Or Emet to host Shabbat program on gender etiquette

On Friday, April 1, Or Emet will host a Shabbat service followed by a program about gender etiquette. The service, led by Eva Cohen, Or Emet’s ritual leader and a Humanistic rabbi-in-training, will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Barry Family Campus of the Minnesota JCC, 4330 South Cedar Lake Rd., St. Louis Park. Those who cannot attend in person may join over Zoom. Please register in advance

Rachel Wexelbaum

Rachel Wexelbaum

Following the service, Or Emet member Rachel Wexelbaum will give a presentation about working through discomfort and uncertainty with nonbinary, gender fluid, gender queer, agender and transgender identities.

Wexelbaum is an independent writer and researcher who focuses on LGBTQ+ and Jewish identities, histories and community building via cultural preservation, activism and Wikimedia projects. With more than 20 years’ experience as an educator, librarian and human rights advocate, she currently works as the education director at the St. Cloud Correctional Facility of the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

All attendees must wear a mask and show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test. Or Emet’s events and programs may change per CDC and state guidelines during the pandemic. All updates and changes will be posted in Or Emet’s events calendar.

Or Emet is a secular congregation celebrating and honoring Jewish culture, history and values from a humanistic, inclusive perspective. For more information about Or Emet, email info@oremet.org or visit oremet.org.

March 13 program to focus on cannabis use and risk of mental illness

On Sunday, March 13, from 10 a.m.-noon, Or Emet will host a program led by Dr. Ken Winters, a senior scientist at the Oregon Research Institute (Minnesota site) and a consultant to the National American Indian/Alaska Native Technology Transfer Center.

Dr. Ken Winters

Dr. Ken Winters

The program will be at the Talmud Torah of St. Paul, 768 Hamline Ave. South in St. Paul. Everyone is required to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within the previous 72 hours. Those who cannot attend in person may join over Zoom. Please register in advance here.

Winters will present “Association of Cannabis Use and Risk of Mental Illness.” His primary research interests are related to the assessment and treatment of addictions, including adolescent drug abuse and other adolescent health issues. He co-founded Smart Approaches to Marijuana Minnesota, a state action group. 

Previously a professor in the psychiatry department at the University of Minnesota, Winters founded and directed the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research for 25 years. He has received numerous research grants from the National Institutes of Health and various foundations to address adolescent health and has published more than 140 peer-reviewed articles and numerous book chapters during a 30-plus-year period.

Or Emet’s Sunday adult programs are free and open to the public, and meet concurrently with Or Emet’s Jewish Cultural Sunday School. Or Emet is a secular congregation celebrating and honoring Jewish culture, history and values from a humanistic, inclusive perspective. 

For information about Or Emet’s Jewish Cultural Sunday School, contact JCS director Arty Dorman at school-1@oremet.org. Or Emet’s events and programs may change per CDC and state guidelines during the pandemic. All updates and changes will be posted in Or Emet’s events calendar. For information about Or Emet, email info@oremet.org or visit oremet.org.  

Or Emet to Host Refugee Shabbat Program on Afghan Resettlement

On Friday, March 4, Or Emet will host a Shabbat service followed by an educational program about the worldwide refugee crisis with a focus on the U.S. and Afghan resettlement in the Twin Cities.      

The service, led by Eva Cohen, Or Emet’s ritual leader and a Humanistic rabbi-in-training, will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Sabes Jewish Community Center, 4330 South Cedar Lake Rd., St. Louis Park. Those who cannot attend in person may join over Zoom. Please register in advance

Following the service, members of Or Emet’s Social Justice/Social Action Committee will facilitate presentations by two speakers and a discussion of the 26 million-plus worldwide refugees, policy changes and challenges under the Biden administration, and activities to resettle Afghan people in Minnesota.

Speakers will include Nikki Salzman, associate director of major gifts for HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), a global Jewish nonprofit which helps refugees find safety, freedom and stability all around the globe; and Molly Henry, global team builder lead for Alight (formerly American Refugee Committee), a nonprofit based in Minneapolis that provides health care, clean water, shelter and economic opportunity to people worldwide, including Afghan refugees in the Twin Cities.

Or Emet will join other congregations in the U.S. holding a Refugee Shabbat program to address issues of refugees and asylum seekers as part of the HIAS Welcome Campaign. The campaign includes 455 congregations in the U.S. to build support for refugees in the American Jewish Community.

All attendees must wear a mask and show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test. Or Emet’s events and programs may change per CDC and state guidelines during the pandemic. All updates and changes will be posted in Or Emet’s events calendar.

Or Emet is a secular congregation celebrating and honoring Jewish culture, history and values from a humanistic, inclusive perspective. For more information about Or Emet, email info@oremet.org or visit oremet.org.

Routes and Roots: The Evolution of Secular Humanistic Judaism

In April 2016, Or Emet hosted a weekend seminar of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, titled “Routes and Roots: The Evolution of Secular Humanistic Judaism,” with Rabbi Adam Chalom, IISHJ dean for North America.

The program explored connections between Humanistic Judaism and Jewish tradition, evolving ideas of Judaism and Jewishness through the 19th and early 20th century, non-Jewish Humanist philosophy and the current state of the secular Humanistic Jewish movement.

How can a community of diverse opinions like a Humanistic Jewish congregation celebrate Jewish culture and heritage with philosophical integrity? How can people living a secular lifestyle with secular beliefs honestly connect with their religious heritage?

Watch the series of videos to learn more.

Or Emet to host program on Rondo’s past, present and future

On Sunday, Feb. 13, from 10 a.m.-noon, Or Emet will host an online program honoring Black History Month, with a focus on the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul. The program will be presented over Zoom. Please register in advance here

Melvin Giles, also known as the “Peace Bubble Man,” is one of the featured panelists for Or Emet’s Feb. 13 program.

Rondo was the heart of St. Paul’s African American community. However, by the late 1950s, this tight-knit community was torn apart by the construction of Interstate 94. The program will feature a panel of speakers from Rondo talking about the neighborhood’s history, efforts to keep the community’s spirit alive and visions for the future. Panelists will be Dr. Margaret Lovejoy, Mariana Morgan-Sawyer and Melvin Giles.  

Lovejoy, a lifelong resident of the Rondo neighborhood, was taught by community elders to care for and love one another. As a child, she watched the destruction of the neighborhood as the planned Interstate 94 displaced residents, creating a divisive gap in the community. Lovejoy is retired as the founder and executive director of The Family Place, a day center for homeless families in St. Paul.

Architectural rendering of proposed Rondo landbridge courtesy of Design by Melo and Visuals by James.

Architectural rendering of proposed Rondo landbridge courtesy of Design by Melo and Visuals by James.

Morgan-Sawyer is a youth worker and performance artist who grew up in various communities in St. Paul, including Rondo and Frogtown. She previously worked with ReConnect Rondo, an initiative aimed at rebuilding the generational wealth and communal atmosphere that was lost with the construction of Interstate 94 through the vision of a landbridge. Morgan-Sawyer works in the Roseville Area School District and with the St. Paul-based nonprofit Irreducible Grace Foundation.

Giles, also known as the “Peace Bubble Man,” is a community-builder and peacemaker who was raised in the Rondo neighborhood. He describes himself as a compassionate, cheerful, antiracist, peaceful love warrior. He serves as a regional peace representative for the World Peace Prayer Society and sits on the board of World Citizen Inc. Giles is a member of the Urban Farm & Garden Alliance and is featured in the book “The Compassionate Rebel.” 

Or Emet’s Sunday adult programs are free and open to the public, and meet concurrently with Or Emet’s Jewish Cultural Sunday School. Or Emet is a secular congregation celebrating and honoring Jewish culture, history and values from a humanistic, inclusive perspective. 

For information about Or Emet’s Jewish Cultural Sunday School, contact JCS director Arty Dorman at school-1@oremet.org. Or Emet’s events and programs may change per CDC and state guidelines during the pandemic. All updates and changes will be posted in Or Emet’s events calendar. For information about Or Emet, email info@oremet.org or visit oremet.org.