Monday, April 28, 2014

Testing Positive for Judaism: Unlocking a Family’s Genetic Secret

A genetic test for Tay-Sachs revealed surprising results—and helped my husband and me discover what Judaism means to us

By Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy

Being tested for a genetic disorder is usually not a laughing matter, but that’s exactly what we were doing when my husband had his blood drawn to see if he, like me, was a carrier for Tay-Sachs. His being tested was a formality for us as Jewish prospective parents. We didn’t take it seriously because we didn’t have anything to worry about: Matt had been born and raised Catholic in a rural town in northeastern Pennsylvania. He converted to Judaism before we got married two and a half years before. He had told me that loving me meant loving everything about me, including my Judaism. He had told my parents that he felt a resonance in Judaism that he had never found in Catholicism. He had told our rabbi that he felt personally committed to helping ensure that there would be future generations of Jews in the world, to parent and raise Jewish children of his own. And yet Matt’s commitment to his new faith didn’t alter the statistical improbability of his being a Tay-Sachs carrier.

Which is why we were shocked, stunned, speechless when we learned that he was a carrier. Not just because of what that test result meant for our efforts to have children, but because of what it meant beyond that: My husband, the Jew-by-choice, had been Jewish all along. Genes don’t lie; a genetic counselor told us that Matt had, without a doubt, a specifically Ashkenazic version of the mutation that causes Tay-Sachs.

The news was explosive, but also revelatory. While my husband found himself obsessed with discovering the origins of this long-buried family secret and strangely comforted by a new feeling of understanding with his connection to Judaism, I felt like I was, in many ways, meeting my husband, and my own sense of my faith, all over again.

Keep reading.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

End of School Year

Shalom Everybody,

This time of year always seem to pass so quickly and before you know it, it's summer!  Some events to keep in mind in the coming weeks and months:

19th – Tot Shabbat at 9:30 a.m.
20th-27th – Spring Break; no classes on the 23rd or 24th
27th – Community-wide Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration is here at Temple Sinai at 2:00 p.m.  Our students who have studied the Holocaust may find it particularly pertinent.

For the grown-ups:  Bruce Chalmer’s class on “Reality, Faith and Meaning: Jewish Views on Science and Religion” begins April 27th at 10 a.m and runs for 4 consecutive Sundays.  You may contact Stacie in order to register.

2nd – Teacher Appreciation Shabbat/Folk Service - please come and show our teachers how much you and your family appreciate all they do for our children.  Chinese dinner follows services.  There is a fee and you do need to RSVP - greenfieldp24
4th – Story Hour 10 a.m. – our last of the season
10th – Tot Shabbat at 9:30 a.m.
15th – the last day of school –6:00 p.m. dismissal
17th – Bat Mitzvah of Elise Norotsky
24th – added service; Aufruf of Eli Chalmer and Jessie Karsif

Looking ahead to June – Note, all Friday night services starting in June and through August begin at 6:00 p.m.

Just because school ends, doesn’t mean the activity at Temple ceases.  Please note these events that are happening in June and show your support for our students by attending

3rd – Confirmation/Shavuot Service at 7:30 – Ben Silver and Erica Issenberg have attended Religious School and then Chai School.  Ben’s family has been schlepping all these years from Benson—I’m always awed by their steadfast commitment.  Ben also attended Brandeis’s Genesis program last summer and plans to return this summer.  Erica has been active in both our Temple and as President of the Mazkirut/Executive Board of Young Judaea.  I hope you will come and show them how much they are valued as members of our congregational family.

We also have 2 wonderful young ladies having their Bat Mitzvahs in June:

14th – Talia Loiter
21st – Liza Segal-Stone

6th Grade families note:  the Kallah/Retreat scheduled for June 7-8 has to bechanged.  I’ll be contacting you specifically regarding this.

Have a wonderful week and see you soon,
Morah Judy

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Some Fun Videos to Get You in the Mood for Passover

Google Exodus

Best Seder in the USA (The Passover Song)

The Fountainheads INTERACTIVE Escape from Egypt Video

Passover Rhapsody - A Jewish Rock Opera 

Uncle Jay Explains Passover for

Thanks to Kim Dauerman for sharing this one with me, "Chozen" (for fans of Frozen)