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Join the Rikkud: Dances of Comfort and Joy

02/02/2020 11:31:25 AM


Ilana Axel, Cantorial Leader

When I was 10 my daddy and I went to a Dad & Daughter Dance together. One memory I will always cherish is how I felt while dancing in my daddy’s arms. He probably had to stoop a bit. At one point the music grew old fashioned and quiet, and I felt warm and protected and supported. It gave me comfort.

             This sense of comfort might have been a model as I was...Read more...

Join the Rikkud: Dance the Chanukah Haka

12/01/2019 11:29:56 AM


Ilana Axel, Cantorial Leader

What is to be done when a small tribe fighting against a larger military force wishes to prevail against all odds? We might ask our friends in New Zealand. They invented the haka. If you’ve never seen a haka you might want to go right now to the internet and type in There you can see a performance of a war haka from the Maori tradition known as Ka Mate, Ka Ora. The words translated mean: It is...Read more...

Join the Rikkud: It Takes Two to Tango

10/01/2019 06:37:44 PM


Ilana Axel, Cantorial Leader

Shanah Tovah – Happy New Year to all! Our new president, Deb Bakal, has offered us the theme of joining the rikkud – the dance – as a metaphor this year for finding one’s place in our community. I am offering my own musings on this theme, here throughout the year.

They say it takes two to tango. I have no idea where that catchy saying comes from, but I can think of an...Read more...

Courageous and Creative Hearts

06/01/2019 08:03:43 PM


Ilana Axel, Cantorial Leader

Beth Tikvah member Ron Coppel is a docent at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Educational Center in Skokie. This year he made an interesting suggestion for telling personal stories from the Holocaust in meaningful ways. He asked if we had any members who would be able to interpret some of these stories artistically. The idea intrigued Rabbi Tachman and myself, but our time was short. Creating and performing original works takes time. A lot...Read more...

Little Aunt Fanny Lerner

04/01/2019 08:07:27 PM


Ilana Axel, Cantorial Leader

I clearly remember dancing with Aunt Fanny Lerner at my Aunt Marilyn’s wedding in 1962. I was only six years old, but Aunt Fanny Lerner (we all called her that so as not to confuse her with my own grandmother Fanny Weiss) wasn’t that much taller than I. She was at that time the oldest surviving member of her generation in my family, and I was the first child born into my generation, so everyone was pretty excited that we got to dance...Read more...

Comfort Zone Heroism

02/01/2019 08:11:18 PM


Ilana Axel, Cantorial Leader

I was sharing a pizza with our delightful Sisterhood Co-Chairs Lesley Hollenberg and Ellen Rosenblum and we were talking about Jew-per heroes. Not specific people who are heroes; rather, what are the qualities that lead to heroism? We might turn first to the thoughts of Joseph Campbell, the American Professor of Literature at Sarah Lawrence College who interpreted the unifying messages he found in the world’s mythologies. One common...Read more...

Our Jew-Per Hero Musical Brains

12/01/2018 08:18:42 PM


Ilana Axel, Cantorial Leader

Chanukah is here with its stories of bravery and self-sacrifice that keep us together as a distinct people. As we light our candles and sing our songs about miracles and courage, we might also do well to consider the research of Professor Daniel Levitin, a former record producer who runs the Laboratory for Music, Perception, Cognition and Expertise at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In his book “The World in Six Songs: How the...Read more...

My Jew-Per Hero Voting Mom

10/01/2018 08:20:39 PM


Ilana Axel, Cantorial Leader

My mom is a Jew-per hero, but she doesn’t know it. At age 7 she was taking care of her younger sister and their home because her own mother was infirm. In her teens she worked in her father’s restaurant. As an adult she took care of her aunt, who was a ward of the state. Married at age 23, my mom gave birth to four children within six years, worked part-time, and hosted the social arena of my father’s growing academic career. Our home...Read more...

Super Jew-Per Heroism

08/01/2018 08:26:21 PM


Ilana Axel, Cantorial Leader

The New Year 5779 is fast approaching and this year we turn our congregational attention to the theme of Jewish heroes – Jew-Per Heroes, indeed! Which brings me to Moses.

It is hard thinking about Jew-per heroes without including Moses. We would not recognize ourselves today if it weren’t for Moses – whoever he really was. Whether in actuality an Egyptian prince, or a born again Israelite; whether revolutionary or evolutionary;...Read more...

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyar 5784