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Shofar Iyar/Sivan 5772

Jewish Family Congregation

May 2012

From the Rabbi’s Desk If you check the Torah, you will find that the festivals listed for observance on the nascent Jewish calendar are Shabbat, Pesakh, Shavuot, Sukkot, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23). The minor holidays that have been added to the calendar since the Torah was completed include Chanukah, Purim, Tu B’Shvat, Yom Ha-azma -ut (Israel Independence Day) and several somber days that commemorate historical events of great sorrow, like Tisha b’Av (which marks the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, twice on the same date), and Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day).

or even cities, and the agricultural aspect of the Pilgrimage Festivals receded, so that, by the time of the rabbis (from about 30 CE onward), each of the festivals acquired a distinct connection to the story of the exodus which has come to dominate its significance ever since. This process was speeded up by the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, because, without the location for the sacrificial offerings, the festivals would have fallen into disuse, were it not for the other significance already attached to them.

The three harvest festivals were pilgrimage events, since the Torah required that all adult male Jews were to come to the Temple in Jerusalem to bring a special sacrifice for the occasion. Obviously, Shabbat is observed at home, and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were observed in one’s home community as well.

very tenuous dietary component as well (see below) so it is largely unobserved outside Orthodox circles.

The rabbis calculated that the Israelites arrived at the foot of Mt Sinai just before the sixth day of Sivan (based on the In antiquity, the major festivals were Pesakh, Shavuot and itinerary of their travels given in Numbers 33), seven Sukkot, all harvest festivals celebrated by the Canaanites weeks after their departure from Egypt. And so the agriwhen the Israelites arrived there, and ultimately turned cultural festival of the wheat harvest became the celebrainto occasions related to the Israelite escape from slavery tion of the giving of the Torah at Sinai. Today, since most in Egypt (it is worth noting that what we call “the High Jews have very little direct connection to the agricultural Holy Days” did not acquire that stature until much later). cycle, it is a lot easier for us to find meaning in celebrating But the harvest aspect of the festivals remained central to the giving of the Torah than in the harvest. the occasions because of the agrarian nature of the soci- So it is indeed odd that Shavuot has itself lost prominence ety that celebrated them. So, Passover was the celebra- in the awareness of non-Orthodox Jews, to the point that tion of the early barley harvest, Shavuot the early wheat we really have to work to explain its significance. There harvest, and Sukkot the general produce harvest. are very few songs associated with this holiday, and only a

The Reform Movement addressed this issue by adding to the festival of Shavuot the occasion of Confirmation. It makes good sense, for if we celebrate the giving of the Torah on Shavuot, we are really marking the beginning of

As the Israelites became sedentary following the settlement of the Promised Land, many of them lived in towns From the Rabbi’s Desk What’s Happening/May Service Schedule May Oneg Hosts President’s Message Early Childhood Center The Religious School Kids Ask the Rabbi

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Recent Donations to JFC Social Action Committee The Ritual Committee Birthdays/Annivs/Yahrzeits Ask the Rabbi JiFTY Donations Form JFC’s May Calendar

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Page 2 Jewish Family Congregation 111 Smith Ridge Road P.O. Box 249 South Salem, NY 10590 Phone: (914) 763-3028 Fax: (914) 763-3069 e-mail:

Rabbi Carla Freedman Cantor Kerry Ben-David

School Director Leslie Gottlieb Early Childhood Center Director Jane Weil Emmer Temple Administrator Jolie Levy

Board Of Trustees Richard Mishkin, President 914-764-8305; Mark Lavin, Vice President; Polly Schnell, Vice President; Hal Wolkin, Chief Financial Officer; Diane Richman, Secretary; Carrie Kane Elise Serby Patterson Shafer Debra Verbeke Elisa Zuckerberg and Johanna Perlman, Past President

Shofar Editor Jolie Levy Shofar Printer EnterMarket

Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

May 2012

From the Rabbi’s Desk (cont’d) also delighted to see how far they have a distinct Jewish religious identity. And come since the days of their Bnai Mitzvah “confirmation” is the occasion when our speeches. You too will be impressed. youngsters affirm their own Jewish identity. At JFC we celebrate this occasion with an Though the idea of confirmation is borice cream sundae bar hosted by the parents rowed from Christian practice, in which of the confirmands. This is in keeping with children entered into the Christian faith by the tradition of Shavuot as a dairy holiday, their parents during infancy confirm their on the (weak) grounds that the Israelites religious identity after some years of relionly got the dietary laws at Sinai, and gious education, there is no need for Jews therefore did not eat meat until they figto confirm our religious identity because ured out those laws. Even if that logic is our tradition says that we are born (or con- weak, ice cream sundaes are a great treat, verted) into Judaism. Yet, since most of our so why not? And it’s a great excuse to eat kids go through the rite of passage of Bar/ cheese blintzes, cheesecake, and more ice Bat Mitzvah at the age of 13 and thereby cream. enter Jewish adulthood, their identity as So, on the occasion when we mark the forJews is hardly formed. It is therefore apmation of the Jewish people’s religious propriate that, at a later date, they give identity with the covenant at Sinai, we in thought to what has shaped that identity, the Reform Movement also mark the forand who has helped the process. That is mation of our confirmands’ Jewish identity. what our confirmands will discuss at the We hope that you will join us for this celeservice on May 27th. bratory service, as Sam Blum Jacob Furic, (Continued from page1)

Each year we are impressed by the thoughtful and interesting things our 15year-old confirmands have to say about themselves as Jews. They receive no coaching in preparing the speech, so we are

Sean Kaplan and Sierra Shafer are confirmed…Sunday, May 27 at 7:30 pm. Laurence Furic will chant the Ten Commandments that evening, to lend drama to the evening.

PLEASE JOIN US Jewish Family Congregation Confirmation Service Shavuot, Sunday, May 27, 7:30 p.m.


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What’s Happening This Month at JFC? MAY 2012 Fri., May 4


7:30 p.m.

Some members of our congregation recite prayers in the Ashkenazi Hebrew fashion, which led us to the idea of bringing some of the typical Ashkenazi pronunciation and customs to one of our services. Please join us for a different approach to our worship.

Sun., May 6


11:00 a.m.1:00 p.m.

Join the Religious School as they celebrate the end of the year. Our carnivals include blowups, games and concessions. Of course, it is outdoors!

Fri., May 11


7:30 p.m.

Laurence Furic will bring a topic for all to discuss and learn about.

Fri., May 18


6:30 p.m.

This time, we are featuring food of Italy. Please bring a non-meat dish to share with 6 people. Dinner will be followed by services and, of course, an oneg.

Sun., May 27


7:30 p.m.

Shavuot has lost prominence in the awareness of non-Orthodox Jews. The Reform Movement addressed this issue by adding to the festival of Shavuot the occasion of Confirmation. And “confirmation” is the occasion when our youngsters affirm their own Jewish identity. So, on the occasion when we mark the formation of the Jewish people’s religious identity with the covenant at Sinai, we also mark the formation of our confirmands’ Jewish identity. We hope that you will join us for this celebratory service.

Thurs., May 31

NEGOTIATING THE COLLEGE MAZE (and even finding Jewish life after Youth Group)

7:00 p.m.

Join Alan Sheptin for an enlightening and informative conversation on such topics as: The Five College Myths; the optimal time to visit a college; using Facebook to your child’s advantage; ACT or SAT: what’s best for your child?; what’s really going on in the Admissions Office; and how to keep sane and focused during this process.


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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

May 2012

SERVICE SCHEDULE MAY Friday, May 4/ Iyar 13

7:30 pm

Parshat Kedoshim Jamie Kaplan chants Torah

Saturday, May 5

9:30 am

Bnai Mitzvah of Gregory and Zachary Kaplan

Friday, May 11/Iyar 20

7:30 pm

Parshat Emor Congregant’s drash (led by Laurence Furic) Hayley Verbeke chants Torah

Saturday, May 12

10:00 am

Bar Mitzvah of Cole Verbeke

Friday, May 18/ Iyar 27

6:00 pm 8:00 pm

Pot Luck Shabbat Dinner*** Parshat B’khukotai

7:30 pm

Parshat Bamidbar

Friday, May 25/ Sivan 5

Michelle Blum and Sam Blum chant Torah

Saturday, May 26

10:00 am

Bar Mitzvah of Isaiah Blum

Sunday, May 27/ Sivan 7

7:30 pm

Shavuot service

includes Yizkor (memorial) service CONFIRMATION ***This time, our pot luck dinner theme will be Italian food; for this, we cannot discourage pasta, but we are hoping that we’ll get some non-pasta dishes as well….here’s to creativity! Please remember that whatever you bring (to share with 6 people) MUST BE DAIRY AND/OR VEGETARIAN (no meat and no shellfish, please).


Terry Kalter & Marcia Sher-Kalter Edmond & Debra Verbeke

MAY 11 Robert & Emily Rauch Drew & Mindy Hoffman

MAY 18

Marty and Hankie Kutscher Gerald & Lynne Landau

MAY 25

Robert & Emily Rauch Drew & Mindy Hoffman

Please find a substitute if you cannot host your assigned Oneg. Please contact the JFC Office with the name(s) of the new hosts. Please contact your Board Host if you have any questions.

MAY BOARD HOST: Hal Wolkin (914) 533-6496

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President’s Message by Richard Mishkin Over the years, I have supported and worked for many not -for-profit organizations. I am especially interested in supporting the arts, with an emphasis on music and organizations dedicated to improving the education of our youth, particularly those from less fortunate circumstance. I believe our future, as Jews, as Americans, as residents of planet earth, are totally dependent on how well we teach our children and the children of the world. Religious institutions, sports groups, performance groups are other examples of non-profits I have been involved with.. One of the things I have learned (the older I get the more, it seems, I have to learn) is that the world of not-forprofits is made up of organizations based on very different paradigms. There are those who spend a large part of contributions on administrative costs, advertising, salaries, etc. leaving a small portion to the cause they support, and there are those where a very high percentage goes directly to what is being funded. I have made it a point to seek out and support the latter, but there is one common thread in almost all non-profits you hear time and time again, especially if you sit on the boards of these organizations; I have learned that in most non-profit organizations “20% of the membership end up doing 100% of the work.” For the most part this is true, although I think the percentage has dropped considerably over the past 10 years. I guess because I am somewhat naive and an optimist, I had much higher hopes for JFC. I served on committees and worked hard for years before I became a board member, but because there always seemed to be almost enough people to get the job done, I wasn’t concerned. That the same people came to help every year should have suggested there might be lack of participation, but it wasn’t until I became a Trustee and President that I saw how much JFC was falling in line with other organizations. There are just not enough people willing to pitch in, get their hands dirty and help with what needs to be done to keep JFC the kind of place we are and want to continue to be. For me, JFC is not just another organization; it is our home, different (or at least it should be) than a choral group or a theater group or a program for disadvantaged kids, or a soccer league. JFC is our second home and

represents an important part of each of our families. We have an amazing group of committed people at JFC, but we need more. The enthusiasm and dedication of the board members, the rabbi, the cantor, the musicians, the Religious School and ECC school teachers have helped put us on the map. Now we need to do our part and volunteer to help this organization move forward. Our future rests in your hands. Please reach out and find ways to give back to this extended family. Now is the time. Pick up the phone, email us or drop by. Without more help and participation from members, those who have chosen to give of their time and energy will begin to question if it’s worth it. That is not to say that we don’t have a large group of people who come out every year or when needed and do everything from running an event to washing dishes – thank you, thank you, each of you for what you do. Please don’t lose your enthusiasm! We appreciate all you do. You can start here; a nominating committee has been appointed and approved by the Board of Trustees pursuant to Section 14.1 of our Bylaws. The nominating committee is seeking candidates to serve as Board members. The members of the nominating committee are: Doris Hettmansberger Michael Salpeter Jan Sanders Elise Serby John Stern If you are interested in becoming a Trustee and serving on the Board, please contact anyone on the nominating committee, a Trustee or the JFC Office to indicate your interest. You will be providing an extraordinarily important service to JFC by giving of your time, and I believe that you will feel rewarded for your efforts. It really is very important to have the participation of a diverse group of members on the board so that all membership interests are well represented on the Board. Please consider offering your services as a board member or as a volunteer on any of our committees, Thank you.

CHOIR If you would like to join the choir, or for more information, please contact Kathy Storfer at We welcome all adults -- 13 or older!

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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

May 2012

We have a Facebook page! If you are on Facebook, go to: jewishfamilycongregation and like us!

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The Early Childhood Center Jane Weil Emmer, Director

As the year winds down, I feel the need to focus on a key word in Early Childhood: Growth. Every student and teacher has experienced growth this year in many ways. Our program has experienced growth, as have I. One of the most exciting aspects of working with young children is watching them grow from infants that communicate through crying, to confident young speakers who use language to share their feelings, establish relationships and represent their experiences. Watching our children develop language, within their class structure as well as individually, is evidence of the enormous growth experienced every day. In the beginning of the school year, the Green Room (our 2 year olds) was quiet and very rich with language mostly from the teachers. A visit to the Green room now finds a gaggle of conversations, teacherchild as well as child-child. The growth of language is remarkable. Our curriculum and program continues to evolve and grow as well. This year we added a year- round gardening and nature curriculum. We are integrating Jewish values and holidays with our planting. The children are learning about the cycle of plant life. and it's importance in the bigger world. Some examples of this are wee-planted myrtle for Sukkot, horseradish and parsley for Passover. We planted lettuce indoors in the winter. As our students grow, they take on responsibility for

caring for our plants and garden. We continue to nourish our curriculum and our bodies as we grow and evolve. We have enhanced our gross motor curriculum by adding Happy Feet, our indoor soccer program. The children continue with Yoga every other week, and now have soccer on the alternate weeks. As I complete my first year as the director of JFC's Early Childhood Center, I realize that while I have a tremendous amount to learn I have also grown a lot. I have learned the importance of collaboration. I am fortunate to have an unbelievably talented, creative and nurturing group of teachers with which I have the privilege of collaborating. The teachers have grown as a team and individually. Each day they take on the challenge of enriching the lives of their students, as well as the school as a whole. Our school community needs to continue to grow and evolve. Please help, by spreading the word about our wonderful school and summer programs. April: We celebrated Israel’s Independence Day We visited Green Chimneys Farm We finished the celebration of Passover We planted with Farmer Dale

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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

Claire Effiong, Founder of Esther’s Aid, Visits JFC



May 2012

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The Religious School Leslie Gottlieb, Director

Though not a fan of the rock group Thin Lizzie, they said it best years ago when they wrote the song, The Boys Are Back in Town. As it turns out, they were wrong. When it comes to synagogue membership and involvement, it seems that on a national level men are keeping their distance—and the boys are not yet back in town as a general rule. In Lilith magazine, author Melanie Weiss writes that “men and boys seem to be disappearing from religious life.” Sylvia Barack Fishman, professor of contemporary Jewish life at Brandeis University has been studying the trend and says, “Jewish boys and men have fewer connections to Jews and Judaism than girls and women in almost every venue and in every age, from school-age children through the adult years.”

Israel, mentoring has been a great way for me to stay involved with JFC and see what I would be like as a teacher. I can’t wait to continue the experience.

ing. Their opinions are so dead on that it makes me rethink many of my own long-held ideas. So at one of our meetings last month, I asked them to write in a few sentences what their experiences were like so far this year. Here is what they had to say with no real prep time:

I must have written this next line dozens of times over the 12 years of writing this column (I affectionately note that Rick Cohlan has read every last column!!!!). These teenagers keep me going and are my inspiration, truly. All of our little ones will grow up to be these teenagers one day and I look forward to the day when I can work with each of them as young adults. This is an honor to be sure.

Jacob Furic… The Mentor Program has taught me many things about myself and others. I’ve learned the way which kids learn and explore topics, and their curiosity shows in the classroom. I’m glad to be doing this and will be coming back next year.

Sierra Shafer… This past year on Thursdays, my classmates and I in the Mentor Program have learned new-found information about ourselves and others through the process of workOne study, “Being a Jewish Teenager in America,” showed ing with adults and children. For example, we learned that, “following bar mitzvah, Jewish boys drop out of forabout our compatibility with grade mal Jewish education at a far faster rate than do girls.” school youth through their Jewish educaWell, that is certainly not true around here. At JFC, our tion--- and also the virtue of patience. In Confirmation class, Youth Group and Student Mentor Proaddition, our life discussions helped me gram are made up of students who are predominantly to know that I want to continue the exboys. That is a fact. Sometimes I find myself searching for perience—and all of this may even affect female prospective students just to keep a good balance my career path. going. So reading these kinds of statistics is a bit odd. But Many of our previous mentors have gone on to pursue then again, JFC is not your typical house of worship and teaching degrees as a direct result of their experiences as that makes us special. Also, our retention numbers-- beyond grade 7-- are far greater than most Reform congrega- young Jewish teachers/leaders here. Daniella Acker, fortions as far as the URJ reports tell us. There is even a un- mer JFC member, mentor and Youth Group board member ion-wide campaign ongoing to help synagogues learn how just wrote to me from her college where she is a freshman to tell me that she is working with elementary school chilto attract teenagers to their programs—if there are any dren and that every time she is with them she thinks of high school programs in effect which is not the case at her time here at JFC working with our kids. Another young some temples. We are not the only one achieving great adult from the same class at JFC who was a mentor here is success in this area, but we are proud, nonetheless. planning to get teacher certification and she, too, is a This year our three new grade 9 Student Mentors have freshman at college. For next year’s mentor class, we been an outstanding group of students with whom to have a waiting list. We can only take in so many new stuwork. I meet with them every week for a half an hour bedents as we need to place them-- each in a class of his or fore they begin their work as assistant teachers here. We her own under the supervision of a teacher---and pay each discuss pedagogical issues and our class is more of a cona salary so it really is a competitive program in that reversation that continues from week to week. I enjoy it spect. So far, our newest mentors for next year… are all immensely and it is one of the highlights of my week. Their responses and questions are insightful and interest- boys! How interesting a fact for this article--- and for JFC!

Sam Blum… The mentor program has been really fun for me. Working with Ruth’s third grade class has been an opportunity to follow in my parents’ footsteps and work with little kids. Whether it’s leading games, reviewing homework or presenting pictures from

In Seymour Rossell’s book, Managing the Jewish Classroom, he writes that “Learning and teaching are two sides of the same coin. Teaching is, by its nature, a profession (Continued on page 12)

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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

The Religious School (cont’d) (Continued from page 11)

of self-development.” Even if our mentors go on to pursue other careers which is likely, this experience will be one of value that can be cherished forever. Also, these young leaders have become so important to our K-grade 6 students-- that our youngest children here dream of one day becoming mentors at JFC. That is a dream come true for me, as well. Thank you all for your support in all of this because without it, none of this would be possible.

May 2012

Todah Rabbah From The Religious School to…  All of the parents & children who helped to make Mini Hebrew School in April (for new kindergartners in the fall) a big success!  Jane Emmer for helping to build excitement for the RS (within the ECC) for our registration for next year!  Our teachers for their willingness to try out a new format for student progress notices!

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- - - SAVE THE DATE - - SCOTCH TASTING PARTY FOR BOTH MEN AND WOMEN Sunday, June 24 Watch for Further Details Kids Ask the Rabbi Question: I heard you say that girls should not

wear sleeveless dresses or tops in the sanctuary, or very short skirts either. Why not?

Answer: Those kinds of clothes have a place in your life (if your parents agree to that), but they

are not appropriate to the synagogue, because they are not modest. Judaism teaches us to show our respect for the special things that happen in a synagogue by dressing and otherwise behaving appropriately. So clothes that expose too much of the body are not considered appropriate to the synagogue. If a girl is wearing a sleeveless top to a service because she is going to wear it at the party afterward, she should wear a sweater or shrug over her shoulders during the service. Fellows should not wear low-slung jeans or shorts to temple, either. As an interesting exercise, think about the difference in how you feel when you are dressed inappropriately for the occasion: maybe everyone else dresses up for an occasion, and you don’t; maybe you dress up and no one else does. Think about the message that clothes convey: jeans may be ok for school, for the playground, for going to the movies, but they are not appropriate to wear to a fancy

restaurant or to a funeral or a wedding. When you want to make a good impression…say, on a job interview…you put extra care into what you wear and how you look. Coming into the sanctuary should inspire the same care. And there are other behaviours that are inappropriate to the sanctuary, too. For example, you shouldn’t chew gum during a service, and you shouldn’t have a water bottle or cup in the sanctuary. No one should use a cell phone, and no one should be texting, in the sanctuary. When you come into the sanctuary here, we ask you to put on a kippah. Among the things that can do for you is to remind you that this space is different from our classrooms or the playground, that prayer happens here. We do not require that boys wear suits and ties and girls wear fancy dresses every week to services. You should know that other synagogues, and certainly many churches, have much more demanding “dress codes” than we do. We ask you to dress modestly and tastefully, with respect for the place and its purpose.

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Did you know…

A donation to the JFC-URJ Camp Fund helps send children to summer camp who would not otherwise have this privilege. Memories that will be cherished forever. Thank you for considering this fund!

Recent Donations to JFC General Fund Mitchell and Jodi Waxman Doris Hettmansberger Arnie and Pat Goldstein Roberta and Harold Rudin Susan Stillman Gary and Paula Levine

In Memory Of Anne Elias In Memory Of Harlan Hettmansberger In Memory Of Stephen Margolis In Memory Of Stephen Margolis In Memory Of Josephine Fuchs In Memory Of Shirley Grossman

Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund Kenny and Ellen Elias

In Memory Of Anne Elias

Religious School Director’s Fund Lee Blum In Memory Of Anne Elias Kenny and Ellen Elias In Memory Of Anne Elias IF ANY DONATIONS ARE NOT LISTED, KINDLY CONTACT THE JFC OFFICE AND LET US KNOW.

Don’t forget: Each time you shop at DeCicco’s, just tell the cashier you are a JFC member before ringing up your order. JFC gets a rebate from your purchase. It’s that easy! (You may still use your DeCicco’s card.)

JFC ANNOUNCEMENTS If you would like to “announce” a Simcha in your family, please send the text (pictures are welcome too!) to Jolie Levy at Announcements must be received by the 15th of the month to appear in the next month’s Shofar. Please feel free to acknowledge your Simcha with an $18 donation to any JFC Fund or with a leaf on our Simcha Tree. Donation forms appear in every Shofar.

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JFC Social Action Committee We want to thank everyone who has been active on the Social Action Committee projects this year. It turns out that the end of the school year has proven to be too busy to try to schedule a Midnight Run for the month of May or June. Therefore, we will be planning our next Midnight Run for the fall. Keep a lookout for the announcement at the end of the summer for the fall date.

Want to help?

Contact Debbie Lavin (

by Debbie Lavin The Tzedakah of the Month For MAY Is

MIDNIGHT RUN. Selected by the

JFC Social Action Committee

The Next Midnight Run Will Be In The Fall. Stay tuned for details.

Get Read y For CASINO N IGHT at J FC June 9, 2 012 7-11 pm Jewish F amily Co ngregatio South Sa n lem, NY

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The Ritual Committee Michael Salpeter, Chairman

April was a busy month for Ritual at JFC. Our annual Second Seder was a rousing success – we had the largest number of attendees that we have had in quite a few years! All partook in an enjoyable Seder with plenty of good food and an engaging retelling of the story of the exodus. If you were not in attendance, think about joining us next year with family and friends for a great evening. We also held our annual musical services for Yom HaShoah and Yom Ha’Atzma’ut on successive Friday evenings. It always amazes me how Kathy and Paul Storfer, along with the other members of the JFC choir, can constantly provide us with meaningful and moving music that no other congregation in the area can match. In addition, we were able to view snippets of some fantastic DVD’s which we were able to procure to really drive home the significance of each of these days. On Friday evening, May 4, we are presenting our first “Ashkenazi Shabbos” service. If you are an attendee of our Shabbat evening services, perhaps you have heard some members of our congregation reciting prayers in the Ashkenazi Hebrew fashion. This led Ritual Committee member Bryon Friedman to come up with the idea of bringing some of the typical Ashkenazi pronunciation and customs to one of our services. Please join us on that evening for a different approach to our worship. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of Ritual for May will take place on May 18 with the Torah reading of Parashat Bechukotai. Over the past number of weeks we have endured the readings in Leviticus about animal sacrifice, leprosy and dietary laws. This torah portion, the last in Leviticus, is perhaps the most fascinating in that book.

At the very start of the portion, God instructs us that if we follow the laws which had been set out and observe the mitzvot, then we will be rewarded in our lifetime with peace and we will prosper. We are warned, however, that if we do not observe the mitzvot, then we will be afflicted with diseases, the land will not produce food and armies will strike us down. These words bring to mind a few questions. Is God relating to us that there is no afterlife as it is said that these events will occur in our lifetime? Why must God motivate us to perform mitzvot, under the threat of terrible consequences? Can the Holocaust be blamed on the failure to follow God’s instructions? If you find these topics fascinating, attend services that Friday evening and contribute to a discussion of this torah reading. The next in our series of Shabbat pot luck dinners followed by services will take place on May 18, with dinner beginning at 6:30 and services at 8:00. The theme of this dinner will be “food of Italy.” Bring your best non-meat dish to share with 6 people and join us for an evening of good food, good friends and song, followed by our services. Continue participating in services, events and activities at JFC to help preserve our spiritual presence. Join us on the Ritual Committee – we are always welcoming to members who wish to contribute their ideas to our congregation. Place your name in nomination for the vacancies on the Board of Trustees to bring new commitment to JFC.


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Don’t forget to check out the JFC Blog! Go to

IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ALL READERS Ruth Ossher is DANGEROUSLY ALLERGIC to many flowers. Accordingly, we CANNOT have the following flowers in the building at any time: Lillies Tropical flowers Jasmine scent Any highly scented flowers Artificial flowers that have been sprayed Ruth is NOT allergic to: Tulips Daffodils Hydrangeas Mums Sunflowers Potted flowers that we plant outdoors If you are using a florist, PLEASE have them call us even if they are sure. Dangerous mistakes have already been made. Many thanks for your cooperation!

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Please call the JFC Office when any relevant information arises or changes so all Birthday, Anniversary and Yahrzeit listings are accurate and up to date. JFC can only list names/dates that have been reported to us.

BIRTHDAYS Tyler Alexander Daniella Amerling Phyllis Amerling Theodore Bloch Isaiah Blum Samuel Blum Robert Bolgar Jacob Breslin Jonathan Clott John Conti

Joshua Cooper Abigail Dodes Alix Drawec Hayes Firestein Sydney Fried Laurence Furic Allison Glass Zachary Gottlieb Lowell Haims Micah Hansonbrook

Harris Henshaw Nathaniel Kaplan Jackie Kalter Matthew Kaufman Marc Kutscher Jake Landau Lynne Landau Philip Levens Ethan Lipper Georgia Marceau

Debra Paget Aaron Paulding Diane Richman Katelyn Sobel Daniel Storfer Alana Valente Steven Vandervelden Alex Wattles Alexander Wattles Lauren Zeltzer



John & Karen Conti Matthew Duckett & Elisabeth Rich David & Amy Fischer Bryon & Victoria Friedman Kenneth Kurzweil & Suzanne Sunday Graeme & Catherine Lipper Ken Okamoto & Nita Weissman Andrew & Diane Richman Eric & Meredith Rudin Frederick Slogoff & Erica Goldberger Mitchell & Jodi Waxman

Milton Fayne Abraham Goldfield Shirley Grossman Andrew Hyman Bella Koven Hattie Leff Claire Levens Diane Ravitch Josephine Rothman Fuchs William Rubenstein Martin Simon Sadie Stein Ludwig Sternberger Arthur Sturm Esther Weber

Have you considered celebrating significant birthdays and anniversaries with a leaf on our Simcha Tree of Life? Call the JFC Office for details.

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WCS Kid’s Kloset Seeks Stroller Donations Pass It On Kid’s Kloset, a WJCS program that provides new and gently-used children’s clothes and essentials to families in need, is looking for new and gently-used strollers. An all-volunteer effort, Kid’s Kloset relies on donations of children’s clothes and essentials to pass on to families who cannot afford them. Kid’s Kloset is located at 170 East Post Road(White Plains). Donations can be dropped off by appointment by contacting 914-831-7616or

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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

May 2012

ASK THE RABBI Question: With all the news recently about contraception and abortion, I was wondering what Judaism says about those subjects, since a lot of the public discussion seems to hinge on the Roman Catholic view of them. Answer: Certainly the recent discussions about contraception seem to have started with former Senator Rick Santorum’s statements, which he firmly and clearly bases on his ardent Roman Catholic faith. But it is worth noting that, in 2010, several states had ballot propositions attempting to determine that life starts at conception and therefore confirming on fetuses the rights of actual humans; in every case, these proposals were soundly defeated by the electorate, even in very “red” states.

Where health matters are concerned, even most Orthodox rabbis advise women not to bear more children than their well-being (or the child’s) will allow. Most nonOrthodox rabbis will also counsel couples to limit their family size commensurate to their incomes, but in some Orthodox communities that concern is offset by the goal of replacing the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, regardless of the family’s resources. Still, the idea that a couple might choose to limit the size of their family is clearly not flat-out forbidden in Judaism.

On the subject of abortion, the basic Jewish stance is that the pregnancy should be terminated if it threatens the life of the mother, it. Some rabbis (especially amongst the Santorum renounced birth control, not just for himself Orthodox) have a very narrow understanding of and those who share his values, but for all Americans, and “threatening the life of the mother”, and others he promised that, if he were elected president, he’d work (especially amongst the Liberals) have a broader underto make all contraception illegal in this country. standing of that phrase. Judaism teaches that the commandment to “be fruitful and multiply” was addressed to Adam only, and so, men are not permitted to practise any form of contraception. ( men are free to use condoms for health reasons but not for contraception). Women, on the other hand, are understood not to have received this commandment, and are therefore free to practise birth control if they need/ want to. This teaching stands beside the obligation for each couple to replace themselves with (at least) one son and one daughter.

But the bottom line is that Judaism does not flat-out forbid abortions. I do wish, when these subjects come up in the course of public discussions, we could hear about religious positions other than those of Roman Catholicism and certain Protestant groups. As my brief summary of Jewish responses to these matters shows, there are other religious ideas that have a place in the discussion.


Back row (l-r): Robyn Bellinson, Cheryl Chess, Phoebe Lichtman, Claire Lichtman Front row (l-r): Anna Bellinson, Eliza Lichtman, Ruby Lichtman, Juliette Bellinson

Iyar/Sivan 5772

Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

May 2012

Jewish Family Congregation Early Childhood Center Where Family is our middle name

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO REGISTER! Please visit our website at


Iyar/Sivan 5772

Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

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JiFTY By Jessica Sheptin

Hello fellow readers! As you know, last month we had our yearly elections for the new board. I now proudly present 2012-2013’s board: President: Andrew Blum Programming Vice President: Jeremy Fischer Religious and Cultural Vice President: Sam Blum Membership Vice President: Sam Fischer Social Actions Vice President: Reyna Cohen Communications Vice President: Jess Sheptin


Reyna Sam B

Sam F


We cannot wait to start planning Jeremy what we will be doing next year! Parents, if you have a son or daughter in eighth through twelfth grades, please encourage your child to come join us! We have a lot of fun and plan fantastic activities. An added bonus is that youth group provides a great way for your child to make Jewish friends and stay connected to the synagogue. We all hope to see new faces next year! ~Jess Sheptin, CVP

Do we even want to know?

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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

May 2012

Iyar/Sivan 5772

Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

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May 2012 Sun











K-3/CC/SMP LAST DAY Gr. 7 students invited to Confirmation Class K-3: 4:15-6:00 CC: 6:15-7:15


Bd Mtg 6


Gr. 4-6 ECC 9:00-12:00 STARS Party (Gr. Gr. 7 K-6)10:00-11:00 4:20-6:15 RS End-of-Year




YG End-of-Year ECC Dinner Party 6:00-7:30 Creation










RS Staff - Endof-Year Bash 6:00

Creation Station

[K/L Early Dismissal]

Carnival (Bring $) 11:00-1:00 ALL WELCOME















CONFIRMATION OFFICE CLOSED Yizkor Shavuot Service 7:30


Dinner 6:30 Service 8:00 24



Service 7:30 Tot Shabbat 27


(Gr. 7 students are invited but must RSVP)


STARS Party (Gr. K-6)10:0011:00 RS End-of-Year

(9:30 services)

Gr. 7 9-9:45 (last class) NFTY InstallaStation tions (NYC) Congregant Drash Bar Mitzvah Of Service 7:30 Cole Tot Shabbat Verbeke

Ritual Mtg



Tot Shabbat




NO Gr. 7 Bar Mitzvah Of Creation Gregory Station & Zachary Ashkenazi Service Kaplan Service 7:30


[K/L Early Dismissal]


ECC Staff Mtg. 12:15


Carnival (Bring $) 11:00-1:00 13


Memorial Day

31 NEGOTIATING THE COLLEGE MAZE (and even finding Jewish life after Youth Group) 7:00 p.m. ALL WELCOME



Erev Shavuot

Bar Mitzvah Of Isaiah Blum

Jewish Family Congregation 111 Smith Ridge Rd/Rte. 123 P.O. Box 249 South Salem, NY 10590


Non Profit Organization Postage PAID White Plains, NY Permit No. 9022

Shofar - May/June 2012 - Iyar/Sivan 5772  
Shofar - May/June 2012 - Iyar/Sivan 5772  

Jewish Family Congregation Newsletter - May/June 2012 Edition