Sinai Update – Week of August 24-31, 2014

August 27th, 2014

   SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of August 24-30, 2014  | Parashat Shoftim

Sinai Update – Week of August 24-30, 2014Parashat Shoftim (Deut. 16:18 - 21:9)

Reflections on the Jewish Calendar – Rabbi Andy Vogel

On Monday evening, the New Moon appeared in the western sky at sunset and announced the new Hebrew month of Elul, the month of personal preparation that precedes the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah begins on Wednesday evening, September 24). Elul is the month in which we begin to engage in personal teshuvah, repentance, self-reflection, self-accounting, and self-examination, at time in which we evaluate our lives and their meaning as the sacred days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur approach. For a littler fewer than 30 days now, we have the opportunity to prepare our hearts for the New Year, considering how we have spent our days during the past year, how we may have missed the mark during that time, and how we might re-align our behavior to fit our vision of our best selves.

During this month of Elul, I encourage you to consider, in every area and aspect of your life – in your relationships, in your work, in your care of self, in your connection to your community, in your relationship with God, in your obligations to the Jewish people, and more – how well you are fulfilling your vision of your best self. Are you living up to your ideal picture of you? How, or how not, and why? What would you like to change, and how could you do it? These questions are hard and challenging to face, and most of us try to turn our faces away from them. But the month of Elul gives us a gift – to begin to consider them, so that when Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur arrive, we are better prepared to provide our best answers – which are manifest through our actions.

I wish you a Chodesh Tov, a good new month.

-           Rabbi Andy Vogel

This Shabbat @ Temple Sinai

Please join us this Friday at 6:00 p.m. for Erev Shabbat services, led by Temple Sinai members Jodie Kliman and David Trimble. This is the last of our summer schedule services in air conditioned Ehrenfried Hall, before we return to our regular Shabbat schedule with services in the Sanctuary on Friday, September 5 at 7:30 p.m.Please join us.

In our lives….

We wish mazel tov to Naomi Krasner, on the birth of another grandchild, Shoshana Margalit Orenstein, who was born on Weds., August 20, and named after Naomi’s mother’s sister Marguerite. Baby Shoshana’s parents are Naomi’s son and daughter-in-law Nathaniel & Sara Orenstein. We wish them all mazel tov and much joy!


We offer our condolences to the family of Leonard “Leibl” Fein, who was our Cohon Memorial Lecture speaker at Temple Sinai in November 2011, and who passed away on August 14 at age 80. Leibl was a distinguished Jewish writer and activist, a prophetic voice within Reform Judaism and Zionism, a weekly contributor for the weekly Forward Jewish newspaper, the founder of Moment magazine, the MAZON Jewish anti-hunger organization and the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy, among many other accomplishments. His New York Times obituary can be found here:

Temple Sinai’s 75th Anniversary: L’Chaim!We are delighted to announce plans for celebrating Temple Sinai’s 75th anniversary! Temple Sinai was founded in 1939 and has grown, changed, evolved, and become the wonderful,vibrant place we know today. In thinking about how to celebrate this milestone, we thought about what the Temple means to each of us — a place to celebrate or mark the important events in our lives, and a place to find joy, comfort, and strength from our community. And with that came our central theme: L’Chaim! We’ve planned some exciting events this year, beginning with a very special 75th birthday party for our religious schoolers in September, and culminating in a Gala dinner and celebration for the adult community in May. But you’ll find that the theme of L’Chaim! infuses many of the Temple’s activities this year, from Adult Learning programs to Mitzvah Day to the Purim Spiel. We hope you’ll find it to be an engaging, inspiring, and celebratory year. Our 75th anniversary is a time to reflect, but also a time to look forward. L’Chaim! – and Cheers! — to the next 75 years.

– The 75th Anniversary Committee: Cathy Cotton and Jill Winitzer, co-chairs

Marc Cooper, Abby Cox, Martha Hausman, Caryl Hull-Leavitt, Tracey Hyams, Diane Ripstein

Prospective Member Shabbat Service - Friday, September 5, 7:30 p.m. Our service on Friday, September 5, marks a return to our regular Erev Shabbat service schedule. The service will be take place in our sanctuary and begins at 7:30 p.m.   We issue a special invitation to people who are interested in joining a synagogue to come to this, our “Prospective Member Shabbat.” If you know of people who might want to learn about Temple Sinai and its Religious School, please ask them to join us on Friday, September 5. Our Temple office is always happy to provide a packet of information about Temple Sinai.  Please call 617-277-5888.

Interested in a building Master Plan update? – Board of Trustee meeting, Thursday, September 11,  Ehrenfried Hall The Master Plan Committee will make recommendations to the Board of Trustees at its Thursday, September 11 Board meeting.   Board members will vote on the recommendations at that time. All Board of Trustee meetings are open to the general membership and Temple members are welcome to attend.  Please note NEW date for this meeting.

Adult Learning Classes Begin in September!

Shabbat Morning Torah Study – begins September 13, 9:00 - 10:20 a.m.

Twice a month on Shabbat mornings, Temple Sinai members gather in Rabbi Vogel’s study to discuss the ideas presented by the week’s Torah portion. We begin with a light breakfast and a bit of singing, and then study the text in English. You need not have any prior study of the Torah or Hebrew knowledge, simply an interest in considering the Torah portion as it relates to our contemporary experiences or those of Jews in previous generations before us. The class takes place on the second and fourth Saturday mornings of each month and begins on Saturday September 13. All are welcome

Adult Hebrew class graphic

Beginner’s Hebrew for Adults — starts September 14
Start the year off with an introduction to Hebrew!  This course is appropriate for students who have little or no background in reading Hebrew.  If you once learned letters long ago, but need a refresher course, or never had the opportunity to learn the Alef-Bet, come join us.  The class offers the means to firm up first steps and to gain some proficiency in reading.  It provides a fun, non-judgmental learning environment.  Open to Temple Sinai members and the community.  The class, taught by Dr. Sandy Goldfless, begins on September 14 and continues on September 21 and 28, 11:00 – 12:30 p.m

A First Glance at Mishkan HaNefesh, the New Reform Machzor (High Holy Day Prayer Book) -Sunday, September 14, 9:30 a.m. in Weintraub Auditorium

The Reform movement has been drafting a new Machzor, a High Holy Day prayer book, over the past four years. In ways both creative and traditional, the new Machzor will enhance our experience of the High Holy Days when it is published in 2015. Sample pages are available to us to read through and examine as we prepare to use the new Machzor in another year. Come explore parts of the draft of the Machzor, to get a taste of how it will allow our community to deepen our Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur experience through prayer, music, repentance, forgiveness and celebration.

Sandy Goldfless

Exploring the Bible on Shabbat morning – begins Saturday, September 20, 10:30 a.m.

In this ongoing class, you will become familiar with a large number of great texts from the Hebrew Bible – the Prophets and Writings, as well as the Torah. Join us as we read these texts closely (in English) and try to put them into the cultural context of ancient Israel where they took shape, to pay attention to the literary devices they use to convey their meaning, and to connect them to the Jewish tradition. This class in the Tanach is taught by Dr. Sandy Goldfless, member of Temple Sinai.  The class begins onSeptember 20 and on one scheduled day each month – the Shabbat on which Rabbi Vogel’s Torah Study discussion doesn’t meet and when there is no Community Shabbat morning service. Please email Sandy of your interest in such a class, at or call him at 617-738-1754.

Save the date! Reflection: Tzedek@Sinai – A Jewish Communal Response to Poverty, Sunday, September 21, 2:00 p.m.~~Tzedek Reflection: A Jewish Communal Response to Poverty: mobilizing the Jewish community to address issues of poverty through education, advocacy and service. There will be a second communal gathering to explore and respond to our responsibilities as Jews in insuring dignity and fairness for all workers.The gathering will take place on Sunday, September 21, 2014, 2:00 – 4:30 p.m., location TBA.


Join Tzedek@Sinai for brunch! Sunday, September 28, 2014, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

~~Temple Sinai members are invited to talk informally with each other about the social justice issues that mean a lot to you.Hear about current initiatives, ways to participate and opportunities to make a difference, especially with a new governor being elected in November. More information to follow!


Strausberg, AviAdult Learning: The Jewish Class of Why – begins October 2, register on-line!Did you ever wonder why we joyfully break a glass at Jewish wedding? Or, why we have two challahs at our Friday night meal? In this class, we will address the why’s of all of the curious questions behind why Jews do what they do. We will track down our answers by working our way back through time, starting with the Torah, continuing with the Mishnah and Talmud, and then following the thread of our question as a particular practice develops and is shaped throughout the generations. By the end of this class, you’re guaranteed to walk away with some educated, well-sourced answers as well as a few more questions to keep you curious in the years to come. Taught by Hebrew College rabbinic student Avi Strausberg, the Jewish Class of Why will include 2 hours of suggested reading assignments each week, with the intent to raise the level of discussion, learning and understanding. The class beginsThursday evening October 2 and continues October 9, 23, and 30, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Tuition is $25 for Temple Sinai members ($30 non-members.) To register, call the Temple office or click

High Holy Day Services, 5775
We will be mailing High Holy Day tickets to our members in good standing after Labor Day.
Temple Sinai’s schedule of High Holy Day services:

EREV ROSH HASHANAH - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Service 7:00 p.m.


ROSH HASHANAH – First Day, Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rosh Hashanah Morning Service   9:30 a.m.

Children’s Programs in Religious School Wing:

Pre-K through Grade 2, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Grade 3-6 Services start off in Sanctuary, 9:30 a.m.

Tashlich  12:30 p.m.

Children’s Service:  Ages 1-8, 2:15 p.m.


ROSH HASHANAH -Second Day,  Friday, September 26, 2014

Congregational Hike and Shofar-Blowing

Meet at Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge, Concord, 10:00 a.m.


KOL NIDRE - Friday, October 3, 2014

Kol Nidre Service  7:00 p.m.


YOM KIPPUR - Saturday, October 4, 2014

Yom Kippur Morning Service   9:30 a.m.

Children’s Programs in Religious School wing:

Pre-K through Grade 2, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Grade 3-6 Services start off in Sanctuary, 9:30 a.m.

Healing Service 1:00 p.m.

Children’s Service, Ages 1-8, 1:45 p.m.

Afternoon Panel Presentation and Discussion  3:00 p.m.

Afternoon, Memorial and Ne’ilah Services 4:15 p.m.


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:

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!

Register for Religious School ONLINEThis year for the first time, we are doing ONLINE religious school registration. Please make sure you register your K – 12 child by visiting

 In addition, to reserve your child’s place, kindly send in a $100 (per child) deposit  to Temple Sinai, 50 Sewall Avenue, Brookline, MA, 02446. Questions? Contact Director of Education, Heidi Smith Hyde, at 617-277-5883 .

From the Adult Learning Committee…..Last May, poet Yermiyahu Aaron Taub presented a guest d’var Torah at a Temple Sinai Friday night service. For those of you who have asked about the possibility of obtaining copies of his poetry, two of his newest books, “Uncle Feygele” and “Prayers of a Heretic” are now available at Kolbo. We hope that the two earlier books will be available soon.

Amos Lassen, Adult Learning Committee

“Parenting Through a Jewish Lens” class offered at Temple Sinai in the fall!

“Parenting Through a Jewish Lens,” sponsored by Hebrew College and Combined Jewish Philanthropies, is a ten-week program that brings expert facilitators together with caring parents to foster greater understanding of their vital role in their children’s lives. Using the wisdom of our Jewish forebears – biblical, rabbinical and modern – the class is a launching pad for exploring what it means to be parents today, raising Jewish children of all ages. We are pleased to offer this course at Temple Sinai in the fall, beginning Sunday, November 2, from 7:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. For more information and to register, please contact

~Heidi Smith Hyde, Director of Education

Volunteers neededOccasionally, if the Temple secretaries are away or if there are sizable mailings, we need clerical assistance in the Temple’s front office.  That need is particularly acute at this time of year. If you are able to help – stuffing envelopes, answering telephones, mailing newsletters – please contact Linda Katz, or 617-277-5888, ext 5 and let her know what days and times of day you are generally available.

In the community……

Mayyim Hayyim presents, “Wrestling with Gender and Commandment”, A Conversation with Haviva Ner-David, Tova Mirvis, and Anita Diamant on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.  A lively discussion about women, Judaism, and literature in the Paula Brody & Family Education Center at Mayyim Hayyim. For directions and more information, click to:

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