The cultural world of our Jewish past is, in many ways, more vibrant than ever. Indeed, in recent years, that world has become a wellspring for creative individuals all over the globe. Jewish traditional objects, music, rituals, and even the Yiddish language itself have not only endured but have taken on new meaning. The mikveh has been re-born as a feminist symbol, Hassidic melodies have been transformed into secular anthems, Jewish mysticism is used as a powerful point of departure in contemporary literature These are only a few examples of the contemporary adaptation, resilience, and re-interpretation of many of the staples of Eastern European Jewish culture, a trend that could never have been foreseen a century or even fifty years ago.
This website celebrates Temple Beth Israel’s commitment to Jewish cultural continuity and creativity. The pages on this website will lead you to the legacy of Morris Hollender, a beloved member of our congregation for over forty-five years, who generously shared musical and liturgical treasures from his family and from the small Carpato-Ruthenian farming village where he was raised with our congregation. His legacy is also honored in an extensive permanent exhibit at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA.
We hope that this material will inspire you to pass along your own stories, songs, recipes, photographs, and whatever other irreplaceable treasures you have to offer, so that they might also inspire future generations – in ways that we can’t even yet imagine!
— Hankus Netsky
Thanks to the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, whose Lee & Alfred Hutt Discovery Gallery exhibit features the stories and music of Morris Hollender, some of which are included here.