Alef List: Hot Happenings 4 Hip Jews 10/20-11/2

Alef ListThis is a guest post by Matt Levitt.

There are a number of interesting things happening in the next two weeks, Jewish and not.  Besides a few parties, a class or two, and some other worthwhile events, some will be watching the Vikings closely, others just getting over our Twins hangover.

Still others among us, I’m certain, are a little Jew’d out.  After Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we had a week of Sukkot and recently concluded with Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.  Is it little wonder that we have no holidays in the month of Cheshvan (Oct-Nov)?

Here are my picks from October 20th through November 2nd:

10/24/2009. 8:00pm @ Cedar Cultural Center (416 Cedar Ave., S., Minneapolis).  Klezmatics to perform at Cedar Cultural Center. The music of the Klezmatics is “steeped in Jewish spiritualism and Eastern European tradition while incorporating more provocative themes such as social rights and anti-fundamentalism with eclectic musical influences such as jazz, gospel, punk, and Arab, African, and Balkan rhythms.”  My favorite CD of theirs is called “Jews With Horns” and they are the only klezmer band ever to win a Grammy.  What else do you need to know?  They love playing the Cedar (they sometimes perform here more than once a year), and it is a great venue to take in their amazing music.  Expect two sets from a one of a kind.  Take advantage of the TC Jewfolk discount (call in) of 20% off.

10/25/2009. 3:00pm – NECHAMA, The Jewish Response to Disaster’s B’nei Mitzvah celebration and open house. 3:00p.m.- 5:00pm (4:00 program) at 7260 Washington Ave S., Eden Prairie.  Get a chance to tour the new facilities and trailers and see NECHAMA’s new video.  There will be prize drawings, food and drinks, and a volunteer recognition program.  If you’ve ever thought about being a NECHAMA volunteer, this is the perfect opportunity to get yourself acquainted with the organization.  Not familiar with NECHAMA?  Why is NECHAMA important?  Read TC Jewfolk’s article about NECHAMA to see what NECHAMA has been up to lately. The Nechama open house has been postponed until November 15, from 3-5pm, because of their ongoing work right now in Atlanta. What can you say about an organization that postpones its own bnei mitzvah party in order to help people in need?

10/28/2009. 7:00pm @ Beth El (5224 W. 26th Street., St. Louis Park).  – Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day Commemoration with Yaakov Katz, military correspondent for The Jerusalem Post.  Free and open to the public.  Who was Yitzhak Rabin and why are we remembering him?  He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel.  He served two terms in office, 1974–1977 and 1992, before his assassination in 1995. In 1994 Rabin won the Nobel Peace Prize together with Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat. He was assassinated by right-wing Israeli radical Yigal Amir, who was opposed to Rabin’s signing of the Oslo Accords. The shooting took place as Rabin was leaving a mass rally in Tel Aviv in support of the Oslo process.  The Knesset has set the 12th of Cheshvan, the date of assassination on the Hebrew calendar, as the official memorial day of Rabin.  He was the first native-born prime minister of Israel, and the only prime minister ever to be assassinated.

11/1/2009. 7:30pm @ Adath Jehurun Congregation (10500 Hillside Lane W. Minnetonka) A lecture by Stuart Cohen: “Between the Torah Scroll and the Sword: Dilemmas of Religion and Military Service in Israel”. Over the past decade, the numbers of national-religious (orthodox) soldiers serving in the combat units of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has grown dramatically. Unofficial reports estimate that the percentage of front-line personnel (officers and other ranks) who now wear a kippah srugah is some three times their proportion in the overall Jewish Israeli population. This development raises several questions. What might be its causes? And what are its possible consequences, especially for the place of the IDF in Israeli society at large? In addition to studying these issues, Dr. Cohen has devoted several years of research to observing the behavior of the national-religious soldiers themselves and analyzing their responses to the challenges that they confront.  His talk will also attempt to convey something of the ‘inner world’ of these troops, and to outline their own attitudes to military service and its dangers.

Stuart A. Cohen is professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, where he is also senior fellow of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies. He will be a visiting fellow at The Center for Peace and Security Studies (CPASS), Georgetown University, Washington DC during the coming fall semester (September 2009 – February 2010). Professor Cohen is currently recognized to be one of Israel’s senior analysts of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  He has described changes in the IDF’s structure and composition in a lengthy series of papers and monographs, culminating in his book: Israel and its Army: From Cohesion to Collusion, published by Routledge, England in 2008. Visit for more information.

Notable Mention:

  • Mark Brownstein will rock your face off playing bass with the Disco Biscuits at First Ave on 10/30.
  • Yasmin Levy brings her Ladino sound to the Ordway on 11/1.  Read about it here on TC Jewfolk.
  • Catch my thing, Levitt8, and some mystic Jewish soul @ The Acadia Café on 10/22.