HomeNovember 2010Coming Together

Coming Together

“Torah is the shared inheritance of all the Jewish people.

It does not belong to a special sect or an elite group of the Jews.
We have a responsibility to share our common heritage with all Jews.
We each get an equal share.” – Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

Forget Thanksgiving.  Another historic event is about to take place this month.

On November 7, Jews from around the world will share in what is being dubbed “A Global Day of Jewish Learning,” a time to learn, share and reflect.

According to Director of Planning, Funding, Branding, & Community Development at Jewish Federation & Family Services, Kathleen Mellon, it is hoped that this first-time event will bring such national and global initiatives to the attention of the OC community and encourage participation. The Jewish Federation & Family Services is the coordinating body for the Orange County celebration of the Global Day of Jewish Learning.

The reason for this day is that on November 7, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz will culminate nearly five decades of groundbreaking work in translating The Talmud, making it accessible to all Jewish people. The Global Day honors this achievement by bringing together Jewish communities around the world in an historic, unifying celebration.

The web site for the event, www.1people1day.org, says, “The themes that the curriculum will be based upon include, but are not limited to, the environment, love, prayer, the land of Israel, God, leadership, and miracles. We are creating an innovative curriculum at multiple levels for the beginner who has never seen a word of Hebrew to someone who studies Jewish text on a regular basis. Each theme will contain between two to four classes at multiple levels and topics. All of the classes are being developed by master level Jewish educators throughout the world. Each class will be a unique experience.”

For example, thousands have already truly embraced this event, and the list almost reads like a Who’s Who of Jews: Bryansk, Russia: Chesed Tikva, Institute for Jewish Studies in CIS & Joint Distribution Committee to Bucharest, Romania: JCC Bucares & Joint Distribution Committee and Budapest, Hungary: Joint Distribution Committee, Buenos Aires, Argentina: Fundacion Judaica, Joint Distribution Committee, Lamroth Hakol & NCI – Emanu El, Buffalo, NY: JCC of Greater Buffalo, Bulgaria: Central Israeli Spiritual Council, Joint Distribution Committee, The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria Shalom & Organization of the Jews in Sofia, Calgary, AB: Calgary Jewish Community Council, Canton, OH: Canton Jewish Community Center, Hadassah & various synagogues and religious schools, Casablanca, Morocco: Joint Distribution Committee & Ozar Hatorah Neve Shalomthere, Tucson, AZ: Temple Emanu-El Tula, Russia: Institute for Jewish Studies in CIS & Joint Distribution Committee, Tunis, Tunisia: Chabad School of Tunis & Joint Distribution Committee Tver, Russia: Joint Distribution Committee Tyumen, Ekaterinburg: Joint Distribution Committee & Religious Community “Madregot” Ufa, Bashkirtostan: Institute for Jewish Studies in CIS & Ufa Jewish religious community, Ulianovsk, Russia: Jewish National and Cultural Autonomy, Jewish Youth Club “Mishpacha Gdola,” Joint Distribution Committee, Ulianovsk City Communal Organization & Ulianovsk Jewish Cultural and Educational Community Organization (Shalom) are only a handful of the  countless communities signed on for the Global Day of Jewish Learning.

“What makes the Global Day of Jewish Learning unique is that it is a specific day set aside for all Jews, throughout the world, to come together and learn.  By joining in person and in spirit, we can demonstrate – as a people – our devotion to our heritage and to one another,” Mellon said.  “There’s always a need for Jewish learning.”

The goal is that everyone involved in the day will share in Jewish dialogue, learning, and exploration, joining together in a celebration of Judaism’s devotion to knowledge.

“The Jewish conversation that has spanned millennia will resonate throughout the globe in congregations, community centers and classrooms,” Mellon added.

Who Will Be Involved

Indeed it will be something special thanks to all of the participating organizations which at this writing will include the Bureau of Jewish Education, Tarbut V’Torah, the Merage JCC, Temple Bat Yahm, Temple Beth David, Temple Beth Tikvah, and University Synagogue.

“We’re certain other congregations and organizations will join us locally.  Each institution is ‘doing its own thing’ which is truly in the spirit of the Global Day,” Mellon said.

In addition, the worldwide Organizing Partners of the Global Day are the Jewish Federations of North America,  the JCC Association of North America, the national Hillel Foundation, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, JESNA (Jewish Education Service of North America) and the Shefa Institute in Israel.

Even More Celebrating

In addition to those participating, Rabbi Steinsaltz will be celebrating the Global Day by holding a Siyyum (completion ceremony) in Jerusalem, and a live telecast will be available for communities to access.

Mellon said that anyone can get involved and should; individuals interested should contact their congregation and ask what kind of Jewish learning activities they can join on November 7. She said that any Jewish organization or congregation, or even a chavurah or an independent minyan, can organize an event for this day.  To be officially recognized on the web site (www.1people1day.org), you need to register by contacting kathleen@jfoc.org.  There are uniform branding materials available to all partners to showcase their participation in this global movement, too, on the site.

“This is a day for every Jew of every age,” Mellon concluded.

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