. When I was in need personally, they were there for me. My dad had advanced Alzheimer’s and spent the last days of his life at “The New Jewish Home” in the Bronx surrounded by people who showed respect and care for the elderly. I thank UJA-Federation for being a big part of my life.
Every year I attend a Seder lead by a friend of a friend I met a long time ago; she is an advocate for homeless LGBTQ youth who graciously hosts upwards of 30 people in her modest Ridgewood, Queens apartment. The most incredible brisket, macaroons, etc. are served and (because she used to work at Trader Joe's Wine Shop) copious amounts of wine, as well. ;) She writes her own Haggadah that is very forward-thinking and inclusive; you do not have to be Jewish to attend. Her dedication to the true message of Passover is infectious and leaves everyone feeling hopeful.
I love the richness and diverse Jewish culture of New York. Families both Reform and Orthodox have opened their homes to me to share the beautiful experiences of Shabbat, Passover, and the High Holidays. It is meaningful to share Jewishness with families who add their own twists to deepen the experience and make it alive for today's world.
Jewish identity is a birthright and as we get older and mature into young adults, we appreciate what being Jewish really means. I remember the struggles growing up Jewish in the former Soviet Union - when I came to the US in 1994 - it was amazing to be able to go to a Jewish school and to be able to practice Judaism and celebrating Jewish holidays so freely. It was easy to shop for Passover - getting Matza and kosher food wasn't a struggle anymore and I then realized that we are chosen and given struggles to survive them - as it will make us that much stronger! Thanks!
I love celebrating the holidays with my family. Now that I'm older I enjoy decorating my home with Hanukkah menorah and dreidels. I like to explain our customs and traditions.
My favorite thing about Jewish New York is Simchat Torah...the city closes the temple's streets on the upper east side, so we can all sing and dance with the torah outside! We're so fortunate to be able to freely celebrate our happiest holiday, with full support from the NYC community.
Explaining to my kids that sometimes we wish people happy holidays or Merry Christmas, because our city is a wonderfully big, diverse place, and not everyone in New York celebrates Hanukkah!