WHAT IS QEWISH?
Albuquerque (often lovingly shortened to ABQ or Burque by locals) is a unique place to live. Whether it’s the awesome weather, the four seasons, the 300+ days of sunshine, the incredible access to the outdoors, the art scene, or our urban recreation, restaurants, and shows, there is always something to do.
Being Jewish in ABQ is itself unique. Our Jewish community is broad and complex, like the city we live in. We have unaffiliated Jews and Jews who affiliate with and support multiple synagogues. Regardless of affiliation, we join together to fight for issues that are important to us whether that be the environment, social justice issues, our history, or any other issue. Even our response to the Asylum Seekers crisis was a uniquely Albuquerque one – forming a single Jewish Asylum Seeker Initiative (JASI) response that incorporated Jews from all walks of Albuquerque life regardless of affiliation and combining the support from multiple synagogues into a single group. This uniqueness continues into our community approach to endowment funding with the Life and Legacy program led and sponsored by the New Mexico Jewish Community Foundation, and co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation o f New Mexico and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Through Life and Legacy many of Albuquerque’s Jewish institutions have joined together with our counterparts in Santa Fe so that we can all support each other through endowment giving. And we can never forget all the crypto-Jews (or Conversos) that came to New Mexico over the last almost 400 years after being forced to convert to Catholicism or be ejected from Spain.
So being an ABQ Jew is unique and at the center of that uniqueness lies Congregation Albert. As the first synagogue in Albuquerque (and the longest continually operating synagogue in New Mexico) we are directly connected to the source of our unique ABQ Jewish history, even to the extent of incorporating the original B’nai B’rith Jewish Cemetery (which preceded all the synagogues) into our Congregation Albert cemetery. Yet we’re not just historical. Our feet are firmly planted in the present as we implement our Reform approach to Judaism and pursue justice – socially, environmentally, and in our daily lives. And, through our Early Childhood Center (one of the top ECCs in the state) and Congregation Albert School of Jewish Studies, we keep our eyes on the future – of our congregation, our community, and Judaism.
Following in the footsteps of Mayor Tim Keller’s approach to Albuquerque’s distinct communities with his One Albuquerque campaign, we believe we need a similar approach for the ABQ Jewish community. Being unique as an ABQ Jew has led us to create the concept of ABQ Jewish which we call Qewish.
So, are you Qewish? Have you experienced or supported Qewish activities or events? Let us know what you think is unique about being Qewish and what Qewish experiences and events you like or would like to see.
Send us your comments at Qewish@congregationalbert.org. We’re so glad that, like us, you’re Qewish, too!