Ansche Chesed

66
Ansche Chesed
Ansche Chesed is listed in the Religious Organizations category in New York, New York. Displayed below is the only current social network for Ansche Chesed which at this time includes a Facebook page. The activity and popularity of Ansche Chesed on this social network gives it a ZapScore of 66.

Contact information for Ansche Chesed is:
251 W 100th St
New York, NY 10025
(212) 865-0600

"Ansche Chesed" - ZapScore Report

66
Ansche Chesed has an overall ZapScore of 66. This means that Ansche Chesed has a higher ZapScore than 66% of all businesses on Zappenin. For reference, the median ZapScore for a business in New York, New York is 28 and in the Religious Organizations category is 34. Learn more about ZapScore

Do you own or manage this business? Click here to claim the Ansche Chesed listing and add social networks, logos, descriptions and more.

Ansche Chesed Contact Information:

Social Posts for Ansche Chesed

Ansche Chesed with Jeremy Kalmanofsky.
TEFILLAH TUESDAY with Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky "One should always be God-fearing in private and in public, to confess the truth and speak the truth in one’s own heart." This sentence begins a short paragraph in preliminary morning prayers, calling attention to the life’s fleeting ephemerality, and directing our attention to Ecclesiastes 3.19. “What are we? What is our kindness, righteousness, and might? … ‘There is no difference between human and animal, for all is vanity.’” Cheerful stuff, that. Some of it might sound familiar from Yom Kippur liturgy. This passage comes in the siddur to contrast with what follows, affirming the Jewish mission of sanctifying God’s name through the Shema. All may be vanity, “but we are members of Your covenant, descended from Your beloved friend Abraham … fortunate are we that at dawn and sunset each day we proclaim Shema Israel!” Why the exhortation to fear “in private and public?” In the Middle Ages some [Shibbolei HaLeket ch. 6] speculated that “private” reverence refers to those persecuted Jews who could not recite Shema in public, so they did so in secret. Perhaps. But I see these lines referring to different aspects of human spiritual conduct. Some find it easy to be reverent within the chambers of their hearts. They may appreciate religion as “what a person does with solitude,” but may not be able to take part enthusiastically in public religious life, perhaps embarrassed to expose inner feelings and struggles before their neighbors. Others may be the opposite, happy to share -- or even be outwardly showy -- in song and ritual when in public, but too inwardly defended or cynical to let religious emotions carry them away. Similarly in the next line: some find it easy “confess the truth” in public conversation with others, saying all the right things, but not necessarily speaking truth within. And others are the opposite, speaking their own inner authentic experience “in the heart,” but concealing it outwardly. Rabban Gamliel II [2d century] exhorted students to be tokho k’varo, that their insides should match their outsides. When I say these lines each day, my kavvanah/intention is to try to be honest to God, to myself and to my neighbors, matching inner life and outer conduct in spiritual integrity. (Photo by Miriam Alste)

Ansche Chesed with Jeremy Kalmanofsky.
TEFILLAH TUESDAYS with Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky Body and Soul Judaism is a perpetual “low-grade” meditation. A “low-grade” fever is not acute, but has a steady, global effect on us. Similarly, Judaism has scant tradition of extended acute meditations, withdrawing from the world for days on end. But it is saturated with reminders and exercises for creating a global God-consciousness to carry with you all day long, morning, noon, and night, at home, at work, at play. Two short examples from the preliminary morning prayers. First, a prayer [אשר יצר] designed to imbue you, upon waking and after each trip to the restroom, with mindful gratitude for your body: Blessed are You, who created the human body wisely, arrayed with apertures and tubes. If what is open became shut and what is closed opened up, we could not endure. Blessed are You, wondrous healer. Slightly later in the siddur (but thematically belonging to the first moments of waking up) comes a prayer for spiritual consciousness [א'להי נשמה]: Lord, you endowed me with a pure soul, breathing it into my lungs. One day you will take it from me, but will return it to me in the world to come. As long as I breathe, I will thank you, Master of Spirits, who restores living souls to dead bodies. One reason I love this little paragraph is how it analogizes waking each morning to the eschaton. Each morning your alarm goes off and you open your eyes, is a minor experience of the resurrection of the dead! Especially, I am moved by the prayer’s allusion to the creation of Adam [Genesis 2.7]: The Lord God created the human from the dust of the earth and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. God does not touch Adam’s finger to enliven him, as Michelangelo had it, but kisses the human to life, through gentle, loving CPR. This prayer asks us to imagine God blowing life force into us, too, to sense divine breath swirling through our lungs. R. Israel Baal Shem Tov, the 18th century founder of Hasidism, had a fine meditation on this theme [ליקוטים יקרים קל"ו], asking us to imagine humans and God sharing breath reciprocally, to awaken ourselves to the divine within: In every pure, clear prayer, a person’s holy breath proceeds from his mouth and attaches to the heavenly breath, which in turns enters the person perpetually … A person’s breath travels from below to above and then returns from above to below. With this consciousness, it is easy to join the divine element within you to its source.

Ansche Chesed with Jeremy Kalmanofsky.
TEFILLAH TUESDAYS with Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky! “Blessed are You, God, King of the Cosmos, who did not make me a woman.” This may be the most infamous – to us liberals – passages in the classical Siddur. I would never say it, and even some modern Orthodox rabbis (http://bit.ly/2qOfxbS) refuse to say it (or say it in an embarrassed undertone (http://bit.ly/2qYmhAZ)). Our Conservative prayer books, beginning in 1946, rewrote it to thank God “for creating me in the divine image.” I’ll share a few comments about this blessing and its textual history. To me, it is one of a tiny class of texts that deserve to be stricken from the canon, and not midrashically reinterpreted, a method that works in almost every other case. [Those who want to learn more can consult this English article (http://bit.ly/2ps3OL6) by Prof. Yosef Tavory.] The Talmud [Menahot 43a] lists three blessings a Jewish man should say each day: “Blessed is God who made me an Israelite, who did not make me a woman, and who did not make me an ignorant brute.” In time, these were incorporated with the birkot hashahar, the morning blessings one says each day upon rising. Although today’s printed Talmud phrases the first blessing in positive form – “who did make me an Israelite” – other ancient versions [Tosefta Berakhot 6.18, Lieberman ed. 38] and most medieval Talmud manuscripts phrased it in the negative: “who did not make me gentile.” Most pre-modern siddurim use that negative phrasing, although Italians recite it in the positive. Ancient versions of this teaching are clear, that the blessing is not sheer misogyny, but expresses gratitude that males – at least back then – had more mitzvah obligations than females. Still, every ancient and medieval Jew knew the blessing reflected women’s inferior social status, as do all modern liberals. Only 19th century rabbis began apologizing, claiming the blessing signaled something laudatory. This text may derive from an ancient aphorism attributed sometimes to Socrates and to the pre-Socratic Thales of Miletus, who reportedly thanked the gods that he was born “human and not animal, man and not woman, Greek and not barbarian.” A prayer fragment in the “Sacred Trash” (http://amzn.to/2qYzXMm) of the Cairo Geniza is a close parallel: “Blessed is God who made me human and not animal, man and not woman, Israelite and not gentile, circumcised and not uncircumcised, free and not slave.” Beginning in the early 14th century Halakhic texts begin reporting that women recite an apparently newly coined blessing thanking God “who made me according to His will,” a practice that caught on. That alternative text sounds poetic and kind of spiritual. But it’s probably not meant that way. The first text to record this blessing [Tur OH 46] comments that the tone of the women’s blessing is to accept punishment of their femininity with resignation. Feminism sensitizes us to the dynamic whereby males and masculinity are considered normative and females and femininity are always considered marginal, a little aberrant, the “Second Sex.” A Halakhic fine point about this blessing is an excellent illustration of this “androcentrism.” R. Joel Sirkes [1561-1640, known as “Bach”] makes the argument, accepted by later authorities, that if one improperly blessed in the positive form “who did make me an Israelite,” one should not then go on to bless God for not making one a slave or woman, because those statements are rendered unnecessary by the first blessing. To him, if you’ve said you are a Israel, that very word already implies necessarily that one is free and male! He would say females are Jews, to be sure, but, then again, kinda not, or at least not fully. Now, to be fair to Bach, he does make a grammatical point, that the word Israel is in masculine gender, while Israelit refers to a female Jew. But let’s not be too generous, since R. Sirkes goes on to say that men should preserve the full opportunity to thank God for “not bringing a man’s soul down into the body of a gentile, slave, or woman.” I believe the midrashic process is Judaism’s oxygen. It keeps us breathing new life into even strange ancient teachings for the 21st century. It works 99 percent of the time. But not this time. The “negative blessings” our Sages used to express gratitude for not being losers – not gentiles, slaves, and women – can have no place in my prayer book. I recognize that there is considerable Halakhic impediment to coining new blessings, as we did in our Conservative movement. Yet it makes me happy each day when I open the prayer book to give thanks for my lot in life, that like all people, God “created me in the divine image,” and “made me a free person,” and “made me a Jew,” an heir to this wonderful, imperfect, still growing religion.

Ansche Chesed added an event.
Ninety voices bring to life the sounds of classical and contemporary Jewish Choral music in the beautiful sanctuary of Ansche Chesed. Handel, Mendelsohn, Schubert, and L. Lewandowski, as well as contemporary 21st Century compositions, based on Jewish texts and themes. With Shirei Chesed Community Chorus at Ansche Chesed, directed by Cantor Natasha J. Hirschhorn and Shir Chadash: The Brooklyn Jewish Community Chorus, directed by Cantor Rachel Brook.
Music

Ansche Chesed with Jeremy Kalmanofsky.
TEFILLAH TUESDAYS with Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky Good prayer is an interior experience, meditatively sinking into heart, mind, and soul. All religions prize this inwardness, through various traditions of hermitage and retreat. In Judaism, one word for spirituality is פנימיות, or “interiority.” A term for meditation is התבודדות, or “aloneness.” So why don’t Jews pray alone? Why do we prize gathering in quorums of at least 10? Isn’t there some loss of private concentration by being in public space? Perhaps so. It might be harder to concentrate deeply when among a group. They might pray faster than you, or slower; they might talk or giggle or cough or sing off-key. And yet … Sharing participation in public prayer reminds you that you pray not for yourself alone. Good prayer requires sharing your warmest, most generous wishes for others. Praying for yourself is like building a wall around your house, said R. Yehuda HaLevi, while praying in a group is like contributing toward maintaining the city walls [Kuzari 3.19]. Public prayer reminds us that Jewish tefillah should not be focused primarily on the self – even regarding something as genuinely important as spiritual experience. One way to bring this value into your own prayer practice comes from R. Isaac Luria, the mystical master of 16th century Sefat. You should begin your prayer each day with the affirmation: “I hereby accept the mitzvah love your neighbor as yourself, for I am the Lord.” I wish for them every benefit that I wish for myself [cf. Ramban at Leviticus 19.18]. When I daven, it is not for my own enrichment, but to bring blessing to everyone in the room, and everyone in the community.