1 Tishrei 5772

By admin | September 29th, 2011

I am not a religious person, far from it, but I was raised Jewish in New York City. I think part of why I left New York was to see how the rest of the world lived. Today was a sweet remembrance of my youth. Mort and Barbara Rabkin invited Mayra and I to join others for a celebration of Rosh Hashana, the beginning of new year in the Jewish calendar. This is the beginning of a series of annual holidays that are important in the Jewish tradition.

I loved the food, chopped liver, roast lamb, kugels galore and Mort’s rye bread. Need to dig out some recipes.


Rosh Hashana is a joyous event, food, song and dance. I can assure you that it is being celebrated in other parts of Panama also. I was discussing with Gabi Klaf how different Panama is than Costa Rica. Panama has a large economically and politically active Jewish community. Panama is the only country besides Israel that has had two Jewish presidents in the twentieth century; from 1964-68 Max Delvalle was the first vice president of the Republic and later President. Eric Delvalle Maduro was president from 1987-1988, the end of the Noriega years.

There is a large Jewish community in Panama City including schools, synagogues and the largest kosher markets outside of Israel. I have spent some time in that community in the capital and although I am very much an outsider to a far more observant group I have always felt welcome.

It seems by accident I have come back to some of my roots and traditions, I like it. I want to thank Mort and Barbara for the opportunity.


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