Hosting first-ever online tisch, fostering connection through new media Sunday, March 25th, 2012 at 8PM EST/5PM PST There has never been a “Jewish table” quite like this. Sh’ma, a print and online journal of Jewish ideas, is inviting participants from around the world to join its first ever “virtual tisch” – fostering Jewish learning, connection,
Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert Of all the metaphorical tables in Jewish tradition, the Shulhan Arukh of Joseph Karo (1488-1575) is perhaps still the best known, even among secular Jews, because of its place in the history of Jewish literature. It was the last monumental codification of the long tradition of rabbinic law, still widely accepted in
For many, the verse in the Haggadah, “Kol dichfin yeitei v’yechul,” “Let all who are hungry come and eat” has come to be understood as referring to people who are spiritually hungry. Our empathy remains a work of imagination, its ethical impulse confined to the theater of the seder night. But what if we opened the door and went out to find hungry people to feed?
The “Occupation” encampments were premised on the idea of an open table at which everybody could eat. The occupation site served as an eruv, symbolizing both the conversation and engagement that is the stuff, the essence of democracy.
The tisch is where the rebbe eats his Shabbat evening meals. For the committed Hasid, it is the highlight of his week, when he will gather with his rebbe and his fellow Hasidim in an amalgamation of food, song, dance, prayer, and occasional words of inspiration. The rebbe will sit at the head of a large table with his male family members by his side, with the rest of the community arrayed, sitting or standing, around them.
Long before the romance and fervor of the rebbe’s tisch, the table was a holy space for Jews — wherever they lived. When Judaism arose from the ashes of the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, every Jewish home became a “minor temple” and the table became the altar around which people gathered. While the rebbe held court at the table, the women sustained it.
Andy Bachman “Turn it Off” is this month’s ethics:
Andy Bachman explores the digital world of always being “on” and suggests ways to sometimes “turn it off.”
Rachel Nussbaum A search for the phrase “rebbe’s tisch” on YouTube generates hundreds of hits. To the untrained eye, these videos have a similar look: men dressed in the black-and-white Hasidic “uniform”; a crowd hovering around one or more tables; singing with great devotion; a rebbe at the head table. That same untrained eye would
1. Is alcohol consumption at Jewish programs and simchas too pervasive? Should Jewish communities curtail the use of alcohol — especially when trying to attract 20-something Jews to programs?
2. What are the qualities of leadership that are essential to creating community? What qualities are harmful? Does establishing and maintaining community require charismatic leadership?
3. How might we invite more people to the Jewish table? How does the table welcome people and what happens to hamper that welcome?