- optionally, you can also login with:
Monthly Archives: 5 Tevet 5774 (December 26, 2009)
Parashat Vayigash – December 26, 2009 – 9 Tevet 5770 Finding the blessings in life that were promised to our ancestors and to us has been an arduous journey. It wasn’t easy for them. Nor is it easy for us, either.
Sorry for the delay without any kind of update. Our 5th grade began the year learning the significance of various morning prayers. We studied the tallit and its significance to the 613 mitzvot. Over the last several weeks, we’ve been involved in the Avot and Gevurot blessings of the Amidah. We will be continuing our studying of the Amidah for the next several weeks. Our 3rd grade class started the year discussing the many similarities as well as the many differences betwen Israel and the United States. We watched a video which reinforced our learning. Over the past several weeks, we’ve studied about Israel’s government, the Western Wall, the flag of Israel, and what makes Israel a Jewish State. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be learning about the immigrants that have gone to Israel in various waves and the various religions present as a result.
First we have learned about the Torah and the Five Books. We have learned about magic numbers like seven, three + four, and the most important one, 613 mitzvot. We have been walking in the footsteps of Abraham in Israel. We enjoyed pictures of Israel’s ancient view, as experienced by Abraham. We reenacted the story of Lot. Everybody enjoyed the outfits and scarves. Everyone participated. The taste of the chocolate reminded us how sweet the Torah is.
We have learned of ancient Israel through maps and photographs. We can find Ber-sheva, Abraham’s home. We can find Beth-lehem where Ruth came from. We studied and have learned the importance of being kind to strangers and those with differences. Did you know, that Ruth was a convert and she also was the great-grandmother of King David?! The miracle of Hanukkah is not only about oil lasting for eight days, but about victory and freedom in an ancient battle. We also discovered how sweet the Torah is by tasting chocolate.
Many American Jewish leaders would have us believe that the decline in Jewish continuity is a result of assimilation, intermarriage and a low birth rate. The real crisis, however, according to Rabbi Elie Kaufner, is that there are too few places where even those who are committed to their Judaism are able to experience the power and the mystery of Jewish tradition firsthand. We have become a community that depends upon others to translate Judaism for us, rather than challenging ourselves to participate more fully in the traditions and customs that accompany a prayerful life. We are detached from the siddur as well as the Torah. As rabbis, my colleagues and I struggle as to what our role is in regard to the communities that we serve. On the High Holidays when we sermonize, do we hand out platitudes of praise to those who are in attendance, sending them home happy about being in shul for a couple of hours? Or, is it our place to challenge the members of the community to raise the bar on their commitment to spirituality and Judaism, as measured in part by learning and synagogue attendance? How are our religious leaders to blame for … Continue reading
The Temple gratefully acknowledges these scrip purchasers (October 30 through November 30, 2009): Sue and David Carnevale, Anita and Phil Freed, Barbara and Michael Freeman, Sue and Michael Grant, Lisa Horowitz and David Huth, Elaine and Jack Israelsohn, Paige and Michael Katzenstein, David Mack and Stacey Parker, Linda and Dan Magalnick, Lisa Kosan and Scot Petersen, Lynn and Rabbi Steven Rubenstein, Tracey and Jerry Schwartz, Elissa and Alain Sireuil, Karen and Michael Stearn, Lorinda and Alan Visnick, Paul Weinberg.