SINAI UPDATE — Week of April 12-18 2015

April 15th, 2015

SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  April 12-18 2015    |   Parashat Sh’mini (Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47) 

Reflections on the Torah Portion – Rabbi Andy Vogel

Yes, it’s true: The stork is listed among the birds that are ruled out by the Torah as non-kosher, not permitted to be eaten. It has nothing to do with the fantasy that storks drop bundles of babies on the doorsteps of expectant parents (see “In our lives…” this week!). But Jewish attention is given to the prohibition against eating stork, in part, because it is called, in Hebrew, hasidah, which translates to “righteous one.” Why? Nachmanides, the 12th century rabbi, noted that all the cruel or predatory birds have been ruled out as kosher; many of the non-kosher animals listed in this week’s Torah portion as forbidden to Jews for eating (Leviticus chapter 11) are considered predators. But the stork, said Nachmanides, deals kindly with its fellow creatures.

But why is the stork, who is called “righteous” forbidden, then? It would seem by this reasoning that it would be permitted! What disqualified the hasidah as a kosher bird? Rabbi Isaac Meir Alter (Poland, 1798-1866) observed that it was “voted off the island” by God as a kosher animal “because the stork is kind only to others of its own species, but will never give food to a creature not of its own kind.” To be “kosher,” we learn, we must to care for all, not just Jews, but all of God’s creatures. In a brilliant move, this interpretation transforms the ritual laws of which birds to eat (or not) into an ethical teaching urging us to widen our perspectives, and to care for all beings, even those not in our immediate familial circle.

-           Rabbi Andy Vogel

This Shabbat at Temple Sinai: Shabbat@Six

 Join us in the Sanctuary this Friday, April 17, at 6:00pm for our monthly “Shabbat@Six!” service, led by Rabbi Vogel and Cantor Toubes. The preservice “nosh” is sponsored by the Membership Committee, coordinated by  Lucy Sandler  There is a Community Shabbat dinner which follows the service. See registration  information for the dinner below.

In our lives…We offer wishes of mazel tov to Judy Odenheimer and Richard Marsh, on the upcoming wedding of their son Samuel Marsh to Catherine Kennedy, daughter of Anne Kennedy, who will be married in Woodside, California on April 25, 2015. Mazel tov!


We offer mazel tov to our members Robert Kroin and Judy Steinbergh, on the recent births of twin grandchildren, Aiyanna Rose Steinbergh and Levi Calder Steinbergh, who arrived on April 1, 2015 to Corinna Pringle and David Steinbergh of Brookline. They join brother and sister Julian (age 7) and Maslin (age 4). Mazel tov!

Religious School Vacation Schedule

Due to spring break, there will be no religious school on Sunday, April 19Tuesday, April 21 and Sunday, April 26.   The Temple office will be closed on Monday, April 20.  Religious school will resume on Tuesday, April 28. Have a rejuvenating break!

~Heidi Smith Hyde, Director of Education

graphic-baseball-sm.jpgSpring is here! Softball season begins this Sunday

This Sunday, the Temple Sinai Softball Team plays its opening game of the season. The game takes place at Claxton Field #2 in Needham at 10:00 a.m. New players welcome! If you are interested in joining the teams, please contact Gary Altman,

Community Shabbat Dinner this Friday — registration is closing 

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.

Join Tzedek@Sinai’s “Fourth Sunday of the Month” brunch! -Sunday, April 26, 11:00 – 12:30  

“The State of Mental Health in Massachusetts”

Dr. Cynthia Price, Executive Director of the Brookline Community Mental Health Center, will be with us for our Sunday, April 26, brunch. She’ll review the state of mental health in Massachusetts and focus on the very broad scope of the programs at our local clinic. Dr. Price has been Executive Director for many years and understands the financial problems the Center has had to deal with through the years as funding was threatened and needs grew. There will be an opportunity for a question-and-answer period. Delicious bagels, lox, cream cheese, fruit, veggies, and coffee will be served! Everyone is welcome – bring a friend!   RSVP is appreciated.   Email  or call Lynn Shyevitch or Zippy Ostroy.

Oneg sponsor STILL needed – Friday, May 1

If you have not yet sponsored an oneg this year, considering sponsoring the oneg o Friday night, May 1.  You can sponsor the oneg on your own or team up with a friend. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please contact Kathy Arnstein

75th Anniversary Gala,  Saturday, May 2 – Registration is filling fast! 

Dance the night away to celebrate Temple Sinai’s 75th anniversary! Dinner! Fabulous live band! Entertainment! Signature Cocktail! Free Parking! Friends old and new! 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 clicking   Let’s celebrate together!

The 75th Anniversary Committee is organizing in-home babysitting utilizing the services of some of our teen members. If you have any questions about babysitting, please contact Tracey Hyams.

Come Walk for Hunger on Sunday, May 3

The Walk-for-Hunger is the largest one-day fundraiser to alleviate local hunger. Congregants will be meeting at Temple Sinai at 9:30 a.m. and walking together as a group. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. All pledges should be collected in advance, and may be made payable to “Project Bread – Walk for Hunger.” Kindly send your checks to Heidi Smith Hyde at Temple Sinai, 50 Sewall Avenue, Brookline, MA, 02446. Pledge guides are available at the Temple. There IS religious school on May 3 as regularly scheduled, but students participating in the Walk are excused from class that morning. Please note that the sixth graders will be walking together with their teachers for part of the morning, and then returning to Temple Sinai for the remainder of class.

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.

Calling all Temple Sinai members! – GBIO assembly, May 12

An important assembly with Governor Baker, Speaker DeLeo, Attorney General Healy, Mayor Walsh and 1,500 Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) members will take place on Tuesday May 12 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM at Trinity Church in Copley Square. At this meeting, the results of the year-long grass roots process of developing GBIO’s new agenda will be presented. We are aiming to havesixty Temple Sinai members there. Help us reach our goal! For more information or to RSVP, email or call Amy Shulman Weinberg.


Rosh Hashanah in May! – Save the date, Wednesday, May 13, 7:30

No, this isn’t actually a tear in the fabric of the universe. Rabbi Vogel wants a chance to try out the new High Holy Day Machzor with an interested “congregation” of liturgical theater critics. That’s you. We will figure out details later but, if you can, save May 13, 7:30 for the out-of-town previews of RH 5776 in the sanctuary.

            ~Jeremy Wolfe, Chair, MPR Committee

In the community…..
The documentary film “Raise the Roof,” will be presented at the Jewish Film Festival on May 14th. Rick and Laura Brown, professors at Mass College of Art, replicated the structure and intricate artwork of the dome of the 18th century Polish Gwozdziec synagogue, burned down, along with many others, during WWII. After working for ten years with hundreds of students, educators, scholars and craftsmen from around the world, the Browns’ Gwozdziec synagogue reconstruction project has become the iconic centerpiece of the new POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. This film about the process was made by Yari Wolinsky, (temple member Judy Steinbergh’snephew), and produced by John Rubin and Cary Wolinsky (her brother). The film’s Boston Premier is sponsored by the Jewish Film Festival and will be shown at the Museum of Fine Arts, Remis Hall, on Thursday, May 14 at 4:30 p.m.Tickets go on sale on April 23 at 10 a.m. and will go quickly. Visit


Hatikvah Mission from Israel – TonightWednesday, April 15, 7PM at Temple Emeth:  Last year, Temple Sinai hosted Israeli IDF officers (The Hatikvah Mission) at an inspiring Friday night service. Next week, another group of young officers will again visit various locations in the Boston area to share their stories and respond to questions. The Erev Yom Hashoah commemoration on April 15th at Temple Emeth (194 Grove St. in Chestnut Hill) is open to the community.


Advah Designs, a tallit design and weaving company, is seeking a high school student summer intern for 15 hours/week who will focus on marketing and communications. For more information, contact Sarah Resnick, or click to .


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