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Anita Silverman Hirsch Z"l

Mitzva gorreret mitzva

Mitzva gorreret mitzvah. Avera gorreret avera.…One good deed engenders another; one bad deed brings on another…

The title of my piece is a mishna that Jews have pondered over the ages. This last week it came to life for me.

Last year Rabbi Aigen of Dorshei Emet approached me to do a four session class for the synagogue based on the videos that I have been generating called "New Jewish Voices". He was aware that I have been videotaping educational events here in Montreal, and elsewhere. Yes, I have developed an archive, however having an archive and teaching a class are two different things: Teaching is a new venture for me and many of the videos had not been edited. How was I going to do all this?

Nevertheless they encouraged me to accept and being a sport, I did.
Last week, we had the first session, and although we had only four people registered, preparing for the class gave me a wonderful opportunity to finally complete something I had wanted to do for two years, to edit the footage I had of Rabbi Lew speaking at Stanford Hillel about Zen Buddhism and Rabbinic Judaism and what they have to tell us about the how to deal with suffering in the world.

However there are three more classes to go.

Well, out of the blue, my friend, Perla Serfaty, invited me to spend a week with her Northern Quebec. I knew that, she was looking for someone to share the time and space while she worked on her book. She asked me if I had anything to do that would similarly occupy me while she wrote. Boy did I! I dropped everything and joined her for a week from Friday to Friday. We did have two breaks: Sunday we returned to the city, she for a personal celebration, and I to take care of a few things: Monday afternoon we were back in the country without cell phone or internet access, and only expensive long distance land line connections i.e. limited... A heavenly oasis for concentrated work. On Wednesday, my friend was to meet a professional colleague from Belgium in Trois Rivieres and I accompanied her on that outing. (Checked my e-mails on the i-phone and made some calls on my cell phone)

In between I reviewed and edited my videos and I now have it "in the can" as they say in film parlance. Here is the line-up of the edited pieces.

1. Dr. Shera Tuchman, a working physician, who has also been
teaching a parsha (weekly bible portion)class for twenty years at her synagogue in Manhattan, and has published two books based on her teaching, "The Women of Braishit " and "The Women of Shemot" and more are on the way, is interviewed in her own home. When asked how this happened, she talks blithely about reading Sartre and More Nevuchim - Maimonides' "Guide for the Perplexed" - at the same time when she started college.

2. A second video of Raba Mimi Feigelson, probably the first Jewish Orthodox functioning Rabbi. (She was ordained in secret by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, z"l of blessed memory and shares about this in the class which she teaches on finding your personal covenantal texts. She also plays the ukelele.

3. Dr. Michelle Friedman, a working psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, She has been hired to teach Rabbis-in-training to sensitize them to the dilemmas they will be encountering and she uses their own rabbinic and biblical sources to do so.

4. I was fortunate to catch Tova Mirvis, the novelist, sharing about her Columbia writing classes. She writes about her background growing up Jewish and Orthodox in Memphis and is candid and under thiry.

5. I also happened to catch Judy Klitzner, an attractive and dynamic tanach (bible) teacher and author speaking about her recently published book: "Subversive Sequels in the Bible": In her hands the bible is actually a feminist tract.

6. And the last was a bonus. Rabbi Daniel Sperber speaking about the halachic underpinnings of why Jewish communal leaders may be women, showing how Maimonides himself is outvoted by those rabbis coming both before and after him, and speaking about the "facts on the ground" in contemporary Israel and the diaspora.

Wow, it is 6:30 am. Perla is still sleeping. Shortly, she will wake up and we will pack the car and drive back to Montreal.

PS She is a great cook too. Much to learn and digest…

The next class is scheduled for Thursday, October 28th. lunchtime, 12 - 1:15 at Dorshei Emet in Montreal.
Hope you can join us.

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