Tag Archives: Rabbi Greg Wall

Standing Up, Speaking Out Against Anti-Semitism

The recent national surge in anti-Semitic acts — including the New York area — has rattled many local Jews.

Then there was one right here in Westport.

A congregant of Beit Chaverim — born in Israel, but a longtime Westporter — arrived home to find eggs splattered on her front door.

In his sermon last weekend, Beit Chaverim’s Rabbi Greg Wall told his Post Road West congregation that the only way to fight what’s happening is to be more visible.

“Keep your yarmulke on,” he said. “If you’re intimidated, the anti-Semites win.”

Rabbi Greg Wall

Noting the importance of community involvement, he adds, “Anti-Semitism is a communal issue. As Jews, we have stood with any group that’s been denied their rights — other religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations. Now we need them to stand publicly with us.”

Working with the other rabbis, including Jeremy Weiderhorn of Westport’s Conservative Synagogue, and Evan Schultz of B’nai Israel in Bridgeport, plus the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County, they’ve created a very visible event.

Next Wednesday (June 2, 7 p.m.), a “Standing Together Against Anti-Semitism” rally is set for Jesup Green.

Approval came yesterday. Organizers meet this morning to plan the speakers.

Rabbi Wall knows he wants a wide range of voices.

“We hope other faiths will be involved,” he says. “Whenever anything has happened in our community, I’ve gotten support from the imam in Norwalk. I’m sure there will be many people standing with us.”

He thinks about previous rallies on Jesup Green — in the past year alone, for Black Lives Matter and against Asian-American violence — and shakes his head.

“Hate effects everyone. I look forward to a time when we won’t need rallies like this.”

(If you can’t attend, you can participate online. Click here to register.)

Beechwood Arts Concert Streams Into Your Home

Today — 2 weeks before Christmas — is a busy day for many of us.

We’ve got holiday parties to go to, trees to buy and trim, football games to watch. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

But if you can manage to be free for just an hour — starting at 5 p.m. — you won’t regret it.

Jeanine Esposito and Frederic Chiu, in their Weston Road home.

Jeanine Esposito and Frederic Chiu, in their Weston Road home.

Beechwood Arts and Innovation — the unique immersive salons sponsored by Frederic Chiu and Jeanine Esposito at their amazing Weston Road home — is staging another event.

But this time, on this cold day, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home.

You don’t even have to live around here to attend.

All you need is Facebook.

The idea is to replace the “me” in social media with “we,” Chiu explains. “We hope to bring people together to inspire a sense of unity on a global scale.”

Igor Pikayzen

Igor Pikayzen

Today’s salon is a virtual one. Held on Facebook Live, it’s a stream of an actual salon to be held at the couple’s home (called Beechwood). Igor Pikayzen — a 2005 Staples High School graduate, 2007 Westport Arts Horizon winner, and internationally known violinist, will perform.

Fairfield neighbor Orin Grossman will play favorites from the Gershwin songbook on piano, and Brahms’ “Hungarian Dances” with Chiu.

Greg Wall — Westport’s unique “jazz rabbi” — will show off his rarely seen classical side.

“The goal is to create unity around the world, through the universal language of music,” Chiu says. “Facebook Live is the perfect platform, because it’s interactive.

beechwood-arts-logo“People can join us on their phone, computer, tablet or smart TV. They can communicate with each other using Facebook comments — emojis are fine!”

Hundreds of intimate gatherings of friends and families have already been planned (thanks to Facebook, of course). But individuals can join too. Everyone’s invited.

Today’s Beechwood salon is music at its finest — and most accessible.

That football game can wait.

(Click here to join the Beechwood Arts Salon Facebook Live event, or search Facebook for “Beechwood Arts and Innovation.”)

Greg Wall, the "jazz rabbi," plays classical music today.

Greg Wall, the “jazz rabbi,” plays classical music today.