Cultural programs and adult activities
An active adult activities committee plans panel discussions, films, and guest speakers on a variety of subjects. They range from contemporary social/political/environmental issues to parenting tips. Our adult education program includes stimulating lecture and discussion series, with topics that have included Jewish history from ancient times through the U.S. experience, holidays, Yiddish literature and culture, roots and ideas of Secular Jewishness.
As part of our progressive tradition, Sholem encourages social action by its members and by its bar/bas mitsve students. The actions have recently addressed immigration and police brutality issues.
Innovative observances of Jewish holidays are created by the Sholem Community to reflect our non-theistic approach and to meet spiritual needs. Community holiday observances mark the high points of the Jewish calendar: the New Year Festivals, Hanuka, Purim, Passover, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Tu B’Shvat, and Shvues (Shavuot). The Sholem Community has a chorus and a klezmer music group which perform at holiday celebrations.
Marriage, baby-naming, bar/bas mitsve preparation, funerals, and memorials may be officiated by Secular Jewish Leaders (vegvayzer in Yiddish, madrikhot[im] in Hebrew). The Sholem Community and its members utilize the services of education director Hershl Hartman, a certified vegvayzer, and other vegvayzer/Leaders whom he has trained.
A Sholem tradition has grown up around Mother’s Day. Each year, we celebrate the occasion with a talented performers and a tasty brunch.
Sholem has also staged original theatrical productions. The presentations typically dramatize significant periods of Jewish history or adapt works of Yiddish literature. The productions are researched, written, produced and directed by members of the community, and involve as many members—from ages 4 to 84—who wish to participate in an outstanding theatrical series. In March 1997, Sholem presented a dramatization in English of “Wandering Stars,” the Yiddish novel by Sholom Aleichem about romance and the Yiddish theatre. “Bread & Roses” (March, 2000) dramatized the Triangle Fire tragedy. Among other productions, “1492” depicted the expulsion of Jews from Spain; “Red Night” was based on the McCarthy era witch-hunts. View our March 2011 Commemoration of the Triangle Factory Fire. In April 2008, the Sholem Community wrote and performed a series of sketches, monologues, and musical numbers exploring the age old question “OY – What is a Jew?”