DECEMBER 2018 NEWSLETTER
KISLEV / TEVET 5779
The family of Van Gabbard, who passed away on Tuesday, November 13
May his memory be for a blessing
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
HANUKKAH SERVICE AND MENORAH LIGHTING
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 6:00 PM
Bring your Menorah for a Community Lighting and Celebration. The evening will also include dinner with chicken, slaw, latkes/applesauce, and dessert. Please RSVP to the Temple office no later than Wednesday, December 5 if you plan to attend dinner. This event is sponsored by the Worship Committee.
DECEMBER SERVICE LEADERS
December 7..... Rabbi Cary Kozberg
December 14... Rabbi Cary Kozberg
December 21... Rabbi Cary Kozberg
December 28... Cantor Lauren Bandman
REMINDERS FOR SHABBAT SERVICES
Beginning November 30, Shabbat services will be held in the sanctuary. There is plenty of seating available, so we invite all of you to attend weekly. As we have been doing, the front doors will continue to be locked at 6:05 each Friday after services have begun. If you are a late arrival, please ring the doorbell and someone will meet you at the door.
TEMPLE OFFICE CLOSED
The Temple office will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, December 24 and 25 as well as Tuesday, January 1.
~ ADULT SCHMOOZE ~
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2, 10:00 AM
Come join this gathering of adults for conversation, bagels and coffee, and an assortment of newspapers. This monthly get-together will discuss all that is happening in our community as well as world events. Take time to relax and schmooze with friends this Sunday.
~ HOLIDAY DATES ~
Mark your calendar for the rest of this year’s Jewish holidays, which begin at sundown on the evening before the date shown.
Hanukkah........ Monday, December 3, 2018
Tu B'Shvat...... Monday, January 21, 2019
Purim.............. Thursday, March 21, 2019
Passover.......... Saturday, April 20, 2019
Yom HaShoah ......... Thursday, May 2, 2019
Yom HaAtzmaut....... Friday, May 10, 2019
Lag B'Omer.............. Thursday, May 23, 2019
Shavuot...................... Sunday, June 9, 2019
Tisha B'Av ................ Saturday, August 10, 2019
Erev Rosh Hashanah.... Sunday, September 29, 2019
~ RABBI'S CORNER ~
Once again: it's time for the ''chosen ones'' to choose...
It's that time of the year again: our Christian neighbors are preparing for Christmas and we Jews are preparing for Hannukah. But this year, in the wake of recent events, Hannukah takes on a special meaning.
For almost two millennia, the rabbinic focus of Hannukah - what our Sages wanted us to remember - was G-d's victory over the Syrian Greeks, culminating in the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the miracle of the oil lasting eight days. But in the early 20th century, after centuries of persecutions and pogroms, the call for creating a Jewish homeland through Jewish ''self-determination'' led to a shift away from passively waiting for Divine redemption to a belief that it was time for Jews to work to ''redeem ourselves'' (the position of secular Zionists) or to ''help G-d'' help us redeem ourselves (the position of more religious Zionists). This led to a shift in understanding the significance of the Hannukah story: the focus was no longer on G-d's miraculous intervention alone, but also recalling the courage and determination of the Maccabees and their followers.
Although the rabbinic Sages barely mention the Maccabees (they are called the ''Hasmoneans''), the story behind the holiday is recorded in detail in the First Book of the Maccabees - a work that was not considered worthy by them to be included in the collection of sacred texts. Nevertheless, I Maccabees relates the events leading up to the revolt of the Hasmoneans, and clearly sees it as a ''war for G-d.'' In fact, it was not just a revolt against the Hellenistic Syrians who wanted Jews to stop living as Jews; it was also a civil war - pitting Jews who wanted to help the Syrians make Jewish life disappear against Jews who were willing to die for G-d and His Torah. I Maccabees tells us of many Jews who chose martyrdom rather than choose to live as Greeks and renounce their faith.
Only several weeks ago, several of our fellow Jews were added to that centuries-long list of martyrs - Jews who died because they were Jews, while fulfilling their obligations AS Jews. As most of us know, what happened in Pittsburgh has renewed discussions and efforts in Jewish communities around the country to enhance the security and safety in our synagogues, JCC's, and other Jewish institutions.
A few days after Pittsburgh, Gal Beckerman, editor of the New York Times Book Review, wrote a review of several books dealing with the changing American Jewish identity. The title of his review was ''American Jews Face a Choice: Create Meaning or Fade Away.'' Whether or not the title was intentionally provocative or not might be a matter of opinion. But what is clear is that, as we American Jews are focusing how to bolster our EXTERNAL security, Mr. Beckerman challenges us to look to our INTERNAL security. After an introduction in which he summarized the Pittsburgh massacre, he asks a most provocative AND necessary question:
''Once the candlelight vigils are over, where is the solid ground for the new future of American Jewish identity?''
In other words, on what will a future American Jewish identity be based? Will it be based on fond memories of the Jewish past - ''stories and traditions'' to be passed down as mementos of our ethnic pride? Or will those stories and traditions be passed down to future generations because they are tangible symbols of the ''meaning'' that has sustained us for 4000 years - the ''meaning'' that our martyrs died affirming, the ''meaning'' that animates Jewish existence? Will Judaism be a collection of museum pieces; or a living, vibrant on-going concern? And what kind of changes are we willing to make to make sure it stays vibrant?
As we prepare to observe a holiday commemorating a time when Jews were willing to sacrifice so much in order to insure the perpetuation of Jewish ''meaning,'' Mr. Beckerman' questions are of the utmost importance to American Jews who want to remain conscious Jews. While external threats to our physical security need to be addressed, the cultural and spiritual challenges of contemporary life - including the radical freedom to stick with Jewish belief and practice or reject it - are arguably more dangerous.
Once again: it's time for the chosen ones to choose...
What follows is pundit John Podhoretz's message to his daughter on the occasion of her Bat Mitzvah a couple of weeks ago.
My beloved S---,
You become a bat mitzvah today, which confers upon you obligations and responsibilities as a member of the Jewish community and as an inheritor of a tradition dating back thousands of years. The haftarah you read today, from the Book of Kings, is about a struggle over King David's inheritance. It concludes with Bathsheba speaking the words ''May my Lord King David live forever.'' What Bathsheba meant was that David's line should live forever, that the Jewish people should live forever. After the unspeakable event last weekend at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue, it is an obligation upon you and upon us to do what we can, every one of us, to make sure Bathsheba's wish is fulfilled.
The theologian Emil Fackenheim said Auschwitz had required this of us - that we were not allowed to grant Hitler any posthumous victories. He called it the Commandment of Auschwitz. It is also the Commandment of the Tree of Life. The monster who slaughtered and wounded all those people in Pittsburgh wanted to kill Jews for being Jews. ''All Jews must die,'' he shouted as he murdered them.
The parshah from the Torah you read today is about the very first Jews. It begins with the death of Sarah and proceeds to tell of the death of her husband, Abraham. So here is my charge to you: If you want to make Robert Bowers' (the Pittsburgh murderer - RCK) words turn to ash, follow in the footsteps of Abraham and Sarah. Live as a Jew. Have Jewish children. Try as your mother and I have with you and your sister.
Mr. Podhoretz's words to his daughter testify to the choice he has made.
--Rabbi Cary Kozberg
~ CONTRIBUTIONS ~
A generous donation has been received from Inas Sisler in memory of her husband Jeff
In memory of Gary Krauss from Ron and Jan Spier, Patricia Wickham, Rick and JoAnne Stuttman
In memory of Gary Krauss from Frederick and Barbara Hanson
In memory of Van Gabbard from Char Schiff
In memory of Gary Krauss from Eddie and Laurie Leventhal
Warmest wishes to Char Schiff on your recent birthday from Jack and Paulette Grodner, Sanford and Faye Flack
Warmest wishes to Maxine Leventhal on your recent birthday from Sanford and Faye Flack
In memory of Van Gabbard from Eddie and Laurie Leventhal
In memory of my aunt Frances Pollack from Paul Cornez
~ YAHRZEIT LIST ~
DEC 7: Harry Berman, Jean Block, Bertha Frand Ebner, Pearl E. Friedman, Emil Gross, Raymond Schneider (father of Larry and Bruce), Dorothy Bandman, Ben Farber, Leonard Kurland, Abe Margolis (father of Maxine Leventhal), Arthur Turyn (father of Larry)
DEC 14: Ben Endelman, Rabbi Marianne Gevirtz, James Herron, Corinne Pommer Schiff, Anna Farber, Benjamin Grodner (father of Jack), George Leventhal, Barbara Miller, Harold Pesselman (father of Laurie Leventhal), Sidney Russack, Pearl Stein (mother of Leslie Buerki), Ben Zoldan (father of Gail Russack)
DEC 21: Martin Ebner (father of Dick), Hyman D. Kaminsky, Harold S. Pollens, Jack M. Rubin, Izidore Weiser, Sarah Fish (mother of Larry)
DEC 28: Natalie Cornez (wife of Paul), Lena Gross, Ellen I. Helfgott, Rose H. Holzberg, Augusta Kaufman, Sylvia Rubinoff, Simon Sanders, Isidor Schiff, Mo Weixelbaum, Minnie Ebner, Nathan Leventhal, Lester Lind (father of Bobbi Mugford), Ruth Mazur, Lillian Nedelman (mother of Stan), Freda Silverstein (mother of Marvin), Eugene Unger (father of Shirley Leventhal)
JAN 4: Sarah Endelman, Bernice Jean Gerson, Morris M. Gold, Toby Katz, Anne Reich Krauss, Erie Maybruck, Clara Mendelson, Sophie Rubinoff, Harry Sachs, Siegfried Sander, Sam Schechter, Emma Schoenthal, Manuel L. Soble, Oscar Werber, Samuel Farber, Jack Leventhal (father of Aaron), Lillian Leventhal, Mary Schoemer