NOVEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER
CHESHVAN / KISLEV 5782
We note with sorrow and mourn the passing of:
Long-time Temple member, Alan Feinstein who passed away on October 4
The Temple office will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 25 and 26, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.
MESSAGE FOR THE SEASON
As Hannukah approaches, we think of age-old customs, such as eating latkes, playing dreidel, giving gifts and gelt, and lighting the menorah each day for eight days. Hannukah is a celebration of the victorious Maccabees over the Syrians and the re-dedication of the Temple. It is the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days. So, as you light the candles and say the blessings, may you and your family experience the warmth and wonder of this Festival of Lights.
As we approach the holidays that occur in November and December, please remember that Shabbat services ARE scheduled for the weekends of Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year's Eve (weather permitting). Services continue to be held in person at Temple as well as online thru Zoom. We hope you will feel comfortable in joining us on Friday evenings.
ADULT ED CLASS...
Rabbi Kozberg is beginning another Adult Education class this month. The topic is ''How to Be a Mensch'' and will focus on Jewish teachings regarding developing positive human traits and ethical behavior. The class will be another noon to 1:00 class and will be held through Zoom. If you are interested, please contact the Temple office.
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND
TEMPLE SHOLOM'S ANNUAL HANNUKAH DINNER
After a long hiatus, we will again be having our annual Hannukah dinner on Friday evening, December 3, following the Shabbat service.
As in years past, we will light our Hannukah menorahs (hannukiyot) before the service and have dinner (with latkes) afterward.
Of course, social distancing and the wearing of masks will be observed as well.
PLEASE CALL THE TEMPLE TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT NO LATER THAN MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29,
SO THAT WE CAN PREPARE APPROPRIATELY.
Look forward to seeing you!
~ RABBI'S CORNER ~
TRIBUTE TO A GREAT LIGHT
This year Hannukah comes ''early''; our Jewish ''December holiday'' begins Sunday evening, November 28.
Because the main ritual of Hannukah is the lighting of candles and increasing light, particularly at a time of the year when there is less daylight, this holiday is also called the ''Festival of Lights.''
One individual whose life was devoted to increasing light in the world - especially in situations that were steeped in darkness and sorrow - was Rabbi David Keehn. For decades, Rabbi Keehn was a chaplain colleague who ministered to Jews in the New York City areas of Queens and Manhattan. He was an Orthodox rabbi who was devoted to the observance of mitzvot and helped facilitate their observance among sick and disabled Jewish patients by ensuring that they had sacred ritual objects when needed and by always being available and present when his spiritual wisdom and guidance was needed.
Sadly, Rabbi Keehn, age 54, died suddenly last week and his passing is not only a great loss for those with whom he worked, but also for the Jewish community at large. This is because Rabbi Keehn himself was blind, and yet despite his blindness, he performed his duties as if he were sighted - to the great amazement of those who knew him.
One finds that, when referring to something shameful or unpleasant, the Bible and the Talmud often euphemistically use an opposite expression to avoid speaking inappropriately. For example, in the Book of Job, responding to her husband's undeserved suffering, Job's wife tells him literally to ''Bless (barech) G-d and die.'' (2:9). However, the verse is translated (correctly) ''Curse/Blaspheme G-d and die.'' In order to avoid speaking inappropriately and thus commit a transgression, euphemisms that mean the exact opposite of what is actually meant are sometimes used instead.
This is the reason that in rabbinic writings a blind person is called sagi nahor. The term sagi nahor is Aramaic and means ''a great light.'' It is an ironic euphemism obviously because a blind person, by definition, does not see/have light. The Talmud uses this phrase in reference to Rabbi Sheshet (Berakhot 58a) who, despite his disability, is quoted often in Rabbinic literature. It is also the appellation given to a certain Rabbi Isaac, an early Kabbalist, who lived several centuries later:
Rabbi Isaac, sagi nahor/a great light, is known in English as Rabbi Isaac the Blind. The irony is intentional: individuals like Rabbi Sheshet and Rabbi Isaac were called sagi nahor - a great light - because although their eyes were not able to perceive physical light to see the concrete world, they were endowed with a more powerful inner light to better perceive and understand the spiritual world.
In that spirit, it is appropriate to add Rabbi David Keehn to that list. Hannukah is a time when we add physical light in the midst of seasonal darkness. The Talmud teaches that rather than begin with eight candles and decrease their number as the days of the holiday themselves decrease, we should instead add to the number of candles kindled as the holiday progresses because it is always preferable to add light rather than decrease it.
Like the shamash that lights the other candles on the hannukiyah, we Jews are called to be a ''light to the nations'' - a shamash - to increase more light in the world. In that spirit, Rabbi David Keehn was a sagi nahor - a great light - in every sense of the word. The light he spread was all the brighter because he did so, despite his disability.
While we call the holiday of Hannukah ''the Festival of Lights,'' the word hannukah literally means ''dedication.'' The holiday gets its name from the fact that the Temple was re-dedicated by the Maccabees in the wake of their victory over the Syrian Greeks.
As both the holidays of Thanksgiving and Hannukah approach, may we be grateful, inspired, and blessed by the memory of Rabbi David Keehn, a truly ''great light'' whose life was the epitome of dedication to G-d and the Jewish people.
-Rabbi Cary Kozberg
~ CONTRIBUTIONS ~
In memory of Alan Feinstein from Char Schiff
In memory of Arthur Nedelman from Stan and Phyllis Nedelman
In memory of Alan Feinstein from Sanford and Faye Flack; Eddie and Laurie Leventhal; Stan and Phyllis Nedelman
In memory of Rabbi Janice Garfunkel from Itzca Zohar
In memory of Louise Klang from Stan and Phyllis Nedelman
JEFFREY D EBNER YOUTH FUND
In memory of Barbara Buskirk from Lyla Bailin
~ YAHRZEIT LIST ~
NOV 5: Helen Pines Alper, Max Beloff (father of Larry), Jacob LaSalle, Abraham Silberberg, Emilie Turyn (sister of Larry)
NOV 12: Morris Freed, Clarence ''Van'' Gabbard, Joseph S. Lessner, Phillip Mendelson, Joe Pollens, Percy H. Rosenfield Sr, Ilse B. Sander, Maurice Schechter, Rose Broidy (mother of Steve), Murray Ebner, Henrietta Marks Goldman (mother of Rabbi Lloyd), Frances Pollack
NOV 19: Gertrude Ann Donn, Jeffrey David Ebner (son of Dick), Judy W. Kossoff, Ch. Bleme Maybruck, Louis Rich, Aaron Sachs, Stanley Irwin Sachs, Joseph M. Salzer, Max Stessel, Norma Thurman, Bernard W. Weiser (father of Judith), Elick Zitsman, Sam Kossoff, Ruth K. Marcus (mother of Faye Flack)
NOV 26: Shirley Ruth Buchfirer, Joseph Ebner, Joseph Fishbain, Ida Holzman, Martin A. Levine (father of Jeff), Harry Myers, Sarah P. Silberberg, Edward Frand, Albert Viton, Norman Myron Weiser
DEC 3: Laura Ackerman (mother of Joan), Harry Berman, Sanford ''Rik'' Newman,
Ethel H. Sanders, Raymond Schneider (father of Bruce and Larry), Ben Farber, Leonard Kurland,
Rosalyn Horwitz Leventhal (mother of Aaron), Tillie Shifman, Arthur Turyn (father of Larry)