Sinai Update — October 26-November 1, 2014

October 29th, 2014

   SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  October 26-November 1, 2014  |  Parashat Lech L’cha (Genesis 12:1 - 17:27)

Reflections on the Jewish World – by Mark Oppenheimer, New York Times, Saturday, October 25, 2014

[Note from Rabbi Andy Vogel: I was very moved by this New York Times article from this past Saturday, which refers to the recent Orthodox mikveh scandal, and which emphasizes the benefits of the "community" Mayyim Hayyim mikveh in Newton, MA, and its different approach. I encourage you to read it.]


New York Times, Oct. 25, 2014, Newton, Mass. – Let’s think about the immediate reactions that different Jews had to the Oct. 14 arrest of Rabbi Barry Freundel, the spiritual leader of congregation Kesher Israel in Washington, who has been accused of using a secret camera to spy on women immersing in a mikvah, the Jewish ritual bath. Jews throughout modern Orthodoxy, the branch of Judaism in which Rabbi Freundel is so prominent, were horrified, and ashamed, that one of theirs could be accused of an act so perverted. Secular, Reform and Conservative Jews rolled their eyes. The mikvah is principally used by Orthodox women, who, after not touching their husbands while menstruating, must immerse in a mikvah before resuming sexual relations – a rule that strikes liberal Jews as sexist and anachronistic. While feeling compassion, these Jews may have also thought, “Why are 21st-century women still going to the mikvah?”

Orthodox women who had immersed at the Georgetown mikvah that Rabbi Freundel supervises felt violated and angry. Carrie Bornstein, the executive director of Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters, a community mikvah here outside of Boston, described one such woman, who happened to visit her mikvah on the night the news broke.

“She had been a regular user at the Kesher Israel mikvah,” Ms. Bornstein wrote in The Times of Israel, “and our mikvah guide recounted that when she arrived she looked ashen and could hardly speak about what happened.” (Allegedly happened, that is.)

And me? Amazingly, I had never seen a mikvah – and this in an age when mikvah use is spreading: to the non-Orthodox, to children and the elderly, and to more men. In fact, Rabbi Freundel’s arrest brought attention to the kind of mikvah – for the Orthodox, controlled by a man – that activists have been working to make a thing of the past.

So I came to meet Ms. Bornstein, whose Mayyim Hayyim, which opened in 2004 is the best-known of the “community mikvahs,” which… (continue reading by clicking here:

-           by Mark Oppenheimer, “On Religion,” New York Times, October 25, 2014

This Shabbat @ Temple Sinai

Join us for Erev Shabbat services this Friday, October 31 at 7:30 p.m. led by Rabbi Vogel.  All are welcome to join us at services and stay for the oneg which follows.


Shabbat Morning Community Services, this Saturday, 9:30am

Join us for Community Shabbat Morning services, this Saturday, November 1st, at 9:30 a.m., including Torah readings by members of the congregation, Robin Orwant and Janet Richmond, and an interactive D’var Torah discussion on the week’s Torah portion by Amos Lassen. This is an opportunity to be touched by the music and meditation of Shabbat morning prayer in our Sanctuary. We will conclude with a light informal Shabbat brunch. Please join us for this opportunity for spiritual connection with Judaism and prayer.


Also: We encourage you to listen to this recording of one melody we’ll use this Saturday, for the “Ashrei” prayer, part of the short “Psalms of Praise” section recited on Shabbat morning: .

In our lives….

We offer our mazel tov to Felice Mendell & Marc Cooper on the upcoming wedding ceremony this weekend of Felice’s daughter Danielle Franco to Rick Sterling, in New Orleans, LA, this coming Saturday, November 1st. Danielle and Rick live in New York City.   Mazel tov, Felice and Marc!

Thursday study group tomorrow

Rabbi Vogel’s continuing weekly Thursday study group meets every Thursday through early June, 10 AM to 11:30 AM. We begin with light breakfast. Come every week, or come every once in a while – all are welcome!

Strausberg, AviAdult Learning: “The Jewish Class of Why” concludes this Thursday.
Join us for the last in this series of classes taught by Hebrew College rabbinic student Avi Strausberg. The fourth and final class  will a take place tommorow evening, October 30, from 7:15-8:45 pm in Weintraub Auditorium.

Seeking addresses for college students

Elaine Ober is coordinating the Youth Committee’s program to send a gift package to students who are away at college. Even if you have done so in previous years, please send Elaine, your student’s name and address so that she can send a Chanukah package to your child. Be sure to include mailbox, apartment number, zip code and any other specific information.  Thank you to Elaine for managing the gift bag project once again this year!
Become a Reading Buddy!

Join other Temple Sinai members to read on a weekly basis with a 2nd or 3rd grader at The Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School. There will be an orientation on Tuesday, Oct. 28 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at the school, 6 Shirley Street, Roxbury. For more information, contact Amy Weinberg .

Temple Sinai Teens Volunteer at Family Table this Sunday, November 2

Our “Tikkun Olam Sundays” continue this Sunday, November 2. Teens (Grades 7 – 12) will be visiting Family Table food pantry in Waltham to sort and bag groceries for needy Jewish families. We will be volunteering at Family Table on a monthly basis. Students should meet at Temple Sinai at 8:30 a.m., where they will board the bus. They will return by 1:00 p.m., so please pack a bag lunch. In addition to doing a mitzvah, our teens can earn community service credit. To sign up, please contact Heidi Smith Hyde at . The trip will be led by Jessica Lowenthal, our Sunday evening director. Trip is limited to 8 teens – please sign up today!

Cerrotti, DennisAdult Learning: “The Rescue of the Jews in Denmark” – concludes this Sunday, Weintraub Auditorium 

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. The class takes place this Sunday November 2, 11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. in Weintraub Auditorium.  All are welcome.

“Play to Be Jewish” A Workshop on Games, Jewish Values & World Issues — THIS Sunday, November 29:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

What does it mean to be Jewish in an increasingly diverse world? Is Jewishness a product of our connection to a single distant nation or to multiple, disparate nations? And how do these concepts impact how we, as Jews, take action in the world and commit ourselves to social justice?   Join us on Sundaymorning, November 2, and make a game about it! Led by Temple Sinai members Scot Osterweil and Eric Gordon, join other members of the Sinai community in playing games and learning about how they can impact real world issues. The goal of the workshop will be to generate ideas for a computer game that can be developed and played by the entire congregation and beyond. Please join us!

Sinai U “Hanukkah Hackathon” this Sunday, November 2

From 5:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. (please note early start time), representatives from the Brandeis Design Lab with visit Temple Sinai to conduct a “Hanukkah Hackathon” with our Sinai U teenagers. This is a fun and innovative meet-up for teens to use design thinking to develop and create new meanings and celebrations around Hanukkah. This All-School event, sponsored by CJP and URJ, is not to be missed! A festive dinner will be served. Questions? Contact Jessica Lowenthal at .

Healing Service — Wednesday, November 5, 7:30 p.m.

Please join us for a Healing Service at 7:30 p.m. in Weintraub Auditorium on Wednesday, January 15. 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

BottaAdult Learning “Early Christianity and Judaism”- begins Thursday, November 6, 7:00 p.m.

We will study the emergence of Christianity as a Jewish sect covering roughly the period from the time of Jesus of Nazareth (30 CE) to the end of the Bar Kochba revolt (135 CE). The course, taught by BU Associate Professor and member of Temple Sinai Alejandro Botta, will explore the teachings of the historical Jesus and of Saul of Tarsus (Paul the apostle, around 60 CE) in the context of first and early second century Judaism. The class begins on Thursday, November 6 and continues on November 13 and20, 7:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Special 75th Anniversary Scholar in Residence weekend – next weekend!

Dr. Ellen Smith, Jewish historian and co-editor of “The Jews of Boston” is Temple Sinai’s Scholar-in-Residence this year. As we celebrate our 75th year, Dr. Smith will help us look back to the origins of our congregation and see the distance we have traveled as a community, both the similarities and the changes from the Jewish life of 1939. At Erev Shabbat services on Friday, November 7, the topic of Dr. Smith’s guest d’var Torah is “Happy Birthday to Us: Temple Sinai and Boston’s Jewish History.” On Sunday, November 9, the weekend continues with a breakfast where Dr. Smith will discuss “The Future of the American Jewish Community.” The weekend is supported in part by the Thurer Scholar-in-Residence Fund at Temple Sinai.

Sign up for our November Shabbat dinner – November 14thMark your calendar for our next monthly Community Shabbat dinner! Join us following “Shabbat@Six!” services for an evening of conversation, good food, and community. Kid-friendly food is always available and all ages are invited.   Bring your own wine to share with the community. RSVP required. Food prices have risen and as a result, unfortunately, we have had to raise the price for adult meals at our Shabbat dinners. Financial assistance is available! Under this new pricing. kids under 11 years old eat free!  Please contact Executive Director Linda Katz if you have questions. To register, visit

Strausberg, AviMidrash Study:  “Where Have All the Women Gone?” – begins November 16, 11:00 a.m.

Ever wondered about the missing female voice in the Torah?  What was Sarah thinking as Abraham nearly sacrificed her son?  How did the midwives Shifra and Puah feel when commanded by Pharoah to kill all of the Jewish first-born sons?  In this class, we will dive into several modern midrashim, interpretations of classic texts, written by Israeli women that not only will help us discover that nearly absent female voice in the Torah but will also allow us to engage with serious female scholars in a tradition dominated by male voices for thousands of years.  The class, taught by fifth year rabbinical student Avi Strausberg,  begins on November 16 and continues on November 23 and December 7.  The tuition is $25 for Temple Sinai members  and $30 for  non-members.

Please visit to register.

Crane Lake logoURJ Overnight Camp Presentations – Sundays, November 16 and December 7

This year we have two wonderful opportunities to learn about the three terrific URJ Camps in the area; Crane Lake Camp, Camp Eisner, and 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy. The first will be a presentation on Sunday, November 16 at 12:00 noon for students in the religious school. Parents are welcome to attend. Then at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 7th there will be a parlor meeting at home of Michele and Mike Klau. At this meeting you will have an opportunity to meet directors from three URJ camps. The new camp video will be shown and there will be opportunities to ask questions at both events. For more information and to RSVP for the parlor meeting, please contact Mike Klau at

Save the date!    Tzedek@Sinai Brunch, November  23, 9:30 a.m. -  Weintraub Auditorium.

The next in the monthly series of brunches sponsored by Tzedek @ Sinai  will take place on Sunday, November 23 inWeintraub Auditorium. More information to follow!

Rainbow Shabbat, Friday, December 5 - “What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Inclusion?’”

At Erev Shabbat services on December 5, Temple Sinai will celebrate its 10th annual Rainbow Shabbat. The G’uest D’var Torah will be given by Suzie Schwartz Jacobson, who is a 6th year rabbinical student at Hebrew College. A dedicated Jewish educator, prior to rabbinical school, Suzie received an MA from the University of Chicago Divinity School, a BA from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a BA from Columbia University. Join us on December 5.

Cantor Toubes Singing 75: Liturgy and Music at Temple Sinai – begins Sunday, December 7, 9:30 a.m.

In honor of Temple Sinai’s 75th anniversary, come learn how music has changed with the liturgy of our congregation, with music from Jewish composers such as Sulzer, Lewandowski, Debbie Freidman, Julie Silver, and Rick Recht. Cantor Rosalie Toubes will teach this class which begins on December 7and continues on Sunday, December 14 and 21, 9:30 – 11:00 a.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!

Sinai Update — Week of October 19-25, 2014

October 22nd, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  October 19-25, 2014  |  Parashat Noach (Genesis 6:9 - 11:32)   Reflections on the Torah… [Read more]

Sinai Update — Week of October 12-18, 2014

October 15th, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  October 12-18, 2014  |  Parashat Bereshit (Genesis 1:1 – 6:8)   Simchat Torah /… [Read more]

Sinai Update – Week of October 5-11, 2014

October 8th, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  October 5-11, 2014  |   Week of Sukkot – Sukkot begins tonight, Wednesday,… [Read more]

Sinai Update Week of September 28 – October 4, 2014

October 1st, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  September 28 – October 4, 2014  |   Yom Kippur begins Friday night, October 3 Reflections… [Read more]

Sinai Update Week of September 21-27, 2014

September 23rd, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  September 21-27, 2014  | Parashat Ha’azinu   Reflections on the Jewish Calendar – Rabbi Andy… [Read more]

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… [Read more]

Sinai Update – Week of August 31-September 6, 2014

September 3rd, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of August 31 – September 6, 2014  | Parashat Ki Tetze   Sinai Update –… [Read more]

Sinai Update – Week of August 24-30, 2014

August 27th, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of August 24-30, 2014  | Parashat Shoftim   Sinai Update – Week of August 24-30, 2014Parashat… [Read more]

Sinai Update – Week of August 17-23, 2014

August 20th, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of August 17-23, 2014  | Parashat Re’eh   This Shabbat @ Temple Sinai Join us… [Read more]