Hebrew College is joining with Temple Beth Sholom in Framingham, Temple Beth Am of Framingham, Congregation Or Atid of Wayland and Shillman House in Framingham to offer a new three-part virtual series, “Jewish CultureFest: Food, Music and YOU!,” supported through a grant from CJP.

The virtual series, which kicks off next month, will celebrate the culinary and music traditions of Jewish communities throughout the world while simultaneously encouraging participants to cook, listen and connect with Jewish food, music and culture. The first workshop will be “Tasting Hope: Embodying the Messages of Hanukkah & Christmas,” an inter-religious and cross-cultural exploration with music, text learning and a culinary experience taught jointly by Rabbi Or Rose, director of the Miller Center of Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College, and Samir Selmanovic, founder of The Kitchenhood, a cross-generational community dedicated to cooking mastery. It will be held on Dec. 6 from 2-3:30 p.m.

“I am thrilled to partner with my long-time friend and colleague Samir Selmanovic as we explore the similarities and differences of our winter holy days,” Rabbi Rose said. “While Hanukkah and Christmas are often lumped together in popular North American cultural contexts, each has a distinctive place within the spiritual arc of the Jewish and Christian calendars. Uncovering these ideas in an inviting and embodied manner is exciting to me.” 

Gail Palmer, a member of Temple Beth Shalom who applied for the CJP grant, said she wanted families to be able to connect during this unprecedented time by learning something new in a fun way. She thought Jewish food and culture would be a wonderful lens—and realized Zoom could allow musicians and culinary experts from near and far to come to MetroWest. 

“Even if we are only able to connect virtually and are cooking and listening to Jewish music separately in our homes, it’s something we can do together,” she said. “I thought it would be a great way to help other participants expand their knowledge and comfort level with Jewish culture and create a stronger sense of community and belonging.”

Temple Beth Sholom’s Rabbi Allison Poirier, an alumna of the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College, added, “I’m so excited to be working with our friends and neighbors and be able to connect in new ways and bring light to our community—even in these tough times!”

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