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