The KULANU Adult education class will resume on Sunday, September 23. This class meets on Sunday mornings from 9:30-11:00 a.m. whenever Religious School is in session. We have studied a wide variety of subjects. We studied the message of our Prophets, the text of the Torah with modern and traditional commentaries, the Apocrypha which contains books not included in our Tanaach. We also studied the history of the Jews of Spain and then the Jews of Ashkenaz.
This year we will begin with the study of the Ethics of the Fathers, the Pirkei Avot. This is a small section from the Mishneh Avot which is part of Nezikin. The text deals with the sayings of our sages dealing with ethical and moral principles. There are no binding laws in this tractate. Many of the maxims are well known and many form the lyrics for popular Hebrew songs. It is customary to study a chapter of Avot every Shabbat between Passover and Shavuot. For this reason, many traditional Siddurim, prayer books, contain the six chapters in their totality. Following the completion of Ethics of our Fathers, we will study the history of our people from the destruction of the First Temple and the Babylonian exile.
All are welcome to attend the class. There are no prerequisites and the class is conducted in English with accompanying handouts.
There is a nominal fee. Please see Joan in the school office to register.
Looking forward to an exciting learning experience this coming year.
Miriam Kraemer Gray, Educator
I know you join me in my deep concern and prayers for our brothers and sisters in the State of Israel. More than 275 rockets from Gaza have exploded in Israel since Israel’s assassination of Ahmad Jabari, the head of Hamas’ military wing, on Wednesday. Tragically, three Israelis were killed in a rocket strike on Kiryat Malakhi on Thursday. Some of the rockets fired Thursday landed in Holon and Rishon Letzion, where my wife has relatives. Two rockets were aimed at Tel Aviv but, fortunately, landed in the sea. In speaking with our new co-youth advisor at Temple Sinai, Anat Katzir, an Israeli who just moved to Tenafly, I learned that many residents of the south have fled north to stay with relatives or friends. She also mentioned that many of her fellow reservists in the IDF intelligence services were called up.
The name of the current IDF operation in Gaza is “Amud Anan.” It means, “Pillar of Cloud” and refers to the “Pillar of Cloud” through which God protected our people as we fled from Pharoah’s armies at the Red Sea. May God protect our people now as God did then, help bring a quick end to the shelling by Hamas and Operation “Amud Anan” with as little suffering as possible.
If you would like to make a donation to help those who are suffering from the rocket attacks in Israel you can give to the Jewish Federations of North America Israel Terror Relief Fund.
Meanwhile, we are privileged to have Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the immediate past-president of the Union for Reform Judaism, join us at Shabbat evening services at 8:00 p.m. to begin his weekend with us as our scholar-in-residence. Rabbi Yoffie has been a tireless advocate for the State of Israel throughout his career, including a number of years when he served as the Director of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America. I highly recommend reading the piece he wrote on the current conflict that was published in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, today.
And please join us tomorrow evening at 8:00 p.m. when Rabbi Yoffie will speak at services; at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning (free bagels and coffee included) and Sunday morning at 9:30 when he will speak about Israel at a breakfast sponsored by our Brotherhood. Now, more than ever, it is important that we come together as a community.
Rabbi Jordan Millstein
After lighting the candles at Temple last night and praying that light be brought back into our homes this afternoon my family became one of the lucky ones to have power restored to our house. I pray that the rest of you who still are in the dark this “Motzei Shabbat” (Lit: the time after Shabbat leaves, i.e. Saturday night) have your electricity restored soon as well. And may you find a gas station with less than a two hour wait!
In the meantime, there are many others whose problems are far worse than not having power in their homes or gas for their cars. While the devastation on the Jersey Shore, Long Island and areas on the water in NYC are well known there are also people right here in Bergen County who were very hard hit by the storm. Half a dozen levies gave way on the Hackensack River and water poured into a number of towns alongside it. Moonachie, Little Ferry, and Carlstadt were flooded and many of their residents are now sleeping in shelters around the county with few or no possessions – some with just the clothes on their backs. This includes children who have no idea why this happened.
Matt Libien, Temple Sinai’s Tikkun Olam Committee chair, will be at Temple Sinai tomorrow morning from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. collecting items to bring to those affected by the flood along the Hackensack River. Whatever is donated will be brought over to a collection point in Maywood and then will be distributed the same day.
Here are the items needed:
Paper Soup Bowls, Plastic Spoons and Forks, Cases of Bottled Water, Canned Soup, Non-Perishable Food Items, Pet Food, Baby Formula, Diapers, Hand Sanitizer, Toiletries, Sweatshirts, New or Clean Used Clothes, Cleaning Supplies, Garbage Bags, Batteries, and Power Strips (Outlet Strips)
Matt will be driving them over himself. But he could use some help. If you have a truck or van and can drive to Maywood tomorrow to drop off these sorely needed supplies it would be a great mitzvah. Also, Matt may need some people to help load his van and any other vehicles if we are fortunate to get a lot of donations. Please contact Matt at 201-788-2077.
Also, I want to remind you that the blood mobile will be at Temple Sinai all morning tomorrow. Please donate blood. We will also be registering people for the bone marrow donor registry.
And don’t forget that tomorrow is open house for our religious school families!
Shavua Tov – May you all have a much better week this week than last!
I am sure you were as shocked and distressed as I was to learn of the destruction wreaked by Hurricane Sandy in certain parts of the Tri-State area. It is hard to believe that such devastation could happen here. I was touched by a posting on Facebook by one of my colleagues and mentors when I was in rabbinical school, Rabbi Margie Slome, who serves West End Temple, the Reform congregation in Neponsit, NY: “Our first floor has been flooded out….all of our Mishkan T’filah [prayer books] and revised Torah commentaries are soggy….The pews were uprooted. Our newly donated sound system…probably doesn’t work….I knocked on the doors of as many frail elderly as I could. Some who refused/couldn’t leave….Houses are on fire….” Our hearts go out to Rabbi Slome and her congregation and countless others who lost homes and businesses during this storm. If you want to help, you can give to the Union for Reform Judaism Hurricane Emergency Fund.
If you want to help rebuild West End Temple in Neponsit you can contribute directly to Rabbi Slome’s discretionary fund: RDF of West End Temple c/o Rabbi Margie Slome, 152 Westminster Rd., Brooklyn, NY 11218
At the same time, I am still wondering about you – members of our Temple Sinai community – and what has happened to you these past few days. Even if it is just to say, “We don’t have power but we’re OK,” please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or texting or calling me at 201-655-0266. I don’t have the ability to respond to everyone given the state of our communications but I’ll worry less if I hear from you. (I guess that’s the Jewish mother in me!) Of course, if things are not OK, I want to know that as well. Perhaps, our Paul Winter Helping Hands Committee can find a way to help. At the very least, we can lend a sympathetic, listening ear.
At the same time we would like to invite all of you to have Shabbat “pasta dinner” tomorrow evening at the Temple at 6:30 p.m. We will provide the dinner; you bring a beverage and dessert. There is no charge, though donations are welcome. Please RSVP to email@example.com or text 201-658-9103. We are very grateful to Temple and Sisterhood board member, Anne Marie Bennoun, for organizing and cooking this dinner. Last night, thanks to the efforts of Ann Marie and other volunteers, we served dinner to nearly 50 Temple members whose homes are without power. Still others dropped by the Temple to charge their cell phones or other devices, get a cup of coffee or just get out of the cold and dark. We will be open until 8:00 p.m. tonight and open again at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, Saturday (Shabbat) and Sunday.
Last but not least I would like to ask if any of you reading this have any gasoline in a can that you would be willing to give or sell to another Temple member. A number of people have generators but have run out of gas, which is now very difficult to purchase. Please notify me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Temple Sinai provides many programs and services to our members. But, we are much more than an agency or institution. We are a community of people who are there for one another in good times and bad. We are a Temple Family.