SINAI UPDATE Week of September 7 – 13, 2014

September 10th, 2014

   SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  September 7 – 13, 2014  | Parashat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

Reflections on the Torah Portion – Rabbi Andy Vogel

Today is the 15th day of Elul, the month that precedes Rosh Hashanah, and this means that there are just two weeks to prepare ourselves spiritually and emotionally before the High Holy Days begin (Rosh Hashanah begins Weds. evening, Sept. 24.)

Approaching Rosh Hashanah is very different than reaching December 31st, the secular year. It is a time of reflection and self-accounting, considering what events have transpired in our lives, what accomplishments we might be proud of, and also what disappointments we have experienced, whether in our own shortcomings or in other ways the year has let us down. Rosh Hashanah is meant to be a spiritual holiday that touches our hearts.

A medieval teacher, Rabbi Natan Neta Shapira (1585-1633, a mystic, and chief rabbi of Cracow, Poland) taught that as we approach the New Year, we’re aware of both our regrets from the past, and the possibility for hope for the future that the New Year can bring. He said that the name “Elul” is an acronym for “Aron Luchot v’Shivrei Luchot” – a Talmudic phrase that refers to a beautiful story: After the episode of the Golden Calf, Moses, in his anger and disappointment at the Israelites, smashed the tablets of the Ten Commandments. Then, he resolved to ascend back up the mountain and get a second set of tablets from God, in an act of forgiveness. From then on, the Israelites carried the new, whole tablets (“luchot,” in Hebrew) as well as the broken tablets (“v’shivrei luchot”) in the Ark (“Aron”) through the desert (=Elul). Like them, we, too, carry our disappointments and brokenness with us in our hearts as we enter the New Year. But, learning from those experiences, we are also given the opportunity for a new beginning, for new hope, for the possibility of repair. To gain access to that new hope, we only have to open our hearts and learn from our past during this month, and then we can begin again.

-           Rabbi Andy Vogel


This Shabbat @ Temple Sinai - 

“Shabbat @ Six!” this Friday, with our Shabbat Band at 6:00 p.m.

Join us for our first “Shabbat@Six!” service of the fall this Friday at 6:00 p.m., with our fabulous Shabbat band, including clarinet, violin, guitar and piano, led by Rabbi Vogel and Cantor Toubes. This lively, beautiful service lasts about one hour. We will also bestow a Hebrew name to Sophia Bruno, daughter of Clarke & Julie Bruno, who is a 3rd grader in our school. The pre-service “nosh” is sponsored by Clarke and Julie Bruno in honor of Alex Bruno’s bar mitzvah.

Join us also for our monthly community Shabbat dinner following the service at 7:00 p.m., in Ehrenfried Hall. To sign-up for the dinner, please cick

Shabbat Morning Torah Study begins this Saturday, 9:00 am

Join Rabbi Vogel this Saturday at 9:00 a.m. for the year’s first Shabbat morning Torah Study discussion, an opportunity to explore Jewish ideas as they emerge from the week’s Torah portion. No expertise or prior reading required! We begin with a light breakfast and singing, and then begin the discussion. All are welcome! (Meets in Rabbi Vogel’s study, on the 2nd floor of the Religious School building.)


Shabbat Morning Services, this Saturday, 10:30am

Join us this Saturday, September 13, at 10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary for Shabbat morning services, including the Bar Mitzvah ceremony of Alex Bruno, son of Clarke & Julie Bruno. The entire congregation is encouraged to join us to hear Alex read from the Torah, and offer his beautiful D’var Torah on the meaning of tzedakah as an expression of gratitude for good things in our lives, including the Israelites’ entrance into the Land of Israel. We wish Alex and his family mazel tov! All are welcome.


Start the year off with a mitzvah!

We are looking for volunteers to help us for our Erev Rosh Hashanah oneg. This oneg, annually sponsored by Temple Sinai’s Board of Trustees, is a festive and special one. We need a few people to help plate food for the oneg, set up Ehrenfried Hall before the oneg, clean up afterwards and do other tasks. If you can spare a little of your time on Wednesday, September 24, please contact Kathy Arnstein,

Healing Service – tonight,  September 10, 7:30 p.m.

Please join us for a Healing Service at 7:30 p.m. in Weintraub Auditorium this evening, Sept. 10. Healing Services are sponsored by the Am Tikva and Temple Sinai congregations. All are welcome to come and bring friends and family to our healing circle for prayer, song, meditation and a community of caring people. Healing Services are cosponsored by Temple Sinai and Congregation Am Tikva.

Interested in a building Master Plan update? – Board of Trustee meeting, tomorrow evening, 8:00 pm. Members invited 

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.

Adult Hebrew class graphic

Beginner’s Hebrew for Adults — starts this Sunday, September 14Weintraub Auditorium, 11:00 a.m.
Start the year off with an introductino 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 onSeptember 14 and continues on September 21 and 28, 11:00 – 12:30 p.m.  This Sunday’s class takes place in Weintraub Auditorium.  The final two classes will be held in the Charles Street Room.

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 (please note correct class time) 

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.

nullCalling all Students in Grades 7 – 12! Sinai U Barbecue on Sunday, September 14, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Join us on Sunday, September 14 for delicious food and great fun at Sinai U’s Kickoff Barbecue! Please come to Erik Skagestad’s Brookline home from 1:00 p.m. until 2:30 p.m., and meet the new Temple Sinai youth team. In addition to delicious food, we will tie-dye t-shirts and play some fun games. Parents are welcome to come, as well. For directions and to RSVP, contact Youth Advisor, Ben Harris, at .

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.

Join us for our annual Second Day Rosh Hashanah hike - Friday, September 26, 10:00 a.m.

Once again this year, we gather for a congregational hike on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. We will re  turn to the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, Massachusetts. Plan to meet us at the Observation Tower parking lot at 10:00 a.m. and then at the Concord River site for singing, shofar-blowing, apples and honey. Bring a picnic lunch! For more information and directions to Great Meadows, clic  k To RSVP or if you have further questions, contact Evan or Victoria Medoff, 617-277-4058 or

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!


food drive grocery bagTemple Sinai’s Annual Yom Kippur Food Drive

For the 22nd consecutive year, Temple Sinai joins the nationwide effort to collect food for people in need during the High Holy Days by holding our Yom Kippur Food Drive. All donations will go to the Grow Clinic food pantry at Boston Medical Center. This unique and successful program serves over 5,000 malnourished people a year. When you come to Yom Kippur services this year, please bring your donated grocery bags. A greeter will direct you to leave your bag in the small room off the vestibule of the temple. Your donations are greatly appreciated.

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
High Holy Day tickets were  mailed to members in good standing last week.    If you  have
not received your ticket,  please call the Temple office.  

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.


Dessert in the Sukkah! - Wednesday, October 8 , 7:30 - 9:15 p.m.

Celebrate the first night of Sukkot! Rabbi Andy Vogel and Martha Hausman invite the Temple Sinai community for “Dessert in the Sukkah” in their backyard Sukkah at their Newton Centre home, 12 Locksley Road (off of Centre Street, south of Beacon St.) Please join them on Wednesday, October 7, 7:30 p.m. - weather permitting! RSVP to the Temple office, 617-277-5888, ext. 3.

Cerrotti, DennisAdult Learning: “The Rescue of the Jews in Denmark” – begins Sunday, October 19

This course will provide an historical overview of the Jews in Denmark and how they escaped Nazi attempts to capture them in 1943 with the assistance of the Danish people and their political and religious leaders. A major focus will be on the uniqueness of Danish history, culture and religion. How did these contribute to a social paradigm which guaranteed the protection of the Jews and others and how did that sense of solidarity and purpose contribute to the actual operations of the rescue? The course is taught by Temple Sinai member Dr. Dennis Cerrotti. It begins on Sunday October 19 and continues October 26 and November 211:00 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. All are welcome.

Congregational Israel trip pictureBook Club/Israel Committee book discussion, Tuesday, October 14 – all invited!

The Temple Sinai Book Group and Temple Israel Committee invite you to join us in Weintraub Auditorium on Tuesday, October 14 @ 7:30pm as we discuss Like Dreamers by Yossi Klein Halevi. The book follows the lives of seven members of the 55th Paratroop Brigade from their liberation of Jerusalem in the Six Day War through the decades following. Their divergent paths following the war help illustrate the many challenges facing Israeli society today. It’s a lengthy book, but well worth the effort.   Questions? Contact Sheila Shulman

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!

Rabbinic Liaison Committee

At the request of Rabbi Vogel and in accord with the guidelines of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Temple Sinai has a Rabbinic Liaison Committee which meets regularly to share mutual feedback regarding the relationship between the Temple and the Rabbi. Members of the committee, in addition to Rabbi Vogel, are Judy Fabricant (chair), Susan Laster, Doug Reichgott and Rochelle Seltzer. The committee invites input from all members of the congregation by telephone, e-mail or in person to any of the committee members.

In the community….
Tzedek Reflection: A Jewish Communal Response to Poverty - mobilizing the Jewish community to address issues of poverty through education, advocacy and service. The second Communal Gathering will take place on Sunday, September 21, 2:00 – 4:30 p.m. at Congregation Shaarei Tefillah, 35 Morseland Avenue in Newton. The goal is to explore and respond to our responsibilities as Jews to insure dignity and fairness for all workers. There will also be a conversation about other areas of engagement by members of Tzedek Reflection.

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