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Or Ami Happenings for May

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Rabbi Ahuva with Jonah Collazo-Heifetz. Photo by Macy Lau-Allen

Have you ever heard of a Bet Mitzvah? You’ve heard of Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs, of course, but a Bet Mitzvah, sometimes called a B’nai Mitzvah, is for non-binary or gender questioning kids.

On April 2, Or Ami was incredibly proud to hold our first Bet Mitzvah when Jonah Collazo-Heifetz was called to the Torah.

Jonah’s journey to this moment took longer than usual due to COVID and their mother’s wish to have extended family attend the event, having lost much of her family before this time. It was during this hiatus that Jonah began to question their identity.

When vaccinations were available, and thoughts of a complete ceremony were reestablished, Jonah and their mother worked with Rabbi Ahuva on a new format to suit their needs.

When asked what had been their favorite part of their Bet Mitzvah, Jonah responded in an atypical (for a teen) manner. “Reading from the Torah.” They explained their answer wasn’t a politically correct one but a fact of linking them to a sense of history and Judaism. They also enjoyed selecting the poetry and English readings for the service.

Jonah said, saying the D’var Torah with emotion yet saying it slowly had been a challenge before delivering it to the large crowd at Or Ami on the day of their Bet Mitzvah. Yet, they were calm and able to do both, despite the nervousness they’d been plagued with the week before the event.

Jonah credits Rabbi Ahuva and their classmates at Or Ami for supporting them during this time. They hope any other questioning youth who follow will be more comfortable due to their efforts. All of us at Or Ami say, bravo, Jonah!

Ukrainian themed Seder Plate

On Sunday, April 3, Or Ami’s Religious School students designed creative Seder plates for their outdoor Model Seder.

Many of these designs incorporated special symbols of Ukrainian identities, such as sunflowers and prayers for peace in Ukraine.

Zooming Our Seder

Zooming our Seder

On Saturday, April 16, we held a Community Seder over Zoom to ensure that immunocompromised people felt fully included in our communal holiday celebration. Like last year, our Seder this year included many interactive elements, readings, games, and meaningful conversations about the nature of freedom and other timeless themes of Passover. We also said special prayers for peace in Ukraine and throughout the world.

Interfaith Trialogue at the Islamic Center

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Or Ami will co-host and participate in the Bon Air Interfaith Trialogue this May. Weather permitting, both sessions will be held outdoors, where we will explore the theme of faith communities reconnecting with each other. Rabbi Ahuva Zaches will co-lead the main presentation along with Imam Ammar Ammonet at the Islamic Center of Virginia at the first event on Thursday, May 5. There will be food, friendship, and meaningful conversations on both evenings between 6:15 and 8 p.m. You don’t have to be a member of Or Ami to join the Jewish contingent of our interfaith dialogue group. We hope to see you there!

 Thursday, May 5

6:15 – 8 p.m.

Islamic Center of Virginia

1241 Buford Road

North Chesterfield, 23235

Topic: “Connecting with our own faith during the pandemic”

Thursday, May 12

6:15- 8 p.m.

St. Edwards Catholic Church

2700 Dolfield Drive, Richmond 23235

Topic: “Reconnecting now with each other across faith communities”

Or Amians are busy people! We have a new club – The Makers group, which meets the last Thursday of each month from 7-8 p.m. – currently on Zoom but hopefully in person soon.  Ali Moorehead is leading the group, and all are welcome, whether experienced or novices.  So far, this “tight-knit” bunch consists of knitters and crocheters, but all types of crafters are welcome. It’s a great way to unwind at the end of the day with conversation while crafting.

Book Club

Our Book Club continues on Zoom May 2 with Helen Wecker’s The Hidden Palace and on June 6 with Scott Seligman’s, The Great Kosher Meat War of 1902: Immigrant Housewives and the Riots That Shook New York City. Please join us in our lively and fun discussions.

Shabbat Services are now mask-optional and held in-person and online Friday evenings from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Torah Study is also held virtually and in person on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Links for virtual Torah Study are sent via email on Friday. If you would like to be added to the list, please email communications@or-ami.com.

For more information on any of our programs or to obtain links to zoom events, please get in touch with our office at (804) 272-0017 or office@or-ami.com.

Would you like to know more? Contact us at Belong@Or-Ami.com or check us out at www.Or-Ami.com. You can follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/OrAmi-Richmond, or catch us on Twitter@oramirichmond. All inquiries are always welcome. Congregation Or Ami, 9400 Huguenot Road, Richmond, VA  23235

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