Community Voices

Neighbors in Religion: May your Christmas wishes all come true, with much love and peace

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Here’s praying that all your Christmas wishes came true for you on this glorious morning. My Christmas wish is that you have been gifted with more love and peace, the peace that overflows your own being and spills over into someone else’s life.

I am so grateful that I have been gifted with love for my fellow human beings, a deep settled peace and so much more. I am reminded about my gift everyday and I know that I am truly blessed.

As I look back over my life, I am amazed at how the gift of peace can bring comfort and encouragement in the midst of great sorrow and disappointment. It calms you when the trials of life seem to overwhelm you.

As I grow older, I realize more and more just what it means to be at peace with myself and with others around me. That doesn’t mean that everyone will be at peace with me. There are some people who just seem to enjoy being angry and/or anxious. They hold on to old hurts, turning the memory of them over and over in their mind. So, instead of peace flowing like a river in their soul, there is turmoil ready to erupt like an angry volcano.

Throughout the Christmas season, the sound of music has filled the air. Songs about letting there be peace on earth; about the prince of peace. We send out beautiful cards with the bold letters spelling out the word “peace.”

This is the season of peace. Yet, peace seems to elude us as we struggle as a community, as a nation, to pursue it.

In a few days, God willing, we will enter a new year. My wish for our community and our nation is that we will be able to live peacefully with each other; that the senseless violence will cease and that we will take the time to show a little kindness to the people who cross our paths.

When all is said and done, peace really does begin with each of us.

Death and afterlife

Medical Dr. Raymond Moody is a self-proclaimed rationalist who also has a doctor of philosophy. He doesn’t fit the profile of one who explores the afterlife. Yet, he is considered to be an authority on “near death” experiences.

Moody will be in South Florida to present a talk on “Life After Life: The Meaning of Near-Death Experience” at 2 p.m. on Jan. 25 in the Bertha Abess Sanctuary at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th St.

Moody, also a bestselling author, will share stories and life lessons from those who have been to the brink and back. He coined the phrase “near-death experience” back in the 1970s and has changed the way many people understand death and dying, and even life, itself.

The event is open to the public and tickets are on sale now through Brown Paper Tickets:

Admission is $10 for students with a valid ID; $25 general admission and $100 for a VIP package that includes a pre-event meet-and-greet and photo opportunity with Dr. Moody, an autographed copy of his book and reserved, preferred seating at the talk.

Jewish Humor Series

You will want to hear Ruth R. Wisse, who will wrap up the Jewish Humor Series at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU at 2 p.m. on Jan 18. Her topic: “When Should I Stop Laughing?”

Wisse is a Martin Peretz professor of Yiddish literature and professor of comparative literature at Harvard University. And according to information from the museum, Wisse is one of the top two or three Yiddishists in the world. During her talk, she will share insights from her latest book, No Joke: Making Jewish Humor.

Wisse said the essence of Jewish humor is “the paradox of a chosen people repeatedly devastated by history.” While some might say the best jokes focus on incongruities of Jewish life, Wisse said a distinct Jewish style of humor emerged only in western Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Her books include The Shiemiel as Modern Hero and A Little Love in big Manhattan: Two Yiddish Poets. Her book The Modern Jewish Canon won the National Jewish book Award for scholarship. Copies of her recent books will be available for sale at the lecture and she will sign them.

Admission to Wisse’s talk is free with museum admission, $6 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, $12 for families, and $5 per person for reservations of 20 or more.

The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU is at 301 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach.

Winter Jewish Music Concert

The critically acclaimed Winter Jewish Music concert will be 8 p.m. Jan. 10 in the Bertha Abess Sanctuary at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th St.

The concert, now in its seventh year, has been recognized as one of the leading Jewish music concerts for bringing together on one stage, established and emerging talents. The line-up for this year may be the most varied yet, said program director Alan Mason. Mason is a retired Barry University music professor and prominent pianist who has performed at the White House and Kennedy Center in Washington and New York’s Carnegie Hall.

The concert will feature musical artists from around the country and South Florida performing a wide range of Jewish music — from Yiddish, Ladino, Israeli and Sephardic, to cantorial, classical, jazz, pop and folk.

The performers will include world-famous cantor and operatic tenor Alberto Mizrahi; African-American Jewish opera-turned-Yiddish singer Anthony Modechai Tzvi Russell, and contemporary Jewish singer/songwriter Peri Smilow.

Also, ensembles to include the award-winning Duo Sonidos; Tizmoret, Queens College Hillel’s student a capella group, and the local Second Avenue Jewish Chorale.

Tickets are $18 for general admission, $100 for preferred seating and are available at the concert’s website:, or by calling 1-800-838-3006. .

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.