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TODAH RABBAH...thank you to

- Larry Schneider for plowing and clearing our parking lot of all the snowfall
- Itzca Zohar for clearing the sidewalks and salting the walkways
- Rabbi Kozberg for leading a wonderful Tu B'Shvat seder in celebration of the Jewish New Year for Trees and for relating the symbolism of the many fruits and nuts that were presented

Phil Rubin and family on the passing of his wife Suzanne in Dayton, Ohio on January 16
May her memory be for a blessing

The family of Marilyn Milder who passed away at her home in California on January 13
May her memory be for a blessing


Hope to see you at the Temple for conversation, bagels, coffee, and an assortment of Sunday newspapers to read and talk over. This is not your typical "Sunday School" -- just a gathering of adults coming together to relax, read the paper, eat and drink, and of course to discuss the community and world events. Questions? Contact Steve and Susie Broidy.



As we look forward to celebrating Purim (our celebration will be on Friday evening, March 2), consider how "unbiblical" the book of Esther really is. Rather than including an account of G-d's direct or apparent intervention into human events -- either through divine revelation or apparent acts of redemption -- the Book of Esther doesn't even mention "God," and instead reads more like a romance novelette.
But, as Yoram Hazony notes in his book God and Politics in Esther, the Sages of the Talmudic period ascribed great significance to the book of Esther as a work concerned with themes, especially relevant to the conclusion of the Bible. Considering the eternal value of biblical texts, they asserted that two portions of Scripture could never be abolished, namely the Five Books of Moses and the Book of Esther. Moreover, while they taught that other parts of the Bible could bring an understanding of piety, wisdom, consolation and greatness, it was only the book of Esther that they thought offered the key to the miraculous...It was a writing thought worthy of being the Bible's closing words to man -- in a sense, G-d's last words to man. (God and Politics, p. 2).
What are the Sages saying here? Why is Esther the key to the miraculous and why is this book in essence G-d's last words to man?
Answers to these questions are multifaceted, but a beginning perhaps lies in understanding how different the role of G-d is in the Five Books of Moses and the book of Esther. In the Five Books of Moses -- the Bible's beginning -- G-d is in the "starring role," heavily involved in human affairs and performing miracles that are acknowledged by Jews and non-Jews alike (e.g. the 10 plagues). In the book of Esther -- placed near the end of the Bible -- not only is G-d not present, but there is not even a clear invocation of the Divine Name. There is only Mordecai's response to Esther's hesitation: deliverance will come from "some other place" (Esther 4:14). However, from the Sages' perspective, this was evidence enough that G-d was still involved in the redemption of His people, albeit not in the same grand, "Hollywood" ways of yesteryear. For this reason, they ordained that the same words of thanksgiving recited during Hannukah are also recited on Purim:
We thank You for the miracles, for the redemptions...which You performed for our ancestors in those days at this season.
But...why thank G-d for miracles that were not CLEARLY miracles? The Sages believed the Jews were saved by G-d, but the story, unlike the Exodus from Egypt, doesn't state this. Instead, it focuses solely on the heroic/redemptive decisions and actions of Esther and Mordecai.
Perhaps this is the message embedded in the Bible's "closing words" to man: G-d will still be interested/involved in the lives of human beings, but His role will be different: in the continuing human drama, it will no longer be a "front-and-center-stage" role, but rather one that is more "behind-the-scenes." Consequently, our role in this drama will be more active/less passive: we will have more responsibility in helping to bring about our own redemption, hopefully using the knowledge/tools given to us by the Creator, and the inspiration available to us from that "some other Place."
Thus, one of the lessons to be learned is this: we can choose to see life as a series of random events - disconnected, without rhyme or reason, meaning or purpose. Or we can see them as a game of "connect the dots," with our role/responsibility to connect the dots in order to see "the whole picture" - a larger perspective, a more complete purpose. Indeed, miracles may be less obvious...but when we behold them, they will be more amazing!
Final thought: The name of this holiday is derived from a verse in the story relating how Haman decided when the Jews of the Persian empire would be killed: In the first the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, pur - which means "the lot" - was cast before Haman, concerning every day and every month, until it fell on the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar. (Esther 3:7). In other words, the name Purim/the casting of lots implies "chance events." And yet, on this holiday, the name of which implies that things happen "by chance," we Jews affirm "No, not really."
Gotta love the irony!
_ Rabbi Cary Kozberg

Here are the highlights from a Holiday Letter received from Stan and Barb Bernstein, previous members of Temple Sholom who moved to Greenfield, MA in 2009...
Last year we were dealing with health issues. But now we are really fine and pretty much back to normal.
During a road trip in April, 2016, Barb developed a difficult case of Atrial Fibrillation (A-fib). After medications and procedures, she is much better but has had to deal with bad sciatica and eventual back surgery. Thanks to family and friends for their love and support.
By April, 2017, things were really good. We resumed our life together: concerts, singing with our chorus, going to movies, hanging out with family and having long leisurely brunches at our local co-op. Then in October, we took a 10-day trip in Nova Scotia, including Cape Breton.
Grandchildren Arwen, Tyler, and Emily are active, doing well in classes, and happy. Peter and Donna are now empty nesters. Lynn and Seth are very busy with their teaching schedules.
This year promises to be a busy one – an eight-day cruise in July going from Venice Italy into the Adriatic with seven other family members as well as time to go to Colorado to see Peter, Donna, Emily and Tyler.
Our wish for you is happiness and joy in this new year. We hope that Temple Sholom is thriving and that 2018 will be a great year for all of us.
Love, Barb and Stan


Reservations are still available for this annual Israeli-Kosher wine tasting event on Saturday, February 24, with the first wine pairing presented promptly at 5:00 pm. There will be a sampling of 6 wines with specially-paired appetizers. Cost is $30 per person/$50 per couple. Seating is limited to the first 100 confirmed (paid) reservations. For more information, contact Diane at the Temple 399-1231 or Mary Jo and Adam Leventhal at 284-8027.


Come celebrate the most joyous Jewish holiday with us on Friday evening, March 2 at 6:00 pm - beginning with our regular (but abbreviated) Shabbat service, followed by the reading of Megillat Esther. Graggers/noisemakers to drown out Haman's name will be provided, and hamantaschen will be served!!

~ SAVE THE DATES ~ April 17 and 18, 7:30 pm

Rabbi Richard Address, one of the country's foremost experts on religion, spirituality and purposeful aging, will be in Springfield for several presentations on "The Challenges of Meaningful Aging for Baby Boomers." These programs will be open to the community and will be held at Temple Sholom as well as the Senior Center and Wittenberg. Growing up celebrating youth and vitality, Baby Boomers are now facing the challenges of aging: decreasing physical vitality, cognitive decline, loss of friends and family. But...does getting old HAVE to lead to hopelessness and despair, or can it be a journey leading to new meanings and renewed purpose-fulness? Watch for more details, and be sure to put these dates on your calendar to attend these evening events.


Family plaques in memory of Dr. Robert Tannenbaum and Florence Tannenbaum have been inscribed and now hang in the Room of Remembrance.


- A generous donation has been received from Inas Sisler in memory of her husband Jeff

- In memory of Suzanne Rubin from Stan and Phyllis Nedelman, Marvin and Sandy Silverstein
- In honor of my mother Lillian's yahrzeit from Stan and Phyllis Nedelman

- Best wishes for continued good health to Sam Kossoff from Jack and Paulette Grodner

- In memory of Jeffrey and his 63rd birthday from Lyla and Harvey Bailin


FEB 2: Louis Broock, Rosa Gardner, Max D. Gross, Adolph D. Haas (father of Sandy Silverstein), Max Kleeman, Nathan Klein, Bonita S. Krauss (wife of Gary, mother of Rick), Isaac Levine, Nelson B. Paris, Mary J. Rubin, Ida Florence Zitsman

FEB 9: Joseph Gardner, Sophie K. LeBolt, Louis M. Levy, Jennie Prusiner, Jack J. Schechter, Raymond L. Schiff (husband of Char), Mattie Weixelbaum, Clara Mae Dulaney (mother of Paulette Grodner), Henry R. Ennis (father of Barbara Willens), Mildred Naft, Bertram Unger (brother of Shirley Leventhal)

FEB 16: Carrie Altschul, Felix Balicer, Werner Donn, Roberta Greenland (wife of Jay), Norma Cooper Hart, Gwendolyn Hoffman, Lillian Pollens, Marion P. Cornez (mother of Paul), Ethel Farber, Mark L. Greenberg (brother of Jan Spier), Priscilla Lind (mother of Bobbi Mugford)

FEB 23: Frieda Beyer Adler, Arnold Block, Fannie Ebner, Morton R. Goldstein, Larry Himmel, Fannie Kaufman, Louis B. Margolis, Gail Genieve Banks Buerki (mother of Robert), Naomi Ruth Ebner Fine, Celia Zoken Friedland (mother of Eric), Henry Marenberg (father of Gerald), Marsha Remer, Thomas Shifman (father of Morrey), Jordan Arthur Spier, Celia Feinstein Spitz (sister of Alan Feinstein)

MAR 2: Lilly Broock, Pauline H. Broock, Henry Gardner, Etta M. Herron, Leah G. Klein, Harriett Lurie Levine (mother of Jeffrey), Leonard Levy, Paul Dulaney (father of Paulette Grodner), Bruce Krane, Julius (Jules) Levy