Tag Archives: Community

Matzah Oven, Bukharia, Uzbekistan, 2000

In this photograph, an elderly woman removes a round piece of freshly baked matzah from a clay oven. Baked the old fashioned way, this handmade matzah is said to be denser and chewier than the crunchy machine-made variety. This photograph was taken after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Under Soviet rule in Uzbekistan and …

Flea Market Mincha Time, Yafo, Israel, 2009

In Jaffa, the port neighborhood which is part of the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality, the centrally-located fleamarket (shuk) is like thousands of others across the Middle East, an environment of hustling, hollering and haggling. All of these changes at midday, when the hot Mediterranean sun is at its peak and for twenty minutes many of the …

Purim’s Gandhi, Mumbai (formerly Bombay) India, 2001

To celebrate the festival of Purim, this boy in India’s capital city Mumbai has dressed up in costume, following the well-known tradition of dressing as heroes and villains from the story of Esther. But rather than a figure from the Megillah, he is wearing the iconic outfit of his country’s greatest political hero, Mohandas Gandhi, …

Renovation, New York City, NY, U.S.A., 1985

In this image artisans work to restore the stained glass windows in one of New York’s oldest and most majestic synagogues, the Eldridge St. Synagogue. The origins of the Kahal Adath Jeshurun congregation and their temple reflect the Lower-East Side neighborhood’s diverse group of immigrants in 1887: it was constructed by two Catholic brothers from …

Synagogue Soup Kitchen, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2002

A soup kitchen or comedor comunitario hosted by a Chabad synagogue in Buenos Aires, serves more than a hundred people with a hot meal every day. When this photograph of aid recipients waiting outside the synagogue’s entrance was taken in 2002, it was only a year after the country experienced a major financial collapse that …

Shema Yisrael, Medellín, Colombia, 2011

Prayer is a central focus of any Jewish community, whether it is conducted in the home, a synagogue, a community center, or outdoors. The rituals in this Latin American congregation may look like ones you have seen or participated in. Members of this community adhere to Orthodox traditions, with men and women sitting separately, and …

Clergy Rehearsal, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.A., 2010

In this Californian synagogue, two musicians from Uganda, a landlocked country in East Africa, join their friend Cantor Mike Stein (right) in song at Temple Aliyah. Rabbi Gershom Sizomu (left) and his son Igaal (center), come from a small but dedicated community known as the Abayudaya (“People of Judah” in Luganda, the local language), that …

Beth Israel Synagogue, New Orleans, LA, 2006

Months after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Beth Israel synagogue still lay in ruins. It was the hardest hit of the city’s eight synagogues, submerged under 10 feet of water for several weeks. Jews have a long history in the city of New Orleans. Several prominent Jews settled in the city in the Œfirst half of the 19th …

B’nei Yisrael Wedding, Mumbai, India, 2008

The rabbi reads from the ketuba as part of this traditional wedding ceremony in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. A ketuba is a marriage contract that outlines the husband’s responsibilities to his wife. This ancient document not only protects the woman’s rights during the marriage but also in the event she is divorced or widowed. Traditionally, the ketuba is …

Kabbalat Shabbat, Cold Spring, New York, 2008

The Sabbath candles have been lit. The women and girls cover their eyes as they recite the blessing over the ‰flames. For millennia, this is how the weekly Sabbath has been heralded in Jewish communities across the globe. According to the rabbis of the Talmud, there are two reasons for lighting Sabbath candles—one practical and one spiritual. The …

Bomba Israel, Santiago, Chile, 2002

Bomba Israel is the Jewish volunteer fiŒre department of Santiago, Chile. Photographer Zion Ozeri explains: “There, every ethnic group has its own Œfire engine. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to help others, but there is a sense of pride: ‘We have our own volunteers.’ And the younger ones are trainees.” Bomba Israel was founded in 1954, and …

Soup Kitchen Musician, New York, NY, 2008

Tzedakah means “righteousness” or “charity”, and it’s a fundamental part of Jewish life. We are obligated to help the needy, whether they are Jewish or not. This man is a client at a soup kitchen that’s run in a synagogue on 23rd Street in New York City. While visiting the soup kitchen, he often entertains himself and others …

Kindling Holiday Lights, Bombay (Mumbai), India, 2001

Until modern times, Shabbat and holiday lights were usually kindled with oil. In some places, like India, that’s still the custom. The woman in this photograph is lighting hanging oil lamps in honor of the holiday of Purim. Although Jewish law doesn’t require the kindling of lights for Purim, it is the tradition in her community to welcome …

Nuptials, Libertad Synagogue, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2002

In this photo, a bride and groom stand under a chupah (wedding canopy) in the Libertad (Liberty) Synagogue in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The rabbi looks on as the groom signs a large book in which all the important events of the community are recorded. He will also sign the ketubah—the traditional Jewish marriage contract. Notice the bride standing …

Adamah, Falls Village, Connecticut, 2008

No, this is not a kibbutz or moshav in northern Israel. It’s actually an organic farm in rural Connecticut. This woman is part of a program called ADAMAH (literally, “land”), run by the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, in Falls Village, Connecticut. ADAMAH is a leadership training fellowship for young adults that’s designed to teach “the vital connection …

Waiting for Seven Jews, Djerba, Tunisia, 1995

This is the El-Ghriba Synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba. Although the current building was constructed in 1929, it is believed that a synagogue has existed on this site for 2,000 years. According to tradition, the Œfirst synagogue on the spot was built with a stone from the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem. If you look closely at …

Sunrise, Sde Boker, Israel, 2003

The people in this photograph are reciting morning prayers in the heart of the Negev Desert, just outside a kibbutz called Sde Boker. Sde Boker is where Israel’s fiŒrst Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, chose to retire. His vision and hope was that Israelis would move to the Negev and make the barren land ‰flourish. Over the years, Israel …

Summer Camp, Tumwater, Washington, 2002

It’s time for morning services at Camp Solomon Schechter, in Tumwater, Washington. As the Torah is raised, the kids point with their fiŒngers, symbolically kissing the Torah and lending their support to the Magbiah, who lifts up the scroll. Founded Œfifty years ago, Camp Solomon Schechter in Tumwater, Washington, “provides Jewish youth, families, and adults from the U.S. …