Paris, Paris, Paris - a shabbathon with friends

The Marom Europe network has started the secular year with an inspiring meeting in Paris between 4-6th February.  Participants came from Stockholm, Budapest, Valencia and London to meet with local Marom Paris members and leaders, as well as to plan the year ahead. The discussions centered around the Marom Europe website, the next Marom Europe seminar in Spain (26-29th May 2011), the Marom Europe conference in the summer in Hungary within the frames of the Bánkitó festival www.bankisnotdead.org  (1-7th August – save the date!), as well as about the challenges, plans of the individual Maroms groups. The discussions were lively, with the active participation of everyone, and the results will be visible for everyone in the next months! Stay tuned!

Beyond the planning and common thinking we also had time for entertainment, spiritual inspiration and resting. We participated in the bat mitzvah of a member and one of us had her first aliyah to the Torah in her life! We have spent shabbath together with the Adath Shalom community, and most prominently members of the Masorti Europe board, representatives of the Masorti communities from all around Europe. Sivan Navon-Shoval, the new Marom Olami coordinator, an alumni of the Hartman Institute, has facilitated a great session about “Michtav harabbanim”, with special illumination about the responsibility of the Masorti / Conservative movement in standing up against such cases in the Jewish world.

At motsei shabbath we had a joint event with Marom Paris at rabbi Yeshaiah Dalsace’s house which was a very interesting Marom experience. We watched a documentary about Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Jewish philosopher. The film showed the controversial, striking personality of Leibowitz through his criticism of Israeli politics. The harsh criticism of the state of Israel was articulated by a man who himself lived in Israel, spoke Hebrew and clearly believed in the existence of the Jewish state, nevertheless he was passionate about his ideal how this State should look like. The evening was memorable as we met with local Marom members and we saw the house of Yeshaiah Dalsace, an apartment in Paris where he lives with his wife and five children and where he has events every day!! It was like an “adult Moishe house”, or rather it evoked the atmosphere and the concept of the rabbis of old times, who lived in shtetls, and whose door was always open to their disciplines, visitors or members of the community.

We left Paris with a lot of ideas, inspirations and a long to-do-list. Thank you Marom Paris, thank you Adath shalom! Au revoir!


Is running on rollerblades permitted on Shabbat?


At Marom Paris, we like to spend shabbat together. One way is to gather at one's place, sitting on the couch, and chat for hours in front of a glass of wine and a cheeseboard. Last September however, one of our motived members had a brilliant idea: what if we would take a small rollerblade tour in the streets of Paris. What could be more fun on shabbat, than sliding gracefully in front of our beautiful monuments and busy tourists. Immediately, a question arose… It took us several Rabbis to be able to plan our event with a clear mind.

Question: is running on rollerblades permitted on Shabbat (in Paris)?

1. The Mishna lists 39 categories of shabbat work that are prohibited, based on the activities of the Tabernacle carried across the desert by the Israelites, as described in the Torah. (By the way, a different list of activities was found in the library of Qumran, which is older than the Mishna). As a consequence, in order to decide whether an activity is allowed or not on shabbat, Rabbis must relate this activity with one of those 39 categories, and it is not possible to add different activities. For example, it is forbidden to drive a car during shabbat, based on the prohibited category of 'burning', since driving a car involves burning gasoline.

The first observation is that rollerblading, which involves movements of the legs and rolling, doesn't relate to any of the 39 categories of prohibited work.

2. It is prohibited to carry from an Eruv during shabbat. So our question is whether doing rollerblade in the streets of Paris is connected to carrying. Some consider that the "périphérique" (highway belt surrounding the city) makes a separation that can be considered as an Eruv, but they are a minority. Let's assume it's not the case, and that Paris has no Eruv.

Rollerblades are considered as a piece of clothing, if the wheels are attached. As a consequence, doing rollerblade isn't an act of carrying. The problem may occur when you remove them in order to carry them. If this is made inside the house, like when you would put them on and off at home there is no problem with carrying.

On this aspect of the question, various orthodox or massorti Rabbis agree: rav Kahn from cheela.org, or a Rabbin from aish.com.

3. Should rollerblading be prohibited "for fear of" bringing about a risk of breaking a law of shabbat like repairing or carrying?

- for Yeshaya Dalsace (Massorti Rabbi in Paris) and Rav Kahn from cheela.org, the chances of having to repair the rollerblades are too low.

- However, the Talmud mentions that one is not allowed to go out on shabbat with an object that you might want to take off, like shoes that would be too large, or jewels. But according to Rabbi Scheinberg (ohr Somayach) this rule doesn't extend beyond the objects explicitly mentioned in the Talmud, and it is not allowed to include new objects today. Therefore rollerblades are not concerned.

4. Is running on rollerblades compatible with the spirit of shabbat ?

For most of massorti Rabbis to whom we've asked this question, Yeshaya Dalsace and Rivon Krygier from Paris Chaim Weiner from London, David Lazar from Stockholm, the answer is yes. Moving your body is made easier and it can be pleasant. As long as you're not running a marathon.

Here there is a divergence with some orthodox Rabbis, like Rav Kahn from Cheela.org who consider that it is not compatible, or Rabbi Scheinberg for whom rollerblading doesn't honour shabbat (zilzul), even if it's in order to go to the synagogue. Another rav from thehalacha.com considers it as a disgrace to shabbat.

5. Is it a problem to get some exercise by rollerblading on shabbat?

Some orthodox Rabbis (thejewishpress.com) refer to the Mishna and Maimonides in order to support the idea that getting exercise results in the healing of the body, and as such should be forbidden on shabbat. What do we mean by "exercise"? Maimonides answers: from the point where one sweats.

The massorti position is usually more flexible and allows limited exercise to be performed on shabbat.


On the day of the event, Oct 23, it started to rain… We postponed the shabbat-rollerblade event to later. But that was minor ;-)

Pierre Stanislawski – October 2010


Marom Olami gathering @ Chanukah 2010

MAROM Olami is excited to Invite you to an international get together – MAROM mondial!

No need to go and book flights, it is going to take place on December 5th, in Your local Marom branch. All you need is to find the local Marom group!

We will assemble for candle lighting, a short Limmud (text learning) and more surprises!

So save the date: 5/12/2010 4 pm Israel time, which is

11:00 Buenos Aires, Santiago

12:00 Montevideo, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo

14:00 London

15:00 Alicante, Berlin, Budapest, Ljubljana, Nice, Paris, Stockholm,Valencia

For getting more info about the local gathering and finding Marom coordinators contact Eszter Susán in Budapest at info@marom.hu or Eliraz Shor in Jerusalem at marom@masortiolami.org .

Stay tuned to get the link for the web conference here: http://maromeurope.blogspot.com/


Lake Bánk Festival through Inbar Bluzer Shalem's eyes

My Jewish Hungarian journey

After hearing so much about Marom Budapest from my marvelous colleague Eszter Susan, I decided to come and explore it from a first hand. The Bankito Festival (Jewstock) was an additional excuse to come visit Hungary, but not the first one. Looking back on my Hungarian’s experiences I realized that my two reasons were a mix of each other: the Bankito Festival is one of the annual highlight events of Marom Budapest, especially for the large, not only Jewish, young adults community of Budapest.
Before Kabbalath shabbath at the Budapest Moishe house

My first Jewish station in Hungary was at the Budapest Moishe House which was opened a year ago in the Jewish quarter by three energetic young ladies: Eszter Susan, Zsofia Eszter Simon and Anna Balint. I felt at home from the first step, and enjoyed a colorful and welcoming design as well as activities. As an active friend of the London Moishe House I was so happy to see that the spirit of a community house is common for those two. In addition I admired the cooperation between Marom Budapest, Budapest Moishe House and so many other local and international Jewish organizations that know how to work together and put aside differences and politics.

The next day I was on a bus, heading to my second Jewish station – the Bankito Festival, that was happening in Bank, a small countryside village that peacefully lies at the shores of a charming lake. I was wondering what makes this festival a Jewish one and realized that the majority of the 100 volunteers making the festival happen were Jewish, who become involved on a regular basis in renewed Jewish life in Budapest through Marom. Those people are so active because they care about their Jewish identity and because they know that if they will not do it – nobody else will. They did not grow up with local Jewish leaders or in families who practiced Judaism. All what they do and know comes from themselves taking responsability on their Jewish journey. The majority of Hungarian Jews - 90 % of the 100 000 people are coming from such families, this is why it is so important that Marom Hungary is able to chanel them (back) to Judaism, and recreate the Hungarian Jewish community.

Hagesher - a Jewish hip-hop, funk band founded by Marom Hungary
director, Adam Schönberger

I was amazed to meet so many talented people playing music (even in Hebrew!), creating art and leading sessions and discussions in a variety of topics – just name it.
I had the privilege to participate in the largest Shabbat in Hungary that weekend with more than 100 Jews from Canada, France, the Netherlands, Israel, U.S. , and of course, Hungary gathering in to pray, sing and build a sense of a community so far away from home.
Rabbi David Lazar Inbar Bluzer Shalem (in the middle)
and Rachel Bluzer Shalem at Bánkitó Torah reading

Rabbi David Lazar led the services, helped us to create a spiritual environment and encouraged each one of us to ask questions, to search and find our ways, rather then THE way. The subject of that week’s Parashah was the laws of kashrut. A long and technical list of what you can eat, and what not. Rabbi Lazar took this subject a step forward, made us look into ourselves and asked us to think about how we choose what to put in our body. Whether it is just the taste that is so important and that the food is healthy, or do we also care about the production procedures, and their morality. How much are we willing to pay to make our food “good”? Will it consider the point of view of the animals, the food factory workers or the environment?

Those questions, and the activist spirit I encountered on the festival, came back with me to London, and grew into a big love for the people and ideas I’ve met. I can’t wait for my next visit, to keep watching from close the beauty of this growing and flourishing community!

Jewstock in Hungary

Between the 5-8th August 2010 Marom Hungary has organised Bánkitó festival north of Budapest, with the participation of 2000 people, hosting over 100 programs. The name of the festival means “Lake Bánk”, referring to the beautiful natural lake, around which the events are held.

Activities range from egalitarian shabbath prayers, exhibitions, concerts, workshops, discussions up to alternative theatre shows or interfaith services. The focus of the festival is the culture of minorities with the aim to present the values of these cultures, and to initiate dialogue between them. In line with this beyond the Jewish programs the Bánkitó festival has also offered programs related to the Gipsy and Slovakian communities of Hungary.

The festival was run by the work of 100 volunteers –including Jewish and non-Jewish young adults. One of the main values of the festival is the common work and efforts of the core group of 20 volunteers who meet weekly during the year and develop the programs, as well as provide the technical and material needs. “During the process of organising the festival key issues of Hungarian society, including Jewish society are discussed, reflected upon, and the answers of the third generation realizes in the festival itself” – says Eszter Susán, coordinator of Marom Europe who was leader of the Bánkitó programming team. Thus the event is not only an outreach program for anyone who would like to join, but also a serious community development effort of the younger generations.

This year was the second year of the Bánkitó festival, and the fifth year of Marom hungary's summer festivals. One of the “Bánkitó” aims is become the major Jewish “backpackers” festival in Europe throughout the next years. The festival offers English language programs, as well, and has a significant English-language audience. This year members of the Marom Europe network have joined the festival – both as participants and as lecturers. A larger group from Marom Paris came to visit the festival and Budapest. Inbar Bluzer Shalem, UK Marom coordinator and coordinator of Marom Europe gave a session on Happiness economics and the whole festival experience was spiced by the presence of rabbi David Lazar, creating special shabbath activities and beyond.

Don’t miss it next year! Stay tuned!

Full program in English online

Related article on the JTA

Facebook us! Bánkitó fesztivál


Marom Slovenia trip to Budapest - in Hertzl's footsteps

by Luka Woititz

The way from Slovenia to Budapest was calm and relaxed due to picturesque landscapes and shortened by diverse discussions. Remembering the great bridge that crosses the majestic Danube still evokes a great expectation.

On arrival to the 7th district – the Jewish district - of Budapest, I felt pleased that we had safely reached our destination. Despite the fact that Shabbat was approaching fast, we were warmly greeted by Eszter. We quickly carried the baggage into the apartment and went to Moishe House, where Kabbalath Shabbat had already started. After the prayers and Kiddush, we started to chat pleasantly and discuss sitting around a table full of kosher wine and snacks. During the discussions, I have managed to learn a lot about everyday life of other people. The atmosphere was simply incredible. The homeliness and warmth that were shared with us were definitely the most difficult feelings to forget. For Jews who live in Slovenia it was an awakening to see how vital and full of living organized life, as conducted in Budapest, can be. After the discussions in Moishe House and joyful congratulations to Eszter for her birthday.

The next day, we were attending Kiddush in the beautiful Dohány synagogue, along with 120 participants of the tour 'Journey and Herzl's footstep' . After Kiddush, we together continued with a guided tour through a charming Jewish Budapest, which finished in the Israeli Cultural Institute. After many warm conversations rest was much needed, and shabbat is the day for it. At the end of Shabbat, Havdalah announced the arrival of a new week which we seized until the early hours – of course starting in Sirály, where local folk-rock-klezmer group called 'Sheket' was having a gig.

In Sirály we had a lot of discussions and imbibed a glass of tasty genuine beer. Although I am still claiming that we were not in Hungary, because the atmosphere always felt so much like home, the influence of the environment in the Sirály was obvious. If I would not have been slightly surprised by a dog, that looked like a regular customer coming to Sirály for a chat, I might even today acknowledge that a mixture of heavy smoke in closed space could be very melancholic. However, I am quite sure that without the cherry on top of the cream, a dessert would no longer be the way it should be.

To me personally, as well as to the others, Sirály represented a hub and a meeting place for our group.

On Sunday morning, we all would have appreciated to sleep a bit longer. We slowly had our morning coffee and ate our breakfast and then went to visit the Shoa (Holocaust Memorial Center) museum which we left speechless and in contemplative mood.

We walked thru 7th district for the very last time and then, after strenuous yet very enjoyable days, we headed back to Slovenia, full of experiences and new friendships.

The Community led by Marom Budapest is exemplary and the ideas of its young members should resonate throughout the world. Every community in the world should wish to be so warm and open. It is important that we all follow and are inspired by these values.


Cock-a-doodle-do ! A New Logo for Marom Paris !

Cock-a-doodle-do ! The French Marom Paris team is happy to present its brand new logo to you ! We hope you will recognize and like :

-the French symbol, the affirmation of our Jewish identity, the Mem of Massorti and Marom.
-fantasy, energy, contrast : enough to characterize a group of young adults
-the great talent of our illustrator and designer Daniela Cytryn, a member of Marom Paris who is also a wonderful children's illustrator
More about her work at http://danielacytryn.blogspot.com/