Passover 5780 – Differently Different

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Passover snuck up on me this year. After a March that came in like a lion and went out with a quarantine, and seemingly went on forever, I lost track of time. (After all, didn’t you hear- we are down to only three days a week: yesterday, today, and tomorrow.) But here it is, and here we are.

One of the most cherished traditions at the Passover Seder is the recitation of The Four Questions, when the youngest child present asks a series of questions to the group about Passover and its rituals- eating matzah, eating bitter herbs, dipping vegetables, and eating while reclining. The beginning line of The Four Questions, which is perhaps the most famous, is traditionally translated as “How is this night different from all other nights?”, from the Hebrew “Mah nishtanah halaylah hazeh mikol halaylot?”

But here’s a little known fact- that first word of The Four Questions- “mah”, is less of a question than a rhetorical exclamation. A better translation of that opening line is “”How different this night is from all other nights!” And that’s not really a question at all, it’s a reminder to the participants that the Passover Seder is far different from any other meal we have during the year. 

This year, though, it’s worth adding an element of reflection to the opening line of The Four Questions. This time around, Passover is not just unique among the other nights of the year, but in truth there has never been a Passover like the one we are about to celebrate, where we will attempt to celebrate a holiday so predicated on gathering together by gathering separately. Most years people boast about their Seders and how many people they will be with, but this year I’m ready for photos on Facebook of computer screens filled with face tiles of all of people’s remote Zoom or Skype Seder participants. This Passover will be, for lack of a better expression, differently different. We have literally never tried this before.

A Visit to Los Alamos, New Mexico, and the Manhattan Project

Any visitor to the Taos and Santa Fe area of New Mexico should consider a trip to Los Alamos, home of the Manhattan Project National Historic Park.  Shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 during the Second World War, the United States began hiring scientists to work on a ‘better bomb’ to end the war.  Secret sites were set up starting in 1942 across the country, with the beginning being in New York City, thusly named the “Manhattan Project.”  Los Alamos was chosen as the main site for a new laboratory due primarily to lead scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer’s house in nearby Albuquerque and familiarity with the region.  The new, secret town of Los Alamos was built in 1943 and called “Site Y.”  Hanford, Washington, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, hosted secondary labs.

Callahan’s Karate Holds Virtual Online Belt Graduation Ceremony

Amidst all the disruption, Callahan’s Karate held a virtual online belt graduation ceremony and hosted a drive-through, no-contact belt pick up.

Instructors cheered for the students as they pulled up to the karate school. Another instructor with gloves on placed the belt onto our DIY social distant belt delivery device to allow the students to still receive their new belt!

Wish You Were Here ~ Murphy’s Excellent Adventure

Friends and families who visit the Bedford Free Public Library may have been wondering what Murphy the Turtle has been up to since the library closed on March 13th.

Murphy has definitely been wondering where all of his friends and admirers have gone since then!

Dot’s Reading Room: Understanding “The Numbers” and COVID-19

Here is an article that is helpful in understanding “the numbers” involved in the COVID-19 crisis.

The Correspondent is a Netherlands-based source now available in the U.S. It’s written in language that is understandable to the layman.

The Bedford Citizen At Work: How We Will Report on COVID-19 in Our Community

The Bedford Citizen, in accordance with our Breaking News Policy that was put in place last fall and posted on our website, is closely monitoring all aspects of rapidly developing events in Bedford regarding COVID-19. 

We are focused on publishing reliable information that is fact-based and cross-checked with officially designated agencies and departments at the federal, state, and local levels.  This includes, but is not limited to, the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC), Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Bedford Board of Health, Selectmen, Town Manager, School Committee, and the ad-hoc Town/School COVID-19 Task Force.  (Task Force members are Sarah Stanton, Town Manager; Jon Sills, Superintendent of Schools; Heidi Porter, Director of Health and Human Services; David Grunes, Fire Chief; Robert Bongiorno, Police Chief; and Taissir Alani, Director of Town/School Facilities.)

Bedford Dollars for Scholars Phone-a-thon a Ringing Success

The Dollars for Scholars 55th annual Phone-a-thon contacted Bedford and Hanscom community residents who pledged almost $32,000 according to chairpersons Alma Pomponi and Scott Dyer. Projected donations are expected to exceed $55,000.

Bedford TV Students Create a Census Music Video

Among Bedford TV’s strongest volunteers are its youngest.

Thanks to Ralph Hammond and the Rotary Club of Bedford’s BRIC program that earns community service points for elementary and middle school students who serve as tech support for local access programs as well as creating their own content for the station.

What Were You Doing When You Were 12 Years Old?

If you cannot remember what it was or is like to be 12 years old, please meet Ariel Grossman, a 12-year-old creative, serious-minded Bedford middle school student, active in a variety of extracurricular activities, and a successful entrepreneur who produces and markets photo and video montages.

Ariel has a true passion for her work and enjoys being able to provide a professional and affordable product for her clients. She developed an entrepreneurial interest at an early age, cutting her teeth on lemonade stands and selling Girl Scout cookies. In 2018 a discussion with her mother regarding a montage for her future bat mitzvah led her to the decision that she would be the ideal person to develop her own montage for her upcoming 2020 celebration. As a result, Montages by Ariel was born.

A Leap Year Change? How About June 31st

Every four years we get an extra day in February – yea!!   For all those people who were born on February 29th I apologize.  But really, who wants an extra day in February?

Of all the months to extend!

I think it’s time that we move our extra day to June, everybody loves June.  Nice weather, warm temperatures, long days, that’s an extra day you could get excited about.

Oscar Watch ~ Little Women’s Local Connections

Editor’s Note: If you’re watching the Oscars on Sunday night, pay special attention to Little Women, the film on this year’s list with the strongest connections to Bedford!

In 2018, the Columbia Pictures film Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig, was shot on location in the Boston area. The Oscar-nominated film was released on Christmas Day 2019 and is up for 6 Oscar awards at the 92nd  Annual Oscar Awards on Sunday, February 9. The film has many local ties, including 3 local actors who enjoyed being extras in the production that features major Hollywood stars.

Gallery Walk & Talk ~ ‘On Growing Up’ ~ At the Bedford Free Public Library on Sunday, February 9, from 4 to 5 pm

On Growing Up, the Art Steering Committee’s current show at the Bedford Free Public Library was curated by Bedford photographer Astrid Reischwitz. The exhibit features photographs by a pair of accomplished artists. Suzanne Révy and Tira Khan each photographed her children – Révy’s sons and Khan’s daughters.

Révy and Khan will lead visitors through the show and talk about their work during an artists’ reception in the library from 4 to 5 pm on Sunday afternoon, February 9.

In Our Bedford Backyards…. An Occasional Series about Nature’s Creatures in Bedford

Over the past few weeks, social media has carried multiple posts about coyotes, and more recently on January 7, about a possible mountain lion.

A Facebook discussion was begun by Erin Campbell on Tuesday morning. “A large tan cat-like animal with a long tail ran across the road [at Middlesex Community College] …. bigger than our golden retriever, and it really looked like a long muscular cat…. ” wrote Campbell.

On Growing Up ~ In the Library Gallery through March 11

On Growing Up, a new show with work by Tira Khan and Suzanne Revy will be on display in the gallery at the Bedford Free Public Library, 7 Mudge Way, through March 11, 2019.

Please join an artist-led Gallery Walk and reception from 4 to 5 pm on Sunday, February 9.

Bedford Women Develop Environmental Curriculum, Earth Circles

Bedford residents Maureen Oates and Janet Powers are lifelong environmentally conscious people. Their childhoods featured regular outdoor life – Oates at the beaches and in the forests of San Diego county and Powers with summers in the Adirondacks. Oates, a high school biology teacher who became involved in environmental education projects in the 1970s, worked with both science and social studies teachers at all grade levels and was for seven years the Director of Education for Maine Audubon Society before her retirement.