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Your indispensable guide

Your Indispensable Guide

G-dcast

is a weekly cartoon about the story Jews are reading in the Torah. A different writer — Mayim Bialik, Dara Horn, Esther Kustanowitz, Dahlia Lithwick and others — tells each parsha (Torah portion) in 4 minutes. Some are stories, others are country songs or hip hop . Then it’s animated. New episodes drop every Monday, and free curricula are available for teachers. Created by Sarah Lefton, G-dcast wants to raise basic Jewish literacy, spark conversations about Jewish ideas, and — she hopes — revolutionize Judaism by helping people crack open texts they may never have tried to read before. Free at g-dcast.com.

Personal Milestones

Looking to mark a personal milestone with a Jewish ritual, create meaningful ceremonies, or find an expert facilitator who can help? This organization maintains a database of rabbis, cantors, service leaders, teachers, tutors, Jewish hospital and hospice chaplains, artists, musicians, and others. Contact Deb Fink (Deb@ JewishMilestones.org) to be included in their database or to get help. They plan to expand beyond the Bay Area with their services and library, which also lends out music and Jewish ritual objects (a Torah, a portable ark, prayer shawls, a chuppah, and more). JewishMilestones.org

Staying Afloat When the Economy Sinks

Share ideas, swap resources, learn coping strategies and skills and stay motivated. You’ll learn to identify what career you’re best suited for, as well as strategies to market yourself for a particular job, plus get guidance on networking, resume writing, preparing for interviews and negotiating your compensation package. Check with your local Jewish Federation and congregations to see what they might offer, like this helpful program in New York. Connect to Care: jcprograms.org/connect-to-care

Be the Tenth

You can become the tenth person of a virtual minyan, the quorum needed for communal Jewish prayer. This website, created by artist Miriam Stern in memory of her mother, offers an experiential understanding of the practice of saying kaddish (although reciting kaddish in this way does not fulfill one’s obligation according to traditional Jewish law). “Being a feminist,” says Stern, “I made a point to include and count women equally in every minyan setting, including the mehitzah minyan on the site. In that minyan, there are always 10 women as well as 10 men counted in order to begin the kaddish. Bethetenth.com

Want to Become a Day School Teacher?

Ever thought about teaching in a Hebrew Day School? Brandeis University offers a full tuition scholarship, medical benefits, and a $10,000 stipend for a 14-month program culminating in a Masters of Arts in Teaching with a specialty in day schools. brandeis.edu/mandel/DeLeT

TransTorah

A collective of rabbis, educators and others wants people of all genders to access and transform Jewish tradition; they help Jewish communities welcome people of whatever gender. Their resources include a pre- transition mikveh ritual written by Max Strassfeld and Andrew Ramer, and a bibliography of transgender Jewish resources by Vered Meir. They also offer a challenge: you can make your synagogue more accessible to transgender and gender-nonconforming people by providing a gender-neutral bathroom option (with its own sign, created by Micah Bazant). www.transtorah.org

The Whole Megillah

Teach yourself to chant the Scroll of Esther — the Megillah — in Hebrew by following an on-screen text while you listen; study halakhic sources on women reading megillah, and learn how to organize a megillah reading. This interactive Megillat Esther CD-ROM “Blessed Be Esther, “ was created by the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance in memory of their board member Esther Farber. jofa.org/ about.php/publications/megillatesth

Minyan Naava Tehila in Jerusalem

“Beautiful praise” (in Hebrew) is a five-year-old egalitarian prayer and study community that welcomes people of diverse backgrounds looking for spiritual expressions with a Jewish flavor. Under the guidance of Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan, the group meets Friday evenings, once a month, for Kabbalat Shabbat and a dairy potluck meal, singing, acoustic music and Torah teachings until the wee hours of the morning. Navatehila.org

Sustainable Living in Israel

A Sukkah that gives shade in harvest time, and rains that we pray for, are among the Biblical agricultural precepts made relevant in hands on ways for English-speaking men and women ages 18–30 interested in sustainable living in an authentic Jewish context. They spend almost six months living on the Hava & Adam environmental educational center and ecological farm in central Israel. Along with Israeli army-age volunteers, they create a self-reliant community — living “off the grid, “ growing and preparing their own food, using solar showers, compost toilets, solar-powered electricity, and recycling creatively since they have no refuse collection. You can join them! Learn ecological architecture, ethnic crafts, vegetarian organic food preparation, and Hebrew . Contribute your labor to this co-operative organic farm and seed-bank, and receive an internationally recognized Certificate in Permaculture Design. Eco-Israel.org

Talking about Israel

Does “land” have spiritual meaning for us? Should Israeli Arabs serve in the Israel Defense Forces? How are Israeli and American visions of Judaism different and the same? In “Bringing Conversations about Israel into the Life of American Congregations” Alex Sinclair and Esti Moskovitz-Kalman recommend moving beyond political and philanthropic support to something more personal. synagogue3000.org/files/IsraelConversations.pdf

Jewish Interfaith Relationships For an anthology on this theme, editor Hila Ratzabi seeks personal essays on the joys and challenges by writers who are Jewish or nonJewish women in a Jewish interfaith relationship or marriage (one of the partners is Jewish, the writer must be a woman, can be any sexual orientation). Submit your 1000-2000 words by May 1, 2010 to interfaithessay@gmail.com

Tuition-Free Training

Here’s an opportunity for 20 young female future leaders from the Jewish nonprofit and education world to connect, network, gain skills. You’ll learn financial literacy, negotiation, conflict resolution, how to run a meeting, give a stump speech, and advocate. This tuition-free program, February 26 – 28, 2010, includes all training, room and board in Ancramdale, New York. It’s offered by the Woodhull Institute, which provides ethical leadership training to women. Contact Laura Sinkman, LSinkman@woodhull. org , 646-435-0837. Woodhull.org

Take a Tu B’Shvat Hike

In a sacred redwood grove in the East Bay hills of California and enjoy an experiential Tu B’Shvat seder, modeled after the mystics of Safed in Israel. Celebrate freedom and awakening on Passover at a five-day gathering in the California desert wilderness: camping, eating, praying, learning together and immersing in the Exodus experience. Wilderness Torah, a Bay Area nonprofit, models and teaches sustainable life skills using Jewish experiences through an annual cycle of land-based pilgrimage festivals, and earth-based rites of passage, such as a bat/bar mitzvah. WildernessTorah.org

A Time to be Born

A Faith-Based Guide to Assisted Reproductive Technologies is the first multi-faith resource exploring the scientific and ethical complexities of reproductive technologies from a religious perspective. It’s intended to help clergy and other religious professionals provide informed counsel and ethical reflection on the use of these technologies. The Religious Institute, based in Westport, CT, is a nonprofit organization advocating for sexual health, education and justice in faith communities and society. Of the nearly 5000 clergy and religious leaders, representing more than 50 faith traditions, 10% of the members of this national network are Jewish. religiousinstitute.org.