SINAI UPDATE — Week of December 14-20, 2014

December 17th, 2014

   SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  December 14-20, 2014  |  Parashat Mikketz (Genesis 41:1 – 44:17)

Week of Chanukah (2nd candle is lit tonight, Wednesday, December 17)Reflections on the Jewish Calendar – Rabbi Andy VogelHappy Chanukah! (Tonight, we light the 2nd candle.) Although the story of Chanukah in part depends on the miraculous oil that lasted for eight nights, rather than just one, the Talmud teaches us that “we should not depend on miracles.” The Jewish way of faith has rarely been a simple “God will provide,” and more a sense that only our persistence in fighting for freedom, justice and peace will bring them to realization.Last night, on the 1st night of Chanukah, I joined with hundreds of Jews of all ages and backgrounds in Coolidge Corner for a Chanukah rally to express the message that “Black Lives Matter,” in response to police violence in various parts of our country, and the unfair treatment of many African-Americans in the justice system. Lighting our own Chanukah candles and marching with them in Coolidge Corner, we affirmed the Biblical teaching that “the light of God is a human soul” (Prov. 20:27), that all human beings are created in the image of God, and that anyone who destroys one soul, one life, destroys an entire world. At Chanukah, remembering that “we should not depend on miracles,” we affirm that we must be engaged in the continuing struggle for freedom for all people, much as the Maccabees engaged in their similar struggle in the 2nd century BCE. May we persist, during this Chanukah, in this work.-           Rabbi Andy Vogel

This Shabbat @ Temple Sinai – -

Join us this Friday, December 19, for a Chanukah Shabbat dinner in Ehrenfried Hall at 6:00 p.m. Please RVSP by this evening at 6:00 p.m. See more information on the dinner below.
This Friday, 7:30 p.m, please join us for Erev Shabbat services in the Sanctuary, including candle lighting for Chanukah, led by Rabbi Vogel and Cantor Toubes. Our children’s choir, “Shir Sinai” will sing songs for Chanukah, and some of our 5th graders will lead the Kiddush. In addition, during the service we will honor Harriette Feuerman, one of our long-time secretaries, who will be leaving Temple Sinai at the end of December. (Our other long-time secretary, Linda Sherman, was honored at a private staff lunch earlier in the week.) The oneg is sponsored by Arlene Weintraub. All are welcome! Please join us!

In our lives….
We offer our mazel tov to Lizzi & Matt Weyant on the birth of a baby girl, Hannah Claire Rose Weyant, who was born on Sunday, December 7. We also extend our congratulations to big sister Molly, who is 3 years old. Mazel tov!

Update on Annual Free Will Donation Campaign – make your contribution before the end of the year!A reminder that this year, an anonymous donor will match Free Will donations from new donors, or increases in donations from prior donors — but only for donations made by the end of December. Please help us take advantage of this opportunity by sending in donations before the end of December. For many people, December is the deadline to make donations and take a tax deduction for2014. Thank you to the many people who have already donated to the Free Will campaign; we appreciate your support of Temple Sinai!~James Wright III and Doug Reichgott, Co-chairs, Free Will

chanukah dinner menorah

LAST DAY to Register for Chanukah Shabbat Dinner on Friday, December 19 Get in the Chanukah spirit with your friends from Temple Sinai. We will enjoy a catered Shabbat meal complete with roast chicken, salad, latkes, applesauce and plenty of chocolate gelt. Our dinner will begin at 6:00 p.m., followed by singing, crafts and Shabbat services. The cost of the dinner is $14.00 per adult and $8.00 per child, with a family maximum of $44.00. Funding is available to reduce the cost of the dinner for individuals who request it. To register online visit Questions? Contact Director of Education, Heidi Smith Hyde, at . REGISTRATION CLOSES AT 6:00 P.M. TODAY.

Cookbook cover smallChanukah is  here! Are you looking for a gift idea?Give the gift of good cooking! “What’s Cooking at Temple Sinai” is a beautiful compilation of recipes submitted by our members and staff. The cookbook contains recipes for many traditional Jewish foods, and some not so traditional ones! Buy a cookbook to give as a gift and purchase another one for yourself. Copies are available from the Temple office for $18 each. Pick up your copy and give something special this Chanukah!

Cantor Toubes

Singing 75: Liturgy and Music at Temple Sinai – concludes this Sunday,  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  concludes thisDecember 21, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.    All are welcome!

Religious School vacation scheduleDue to winter break, there will be NO religious school on December 23, 28, 30, and January 4. Religious school will resume on Tuesday, January 6. Have an excellent vacation!~Heidi Smith Hyde, Director of Education

Coming in 2015 – Save the dates!There are many wonderful programs planned at Temple Sinai for 2015. A few of them are listed below. Bring out your new 2015 calendar and mark down these dates! Details will follow.~~Friday Erev Shabbat Service, February 6, 2015   Drew Darien will talk about the book he has written on Temple Sinai’s history. A copy of that book will be distributed free to each member family at the festive oneg which follows the service.~~Sunday afternoon, February 8 – Temple Sinai’s Sixth Annual Jewish Poetry Festival~~Saturday evening, March 7 – Purim Shpiel!~~Saturday, night, March 21 – “Dinners and Dialogues,” a special evening at members’ homes featuring multiple sites and speakers

~~Sunday, March 29 – Mitzvah Day AND in the evening, Passover Music Festival

~~Friday, April 10 – Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism will give the Cohon Memorial Lecture this year

~~Saturday evening, May 2 – Gala 75th Anniversary Celebration at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Cambridge

Attend an Tzedek@Sinai House Meeting!  Members of Temple Sinai are hosting house meetings to get to know each other better as individuals, determine the social justice problems we care about most as a congregation, andhelp the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) define the issues it will work on with the broader community. Why now? In the spring, GBIO will organize a large gathering with the new governor to let him know the issues its membership cares about most. It is important that the priorities of Temple Sinai are included.House Meetings are currently scheduled for:  Saturday, January 3, at 7:00 PMSunday, January 4 at 11:00 AM;Sunday, January 11 at 10:00 AM; and Monday, January 12 at 7:30PM. Other dates in early January will soon be announced. To sign up for a house meeting and get more information, please contact

New Member Shabbat: Shabbat@Six and Community Shabbat Dinner – January 9, 2014Join us for our January Community Shabbat dinner which honors the new members of Temple Sinai.   The entire community – all ages, new members and long-time ones! – are invited for a delicious catered Shabbat dinner, singing, conversation and friends! Bring your own wine to share with the community. Kids eat free! RSVP required.   Register and pay online! All are welcome!

“Understanding Our Jewish History: A Look at the Lives of Our Biblical Forebears” – beginsThursday, January 15, 7:00 p.m. Over three sessions, we will look at the three generations that make up the foundation of Judaism: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob, Rachel and Leah. We will examine their lives and the difficult decisions they made. As we will see, they may not have always done the “right” thing. Come to hear about their lives and discuss the very human side of their stories. The class is taught by Temple Sinai seasoned teacher and Hebrew College rabbinic student Jessica Lowenthal. The class begins on Thursday evening, January 15 and continues on January 22 and 29, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Larry LowenthalAdult Learning,  “Jews of Hollywood – The Last 75 Years” -begins Sunday, January 18, 11:00 a.m.Jews founded the Hollywood studio system in the early part of the 20th century and are still predominant in the industry today as producers, directors, writers, distributors, actors, and independent studio heads. We will trace the extraordinary history of Hollywood and the Jews since 1939, in terms of the studio system, the films produced, the actors on the screen and the tumultuous political and social controversies that inflame emotions even today.  The class is taught by Temple Sinai member Dr. Lawrence Lowenthal, former Director of the Boston Chapter of the American Jewish Committee. It begins January 18 and continues January 25 and February 111:00 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. in Weintraub Auditorium. All are welcome.

Cinema@Sinai — Saturday evening, January 24, 7:00 p.m.Join us at Temple Sinai for our own mini-Jewish film festival. Coordinated by Amos Lassen, three films will be shown through the year, and each has been chosen for an evening together with friends. Schmooze, watch a move, and discuss it afterwards. The next film in the series is “God on Trial.” Following the harrowing ritual of selection for death or hard labor, a group of new inmates, unsure of their appointed fates, begins asking how God could allow for so much suffering, and they impulsively decide to put God on trial for abandoning His chosen people.  The movie will be shown on Saturday evening, January 24 at,7:00 p.m. in Weintraub Auditorium. Please come!

Lassen,  AmosCosponsored by Adult Learning and Israel Committees:  “The Kibbutz” – begins January 25, 9:30 a.m.The kibbutz, the twentieth century’s most interesting social experiment, is now in the throes of change. Instrumental in establishing the State of Israel, defending its borders, creating its agriculture and industry, and setting its social norms, the kibbutz played a central role in a nation’s life. Over the years, the kibbutz has been marginalized and is undergoing a radical transformation. In three sessions – one of which will be made up of films – we will look at the kibbutz in its historical context and see how and why changes have occurred. We will look at the catalysts for these changes as well as the failure of the unique kibbutz education system to perpetuate communal values, and consider what the future will bring.   The class begins on January 25 and continues on February 1 and February 89:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. It is taught by Temple member Amos Lassen, a long-time teacher who spent many years living in Israel.

Next  Tzedek@Sinai‘s “Fourth Sunday of the Month” Brunch –  Sunday, January 25,  9:00 – 11:00 a.m.Another timely program and delicious brunch is being planned.  Save the date!

Adult Bat Mitzvah - TorahNew date for Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah “information session”: January 25, 2015Consider joining our next group of “Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah” students! Our Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah program is an opportunity for adults to learn more Hebrew, gain the skill of chanting from the Torah, explore the meaning of prayer and spirituality in our lives, explore your relationship with Judaism more deeply. A new class will begin in March 2015, meeting mostly on Sunday mornings through April 2016, with a celebration at the end of that month. Join us for an information session on Sunday, January 25, at 11:45 a.m. (note the new date!)

Launch of Temple Sinai’s history book! — Join us at services, Friday, February 6, 7:30 p.m.Temple Sinai member Dr. Drew Darien will speak at Shabbat services about Temple Sinai’s engrossing history and about his new book, “Building the Sacred and Progressive: A History of Temple Sinai’s First 75 Years.” Later that evening, copies of the book will be distributed free to all temple members at the festive oneg following services.   Come learn about Temple Sinai’s past and take home a keepsake of historyDr. Andrew Darien is a Professor of HIstory at Salem State University, where he teaches courses in modern United States history and oral history. He is the author of “Becoming New York’s Finest: Race, Gender, and Identity in the New York City Police Department.”

Making a purchase through Amazon? Support Temple Sinai at the same time!Are you planning to make a purchase through You can do so and support Temple Sinai, too! It’s easy! First access Amazon through the Temple’s website, and make your purchase in the usual way. For every book or item purchased through our website, Amazon sends a small percentage of the proceeds to Temple Sinai.

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: Please note corrected address: .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!

In the community….. Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Needs Volunteers: Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters (JBBBS) matches children in need, ages 6-18, to adult mentors. Currently, JBBBS is partnering with Brookline Teen Center to launch a new mentoring program geared exclusively to teens living and/or attending school in Brookline. The organization invites applications from families who wish to enroll their children in either the traditional Big Brothers Big Sisters programs or the Teen Center initiative. In addition, JBBBS is recruiting Big Brothers and Sisters, adult volunteers, ages 21+, to contribute their time and talent to making a difference in the life of a child or teen. For more information, visit , or e-mail

SINAI UPDATE — Week of December 7 – 13, 2014

December 10th, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  December 7 – 13, 2014  |  Parashat Vayeshev (Genesis 37:1 – 40:23)   Reflections on Jewish… [Read more]

Sinai Update — Week of November 30 – December 6, 2014

December 3rd, 2014

  SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  November 30 – December 6, 2014  |  Parashat Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4 – 36:43)   Torah Commentary… [Read more]

Sinai Update — Week of November 23-29, 2014

November 26th, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  November 23-29, 2014  |  Parashat Vayetze (Genesis 28:10 – 32:3)   Reflections on Jewish Spirituality –… [Read more]

Sinai Update — Week of November 16-22, 2014

November 19th, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  November 16-22, 2014  |  Parashat  Toldot (Genesis 25:17 – 28:9)   Reflections on the Jewish World… [Read more]

Sinai Update — Week of November 9-15, 2014

November 12th, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  November 9-15, 2014  |  Parashat Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1 – 25:18)      Reflections on the… [Read more]

Sinai Update — Week of November 2-8, 2014

November 6th, 2014

     SINAI UPDATE  |  Week of  November 2-8, 2014  |  Parashat Vayera (Genesis 18:1 – 22:24)   Reflections on the Jewish World –… [Read more]

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… [Read more]

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]