Can you tell without Googling how many days are left until the start of the new Jewish year?
If not, then the JCC of Greater Baltimore’s My Tribe program, which seeks to imbue community members with a clearer understanding of Jewish conceptions of time, may be something to look into.
Ellie Batkhan, the JCC’s director of Jewish family engagement, describes My Tribe as an “experiential family opportunity to tap into the rhythm of the Jewish calendar.” According to Batkhan, while it is common for the Jewish community to organize their lives according to the Gregorian calendar, having a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Jewish calendar holds great benefits.
“What’s exciting about the Jewish calendar,” Batkhan said, “is that one of the first commandments of the Jewish people upon being freed from slavery was to mark time by the moon and the sun. So we have this really cool calendar that is supposed to guide us, and it reminds us that when we own our time we are truly free.”
As such, My Tribe seeks to help families to uncover ancient Jewish values and wisdom without needing any prior Jewish knowledge, Batkhan said.
In addition to the upcoming Fall Holiday Journey, other My Tribe programs may include a Chanukah journey or a Purim journey, Batkhan said. She emphasized the program is still evolving, and that they are “building it as we go.”
Funded by both the Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds and The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, the program piloted in 2018 while laying dormant in 2019, according to Batkhan.
The program is being revived this year “because of its commitment to family engagement,” Batkhan said. “The JCC has found that with everything that has been pivoted, adapted, reimagined, all of those fancy buzzwords, because of the pandemic, that what we noticed did not change is the need for families to have meaningful Jewish experiences and to feel connected to one another.”