Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Back to School - Open House

Shalom Horim/Dear Parents:

By now you should have received an email from Temple regarding Religious School registration. Please note, you no longer have to specify the grade on the registration form, we will take care of that. 

This coming year, the first day of school is on September 13 at 4:00. If you are able, please be prepared to stay to do some singing with Rabbi Edleson, noshing, meet your child’s teacher, greet old friends, and make some new ones. We will also hold a short parent info session detailing new programs we have coming up this year.

Note, this is a regular school day, so grade K-1 this year will meet weekly from 4:00-5:10.  All other classes meet from 4:00-6:15.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me either by phone or email or in person.

I’m looking forward to a wonderful new year with all of you and with our new rabbi. If you have not yet met Rabbi Edleson, please come by to say “Shalom!”

Oh, and I almost forgot: 

BONUS ROCK SHABBAT. September 7, before school even begins, we are having a special Rock Shabbat service* to welcome back all our students. It is also Pride Weekend so at the service we will also welcome members of our LGBTQAI community. Temple is also marching in the Pride Parade on Saturday (Burlington moved the parade to Saturday from Sunday out of deference to Erev Rosh Hashanah on Sunday.)

*Please note that this Sept. 7th Shabbat will begin with an Open House at 5:30, so your children can come meet their teachers. 6:00 services begin and will be followed by a BBQ Dinner by Brotherhood.

  Also note that Rabbi Edleson has started leading weekly Saturday morning services from 9:30-10:30. So for those of you having trouble getting your child here Friday nights, Saturday morning is now a great option.

Shalom u’vracha,

Morah Judy

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Summer's here, the planning goes on

Shalom Chaveirim/Dear Friends,

By now you must all know that we have a new rabbi starting July 1st, Rabbi David Edleson. Friday, July 6 is his first Shabbat service. So please come to the preneg at 5:30, attend the service at 6, and stay for the oneg following the service. He has wonderful, new ideas and is a great musician besides, so be prepared to learn some beautiful new music.

And on July 7th, Rabbi Edleson is leading a Havdallah service outdoors, around our new fire pit. You come, we supply the 'Smores!

I'd like to share with you some other dates coming up.

August 10th we are holding a very special Rock Shabbat to say good bye to our students who are going off to college, whether for the first time or returning. So if you have a student heading to college, please bring them to this special service.

September 7th is a welcome back to school service for our students in Religious School. Additionally, it is Pride Week in Vermont so we'll be having some special music to reflect our returning students and our friends in the LGBTQAI community.  Following the service, our Brothers in the 'Hood are making a BBQ for everyone.

September 13th is the first day of school for everyone! 

Services all summer are at 6:00. Please note, that there is a pre-oneg, or a preneg, at 5:30 before all the services. There will be an oneg following the services only on special, listed weeks, such as July 6th, which is Rabbi Edleson's first Shabbat.

Have a wonderful kayyitz/summer,

Morah Judy

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Jewish Resources for Coping with the Tragic Shooting in Parkland, FL

In these tragic times, it is difficult to know how to respond and address the latest shooting issue with our children. The Reform movement has some resources on its website.  Here is one.


At least 17 people are dead and more injured in a horrific shooting Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Once again, in the wake of senseless and devastating gun violence, we mourn, we come together, we offer words of condolence – and we ask how we can prevent these tragedies from happening again.

Says Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, in a statement from the Reform Movement issued after the massacre,

I can imagine the Holy One sobbing along with us, distraught over the senseless bloodshed we’ve collectively allowed to happen. Human care for one another, perhaps Divinely inspired, is what is desperately needed right now. “What's also needed is action. While every person of conscience must be shocked and outraged by the frequency of these horrific mass shootings, no person of intelligence can be surprised.

After the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, NV, the deadliest in modern American history, Daryl Messinger, chair of the Union for Reform Judaism, wrote,

Read more. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Want to learn Hebrew?

I'm often asked about programs for you and/or your child to practice Hebrew.  Here's one that's enjoyable, engaging, and easy to use.  It's HebrewPod 101.

Check out their website and video and start learning Hebrew today.

Monday, December 18, 2017

New Adult Education Course: Israel's Milestones and Their Meanings: The Legacy of the Past and the Challenge of the Future

UPDATE: Please note that the dates of the course have changed this this was first posted. Our start date it Feb. 4. See Temple Sinai's webpage for the correct dates.

From the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, the URJ and ARZA:

Israel's Milestones and Their Meanings: The Legacy of the Past and the Challenge of the Future

Memory is a central element in defining modern Jewish identity. As we look to Israel's future, we need to engage anew with our past and explore its meanings and consequences. Through the consideration of major historic moments, this iEngage series grapples with the different ideas and values that shape the meaning of Modern Israel, Zionism, and Jewish identity today.

This innovative course explores the pivotal events of 1947 and 1967 - following the 1917 Balfour Declaration - as key moments when Zionism unleashed new thinking about the meaning of Jewishness for generations to come. The course engages Jews in an open and pluralistic discussion about issues of Jewish identity, peoplehood, ethics and theology as they relate to nationhood, land, sovereignty, Jerusalem, occupation, and moral red lines.

Classes are at 10:00 a.m. on the following dates: 
  • Jan. 14 & 28 
  • Feb. 4 & 18
  •  Mar. 11 & 25
  •  Apr.  8
  • May 6 

 Additionally, there are three webinars led by Scholars from the URJ and Israel on March 1, April 12, and May 17, all Thursdays, all at noon.

These video sessions originate from the Hartman Institute and are facilitated on site by Bruce Hicken.

This course is made possible by a generous grant from the URJ and ARZA and is being offered for free to Temple Sinai members and non-members.  Source readings will be provided for free in PDF format.  These readings are also available in a printed book, which you may order yourself from the Hartman Institute for $20.00.

Donations are gladly accepted. All participants do need to sign up in advance, even if you cannot attend all classes. 

To sign up, please email

Monday, December 4, 2017

Why I Light My Chanukah Candles

A Chanukah Reflection by David Gregory

This piece is part of AJWS's Chag v'Chesed publication series. 
For more Chanukah resources, visit their website

Every winter, as the days shorten and darken, I look forward to Chanukah. The sight of the candles over eight nights helps us create those sacred moments that daily life so often crowds out. The flicker of the flame evokes history, identity, shared experience. I see in my children their innocent excitement and their respect for a special moment we share. My wife and I are always so proud to hear them sing the prayer—the glue that binds generations of Jews. 

The candles create a circle of light around my family that grows brighter each day as we add another candle to our menorah. This is a truly intimate experience—the flames pull us inward toward the light and toward one another. And yet, the rabbis of the Talmud declare that the menorah should be placed “at the entrance to one’s house on the outside, so that all can see it.”1 The sages push us to make our private ritual public, because the very purpose of the candles is to publicize the miracle of Chanukah. 

I have always felt great pride in placing my menorah in the window—and in Washington, D.C., where I live, my candles mingle seamlessly with the other lights of the holiday season, a multi-cultural mix of traditions all aglow. At my synagogue Chanukah party, we make this ritual even brighter and bolder. Everyone brings their own menorah. We light the candles, turn out the lights and put on 3D glasses, enjoying a spectacular light show. Thousands of tiny flames burst in their multi-dimensional glory—lights upon lights burning for all to see. 

But in the days of the rabbis who created the Talmud in the third century CE, lighting the candles in full public view was not always safe. Right after the mandate to place the Menorah in the window, the Talmud says:  

And in a time of danger, [when it might be dangerous to be seen practicing Judaism], placing it on the table is sufficient to fulfill the obligation. 

Continue reading on the AJWS Chag v'Chesed site. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How to Talk to Your Kids About God

So your kid wants to talk about what?

Lots of parents find it difficult to talk to their kids about God. In this short video, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, an American rabbi and author, gives us some tips for how to approach this conversation and reassures us that it’s okay to not have all the answers.

Watch this wonderful video from BimBam, digital storytelling that sparks connections to Judaism for learners of all ages.