Jan 21, 2021 - 8 Shevat 5781
Yesterday afternoon, I watched as a plane that had just taken off from the airport headed up into the blue sky. It used to be so common to see planes from my office window that I stopped noticing them, but this year they are more rare, so they capture my attention. Human ingenuity is such an incredible force. We have the ability to take on what seems impossible and transform it – not just into something real, but even into something ordinary.

Our world is now a place where humans can fly, make scientific breakthroughs, develop complex political systems, and share silly jokes with all of our friends and family worldwide at the touch of a button in our pockets. None of this is seamless, and none of it works perfectly every time. But it is still amazing. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught that “our goal should be to live life in radical amazement…to get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted.”  Disruption can help remind us to pay attention to the wonder that is all around us, and to the constantly emerging possibility of change.

We have so many excellent opportunities this month to learn, gather, wonder, and grow together. We hope you will join us! 


Molly Curren Rowles
Executive Director
IMPACT INVESTING with Michael O’Leary and Warren Valdmanis 
Presented by the Portland Museum of Art and the JCA 
Tuesday, January 26th | 5:00 - 6:00 PM | FREE

How can you, as an investor, invest strategically to support diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in our community?  

The PMA, in partnership with JCA, welcomes investors and authors Michael O’Leary and Warren Valdmanis to share their experiences in social impact investing and corporate responsibility and sustainability. Together, they helped launch Bain Capital's social impact fund. Valdmanis is now a partner at Two Sigma Impact, and O'Leary is an investor with the impact investing firm Engine No. 1. O’Leary and Valdmanis will discuss impact investing, its critiques—fair and unfair—and its potential to create change for non-profit organizations and their endowments. Their book Accountable: The Rise of Citizen Capitalism, is available locally at Longfellow Books.
SAMBUSAS & KNISHES - Cook-Along with Margaret Hathaway of Ten Apple Farm
Sunday, January 31st | 4:00 – 5:30 PM 
Savory fillings in a pastry crust make a delicious snack and a portable lunch. In this cook along, we’ll make sambusas and meat knishes, both variations on this tasty theme. Gamana Yarow’s stuffed Somali beef dumplings are spiced with curry powder and flecked with vegetables and herbs. Sadye Schatz’s beef knishes are sweet with onions and enriched with schmaltz—flavors she leaned heavily on as one of Portland’s two kosher caterers in the 1940s and 50s. In this 90 minute zoom, we’ll make the dough and fillings for both, and discuss ways to make these recipes our own.  

Free! Register by Tues. Jan. 26 - Registered participants will receive the Zoom link, recipes and ingredient list on Tues. 1/26.
The Book of V. – Zoom author talk with novelist Anna Solomon 
Thursday, February 18th | 7:00 PM EST  

The Purim story of Esther is often told as the triumph of a Jewish minority over one man’s blinding hatred, through the courage and selflessness of one woman. Anna Solomon’s The Book of V. challenges this simple narrative — asking, what is Vashti’s story? And how do we choose to represent women’s lives, both in the past and today? 

Advanced registration required by Weds. 2/17
Free. Suggested donations of $10/household gratefully accepted. The Zoom link will be emailed to registered participants on Weds. afternoon 2/17. The book will be available to order from our friends at Longfellow Books. The first 15 copies purchased will include a signed bookplate. 
The JCA is a member of the Jewish Book Council network. 
The JCA presents Book Festival in Your Living Room 
In partnership with the JCC Literary Consortium and the Atlanta JCC 
SCOTT TUROW - The Last Trial 
Wednesday, January 27th | 8 PM ET 
Two formidable men collide in this "first-class legal thriller" and New York Times bestseller about a celebrated criminal defense lawyer and the prosecution of his lifelong friend -- a doctor accused of murder (-David Baldacci). 

Tickets: $11 – virtual ticket, or $25 – one virtual ticket and one paperback copy of the book
GABRIELLE GLASER - American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and The Shadow History of Adoption 
Sunday, January 31st | 8 PM ET 
New York Times bestselling author and journalist Gabrielle Glaser explores the untold story of a predatory, secret adoption system in postwar America through the dual stories of Margaret and the son she never intended to give up. 

Tickets: $11 – virtual ticket, or $35 – one virtual ticket and one copy of the book
Digital Resources from the USM Judaica Collection  
A free online Lunch & Learn program with USM & the JCA 
Co-sponsored by Congregation Bet Ha'am, Temple Beth El, Shaarey Tphiloh, Documenting Maine Jewry, and the Maine Jewish Museum 
Weds. January 27th | 12 PM

Explore the rich archive of historical photographs, documents and materials available digitally through USM’s Judaica collection. Presented by Susie Bock - USM Library Coordinator of Special Collections.

Advanced registration required by Tuesday, Jan. 26
Free online films and discussions presented by the Maine Jewish Film Festival 
Til Kingdom Come 
In this provocative look at strange political bedfellows, Emmy award winning Israeli filmmaker Maya Zinshtein investigates the alliance between American evangelicals, politicians and Israel’s right wing. Director Maya Zinshtein and Producer Abraham (Abie) Troen join MJFF for a Zoom discussion on Sunday, Jan 24 at 7:00 PM.  
Thou Shalt Not Hate 
A surgeon who is the son of a Holocaust survivor faces an ethical dilemma when he stops at the scene of an auto accident to help the victim, and discovers the victim has a Nazi tattoo. The ramifications of his decision about whether or not to help, make for a riveting drama about the legacy of Nazi ideology in contemporary Italy.  
Films will again be available on the Eventive Platform. Both films are available from 9:00 AM on Friday, Jan. 22 to midnight on Sunday, Jan. 24. Both films are free, but you must reserve your ticket for access.
WHAT IS THE NEW ENGLAND JEWISH EXPERIENCE? An online event launching the New England Jewish History Collaborative
Presented by Documenting Maine Jewry and other regional partners 
Sunday, January 24th | 2:00–4:00 PM 

Do New England Jews share a common experience? Is there a regional identity? What resources are available for studying New England’s Jewish history? Join us online as we invite historians, archivists, genealogists, and others interested in Jewish history to explore the regional experience of New England Jews. 
Presented by Temple Beth El led by Rabbi Carolyn Braun and Rabbinic Intern Lorin Troderman 
Thursdays| January 28 - May 6 | 7:00 PM 

There is a Talmudic tale: A person came up to the first century sage, Rabbi Hillel, and asked to convert to Judaism on the condition that Hillel could teach them the entire Torah as they stood on one foot. So Hillel taught them: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah, all the rest is commentary, now, go and learn it." (Talmud Bavli Shabbat 31a). Now that you know the basics, put your other foot down and join us for a three month exploration of Jewish fundamentals! This class is for anyone who wants to learn about Judaism. While it is not a class specifically for those who are considering becoming Jewish, it is a good place to start. All are welcome.  

Cost: $140 for an individual, $210 for a couple; or click here if you are in need of a scholarship. Register by 1/25. 

The National Mah Jongg Leagues is now accepting orders for the new 2021 card, which will be delivered in April.

Cards pricing: $9 - Standard, $10 - Large Print Cards
Place your order directly at https://www.nationalmahjonggleague.org/store.aspx# or by calling (212) 246-3052.
THE WONDERING JEW: Israel and the Search for Jewish Identity
A conversation with scholar Micah Goodman 
Presented by the Shalom Hartman Institute 
Sunday, Jan. 24th | 10:00 AM  

Micah Goodman’s latest book explores Israel Judaism and the conflict between religion and secularism, one of the major causes of political polarization throughout the world. Micah will discuss the ideas presented in the book, in which he proposes a new approach to bridging the divide between religion and secularism in Israel with a goal of paving a path toward healing.
Live online demos with Chef Vered Guttman 
Presented by Sixth & I Congregation, Washington DC 
Two Sundays - Jan. 24, Jan.  31 | 6:00 PM  

Get a head start on Shabbat dinner or meal prep for the week as Chef Vered Guttman demos cholent, an overnight stew typically enjoyed by Jews during Shabbat. In this two-part class, learn how to make stews from around the Jewish diaspora. Registrants will receive full recipes. 

Tickets: Single class: $12 | Two-class package: $18 | Free to those in financial need. 
The Classic Israeli Dessert You Never Heard Of
No-Bake Tea Biscuit Cake!
Presented by The Forward and JArts Boston 
Tuesday, Jan. 26th | 2:00 PM EST 

To kick off JArts "Taste of Israel Restaurant Week,'' join Forverts Editor Rukhl Schaechter as she makes a classic Israeli dessert: tea biscuit cake, or ugat biskvitim (עוגת ביסקויטים) as it's known in Hebrew. It's easy to make and you don't even need an oven! The baking session will be followed by a Q&A with Rukhl and Forward National & Food Editor, Rob Eshman where the two will discuss the cake's history and relevance. Both the demonstration and Q&A will be in English. 
4-part series from JCC Chicago Arts + Ideas University 
Wednesdays, Jan. 27, Feb. 3, 10 | 3PM

A portion of the proceeds benefits the JCA 
Join Fordham University Professor Emeritus Brian Rose for a 4-part series that will take an in-depth look at the History of the Movie Musical, the Golden Age of Hollywood, the Golden Age of Television, and the Grandmasters of Comedy (Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks).

Minimum of 20 participants required to run the program. Tickets: $40 for the series. 
January 27-31 / Tu BiShvat 5781 

A free virtual festival to embrace our moral imperative to take action on this timely issue. The Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest is completely free festival for people who want to activate our Jewish values, take personal action, and develop a collective Jewish voice to move the needle on climate change. The Festival will include both national and local events, most of which will take place online. This collaboration is being planned by Hazon, Dayenu, Darim, the Jewish Emergent Network, Hillel International, Repair the World and many organizations. 
BRINGING ISRAEL HOME - A new 16 episode digital series
Hosted by Chef Michael Solomonov 
Wednesdays through April 28 | 8:00 PM EST 

Chef Michael Solomonov typically visits Israel twice a year, but with travel to Israel curtailed in 2020 and into 2021, Solomonov is bridging the gap with “Bringing Israel Home”. At the start of each episode, Solomonov visits with his friends and prominent Israelis, who share their awe-inspiring take on Israeli food culture. Then, live in his home kitchen, Solomonov cooks a mix of new and signature dishes that are centered on the gastronomic subject of the episode. The cooking component in each episode includes a live Q&A with viewers. Recipes will be available to viewers in collaboration with Jewish Food Society, here.   

Running Around Jerusalem is a collection of free 30 minute guided running tours of Israel that can be viewed on a treadmill or exercise bike. Clips include routes through the four quarters of Jerusalem’s Old City and iconic landmarks throughout the city.
1342 Congress St. Portland, ME 04102 | 207-772-1959