The Jewish Street

Posted by The ShtarkShirts Project Blog on

~ The Jewish Street ~

This week’s parsha provides one of the many sources for establishing a vibrant Jewish street! “Vayelech Moshe” it begins - “And Moses walked.” And where did Moses walk if not the Jewish street?! It seems our ancient tradition contains prescriptions for how to create a vibrant community imbued with culture. 

So what do I really mean when I’m talking about The Jewish Street? And why is it the namesake of this weekly program? Throughout history and since ancient times, societies have congregated in community around a central or several central points of meeting. Leaders and authority figures often establish points of meeting that are private. Moses and the elders of Israel frequently gather in the tent of meeting, separate from the masses. Whereas Bnei Yisrael (the people) gather in public spaces, around the camp, or later in the Temple courtyard. In these public spaces where the community gathers, people are uplifted, and culture thrives. And so God commands Moses to “gather the people in your streets…so that they should listen and learn to fear God and all the commandments of this Torah.” The Jews should build a culture around Torah. 

My intention in starting this weekly is that it should foster the continued growth of this culture and give a diverse group of people the ability to listen and learn from what our tradition has to offer.

Nalewki Street Jewish Warsaw Poland

(Nalewki St.  - Warsaw  ~ 1920's
A Jewish street bustling with life. Many street signs were written in Polish, Russian, and Yiddish.)

Two Jews walking on Nalewki Street Warsaw Poland

(Two religious Jews walking together down Nalewki St.)

Mellah Morocco Jewish Quarter

(Click through for a short video about the Mellah in Essaouira, Morroco. In the early 20th century and for hundreds of years before, this quarter of the city was a major hub of Jewish life.)

The Jewish Word of the Week is:
Gas (Yiddish);  noun, 
– Street, Block, Quarter
~ Creamed herring with raisins? I can only ever find it on the Yiddish gas.

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