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 Portion – Rabbi Andy Vogel

Noah’s task in isolating himself in the ark from humanity’s wickedness is one that requires tremendous spiritual strength. He finds himself horrified by a society where the norm is evil, violence and lawlessness, according to the Torah’s description. What kind of response is required when the magnitude of social disorder is so great and appalling? What can a tzaddik, a righteous person, do when he or she is witness to the outrageous behavior of those around him or her?

The Hasidic master Rabbi Mordecai Yosef of Ishbitz (1800-1854) suggested that God’s command to Noah that he build the ark is not only a job for physical survival during the flood, but also a spiritual challenge for channeling his deep anger and disgust at his fellow humans. The Ishbitzer Rebbe suggested that God’s command to build the ark is a metaphor for Noah’s internal fortification against misdirecting his anger at the evil around him. He taught that Noah had to do the spiritual work internally, “inside the ark,” and become spiritually balanced and complete, so he could channel his energy and work productively once he emerged when the waters had subsided. We, too, face the challenge of directing our outrage when we see the misuse of power and resources. Rather than just lash out in anger, the Ishbitzer asks us to look within and achieve an inner balance first, and then go out from our “ark” into the world and do the work of repairing it.

- Rabbi Andy Vogel

This Shabbat @ Temple Sinai

Join us for Erev Shabbat services this Friday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m. led by Rabbi Vogel and Cantor Toubes. Our sixth grade class students will present a group D’var Torah on the week’s Torah portion, Noach. The oneg is sponsored by Eva and Ian Sklaver in honor of the bat mitzvah of Madison Sklaver along with Grade 6 parents.     All are welcome

Shabbat morning services, this Saturday, 10:30 a.m.

Join us for Shabbat morning services this Saturday, October 25, at 10:30 a.m., including the Bat Mitzvah ceremony for Madison Sklaver, daughter of Ian & Eva Sklaver. The entire congregation is encouraged to join us for Shabbat morning prayers, and to hear Madison’s beautiful Torah chanting and her D’var Torah on the flood and its implications for human beings. We wish Madison and her entire family mazel tov!


Torah Study discussion, this Saturday, 9:00 a.m.

Come this Saturday, October 25, to Rabbi Vogel’s study at 9:00 a.m. for our regular Shabbat morning Torah Study discussion, held on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays of each month. We begin with a light breakfast, and then begin delving into the world of Jewish ideas, as suggested by the weekly Torah portion. All are welcome! Please join us.

In our lives…

We offer our condolences to Phil Sandler, on the death of his father, William Sandler, who passed away on Sunday, October 19.  He was 101 years old. Funeral services were held on Tuesday, October 21, and Phil and his wife Lucy and other family members will observe shiva at their home at 537 Boylston Street, Brookline, on Wednesdayevening, from 7:00-9:30 p.m., including a minyan service.  Temple Sinai members are encouraged to attend.


We offer mazel tov to our members Neil Motenko and Mindy Margulies on the occasion of their wedding, which occurred this past Friday, October 17. Rabbi Vogel officiated in our Sanctuary. We wish them much joy, and wish their entire family mazel tov!

Mazel tov to Michael Klau, who was recently named to the North American Board of the Union for Reform Judaism.   He was named a trustee , in part, for his extensive and successful work in promoting Jewish camping.   Mike joins Jeremy Wolfe on the URJ Board.   Temple Sinai is proud to have two representatives sitting on this prestigious body.

Thursday study group begins tomorrowOctober 23

Rabbi Vogel’s weekly Thursday study group, which meets every Thursday through early June, begins tomorrow,October 23, at 10 AM to 11:30 AM. Our first topic will be the Book of Ruth, and members of the class help determine which topics are studied throughout the year. We begin with light breakfast. Come every week, or come every once in a while – all are welcome!

Banners on Beacon!

Next time you are walking or driving southbound on Beacon Street between Harvard and Charles Streets, look up! On the light standards, you will see some lovely new banners celebrating Temple Sinai! Thank you to Jill Winitzer who took charge of the project. She supervised the fabrication of the banners and then arranged for town approval andinstallation in this very public space. Thank you, too, to Rochelle Seltzer for designing them. The banners look great!


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 .

Strausberg, AviAdult Learning: “The Jewish Class of Why” continues October 23  
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 two hours of suggested reading assignments each week, with the intent to raise the level of discussion, learning and understanding. The fourth and final class in this series will a take place on October 30, again from 7:15-8:45 pm.  Classes are held in Weintraub Auditorium. Tuition is $25 for Temple Sinai members ($30 non-members.) It’s not too late to register! Call the Temple office or click

Cerrotti, DennisAdult Learning: “The Rescue of the Jews in Denmark” continues this Sunday,  October 26, Charles Street Room  

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 first class will feature the showing of the acclaimed documentary film, “The Danish Solution – The Rescue of the Jews in Denmark,” narrated by Garrison Keillor.  The course is taught by Temple Sinai member Dr. Dennis Cerrotti. .  The class concludes Sunday November 2, 11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. in Weintraub Auditorium.  All are welcome.

Come to the monthly Tzedek@Sinai Brunch - this Sunday, 9:30 a.m., Weintraub Auditorium.

Learn about Social Justice activities happening at Temple Sinai including our participation in the

Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) At this Sunday’s brunch Yusufi Vali from the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center will speak about GBIO’s past and ongoing involvement in policy decisions regarding issues such as health care, education, and gun violence prevention.  Immediately following the brunch, support the Earned Sick Time ballot initiative and join our phone bank to talk to likely undecided voters and give them the facts. There will  be training beforehand. Please come with charged cell phones and laptops or iPads.  An RSVP is appreciated, but not required. Please email or call Lynn Shyevitch, 413-429-8056

Temple Sinai’s Night at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Wed, October 29, 7:00 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts 

Join us as at the Boston Museum of Fine Art on Wednesday, October 29 at 7:00 p.m. for a very special evening. Marietta Cambareri, Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture and Jetskalina H. Phillips Curator of Judaica Art, will describe how her position got funded and how this bequest paved the way for the acquisition and study of Judaica objects at the MFA . This session will include the path that led to a recent gift of a collection of 120 Judaica objects, some of which we will see and discuss. Please note that the tour will require considerable walking and climbing stairs! Registration is limited and there are only a few places left.  Please call the Temple office, 617-277-5888, to sign up.

“Play to Be Jewish” A Workshop on Games, Jewish Values & World Issues –Sunday, November 2, 9:30 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.

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 and 207:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Special 75th Anniversary Scholar in Residence weekend – November 7 and 9

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 brunch 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.

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!

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