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La Prensa Sefaradí | April 2006 issue

La Prensa Sefaradí | April 2006 issue

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A modest attempt at a publication for Ess Hayim, the Spanish & Portuguese Jews of Houston, which was planned to output monthly issues.
A modest attempt at a publication for Ess Hayim, the Spanish & Portuguese Jews of Houston, which was planned to output monthly issues.

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Published by: dramirezg on Jul 19, 2013
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VOL. 2 NISAN 5766APRIL ’06
. . .
 . . . .............................
La Prensa
Congregación Ess Hayim — Newsletter
The Spanish-Portuguese Jews of Houston
Blessed are they who can look back, and thereby learn how they should go forward. Blessed are they whose parentage knows no higher duty than to hand down what it received; who can point to the deeds of their fathersas the basis on which they have founded their own honor for their children. Theirs is the true immortality, whichoutlives all the more glittering show of lighter flame. As the earth absorbs heat from the sun and radiates it onall created things, so virtue receives vitality from ancestors, and transmits it to descendants. . – Moisés Angel (1858)
Buenas Nuevas
e had the opportunity this month toenjoy the visit of three gentlemen fromMiami, where there are Sefaradi families of Spanish-Portuguese tradition.George, René haLeví and Jonatas Diasgraced us with their presence during thefirst week of April, where we had the op- portunity to talk about minhagim, halakháh,songs, food, and generally share our con-cerns and hopes for Sefardí education, cul-ture, and rabbinic learning.We were glad to come to the knowl-edge that señor Dias is a talented painter and teacher of art, in the realist Spanishtradition, already being featured in the Mi-ami artistic scene.Born in in Brazil, Jonatas as a con-temporary artist brings a new concept of arthighly appreciated for its originality. Jona-tas studied art at the Bosque Dos BuritisArt Institute and a few years later, movedtoward the Graphic Novelistic Industrytaking classes from the well known SouthAmerican Graphic Novelist, Edgar Franco.After moving to the United States, Jonatashas been studying under Ms. Firgau, per-fecting his own artwork and adopting theEuropean Way to teach his pupils. His artcan be viewed at:
is planning to commission an
ame way, do not be ambitious, awaken for richness, nor lazy or without work, but be a person withgood eyes, [which means]: work little, and occupy yourself [with the study of] Toráh, being that what-ever little he gets, he becomes happy. Do not be violent (libertine), nor envious, nor carnal, nor one whogoes after honors. Thus the Sages said: “Envy, carnality, and honors end the life of man in the world!”General rule: Walk through the middle measure in all classes of personalities, until your manners be inthe middle, because this is what Salomon said: “All your ways may be ratified”
MT: Hilkhot De‘ot; Chp. II, 14.
illustr ated Hagaddáh in western
, for  the use of Spanish and Portuguese speakers.Also, we plan to request some panel work to  beautify our Esnoga.Mazal bueno to Miami
 — Ess Hayim.
From Alef to Taw
Moments in Jewish in-tellect:
Immanuel Aboabde Fonseca
“Only man can dispose with absolute dominion,and his own control of his actions and thoughts.” 
 fter the Lord had created all  His works, with proper, and  particular natures, all of whomobserve their effects without anychange: He only gave man freewill, with which (in imitation of  His Divine Majesty) voluntarilydoes whatever he wants, without having anyone forcing him in hisdoings.
hen G-d Almighty createdthe celestial machinery, and itssubstance: the Planets, and theStars in the Sky, herbs, Plants,and animals beneath it, Hefinally createdman, as thefinishingtouch of allHis works,whose sub-stance hemade fromearth, and asform he breathed-in the divineintellectual soul: Thus, He sub- jected to man’s dominion, thefish of the sea, the birds of thesky, the plants and animals of earth. He provided man (aboveeverything else) of a supreme benefit and pre-rogative, which isfree will, only andabsolutely his,which he can makeuse of for all hisactions as he pleases, withoutany cause of vio-lence that wouldmake him actagainst his own wish. On thisaspect, man has divinity, andimitates his Creator, who (cont. p. 5)
“He [G-d] only gave manfree will, with which (inimitation of His DivineMajesty) voluntarily doeswhatever he wants, with-out having anyone forcinghim in his doings.”
B. Short Vowels:
(a) Pathaĥ gadol (
)pronounced like a shortKhamess [ă].(b) Segol ( ),pronounced like a shortSsere [ĕ]. It is also calledPathaĥ khattan, becauseof its phonetic kingshipwith the Pathaĥ, and theyoccasionally interchanged(c) Khamess hattuf, i.e.hurried Khamess (
),pronounced like a shortĤolem [ŏ].
When not followedby a Dagesh or Shewaquiescent, the Khamessĥattuf is sometimes com-pounded with Shewa toindicate its short or hurriedsound, e.g. 1K 10:11,Pr 25:12 [
in our text]. Gn 43:11etc.(d) Ĥirekh without Yod,pronounced like a shortĤirekh [ĭ].(e) Khibbuss ( ),pronounced like a shortShurekh [ŭ].
, D. Qamhi
with good citizenry, but we must remember that Israel continuesto harbor social, ethnic, reli- gious and political prejudicesthat find themselves reinforced by SHAS. Anti-Arab provocationis a standard feature of themovement and an overall senseof hostility towards the deeper aspects of intellectual and cul-tural modernity are still alien tothe group and its followers.So in the end this is a mixed bag. Things could be better and they could be worse. In the end,it still seems that the Sepharditradition, as Rabbi OvadiahYosef has noted in private dis-cussion, was left behind in the Arab world when the Jews packed up and moved to Israel. And this is a tragic truth that will ultimately serve to reinforce Ashkenazi cultural hegemonyrather than renew, as the SHAS  slogan would famously have it,the Crown of Sephardi glory toits rightful place in Jewish civili- zation.
 — David Shasha
he last time I saw MazalAzulai I asked about her sonEzra, who had been a JewishDennis the Menace in fourthgrade and a vilde haya, a wildanimal, in fifth-grade, when heattended a regular governmentschool in Beersheba.Mazal smiled and said, "Ezra?After I moved him to the Shasschool, he became a yo-yo."Puzzled, I was not certainwhether that was praise or deni-gration. She continued:"In desperation I moved him to aShas school in our neighbor-hood. He did well with the strictdiscipline, zero tolerance of vio-lence, a dress code, (cont. p. 4)By: Shira Leibowitz-Schmidt
There is little question that SHAS has not been the typical Haredi move-ment. In spite of the fact that much of its ideology comes from the PonovezhYeshiva of Rabbi Shach and his North African disciples, traces of theSephardi tradition continue to trickleinto the SHAS system. But like anything else in Israel, thereare both good and bad aspects to thismovement.On the positive side, it is good to see an engagement of Orthodox Jewswith modernity. It is refreshing to seean avoidance of Messianism and a propensity for the practical and rea- sonable.On the negative side, there is littlecultural feeling for the Sephardic past and a pronounced attempt to find ways to integrate Sephardi studentsinto the Ashkenazi mainstream in Zionist terms. There is nothing wrong 
tary, andlater its president. If all thiswere notenoughMendes played anactive rolein the wider community, representing theJewish faith on important civicoccasions. Once he delivered the prayer in the opening session of the United States Senate.Conscientious to a fault,Mendes abided by an austeremoral code. He disapproved of such secular temptations as “low'movies' and suspicious dance-halls.” To combat their appeal,he suggested that religiousgroups , all (cont. p. 6)a religious teacher inManchester when the callcame from Shearith Is-rael. An aristocratic-looking man, he had a precisely trimmed beard andmoustache, and was partial tousing a pince-nez. He had “aclear ringing voice of unusuallysympathetic quality, precision of diction, and a rich and poeticvocabulary,” an associate re-called: “Small of stature, he wasyet possessed of a benign dig-nity which emanated fromwithin. Soft-spoken, courteous,fatherly, and tender, he won allhearts.”Shortly after assuming his post at Shearith Israel, Mendesentered New York Universitymedical school. He was gradu-ated in 1884 but decided to de-vote himself exclusively to therabbinate and never practicedmedicine He threw himself intoJewish charitable and benevo-lent causes, helping, for exam- ple, to organize the HebrewCongregation of the Deaf, andfounding a school for handi-capped Jewish children. Helobbied aggressively for Jewishinterests, protesting againstChristian exercises in the publicschool, discriminatory immigra-tion policies, and Sunday lawswhich penalized observant Jewswho would not work on Satur-days. He was an early advocateof Zionism. He was also a foun-der of the New York Board of Jewish Ministers, its first secre-
Hakham Henry Pereira Mendes
enry Pereira Mendes cameto Shearith Israel in 1877 andremained its guiding spirit for more than forty years. Born inBirmingham, England, in 1852,he was educated at UniversityCollege, London, received mostof his instruction in Judaism andHebrew from his father, and was
Costumbres: Pessá
[The reading on the firstnight] We call Haggadá, whichmeans narrative, the ceremonythat we make during two nights(one nights in the land of Israel),which talks about our Peopleleaving Egypt.The order of our Haggadáfalls on two nights, the 15 and 16of Nissán:We use three plates:One for the
mas- sot 
; one for the roasted sheep bone and the hard-boiled egg;and the third one for the kha-rosset, the bitter herb, and thevegetables used within thenarrative.This is the symbology:The
is the Poor’s breador the Bread of Affliction, of our forefathers in Missráim. TheKharóset, made with wine, cin-namon, apples, raisins, almondsor similar, figs, dates, etc, repre-sent the adobes that they wereforced to make. The Marór or Bitter Herbs, are to remember the suffering of slavery, gener-ally made with endives, lettucesor other herbs with bitter flavor,though mild. When we submergethem in [salted] water, it symbol-izes the bitterness and tears [of suffering].The Bone symbolizes thesacrifice made on the Festivalwhile the egg makes reference tothe additional sacrifice calledhagigá.The four cups of wine that onemust drink [represent] the four respective captivities and eman-cipations : Babylonia, Persia,Greece and Rome. The samemust be drunk reclining on theleft side, posture that in antiquitywas only [reserved] for free-men.We use the appropriate winefor kiddush, that is, wine thatHAS NOT been cooked or pas-teurized, normally called ME-BUSHAL .That who does not have wine,they can make [kiddush] withwine made at home with grapes[i.e. grape juice] or bought fromthe store, those which are kasher.Juices without [rabbinical] in-spection cannot be consumed. Nonetheless, it is customary tomake kiddush over the
 when there is no wine.We use what is called theshimurím of 
, in other words, what specially is used for the two nights of the Haggadá.
We consecrate ourselves and our lives when we have the moral courage tospeak out for what is right and pure, to speak out against what is wrong and impure.” The three R's of Judaism, the rabbi said, were Reverence, Righteous- ness, and Responsibility.
We donot hidethe afi-comen(the pieceof 
 that is brokenfrom themiddle
), but weonly wrapit up and place itsome-where, soit ca begiven atthe end of the Haggadá.We do not place the cup called
Cos Elyáhu haNabí 
or the cup of theProphet Elijah.The first-born [males], be him of father or mother, fast on the eve of the Festival.(cont. p. 6)
In the Works
Interactive teach-ing on the Web.Associate and Fullmembers only.
Bet Oliveira, up-coming new BethaMidrash in Jeru-salem.
Social improvementclasses, by appoint-ment only.
Costumbres: Pessá
Spanish-Portuguese MinhagimR. Mordekhai de Meir haLeví de Lopes

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