Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Temple Emanu-El, and the Jewish Grand Strand Reads Program

 Temple Emanu-El, and the Jewish Grand Strand Reads organized a wonderful program with the book, Aleppo Codex by Matti Friedman.

We first had a wonderful lunch at Mr. Fish across the street from the Temple Emanu-El.  If you have not been there yet, I highly recommend it, if you are ever in Myrtle Beach.

We had a large crowd of about 50 people from Rabbi's Adult Education class, the Jewish Grand Strand, from the 38th Ave. Diva Book Club, and visitors of the Rabbi's.

We were  happy to see Rabbi Debbie at the program.  She and I started the Jewish Grand Strand Reads a few years ago.  We were just glad to see her. She has not been able to be involved this year because of her busy schedule.  Now, to talk about the program.

I introduced the program, talking about the history of the Aleppo Codex, after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, and  the mystery of how the " Crown"( other name of the Aleppo Codex) arrived in Israel, and where the 200 pages went, and who may have the pages.

Rabbi Avi talked about the religious aspect of the crown. Why the book is significant to the Jewish people. What it means to most of us that are Jewish. Did you know the book tells us the correct way to read from the torah? That the Hebrew is spoken the same way in every part of the world.

Why is that? The "Crown" is responsible for us to keep our traditions, and how we read from the bible, etc. The sad part, is it is the only one in the world. It wasn't copied.   Rabbi Avi went into a small part about the mystery of the book. The rest you will have to buy yourself a copy which I highly recommend.

To learn about the "Crown", you can find Matti Friedman in Texas, JCC talking about it. You can also find information about it at several Jewish websites, by doing a google search.  On a side note, Matti, sent me a message to have a bagel on him. We would have loved to chat with him on SKYE, but with the time zone difference, him in Israel, and us in SC it wasn't feasible at this time.

If you are interested in reading my review you can read it on my other book blog, at Bagels, Books, and Schmooze.

Thank you Rabbi Avi for co sponsoring the program with the Jewish Grand Strand Reads.  Below, you can see the large crowd that came. We hope Rabbi Avi will join us again.  We are always looking for speakers for the Jewish Grand Strand Reads. If you are knowledgeable about Jewish themes and are experienced talking to large crowds. Don't hesitate to talk to me about speaking engagements. Let's Chat.....


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rosh Hodesh Group of the Grand Strand

A few years ago, I formed a Rosh Hodesh group with another person in the Jewish community. Unfortuately personalities clashed.But, I was very busy with school, and still am.

I am happy to say a new Rosh Hodesh group is starting up again. It is called Rosh Hodesh Group of the Grand Strand.

The ladies are from the more traditional sect, of Chabad.   I just want to see it succeed this time. The other group was getting dry, and doing more social events, it was getting too dull,the activities were basically the same.

This time these ladies are doing the traditional route. Where there are discussions of women's values, being Jewish, sometimes making Challah, etc.. I used to belong to a RH group up north that was more discussion based, and not so much on social activities.

I am looking forward to the group re-starting with fresh blood.  I must thank, Susan Cohen for keeping me in the loop.  The group is starting on Nov. 24th, which most of us, I don't think will make because it is too close to Thanksgiving. Instead they are having a launch party to let the ladies know about RH. On Monday they will be having a party on Monday, date, and time will be posted soon. I hope y'all can make it. If you are female, live in the Grand Strand community,  Jewish, and over the age of 12, please come join the Rosh Hodesh Group.

This excerpt is copied from one of my favorite sites, Jewish Learning, for more info, go visit, Rosh Chodesh has long been considered a special holiday for women. Some say that this is because the women of Israel did not offer their jewelry for the creation of the Golden Calf. As a result, they were given Rosh Chodesh as a day when they could abstain from work. To this day, some women refrain from some forms of labor on Rosh Chodesh. Others have connected the waxing and waning of the moon to a woman's menstrual cycle. Whatever the reason, Rosh Chodesh has long been a time for Jewish women to gather for a wide variety of activities, from reciting tradition liturgy, to sharing a meal, discussing Jewish ethics, and working for social change. 

You also can visit them on their facebook page at

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Aleppo Codex: Book Review

The Aleppo Codex
Matti Friedman
Complimentary copy from
Algonquin Publishing

The Jewish Grand Strand Reads and Rabbi Avi adult education class are meeting together to discuss,

The Aleppo Codex, by Matti Friedman on November 5th at Temple Emanu-El at 2 PM, everyone is welcome and there is no charge. 

I will give you a update of the Jewish Grand Strand Reads after the event. 

It is very interesting that we are reading Aleppo Codex. The Aleppo Codex was written to keep the Jewish community together after the destruction of the Jewish temple. Interesting that we, the entire Jewish community of Myrtle Beach are also reading the same book, but not the actual Aleppo Codex. 

The Aleppo Codex, known as the, "Crown of Aleppo",  is a very important book for the Jewish community.   More important than the Dead Sea Scrolls.  

We go to synagogue on Saturday morning. The weekly ritual is on Saturday, the Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark. It must be read perfectly without any mistakes.  This is very different from any other religion. They can't be any mistakes, if there are there are two men that witness and correct your spelling, and chanting of the vowels, etc. The codex makes sure you make no mistakes. 

 The codex is the book instead of the Torah scrolls. This is what keeps the Jewish community together. 

In 70 A.D, The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. There wasn't anything to keep the Jewish people together. They were exiled, and then the Jews traveled to different locations to settle permanently, called the diaspora.

 There wasn't anything that kept the Jewish people together. There wasn't any institutions, the  Catholic religion had their pope and the Catholic Church, in Rome. The Jewish people didn't have anything to glue them together, until the writing of the codex in 930 A. D.,  in Tiberius.  Then in 1099, during the Crusades, the Jewish Community, of, Jerusalem didn't have any other choice but to give it to the Jewish community of Egypt.

Here at the time is when Maimonides did his scholarly work. He used the codex to write the Mishneh Torah.  After he used the codex, many people thought the Codex was the most trusted book for Jewish scholars.  From there one of  Maimonides (very important sage)descendants traveled to Syria, and was placed with the Jewish Aleppo community where it remained for almost 600 years.  In Aleppo, the codex was kept with double locks. Each one of the sexton's had a key. This meant both men had to be present to get access of the book. Many years before, the book had religious significance. But in later years the book has become a good luck charm, talisman, kept evil away, rather than the true meaning of the book.

After the UN's resolution which established the state of Israel there was rioting across the Middle East. The Great Synagogue of  of the Aleppo Jewish community in Syria was burned. It was thought the codex burned with it.  But many years later it was discovered the Aleppo Codex wasn't burned at all. Instead it miraculous turned up in a Aleppo Grotto, for safe keeping, by a very wealthy Jewish merchant.  For almost 10 years it did not resurface. 

The Jewish community of the Middle East was dwindling after the establishment of Israel. Was there still a need to hide the codex? The codex was priceless, and the Aleppo Jewish community was afraid that the Syrian government would try to steal it. Instead they told a lie to keep it from being confiscated.  During this time the great rabbi's of Aleppo wanted to hide it in Israel for safekeeping. They made plans to give it to a man that was immigrating to Israel. It was not suppose to go to the Jewish government, but the learned Rabbi's in Israel. 

This is where the story becomes murky. I am not going to go into the rest of the story. Because the book is a compelling read, that you want to keep turning the pages. Who does the book truly belong to? Who owns Jewish history? Did some of the Aleppo Jewish community take it with them to NYC? Or does a antiquities dealer have it? Why won't he come forward? These are questions that Matti Friedman wants you to consider.  

They mystery is never answered, but it gives you insight, and leads you to do your own research. There are a few articles out there about the disappearance, and reappearance of the Aleppo Codex. There are a few good articles written after the book that gives you an update.  Also a video, from the Dallas JCC where he discusses the reason why he wrote the book. 

If you read the book, here is the followup after the book was published by the author:

Here is the author at JCC in Texas

I enjoyed reading Aleppo Codex it is very informative. not just for the enjoyment of reading. But learning about the Codex. The book This is a very important book. Because before reading it, I never heard about it. The book is full of conspiracy, mystery, thieves, politicians, crooked antiquities dealers, Hasidic learned men. Who is the true thief, and where did it go?

 It takes you from Tiberius, to Egypt, Israel, and even Brooklyn, NYC.. People you wouldn't think wouldn't be have any dealing with this.  But, when it has to do with sacred text, and valuable items for exchange of money. everyone comes out of the wood work don't they? 

The Aleppo Codex is in Israel, at the Shrine of the book. It also is housed with the Dead Sea Scrolls. 

The Codex isn't entirely exhibited. It only shows four pages, and the rest is held in another part of the museum, for safe keeping.  

I give it five bagels!!!! 
Nothing since The Golem and the Jinni has been as good.
I would like to thank the Jewish community of Aleppo for protecting the Codex.  I would also like to thank Matti Friedman for writing this important book for the Jewish community. 

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Jewish Carnival for August

By Joseph Teluskin
Harper Collins

This past month, the Chabad community of Myrtle Beach hosted a wonderful program. It was a book review, and discussion of the life of Rabbi Schneerson. Not just the orthodox community came. But, the rest of the Jewish community of Myrtle Beach was represented.  Which included Temple Emanu-El, Temple Shalom, and Temple Beth Elohim. Apparently all over the United States, each Barnes and Noble invites the Chabad community to talk about the books. Incidentally, there are two others that came out about the Rebbe recently as well.  This comes on the twentieth anniversary of his death.

 I grew up in Michigan, and in New Jersey. Raised Jewish in a conservative temple. I went to hebrew school. But, my family never exposed me to the orthodox community.Living  in New Jersey, and occasionally saw girls in long dresses, and lots of babies and was curious, but not overly curious. The same in Miami.  Where I lived, which was not a " community of Jews". I lived in a mainly christian area all my life.

But, when I moved to Myrtle Beach, a small coastal town. The Chabad community sticks out. Seeing them every  Saturday walking to shul.  I was very curious about the orthodox community of Jews. I came to know them, because I became friendly with one of the teachers. She occasionally called on me to substitute at the Chabad school. I learned more and more about Chabad, and the community.

Then a couple of us, wanted to start a Rosh Hodesh group. This is when I learned about the Chabad community. When I got into their circle. I was then invited to Rosh Hashanah dinners, and Shabbat dinners occasionally. Where I learned more about practices the traditions and rituals as a Jew.

Now, I will introduce you to Rebbe, by Joseph Teluskin.  Rebbe is a fascinating book. It divides the chapters up in different topics of the Rebbe. It is a fast, and easy read. Not, too academic for the lay person. The book is over 600 pages.The Chabad headquarters is in Crown Heights in New York City.  You learn about the many emissaries that go into towns to start a outreach.  You learn a bit about his life. How the Chabad started in Europe. How he became the successor for his father in law.  Who would become his successor? What happened to his many books? What his ideas are, what he thinks about politics, what his thoughts are about boys going to college, etc. etc.

I have and own a couple of Joseph Teluskin's books, and enjoy reading them. This book, was not a disappointment.  I would like to thank, Harper Collins for giving me a review copy. Here is a link about Rabbi Schneerson.  Here is another link for more specific information. If you are orthodox, and looking for information on Chabad here is their link.

Also, here is a review by one of my favorite Jewish author's, Dara Horn.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Updated Post on People of the Book

Revisiting People of the Book

A few years ago, I read, and posted The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. I have always been swayed back and reminded about the book, someway. This time it was from one of my fellow book bloggers. She is reading the novel, and I sent my link from my posts. After reading and reminiscing about the book. I had put the book to rest.  But, I still think there is much to talk about with the novel. Especially, what is going on in the Middle East.  The People of the Book links Jews to Muslim, and visa versa. It reminds us we are all human and linked to each other. Not, just about killing each other.

So, I decided to google and see what else pops up recently.  There was an amazing program on PBS. Here is the link. Here is some pictures as well.  You can visit my previous posts about these amazing artifacts, and here are my other posts about the Hagaddah.

But something new also based on the Sarajevo Haggadah is Music of the Book. You can read the article here. It is about a Bosnian woman that wrote music based on the true story of the Sarajevo Hagaddah.  A program in Boston is showing now and around the world.  Something else- the people of Bosnia may loose the book once more if they don't find somewhere to keep this important Jewish artifact. You can find the article here. Then an article at the Huffington Post about why the artifact was unable to travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art in NYC. I hope someone may initiate the care of this important, and beautiful artifact. That seems to be like us, the

This is taken from the author's website:

Available now, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March, an intricate, ambitious novel that traces the journey of a rare illuminated Hebrew manuscript from convivencia Spain to the ruins of Sarajevo, from the Silver Age of Venice to the sunburned rock faces of northern Australia.
Inspired by the true story of a mysterious codex known as the Sarajevo Haggadah, People of the Book is a sweeping adventure through five centuries of history. From its creation in Muslim-ruled, medieval Spain, the illuminated manuscript makes a series of perilous journeys: through Inquisition-era Venice, fin-de-siecle Vienna, and the Nazi sacking of Sarajevo.
In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed manuscript, which has been rescued once again from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with figurative paintings. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding—an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair—she becomes determined to unlock the book’s mysteries. As she seeks the counsel of scientists and specialists, the reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book’s journey from its creation to its salvation.
Page from the Sarajevo Haggadah
Page from the Sarajevo Haggadah
In Bosnia during World War II, a Muslim risks his life to protect it from the Nazis. In the hedonistic salons of Vienna in 1894, the book becomes a pawn in an emerging contest between the city’s cultured cosmopolitanism and its rising anti-Semitism. In Venice in 1609, a Catholic priest saves it from Inquisition book burnings. In Tarragona in 1492, the scribe who wrote the text has his family destroyed amid the agonies of enforced exile. And in Seville in 1480, the reason for the Haggadah’s extraordinary illuminations is finally disclosed.
In Year of Wonders and March, Geraldine Brooks demonstrated an uncanny ability to hear and transmit the voices of a seventeenth century Derbyshire maid and an nineteenth century American abolitionist. People of the Bookis filled with unforgettable voices from the past, but it is Hanna’s voice—edgy, contemporary—that makes People of the Book a compulsively readable adventure story that transcends the usual boundaries of historical fiction.

I have been thinking in the last couple years after reading this novel. To have our  Jewish community read,  People of the Book.  Even though it is not a recent bestseller anymore, I think it makes great discussion and a wonderful book if you have not heard of it, or read it.  Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fundraiser for Gracie's Hope

I am posting this to get the word out about a fundraiser my friend is doing.
The organization is called, Gracie's Hope.  I have posted about Susan's daughter previously. But to refresh your memory, I will give you the short tail of it.

Abbey a few years ago, gave birth to triplets in LA but then a complication happened. Abbey, became paralyzed. Her parents, Paul and Susan, brought Abbie back from California to Myrtle Beach, SC and took  over her care.

Since then Susan has been an advocate for her daughter's care. She is doing a fundraiser next month to bring Gracie's Hope to Myrtle Beach.  The treatment not  only will help Abbie but others like Abbie.

 The care center will help veterans that have suffered from weapon injuries, it will help people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and many other brain injuries.

The reason Susan is fundraising to bring the care center to Myrtle Beach, it is a far drive to Huntersville, NC. It is costly to the families, not many private insurance companies will allow for the treatments. There are many treatments before it can take affect. Gracie's Hope offers grants to families  that can't afford it. It will help many people that have brain injuries and genetic brain disorders.

The treatment is called, Hyperbaric Oxygen  Therapy.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is simply an intermittent, short-term, high dose oxygen inhalation therapy. HBOT is an AMA recognized medical treatment which enhances the body’s natural healing process by inhalation of 100% oxygen in a total body chamber where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. It is used for a wide variety of treatments usually as part of an overall medical care plan. The oxygen level in the patient’s blood-stream is raised many times above normal, which helps control infections and promote healing in many kinds of illness or injury.

What conditions are being treated?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has helped thousands of people with conditions such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis and other brain disorders. By delivering high levels of oxygen under pressure, hypoxic tissue can be restored allowing healing to take place. Since hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not an FDA approved treatment for neurological conditions, most insurance companies do not cover HBOT treatment costs. As a result there are very few centers and physicians that provide this therapy.

G-d willing Gracie's Hope will be coming to Myrtle Beach in September. 

Susan, and Gracie's Hope are having a fundraiser next month. If you are unable to attend you can give a donation. The address is listed on the flyer below:

Changing the World...One Breath at a Time

The local inaugural fundraising dinner for Gracie's Hope, a 501(c)(3) organization operating Healing Centers that provide hyperbaric treatments, other therapies, counseling and additional services to special needs children and adults, including our veterans will be held on

August 12
The Surf Golf and Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach
Please join us for dinner, followed by a short preview screening of the award-winning documentary, "Halfway Home."  This film features our guest speaker, SSG Tommy Rieman.  This documentary shows first hand that the toll of war extends far beyond the battlefield.  Additionally, Gracie's Hope Director, Eric Sutton, will share the story of Gracie's Hope and the extraordinary success of hyperbarics with our special children and our nation's heroes.

Tickets are now available by contacting Susan Cohen, local fundraising chair, at or calling 843-361-1006

You may make your reservations at one of the following levels:

$250.00 includes a private reception at 5pm, followed by dinner, video presentation and dessert buffet
($190.00 is tax deductible)
$100.00 includes dinner at 6pm, video presentation and dessert buffet
($40.00 is tax deductible)
$20.00 includes video presentation and dessert buffet at 7:15pm,
($5.00 is tax deductible)

Tables of eight (8) reservations are available for $2000

The evening also includes a Chinese Raffle
with lovely prizes donated by local businesses and individuals

Your support in helping to bring Gracie's Hope to North Myrtle Beach
will enable many families to find comfort, hope and an improved quality of life for their loved ones.
 For more information and our mission statement, please go to

Please contact Mrs. Cohen as noted above
  Michael D. Peters, M.D.
                                                                                             Gulf War Veteran
                                                                       Gracie’s Hope National Medical Director
Gracie’s Hope North Myrtle Beach Medical Director

Please pass the word on to anybody interested in helping support our cause or any individuals who may benefit from treatments.     

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July Jewish Book Carnival

I am excited hosting the Jewish Book Carnival this month.

 I was so unsure if my book blog would be ready for re-design for the carnival today.  I was ready to post and I could not find the sign in on either of my book blogs. Then, my mouse wouldn't work.  So, now I reverted to my second option, my laptop thank goodness.  Anyway this is great timing for launching my new redesigned book blog and hosting the Jewish Book Carnival. What could be sweeter!!

So what do you all think about my new Jewish book blog?? I love it, not so crazy though about the muted colors. But, I love the work that Lori, from imagination did. It fits me quirky, and mystical at the same time.

Next up we had our Jewish Ladies Night Out with Rabbi Debbie. It was successful as ever with almost 40 people in attendance. The novel, we choice with the recommendation of the Jewish Book Council was, Sinners and the Sea by Rebecca Kanner.  

The most exciting news that I can't wait to share with Jewish Myrtle Beach, Maggie Anton is coming to town in February 2015! Circle your calendars everybody.  Her new anticipated sequel to Rav Hisda's Daughter will be published at about the time the Jewish high holidays start. The newest novel is called, The Enchantress. 

  I contacted Maggie as soon as I learned about her publishing and touring for her next novel.   I don't know many authors that would go out of their way to help us get her to Myrtle Beach. She is asking for basically just for her air fare, and someone in our Jewish community hosting her for the night. I believe hashem works in mysterious ways.

How many authors do you know who would do that. She is wonderful.

This is a big deal to the small coastal town of Myrtle Beach, SC. Where most authors come to the large cities of New York, or the larger cities in the south, like Greenville, not Myrtle Beach. We are a independent small group of four ladies who plan literary events each year without the help of other organizations in town.  The other organizations spread the word, but we are not affiliated with one particular organization. 

We have been trying to get a author to come to our area for the last couple years. But we did not have any financial backing.  Now, with Maggie coming. This will start up for other authors to come to us.  We are very excited. She is still working with us and other Hadassah chapters from Atlanta and other areas are coming on board so her travel expense for us is minimal.

Now on to the subject at hand, the Jewish Book Carnival. I know everyone is busy with their happy, summer lives. I did not expect a lot of jewish book blogger sending me their links. I am happy though, that the Jewish book bloggers that participated this month are awesome posts.

Here are the wonderful links for the Jewish Book Carnival for this month:

My contribution to the Jewish Book Carnival is two novels that I enjoyed reading. Both of them earn 5 bagel rankings. Both are written by Jewish authors. The first novel, Love and Treasures by Ayelet Waldman. The novel is based on the Hungarian Gold Train, which I didn't know about.  It is basically about lost, and stolen treasure secured by the Nazi's and eventually were taken by the U.S. government for safe keeping till the government decided what could be done with all the art, jewelry, and goods that were taken from the Jews during the holocaust. 

The next novel I read doesn't have any Jewish themes, the author is Jewish.  The book I am referring to is, The Art Forger. I highly recommend:
Art Forger is a novel based on the Gardner Museum art heist in 1990.

On to the other contributors for the Jewish Book Carnival for July:

From Erika, on her blog, Machberet she shares her appreciation for Anita Shapira's Israel: A History( trans. Anthony Berris). 

From Lorri M, who happens to be one blogger I have followed for years since I started blogging. She is one of my favorite blogs I tried to follow each week. She has read a novel, that I have been wanting to read for awhile. I hope to finally get to it soon.

From Anne, is a coloring book pages, it's a roundup of summer relates coloring pages called, Noah's Swim a Thon, about a boy that learns to swim. Here is another link here.

 Rhapsody in Books reviewed To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris.
 About a New York dentist looking for meaning, and hoping to find it among the Jews - that is, as long as he doesn't have to believe in God..…

From Batya, from Yisrael who had a hard time writing her review since the tragedy of the three young men in Israel were killed. I can't imagine how the state of Israel felt after the discovery. I am sure the state was in terrible shock, mourning and anger. May g-d bless them, and their families.

Barbara Krasner, of The Whole Megillah interviews author Norman H. Finkelstein and Calkins Creek editor Carolyn P. Yoder about their new book, Schools of Hope, about Julius Rosenwald and his philanthropic efforts to build schools throughout the American South.

From the Reading Rabbi:
The Reading Rabbi has been very busy reading three great reads of literature,
I actually have the the first novel listed and of course it is sitting on my desk. I am after reading her review will get to it sooner.

From Tzivia, I love this post, since I am very partial of Kimmel. He is my all time favorite kids author. I used to read stories to my son, David who is now almost 24 years old. That tells you about how long he is been around. I am sure even longer. I used to enjoy the stories as much as my son.

The Best Chapter writes, about her take about a happy ending. This comes from her interview from writer, Dan Williams from Jerusalem on his spy novel featuring a female Mossad agent.

From Lauren, at Behrmann Publishing House has sent us a nice link from a rabbi, how each of us should follow the ten commandments when we use facebook, twitter, etc.
Also from Lauren is Jewish education is always changing and we want to help you stay ahead with a free Kindle edition of a chapter from The Ultimate Jewish Teacher's Handbook.
Then the last link Lauren is sharing which is interesting, is an app for your child's ipad, or android device to learn the aleph bet. 

And last but, not least the organizer of the Jewish Book Carnival, Heidi has shared her pictures of the Association of Jewish libraries in Las Vegas, take a gander. Looks like fun.

I would like to thank everyone that contributed to the Jewish Carnival this month. See you next month in August, happy reading! 

Imagination Designs
Images from the Glamor Amour by Irene Alexeeva