It’s Our Chai Issue: 18 Ways we are celebrating life right now!

August 18, 2020

In Jewish culture, the number 18 has special meaning. My Jewish Learning explains, “Each Hebrew letter has a numerical equivalent,” and the word “Chai” is made of the two Hebrew letters chet and yud. “The sum of chet (numerical value of 8) and yud (numerical value of 10) is 18. As a result of its connection to the word for life, the number 18 is considered a special number.”

Today we are celebrating a double Chai because this is our 18th issue of Cultural Connections published on the 18th of August, which makes today a special day. So, we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to talk about how we are celebrating life right now. Check out 18 ways we’re living life to the fullest and so can you!

18. WE’RE TOURING MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS WITHOUT LEAVING HOME! We’re all adapting to the new environment as fast as we can and while the pressure can be overwhelming, we also feel totally overjoyed that we’re venturing into new places from the comfort of our couches. Here’s one of the best links we’ve found for a treasure trove of online exhibitions ranging in style and scope. Check out Time Out’s list of Virtual Museum Tours.

17. WE’RE STUDYING UP ON JEWISH WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD! If you’ve never heard of Alma, let us introduce you. This women-powered Jewish website offers a wealth of awesome information including this gem of an article on 10 Jewish Women from History You Should’ve Learned About in School.

16. WE’RE WATHCHING THE TOP 10 BEST JEWISH FILMS (ACCORDING TO THE AJC)! Thanks to AJC, we’ve got our hands on a list of their favorite films to watch during quarantine and the list ranges from vintage classics to modern marvels centering on combating antisemitism. Which of the AJC’s Top 10 Jewish Films have you seen?

15. WE’RE BRUSHING UP ON THE BEST JEWISH FICTION OF ALL TIME! Nothing feels better than a cup of coffee or hot chocolate (okay, maybe a glass of wine) and a good book on summer eve. As fall approaches, we are still working through Jewcy’s list of Essential Jewish Fiction from Kafka and Proust to Lipstyle and Cohen.

14. WE’RE STUDYING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ANTI-RACIST! The killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed exposed the complex systemic racism that plagues our country. The Harvard Gazette compiled a book list everyone should be reading as way to become more educated on issues of race in America and what it means to be anti-racist. Check out A Reading List on Issues of Race.

13. WE’RE DIVERSIFYING OUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS! The Jewish website Kveller has some advice for Jews who want to talk about the intersection of race and religion, “Check your privilege and begin with diversifying your social media.” They recommend listening to and supporting Jews of color as a start. Check out their list of 13 Jews of Color to Follow on Social Media Right Now.

12. WE’RE LEARNING ABOUT JEWISH LGBTQ+ ICONS THROUGHOUT HISTORY! Did we already tell you how much we love Hey Alma, well we’ll tell you again, this Jewish website has so much to check out, including this list of 14 Jews Who Changed Queer History Forever.

11. WE’RE DONATING BLOOD AND SAVING LIVES! The Red Cross is always in need of blood donations. We’re rolling up our sleeves (literally) to do what we can to help someone in need. It’s a donation that won’t cost you a penny and will change someone’s life when they are at their most vulnerable. Find a Red Cross Blood Drive Near You.

10. WE’RE GETTING CRAZY EXCITED FOR OUR NEXT SPECIAL EXHIBITION “NOTORIOUS RBG: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF RUTH BADER GINSBURG”! That’s right, coming this winter 2021 is Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the first-ever retrospective about the trailblazing associate justice and cultural icon, based on the popular Tumblr and bestselling book of the same name by journalist Irin Carmon and attorney Shana Knizhnik. Watch the trailer of the movie by the same name and you’ll be as excited as we are.

9. WE’RE PREPARING FOR THE HIGH HOLIDAYS (AND MANY OF US WON’T BE WITH FAMILY THIS YEAR)! Rosh Hashanah is right around the corner with only one month to plan our delicious holiday menu of apple strudels and honey cakes. But this year might not be the same as last, with many of us practicing social distancing. We found this fun way to celebrate with family even if you’re afar. Check out Rosh Hashanah in a Box.

8. WE’RE EXPLORING DIFFERENT FOODS AS A WAY TO EXPLORE DIFFERENT CULTURES! We’re a sucker for a well packaged idea and this one has us hooked. We can’t get out and travel the way we want but we can bring the world to us, thanks to Try the World, which sends snacks and delicacies from different countries into your home, fun and yum.

7. WE’RE BECOMING ISRAELI WINE EXPERTS! According to Food and Wine, “There’s evidence that wine has been produced in Israel for as long as 10,000 years, yet it’s only in the past few decades that the country’s wine has won serious international respect.” Today, Israel is known as one of the most exciting wine producers in the world. Check out this list of Israeli Wines You Need to Drink to be an Expert.

6. WE’RE EXPLORING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HAPPY! Oh, TED Talks, how we love thee. There are few TED Talks that we have watched and haven’t enjoyed, but there’s one that’s inspired a generation to explore the meaning of happiness and we’re on board with that. We kicked off the journey with Dan Gilbert’s The Science of Happiness and then moved onto to additional options including the connection between happiness and gratitude.

5. WE’RE GRATEFUL FOR OUR CARING COMMUNITY! This has been a hard period for so many. Our community has faced job loss, family separation, financial insecurity, social isolation and loneliness, among other issues. We are grateful for the incredible support provided by organizations like the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, whose program Access Jewish Cleveland is a helpline to direct people to resources when they need it most. In addition to other incredible organizations like the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and The City Mission.

4. WE’RE CASTING OUR BALLOTS FOR ELECTION DAY! Who you vote for is a personal and private choice, but the right to vote is something every American should exercise. As John Lewis, who passed earlier this year, said, “Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part.” Let’s all do our part and participate in casting our ballots on Election Day this year! Register to vote in Ohio here.

3. WE’RE ADDING THE INTERACTIVE BIOGRAPHY OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR STANLELY BERNATH TO OUR CORE COLLECTION! Holocaust Survivor Stanley Bernath, of blessed memory, will come to life again on the Museum’s stage as part of the technological innovation of Dimensions in Testimony from USC Shoah Foundation. Read more about this High-tech Interactive Experience and then schedule a visit to see it yourself.

2. WE’RE LAUNCHING NEW ONLINE STUDENT & EDUCATOR RESOURCES! Our Flagship program, Stop the Hate, is expanding and we can’t wait to share with you all what’s ahead:

  • Take a Stop the Hate Digital Tour with optional activities
  • Book a Classroom Workshop with Roots of American Music (songwriting) or Lake Erie Ink (essay writing)
  • Enter the Stop the Hate contest as a class (Youth Sing Out) or as an individual (Youth Speak Out)

Register here to be notified as soon as we go live with the new program!

1. WE ARE RE-OPENING THE MUSEUM! Number one on our list of ways we are living it up right now is… (drum roll)… We are open! We’re shouting it from the rooftops because we are so excited to welcome visitors back into our building: The Maltz Museum is officially open to members and opening to the public next week! You can reserve your tickets now.


We’re taking a tour of the world and all of its offerings to curate cultural connections aligned with our museum’s mission and values. Join us as we explore exhibits, art, film, literature, lectures and more.

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