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October 31, 2014
 

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PAG E 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 31,2014 of horrors wond of wonders? By Edmon J. Rodman LOS ANGELES (JTA)-- With a borscht-curdling geshrei, Halloween this year falls on Shabbat. On a Fri- day night, trick-or-treaters, even Jewish ones, will be knocking. Should we open the door? Or shouldwe be spooked about joining the celebration? After reading that on Oct. 31, Urban Adama, a Jewish- oriented educational farm and community center in Berkeley, Calif., would be holding a"Challahween Kab- balat Shabbat"--chanting and meditation plus a potluck dinner and Halloween des- sert candy bar--I wondered: Should I have a Halloween Shabbat dinner as well? Yes, I know that when it comes to costumes and treats, eurim is our holiday, and that Halloween has murky pagan and Christian origins. But the multi-billion-dollar Hallow- een costume, decoration and candy industry has morphed so far beyond that I wondered what I could pull from that bubbling commercial caul- dron and adopt to season my Shabbat. So what I could pull from that bubbling commercial cauldron and adopt to season my Shabbat? Not that I would want to serve brisket with candy corn, but what about trying pumpkin spice challah? I didn't have to cast a spell to find a recipe online. Butwhattowear, especially since I would be greeting the neighborhood children as they came calling. Could I use the opportunity to dress up as someone more shul-ish than ghoulish? For ideas, I hit a neighbor- hood costume warehouse, Halloween City, not expecting much in the way of Jewish population. Was I wrong. Though a Halloween ware- house will never be confused with a Judaica store, I was surprised by the number of items that with a little imagination suggested ways to remember (zachor) Shah- bat on Halloween, and even to keep it (shamor). Searching for something overtly Jewish, I was disap- pointed at first, only finding costumes more suited to Catholic tastes. One could dress up as a Blessed Mother, priest and friar, but not a rabbL On a nearby rack, though, when I found a Doctor Who costume--a red fez and bow tie--I knew I was in the right place to make a fanciful connection to Shabbat. How on earth? Since according to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel "the meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space," who would be better to have at my Hal- loween Shabbat dinner than a Time Lord? Searching further in the areawith costumes represent- ing ethnic stereotypes, I found that one could dress up as a "Big Shot Scott," a "Mystify- ing Gypsy" and a "Luscious Leprechaun" complete with a "Want to get lucky?" pot of gold. The "Tequila Poppin Dude" costume camewithtwoshoul- der bandoliers with shot glass holding loops. Improvising, I figured on Shabbat I could put on the bandoliers and a kippah and be a poppin' dude, too, only with Manischewitz. On an end rack I saw some Shabbat potential, at least thematically in costumes based on the short, yellow, one- and two-eyed characters in the movie "Despicable Me." There in clear packages were a "Minion Dave" costume com- plete with blue coveralls and goggles, as well as a "Female Minion" costume. Ahhh, I could have a "min- yan" at my Shabbat Halloween dinner--it would even be egalitarian. Walking past the display of plug-in, animated skel- eton fiddlers (from a Sholem Aleichem nightmare?), I found myself in the aisle of ancient get-ups. If I wanted to turn my Shabbat dinner into a toga party or night of Roman-themed excess I was all set. But didn'twe fight a few wars to get away from all that? On the top of the rack, however, I found a blue and gold Egyptian pharaoh's headdress. "That will work," I thought, trying it on, remembering that in the Shabbat Kiddush are the words "zecher litzeat mitzrayim," "recall the Exo- dus from Egypt." Walking by an entire area of black and gray fake head- stones (there were no Sty- rofoam pebbles to leave on them), I came to an area that seemed more heavenly. In recentyears, angel wings have become a Halloween costume staple, and the ware- house had an entire display in every shape and color. To begin every Shabbat, my family always sings "Shalom Aleichem," wishing peace to the "attending angels." Would they be offended, if in their honor, I wore a pair of wings to dinner? In the next aisle over I found myself amid costumes for girls and women. Was there something here that would invoke the image of Shabbat Hamalka, the Sabbath Queen, who we greet with song on Shabbat evening? Edmon J. Rodman There's no masking it, some Jews are spooked aboutjoln- ing the Halloween celebration on Shabbat. There were costumes for a woodland fairy, a gothic temptress and a "divine god- dess" that included a blonde wig and hair jewelry, but noth- ing close towhat I imagined to be the Sabbath Queen. Then I realized: With a Sabbath Queen, angels who visit on our day of rest and celebrations of time rather than space, we didn't really need any help from Hal- loween to conceptualize the fantastic. On Halloween, I could set the tablewith orange plates on a black tablecloth and wear a pharaoh's headdress. But on that Shabbat evening, as we rise before dinner to face the door and sing the last verse of L'cha Dodi, "Come my beloved," even if the doorbell rings, do we really need all that stuff to imagine who might appear at our threshold? Edmon J. Rodman is a JTA columnist who writes on Jewish life from Los Angeles. Contact him at edmojace@ gmail.com. By Allna Daln Sharon over a practical application of the 5,000-member ASA, the JNS.org that vote. oldest and largest associa- The ASAs 2014 annual;tion.devoted to the interdis- 'Xbout:a ea'raft ri he/itmer:~meeting, to be hel~Nov.~i.gat~ ~ipl~ry sthdy of American ican Studies Association's theWestinBonaventureHotel culture and history, marked (ASA) widelycondemnedvote in Los Angeles, has garnered the group's initial foray into to endorse a boycott of Israeli criticism for a stated policy of an Israel boycott. That vote academic institutions, the excluding Israeli academics, was publicly criticized by organization'spolicyonlsrael In December 2013, a resolu- more than 200 university is receiving renewed scrutiny tion passed in a vote among presidents. According to the ASA's Frequently Asked Questions webpage, the organization's current boycott of Israel "tar- gets institutions and their rep- resentatives, not individual scholars, students or cultural workers who will be able to participate in the ASA confer- ence or give public lectures at campuses, provided they are not expressly serving as rep- resentatives or ambassadors of those institutions (such as deans, rectors, presidents, etc.), or of the Israeli govern- ment." Yet the distinction between a"representative," "ambassa- dor," or "scholar who is affili- ated with an Israeli academic institution" is a vague one. In at least one letter,, addressed to the administration at the University of California, San Diego, the ASA said that it meant "deans, rectors, presidents and others" in the explanation of its policy, the Times of Israel reported. After the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) civil rights group contacted the Westin with a letter informing the hotel that the ASA policy regarding its conference could violate the state of California's civil rights lawsl the ASA amended its policy with the addition that "in accordance with the 'yes' answer immediately above, Israeli academics will be in attendance at the 2014 convention. The ASAwill not prohibit anyone from regis- tering or participating in its annual conference." John Stephens, the ASA's executive director, responded to the ACLJ that the organi- zation "does not bar Israelis, it does not bar Israeli in- stitutions. Prime Minister Netanyahu can attend [the Los Angeles conference] if he wants to." The ASA has since issued a formal statement that reports of its exclusion of Israeli aca- demics from the conference are "erroneous." Upon further examina- tion of the ASA conference program, the gathering's participants do include at least three Israelis: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Neve Godon and Ahmad Sa'di, both of whom critical of Israel, and Mohammed Wetted of Zefat College School of Law, an Arab academic who in the past has spoken out against a boycott against Israel and the classification of Israel as an "apartheid state." "There will not be discrimi- nation of any sort against anyone [at the conference]," the ASA statement said. "We welcome Israeli academics to attend, and in fact sev- eral are already scheduled to participate in the conference program. 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