By Lenette Howard
Into the woods with Or Amians
For the past three years, Or Ami has made racism awareness an area of study, and on June 5 our team mobilized to do clean up at Woodland Cemetery, one of Richmond’s overgrown African American cemeteries.
Maintenance of the burial ground was left to descendants, but many had died or moved away. Nature had taken over. We cleared away weeds and vines, and parts of trees that had been cut into pieces.
Then we tapped the ground for covered grave markers. It was thrilling to hear the probe hit solid granite and to dig four inches to bring a gravestone to light.
Most white cemeteries of this vintage were deemed to be Civil War burial grounds and were maintained with public funds, so it’s up to volunteers to reclaim this part of Richmond’s history. What a great opportunity for us to get together outdoors, in a social and socially conscious inter-generational activity.
For more information visit http://woodlandrestorationfoundation.org/
Or Amian’s come in all shapes and sizes
Our Rabbi will be co-leading Richmond’s Honeymoon Israel trip with Rachel Peters from the Jewish Community Federation of Federation in July so other members from our congregation have stepped up to take her place.
One of them, Stanley Feuer, was kind enough to write why he was willing to do this.
Stanley explained, “Or Ami has always had a tradition of the creative liturgy. We have never used a Siddur printed by any of the organizations of Jewish denominations, although our services use much traditional liturgy and would be familiar to anyone who regularly attends Jewish services of any kind.”
He continuted, “For example, the July 1st service I am leading, I’m considering making it a reflection of July 4th using a historic prayer composed in Hebrew in Richmond in 1789, praying for the new American nation instead of the traditional Parsha for that Shabbat.
Stanley added, “Our High Holy Day services have been written by members and revised several times by the Liturgy Committee. There is a tradition of members writing services and submitting them, and families have had a big input in life cycle events to make them personally and individually meaningful.
“This blending of the traditional and the creative has made services at Or Ami fresh and new and comfortable yet still familiar at the same time.
“As important as this is, it has always been the feeling tone that has made Or Ami such a special place. There is a welcoming sense to the place and the people; an openness to people – who they are and where they are without a ‘you must do this and mustn’t do that’ or ‘you must believe this and not believe that’ which has allowed people to find what is personally meaningful about Judaism in their lives.
“Or Ami is here to assist people in their personal exploration of their spiritual lives; to be a resource, a help, and a guide.”
Thank you, Stanley. You’ve encapsulated Or Ami perfectly.
With the wonderful people who populate Or Ami, wouldn’t you like to see your children or grandchildren enrolled here?
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
All inquiries are always welcome. Congregation Or Ami, 9400 Huguenot Road, Richmond, 23235.