Sunday, June 21, 2020

In This Moment, by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman: June 21: Pride Shabbat Photos and Video; Rabbinic Father's Day

In This Moment
Our Pride Shabbat service featured Marion Sherman Howard (pictured here with husband Chris Coogan), who spoke about her journey as a parent of a transgender child.  That child, Max, who just graduated from Purdue, also joined us from Indiana.

See more screen shots from the service below

Celebrating our upcoming first TBE Zoom wedding 
Zachary Covan and Fay Silber (with proud parents Jerry and Bracha Silber)

Happy Father's Day!

Need a laugh? Check out the Onlon's list of the Ten Worst Bar Mitzvahs.  #6 was in Stamford (not!).

Yesterday, I received my copy of the new book, When We Turned Within: Reflections on COVID-19, edited by Rabbi Menachem Creditor and Sarah Tuttle-Singer and it is a true collector's item, a time capsule of 381 Jewish heartwarming and inspirational responses to these fateful times. I'm honored to be one of the contributors, but there are so many voices here, rabbis, poets, essayists and "just plain folks," and each takes a slightly different approach to what we've all been through and what we can take from the experience.  There are also reflections on the Black Lives Matters protests that have overlapped with the pandemic.  

Sarah Tuttle Singer (one my favorite columnists, who is New Media Editor at Times of Israel), explains in her introduction to the book:

We are all here, sharing the same wild storm together - rough waters, high waves, dark clouds. Maybe we are mourning someone we love dearly, and looking for a Minyan to say Kaddish somehow. Maybe we are struggling with unfathomable loneliness. Maybe we are feeling trapped in a house with young kids and no community support. Maybe we are risking our lives to heal the sick in a COVID-19 ward.  Maybe we are out of work and afraid we will never recover financially. Maybe we have to go to work where we make minimum wage as a checkout clerk. Maybe we need to offer solace to a member of the community when we, too, are seeking solace and don't know how to ask.

And while we each experience this period in profoundly different ways, all of our individual experiences are true, and holy, and speak to a greater shared human experience: We are all in this together.

Five Rabbinic Suggestions for Father's Day
My father, Cantor Michal Hammerman, on the right, 
with his two cantorial brothers, Saul and Herman, 1971

While Jewish mothers usually get all the attention, this is the weekend to celebrate Jewish fathers.
1) A child should not stand or sit in a place where his father is accustomed to standing or sitting (Kiddishin 31b).  Some call this the "Archie Bunker Law."
 2) A child should not support his father's opponents in a scholarly dispute. In other words, they forbade "Patrilinial Dissent." (Sorry for that groan-inducing pun, a Dad joke if there ever was one).
 3) The rabbis praised Duma, a heathen who refused to awaken his father, although he needed a key lying under his father's pillow in order to conclude a transaction that would have netted him a profit of 600,000 gold coins. One can imagine how proud Dama's father was of his son when he woke up...
4) The rabbis state firmly that a child is obligated to attend to the material needs of his parents while they are alive and to mourn for them properly when they die.
 5) One more suggestion not mentioned in the Talmud: on Father's Day, let your dad sleep nice and late!
-          Also, read how Jewish fathers are the opposite of TV dads.
-          Check out this historical survey of Jewish fathers.
-          Two favorite articles I've written about fatherhood, following the births of my two sons: "Birth Rite" and "Fathers and Sons"
-          The Forward asked for Six Word Memoirs about Jewish fathers. Here are a few of them:
Actor, scrap man, embellisher of of stories.
Ilene Stein, 64, Riverside, Calif., about Max M. Fields
He lives generously. That's my inheritance.
Paula Chaiken, 42, Kingston, Pa., about Gene Chaiken
Dad's matzo balls? Hard. Heart? Soft.
Cheryl Levine, 48, Yellow Springs, Ohio, about Barry Levine
Dad, homework done, healthy. Don't worry!
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, 46, congresswoman, Weston, Fla., about Larry Wasserman
Always making puns, always causing groans.   (See "Patrilineal Dissent," above)
Julie Grossman, 26, North Bethesda, Md., about Garry Grossman
Sense of humor, debt-free educations.
Alexandra Schmidt, 44, Niskayuna, N.Y. about John Lutch
Eating ice cream in underwear. 5 a.m.
Rich Cohen, 45, author of "Israel is Real," Ridgefield, Conn., about Herb Cohen
Zayde shined my shoes and heart.
Donna Erbs, 52, Portland, Ore., about Max Joffee
Waiter, I ordered the kosher lobster.
Shira Kaiserman, 28, New York, about Ronald Kaiserman
Clean linen handkerchiefs comfort me still.
Roberta Rosenberg, 58, Clarksville, Md., about Harry Rosenberg
Brimming bookshelves - bent, leant and shmoozed.
Wayne Firestone, 49, president of the Genesis Prize Foundation, Rockville, Md., about Bruce Firestone
Mel Brooks movie marathon: perfect Shabbos.
Casey Stein, 25, New York, about Alan Stein
Dude dug prunes, melbas and mama.
Henry Greenspan, 65, Ann Arbor, Mich., about Albert Lewis Greenspan
Theirs - writer, scholar, lecturer. Mine - Aba. 

Enjoy the day!

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

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