SINAI UPDATE — Week of February 22-28, 2015

February 25th, 2015

SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  February 22-28, 2015    |  Parashat Tetzaveh  (Exod.27:20-30:10) 

Shabbat Zachor (the Shabbat that precedes Purim)

Reflections on the Torah Portion & Jewish Calendar – Rabbi Andy Vogel

The Shabbat before Purim is called Shabbat Zachor, “the Shabbat of remembering.” The special additional portion for Shabbat Zachor is Deuteronomy 25:19, a paradoxical passage which tells us that we should “blot out the memory of Amalek… Do not forget!” Haman, it turns out, was a descendant of Agag, who was an Amalekite. The paradox of not forgetting, on one hand, and “remembering” to blot out the memory of Amalek, on the other, is part of our observance as the Purim Megillah is read; we are both commanded to read Haman’s name and blot it out with loud noise whenever his name is read. (We’ll read the Megillah next Wednesday night, March 4 at 5:45 pm. See below!)

It would be easy to think that shouting down Haman’s name is mere silliness, the ritual of blotting-out and remembering is also a practice to remember anti-Semitism, much as we would like to eradicate it. Given the terrible recent murderous anti-Semitic events in France and in Copenhagen, and the rise of anti-Jewish hatred elsewhere in Europe, as well as in Wisconsin, our remembering of Haman takes on a new dimension this year. As Purim approaches Monday night, we recall our obligation to end hatred wherever it exists, and to stand firm against those who would persecute the Jewish people or any group anywhere in the world. When that happens, truly it will be a reason to rejoice!

I wish you and your family a very happy Purim, and hope you will join us on Weds., March 4 for the Megillah reading, and then on Saturday night, March 7, for our annual Purim Shpiel.

– Rabbi Andy Vogel

This Shabbat @ Temple Sinai: Erev Shabbat Service, 7:30 p.m. 
Join us this Friday, February 27, at 7:30 p.m. for Erev Shabbat services in the Sanctuary, led by Rabbi Vogel and Cantor Toubes. Our 5th grade students will share their class D’var Torah on week’s Torah portion, sharing their learning about the Mishkan and its importance to the Israelites and us. The Oneg Shabbat is sponsored by Jessica Bell and Doug Reichgott, in honor of the bat mitzvah of Maggie Reichgott.  All are welcome!


Shabbat morning Torah Study, this Saturday, 9:00 a.m.

Please join us for our regular Shabbat morning Torah Study discussion in Rabbi Vogel’s office at 9:00 a.m. We begin with a light breakfast, and then explore the week’s Torah portion, and the Jewish ideas that spring from it, in a lively and open discussion. We conclude by 10:15 a.m. All are welcome!


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

Join us in the Sanctuary this Saturday, February 28, for Shabbat morning services at 10:30 a.m., which will include the Bat Mitzvah ceremony for Maggie Reichgott, daughter of Doug Reichgott and Jessica Bell. The entire congregation is encouraged to attend, and hear Maggie chant from the Torah and share her D’var Torah on the meaning of the materials of the Mishkan. We offer Maggie and her family our Mazel Tov on this occasion. Please join us.

Not yet received your copy of Temple Sinai’s history book? – pick up one this Sunday morning,March 1 in the sanctuary  entrance 

This Sunday, we will be distributing copies of the recently published book, “Building the Sacred and Progressive: A History of Temple Sinai’s First 75 Years.” If you are a member of Temple Sinai and have not yet received your copy of this fabulous book, come to the lobby outside the sanctuary on Sunday morning, March 1 between 9:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.  This is a particularly convenient time for people attending the school B’Yachad service to obtain their books, but any member who hasn’t yet received a history book is welcome to pick up a copy this Sunday morning.     If you are unable to come to Temple Sinai to pick up a copy of the book, please contact Administrative Assistant Nancy Hogan in the Temple front office, We will be mailing books to those people in the near future.

Do a Purim mitzvah – donate to Yad Chessed!

On Purim Day, Yad Chessed works with 80 synagogues across Massachusetts to collect AND distribute matanot l’evyonim (gifts to the poor) to more than 500 Jewish families in need. Last year, Yad Chessed collected more than $110,000 on Purim and gave 100% of this collection away on the same day. Help us offer a hand of loving kindness to families in need by making a donation. We will be collecting money between now and Purim day.   We also collect money on Wednesday, March 4 at our evening Purim Megillah reading. If you would like to help, please contact Director of Education, Heidi Smith Hyde, at . It’s a mitzvah!

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.

Israel Committee program — Esti Shelley will speak this Sunday, March 1, 11:00 a.m.

On Sunday, March 1 in Weintraub Auditorium,  Esti Shelley will give a presentation on the Israeli Health Care system.  Justice, equal access and mutual assistance are core values of the Israeli national health care system. Esti,who has worked since 2006 in the Medical Technology and Infrastructure Administration of Israel’s Ministry of Health,  will discuss how these values impact difficult decisions about health insurance coverage in a time of limited resources. She will share examples of the unique decision making process the Israeli Ministry of Health uses to set priorities and decide which medical procedures, services, technologies and drugs will be covered by insurance.  Esti was born and raised in Sderot and will also talk about that experience.  Join us in a program presented by Temple Sinai’s Israel Education and Action Committee this Sunday.

Celebrate Purim at Temple Sinai! – next week,  March 4 and March 7

Purim comes only once in a year – and it all happens next week!

~On Wednesday, March 4 at 5:45 p.m. there will be crafts for young children at the back of the Sanctuary, followed by our raucous Megillah reading at 6:00 p.m. There will be a costume parade that evening, so don’t forget to come in your own crazy costume! And be prepared to make some noise!

~On the following Saturday evening, March 7, the performance of the arts season will take place — right in our sanctuary! The Temple Sinai Players will take the stage for our annual Purim Shpiel. This year, the Shpielers perform “Who’s the Boss: The Story of Purim told through the music of Bruce Springsteen.”  Come for a rock and rolling good time!

Discussion on community and police relations, March 5, 7:00 p.m.

The Brookline Clergy Association sponsors a discussion on Brookline Community & Police Relations, Thursday, March 5 at St. Mary of the Assumption School, 67 Harvard Street in Brookline Village. Speakers include local selectmen, chief of police, clergy leaders and Brookline’s directory of Diversity and Inclusion.

Next Community Shabbat Dinner follows Shabbat@Six services on March 13 

Join our entire community for our monthly catered Shabbat dinner following Shabbat@Six services  on Friday, March 13. 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 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.

Lassen,  Amos

Adult Learning: a conversation with Stanley Aaron Lebovic – Sunday, March 15, 9:30 a.m.

Stanley Aaron Lebovic, noted author and illustrator, will come to Temple Sinai on Sunday, March 15, at 9:30 a.m. in the Charles Street Room.   Temple member Amos Lassen will explore with him some of his unique works. Mr. Lebovic will bring with him an art exhibition of the paintings he did for the new Haggadah he published last year and also some of the work he did on the Holocaust. All are welcome to join us.

Rainbow Shabbat, March 20, 7:30 p.m., Rabbi Steve Greenberg

In 2004 Rabbi Steve Greenberg published a book entitled, Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition. The book’s title refers to Jacob’s wrestling match with an angelic stranger who injures and blesses him. Since the book’s publication much has transpired to move queer identity from the shadows into the light, and not only in liberal communities but in more traditional Jewish worlds, as well. Rabbi Greenberg will share his own journey, “Limping into the Light” and offer a portrayal of the tumultuous social and moral shifts during the last decade that have made a religious gayness increasingly possible. Rabbi Greenberg is a renowned speaker across the U.S., and has participated in forums such as Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. He lives in Brookline with his partner Steven Goldstein and their daughter Amalia.

Dinner and Dialogues! – Saturday night, March 21“An Opera Tour of Europe?” “The Tragedy of the Vietnam War as Viewed from the Battlefield – Reflections from a Marine Battalion Surgeon?” “The Jewish Response to Climate Change?” “Is There Good News About Israel?” These are just some of the topics you might discuss at Dinners & Dialogue – Simultaneous dinner salons on the night of March 21st – graciously hosted by Temple Sinai members. At each dinner, another Temple Sinai member will lead an intriguing discussion in his or her area of expertise. Celebrate Temple Sinai’s 75th Anniversary at an intimate dinner party of your choice. Watch your email and this WednesdayTemple Sinai e-Update newsletter for more information and instructions to register for the dinner of your choice.

Save the date – next  Tzedek@Sinai monthly brunch Sunday, March 22, 2015, 11:00 a.m.

The next scheduled Tzedek@Sinai brunch is scheduled for Sunday, March 22 on a topic TBA.  Save the date for a delicious breakfast and an informative discussion.   All are welcome!

Cinema@Sinai – Saturday, March 28, 7:00 p.m.

This last in this year’s Cinema@Sinai series ends with the film “When Do We Eat” (“My Big Fat Jewish Seder”). This hilarious story tells of the world’s fastest Passover Seder that goes horribly awry when the son secretly slips his farther a dose of ecstasy at the beginning of the evening. Ira Stuckman tries to hurry things up as much as possible when he gathers his unique dysfunctional family together for what he declares will be “the fastest Seder,” but turns out to be everything but! The film will be shown in Weintraub Auditorium and will be followed by discussion. Please join us!

Adult Learning Passover Workshop – “Spicing Up Your Seder,” Sunday, March 29, 9:30 a.m.

 Temple Sinai’s Rabbi Emeritus Frank Waldorf will lead this year’s Passover Workshop. “Spicing Up Your Seder” will examine old and new ideas for making your Seder more participatory and engaging for people of all ages. If you have seen or done something great at a previous Seder, please bring your tale to share! The workshop takes place in Weintraub Auditorium.

Temple Sinai’s Annual Passover Music Festival is coming ….Sunday March 29th at 7:30!

We are excited that the legendary Joshua Nelson and the Kosher Gospel Singers will perform at this year’s Passover Music Festival! Joshua Nelson’s music combines the energy and rhythm of Gospel music with traditional words and lyrics of Jewish prayer. Save the date and join us for a spectacular performance. Suggested $10 donation at the door. Open seating. – come early!

~Passover Music Festival Committee

Save the date! Passover Second Seder, April 4

Temple Sinai’s annual community Passover Second Seder will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday evening, April 4 in Ehrenfried Hall.   All ages invited!    Details and registration information will be available soon.

CPR and AED Training at Temple Sinai – Sunday, April 12, 2015, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

We will be offering a CPR and AED Training for temple members and some staff on Sunday, April 12. The $30 per person cost includes the instructional book and American Heart Association card. Contact Mike Klau to register.

In the community…

~~Zamir Choral of Boston and the Metropolitan Choir will be performing Handel’s Israel in Egypt at Jordan Hall onMarch 7th at 8pm. Temple Sinai members Elyse and Dan Seltzer will be performing. For more details and tickets go to


~~Ganei Beantown – “Food Justice Conference”: Beantown Jewish Gardens presents the 4th annual Boston Jewish Food Conference on Sunday, March 8th from 1:00-7:00pm at Congregation Kehillath Israel. Topics include what we eat: individual choices, congregational and community affiliations, and the development of public policies. The Shuk (marketplace) from 5:30-7:00pm will feature dinner prepared by conference participants, do-it-yourself sessions, advocacy opportunities, tabling by community organizations as well as our silent auction. More information at:  Co-sponsored by Temple Sinai, and other area congregations.


~~Tzedek Reflection is a multi-denominational alliance of congregants of several dozen Boston-area synagogues and organizations dedicated to addressing poverty and advancing social justice. The group reflects on Jewish texts to understand how we are compelled to act, they blend education, direct service, and advocacy. The next Tzedek Reflection, focused on Hunger and Food Insecurity, will take place on Sunday, March 15, 2:30 p.m. at Temple Emanuel in Newton. Samuel Chu, National Synagogue Organizer for MAZON (The Jewish Response to Hunger) will facilitate the program. Dr. Deborah Frank Director of BMC’s Grow Clinic and member of Temple Sinai) and Pat Baker, Senior Policy Analyst at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute will also speak. To RSVP, email

SINAI UPDATE — Week of February 15-21, 2015

February 18th, 2015

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SINAI UPDATE — Week of February 1-7, 2015

February 4th, 2015

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SINAI UPDATE — Week of January 18-24, 2015

January 21st, 2015

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January 15th, 2015

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SINAI UPDATE — Week of January 4 – 10, 2015

January 7th, 2015

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January 4th, 2015

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SINAI UPDATE — Week of December 21-27, 2014

December 24th, 2014

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December 17th, 2014

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