SINAI UPDATE — Week of March 22-28, 2015

March 25th, 2015

SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  March 22-28, 2015    |    Parashat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36) 

Shabbat HaGadol (Shabbat preceding Passover)Reflections on the Jewish Calendar – Rabbi Andy Vogel

Passover is just 10 days away (the first Seder is Friday, April 3), and my family and I are busy preparing. At our Seder each year, to engage our guests, we invite each person to bring one item to the Seder which symbolizes for them freedom from oppression in their own life. We place each person’s item on a “Freedom Plate” (the idea was invented by my wife), and at certain points during the Seder, we ask each person to explain their item. Our guests have brought fascinating items: their passports, yoga clothes, car keys (teenagers have brought those!), even divorce papers! This has been one wonderful way to encourage discussion and active participation in the Seder (the worst thing is a boring Passover Seder!), and create a joyful, engaging atmosphere.

But this new ritual is more than just a strategy for inviting participation and fighting off boredom! For me, the entire Hagaddah can be summarized in one paragraph: “In every generation, we must see ourselves… as having been taken from slavery to freedom, from despair to joy, from mourning to celebration, from darkness to great light, and from enslavement to redemption. Therefore, we sing a new song to God!” This paragraph, which could easily be overlooked during the Seder, captures the entire emotional and spiritual meaning of the Hagaddah. On one level, we tell the mythic narrative of our people in a historical sense: once, millennia ago, we were slaves in Egypt, but then we were freed. But on a deeper level, as we see through this paragraph of binary opposites in the Hagaddah (i.e., “from slavery to freedom, from despair to joy”), Passover symbolizes the possibility of hope in our own lives; we, too, can experience the personal transformation of moving from despair – in whatever way we might experience it – to joy. In this way, Passover gives us an opportunity to identify with the ancient Israelites, to see ourselves as participants in a spiritual “Exodus” from the narrow places (=Mitzrayim, Hebrew for Egypt) in which we commonly find ourselves. Passover is an opportunity to tell our national story as a people, but it is also a moment to see our own lives within that story, even today, in this generation, removed as it is by thousands of years from the Biblical Exodus, as re-living the liberation and finding our own redemption. Or, in the words of our Mishkan Tefilah prayer book: “What happens once upon a time, happens all the time.”

-           Rabbi Andy Vogel


Additional D’var Torah, by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the URJ (Union for Reform Judaism)

“Unconditionally Loving Israel and Jewish Values,” March 21, 2015

I encourage you to read this important D’var Torah from the president of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), Rabbi Rick Jacobs:

-           Rabbi Andy Vogel

This Shabbat @ Temple Sinai

Join us this Friday night, March 27, for Erev Shabbat services, led by Rabbi Vogel and Cantor Toubes. We will celebrate the recent conversion to Judaism of Jessica Rondon by welcoming her to the Jewish people with a special blessing. The oneg is sponsored by Amara and Dan Cohen, in honor of the bar mitzvah of Zachary Cohen.


Shabbat morning Torah Study, this Saturday9:00 a.m.

Join Rabbi Vogel in his office for our bi-monthly Torah Study discussion, held on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays of each month, this Saturday, March 28, at 9:00 a.m. We begin with singing and a light breakfast, and then begin a discussion of the ideas of Judaism as they emerge from the week’s portion. All are welcome


Shabbat morning services, this Saturday10:30 a.m.

Join us this Saturday morning, March 28 at 10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary for Shabbat morning services, including the Bar Mitzvah of Zachary Cohen, son of Dan & Amara Cohen. The entire congregation is encouraged to attend, to hear Zack read from the Torah and share his thoughtful D’var Torah on the meaning of Shabbat HaGadol and the presence of Elijah the Prophet in the Haftarah portion. We wish Zack and his entire family Mazel Tov! Please join us.

In our lives…

We offer our condolences to Susan Sinclair on the death of her mother, Virginia Sinclair, who passed away Saturday March 14, 2015. She was 95 years old, still very spry and living in her home Lawrenceville, Indiana. We extend our condolences to Susan’s husband, Doug Bitman, and their daughters are Sophie Sinclair and Isabelle Bitman. Funeral services were held last Tuesday.

Camp Havdalah – Saturday, March 28

It’s time to get into the camp spirit! Regardless of whether you spend your summers at JORI, Camp Tevya, Camp Bauercrest, Crane Lake, 6 Points, Seneca Lake or Eisner, come join us at Temple Sinai for our annual Campfire Havdalah. Our program will take place from 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Together we will enjoy pizza, camp songs with Ben Harris, summer camp memories, and lots of fun. RSVP to camp ambassador, Michael Klau, at .

Cinema@Sinai – this Saturday, March 28, 7:00 p.m.

This last in this year’s Cinema@Sinai series ends with the film “When Do We Eat” (“My Big Fat Jewish Seder”). This hilarious story tells of the world’s fastest Passover Seder that goes horribly awry when the son secretly slips his father a dose of ecstasy at the beginning of the evening. Ira Stuckman tries to hurry things up as much as possible when he gathers his unique dysfunctional family together for what he declares will be “the fastest Seder,” but turns out to be everything but! The film will be shown in Weintraub Auditorium and will be followed by discussion. Please join us!

Mitzvah Day on Sunday, March 29 – Register on line now!

Approaching fast is Temple Sinai’s 13th annual Mitzvah Day on Sunday, March 29. Our program begins at noon in Ehrenfried Hall with a community lunch and send-off to volunteering opportunities throughout the community, and beyond. This year’s partners include the Brookline Emergency Food Pantry, the Yawkey Inn, Cradles-to-Crayons, the Anna Bissonette House, Chestnut Park Assisted Living, and more. We have projects planned for people of all ages!   Online registration for Mitzvah Day is happening now. Please register now so you can get your first choice of sites! For more information and to register online please visit  In preparation for Mitzvah Day, we are currently collecting cans for the Brookline Emergency Food Pantry. Please remember to check expiration dates. Questions? Contact Family Learning Coordinator, Hannah Kalson.

Adult Learning Passover Workshop – “Spicing Up Your Seder,”  this Sunday, March 29, 9:30 a.m.

 Temple Sinai’s Rabbi Emeritus Frank Waldorf will lead this year’s Passover Workshop. “Spicing Up Your Seder” will examine old and new ideas for making your Seder more participatory and engaging for people of all ages. If you have seen or done something great at a previous Seder, please bring your tale to share! The workshop takes place in the Charles Street Room.

Temple Sinai’s Annual Passover Music Festival ….Sunday March 29th at 7:30!

The legendary Joshua Nelson and the Kosher Gospel Singers will perform at this year’s Passover Music Festival! Joshua Nelson’s music combines the energy and rhythm of Gospel music with traditional words and lyrics of Jewish prayer. Save the date and join us for a high energy and  spiritually uplifting  performance.  A $10 donation is requested at the door.    Open seating – come early!

Join us for our Passover Second Seder, April 4

Once again this year, Temple Sinai will sponsor a Seder on the second night of Passover, Saturday, April 4 at 5:45 p.m. in Ehrenfried Hall. Our Seder liturgy will be participatory, interactive, and fun. Children will join in the Seder and also enjoy separate programming.   The Seder will last about two hours and will include an afikomen hunt! Bring your own wine to share with the community. The dinner is catered.   You can register on line or by completing the form below and mailing to the office with your check. Everyone MUST RSVP. The requested donation to cover our expenses for the Seder is $36 for adults and $5 for children. Please note that if you are in a position to donate at a somewhat higher level, you will be helping us to make this, truly, a Community Seder. Register on line! Visit

Cohon Memorial Lecture by URJ President Rick Jacobs – next Friday, April 10

In honor of Temple Sinai’s 75th anniversary, we are proud to welcome Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism to deliver the Cohon Memorial Lecture at Erev Shabbat services on Friday, April 10, 7:30 p.m. A dynamic speaker and visionary leader, Rabbi Jacobs has already had a deep impact on the work of the Reform movement. He is a vigorous advocate for the strengths of Reform Judaism today while working to reshape the Movement so it can support meaningful, vibrant Jewish life for the 21st century. Rabbi Jacobs’ topic is “Our Sacred Journey, Our Sacred Mission.” We welcome all to join us for this extraordinary Shabbat.

Yom Hashoah event : The Lazowski Journey – Sunday, April 12, 9:30 a.m.

At our Yom Kippur afternoon panel, David Lazowski shared the remarkable story of his father’s WWII experience: parentless, hiding from the Nazis in Poland for 3 years, surviving the war, and then coming to the US where he ultimately meets with the family that helped save his life. (And then there’s a twist!) To commemorate Yom Hashoah, David’s father, Rabbi Philip Lazowski, will share a brief film and then talk about his journey.   Dr. Philip Lazowski, Rabbi, was born in 1930 near Vilna in Bielice, Poland (now Belarus). Rabbi Lazowski served as Spiritual Leader of Congregation Beth Shalom in Hartford from 1955-1969 and continued in that position at Beth Hillel Synagogue in Bloomfield, CT from 1969 to 2000. He is now Rabbi Emeritus at Beth Hillel Synagogue. Please join us on Sunday, April 12, 9:30 a.m. in the Charles Street Room.

Social Justice Advocacy Day: Learning and Acting with the URJ RAC – April 12

Join the Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island URJ Community and our partners at the Religious Action Center as we learn new and effective ways to take part in Jewish social justice work. Synagogue members are invited to join with social justice leaders from the 41 Reform synagogues in our region to learn about important global, national, and local issues and how to advocate effectively both as Reform Jews and as concerned citizens. The event will take place at Temple Shalom, Newton on Sunday, April 12, 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.$36 per person. Attendees will have the opportunity to network and share ideas and resources regarding social justice initiatives. The event is open to any congregant interested in our collective work of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and launching local initiatives. For more information, contact Chuck Koplik.

CPR and AED Training at Temple Sinai – Sunday, April 12, 2015, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

We will be offering a CPR and AED Training for temple members and some staff on Sunday, April 12. The $30 per person cost includes the instructional book and American Heart Association card. Contact Mike Klau to register or if you have questions,

Calling all 5th and 6th Graders: come play laser tag with kids from Temple Ohabei Shalom – Sunday, April 12, 3:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.

We are joining with kids from Temple Ohabei Shalom to play laser tag! We will leave from Temple Ohabei Shalom by school bus at 3:30 p.m., and return by 6:15 p.m. The cost is $25 – all inclusive. Please RSVP by April 7 to Ben Harris at . Don’t miss out on the fun!

Next Community Shabbat Dinner – Friday, April 17     

Join our entire community for our April catered Shabbat dinner following Shabbat@Six services  on Friday, April 17. Enjoy a lively, musical service at 6:00 p.m. and then stay for dinner.   All ages are invited and kids eat free! Financial assistance is available. Click   to register. If you can help set up or clean up or if you have any questions, contact Daria Cohen. We look forward to seeing you.

VOTE for ARZA in the World Zionist Congress Elections!

Vote now!   Click here: to register your vote to strengthen the voice of liberal Judaism in Israel. The World Zionist Organization is the voice of Diaspora Jews around the world in important social issues in Israel including freedom of religion, gender equality, conversion, marriage and divorce, and empowerment of young adult leaders. Elections are important, and are being held NOW through April 30. Please vote for ARZA, the Reform movement’s party! It’s quick and easy (a small fee of $10 is required to pay for the election). Click here: to vote and learn more.

Save the date!  next Tzedek@Sinai brunch – Sunday, April 26 

The next scheduled Tzedek@Sinai brunch is scheduled for Sunday, April 26 on a topic TBA.  Save the date for a delicious breakfast and an informative discussion.   All are welcome!

Join us for a gala celebration! – Saturday, May 2

Dance the night away to celebrate Temple Sinai’s 75th anniversary! Dinner! Fabulous live band! Entertainment! Signature Cocktail! Free Parking! Friends old and new! Babysitting! Join the celebration of this wonderful milestone in our community on Saturday evening, May 2, at the Courtyard Marriott overlooking the Charles River in Cambridge. Cocktails from 7:00 -8:00 p.m.; dinner, dancing and entertainment from 8:00 p.m.- 10:30 p.m.   RSVP on line by April 15th by clicking Save the date and watch for your invitation in the mail!

Bernstein, JeffreySpinoza and Law, Part II – begins May 10

What is it about Spinoza’s conception of law that made the 17th century thinker (1) the most reviled man in the Amsterdam Jewish community, (2) the favorite son the Zionist movement aimed at developing the State of Israel, (3) the most beloved predecessor of contemporary Marxist theory, and (4) the strangely compelling precursor to contemporary neuroscience (as explained by Antonio Damasio)? Do any of these constituencies get him right? This year, we will extend our discussion to Spinoza’s discussion of Biblical Law in his Theological-Political Treatise, and explore the consequences of his ideas for freedom, religion, politics, and human existence. No previous background is required. The class takes place over two Sundays, May 10 and 1711:00 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. It is taught by Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein, associate professor of philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross. He returns to Temple Sinai having grown up here, the son of Temple Sinai members Steven and Judy Bernstein.

Can Drive to benefit the Brookline Emergency Food Pantry

In preparation for Mitzvah Day on Sunday, March 29, we are having a can drive to benefit the Brookline Emergency Food Pantry. Between now and Mitzvah Day, we are collecting canned goods. Please leave your donations in the Temple office – remember to check expiration dates. Thanks for helping us perform the mitzvah of “Ma’akhil R’evim” or feeding the hungry.

~Heidi Smith Hyde, Director of Education

Don’t yet have your copy of Temple Sinai’s history book? – call the office to arrange to receive one!  

All members of Temple Sinai can receive the gift of a  free copy of Temple Sinai’s recently published history book.  If you have not yet received your edition of this fantastic book, please call the Temple office, 617-277-5888, ext 3,  and speak to  Administrative Assistant, Nancy Hogan.  She will make arrangements for you to obtan your copy.  You can also email her at

In the community….. 

The 2015 Israeli Elections: What’s ahead for the State of Israel? with Yehuda Yaakov, the Honorary Consul General of Israel to New England. This event will be on Thursday, March 26th at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Beth Zion, Brookline, and is open to the entire community.

For more than a decade, Mr. Yaakov has played an important role in formulating and implementing Israel’s diplomatic approach to managing strategic challenges. Since 2008 he has focused on the public-diplomacy aspects of the Iranian crisis, work for which he received the Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General’s award for excellence in 2012. Mr. Yaakov will give an analysis of the election results and how they might impact Israel’s future.

SINAI UPDATE — Week of March 15-21, 2015

March 18th, 2015

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SINAI UPDATE — Week of March 8-15. 2015

March 11th, 2015

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SINAI UPDATE — Week of March 1-7. 2015

March 4th, 2015

  SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  March 1-7.  2015    |  Parashat Ki Tisa  (Exodus 30:11 – 34:35)    Purim is tonight, Weds.,… [Read more]

SINAI UPDATE — Week of February 22-28, 2015

February 25th, 2015

  SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  February 22-28, 2015    |  Parashat Tetzaveh  (Exod.27:20-30:10)  Shabbat Zachor (the Shabbat that precedes Purim) Reflections on the Torah… [Read more]

SINAI UPDATE — Week of February 15-21, 2015

February 18th, 2015

  SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  February 15-21, 2015    |   Parashat Terumah   This Shabbat @ Temple Sinai: Erev Shabbat Service, 7:30 p.m.   … [Read more]

SINAI UPDATE — Week of February 1-7, 2015

February 4th, 2015

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  February 1-7, 2015    |   Parashat Yitro (Exodus. 18:1 – 20:26)   Tu B’Shevat is celebrated this… [Read more]

January 28th, 2015

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  January 25-31, 2015    |   Parashat  B’shallach/Shabbat Shirah (Exodus 13:17 – 17:16)   Reflections… [Read more]

SINAI UPDATE — Week of January 18-24, 2015

January 21st, 2015

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  January 18-24, 2015    |   Parashat  Bo (Exodus 10:1 – 13:16)   Reflections on the Torah Portion… [Read more]

SINAI UPDATE — Week of January 11-17, 2015

January 15th, 2015

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