Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Do Jews Think About Halloween?

Halloween is kind of a tough one for Jews. Less openly Christian than, say, Christmas or Valentine’s Day, but not as ecumenical as Thanksgiving. There’s scary costumes and candy, and a vaguely pagan-y narrative. So how does it play out for Jews?

The website,, has a few takes on this popular holiday.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekly Torah Parasha

Not too long ago we started reading the Torah all over again.  This week's parasha is Vayera -- chock filled with great stories of the Bible.  Want a family-friendly version?  Watch G-dcasts animated take on this Genesis story:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Welcome to a New Year


It's now 5773.  I'm still trying to catch my breath following to holidays and the start up of the school year.

We have a NEW staff members this year.  If you have a child in second grade you've probably already met Jody Berwin. A little bit about Jody:

Jody grew up in Queens, New York, and has also lived in Israel, New Mexico, Minnesota and Georgia. She played with a temple-based Klezmer band in the past and would love to do so again in Vermont.  Know of any?

She has a Masters in Elementary Education from CUNY Queens College and an
undergraduate degree from SUNY Purchase. Most of her teaching career
has been as a Special Education teacher, and she has also taught pre-school at the
Minneapolis JCC in Minnesota. She presently works at the University of Vermont.
We also have a couple of new Chai School teachers.  Many of you know Fran Brock, a long-time Temple member.  Fran has joined us this year to teach Comparative Religion.:

Fran has been a history teacher at Burlington High School since 1992. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, has studied in England and the Netherlands under a National Endowment for the Humanities scholarship, and has participated in other educational programs that took her to Cambridge University, China and Dar al Islam’s madressa in New Mexico. Prior to earning her teaching license, she worked for almost 18 years as a journalist, working at such publications as Adweek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune and the Burlington Free Press. She holds a M.Ed. from St. Michael’s College, a M.S.J. from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, and a B.A. from Uof MA/Amherst. But beyond her academic and professional career, she and her family have been members of Temple Sinai since moving to Vermont in 1969. Frances was in the Temple’s first confirmation class.

We also have a UVM grad student, Alexander Malanych.  Alex is teaching a course called "Jews and the Graphic Novel."

Alex is new to the Burlington area, studying for his Master’s in English at UVM. In his native Connecticut, he has served as a NFTY-NE advisor as well as a third grade Hebrew school teacher. He has worked for several residential summer camps throughout New England as a musical theater teacher and accompanist.

I hope you introduce yourselves and make them feel at home.  All three have been coming to services here as well as teaching in our school.

Other faculty this year include:  Patty Greenfield, Sharon Silverman, Amy Collins, Rabbi Glazier, Gidon Bavly and yours truly.

We are very blessed to have wonderful students, teachers and parents.  I look forward to another great, productive year.