Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's a Small Planet After All

With all that we've been going through here these past several days, it is easy to lose sight of our relative good fortune. While we can't minimize the pain of those who had to toss out a freezerful of spoiled TV dinners, we need to recall that there are so many around the world with nothing at all to eat. As Passover approaches, this message is spelled out clearly in that call at the beginning of the seder, "Let all who are hungry come and eat."

Back in the early '70s when "Diet for a Small Planet" introduced a new era of mindful-eating, little did we know how small our planet would subsequently become. During this season more than any other, we need to feed the hungry.

This weekend's Synaplex promises to be one of our most significant ever. From start (Friday night) to finish (Saturday night's caberet), we'll go global, focusing on the issue of hunger while sharing in a cultural feast of Jewish diversity. Our special guest, Prof. David Kraemer, has literally written the book on Jews and food, ("Jewish Eating and Identity Throughout the Ages"). He'll begin our global tour on Friday night, following our 7:30 Kabbalat Shabbat service (featuring Katie Kaplan and our 3rd and 4th graders) and continue it on Shabbat morning. Also on Shabbat, among our usual array of service and meditative options, I'll be leading a Learner's Service (at 10) on the theme of Global Hunger Shabbat (which this week happens to be, thanks to the American Jewish World Service). Our children's programming will feature African drumming. At lunch, all of us will connect with families in far-flung nations to see how they cope with hunger and then after lunch, I'm really looking forward to a panel discussion featuring congregants who will talk about what it was like to grow up (and eat) Jewishly in India, South Africa, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, and elsewhere.

Finally on Sat. night, one of the musical highlights of the year, a Cabaret Night featuring the talented Sarah Aroeste and her band. Sarah is noted for her exciting fusion of Ladino, jazz, blues, traditional and modern. We have over a hundred reservations in already. Make sure to add yours, which you can do online at For the full Synaplex schedule, go to

Oh, yes, and one more thing. There will be food. Lots of food, at lunch and at night - food representing the far-flung diversity of the Jewish people around the world.

It truly is going to be an amazing weekend at TBE. The world has just gotten a whole lot smaller. So has the planet.

See you at Synaplex!

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