Ohel Avraham Home

1st night of Chanukah is Sunday, December 2

blue menorah with flickering lights

Schedule of Services

Kabbalat Shabbat, 12/7 6pm

Shabbat morning, 12/15 10am

Kabbalat Shabbat, 12/21 6pm

Shabbat morning, 12/29 10am

A message after the events in Pittsburgh on Shabbat, October 27, 2018:

I am The Jewish Nurse.

Yes, that Jewish Nurse. The same one that people are talking about in the Pittsburgh shooting that left 11 dead. The trauma nurse in the ER that cared for Robert Bowers who yelled, "Death to all Jews," as he was wheeled into the hospital. The Jewish nurse who ran into a room to save his life.

To be honest, I’m nervous about sharing this. I just know I feel alone right now, and the irony of the world talking about me doesn’t seem fair without the chance to speak for myself.

When I was a kid, being labeled “The Jewish (anything)”, undoubtedly had derogatory connotations attached to it. That's why it feels so awkward to me that people suddenly look at it as an endearing term. As an adult, deflecting my religion by saying “I’m not that religious,” makes it easier for people to accept I’m Jewish – especially when I tell them my father is a rabbi. “I’m not that religious,” is like saying, “Don’t worry, I’m not that Jewish, therefore, I’m not so different than you,” and like clockwork, people don’t look at me as awkwardly as they did a few seconds beforehand.

I experienced anti-Semitism a lot as a kid. It’s hard for me to say if it was always a product of genuine hatred, or if kids with their own problems found a reason to single me out from others. Sure, there were a few Jewish kids at my school, but no one else had a father who was a Rabbi. I found drawings on desks of my family being marched into gas chambers, swastikas drawn on my locker, and notes shoved inside of it saying, “Die Jew. Love, Hitler.” It was a different time back then, where bullying was not monitored like it is now. I was weak, too. Rather than tell anyone, I hid behind fear. Telling on the people who did this would only lead to consequences far worse.

Regardless, the fact that this shooting took place doesn’t shock me. To be honest, it’s only a matter of time before the next one happens. History refutes hope that things will change. My heart yearns for change, but today's climate doesn't foster nurturing, tolerance, or civility. Even before this shooting took place, there’s no real evidence supporting otherwise. The FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center note that Jews only account for two percent of the U.S. population, yet 60% of all religious hate crimes are committed against them. I don’t know why people hate us so much, but the underbelly of anti-Semitism seems to be thriving.

So now, here I am, The Jewish Nurse that cared for Robert Bowers. I’ve watched them talk about me on CNN, Fox News, Anderson Cooper, PBS, and the local news stations. I’ve read articles mentioning me in the NY Times and the Washington Post. The fact that I did my job, a job which requires compassion and empathy over everything, is newsworthy to people because I’m Jewish. Even more so because my dad’s a Rabbi.

To be honest, I didn't see evil when I looked into Robert Bower's eyes. I saw something else. I can’t go into details of our interactions because of HIPAA. I can tell you that as his nurse, or anyone's nurse, my care is given through kindness, my actions are measured with empathy, and regardless of the person you may be when you're not in my care, each breath you take is more beautiful than the last when you're lying on my stretcher. This was the same Robert Bowers that just committed mass homicide. The Robert Bowers who instilled panic in my heart worrying my parents were two of his 11 victims less than an hour before his arrival.

I’m sure he had no idea I was Jewish. Why thank a Jewish nurse, when 15 minutes beforehand, you’d shoot me in the head with no remorse? I didn’t say a word to him about my religion. I chose not to say anything to him the entire time. I wanted him to feel compassion. I chose to show him empathy. I felt that the best way to honor his victims was for a Jew to prove him wrong. Besides, if he finds out I’m Jewish, does it really matter? The better question is, what does it mean to you?

Love. That’s why I did it. Love as an action is more powerful than words, and love in the face of evil gives others hope. It demonstrates humanity. It reaffirms why we’re all here. The meaning of life is to give meaning to life, and love is the ultimate force that connects all living beings. I could care less what Robert Bowers thinks, but you, the person reading this, love is the only message I wish instill in you. If my actions mean anything, love means everything.

Respectfully,

Ari Mahler, RN.

Ohel Avraham

Ground Floor, Elizabeth George Hall

Parking Lot O, Enter at Colie's Cafe

Regular Shabbat services are generally the first and third Friday evenings and the second and fourth Saturday mornings each month at Nazareth College, Elizabeth George Hall (Colie's Cafe entrance). Friday night services run from 6pm-7pm. Saturday morning from 9:30am-noon followed by a pot luck vegetarian (dairy) lunch. If you are new to our services and need more information than is provided here, please feel free to email us at ohel.avraham.rochester@gmail.com.

Directions: Click here for a map of Naz and driving directions. Our services are held at the "Elizabeth George Hall" on the ground floor, entrance at Parking Lot O, at Colie's Cafe, shown on the upper center part of the campus map. Access is easiest from East Ave, and parking is available in Lot O, overflow parking in Lot P, both near to George Hall. We will be in the Sulam Center.

Our name, Ohel Avraham, means Abraham’s tent. Midrash tells us that Sarah and Abraham’s tent was open on all four sides to allow visitors from all directions. Midrash also shares that Sarah would make elaborate meals for visitors when they came. We have built our minyan on these foundations: welcoming all Jews, and strengthening our community through sharing food and learning.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please email: ohel.avraham.rochester@gmail.com or contact Sam or Shelli Asher directly. Please like us on FB. https://www.facebook.com/OhelAvraham

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Learn to read Torah:

Sunday Leyning Class

Please join our ongoing Torah leyning class that is held at the Sulam Center on Sundays 12-1pm

Whether you are new to leyning or you want to refresh your skills or learn new ones, we have seasoned Torah readers to guide you. Join us anytime!

Are you interested in a monthly Torah Study Group?

Our Torah study group has been on break. If you are interested in restarting this group, please contact Shelli Asher.

Learn to read Hebrew

A class for those who want to learn to read the prayers in Hebrew from the prayer book. Sundays at 1pm in the Sulam Center. Just come and join us!