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 / Shimini Atzeret are observed Weds.-Thurs., October 15-16

Reflections on the Jewish Calendar – Rabbi Andy Vogel

Tonight the holiday of Simchat Torah presents us with a strange paradox. On one hand, there is a big celebration. At Temple Sinai (7:00pm), we celebrate Simchat Torah with the completion of the cycle of the Torah readings and the beginning of our reading again with the first words of Genesis. We unroll the Torah, celebrate our new students who are embarking on their own life-long journey of studying Torah, and give everyone a chance to dance with the Torah scrolls throughout our Sanctuary building, and conclude with… a chocolate oneg! But, on the other hand, we also read the part of the Torah that speaks of the end of Moses’ life, how he handed his mantle of leadership to Joshua and then “his days were ended” (Deut. 34:8) followed by “days of weeping and mourning” for him. How, on the night that we read about the death of our greatest teacher and prophet, Moses, can we possibly celebrate?

Simchat Torah itself resolves this paradox by celebrating not any one teacher or generation of teachers, but by celebrating Torah, the vibrant, active and on-going process of Jewish learning, which transcends even Moses. “It is Torah itself that gives people continuity,” writes Prof. Sara S. Lee, professor emerita at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Moses’ greatest achievement was in imbuing the people of Israel with a love of sacred learning that is both personal and eternal at the same time. The process of Torah is never-ending, always reaching recurrent new beginnings, a boundless cycle of death and rebirth, growing, change, learning and becoming through the sweet, holy wisdom of Torah.

Join us for a joyous Simchat Torah for all ages tonight at 7:00pm!

- Rabbi Andy Vogel

simchat Torah graphic 2Tonight! Simchat Torah service for all ages - Wednesday, October 15, 7:00 p.m.

Plan to join us on tonight, Wednesday, October 15 at 7:00 p.m. for our Simchat Torah service and celebration. Dance with the Torah Scrolls in the street and sing as we march around with the Sefer Torah to the music of a fabulous Klezmer band. We will read the end and beginning of the Torah, and our new students are consecrated. Our festivities are followed by our delicious Chocolate Oneg! A few adults will speak about Torah verses that have changed their lives, and 7th graders will speak about their upcoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah Torah portions. All are welcome. The following new students will receive a mini Torah and special blessing:  Liam Alcalay, Caleb Beroukhim, Jonah Blalock, Pearl Brackup, Molly Cohen, Amitai Fayngold, Hannah Fayngold, Adeline Gordon, Coby Kelly, Jaida Kelly, Piper Kelly, Zara Kusmin, Jasper Leis, Kai Nishman, Sam Olken, Maddie Rakov, Benjamin Rhyne, Elijah Rhyne, Arlo Rogoff, Lilly Romer, Ruby Romer, Dylan Silver, David Smith, Raya Weintroub, Rebecca Winickoff, Marty Winshall, Jimmy Wright, and Ava Lilly Zimmet.

Yizkor service for Shmini Atzeret, Thursday morning, 9:30 a.m.

Thursday, October 16, at 9:30 a.m. our congregation is encouraged to attend a special service for Shmini Atzeret, the additional eighth day after Sukkot, which will include special Yizkor prayers, Torah reading and Hallel songs recited on the festival.   Cantor Toubes and Rabbi Vogel will lead this service. All are welcome to join us

This Shabbat @ Temple Sinai

Join us this Friday, October 17, at 7:30 p.m. for Erev Shabbat services, led by Rabbi Vogel and Cantor Toubes. The oneg is sponsored by Ralph Scully and Merav Socolovsky in honor of the bar mitzvah of Noam Scully.   All are welcome!


Shabbat morning services, Saturday, 10:30 a.m. 
Join us this Saturday, October 18, for Shabbat morning services in the Sanctuary, including the Bar Mitzvah ceremony of Noam Scully, son of Merav Socolovsky and Ralph Scully. The entire congregation is encouraged to attend, and to hear Noam’s wonderful D’var Torah on Bereshit and Shabbat rest. We wish Noam and his entire family mazel tov on this occasion! Please join us.

In our lives….We offer our condolences to our member Justeen Hyde, whose sister Jolie Marinovich passed away earlier this month, in Columbia, CA. She was 48 years old. A memorial service will be held in California on October 25. We offer our sympathies of Justeen and her husband Eric Gordon, and their entire family.


We offer our condolences to Michael Klau and his family, on the death of his sister-in-law, Belkis Klau Escribano, who passed away on Saturday, October 11, in Puerto Rico, after a long battle with cancer. Funeral services will be held this coming Sunday, October 19 in Puerto Rico.

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 and installation in this very public space. Thank you, too, to Rochelle Seltzer, for designing them. The banners look great!

K’tonton pre-school program for three and four-year olds, this Sunday, October 19

At our monthly interactive program for three-and four-year olds, held on a Sunday morning, children are introduced to Jewish holidays through arts and crafts, song, stories and games. Your children will be encouraged to ask questions, share experiences and make new friends. This “kids only” program, taught by veteran teacher, Karen Halfon, is free of charge and open to the community. Come sample a session! The class will take place this Sunday from 10:00 am until 12:00 p.m. in Weintraub Auditorium. Early drop-off and late pick-up are available. Questions? Contact Director of Education Heidi Smith Hyde at   or 617-277-5883. New children are always welcome!


Mitzvah Day Task Force Meeting - Sunday, October 19

Come help plan this annual event devoted to community service. Mitzvah Day 2015 will take place at noon on Sunday, March 29. Our task force meeting will take place at 11:30 a.m. New members are welcome! Questions? Contact Family Learning Coordinator, Hannah Kalson, at .

Cerrotti, DennisAdult Learning: “The Rescue of the Jews in Denmark” – begins Sunday, October 19

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. It begins in the Charles Street Room on Sunday October 19 and continues in Weintraub Auditorium on  October 26 and November 211:00 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. All are welcome.

Sinai U Event at the Brookline Teen Center – Tuesday, October 21

Sinai teens in Grades 7 – 12 are invited to our monthly event at the Brookline Teen Center, from 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Following a pizza dinner, the students will engage in various tournaments, including basketball, ping pong and dodgeball, led by the Teen Center staff and teachers, Ben Harris and Hannah Kalson. To RSVP, contact Heidi . All our welcome!

Strausberg, AviAdult Learning: “The Jewish Class of Why” continues next week October 23  – registration still open! 
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. This is the third of four classes and is scheduled for 7:15 -8:45 p.m. on Thursday evening October 23.  The fourth and final class 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

Second Tzedek@Sinai Brunch – Sunday, October 26, 2014 , 9:30 a.m to 11:00 a.m.

Yusufi Vali from the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center will speak about the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and its ongoing involvement on public policy decisions and how Temple Sinai can increase our impact on social justice issues.

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.

Oneg sponsor needed for Friday, October 31

We are in need of someone to sponsor the oneg which follows services on Friday, October 31. We invite you to team up with another member to sponsor that oneg or sponsor it in honor of a special occasion or person.  Or just sponsor an  oneg because you’ve never done one before!   Instructions are available and we would be happy to respond to questions. Please contact oneg coordinator Kathy Arnstein, if you can help.

“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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In the community…..
Eat Better Together: Women’s Interfaith (Jewish/Muslim) Interactive Nutrition Events:  Join Registered Dietician (and congregant) Emma Samuels for two interactive and engaging food and nutrition workshops for Jewish and Muslim women in Boston, which promote religious diversity and understanding. The vision of “Eat Better Together” is to education, support and empower women to make mindful and healthy food choices, allowing them to live a healthier life. These hands-on events will highlight cultural similarities and distinctions in foods, holidays, celebrations, eating pressures and habits. Be a part of this supportive and honest environment where we will unite based on common food and eating challenges. The workshops will take place from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. on October 21 and November 4. Cost is $25 per workshop, or $45 for both. Location is Hebrew College, Conference Center Rooms 4 – 5, 160 Herrick Road, Newton Center. Space is limited.  Sign up by e-mailing .

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