Yom Rishon, 1 Kislev 5778

Temple Israel Articles

President's Letter, April 2014

on Tuesday, 18 March 2014. Posted in President

Research tells us that Passover is the most beloved and celebrated Jewish holiday of the year. So, I guess it is not surprising that Passover is, without a doubt, my favorite Jewish holiday. What is it about Passover that gives us such joy and calls so many Jews to observe this special time?

For starters, I am sure it’s the food, of course. Even someone like me, who normally prefers to be in and out of the kitchen, loves to spend time preparing for the Seder meal. Is it tradition, fond memories of family Passovers, the joy of gathering with others to participate in the reading of the Haggadah? I would welcome hearing from all of you with your thoughts about what makes Passover so special and so loved.

Passover is another opportunity, as well, to celebrate as a community. I invite you to come to the Temple Israel Community Second Night Seder on Tuesday, April 15th. Our seder organizers Rose Raskin and Jennifer Streisand do a magnificent job of putting together a memorable Seder and an enjoyable evening. If you have not attended a Temple Seder before, or if it’s been a while since you last attended, I encourage you to consider joining the TI community and guests this year to observe the second night. And the best part is no cooking, and no kitchen cleaning. So, come, relax, enjoy, and join in community.

In addition to the food and wine and joyful celebration, there is great meaning in the story of the Exodus that we recall during Passover. Passover requires us to reflect on what it was like to be a “slave in Egypt” and to be in the Mitzraim or narrow place. We are called on to be mindful of those who are still living in a narrow place in our own time due to illness, poverty, addictions, discrimination, as well as to remember those for whom full freedom is not yet a reality. Passover offers another opportunity to think about how we can practice Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World) by reaching out to those who can use help in fleeing their narrow places. There are so many ways we can make a difference in the lives of others in our own community by volunteering for one of the many local social-services organizations.

I wish you and all those who will celebrate with you a Passover filled with good food and much joy. And remember, “Next year in Jerusalem.”

B’shalom,

Beth

Pulpit & Worship Update

on Tuesday, 18 March 2014. Posted in PAW Committee

This month, the Temple Board decided unanimously to adopt the new Machzor developed by the rabbis of the Reform movement. The PAW committee recommended that the Temple purchase this high-holiday prayer book from favorable response to both the Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur pilot services of the past two years. (Feedback was solicited, as well, from those who could not attend those events.)

Reasons for the PAW committee’s recommendation are varied. A suitable prayerbook for today’s Temple Israel reflects, in part, that the high holidays are the primary days for attending services for most congregants. The new Machzor emphasizes “returning” as the goal of repentance rather than avoidance of God’s punishment. There is a plethora of English readings and translation of prayers (especially helpful for those unfamiliar with Hebrew). Those pieces have a tone and use a current vernacular that encourages introspection.

Clearly, the cost of purchasing about 150 prayer books is substantial. The cost is a long-term investment, though, if our use of Gates of Repentance for 40 years is any indication. We will purchase the prayer book at a 40% discount (for “early-birds,” as the machzor will not be available until Fall, 2015). The $25 price is exceptional for a hard-cover two-volume set.

We all will need time to adjust to the new machzor. Hopefully, though, we will have an easier transition than with our current Shabbat prayer book, which was a major change in format from the previous one. (The layout of the new machzor is substantially similar to our current Shabbat prayer book.)

Feel free to contact either Rose Raskin or myself to discuss the adoption further. The Rabbi, too, may be contacted about her experiences with the new machzor.

Hearty thanks to members of the committee who have worked on evaluating the new prayerbook: Joy Morris, Deb Seders, and David Kaplan. Special gratitude to the Rabbi, who has helped to plan and has led both pilot services.

b’Shalom,

Stan

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