The Jews of the Seacoast NAACP

OK, I know Jews are all about justice. It shows in our giving tzedakah, community activities, even when making academic and career choices. Such involvement is definitely not unique to the Jewish community, but Justice is one culturally-ingrained Jewish value that parents begin instilling in their children at a very young age (although maybe Bibi’s parents didn’t get the memo).

I also know that each time Jews face hate and hardship themselves, they have the opportunity to reevaluate their responsibility to ensure that all people are treated justly. What I did not know, however, was that Jews make up 90% of my local NAACP chapter’s membership. Michelle Obama This past week I spoke informally with Fred Ross, President of the seacoast chapter of the NAACP, who is in the midst of planning an exciting regional event. He says that local members of the Jewish community are huge supporters of his organization, often contributing to advancement efforts well into retirement.

We New England Jews and our friends have a great opportunity to show support for our African-American brothers and sisters this coming May 15th in The Unity Relay for Justice that starts in New Hampshire. It is an eight-day, 130 mile relay march from the State House in Concord to Beacon Hill, and then to the State House in Providence, Rhode Island. During the march, participants may walk however long they wish, from a single block or the whole distance. The NAACP is looking for participants of all ages, religions, colors, and lifestyles to unite in this cause. Organizers say the event will “address disparities in the criminal justice system and law enforcement policies and procedures.”

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in forming or being part of a seacoast NH team of walkers.


Dead Sea Scrolls in Boston

The library’s recent trip to view the Dead Sea Scrolls at Boston’s Museum of Science was a great success! We had more than 40 community members come together to explore our heritage and history, looking at artifacts ranging from 408 BCE to 318 CE. The low humidity and low light in caves in Qumran, near the Dead Sea, helped preserve these works of psalms, manuscripts, and biblical text for us to view thousands of years later.

The exhibit provided the original documents, with a blown-up copy to view more closely, along with a translation and contextual explanation. I highly recommend visiting– some of the items have never before come to North America!

Congregation members viewing artifacts

Congregation members viewing artifacts

To continue our Jewish heritage exploration, we then stopped over in Brookline to eat and shop at Jewish establishments along Harvard Street. Many of us visited Zaftigs Delicatessen, the Israel Book Shop, and Kolbo Fine Judaica Gallery, where we browsed for treasures and looked for inspiration. It was amazing to walk down a street with my son, seeing Hebrew on each awning, Stars of David in each window, and religious men straightening up after kids on the school playground.