Neve Shalom News

The Days of Awe were held at the Covenant House this last year and it was spectacular. We are in the Chai Building, next to the Jewish Light, facing north.

We have combined three projects into one effort: a kind of chaplaincy to work the spaces so to speak. It's a combination of Jewish Attention to Mental Illness (JAMI-StL), Jewish Prison Outreach, and Shalvan Outreach on Addictions; there is so much intersection between the three programs.

JAMI STL Jewish Attention to Mental Illness St. Louis: Its purpose is to keep mental health and illness central to the agenda of our community. We created a series of "nexts" -- our first accomplishments, including a spiritual support group for families living with mental illness that convened for the first time on Tuesday, November 17, 2009, at the JCC Staenberg complex. We continued with our community forums called "Falling Through the Cracks." The support has been good. Now we are calling it Shanda* There is None. Shanda means shame.

We continue as co-sponsor ofThe Jewish Prison Outreach (JPO). We have contacted every prison in the state of Missouri and southern Illinois and are compiling a data base of Jewish prisoners. We are now meeting on sites for study groups. We have already created and distributed our own materials to the prisoners on our list.

Shalvah, outreach on alcoholism and chemical dependency, continues to thrive. It is pikuach nefesh, saving souls, in every sense. We are meeting twice a week, once at Neve Shalom, once at Central Reform Congregation.

Update on New Programs:

We continue to convene the forum Shanda: Thereis None where we evaluate our activities and plan new ones. We now have a steering committee of dedicated souls. We stag a half day seminars for the community on a variety of related subjects. This is the next hurdle in our community: telling the stories to move the stigma associated with mental illnesses.

The Jewish Prison Outreach is also progressing. I have been cleared as a volunteer chaplain for the state of Missouri and have begun making a series of visits to institutions where I teach individuals interested in Jewish learning. We have contacted every institution in Missouri and southern Illinois and are compiling a list of interested persons in the prison system. I have been sending them materials, etc. and fielding requests.

It is all difficult and wonderful service -- "it is a sad and beautiful world."

Everything is rolling well. Join us. Stay tuned.

We continue with a variety of concerts and teachings.

Check out www.themaqamproject.com

 

Also Brothers Lazaroff Annual Hanukkah Hullabaloo

Featuring Rabbi James Stone Goodman

Itʼs an unlikely collaboration, I suppose, a group of Indie folk-rockers, some
klezmorim, and myself waxing poetically on Eight Nights (actually nine) based on
Hanukkah themes.

 

The evening was so ascendant we decided to go into the studio and record it. A
week later we laid down nine pieces of poetry over deconstructed Jewish-
Klezmer music and everyone in the studio knew we had something special. Even
the rough recording, without mixing, sounded great.


The whole thing happened in the space of two – three weeks. We
sold downloads at http://bandcamp.com at a hearty clip, and were even in the
Top 5 on the site for over three weeks. It felt like a phenomenon. I was along for the ride and exulting in everyvmoment.


We'll be performing Eight Nights in its entirety and a whole lot more. We will have hard copies of the CD for sale. Every year we make a version live at the Covenant and live at one other community location, last year's at Joe's Place.


The concert features myself (James Stone Goodman), Will Soll's Klezmer
Conspiracy), DJ Boogieman and frying latkes live and many more fun surprises.


You can get a taste on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k46GCnPi5Js
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k46GCnPi5Js&feature=share).


And you can hear the entire recording of Eight Nights
at: http://eightnights.bandcamp.com/album/eight-nights.


Hereʼs what it is:

It's a blast.