Dancing in the Streets

Dancing in the Streets

Get ready!  Members of the Lake Chapala Jewish Congregation will joyfully celebrate the gift of their new Torah on October 22, 2019.

Celebrants will gather at Pancho’s Deli on the Carretera at 11 a.m. before a rousing parade to deliver the Torah to its new home.  The Torah will be carried under a “chuppah” (a traditional marriage canopy). The parade will include dancing horses and Klezmer music. The procession will end at the Lake Chapala Jewish Congregation at #113 Santa Margarita, Riberas de Pilar, where there will be dancing in the courtyard of the synagogue.

The Torah contains the first five books of the Old Testament and is the primary document of Judaism, containing within it all of the biblical laws of the faith.

Ajijic resident, Jan Braverman, reached out to her former hometown of Cumberland, Maryland when she realized that the Torah here was becoming difficult to read.  The members of Congregation B’er Chayim, one of the oldest congregations in the United States, offered to share a Torah with the Lakeside Jewish Community and bring it to its new home. Eight temple members, including the Rabbi and President Doug Schwab will escort the Torah from Maryland to Lakeside.

“This Torah scroll from Congregation B’er Chayim is a beautiful addition to our community as it represents the unbroken chain of Jewish tradition and survival,” said Maureen Sullivan President of The Lake Chapala Jewish Congregation.

Following the procession, The Lake Chapala Jewish Congregation will celebrate the holiday of Simchat Torah which marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah reading and the beginning of a new cycle. The congregation welcomes the public to share in the festivities.  

Anyone who would like to help or contribute to our new Torah Celebration, contact Jan Braverman at janbrave@aol.com


The Jewish High Holy Days Tishrei (5780)

The Jewish High Holy Days Tishrei (5780)

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
By Melinda Marinoff

On Sunday night, September 29, The Lake Chapala Jewish Congregation will observe Rosh Hashanah , the Jewish New Year. Services will commence at 6PM at Santa Margarita 113 in Riberas del Pilar. ALL ARE WELCOME.

Rosh Hashanah, (one of Judaism’s holiest days) commemorates God’s creation of the world. It marks the beginning of the Days of Awe- the most sacred annual period in Judaism- a 10 day period of introspection, and repentance that culminates in Yom Kippur.

According to tradition, God judges all creatures during the 10 Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Jewish law teaches that God inscribes the names of the righteous in the “book of life” and condemns the wicked to death; people who fall between the two categories have until Yom Kippur to perform “teshuvah” or repentance.

The two-day holiday of Rosh Hashanah is the head of the Jewish year. A delicate blend of joy and solemnity, feasting, prayer and inspiration make up the spiritually charged head of the Jewish year.

Rosh Hashanah Steeped in Tradition…..

The sounding of a shofar- a trumpet made from a ram’s horn, proclaims Rosh Hashanah. The ancient instrument’s cry serves as a call to repentance and a reminder to Jews that God is their king.

A festive meal steeped in symbolism and tradition is shared with family and friends. Typically, a blessing will be said over two loaves of bread know as challah.
The round shape symbolizes a crown, a reminder of the kingship of God. It also stands for the circle of life, and the hope that our lives endure without end.
Apples dipped in honey, another RH tradition symbolizes the hope for a sweet year.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement- is considered the most important holiday in the Jewish faith. It is the holiest day of the year—the day on which we are closest to G‑d and to the quintessence of our own souls. It is the Day of Atonement—“For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G-d. (Leviticus 16:30). It marks the culmination of the 10 Days of Awe. It begins on the evening of October 8. For nearly twenty-six hours—from several minutes before sunset on (Oct. 8) to after nightfall (Oct. 9)—we “afflict our souls”: we abstain from food and drink, do not wash or anoint our bodies, do not wear leather footwear, Instead our time is spent prayer to G‑d.

Preparing for the High Holidays-The Month of Elul

Many Jewish people are raised to believe that  the Days of Awe/Atonement which a`re the 10 days from the beginning of Rosh Hashanah to the end of Yom Kippur, is the only time to make changes.  But I am offering you a gift. You can actually get a head start! 

The entire month of Elul, starting this year on September 1st, is a time to identify things in our lives that need more attention versus things in our lives that we need to let go. It’s a time of reflection and introspection, re-evaluation and re-calibration.

This is the time of year to stretch yourself a little.  Start NOW working on those changes. Add something new and positive to your daily routine or eliminate something negative.  Here are a few ideas to get you started. Or come up with your own:

  • As you wake up every morning or go to sleep at night in this beautiful paradise we call home, find a way to show gratitude to Hashem. There are prayers for both of those!
  • Add an additional mitzvah to your daily practice.
  • Apologize to someone or someones for a past hurt, even if you feel wronged. You only have one soul.  Let the negative feelings go.
  • Add a new fruit or vegetable from the Tiangas to your meal time. There is a prayer for that too!
  • Speaking of the Tiangas,  give a few pesos to the gentle souls that ask each week.
  • Light Shabbat candles. Or do something meaningful to honor Shabbos.
  • Tell the person/people in your life that you appreciate and love them daily.
  • Be mindful of what you eat. 
  • Donate some of your time to one of the wonderful organizations we have Lakeside,
  • Contribute to a Jewish Organization. Joining our synagogue would be a great start!
  • Come to synagogue services.
  • Eliminate the negative feelings for others. Work on scanning for their good intent.
  • Learn a new prayer.
  • Subscribe to one or more of the many websites that talk about the Torah portion for the week.
  • Find an” Elul buddy” to keep yourself accountable.

Whatever it is that you choose to add or subtract in your daily rituals for the month of Elul (and hopefully beyond as it becomes a habit) take some time this month to be purposeful, positive and mindful in your actions. 


Happy New Year. And may we all be inscribed and sealed for a good year. 

Shana Tova.  Ktivah v’chatima tova. 

Debi Buckland 

Religious Committee Chairperson

Jewish Day Camp Recap

People are saying it was a wonderful day. 

Thirty people attended the first Jewish Day Camp of Lake Chapala!  People coming and going, most staying for the whole day.  Carol expected that all would be playing games either outdoors or indoors.  Not one game was played.  The morning classes competed for attendees in a cute rivalry between Debi Buckland and her spiritually woo woo vs. Lynn Levine and her nuts and bolts about study of Torah. From Lynn’s Torah Class an idea was born to hold regular Torah Study Classes at the Shul.  Mel Goldberg had someone who was interested in hafTorah and Ann Lewis found a taker for her offer to teach in more depth the reading of Hebrew – a class that she wants to continue for several months to anyone interested.  Anita Lee had the “handicraft” table filled with people who didn’t think that they would enjoy art, but who loved doing zentangles.  David Rosett, Service Leader, made the music fun, singing and leading tunes that most of us knew while Jack Kruger played the piano for accompaniment. After Rabbi Charles Arian’s workshop/class everybody continued listening and contributing.  He then led the service from the siddurs offering us new insights. Then after eating the Shabbat dinner we had fun singing (mostly off key) the show tunes that had meaningful lyrics, composed by Jewish composers and lyrists.  The cooking class was well attended with Carol Bensman as the facilitator.  Unfortunately, Helen Kruger made a huge mistake.  She waited until after dinner to take a piece of the mondelbrot that was baked from her recipe and by the time she got to the dessert the pieces (and even the crumbs) were all gone – enjoyed by everyone else!  Just like kids have rest time at camp, the beds were offered as a resting place to those who needed or wanted a nap.  And amazingly, people did use them: proof that this was a pretty informal event.

The key word of the day was flexibility.  Gratefully everybody did stay flexible and helpful.  As she looked around the room, Carol realized that everybody there in some way had helped her put this event together.  For this she says she is very appreciative.  And to the synagogue she is appreciative for the use of the chairs, tables, siddurs, coffee urn, even the kosher wine.  And for all the support in getting out the announcement of the Adult Jewish day camp. 

 There was no evaluation form, but next year IF Carol repeats her Camp there will be a committee to officially help her with the synagogues official support.  Please “write your own evaluation” and email it to Carol.  What would you like to see continued, what would you like to see different, what would you like to add or subtract?  Her email address is carolgbensman@gmail.com.  

Dip, Drip and Sip! July 3, 2019

Let’s Dip, Drip & Sip!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019
2 p.m.

Hotel Monte Carlo, Chapala


Join the LCJC gang for a fun afternoon of swimming, schmoozing and noshing. The crystal clear pool and tree-filled grounds of the Hotel Monte Carlo are directly on Lake Chapala’s shore. There will be plenty of board games provided to play if you ever decide to get out of the water! (Please feel free to bring your favorite, too.) The cost per person is $150 pesos. There is a cash bar; and food can be purchased from the hotel eatery via friendly pool-side service. NO OUTSIDE FOOD OR BEVERAGES ARE PERMITTED. Make sure to bring towels, sun protection and pool floats, if desired.

THIS EVENT IS OPEN TO MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS AT THE SAME PRICE OF $150 pesos, so feel free to invite guests!

No tickets are needed, just pay at the office/reception area when you arrive. However, please RSVP so that poolside seating can be set up in advance. You can respond via this invitation, or contact Ellen Siegel, 331-828-9513, sugarfreeme@hotmail.com.

DIRECTIONS: Hotel Monte Carlo is located on the lake-side of the carretera in Chapala (Hidalgo #296). It shares the same corner with Farmacia Guadalajara, and is almost opposite the Pet Avenue store. There is ample parking in the hotel parking lot. Go to the office reception area (it is clearly marked) to pay and receive your access bracelet. The hotel phone number is 376-765-2120 or 376-765-2042.

Jewish Day Camp-July 12, 2019

The final date for adult Jewish day camp registration is July 12.  In this Google Form you will find that there are some new offerings and that we have dropped a couple of courses.  The first two questionnaires were surveys, this form is a registration.  Please everybody fill out the questions (again). 
I still can’t tell you the price for this day as I don’t know how many of you there are but I figure it will be around 250 pesos for the day including all three meals.  This is an approximation!  You can pay at the door as you walk in as by that time I should know how much it costs!  The food choices in the previous surveys were to be a vote, not a choice.  Except for those that requested vegan/kosher meals, the rest of us will enjoy a great chicken Sabbath meal. 
I am so pleased with the “staff” of people who volunteered to help and to teach.  As time went along, I found the workshops to be more and more interesting.
I hope you agree with me. 
Camp will be held on July 19 at 8:45 with a breakfast being served at that time.    
    • After eating and singing and a few SHORT words, we will begin the workshops
    • There will be 2 or 3 workshops in session at one time in the morning and 2or 3 workshops in session in the afternoon.  
    • Lunch will be around 12:00 noon
    • Music sung after lunch around the tables led by David Rosett and assisted by Laina Kipper.
    • Throughout the day there will be handicrafts to enjoy at your leisure.  Anita is going to lead us in Zentangles (picture to follow) as well as making felt hamsas and clay work making mezuzzahs.  You can take a workshop and/or just do handicrafts at your leisure.There will also be time to enjoy each other through conversation and table games and lawn games.  
    • Happy hour begins around 5:00PM  We will enjoy margaritas, beer, wine as well as ice tea,sparkling water
    •  and lemonade.
    • Shabbat dinner starts at 6:15PM.  Of course singing before, during and after our short service, then we dine together.  
    Know that I appreciate your interest.  If you know someone else who you think would be interested, pass this information on to him/her/them.  If you need to reach me, my phone number is 766-5441 and my email address is: carolgbensman@gmail.com

    With my best wishes, 

A little bit of information about Rabbi Arian who will be participating in Jewish Day Camp

“Rabbi Charles Arian is the rabbi of Kehilat Shalom, a Conservative synagogue in Montgomery Village, MD (a suburb of Washington, DC. In his 33 year rabbinic career he has also served as a Hillel rabbi, a think tank scholar, and spent a year living in a Trappist Monastery in Northern California. While serving in a non-pulpit position from 2001 – 2005, he was also the High Holiday Rabbi for the Nassau Jewish Congregation in the Bahamas. Rabbi Arian and his wife Keleigh (pronounced like “Kelly”) visited Ajijic in 2017, and during their visit he spoke at a Friday night service. The Arians have spent time in many different parts of Mexico and are looking at Ajijic as a possible retirement location.”

Rabbi Arian will be offering a session at the Jewish Day Camp.  In the  session  the structure and themes of one of the central sections of the prayerbook and what this hidden structure is trying to teach us will be discussed.  This section will help you understand both evening and morning services better. 

Simchat Torah October 22, 2019

Simchat Torah Celebration October 22, 2019

The new Torah is coming, the new Torah is coming!!!

The gift of a Torah

We are being gifted with a new Torah and breast plate as our current Torah has become illegible and torn.

Jan Braverman, member of LCJC reached out to her congregation, B’er Chayim Temple in Cumberland, Maryland regarding our Torah and they wonderfully replied they would be gifting us with a Torah.

Built in 1866 B’er Chayim Temple is the oldest synagogue building in continuous use as a synagogue in Maryland and the sixth oldest in the United States. Jan’s family was very active in the Jewish Community and donated a breast plate in honor of her

grandparents for their fiftieth anniversary. This is the Torah we are receiving. Eight members including Rabbi Mark Perman are traveling here with the Torah.

A big celebration is being planned- a parade, dancing horses, special music and plenty of food. Of course, food, what’s a Jewish celebration without noshes?

Anyone wishing to donate to help with purchasing a seat for the Torah and our celebration please contact Jan Braverman at janbrave@aol.com .