Chilmark: Reflecting

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I have been moved to tears many times since the tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue, a marker of an uncomfortable shift in the life of every American Jew. Whether I practice any religion, I belong to a group which has been persecuted and stateless through much of history. I exist because of WWII, and wondered as a child whether someone would walk into my Manhattan classroom and tell me I had to line up and be marched away. No one explained clearly what being an “assimilated” Jew really meant. Growing up, we celebrated popular Christian holidays, and all I understood about being Jewish was it meant giving back to community. Surely my ancestors spanning over 450 years on German soil believed they were assimilated? When I moved to Edgartown, I learned Jews could not buy property there until 1970 (my ancestors waited over 350 years to be able to buy property in Germany), that Jews were directed to Chilmark, a place I now call home, a place where I have met people from my father’s (b.1909) Berlin circle of the 1920s, who knew my father better than I ever had the chance to, as he died before I was age 2. Discrimination can be subtle, blatant, and unspeakable — I’m know I’m lucky to have white people’s problems, and do not take for granted my adopted home, which makes me feel more welcome and part of its fabric every time I return from the mainland.

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I guess we can use the rain, but let’s hope for a bit more sunshine at the end of our day, now that we’ve turned our clocks back. If for any reason you’re looking for something yummy, head to the fully stocked fridge at Mermaid Farm, the only 24-hour farm stand on the Island.

There is one walker who is a regular sight, never mind the weather. She is Middle Roader Joan Clark, who has clocked over 12,000 miles walking in the past 10 years since her retirement. Like me, many people have stopped her and commented about her being not only a landmark, but an inspiration.

The Chilmark School advisory council, a collective of parents, teachers, principals, staff, and community representatives that meets monthly to support, enhance, and advise the school board on education matters, is looking for new members. For more information, please contact Susan Stevens, head of school, at 508-645-2562, ext. 102.

Ginny Jones of Fo’c’sle Locker wrote, “The crowds have been blown away, but the good weather continues (although I must concede that it is currently raining hard and totally gray and gloomy, even up-Island today), and now is the time to enjoy a trip to Menemsha and then around the southern end of the Island. You may not have a chance to view the foliage up north; the swamp maples, beetlebungs, and various shrubs and trees are glowing with color, and from various vantage points the views are unparalleled. So is the shopping.” Don’t forget the Allen Farm Shop on South Road, and ask about Fo’c’sle Locker’s Islander discount — both have wonderful finds.

On Friday, Nov. 9, a one-day Drill Conductor Training for Commercial Fisherman certification requirement course will be offered at the Menemsha Coast Guard Station, free. Participants must have attended safety/survival training within the past 12 months; upon successful completion, they will be certified to conduct emergency drills. The session includes classroom instruction and practice drills aboard a local vessel. Preregister by calling 508-958-6580.

Pathways Arts at the Chilmark Tavern is hosting its first monthly We Dance event Friday, Nov. 9, starting with performances followed by dancing for all with DJ K-OS (Keith Bassett). On Tuesdays, enjoy or read at Writing and Poetry Tuesdays. Doors open at 6:30 pm and events begin at 7 pm, free.

Weather permitting, join Mark Alan Lovewell at the Chilmark library for an evening of Amateur Astronomy on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 5:30 pm outside (so dress appropriately). The following Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 5 pm, Island naturalist and MV Times columnist Matt Pelikan, a participant in or organizer of numerous citizen science projects, will discuss the way this radical new kind of science has altered how people understand the natural world around them, and how you can contribute to citizen science projects yourself. Enjoy this month’s Saturday Movie Matinee on Nov. 11 at 1 pm (call for the film). Afterschool Crafts with Irene is on Wednesdays, from 3 to 4 pm, for kindergartners through fifth graders. The Coffee Klatsch Knitting (bring your own supplies and projects) and Chess Meet-Up happens Thursdays from noon to 3 pm. Come enjoy free coffee — just be sure to bring your own mug — for a cozy, laid-back, and communal hangout up-Island. Stories with Rizwan continue Tuesday and Saturday at 10:30 am. Learn more at chilmarklibrary.org or 508-645-3360.

Nan Doty offers Qigong and tea on Tuesdays at 8 am at the Chilmark Community Church, $10. Pizza nights continue free on Tuesdays from 6 to 7 pm. On Thursday mornings from 10 to 11:30, come for a free weekly musical jam session.

Get your $35 tickets for the November IGI Fundraising Dinner at the MVRHS Culinary Arts Dining Room on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 6 pm at bit.ly/CulinaryFundraiser. The multicourse meal is prepared by students and chefs featuring local ingredients.

It’s the last week to submit to the West Tisbury library’s “Through a Lens II,” a juried December show open to professional and amateur photographers. All genres welcome. Submissions in digital, silver, or gelatin print or alternative processes will be accepted as long as they were captured and created by the submitter. Submission due by Nov. 15. See the library website for submission guidelines.

Have a great week.