OCTEBER 2020 NEWSLETTER
TISHREI / CHESHVAN 5781
WE EXTEND A WARM WELCOME TO THE FOLLOWING NEW
MEMBERS WHO HAVE JOINED THE TEMPLE SHOLOM FAMILY...
Samuel and Kelley Beloff,
201 East Washington St, Springfield OH 45502
NEW ADDRESS FOR...
Alan and Nancy Feinstein: Brookdale Senior Living, 3270 Middle Urbana Rd #134, Springfield OH 45502
~ RABBI'S CORNER ~
THE SEASON OF OUR JOY
Right on the heels of Yom Kippur comes Sukkot, also called the Feast of Ingathering. This year, it begins Friday evening. In ancient Israel, Sukkot was the official marking of the final harvest before the winter season set in. As one of the three pilgrimage festivals (along with Passover and Shavuot), Jews from all over the Diaspora would come to Jerusalem and celebrate. The biblical book of Zechariah predicts a time when other nations will come to Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot --a prediction that has come true in recent years with many non-Jews filling Israel's hotels during this holiday. But, of course, this year may well be different. Israel is being hit hard with COVID, which is affecting its tourism industry - especially with airline restrictions.
Although the Torah tells us that we are to be joyful on all three of the pilgrimage festivals, that commandment is emphasized when it comes to Sukkot - which is why Sukkot is also known as ''the Season of our Joy.'' But given current circumstances, this holiday will most likely not be as outwardly joyful as in past years - if only because the mitzvah of gathering and hosting guests in one's sukkah will be curtailed.
The question is: this year, can the holiday be joyful at all? Can we fulfill the commandment to rejoice even when ''it’s not in us'' to do so?
The answer is...yes. Yes, we can and yes, we should. Even if it is difficult to celebrate and rejoice outwardly, we can do so inwardly. Here, the sukkah itself provides a lesson:
The sukkah, in which we are supposed to spend as much time as possible during the holiday, is a structure that by instruction and design is temporary and flimsy. It is to remind us of our ancestors’ journey in the wilderness and our ultimate dependence on G-d. When a sukkah is not secured properly, it is liable to be - and many times has been - demolished by a strong wind. By design, it is a tangible reminder par excellence of how temporary and fragile life is.
And yet...we decorate the inside of the sukkah with fruits and vegetables, expressing our gratitude for G-d's bounty, and with other items that will enhance our joy and sense of well-being when we are actually in the sukkah.
Truly, COVID has reminded us how fragile life can be. It has taught us that unless we take precautions, our own lives are at risk to ''blow away'' unexpectedly. But at the same time, we have reason to be joyful ''inside'' - to decorate and beautify our souls with good memories and appreciation of the blessings each of us enjoys, but often take for granted: a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, friends and family who care about us and our well-being.
''V'samachta b'chagekha'' - you shall rejoice in your holiday.
We can do this, if only we focus less on what's outside our ''sukkah,'' and more on what's on the inside.
Here's to a Sukkot holiday that is meaningful and truly a reason for rejoicing!
- Rabbi Cary Kozberg
5781 HIGH HOLIDAYS
ON JEWISH PRIVILEGE
My Yom Kippur morning message focused on ''Jewish privilege'' - how it has nefariously become associated with the notion of ''white privilege'' and how it is supposed to be understood. I quoted extensively from an essay entitled ''My Jewish Privilege'' by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg of Boca Raton, Florida. By request, I share his words:
''To some people, privilege is a negative thing and something to be ashamed of. I don't see it that way. Privilege is not a dirty word. To be clear, it is critical to be aware of whatever privileges one is blessed with, recognize and appreciate that others do not share that blessing, and incorporate that awareness and recognition while demonstrating care and compassion for others. Nevertheless, one need not apologize for privilege or be ashamed or feel guilty for having it. Quite the contrary, privilege is, well, exactly that - a privilege. One should be grateful for, appreciative of, and most of all feel tremendously obligated by the privileges we have.
Jews are particularly privileged, but not in the way many people may think. For some, privilege means receiving the benefit of the doubt, or the assumption of innocence. For others, privilege means having access, entrée, and opportunity. For yet others, privilege means the comfort of feeling safe, protected, and secure. By these definitions, in the context of history, and even now, Jews are among the most underprivileged people. We have been the target of libel, false accusations, assumptions of guilt. These aren't just part of ancient history. There was a blood libel accusation in this country in 1928 in Massena, New York.
We have been denied access and opportunity. As recently as the 1970's, Jews and blacks were unabashedly denied entry into country clubs in South Florida. Many had signs that said ''No dogs, no colored, no Jews.'' And it wasn't that long ago that Jews were similarly denied or limited to enter universities and graduate schools. In 1935, a Yale dean instructed his admissions committee: ''Never admit more than five Jews.'' Harvard's president wrote that too many Jewish students would ''ruin the college.''
''Safe, protected and secure?'' The Anti-Defamation League reports there were 2,107 hate crimes against Jewish people nationwide in 2019, the highest since the ADL began tallying hate crimes in 1979. Anti-Semitic incidents comprise a majority of reported hate crimes in New York City. According to 2018 FBI data, Jews were 2.7 times more likely than blacks and 2.2 times more likely than Muslims to be a hate crime victim.
The current attention to racism in America and the fight for racial justice is important. Racism is an evil we must actively, categorically reject. But...we should also be aware, and make others aware, that anti-Semitism is on the rise globally and there remain entire nations and countless individuals who seek the extermination and elimination of the Jewish people.
Recently, individuals who are widely considered to be A-list celebrities with large social media presences praised Louis Farrakhan, a vile, unapologetic anti-Semite, who has warned his 335,000 followers on Twitter about ''the Satanic Jew'' and who declared in a widely-attended and shared speech, ''When they talk about Farrakhan, call me a hater, you know how they do - call me an anti-Semite. Stop it, I'm not an anti-Semite; I'm anti-termite!'' In many places around the world, including too many in the United States, a Jew feels the need to remove a yarmulke or outer Jewish symbols to feel safe. There is no privilege to protect him.
The Rabbi continues: I share this all not to make the argument we are more underprivileged or victimized by prejudice than anyone else. But even today, access and opportunity, assumption of innocence, and especially safety and security, are not privileges the Jewish people can so readily count on and enjoy.
So...what do I mean that we are particularly privileged and should be proud of it? Privilege is not only about the way you are thought of and treated by others, but about how you think of and behave yourself. Privilege is not how others treat you but how you treat others. It isn't what others do to you, but what you do with what you have.
For a Jew, privilege doesn't mean access, opportunity, or favors. It means responsibility to live elevated, meaningful lives, to repair the world, to be of service to others. God wanted to give a zechut,a merit, to the Jewish people so He charged us with an abundance of Torah and mitzvot. What does zechut mean? Zechut literally means privilege. Because of the merit of our ancestors, God wanted us to be privileged - so He trusted us and charged us to live virtuous and righteous lives and to transform His world in His vision.
For a Jew, privilege doesn't automatically mean access, opportunity, or favors. It means responsibility, an awesome responsibility to set an example, to live elevated, meaningful lives, to repair the world in His image, to be of service to others. It means to rise above how we may be treated by others and to treat all with dignity, respect, and honor...
Our status as a privileged or exceptional people is not intended to make us feel superior... Being privileged should make us feel obligated and bound to live more ethically, act more sensitively, conduct ourselves more honestly, and proclaim our faith in the Almighty with pride and distinction, and never with shame or embarrassment. Part of the responsibility that comes along with our privilege is to use whatever material privileges we have for the good.
Despite the many challenges Jews have faced throughout the generations, most of our communities in the 21st century are blessed with the trappings of material and social privilege that our ancestors would never have dreamed of. We don't have to, and shouldn't apologize for that. However, we must recognize that a Jew never focuses on his own entitlement, but rather thinks how his resources can be better used to advance good in the world, including for the ''underprivileged.'' Privilege is not a luxury, it's a legacy; it isn't a free pass, it is a weighty proposition. Privilege shouldn't breed entitlement, it should demand exceptional behavior.
I'm proud of my Jewish privilege and I hope my children will be too.
HHD HANK YOU TO...
- Our members who made generous donations for this year's Memorial Booklet
- Steve Broidy and Rabbi Kozberg for leading the Cemetery Memorial service at Ferncliff Cemetery
- Market on the Ridge for their donation of brown paper bags for the Food Drive
- Rabbi Cary Kozberg for his pulpit and community leadership throughout these Days of Awe
- Our Shofar Blowers - Rabbi Kozberg, Brian Weiss, and Itzca Zohar
- Doug Klang for shepherding the Zoom services on Yom Kippur
- Kathleen Leonard for the many setups, cleanups, and behind the scenes work
- Diane Smith for the many tasks leading up to the holidays
- A BIG THANK YOU to Steve Broidy and Itzca Zohar for their beautiful musical leadership in the High Holy Days services. This music always adds immeasurably to the Worship Services
- Alyse, Amy, and Laurie Leventhal for their preparation of the Apple and Honey gift boxes
If you were unable to attend the High Holy Days services at Temple Sholom this year but would like to have a copy of the Memorial Booklet, please contact the office and we will be happy to mail a copy to you.
~ CONTRIBUTIONS ~
- A faithful donation was received from Inas Sisler - ''Happy New Year Everyone''
- Appreciative donations were received from Sandra Overstreet and Mary Powell who both attended Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services
- In memory of Doris Levy Bard, mother of Priscilla Dixon, from Char Schiff, Rick and Anna Krauss
- In memory of Doris Levy Bard, mother of Priscilla Dixon, from Stan and Phyllis Nedelman, Eddie and Laurie Leventhal, Itzca Zohar, Rabbi Lloyd and Bernice Goldman
- Thank you to Fran Rickenbach for baking the beautiful HHD challahs from Stan and Phyllis Nedelman
JEFFREY D EBNER YOUTH FUND
- In memory of Jeffrey D Ebner, Martin Ebner, Bertha Ebner, and Alan Ebner from Lyla Bailin
- In memory of Gail Briley's cousin in Orlando FL from Lyla and Harvey Bailin
~ YAHRZEIT LIST ~
OCT 2: Ida Reva Block, Jane L. Ensten, Walter B. Kleeman Sr, Max Levitan, Ruth Miller, Seymour Miller, Lester Stein (father of Leslie Buerki)
OCT 9: Hyman E. Levy, Florence A. Tannenbaum, James Goldman (brother of Lloyd Goldman), Sandra Marenberg (sister of Gerald Marenberg)
OCT 16: Harry Bernstein, Barnett Brizman, Elsa M. Kleeman, Samuel Klein, Sophia S. Kossoff, Michael N.Maybruck, Daniel Rich, Lance William Rich, Louis Schuman, Sarah Leventhal (mother of Ed Leventhal), Alyse R. Weiss (mother of Brian Weiss)
OCT 23: Theodore Adler, Julius G. Hoeflich, Gary Krauss (father of Rick Krauss), Nathan Rollins, Larry Sanders, Retta Wolff, Esther Zitsman, Ella Farber Katz
OCT 30: Jack Brammer, Rabbi Janice Garfunkel, Barbara Kempler, Sylvia Anne Lapinsky, Pearl S. Levine, Arthur A. Strauss, Gloria L. Zitsman, Hilbert Beloff (brother of Larry Beloff), Eva Wile Friedsam, Gabriel Greenland, Arthur Nedelman (father of Stan Nedelman)
NOV 6: Helen Pines Alper, Jacob LaSalle, Abraham Silberberg