Monday, December 12, 2011

If Shavuos is so special, why don't more people around here celebrate it?


I was sent this great letter to Chanukah from Shavuos. It kind of puts the holiday in perspective. Enjoy!

Dear Chanukah,

Hi. My name is Shavuos. Some people call me Shavuot. Many have never heard of me at all. I'm a pretty quiet holiday, so this outrageous letter is really not my style. But honestly, things have just gone too far.

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I'm a REAL holiday. A Biblical one. I don't like to flaunt my pedigree, but people just have to know these things. Like, the type of holiday you don't drive on. You make kiddush on. Y'know?

Chanukah, I mean, we can be friends and all. I like you. Your latkes rock and you sure know how to throw a party. Your theme is beautiful and your prayers amazingly contemporary and relevant. You're a lot of fun and we actually have a lot in common. Dairy foods and all. But in some ways, we are so opposite. I'm a summer kind of thing and you're a winter kind of thing. I'm really short and you're... not. Is that any reason to show off?
I'm not really sure why you need to hang out in the middle of the mall decorated with gifts, starting from like November. Really?? I think you've been hanging out with Christmas a little too much. Not that you asked, but you guys have nothing in common! Why are you always trying to upstage him? I know you share a birthday(sometimes). You're not even related. Your themes are different, your customs are different. Lose the gifts, okay? It's so not you. You've always been a gelt kind of guy. That means money - cash. When did you become such a follower?

If anyone should be in the middle of the mall (which we shouldn't) it should be us. The threesome. The Three Major Holidays. No, I'm not trying to show off, but you seem to have forgotten your place. Me, Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot. Yep, it's always been the three of us - no offense.

So why don't you get out of the mall and do your job: fighting Jewish ignorance and apathy, and introducing people to us? It would suit you well. Oh, and by the way? Figure out how to spell your name, because it's becoming awfully confusing.

Looking forward to seeing you soon,

the forgotten holiday

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Great Brisket Bake off

Several years ago I started what has come to be known as the GREAT BRISKET BAKE-OFF. Like many things gastronomically Jewish, this event centers around a holiday, Chanukah. Why brisket? Why not?

And so, a tradition was born. Except for 2 years ago when we ran out of brisket, there's always been plenty of food. the problem was, people cooked a 2-3 lb. brisket -- for those of you veteran brisket makers, you know that after shrinkage, a brisket that size barely feeds 4 people. So if you're making a brisket, make a big one!

And if you don't want to make a brisket, we can always use other items -- latkes, kasha, stuffed cabbage, salads, drinks, desserts, vegetables-- in other words, anything you'd bring to a pot luck.

Start celebrating Chanukah early and come to the GBBO! Starts at 6:00

Monday, November 7, 2011

November Goings-on

Shalom Chaveirim:

Now that the Chaggim/Holidays are over, things are quieting down. NOT! November is another busy month around here so let me tell you what’s going on**.

  • 11thFamily/Tot Shabbat. Our first one of the season. If have a young ‘un or know someone with one (or two or more), this lively, family friendly service begins at 5:30, goes for half an hour and then we have a yummy dinner together. This year we are trying something new after the service and during the dinner. We are having some of our older students serve as buddies to our younger students so that during the dinner hour when the parents are schmoozing, the kids will be supervised and engaged in activities. Dinner is $5/pp or $15/family.

  • 13th – talk about a busy day! From 9:30-2:00 Sisterhood is running a mini-Mah Jongg-a-thon. If you’ve always wanted to learn to play, now’s your chance. If you know how to play, now’s your chance to play more! It is pot luck and there is a $10 fee if you are not a Sisterhood member (free to members).

  • Then at 2:00 Temple Sinai is participating in the 2nd annual Global Day of Jewish Learning. Jews from all over the world are gathering in synagogues, schools, and other arenas to study together our texts.

  • That evening from 7:00-9:00 at the Fleming Museum the group, We Stand with Israel, is showing the film “Defiance” for free, the 2nd in its Holocaust series of films.

  • 17th-20th – Think of this as a Taste of Israel stretch.
  • On the 17th Shai Bazac, the Israel Consul General of New England will be here at 7:00. Refreshments will be served.
  • Then on the 18th during services, two of our teens who went to Israel this summer courtesy of the Weisbein Scholarship Fund, will be here to talk about their experiences.
  • On the 19th at 7:30 we are thrilled to sponsor the Mattan Klein Jazz Flute Ensemble. The ensemble was established in early 2009, and combines 4 unique flute voices with an energetic acoustic rhythm section to produce one of the freshest World-Jazz combos performing worldwide today. Brazilian music is fused with Jazz, Middle Eastern and 70's fusion elements and they are all present in this one-of-a-kind musical mix, bringing the sounds of flute to new heights, and providing a new definition to the sonorities and acoustic possibilities known to the world of flute and World Music. Coffee and dessert; $18/pp; you can make your reservations at our website
  • On the 20th, from 3:00-4:30 at Ohavi Zedek Synagogue, Ambassador Brad Gordon of AIPAC will speak about the "Gathering Storm: Israel and the Changing Middle East" – Refreshments will be served

FYI – Every Saturday morning from 9:00-10:00 Torah Study meets here to pore over the weekly Torah portion and on Wednesday mornings at 11:00 Prophet Study Group meets. It’s never too late to join in either of them.

**Note that the date of the Great Brisket Bake-off has been changed. It is now on DECEMBER 9th immediately following the Family/Tot Shabbat. It is NOT on December 2nd as indicated on the school calendar. Start digging out those brisket and latke recipes!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New School Year & Sisterhood & Brotherhood

Your children are off and running in a new school year, having lots of fun at Temple Sinai. And so should you!
Men...did you know we have a wonderful Brotherhood? And this Saturday night the boys in the 'Hood are holding a game night. See how well you you can play. BYOB and best gaming snack foods. From 7-10 pm
Women...did you know we have a wonderful Sisterhood? And this Sunday morning the ladies in the 'Hood are having their annual kick-off Brunch. New members encouraged to come and bring a friend. And a dish to share. 9:30-11:30 a.m. Wonderful guest speaker this year, I hear.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some thoughts as we enter Elul

Today is Rosh Chodesh Elul, the first day of the month of Elul, the month that leads up to Rosh Hashanah, when we mentally and spiritually prepare for the Days of Awe. I wanted to share with you a thought from Rabbi David Wolpe, whose writings I have shared before in my Shofar messages. He is the Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.

Our sages tell us that the first time Adam saw the sun go down, he was terrified. He had seen day, but had never experienced the night.

God took pity on him and gave him two stones to rub together in order to create fire. The name of one stone was afelah, darkness, and the other maveth, death. As the spark emerged, Adam said, "Blessed be the Creator of light." Out of darkness and death, the first human being realized that we can create light.

On the High Holidays we think back over the difficulties and even the tragedies that have befallen us in the past year. We have lost people we love, done things we regret, been hurt and saddened by life. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur arrive to remind us that our task in this world is to strike a spark, to carry light in the shadows.

“We work in the dark—do what we can—we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task,” wrote the great novelist Henry James. We all work in darkness, unknowing, uncertain; but if we do what we can, our passion can ignite each other’s souls. Light does not erase difficulty or doubt or even death. But it allows us to seek blessing: Blessed be God, who grants us memory, and gives us light.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Shalom Chaveirim,

As you may know, several of our long time teachers are going on hiatus.  We appreciate the many years they have given to Temple Sinai.  Nancy Rondeau, Audrey Chafetz & Abby Rehkugler are not returning.  We also had two wonderful, young energetic teachers this past year who are not returning since they are moving out of the area:  Michael Bortin and Melissa Goraj.  We also wish them well in their new pursuits.  I have hired a couple of teachers already for 4th & 5th grade Judaic Studies and I can't wait for you to meet them.  They are Michael Dreiblatt and Sharon Silverman.  I am looking to hire a 5th Grade Hebrew teacher and a 6th Grade Judaic Studies teacher.  If you would like to take on this wonderful opportunity, let me know.

We welcome back Patty Greenfield in our Ganeinu class, Barbara Sklar in 4th Grade Hebrew & 7th Grade Judaic Studies, Rabbi Glazier in 6th Grade Hebrew, and yours truly in 7th Grade Hebrew and Torah Chanting.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I'm Back


Back in town after two weeks vacation at various shores -- first one in Cape Cod and second one in New Jersey.  I love nothing more than being in the ocean on a sandy beach and the Atlantic coast has its share of beautiful beaches.

Now that I'm back, just a few things to fill you in.  School registration is still happening.  Please sign up if you haven't already done so.  Opening dates are Wednesday and Thursday, September 7 & 8.  And on September 11th we have our second annual Hike for Hunger to raise money for Hunger Free Vermont.  Please watch for information regarding pledge sheets and time information.

This Sunday, August 21st from 5:00-7:00 we have the last of our summer series Great Courses lectures on the Beginnings of Judaism.  Even if you haven't attended any of the other lectures you are still welcome to attend this.  If you'd like to watch the missed lectures, you can also do that.

Feel free to stop by or give me a call and catch up.  I'd love to hear all about your summer.

Morah Judy

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Israel Scouts

Hey Everybody,
Come on over to Temple Sinai on June 29th for a rollicking great time when the Israel Scout Friendship Caravan comes to entertain us for the 15th year.  If you'd like to host a scout overnight, let me know.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hi Everyone

Whew!  I'm just catching my breath from the end of the school year.  My goal this summer is to learn how to Tweet.  I've got a Twitter account, now all I need to do is learn how to use it.  Anyone?

I'll be sending updates about upcoming events in June, over the summer, school registration and the upcoming year so do check out this blog occasionally over the summer.  The next happening, actually 2 happenings, are on the same date, June 4th:  Hana Kallen's Bat Mitzvah and the Aleinu program at the home of Natalie & Mitch Fleischman.  Check out the Shofar and weekly announcement for details.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


In the scheme of things, 63 years isn't all that long a period of time.  Yet in that short period Israel has managed to forge a modern democracy against all odds and warring enemies.  David Harris, Executive Director of the AJC, has a wonderful essay at the Huffington Post that I urge all to read.

And tomorrow, our school once again joins together with the Hebrew School at Ohavi Zedek Synagogue for our annual Y.H.  celebration.  At 5:30 we have a wonderful community sing.  Won't y'all join us?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Social Band

I'm excited to pass on this announcement of the upcoming Social Band concert series.  My wonderful husband, Bruce, was honored to be included among the composers from whom Social Band commissioned works for this program, and this concert will include the resulting song, for which he and I co-wrote the lyrics, called A Psalm for the Green Mountains. 

Bruce also joined Social Band as a member, so he'll be singing in the concerts as well.  I hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 9, 7:30pm, Burlington First Baptist Church
Sunday, April 10, 4:00pm, Charlotte Congregational Church

$10 in advance, $15 at the door

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tonight and This Weekend

Jeremy Maissel of Israel Seminars is coming tonight at 7:30 to give a presentation of the History of Israel through Song.  It's more than Havah Nagilah!

Even though the Friday evening dinner has been cancelled, the Folk Service is still planned to go on as usual at  5:30.  Come if you can get here safely.   And Saturday morning our Kitah Hey/5th Graders are leading Shabbat morning worship, 10:00 a.m.  And don't forget Torah Study at 9:00 a.m.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

So much sorrow

(Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Cong. Netivot Shalom, Berkeley CA)

Dear God,
Many, many images of God have been lost in earthquake
and fire and mighty waters just yesterday.
And so we turn to You, Adonai,
and we ask for Your strength and comfort.

We open our hearts one to the other
as brothers and sisters struggling in Your world.
"Above the thunder of the mighty waters,
more majestic than the breakers of the sea is Adonai (Ps. 93:4)." 
Be with us as we offer what we can, through prayer and action,
to our sisters and brothers who are suffering in Japan
and who stand on alert around the world.

We ask for You to be the still, small voice after the fire,
allowing space for mourning and hope in the face of tragedy. 
We see Your sheltering Presence and Your holy tears
in the receding waters of the Tsunami
and in the rescue work being carried out
by so many for the sake of a fragile world.

May it be Your will, Adonai our God and God of our ancestors,
to send healing to the injured and comfort to those in mourning.
May You be with those who are engaged in the sacred work of rescue.
Be with us as we bring shelter, food, and water to those in need.

May we merit to save many lives.
May those affected by this disaster know Your comfort.
May we act when we learn how we can help.
May our world be blessed by peace.


Let us also keep in our prayers the members of the Fogel family whose mother, father and 3 children ages 11, 3 and one-month, were brutally murdered in their home this past week in Ithamar, Israel.

Monday, March 14, 2011

5 More Days

Tuesday evenings Temple has been all abuzz with the sounds of rehearsals for "Megilla Mia," our next great Purim spiel.  Don't be left out in the cold.  Reserve today.  Also on March 19th our wonderful 4th grade is leading Shabbat morning worship.  10 a.m.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This Weekend

Another busy weekend at Temple.  Starting Friday at 5:30 our 3rd Grade class/Kitah Gimel, is leading our Family/Tot Shabbat service.  The families are providing the dinner afterward so please join us.  There is also a 7:30 service that evening.

Saturday morning at 10 a.m. is the Bat Mitzvah of Sabrina Davis.  Again, everyone is welcome to this wonderful life-cycle event in the life of our congregation.

On a sad note, Renee Levite, Ed Levite's mom, died.  Please send your condolences to the Levite family.  Baruch Dayan HaEmet

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Welcome back

I hope everyone had a wonderful break.  A few things:
Passover Candy orders are due this week
Friday night we celebrate Shabbat Across America at our 5:30 Folk Service 

Next Friday, March 11, our 3rd Grade class will lead the Family/Tot Shabbat service, to which everyone is welcome

And March 12 Sabrina Davis becomes a Bat Mitzvah.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Shalom Everyone,

Next week is Mid-Winter break and we are on vacation.  Have a wonderful, refreshing break.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Busy Weekend

Shalom Chaveirm,

What a busy weekend we have here at Temple.  Starting tomorrow night at 5:30 we have our monthly Family/Tot Shabbat.  It's always lots of fun and a rollicking good time for all.  So bring your tambourine or maracas and shake the night away.  And by all means, stay for the yummy dinner I am preparing.

Saturday morning our own Kitah Vav/6th Grade is leading Shabbat morning worship.  The class families provide a lunch after the service to which everyone is welcome.  Families with younger children especially may want to attend as the Rabbi & I will be talking about Bar/Bat Mitzvah requirements.  I hope all of you can make it.

Saturday night we have the next in our Aleinu series:  Temple member and award-winning author, Tanya Lee Stone, will be talking about her book, The Good, the Bad and the Barbie.  Evening begins at 6:00 at the home of Cheryl & Len Rubin.  Once you RSVP, you will receive the information.  It's a warm, collegial evening with Havdallah, drinks, dessert.  What could be more fun on a cold winter night?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Storm

It's the first of February and a big snow storm is predicted for tomorrow.  We may need to cancel school and all classes.  If this is the case, stay tuned.

This Friday night begins the Hebrew month of Adar, in this case, Adar 1, since to compensate for a lunar year of 354 days the calendar adds a leap month every 7 years in a 19-year cycle.  This year we celebrate Purim March 19 and Passover waaay late in April -- the 18th.  

This Shabbat we are very fortunate to have an adult Bnai Mitzvah.  Two of our wonderful members, Linda Roberts Greenblatt and David Weissberger, have been working very hard over the past few years -- taking classes in history, Judaism, literature, Torah, Hebrew and Jewish thought.  I hope you will all turn out and support these wonderful members of our Temple family.

And speaking of our Temple Family, please come to Folk Service 5:30 this Thursday when we celebrate New Member Shabbat.

See y'all there!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Yesterday and later today we are visited by Jade Kaplan who serves on the board of this wonderful summer camp.  According to their website:

Kids4Peace is an interfaith initiative that creates peacemakers amongst the children of the Abrahamic faith communities in Vermont, Palestine & Israel.

Several of our students have attended and found it a fun, stimulating and enlightening atmosphere, meeting Israeli Jews, Muslims and Christians right here in our own Burlington backyard.  If you would like to learn more about the camp, come today at 4:00 to hear Jade or visit their website.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we honor one of the most important men of the 20th Century, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  His fiery speeches and calm demeanor fueled the Civil Rights movement in the United States.  Many Jews followed his call for the advancement of justice and equality.  If you would like to learn more about them and about how you can continue Dr. King's dream, please visit:, the URJ's Religious Action Center website.  In our own community the CVAA is sponsoring multi-events.  If you'd like to join me today at Winooski High School from 4:00-6:00 for Onionstock, I'd love to see you.  Please bring a non-perishable food item.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Monetary information

Just a couple of updates dealing with money:

1)  Our fund-raising Miss Chocolate packets should have gone home before the break.  I think only one class, Kitah Vav/6th Grade, did not receive theirs.  Please help our school by participating in this fund raiser.

2)  Tzedakah.  Each week we encourage our students to bring in either money or a food item.  These collections seem to be waaaay down this year.  Let's get them waaaaaay up!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome back!

It's 2011!  I hope everyone had a restful and refreshing break, whether you went away or not.  I was in Buffalo visiting family and returned with a nasty cold.  I should hopefully be recovered by Wednesday when everyone returns to classes, including Prophet Study group, Adult Ed. Hebrew and Religious School.

I hope everyone will join us for Saturday morning services when our own Kitah Zayin/7th Grade leads the morning worship.  The class parents are providing a lunch afterwards, to which everyone is also welcome to attend.  Later this month we have the Bar Mitzvah of Sam Edwards-Kuhn on January 22nd.  It's a wonderful event in the life of our Jewish community and I encourage all of you to attend worship services and support Sammy.  Sam has been an active participant in our Youth Service Choir on the High Holidays as well as playing violin during those services.  As part of his mitzvah project he is collecting new or slightly used children's books so please bring one to Temple next time you are here.

Sisterhood Shabbat is January 28th.  Sisterhood members (and Shabbat Choir) will be leading the service that night.  Rabbi gets a break!

And Chai School starts up again this January 20th.  We have a wonderful roster of course offerings.  If you have a teenager, whether or not s/he has attended Chai School, or even Hebrew school before, is welcome to attend.  Go to our website for course selections and to register:

BTW, if you get the Sunday Burlington Free Press, you may have seen our own Tanya Stone's article in the Arts section yesterday about using local products.  In Tanya's case, she used local talent to enhance her latest book, "The Good, the Bad and the Barbie."  Next month, February 12th, Tanya will be leading an ALEINU (that's our Adult Education Saturday night living room lecture series) on this topic.  Stay tuned for details.

Welcome back and have a wonderful 2011!