Volume III Cheshvan/Kislev 5780 / November 2019 No. 19
High Holy Day Thank-Yous
Our month of holy days is behind us, and we have entered the year 5780. I hope that, in whatever capacity you observed Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Shemini Atzeret, you found something that provoked thought and introspection, something that sparked joy, something that soothed or comforted you, and something that helped you to feel that you belong in a Jewish community. Did you learn anything about yourself this year? Did you resolve to change something in the coming year? Did you make amends to anyone, or accept amends someone wanted to make to you? Did you express appreciation to anyone?
I’m sure you know that for clergy, this is an extraordinarily busy time of year. Services are long and many, and there is much to coordinate. I am grateful to everyone who helped everything go smoothly this year. Thank you to my partners on the bimah, Rabbi Alexis Pinsky and Nonie Schuster Donato, our cantorial soloist, as well as to our accompanist, Maxine Feldman.
The congregational choir was a wonderful asset to our Erev Rosh Hashanah and Kol Nidrei services. The rendition of Heal Us Now brought me to tears, and all of the pieces they sang were lovely. This year we had a violinist, Susanna Stein, and cellist, Shanda Wooley, for Kol Nidrei, adding even more beauty to that haunting tune.
Once again this year, Robin Bass and Fran Silverman, co-chairs of the Ritual Committee, worked very hard so that services would go as smoothly as possible—and they did. Many ushers welcomed people and helped them find seats. David Schulman and Michael Rose set up microphones and kept them working throughout the services (which turned out to be harder than I thought it would be). Michael also set up our internet streaming and made sure it worked properly, with the assistance of Shoshana Hoover.
Vital Jean and Angel deJesus were, as always, invaluable, making sure that everything building- and equipment-related was in order and where it was needed. This year that included my last-minute request to bring the portable ark upstairs so that it could be open during N’ilah, at the end of Yom Kippur, and people could come up for a private moment with the Torah. Their patience is endless, and they are always helpful.
Sondra Berkman and Alice Hyatt were also behind the scenes, taking care of all kinds of things. Madelon Jonas made sure there were apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah, cracked corn for Tashlich, and a tasty and lavish break-the-fast, and more. I’m sure there are many others who helped in concrete ways, and I apologize to anyone I’ve neglected to mention. Thank you to everyone who helped to make these holidays accessible and spiritually fulfilling by taking care of a million details.
There’s been a maxim traveling around social media that says: “How you behave between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is important, but how you behave between Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah is even more important.” In 5780, let us make the most of our lives. Let us show compassion to others, let us be patient with one another, let us be kind to ourselves and those we encounter.
I really love our congregation. Thank you all for letting me serve you, and for your support and caring. I look forward to seeing you soon. Rabbi Heidi Hoover
voice of truth
Associate Rabbi Pinsky, Shoshana Hoover, Eric Platt & Tamara Kerner at Simchat Torah celebration.
(Photo by Harvey Wang)
Another Year Begins
I think that you will all agree that our High Holy Day services and celebrations were special and meaningful this year.
Many thanks to Rabbi Hoover and Rabbi Pinsky for conducting beautifully spiritual services and inspiring us with their sermons. Much gratitude to our Cantorial Soloist, Nonie Schuster Donato, for leading us in song with her splendid voice and conducting our ever-improving choir.
Let’s not forget to thank all the members of our choir and our accompanist, Maxine Feldman for all the hours they spent with Nonie during August and September preparing for these services. Special thanks to our Ritual Committee Co-Chairs Fran Silverman and Robin Bass for making the services run smoothly and Madelon Jonas for arranging for the bima flowers and the wonderful break the fast.
Our High Holy Day children’s services were truly enhanced by Rabbi Pinsky’s energy and lively music. Our festival celebrations were equally memorable. On Sukkot eve, the sukkah in our driveway was beautifully decorated by children and adults, and everyone had a chance to shake the lulav and etrog.
Then, on Simchat Torah, everyone who attended marched and danced around the sanctuary for the seven hakafot, followed by unrolling the entire Torah scroll. We must thank Sam Silverman, Gene Guskin, Stan Hollander and our custodian, Vital Jean, for assembling the sukkah. I would also be remiss not to thank Mike Rose and his able assistant, Shoshana Hoover, for live streaming all of these services and celebrations for members and visitors who couldn't attend.
On Friday, October 18, we had a wonderful turnout at B’ShERT for the Interfaith Coalition of Brooklyn’s Shabbat Potluck Dinner and Service. The variety of dishes from different cultures was amazing and sharing our service with those of other faiths was special. As the other members of the Interfaith Coalition joined us for Shabbat services during Sukkot (the Jewish Thanksgiving), let’s show our appreciation with a good turnout to the Coalition’s Annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Service on Sunday, November 24th at 3:30 pm at Our Lady of Refuge Roman Catholic Church on Ocean Avenue at Foster Avenue.
We appreciate how the religious school team, parents and children are working with us on the classroom space changes due to the work being done in the school’s basement. The work in the basement is going to require more time than we had hoped. Fortunately, we have found suitable space for our classes in Aim High’s classrooms and the Community Room and have come up with a plan to convert the Community Room into a chapel for Minyan Services immediately following classes. Therefore, Minyan Services as per the Temple calendar will resume on Saturday, November 2nd.
Also, we have established a couple of dates for the sorting and clean-up of all the books, furniture, archives, plaques, and other stuff that had been stored throughout the school basement. The dates are Sundays, November 10th and November 24th. If you would like to help with this enormous task, please call the Temple office.
Please note that the “No Parking” signs for bus lanes on Church Avenue from East 7th Street to Marlborough Road are now in effect Monday thru Saturday from 7 am to 7 pm. We still believe that the elimination of parking due to these bus lanes will have an effect on a number of our congregants on Saturdays. Therefore, are still trying to convince DOT to eliminate the bus lanes on Saturdays. If you wish to help with this fight, we encourage you to reach out to DOT directly at 646-892-1350.
Finally, I wish to again remind you that the URJ Biennial is fast approaching. The Biennial this year is taking place from Wednesday, December 11th to Sunday, December 15th in Chicago. I encourage you to consider attending. As an incentive, the Board of Trustees has allotted $2,500 for stipends to help defer the costs of attending the Biennial. The allotted amount will be divided by the number of congregants requesting a stipend with a maximum stipend of $500. The Biennial schedule is now on the Biennial website. The schedule includes various types of prayer services, study sessions, panel discussions, notable scholars and speakers and entertainment. If you have any questions about the Biennial, please do not hesitate to contact me or see the Biennial website at https://www.urjbiennial.org.
B'Shalom and I look forward to seeing you at Temple.
News From Women of B'ShERT
We just finished our first brunch of the new year. Our guest speaker, artist Jonathan Blum, was very informative about his work and and how he gets his inspiration. We also had the opportunity to witness the unveiling of Jonathan's beautiful portrait of Rabbi Heidi Hoover (pictured). The portrait, which was commissioned by the Rabbi's husband, Michael Rose, in honor of their 20th anniversary, is hanging in our Temple lobby for all to enjoy.
On November 2, we will have our very own Rob Friedman to discuss “what’s hot, what’s not” in collectibles and antiques. Looking ahead to December 7, we will welcome as our guest speaker New York Times bestselling novelist Lauren Belfer.
December 15 is our annual luncheon and Hanukkah concert event at Kingsborough Community College. Look for the flyer in this newsletter for more information.
Charlotte Russell, Mona Goldberg & Sara Meyer West
Women of B'ShERT
Chicken Potluck & Torah Service
Friday, November 15, 2019
Temple provides chicken...you bring a non-dairy side dish or dessert
(and, of course, your scintillating conversation)
Potluck 7 pm|
Torah Service 8 pm
(Photo by Michael T. Rose)
IN THE BEGINNING: God created the heavens and the earth and even had time to create me through his/her surrogates, Miriam and Louis Schnall. I was born in the Bronx but moved at age four to my new home in the Rockaways to one housing project and then another where I lived with my sister, Bambi, for the next 22 years.
I grew up with all that a child needed in this community teeming with children. We had a playground where I honed my athletic skills. I was Nok Hockey champion for one year and hula hoop champ for two consecutive years. Girl Scouts played a huge role in my life from ages nine to 16 and was led by the mother of my oldest friend. I can still find my happy place today when I think about the many hours I spent at the 35th Street boardwalk and 98th Street Playland (a little like Coney Island) with amusement rides Skeeball, Tuckee cups (made from fried chow mein noodles, fashioned into a cone shape and filled with chow mein), and Jerry’s knishes (blueberry and cherry cheese, hot and delicious) that my father brought us for breakfast on Sunday mornings from this boardwalk concession. I smile when I think of all the fun I had as a child.
TOUCH DOWN IN BROOKLYN: I moved to Brooklyn in 1973 when I felt that Rockaway was too far to commute for my job. I lived in a few places before my husband, Steven, and I bought our cooperative apartment in 1979. And while I have lived in the same apartment for 40 years, and my daughter has not known any other home, I have made so many changes to my home that it seemed like I lived in many apartments over the years. That might be because I renovated the kitchen three times, the bathroom twice, and changed the furniture a few times. But I finally got it right at age 67. Never too late, eh? I love my home now.
SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, PART 1: Rockaway was not only the place I grew up, but it was also where I began my Jewish education. I promised my paternal grandmother, Rebekkah, at age eight, that I would go to Hebrew school despite my parents’ lack of motivation in that area. So, I managed to sign myself up for Hebrew school, got my mother to join the temple choir and arranged a ride for us to get there every Friday. Seems that since the temple choir sang every week, my mother and I were forced to attend weekly services (yay for me, not so much for mom). But wild horses couldn’t drag my father to temple. He did, however, attend my bat mitzvah in May 1961.
SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, PART 2: I took a hiatus from temple life for 20 years but came back on a promise to my grandma Rebekkah to find a temple for my child about to start her formal education as a kindergartner. I found Temple Ahavath Sholom through a friend and I took my whiny five-year-old to a family service in a hot sanctuary with no air conditioning and thought it would be a disaster. But low and behold, the congregation was singing ”It is very good, man woman and child, all are good.” And when they sang "...and apes" (they made ape-like sounds), Rebecca giggled and said that she liked this place. So I signed up as a member and enrolled her in Hebrew school on the spot. Three congregations later, here I am at B’ShERT.
The transition from one legacy congregation to the other was a bit rough for me despite the fact that I was supportive of the decision to consolidate. It didn’t help me integrate into my new spiritual home after realizing that I had lost every position previously held in my former congregation. But, fortunately for me, I heard my mom say to me, while shaking her finger: Cut the pity party. You know what you need to do. Make your own fortune. And so, I did. Now I am membership co-chair with Melissa Scott, Publicity Chair with Tamara Kerner, member of the Temple choir, ARZA and Social Action. I am happy to be a part of this nascent congregation and want to do my best to make it grow and thrive.
BIGGEST INFLUENCES: Certainly, my parents and my courageous daughter, Rebecca, are beacons of light for me. But I was forever changed by a young African-American female educator named Bruce Sherfield. (Yes, a woman named Bruce!) She was my kindergarten teacher who helped me to work through the intense jealous feelings I had when my sister was born. And many years later, as the director of the Redfern Day Care Center, she rescued me again and hired me when I was a college junior as the head counselor in her summer camp program, the same place I attended kindergarten. She counseled me all through the long hot summer when I cried that I was a failure because I had failed to make the cut as a nursing student and did not know where to turn. “You know what you need to do already, you have the strength to listen and follow that still small voice inside of you. You’re a talented teacher," she said. (Bruce was right. I have been a teacher for the past 47 years). We talked a lot during the summer and she shared the many struggles she had as an African-American with hopes and aspirations in the 1940s. If she had the grit to achieve her goals, so did I. And due to her example of being true to yourself and the responsibility that people have to bring about social equity, I was active in the civil rights movement of the 1960s in Louisiana and Virginia, where I attended college.
FAMILY IS MORE THAN EVERYTHING: As I mentioned, I have a beautiful daughter who brings joy to my life. My beloved husband, Steven, passed away in 1982 when Rebecca was 16 months old. My sister and her family have always been there for me. I also have the best cousins, nieces and nephews anyone could want. My friends are a treasure as well. I have been in a friendship group, Chaverah Aleph, with temple and non-temple members for 30+ years and a proud member of the Birthday Club for 20 years, in which we celebrate our birthdays four times a year according to the seasons. Life is good.
MY SECRET: When I was little, I used to imagine that I could get into the skin of people very different from me. I was intrigued by what people did and thought, particularly those who not share my culture or even my values. And we would have arguments about our differences. The secret part is that I still do this.
HOBBIES: I have always struggled with what a hobby is. Is it equated with a talent, or is it about an interest, or something you just get pleasure doing? My contributions to the world are not easily quantifiable; I can’t paint or draw, sing or dance. So if it’s the latter, then I would say: I love people and bringing them together, culture, politics (mother’s milk for me because it is a window into why people think and act the way they do). Reading carries me away to the places I have never been and the people I have never known. Favorite books: Beloved, How Green Was My Valley, Snow in August.
WISE WORDS: “Don’t mess with people’s belief systems; they’re highly invested, they won’t like it; you’ll get in trouble; don’t do it! “ (Mama Schnall). “When you don’t know where you are going, every road takes you there.” (Lewis Carroll)
Photo courtesy of Ellyn Rothstein
Ellyn (c.), sister Bambi & daughter Rebecca
Photo by Robin Bass
Fundraising Committee Updates
Thanks to all who donated food for our Rosh Hashanah Food Drive. Our recipients, Our Lady of Refuge Church Food Pantry and B’ShERT Little Pantry, are most grateful for your generosity.
An Interfaith Potluck Dinner (pictured) and Shabbat Service was held at B’ShERT on October 18. Our dairy potluck hosted 80 attendees from Our Lady of Refuge Church, The Turkish Cultural Center, East Midwood Jewish Center and B’ShERT. and featured delicious food contributed by all of our partners. Thanks to all who made this evening happen.
HOLD THE DATES for more Interfaith Coalition programs: (see flyers in this issue of the VoT):
• Monday, November 11, 10:15 am rain or shine: Annual Interfaith Walking Tour – Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center (East 33rd Street & Avenue U).
• Sunday, November 24, 3 pm at Our Lady of Refuge Church (Ocean and Foster Avenues): Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.
• Our Hanukkah Toy Drive will take place November 18 through December 13.
The next Social Action Committee meeting is Tuesday, November 19, 7 pm in the Community Room.
Susan Sysler and Laurie Bassi
Co-Chairs, Social Action Committee
Giving Tuesday is right around the corner on December 3. As you sit down at your Thanksgiving table, with family and friends, we ask that you express the thanks for the richness in your lives by donating to Temple through Giving Tuesday. The last time we participated, we raised over $2300 for the Accessibility Fund.
You can support B’ShERT using one-click fundraising via our Facebook page. If you want to set up your own fundraiser for Temple, just visit http://bit.ly/fb-bshert and get started.
You can also send a few cents to Temple every time you buy something from Amazon. Amazon Smile provides a bit of cash based on purchases, but you have to be at the smile.amazon.com site and choose B'ShERT as your benefit target. It's easy to do: Just head over to smile.amazon.com and select Beth Shalom v'Emeth Reform Temple as your charity of choice. (You can jump directly to our page via this link: http://bit.ly/support-bshert)
Pam Glantzman, Fundraising Committee
News From the Social Action Committee
Dear Choir Members,
Our Hanukkah choir rehearsal will begin on Thursday, Nov. 7th. We will continue to meet every Thursday (except Thanksgiving) until Dec. 19th from 7-9 pm. We will be practicing for our special Hanukkah Service on Friday, Dec. 20th. If you are not a member of the choir, but would like to join, please let Alice in the Temple office know.
Photo by Ellyn Rothstein
Attention, Bibliophiles: B'ShERT's Evening Book Group Wants You
The B'ShERT Evening Book Group meets at 7 pm.generally on the first Wednesday of each month throughout the year at a congregant's home. All are welcome to join this friendly community of book lovers!
The group has been in existence for four years and has read a wide variety of books on Jewish themes, expanding its knowledge of the work of many Jewish authors, including Cynthia Ozick, Amos Oz, Philip Roth, and Jonathan Sacks. The roster of books for the next several months is listed below.
If you are interested in attending, call the Temple office for location information.
November 6 Harry Bernstein, The Invisible Wall
December 11* Amor Towles, Rules of Civility
January 8* Kristin Hannah, The Winter Garden
February 5 B.A. Shapiro, The Art Forger
March 4 Laurel Corona, The Mapmaker's Daughter
April 1 Jonathan Sacks, The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning
*Normally the group meets on the first Wednesday, but in December we'll meet on the second Wednesday to avoid a conflict with the congregational meeting. Similarly, in January, we'll meet on the second Wednesday in order not to meet on New Year's Day.
We look forward to having you join us!
B'ShERT Evening Book Group
News from Brotherhood of B'ShERT
It was wonderful to see so many loyal members show up at our October meeting.
Besides eating a delicious breakfast and schmoozing with some wonderful fellow members, we voted to help in the financing of a new sound system for the sanctuary, and to provide gifts for our bat and bar mitzvah children as well as for those who will be graduating from our confirmation class next year. We also discussed why Brotherhood is important to us and we are looking for activities that would get temple members of all ages involved.
If you have any ideas, please let us know.
The next Brotherhood meeting will take place on Sunday, November 10, 9 am, in the Community Room.
At this meeting, we will discuss plans for the December Brotherhood Shabbat and the January indoor picnic as well as other relevant material. Please come prepared to share ideas on how you handle anxiety in the very stressful times we live in. Of course, breakfast will be provided or you may bring your own if you wish.
Remember that if you have not joined Brotherhood yet, our dues are still only $36.
Our condolences go out to Brotherhood member Bernard Cohen on the loss of his son.
We should be proud to honor our veterans this month. We wish everyone a great Thanksgiving with family and friends. Don't forget to vote and I am sure everyone knows that November 29 is National Native American Heritage Day.
We wish everyone a month of happiness and good health.
Brotherhood of B'ShERT
Report from the Jewish Cultural Committee
As always, we have exciting plans.
By the time you read this, we will have just attended the oratorio The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, written by congregant Harry Bialor, presented on Sunday, October 27 at the Yeshiva of Flatbush High School. We are so proud of Harry and his work.
Our next event, as many of you know, is our annual bus trip with Union Temple, taking place on Saturday, November 16 and Sunday, November 17. The bus will pick us up here at Temple and we will journey to Massachusetts, where we will visit Plimoth Plantation, the Judaica exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and tour an interesting synagogue. This includes good food and good fellowship!
On Sunday, December 1, at 11 am, we will meet at Temple to discuss Mark Twain's book Innocents Abroad, after which we will travel to the New York Historical Society at 170 Central Park West to see the exhibit Mark Twain and the Holy Land, which is based on the trip described in that book, which was a best seller in its time.
As you already know, we are partnering with the Fundraising Committee on Jews, God, and History, a contemporary theatrical piece sure to keep you thinking, here at Temple on Sunday, December 8th at 4 pm.
We expect to start the secular New Year with a program on Saturday, January 4 after services entitled Jews Across The Pond, which will be an interactive dialogue with our friends in Ireland (the Munster Jewish Community).
After that, we have the Soul to Soul concert on Sunday, January 19 at 2 pm at the Museum of Jewish Heritage at Battery Park, which features African American and Yiddish music traditions of the Civil Rights movement, in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.
It is also not too early to buy tickets for the Sunday, May 31 (1 pm) showing of The Tenth Man, which will be in Yiddish with English supertitles, and which is an American retelling of The Dybbuk set in a suburban synagogue, also being shown at the Museum of Jewish Heritage at Battery Park.
After all of this, do you have time for even more? Maybe you do.
On Tuesday, November 5 at 6:30 pm, explore and sample (and take home the book!) 100 Most Jewish Foods at Temple Emanuel at 1 East 65th Street in Manhattan. Head to the Museum at Eldridge Street Synagogue (12 Eldridge Street, Manhattan) on Thursday, November 14 at 7 pm for a concert by Metropolitan Klezmer, said to feature wedding music, soundtracks from Yiddish movies, and ballads of the Triangle Fire.
Otherwise, on the same evening, but closer to home, attend for free (but please reserve) The Investigation, scenes of a play adapted from the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials, at St. Ann's Church on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. This is sponsored by Folksbiene.
I have information about pricing for these events. If you are interested, please let me know.
Jewish Cultural Committee
Upgrading your laptop computer? Donate the old one to Temple! We will wipe it of all your info and use it for our Religious School students & teachers, or resell it to help fund our programs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
"Turn it and turn it for everything is in it..."
Photos by Harvey Wang
Below: Rabbi Hoover, Associate Rabbi Alexis Pinsky and President Eric Platt.
Simchat Torah at B'ShERT!
Mona Goldberg does her part.
Rabbi Heidi Hoover and congregants at the festive event.
Above: Susan Sysler celebrates.
Below: Sharon Spellman and David Olasov became grandparents! Annika Lawhorn Olasov was born on Sept. 26 in San Francisco, weighing in at a healthy 9 lbs. 3 oz. Parents are Michael and Ingrid Lawhorn Olasov. (Photo courtesy of Sharon Spellman)
More Glad Tidings from the B'ShERT Community...
Harry Rosenberg Siegel
Jacob Rosenberg Siegel
...and a Happy Anniversary to Samantha & Warren Bloom, Terry & Stan Hollander and Thea Platt-Glasser & Steven Glasser
Happy Birthday, November Babies!
Above: Gerard and Judy Soffian at the entrance to a sukkah at the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca in October. (Photo courtesy of Gerard Soffian)
Meet B'ShERT's Religious School Teachers
Adi Meyerson - Jerusalem
Adi was born in San Francisco but grew up in Jerusalem. This year marks her fourth year teaching at B’ShERT, where she works with our youngest students in kindergarten through second grade. Adi also is one of our Hebrew teachers. Outside of B’ShERT, she's a full time bassist and composer who plays and tours all over the world. "Working with the kids and being part of the B’ShERT community has had a great impact on my life in NYC," Adi says. "It is great to be part of such a wonderful community and be able to give back."
Elizabeth (Lizzy) Peters - Eliat
Lizzy begins her fourth year with B’ShERT teaching our third- and fourth-graders. She strives to facilitate creative and culturally relevant Jewish educational experiences and works hard to ensure that her students come away from her class with deepened friendships, a connection to Jewish community life, tools for lifelong learning and, most important, the ability to find their own paths of wonder, joy, fortitude, integrity and tenacity. As an undergraduate and grad student, she studied Jewish fiction, poetry and sacred texts with rigor — a practice she continues to pursue alongside her own writing. Formerly an adjunct at Queens College, Lizzy currently teaches high school English in Brooklyn.
Cara Kantrowitz - Haifa
Cara is excited to begin her fourth year teaching our fifth- and sixth-graders at B’ShERT. She continues her leadership role in the religious school this year as our Lead Teacher. Cara especially loves teaching Jewish Ethics, and is looking forward to another wonderful year at B'ShERT! In her "other life," Cara loves taking photographs, works as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist for the Department of Education, and is an awesome mom to her two sweet kids.
Michael Davis - Tel Aviv
This year Michael will be starting his 10th year as a religious school teacher and B’ShERT is thrilled to have him joining our team. Michael has worked with us in the past as a substitute teacher and this year will be teaching our seventh grade and older students on Saturday mornings as well as Hebrew during the week. When not with us at B’ShERT, Michael teaches in a 5’s classroom at the 92nd Street Y Nursery school. He has also been a tutor with Kaplan and a unit head at URJ Camp Harlam. Michael has led several trips to Israel with Kesher Birthright and is an avid theatergoer. By his own calculations, he has seen over 250 productions since he moved to New York City in 2000.
Harvey Wang takes part in an intergenerational Sukkah-decorating session.
Photos by Ellyn Rothstein & Pam Glantzman
B'ShERT Celebrates Sukkot!
Our sukkah, a work in progress.
Linda Feller presents her array of international dolls.
Women of B’ShERT Brunch & Hanukkah Concert
Sunday, December 15
11:30 am brunch at Three Star Restaurant on Avenue U
3 pm "Hanukkah on the Roof" concert at Kingsborough Community College
Concert $30/ Brunch $21 (brunch is women only)
RSVP concert by Nov. 1/Brunch by Nov. 30
Make checks payable to Women of B’ShERT
We all had fun at our PJ Library/B’ShERT Rosh Hashanah birthday for the world. Toda raba to Rabbi Heidi Hoover, Joanie Holland Schaffer, Bill Schaffer, Pam Glantzman and all of our enthusiastic party goers! Happy birthday!
(Photos by Ellyn Rothstein)
Happy Birthday, World!
ARZA Report: Reform Judaism in Israel
This coming year we have a tremendous opportunity to influence and impact what happens in Israel and to world Jewry. All we need to do is simply VOTE!
The 38th World Zionist Congress is scheduled to meet in Jerusalem from October 20-23, 2020; the elections to determine the size of the various delegations to the Congress are scheduled to be held from January 21 to March 11, 2020 (MLK Day to Purim). We need every single self-identifying Jew over the age of 18 to be loud and to be counted. The math is simple: Electing a large Progressive/Reform Movement delegation to the next World Zionist Congress (WZC) will strengthen Progressive Judaism’s call for the values and ideals we cherish, such as equality, egalitarianism and peace.
Participating in the WZC elections is the only way that North American Jews can weigh in democratically about issues in Israel.
Currently, the United States has 145 delegates in the WZC, the largest single delegation outside Israel. Thanks to a robust turnout in the 2015 elections, 56 of the 145 delegates (39 percent) represent the Reform Movement and, as a result, have been able to ensure that more than $4 million a year ($20 million over five years) is being directed to the Israeli Reform Movement. By comparison, the Israeli government annually provides nearly four billion NIS ($1.1 billion) to Orthodox and Haredi institutions in Israel.
Make your voice heard. Make a difference. If you care about the Reform Movement in Israel, if you support egalitarian prayer, if you believe in freedom of religion, the right of Reform rabbis to conduct marriage, divorce, burial and conversion, if you believe that women should have equal status, here is your chance to make a difference by voting in the World Zionist Congress elections. This is the best way for you to directly influence and impact the future of the Reform Movement in Israel and of the Jewish people around the globe.
Requirements to vote are:
* You must be 18 years of age or older (by June 30, 2020);
* You self-identify as Jewish;
* You agree to the Jerusalem Program, the official platform of the WZO and the Zionist Movement;
* You agree to pay a $7.50 processing fee.
The Jerusalem Program is the platform of the World Zionist Organization. It does not favor any specific organizational or political platform. It does not encourage Settlement activity across the Green line and simply tries to espouse the central principles of Zionism today. We are asking all those who vote to simply acknowledge that this is the platform of the World Zionist Organization.
All voting will be completed online and will be accessible from mobile devices. It will be a simple process and will take only a few minutes. For congregants and individuals that do not have access to computers or need assistance with using them, once voting begins the ARZA committee will designate times to help with the process.
Another way to show your support for progressive Judaism in Israel by becoming a member of ARZA. In the near future, you will receive a letter requesting your membership.
I urge you to complete the membership form that you will receive with the letter and return it to the Temple office, along with a check made out to B’ShERT. Of the $50 in annual dues, $2 will stay at the Temple for Israel-related programming, and the balance will be sent directly to ARZA.
To stay informed and up to date with all that's happening in Israel and ARZA, please go to www.arza.org and/or www.urj.org.
ARZA Committee Chair
Exploring the People of Jerusalem (Part 2 of 4)
In May , the ARZA committee participated in Erev Shabbat Services in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day). Some committee members presented short bios on ancient and modern people of Jerusalem. We’ll be featuring these bios in the next few issues of The Voice of Truth. The following bio of Josephus was presented by Yvette Pomeranz.
Josephus was an historian and controversial figure. The information I am providing is from the Introduction to Josephus: The Jewish War, written by E. Mary Smallwood.
Josephus was born in Jerusalem to a family of priests in 37 C.E. After studying with priests and meditating in the desert with an ascetic hermit, he became a Pharisee. Judea was ruled by Rome. When he was 26 years old, Josephus went to Rome to negotiate the release of priests who had been facing charges. He arrived after having experienced a shipwreck and, through contacts made with Nero’s wife, whom he met through a Jewish actor, succeeded in securing the priests’ release.
This began Josephus’ relationship with Rome, which often put him on the opposite side of his fellow Jews. While Jewish leaders were advocating revolt against Rome, Josephus believed that this was doomed to fail, and said so. He was forced to stay in the inner court of the Temple to avoid being arrested and executed on the ground of collusion with Rome. When Jewish moderates took charge, he was freed. War resulted anyway, when Roman forces which had been driven out returned to conquer again. Josephus was given command of a military force in Galilee. Jewish moderates hoped to gain the confidence of the “extremists” and persuade them to end the fighting, and Josephus, although providing training to his soldiers and fortification to towns, avoided provoking conflict or responding to provocation. He was threatened with loss of his command, and murder. Ultimately, his army fled, and he did join the extremists. He was then captured by the Romans.
Josephus became a favored prisoner, because he successfully predicted that the Roman commander Vespasian would become emperor. He frequently accompanied Vespasian and was used to make appeals to Jews to surrender. Vespasian found him a wife. Josephus was also given two estates in Judea, a pension for life, and Roman citizenship, including a Roman name -- Flavius Josephus. When the city of Jerusalem fell, he was told that he could take whatever he wanted. He asked for some scriptures and freedom for his brother, 50 friends, and women and children who had been lined up for deportation and enslavement. After receiving his pension, Josephus decided to become a writer (of history).
In the preface he wrote for his book The Jewish War, Josephus' comments remain timely: “I therefore thought it inexcusable, when such issues were involved, to see the truth misrepresented and to take no notice. Parthians, Babylonians, Southern Arabians, Mesopotamian Jews, and Adiabenians, thanks to my labours, were accurately informed of the causes of the war, the sufferings it involved, and its disastrous ending. Were the Greeks and those Romans who took no part in it to remain ignorant of the facts, deluded with flattery or fiction? Yet the writers I have in mind claim to be writing history, although besides getting all their facts wrong they seem to me to miss their target altogether.
“For they wish to establish the greatness of the Romans while all the time disparaging and deriding the actions of the Jews. But I do not see how men can prove themselves great by overcoming feeble opponents! Again, they are not impressed by the length of the war, the vastness of the Roman forces which endured such hardships, and the genius of their commanders, whose strenuous endeavors before Jerusalem will bring them little glory if the difficulties they overcame are belittled. However, it is not my intention to counter the champions of the Romans by exaggerating the heroism of my own countrymen; I shall state the facts accurately and impartially.”
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November 9 Lech L’cha Genesis 12:1−17:27
November 16 Vayeira Genesis 18:1–22:24
November 23 Chayei Sarah Genesis 23:1−25:18
November 30 Tol’dot Genesis 25:19−28:9
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