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 – Rabbi Andy Vogel

In these days following Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we read in the Torah of the plague of darkness in Egypt. In describing this ninth plague, the Torah portion teaches that the darkness was so thick, so dense, that in Egyptian residential areas “one person could not see the face of another” (Exodus 10:22). The Torah indicates here that the inability (or perhaps, refusal) to see the human face of “the other” was an essential part of the plague. In this xenophobic place, where strangers and foreigners were shunned from Pharaoh on down, we could say that the plague of darkness was self-imposed: the Egyptians turned away from shining light upon the humanity of others.

Rev. King wrote that “every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness.” As the American holiday honoring him has just passed, we cannot forget to continue striving to “have light in our habitations” (Exodus 10:23), and truly see others who may be different from ourselves in all their humanity, in all the complexity and beauty of their being. We can eschew racism and bigotry, fear and alienation from “the other,” and see how, at our core, we are all members of the family of human kind. This will lead us all to freedom and liberation.

            – Rabbi Andy Vogel
Expressing our concern for members of our community at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Yesterday’s shooting incident at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, which is close to Temple Sinai, invites us all to pause for a moment, to express our concern for the victim, who is a physician, and his family. We also reach out to the many members of Temple Sinai and our extended community who work at the Brigham & Women’s, who experienced the chaos, uncertainty and fear during the terrible episode yesterday. In that spirit, collectively, our community offers a Mi Sheberach prayer for healing for everyone affected. May we all experience healing and wholeness after yesterday’s events, and may we all find peace.

This Shabbat @ Temple Sinai    

 Please join us Friday night, January 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary for our annual “Shabbat L’Noar” service led by our teenagers. The teens have been preparing for Friday’s service for many weeks during our weekly Sunday night “Sinai U” classes with youth advisor Ben Harris and coordinator Jessica Lowenthal. In addition, we will celebrate the conversion to Judaism of temple member Christine Berg, and offer her a welcome blessing. Rabbi Vogel and Cantor Toubes will be present, but the service will be mostly led by teenagers. The oneg Shabbat is sponsored by Sinai U parents Marcia Goldberg and Alan Grossman; Diane Ring and Glenn Kaplan; Ian and Eva Sklaver;and Rena Sokolow and John Anderson. Please join us!

Purimshpiel needs Religious School kids to perform in the show!

We’re looking for kids to join the fun, and participate in Temple Sinai’s annual Purim Shpiel. This year’s Shpiel, which takes place on Saturday, March 7th, features the music of Bruce Springsteen, and we’d like the kids to join us in a song (or two or three). Rehearsals for those songs will take place on Sunday afternoons, starting at 1pm, with none scheduled on the two Sundays before and after school vacation. There will also be two evening dress rehearsals in the week right before the show.  Interested? Please contact Ellen Bruder- Moore or Stan Bolotin. Don’t miss this great opportunity to perform in a show! (See more information about the Purim Shpiel below.)

“Understanding Our Jewish History: A Look at the Lives of Our Biblical Forebears” – continuestomorrow evening, Thursday, January 22, 7:00 p.m. 

We will look at the three generations that make up the foundation of Judaism: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob, Rachel and Leah and examine their lives and the difficult decisions they made. As we will see, they may not have always done the “right” thing. Come to hear about their lives and discuss the very human side of their stories. The class is taught by Temple Sinai seasoned teacher and Hebrew College rabbinic student Jessica Lowenthal. This is a continuing class which will conclude on January  29, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Israel Committee invites you to “An Evening with Peter Beinart” – tomorrow,   January 22, 7:00 p.m.

Temple Sinai’s Israel Education and Action Committee, in co-sponsorship with Temple Beth Zion and other organizations, invites you to this event will take place at TBZ on Thursday, January 22 at 7:00 p.m. Peter Beinart, author of the book “The Crisis of Zionism” is an Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York and has made numerous media appearances. Admission is $18 per person. To learn more about the event, click

Shabbat Morning Torah Study, this Saturday, 9:00 a.m.

Join us for our regular Shabbat morning Torah Study discussion in Rabbi Vogel’s office at 9:00 a.m. We begin with a light breakfast, and then explore the week’s Torah portion, and the Jewish ideas that spring from it, in a lively and open discussion. All are welcome!

Larry LowenthalAdult Learning,  “Jews of Hollywood – The Last 75 Years” continues this Sunday, January 25, 11:00 a.m.

Jews founded the Hollywood studio system in the early part of the 20th century and are still predominant in the industry today as producers, directors, writers, distributors, actors, and independent studio heads. We will trace the extraordinary history of Hollywood and the Jews since 1939, in terms of the studio system, the films produced, the actors on the screen and the tumultuous political and social controversies that inflame emotions even today.  The class is taught by Temple Sinai member Dr. Lawrence Lowenthal, former Director of the Boston Chapter of the American Jewish Committee. This continuing class will conclude on  February 1.   All are welcome.

Sinai U Teen Led Service & Shul-In: Friday, January 23 – Saturday, January 24

Students in Grades 7 – 10 are invited to participate in an evening full of fun and excitement, chaperoned by your Sinai U team! We have a wonderful group of teens leading a fantastic Kabbalat Shabbat Service at 7:30 p.m., followed by a Shul-In (overnight) right here at Temple Sinai. The evening, beginning with Shabbat dinner, will include an Instagram scavenger hunt and a movie. All activities will be held within the walls of our very own building! Drop-Off for the event will be at 4:45 PM at Temple Sinai. Pick-Up will be at 10:00 AM the next morning. For more information and to register for the Shul-In, please visit this link. There is no charge for this event. (registration closes today,  Wednesday, January 21). Questions? Contact Youth Advisor, Ben Harris, at

Cinema@Sinai — this Saturday evening, January 24, 7:00 p.m.

Join us at Temple Sinai for our own mini-Jewish film festival. Coordinated by Amos Lassen, three films will be shown through the year, and each has been chosen for an evening together with friends. Schmooze, watch a move, and discuss it afterwards. The next film in the series is “God on Trial.” Following the harrowing ritual of selection for death or hard labor, a group of new inmates, unsure of their appointed fates, begins asking how God could allow for so much suffering, and they impulsively decide to put God on trial for abandoning His chosen people.  The movie will be shown on Saturday evening, January 24 at,7:00 p.m. in Weintraub Auditorium. Please come!

Lassen,  AmosCosponsored by Adult Learning and Israel Committees:  “The Kibbutz” – begins January 25, 9:30 a.m. 

The kibbutz, the twentieth century’s most interesting social experiment, is now in the throes of change. Instrumental in establishing the State of Israel, defending its borders, creating its agriculture and industry, and setting its social norms, the kibbutz played a central role in a nation’s life. Over the years, the kibbutz has been marginalized and is undergoing a radical transformation. In three sessions – one of which will be made up of films – we will look at the kibbutz in its historical context and see how and why changes have occurred. We will look at the catalysts for these changes as well as the failure of the unique kibbutz education system to perpetuate communal values, and consider what the future will bring.

PLEASE NOTE CLASS DATE CHANGE.   There is no class on February 1.  This class  continues on  February 8 and concludes on February 15,  9:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. It is taught by Temple member Amos Lassen, a long-time teacher who spent many years living in Israel.

Next  Tzedek@Sinai‘s “Fourth Sunday of the Month” Brunch –  this Sunday, January 25,  9:15 – 11:00 a.m.

Set the agenda for Temple Sinai’s social justice planning!   We’ll discuss what we’ve learned from two months of house meetings. The results of our conversation will inform Temple Sinai’s social justice agenda and our input to GBIO’s planning for the coming years. Delicious bagels, lox, cream cheese, fruit, veggies, and coffee will be served at 9:15! Everyone is welcome – bring a friend! RSVP is appreciated! Email or call Zippy Ostroy or Scot Osterweil.

Adult Bat Mitzvah - TorahAdult Bar/Bat Mitzvah information session: this Sunday,  January 25, 201511:45 a.m. 

Consider joining our next group of “Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah” students! Our Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah program is an opportunity for adults to learn more Hebrew, gain the skill of chanting from the Torah, explore the meaning of prayer and spirituality in our lives, explore your relationship with Judaism more deeply. A new class will begin in March 2015, meeting mostly on Sunday mornings through April 2016, with a celebration at the end of that month. Join us for an information session on Sunday, January 25, at 11:45 a.m.

Oneg sponsors needed! –  January 30th and March 6th

Sponsoring an oneg Shabbat or serving as a Greeter at a Friday night service is an easy way to connect with the Sinai community and to help the Temple at the same time! Please consider sponsoring an oneg this year. The oneg does not need to be elaborate, there are written instructions available and you can team up with a friend to sponsor one. We need sponsors through the year but especially on January 30th and March 6th.  Please contact Kathy Arnstein ( if you would like to sponsor an oneg or if you have any questions.

“Drop In” for information on our staff search processes –  Sunday, February 1,  11:00 a.m. 

Are you interested in Temple Sinai’s search processes for a Congregational Engagement Professional and for a Cantorial Soloist? If yes, drop in on  Sunday, February 1 between 11:00 am and 12:00 noon, at the Charles Street Room, to talk with Charlie Homer and Nora Abrahamer, the chairs of these search committees respectively. These are casual drop-in conversations, open to all Sinai members who are curious about what we are looking for, how we are going about it, and where we are in our search to fill these new positions.

~Nora Abrahamer and Charlie Homer

Friday, February 6, 7:30 p.m. – Receive your copy of Sinai’s fabulous 75th history book!
Temple Sinai member Dr. Drew Darien will speak at Shabbat services about Temple Sinai’s engrossing history and about the new book he has written, “Building the Sacred and Progressive: A History of Temple Sinai’s First 75 Years.” Dr.  Darien is a Professor of History at Salem State University, where he teaches courses in modern United States history and oral history.  He is the author of “Becoming New York’s Finest: Race, Gender, and Identity in the New York City Police Department.”  This history of Temple Sinai is a collaborative effort, with design by Rochelle Seltzer and  Hildy Neumann serving as Project Manager and providing editorial assistance.   Copies  of this book will be distributed free to all temple members at the festive oneg following services.   Come learn about Temple Sinai’s past and take home a beautiful keepsake of history!

Save the dates for these 75 th Anniversary special evenings!

~Dinner and Dialogue: Saturday evening, March 21

Dinner & Dialogue is a special evening to celebrate our 75th Anniversary by building

community and connections between our members. This will be an evening that consists of simultaneous dinner parties, each featuring a Temple Sinai member as a speaker in a salon-type setting. This person will be prominent in his or her field. These dinner salons will be hosted in area homes by Sinai member hosts who graciously agree to cook or cater dinner for a small group in their home. Invitations- and a choice of conversation topics-will arrive in your mailbox soon. Please join us!

~75th Anniversary Gala: Saturday, May 2

Join us to dance the night away in celebration of Temple Sinai’s first 75 years! We’ll be at the Courtyard Marriott, just across the river from Temple Sinai. A live band, great food and drink will create a party vibe that you won’t want to miss. Stay tuned for invitations and information on babysitting by Temple Sinai teens.

Adult Learning: “Redemptive Struggle in Black & Jewish American Experiences: What the Civil Rights Era Teaches” – Sunday, February 8, 11:00 am – 12:20 pm

Temple Sinai member Tomiko Brown-Nagin will teach this class which will take place in the Charles Street Room at 11:00 a.m. Tomiko Brown-Nagin is the Daniel Paul Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History at Harvard University. She is an awarding-winning historian and expert in constitutional law and education law and policy. Her book, Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement (2011, Oxford University Press), won the prestigious Bancroft Prize in US History, one of the highest honors awarded annually to a work in the field of history.

Poetry FestTemple Sinai’s 6th Annual Jewish Poetry Festival — Sunday , February 8, 2:00 pm

Now an annual event, following up on the five previous highly successful poetry festivals, this year’s event for adults will include a reading and discussion of poems by Jewish poets within Temple Sinai and our community. This year, our featured poets will be Marsha Pomerantz andBill Yarrow.  Join us for an afternoon of poetry, music, and refreshments, with readings by these accomplished Jewish poets on Jewish themes. Larry Lowenthal will be the moderator. The event is coordinated by Deborah Leipziger, Judith Steinbergh, and Jennifer Barber. If you would like to share your poetry or writing at this Festival, please contact Deborah Leipziger at .

Our next Community Shabbat Dinner is Friday, February 13 – register on line!
Join our entire community for our monthly catered Shabbat dinner following Shabbat@Six services on Friday, February 13. 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 there!

Celebrate Purim at Temple Sinai! – March 4 and March 7

Purim comes only once in a year – join in on the fun!

~On Wednesday, March 4 at 5:45 p.m. there will be crafts for young children at the back of the Sanctuary, followed by our raucous Megillah reading at 6:00 p.m. There will be a costume parade that evening, so don’t forget to come in your own crazy costume! And be prepared to make some noise!

~On the following Saturday evening, March 7, the performance of the arts season will take place — right in our sanctuary! The Temple Sinai Players will take the stage for our annual Purim Shpiel. This year, the Shpielers perform “Who’s the Boss: The Story of Purim told through the music of Bruce Springsteen.”  Come for a rock and rolling good time!

Rainbow Shabbat, March 20, 7:30 p.m., Rabbi Steve Greenberg

In 2004 Rabbi Steve Greenberg published a book entitled, Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition. The book’s title refers to Jacob’s wrestling match with an angelic stranger who injures and blesses him. Since the book’s publication much has transpired to move queer identity from the shadows into the light, and not only in liberal communities but in more traditional Jewish worlds, as well. Rabbi Greenberg will share his own journey, “Limping into the Light” and offer a portrayal of the tumultuous social and moral shifts during the last decade that have made a religious gayness increasingly possible. Rabbi Greenberg is a renowned speaker across the U.S., and has participated in forums such as Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. He lives in Brookline with his partner Steven Goldstein and their daughter Amalia.

Register now for trip to Eastern Europe, May 16-27, 2015!

You can now register for Temple Sinai’s congregational trip to Eastern Europe, including Budapest, Prague and Berlin, which will take place on May 16-27, 2015, led by Rabbi Vogel. Registration is limited to 30 participants, and will close when we reach that number, so register now through the ARZA Travel website: Please note corrected address: .For more information, call ARZA or speak with Rabbi Vogel. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime tour with members of your synagogue community!

SINAI UPDATE — Week of January 11-17, 2015

January 15th, 2015

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January 4th, 2015

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SINAI UPDATE — Week of December 21-27, 2014

December 24th, 2014

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December 17th, 2014

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December 10th, 2014

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December 3rd, 2014

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Sinai Update — Week of November 23-29, 2014

November 26th, 2014

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Sinai Update — Week of November 16-22, 2014

November 19th, 2014

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