Come out to the 23rd ANNUAL VIRGINIA FESTIVAL OF JEWISH FILM Presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg

  by Mark Robbins and William Laderberg This year’s festival boasts an interesting, entertaining, and exciting lineup of international films. Along with the terrific members of our Film Screening Committee, we invite you to the upcoming 23rd Virginia Festival of Jewish Film. Mark your calendars for this next week (January 16th through 24th) to see the very finest…

Israel’s Solution to a Water-Starved World

By Seth M. Siegel About three years ago, I learned that the world was on the cusp of a global water crisis. As a frequent visitor to Israel, I began wondering what impact this would have on a country that is 60 percent desert and a dry place everywhere else. You can only imagine my…

Progress, not Perfection: Lessons from Simchat Torah

by Tracie Guy-Decker My sister’s voice on the other end of the phone line sounded anxious. “What should I do?” she said, “I really don’t want to screw this up.” She was worrying about a session she was organizing for a professional conference, but she could just as easily have been seeking advice about being…

What the Hut? Meditations on Sukkot

One Sukkot while I was in graduate school, the young men and women of the local Chabad chapter built what they called a “sukkah-mobile” (come to think of it, it’s likely they built one every year, though I only encountered it once). It was a simple but solid hut built on a flat-bed trailer. They…

Yom Kippur: What Lyme Disease Taught Me About Fasting

by Tracie Guy-Decker Regular readers of my guest blogs on the Simon Family JCC site will know that I often write about the Jewish holidays as I experience them (again) through my 3-year-old daughter’s eyes. Indeed, my thoughts about Rosh Hashanah last week followed that theme. For Yom Kippur, I am feeling slightly more self-reflective….

Rosh Hashanah, No Ordinary Time

At the once-monthly Shabbat service for little ones I attend with my daughter, we always sing a song with the lyrics “I’ve got that Shabbat feeling up in my rosh (Hebrew for head).” The kids pat their heads as they sing “up in my rosh to stay-ay-ay.” It shouldn’t have been a surprise when my…

Tidewater Trio Takes on 2015 European Maccabi Games

By Scott Katz More than 2,000 Jewish athletes from 36 countries gathered at the Waldbühne in Berlin for the 2015 Maccabi games last month.  Three of those athletes— Jacob Konikoff, Evan Roesen, and Wayne Simon—represented the Tidewater community. The games, which ran from July 27 to Aug. 5, feature 19 sports disciplines. Evan and Wayne brought…

Cheesecake = Revelation? A meditation on Shavuot

by Tracie Guy-Decker I always welcome the festival of Shavuot as it approaches. In my memory, Shavuot carries with it the delicious flavor of cheesecake and ice cream. As I watched the dates approaching on the calendar, I started to tell my three-year-old daughter about the upcoming festival: Me: Shavuot is coming! It’s the holiday…

A Thankful Passover

By Tracie Guy-Decker This morning, as I fried my umpteenth batch of matzo brei, my three-year-old daughter whined for the umpteenth time that she wanted a bagel. I sighed quietly and flipped the brei, not even bothering to explain again about Passover to a toddler.  But it got me thinking. I thought back to the…