|Sinai Update – Week of December 1-7 2013
8th Night of Chanuakh is tonight
Parashat Vayigash (Genesis 44:17-47:1)
Reflections on the Jewish Calendar – Rabbi Andy Vogel
|A chanukiyah glowing with all eight candles tonight, plus a ninth candle as the shamash, symbolizes hope in a world of darkness, one of the essential messages of Chanukah. Hope, even in the unlikely possibility of redemption, characterizes this holiday, and many others in Judaism. We celebrate how, despite all odds, a small band of Jews overcame the oppression of the mightier Greeks, as the Book of Maccabees tells us. Or, as the Talmud tells us, we celebrate the miracle of the oil, which lasted well beyond its expected use in the Temple, lasting eight days rather than just one. These “miracles” – the occurrence of the unexpected, of a welcome surprise – are emblematic of Judaism’s “hope model,” as the modern scholar Rabbi David Hartman (who passed away earlier in 2013) has said. “Belief in miracle,” he wrote, “is the bases of the ‘hope model’ of Judaism. Exodus becomes a call to revolutionary hope regardless of the conditions of history. … The order that people observe in the cosmos is not irreversible.Tomorrow will not necessarily be like today [in which the world is broken].”
Accepting the concept of the miraculous need not require believe in the supernatural, Hartman suggests. Rather, stories of the miraculous are a symbol for hope, and tell us about the nature of God. “Spontaneity and surprise characterize divinity. Not everything is a recurring pattern. The cosmos is not a Nietzchean wheel of eternal recurrence. Creation and the miracles protest against …despair… Life is not exhausted by endless cycles.” Instead, Hartman suggests, “once our story is told as our beginning through revolution, then history is a wide-open book.” As we light the 8th candles tonight, bringing light and hope into our homes, may we appreciate Judaism’s messages of hope that a radical new future may one day arrive.
Chag Chanukah same’ach!
- Rabbi Andy Vogel
|This Shabbat@Temple Sinai – Join us as we honor Rabbi Frank and Beth Waldorf
Join us for Erev Shabbat services this Friday night, December 6, at 7:30 p.m., including a special celebration of Rabbi Frank & Beth Waldorf, on the occasion of his 50th anniversary year of ordination as a rabbi, and their 75th birthdays. A gala oneg to celebrate the occasion is sponsored by Judy & Stephen Bernstein, Deena & Michael Blau, Judy Ferber & Gary Altman, Sheila & Harry Shulman and Arlene Weintraub. In addition, during the service we will formally welcome Eric Villhauer to the Jewish community in celebration of his conversion to Judaism. All are welcome. Please join us.
Tot Shabbat, 6:30 p.m this Friday
Families with children ages 1-7 are encouraged to join Rabbi Vogel for our monthly “Tot Shabbat” service, this Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Join us for an interactive service with storytelling and singing, concluding around 7:10 p.m. with Kiddush in the Larkin Library with grape juice, challah and cookies. All are welcome.
Shabbat morning community services, Saturday 9:30 a.m.
Join us in the Sanctuary at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday, December 7, for Shabbat morning community services, an opportunity for music, meditation, prayer, discussion of the Torah portion, and friendship. Members of the congregation will read Torah, and Rabbi Vogel will lead a Torah study discussion. A light Shabbat lunch will follow. All are welcome.
|Meeting of the Board of Trustees — this Thursday, December 5, 2013 8:00 p.m.
We invite members of Temple Sinai to join us each month for the meeting of the Temple Board of Trustees. Those meetings generally take place the first Thursday of each month at 8:00 p.m. in Ehrenfried Hall. All members are invited to join us
|Grades K – 3 Parents’ Visiting Day – this Sunday, December 8
K – 3 parents are invited to visit their child’s classroom from 12:00 p.m. until 12:30 p.m. to meet the teachers and learn more about the curriculum. Grades 4 – 6 parents will visit on Sunday, January 5.
-Heidi Smith Hyde, Director of Education
|“Islamic Radicalism: A Look at the Past, the Present, and the Future” – continues on Sunday, December 8, 11:00 a.m.
This is a three part series of classes for adults designed to address a frequently heard statement in our troubled world today: “To understand the 21st century, one must understand Islam.” We will grapple with this profoundly difficult, complex, and controversial subject from various perspectives – the origins of Islamic Radicalism, the Muslim-Jewish relationship, and the debate over a perceived “clash of civilizations.” The class continues on December 8 and concludes on December 15, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm. The class is taught by Temple Sinai member, Larry Lowenthal. Dr. Lowenthal was the Executive Director of the Boston Chapter of the American Jewish Committee for 17 years, and is a member of Temple Sinai. He has a Ph.D. in English Literature from NYU, and remains active in interfaith issues. Please join us!
LimmudBoston: A city-wide Jewish study day – all day, Sunday, December 8
LimmudBoston is an innovative, volunteer-driven celebration of Jewish lifelong learning for the entire community, beginner to scholar and young to young-at-heart. Held at Congregation Mishkan Tefila in Chestnut Hill, dozens of sessions are offered to suit every interest. To learn more or to register, visit www.LimmudBoston.org
|Midrasha parents – join us for an “Erev Limmud,” Sunday, December 8, 6:30 p.m.
Parents of Midrasha Students, please join us for an Erev Limmud, ”Evening of Learning,” at Temple Sinai, Sunday, December 8, 2013, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Parents are invited to join for a chance to experience Midrasha firsthand. Our teachers are excited to welcome you into their classrooms for a joint lesson with your children. No need to RSVP. Just join us! Questions? Call Mark at 617-277-5888.
|Join us for Shabbat dinner! Friday, December 13, following “Shabbat@Six” services
Our next Congregational Shabbat dinner will take place in Ehrenfried Hall on Friday, December 13. Share with your Sinai community a delicious catered Friday night dinner. Vegetarian options are available. Bring your own wine to share and celebrate Shabbat with singing, good food, and friends. Sign up on line! Use your credit card or Paypal to sign up atwww.sinaibrookline.org/ai1ec_event/community-shabbat-dinner-7/ We hope you will join us!
|“Shabbat 101: Shabbat Prayers, Songs & Rituals” – continues Sunday, December 15 Sunday, 9:35 a.m.
Designed and taught by Sinai members who want to feel more comfortable in our Sanctuary on Friday nights, “Shabbat 101″ is a great learning opportunity to learn more about Shabbat prayers and rituals. This course will help you learn the prayers and songs of the Friday night Shabbat service, including those said and sung every week at Temple Sinai and as part of Shabbat dinners at home. “Shabbat 101″ is designed for all comers and assumes no prior knowledge and no Hebrew language skills. Materials will be provided in English, Hebrew, and transliteration. Each session will discuss a different prayer and song, allowing you to attend all sessions or just those topics in which you’re particularly interested. “Shabbat 101″ will meet monthly on the same days as the K’tonton preschool program for 3- and 4-year-olds. Parents of K’tonton students are encouraged to participate, as are all members of our community! The class continues on Sundays January 12 , February 9, March 16, April 13, and May 11, at 9:35 – 11:00 am. Join us for one class or all of them!
|SCOOBY and Midrasha ice skating party! - Sunday, December 15, 2:00 p.m.
Calling all Temple Sinai youth (and those young at heart too!) Like to ice skate? Never tried it but would like to? Well, here’s your chance! Join Temple members from SCOOBY – our youth group, and Midrasha – our Hebrew school’s upper division, on Sunday, December 15 at 2:00 as we skate the afternoon away at Larz Anderson Park. We will carpool to and from the Jack Kirrane Ice Skating Rink at 23 Newton Street in Brookline, the street address of Larz Anderson Park’s outdoor rink. Skating costs $5 and rental is $6. Be sure to bring a thermos of your favorite hot beverage and a snack (snacks also available for purchase at the rink). Please RSVP by December 10 to Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org and please let us know whether you are able to help drive our carpool.
|Rainbow Shabbat Service at Temple Sinai, Friday, December 20, 2013, 7:30 pm
Join us for our eighth annual Rainbow Shabbat on Friday, December 20, 2013. Dr. Joy Ladin, Professor of English at Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University will give a special guest D’var Torah on “My Journey Between Genders.” Dr. Ladin, the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution, will speak about her personal experience. An acclaimed writer, Dr. Ladin has written many books and essays on gender identity and Judaism. A former Fulbright Scholar and graduate of Princeton University, she has served on the Board for the Human Rights Campaign’s Jewish Organizational Equality Index and is a member of Keshet’s National Board of Directors Rainbow Shabbat programs are cosponsored by Keshet. We welcome all to join us at this special service and presentation.
|Grades 7 – 12 are invited with SCOOBY to see Blue Man Group! Sunday, January 5, 2014, 12:30 – 5:00
We are going to see Blue Man Group! Join your Temple Sinai friends in being part of the zany antics at the Charles Playhouse for a performance of the Blue Man Group. Music, technology, comedy and fun all come together in an experience you will not want to miss. We take the T downtown together following a pizza lunch at Temple Sinai, returning by T well in time for Midrasha at 6:00. Cost: $45. RSVP by December 5, to Mark at email@example.com Questions? Call Mark at 617-277-5888.
|Adult Learning: “The 1960′s: The Jewish Search for Cosmic Consciousness” begins January 5
Dr. Dennis Cerrotti teaches this course, which will explore the new cultural paradigm associated with the 60′s and the emergence of a counterculture strongly influenced by Jewish artists, activists and thinkers. The course will focus on the way in which new ideas and trends have affected our religious beliefs, practices, and the way we think about the nature of reality, itself. The class beginson Sunday morning, January 5, and continues on 12 and 19, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Please join us!
|Please come read with us! – Book Group/Israel Committee, January 14, 7:30 p.m.
The Temple Sinai Book Group and the Israel Education and Action Committee will be hosting a joint get together on Tuesday, January 14 @ 7:30 at the temple. We will be discussing “Second Person Singular” by Sayed Kashua. Mr. Kashua is an Israeli Arab as are his two very different lead characters. This book offers an interesting look into what it means to be an Arab citizen of Israel. All are welcome and encouraged to read the book and join us for dessert and discussion.
|Adult Learning: “Paul as Jewish Theologian” starts Thursday evening, January 16
Taught by BU Professor and Temple Sinai member Dr. Alejandro Botta, this three-session class will explore the life and teaching of Saul of Tarsus (Paul the apostle) in the context of first century Judaism. (Mis)appropriated by Christianity and (therefore) rejected by Rabbinic Judaism, Paul (Saul) has been a controversial figure for twenty centuries. Recent approaches, however, have recovered the Jewish Saul, a Pharisee who never renounced Judaism. The class will focus on Paul’s Judaism and his relevance for the Reform movement. The class takes place on three Thursday evenings,January 16, 23 and 30, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. All are welcome to join us.
|Save the date: Temple Sinai’s Scholar in Residence Weekend, January 24 – January 26
“Judaism and Cosmology in the 21st Century: Why Science Matters for a Spiritual Life”
Dr. Howard Smith, Senior Astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is this year’s Temple Sinai Scholar in Residence He will discuss topics related to the intersection of science and religion on Friday evening, January 24 and on Sunday morning, January 26. More information to follow!
|Oneg sponsors needed!
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. Many people have already signed up tfor an oneg this year, but there are some openings still available. Specifically, a sponsor is needed on Friday evening, December 27, 2013. Can you help? Please contact Kathy Arnstein (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to sponsor this or another oneg or if you have any questions.
|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….
Take action on Federal cuts to SNAP
The Temple Sinai community has articulated access to healthy foods as one of its priority areas for action in pursuit of Tikkun Olam. The Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is the major federal program helping provide resources for food for millions of Americans. The future of this program is very much in doubt as Congress debates the farm bill. Many organizations, such as Mazon, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Food Research Action Center are marking the holiday season by mounting letter writing and social media campaigns to urge Congress to act to save the SNAP program. We urge you to join them by sending a holiday card to Congress and President Obama using the following link: whogoeshungry.org For questions, email email@example.com.
~Journalist Ari Shavit will discuss his book My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel at the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center (333 Nahanton Street) in Newton on Tuesday, December 10 at 7:30pm. In his book Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family’s story, to illuminate pivotal moments – both past and present – in the history of Israel. The discussion will be moderated by Charles Radin, former Boston Globe Middle East bureau chief.. Cost is $8. Purchase tickets atwww.bostonjcc.org/bookfair or contact 617-965-5226 or firstname.lastname@example.org
~Artsbridge Interfaith Program for Teenagers will be convening its sixth annual intensive training in art and dialogue for three weeks in July this summer. Founded as a program for future Israeli and Palestinian leadership, Artsbridge recently opened the training to American teenagers interested in challenging dialogue and artistic collaboration across national and cultural differences. Students ages 15 through 17 and their families are invited to talk with David Trimble (email@example.com ) about this opportunity. The three weeks training starts July 3. Ten US students will join ten Israeli and ten Palestinian students for intense training in arts and dialogue, balanced with recreational outings at a variety of Massachusetts locations. Cost is comparable to three weeks at summer camp. Visit the Artsbridge web site www.artsbridgeinstitute.org
~TribeFest 2014 in New Orleans, March 16 – 18, 2014: Calling all young adults to New Orleans this Purim! You will not want to miss this trip of a lifetime! TribeFest is an entertaining, interactive and educational celebration that will draw over 1,800 Jewish young adults (ages 22 – 45) from across North America. TribeFest will reflect the vibrant setting of its host city, New Orleans, offering meaningful, fun, and top-quality content. TribeFest features top speakers in the fields of religion, culture, art, entertainment, sports, politics, business and more! To learn more, check out the following link:http://www.tribefest.org