On Sunday, Nov. 16, two all-day events — one at the Cooperman JCC in West Orange and one at the JCC of Central NJ in Scotch Plains — offer the Greater MetroWest community a chance to explore Jewish values and identity.
Superheroes and everyday activists will be in the spotlight on Sunday, Nov. 16, when JCC MetroWest plays local host for the fifth annual Global Day of Jewish Learning.
In synch with around 400 Jewish communities in 40 countries, the center is hosting an all-day program of activities at the Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC in West Orange.
Organizers of the international event encourage synagogues, Jewish community centers, and schools to study Jewish text and build community.
The inspiration for the first event in 2010 came from Israeli scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, as he completed his 45-year undertaking, a 46-volume translation and commentary on the Talmud. The project is organized internationally by the Aleph Society, which decided this year’s theme: “Heroes & Villains, Saints & Fools: The People in the Book.”
“All of our departments are working together to create activities and experiences for community members of all ages, stages, and interests on Global Day,” said Rhonda Lillianthal, director of JCC MetroWest’s Center for Jewish Life. “We are using the image of a superhero to focus on the theme of ometz lev — literally ‘strength of heart’ or in everyday Hebrew translated as ‘courage.’”
The JCC event will begin at 9 a.m. and will feature a children’s book fair and opportunities to feed the hungry and help others in need. Participants will get to view art and movies that deal with overcoming challenges and to discuss a range of topics related to the nature of heroism.
JCC MetroWest executive director Alan Feldman said, “From its inception, the Global Day of Learning project has seemingly been geared to somewhat more academic Jewish learning. Our challenge at the JCC is how do we engage a broader cohort of the community, with potentially lesser proclivity for formal Jewish study, in involvement with Jewish themes, Jewish life, and Jewish community?”
The day’s activities, he said, explore the various ways “each and every one of us can be a Jewish superhero by how we pay attention to Jewish values and how we involve ourselves in the world we live in.”