Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Independent Prayer Group aka Minyan

Ritually speaking, perhaps the biggest grassroots occurrance within the Jewish community in the past ten years is the Independent Minyan. Folks wanting traditional Hebrew liturgy without the structure of the large synagogue have formed their own prayer groups throughout the States and in Israel.

We are big fans.

We love the Hadar Shavout Retreat.

We'll avert any further writing responsibilities on the topic (since our Journalism degree didn't help us much with our writing skills) and leave it for you to check out this recent blog post on Jewschool about the trend.

And for some more fun, check out Kehillat Hadar's recent move:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

And You Should be a Blessing

Two weeks ago, the Jewish world lost one of its most prominent musicians of our generation:  Debbie Friedman.  We didn't grow up with her songs, but it has become apparent to us over the past days that many others have, especially those who grew up in the Reform movement. We had the privilege of attending one of her women's seders in Manhattan in 1999.

Here is one of her more familiar songs:

She didn't just sing Jewish-themed songs. Here is her Thanksgiving Song:

May Debbie Friedman's memory be a blessing.

Plain White T's: Rhythm of Love

We don't listen to much new music, but we simply love this tune that went live last July.

Plain White T's is the band.
No, we don't think they're Jewish.

And yet there are many reasons why this song earns its spot on the Whole Phamily:

  • The tune itself is feel-good, positive, heart-warming.
  • The band's name evokes minimalism as well as Hanes and Fruit of the Loom.  Simplicity + 100% cotton = A good thing.
  • The video features a vintage Mercedez-Benz:  our dream car (we prefer a '79-'82 300 series, whereas the model in the video looks more early to mid '70s).
  • The tune is featured at the end of the newly-released No Strings Attached, starring the lovely and soon-to-be Yiddeshe mammeh  Natalie Portman (who we saw in 1997 in The Diary of Anne Frank on Broadway).  We were psyched to learn that Ivan Reitman is still pals with our cousin Joe Medjuck who was a co-producer (no, we've never met Joe, have been told he's a great guy, and yes, Grandpa Archie loved kippered snacks and telling stories of his growing up;  affect a Cape Breton accent:  "When I was a little boy in Caledonia....]
  • The length of the video itself is 3:29 minutes, which is a significant number for us as it is the 3 digit telephone exchange we grew up with.  Remember, we like numerical synchronicity?

Now just watch and listen, it's good stuff!