A Return to Amsterdam: Jewish Tour and A Golden Age Uncovered 🌷🇳🇱
More from The Wandering Jew: A return to a place I visited 25 years ago, and some Jewish surprises there
So, I’m Jewish now, wow! I was meant to originally celebrate on my 40th birthday but covid had other plans. Here are some things you can do to help me mark my milestone, including giving to some good causes, my budding Jewish community that’s doing great, fresh, necessary things and is in startup mode, or sending me a little something.
Tzedakah is a (the?) cornerstone of Judaism; take care of the less fortunate. One day it may be you who needs the help but even if not, it’s a mitzvah to give. (Social justice and equity: how I chose my Hebrew name, Amos). Some translate Tzedakah as “charity”, but that’s not right, and the concept of charity is a modern one within capitalism. It’s “justice.” Ensuring everyone is taken care of is social justice (“tikkun olam“) and especially needed right now within our legal and social systems.
20 Social Justice Organizations to Support Right Now: Posting on social media is just a start. Here’s how to take the next step (Town and Country Magazine, JUN 5, 2020). My favorites: NAACP, BLM, the ACLU, and the Bail Project.
I’ve been super active in my Jewish community, Nefesh, for over a year first as a learner, then as part-time employee and volunteer. We are in startup mode essentially, just got our own Torah, a beautiful Ark, and have 150 paying members. You can help us grow tremendously—especially in this ridiculous year—by giving to keep our services and community going, including our Tikkun Collective, the activist arm of this progressive temple.
Nefesh is known across LA for its amazing, soulful music; led by Duvid Swirsky and Sally Dworsky, these guys do their own arrangements, original songs, and blend harmonies with guitar, accordion, and even trumpet to make some stunning Jewgrass. Donate at nefeshLA.org (membership or one-time).
The dates changed and I don’t know when this might happen, but I’m so excited to go and study, experience, and soak it all in. I hope to stay awhile and not be rushed, to catch up on 40 years of missed Jewish learning. https://www.travelersjoy.com/bobbyisrael
Do I need a tallit, a prayer shawl? Yes, and I’m excited for one since you can’t wear it until you’re formally Jewish. (Anyone can wear a kippah, and should when asked at Jewish events and services). Is the one I adore out of stock for like, ever on Etsy? Also yes. If you know of one like it, you’re my hero; otherwise, stay tuned.
Hanukkah is early December this year and though it’s not a big holiday, it is fun winter one and grew to be synonymous with “the holidays” in America. It’s not that we expect gifts—it’s really not a tradition—it’s just fun. Also, ugly sweaters.
I’m excited for this holiday. It’s fall, it’s outdoors, it’s whimsical, it’s gratitude. We shake our lulav and etrog and our tushes and such. Next up: September 2021.