(Rabbi Eli Cohen leads guests in song at Chadeish Yameinu Jewish Renewal's new location in Santa Cruz. Photo by Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian)
SANTA CRUZ — After 25 years, Santa Cruz’s Chadeish Yameinu Jewish Renewal Community has finally found a permanent home.
The group celebrated on Sunday with a special open house event, inviting the community to come visit the new location, learn customs, sing songs and give thanks.
Chadeish Yameinu’s Rabbi Eli Cohen personally welcomed the crowd to the new center, which is located at the Galleria complex in downtown Santa Cruz.
“I am so happy to be here today with you all,” Cohen said. “It’s a time to celebrate. It’s a new beginning.”
With guitar in hand, Cohen led those gathered in song, with members of Chadeish Yameinu and visitors alike joining in. He then performed a ritual dedication of the center by hanging a “mezuzah” on two of the center’s doorposts. A mezuzah is a small scroll which contains the daily Jewish declaration of faith, written in Hebrew. Mezuzahs are traditionally attached to the doorposts of Jewish homes.
“It reminds us of what it is to be a Jew,” Cohen said. “And also that we should not separate ourselves from the community — to invite others in.”
A number of people, including County Supervisor John Leopold and Brooke Newman of the Downtown Streets Team, spoke at the event. Dignitaries from various religious organization were also in attendance — including rabbis from Temple Beth El of Aptos, Santa Cruz Zen Center’s Rev. Neti Parekh, Karen Zelin of Insight Santa Cruz, Madiha Griffith of Islamic Center Santa Cruz, the Wisdom Center’s Michael Roth and more.
This week, Chadeish Yameinu will continue hosting events. On Friday, they are co-sponsoring a “Pride Shabbat” service, with special guest rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg and his husband Robert Crowe telling their personal story at Temple Beth El in Aptos. On Saturday is “From Biblical Sarah to Seinfeld: Jewish Humor Through the Ages,” hosted by Rabbi Sleutelberg at Chadeish Yemen’s new location.
“We’re open to everyone,” Cohen said prior to Sunday’s event. “We want people to know that, and feel welcome.”
Chadeish Yameinu’s new home is located at 740 Front St., at the Galleria in Santa Cruz. For information, including event details, visit cysantacruz.com or call 295-8467.