Next Year, Together

At Mimouna this year, we had a serious discussion after Shulchan Orekh/Dinner feast that began with Rabbi Ora making a connection to the afikoman and asking us questions about our relationships with our neighbors:

The word afikoman can be broken up into two Aramaic words, אפיקו מן, meaning “bring out sustenance.” According to the mystical text Sefer HaSichot, eating the afikoman draws down God’s infinite bounty into the framework of our material world.

In light of our many blessings, and the blessings of being in relationship, let’s answer these questions together:

  1. What relationships do we (individually and collectively) already have with local Muslim communities?
  2. In the coming year, what new relationships might be established?
  3. What could AARC’s Mimouna celebration look like next year?

We talked about ways we individually and as a Jewish congregation could grow our relationships with other vulnerable and targeted communities. As a beginning, here are some upcoming activities that were mentioned:

 

This Sunday, April 15, 3-7pm, Open House at the Islamic Center of Ann Arbor, sponsored by the Muslim Association of Ann Arbor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday and Saturday April 20 and 21st, Temple Beth Emeth Social Action Committee is hosting Jan Harboe, author of Train to Crystal City, a book about the secret American internment camp and incarceration of U.S. citizens of German and Japanese descent during WWII.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 25, the film And Then They Came for Us about the Japanese interment during WWII, at UM-Rackham Amphitheatre, 915 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor.

Sign up to be a member of the Ann Arbor Jewish Sanctuary Ann Arbor Jewish Sanctuary and Immigration Committee by going to this website, We Were Strangers, MI. 

 

Here is a really good article from the Detroit Jewish News, “Detainee Defenders,”  about the work to defend several hundred Iraqi who have been detained with deportation orders.

Preparing for Mimouna

Rabbi Myron Kinberg blessing guests with dates stuffed with butter and anointing them with buttermilk, 1996.

AARC is doing something new this year. We are getting together to learn about and celebrate Mimouna, the hametz-laden Moroccan Jewish end-of-Passover celebration.

Mimouna

Saturday April 7

5:30-7:30

at the JCC.

Because my beloved sister-in-law, Alice Haya Kinberg, grew up in Morocco and taught my family about Mimouna many moons ago, I have known about the special holiday for a long time. But this year, when Rabbi Ora suggested we have a Mimouna “seder” where we as a community learn about Mimouna traditions, I learned a lot more!

Thanks to Carol Lessure, our community has had several Mimouna-inspired pizza parties at the end Passover. Now we have the opportunity to learn more about the traditions of sharing with non-Jewish neighbors, enjoying Moroccan food, and celebrating the blessings of springtime.

In this article, “Ten things you didn’t know about Mimouna,” I learned several surprising ways that Jews and Muslims in Morocco expressed appreciation for each other. “Inside the Mimouna, Passover’s Best Kept and Sweetest Tradition,” I found a picture of the custom of  wiping the forehead with mint leaves dipped in buttermilk which, Alice explained to me, is a blessing for gaining wealth and wisdom and feeling satiated. And in this essay by Alicia Sisso Raz I learned about the Mimouna being brought to South America and the traditional Judeo-Arabic greeting Tirbeḥu Utis’adu (success and good luck), and the Spanish greeting for Mimouna, “A Mimon, a Shalom, a baba Terbaḥ.”

Along with the seder, we will be having a potluck dinner, and we encourage you to bring a dish that includes at least one of the following ingredients common to Mimouna celebrations: milk or buttermilk; wheat flour (try your hand at moufleta); eggs; bean pods; dates and preserves; butter; honey; Zabane (marshmallow sauce); fruits or candied fruit; spring greens; fish; wine.

Einat AdmonyCandied Citrus Peels

Ingredients:

1 large red or pink grapefruit

1 large pomela

2 oranges

1 cup sugar, plus more for tossing

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

2 pieces star anise

AARC Mimouna 2018: Abandon Bitterness, Celebrate Blessing

Photo of Mimouna foods from an article in The Nosher, includes recipes.

This year, AARC will be celebrating Mimouna on Saturday April 7, 5:30-7:30pm at the JCC. We’ll have lots of food, music, and a short ‘seder’ to learn about the symbols and traditions of Mimouna. We will also begin a conversation about things our congregation can do to form relationships with other faith communities in the coming year.

Mimouna, the traditional Moroccan Jewish celebration held the day after Passover, marks the start of spring and the return to eating chametz, i.e., leavened bread and bread by-products, which are forbidden throughout Passover. In centuries past, Muslim neighbors would bring gifts of flour, honey, milk, butter and green beans to their Jewish neighbors to help them prepare delicious, chametz-rich recipes. More recently, Moroccan Jews brought the holiday to Israel where it is now widely celebrated with picnics and visiting with friends and neighbors. Recently, an organization of Moroccan Muslim students was founded which preserves and promotes the history of Morocco’s ancient Jewish community and seeks to educate about Jewish culture to encourage harmony between Jews and Muslims.

“Unlike Passover, which is charged with religious meaning, this is a festival devoted to the celebration of community, friendship, togetherness and hospitality. Mimouna is celebrated by throwing one’s home open to friends, neighbors and even strangers, with public parties, and by sharing – a large portion of that sharing involving food. Mimouna is thus clearly all about encouraging peace, kindness and human warmth. It also centers around making music, singing and dancing,” explains an article in Haaretz which includes a recipe for the traditional crepe, mofleta.

The piyyut (ligurgical poetry) below, “Atem Yotzei Maarav ,”composed by Rabbi David Bouzaglo (1903-1975), to commemorate the Mimouna holiday tells–in Hebrew with some Judeo-Arabic interspersed–the various aspects of the holiday including the foods eaten, the friendly atmosphere, and the significance of the holiday. It tells a story of strife and its resolution, and in conclusion calls for the abandonment of bitterness between Muslims and Jews.

 

Atem Yotzei Maarav

A Moroccan Jewish Piyyut:

You, who come from the Maghreb, from Morocco, men of faith –
praise G-d in assembly, this day of the Mimouna.

Yesterday the Red Sea opened its gaping mouth before Pharaoh,
it moved over all their wagons and swallowed them.

Israel, the flock, his servants crossed through passages,
as the waves of the sea were piled up by the hand of Moses, the faithful father.

The wealth of their enemies and tormentors Israel collected,
between the waves of the sea, they received it as a gift.

On every doorstep, all congratulated each other:
“Be blessed, friend, all the months of the year.”

And in Morocco, for many generations, the Hebrews say,
in blessing their friends, “good luck, brother, good fortune!”

The strangers, their waters were spilled on them;
the fear of G-d, in Heaven poured down on them.

Loads and loads of wealth and grains
were delivered from all comers of the world to the people G-d has chosen.

And it is the way of the sons of Arabia, in Morocco,
each according to his means brings the Jews an offering of value.

Yeast, honey and flour, the milk of a healthy cow,
fish, mint, and butter with wild flowers and flowers from the garden.

This night, Hebrews and Arabs are all seated together –
they rejoice with musical instruments and singing.

The Hebrew woman wears the clothes of an Arab,
the man wears an Arab vest, and the scent of incense and perfume.

One can no longer distinguish between a Hebrew and his Arab brother,
or if they are city dwellers or villagers: the good spirit overtakes them all.

The borders between Israel and the nations are blurred
If it wasn’t for the bloodthirsty who run the states.

It is these evil kings who deliver their people to catastrophe –
They are concerned only with their thrones, not the soul who suffers.

Abandon for all time conflict and bitterness!
Stop the bitter cries! Stop in the name of peace and freedom!

(Translation – Ruben Namdar and Joshua Levitt)

Passover Planning Post

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The first seder of Passover is Friday April 3

As in past years, AARC will help match up members with home seders. If you are having a first night seder and have an empty seat or two that could be filled by AARC member(s), email Clare. If you’d like to be invited to a home seder for the first night, email Clare. I’ll do my best to match everybody up.

AARC Second Night Community Seder

Join us for a musical, thoughtful, interactive and delicious celebration of our story of freedom! The theme for the evening will be “Becoming Slaves, Becoming Free” and include explorations of personal, communal and international experiences and issues.

Our younger guests will have age appropriate fun and an opportunity to create something to share with us as we ponder more adult issues.

The meal will be a coordinated pot-luck to assure we have an appropriate mix of items as well as all the ritual goodies.

Location: TBD based on size of gathering.

Please RSVP by March31st. For more information contact Rav Michal

Mimouna, a farewell to Passover (and Shabbat) Saturday April 11, 6:00-9:30pm

We’ll celebrate the end of Passover with a Sephardic tradition of Mimouna (a hametz-laden Spring feast) and the end of Shabbat with Havdalah. The meal will include pizza for the children and Spring vegetables. Please join us with a dish to share such as fresh bread, beer, and Sephardic inspired dishes. At the home of Carol Lessure, Jon Engelbert, Avi and Deron.