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Shofar Jewish Family Congregation www.jewishfamilycongregation.org

Tishrei/Cheshvan/Kislev 5773

Late Fall 2012

From the Rabbi’s Desk I have been talking with temple members and others in the community since the day we lost power courtesy of Hurricane Sandy, and it seems to me that many of us are in fact experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yes, I know that the term is generally associated with the horrors of war and is better suited to the folks who have lost loved ones, or their homes, or are still without basic services as the result of the hurricane. Many more houses in our area were equipped with a generator this time around, and so, many fewer people experienced the progressively colder houses and the disruption of routines. But even for those folks, and especially for those of us without generators, this third prolonged power outage in 14 months (August 2011 through October 2012) was a very tough experience. It is remarkable how quickly life seems beyond our control, how simple comforts like a warm shower become precious, how much we depend on electricity for the famous connectivity of our time. It seemed particularly difficult, coming as it did in the last few days of the election campaign. It was like attending all the classes of the course except the last week, and then having to find a way to take the test! And it was all the more awful for us here because it came exactly one year after the blizzard of October 2011, wiping out Halloween for the second consecutive year. I felt badly for the people who decorate their houses, and wondered how much of that stuff got blown away. As before, I spent a lot of time at the Vista Fire Station, where I am the chaplain. I saw people coming in with From the Rabbi’s Desk Service Schedule Notes from the Editor High Holy Day Appeal Youth Group HHD Services Sukkah Setter-Uppers 7th Grade Food Drive Yom Kippur/President Early Childhood Center

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breathing apparatuses to plug in…some came more than once a day. I saw people bringing in their pets to warm them up. I saw people charging every conceivable electronic device. And I saw people clearly being ground down by the long time without the comforts of home. As time passed and electricity was restored to more and more houses, those of us at the end of the line grew more frustrated and distressed. Thankfully, eventually our power was restored and life went back to “normal”. But the sense of our fragility, the sense of our dependence on power for heat and light and food and flush toilets, all served to remind us how modernity has robbed us of the ability to survive without that power. Just think: 100 years ago, electricity was not in common usage in homes and businesses in this country. But life was slower and simpler then. Women rarely worked outside the home, and household chores that we accomplish in minutes with electrical appliances (think: washing machines, dryers, hot water heaters, furnaces, well pumps, dishwashers, irons, vacuum cleaners, ovens, refrigerators, coffee makers, etc) consumed hours if not whole days at a time. People communicated with each other via long hand-written letters, and knew that the postal service could take days or weeks, depending on the distance between correspondents. So they took the time to think carefully about what they wanted to say, and then chose their words for maximum clarity and persuasiveness. And when the power outage deprived us of our in-

Kids Ask the Rabbi The Ritual Committee Support-A-Walk The Religious School Summer Camp Pix JFC Sisterhood Social Action Committee 2012 Confirmands Ask the Rabbi

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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: jfc@bestweb.net

jewishfamilycongregation.org

Rabbi Carla Freedman jfc@bestweb.net Cantor Kerry Ben-David cantorbd@aol.com

School Director Leslie Gottlieb lesliejo0312@gmail.com Early Childhood Center Director Jane Weil Emmer jfceccenter@gmail.com Temple Administrator Jolie Levy jfcoffc@gmail.com

Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

Late Fall 2012

From the Rabbi’s Desk (cont’d) (Continued from page1)

stantaneous communications, what was lost? Messages of 140 characters, many of them not even actual words! Yes, the power came back on and we quickly reverted to our previous obliviousness to our dependence on electricity. But I think many of us are still troubled by our helplessness in the face of that dependence, and our sense of vulnerability, especially as we watch others still struggling to deal with the really serious losses that this hurricane inflicted on our area. The storm damaged our sense of security in our homes and in our lives. It undermined our confidence in our ability to cope with mundane issues. And it challenged our trust in all the advantages we have by virtue of living in the 21st century (see the list of appliances, above). But it also brought out the best in people. Neighbours and friends with generators made their facilities available to those

without. Strangers were generous to people whose names they didn’t even know, on the grounds that we are all in this together. Some were creative in their coping strategies, and shared their ideas with others. Some chose to cook on their grills the food thawing in their freezers, and then shared with others. Some took refuge at the local fire departments, or the libraries. And here we are, once again stressed but safe and comfortable. I just hope we don’t get cocky about our security, because as sure as it happened this fall, it will happen again, and we’d better learn both the coping skills and the mental health strategies for surviving. So if you find that your equilibrium is not yet fully restored, take consolation from knowing that you are not alone, that the feeling is legitimate, and that there are others to share your concerns with, giving and taking comfort from the exchange. Let me know how I can help you…..

DECEMBER SERVICE SCHEDULE Board Of Trustees Polly Schnell, President 914-764-0321; Richard Mishkin, Vice President; Elisa Zuckerberg, Vice President; Hal Wolkin, Chief Financial Officer; Glenn Kurlander, Secretary; Ken Levinsohn Patterson Shafer Bonnie Wattles Richard Weiser and Jeanette Sanders, Past President

Shofar Editor Jolie Levy Shofar Printer Copy Stop Royal Press

Friday, Dec 7/ Kislev 24

7:30 pm

Parshat VaYishlakh ROCK SHABBAT

Saturday, Dec 8

10:00 am

Shabbat Morning Service

Chanukah begins at sundown, December 8

Saturday, Dec 15

6:00-700 pm Chanukah Wrap for young children^^^ 7:30 pm Our Annual Chanukah Service*** 10:00 am Shabbat Morning service

Friday, Dec 21/ Tevet 9

7:30 pm

Parshat VaYigash

Friday, Dec 28/ Tevet 16

7:30 pm

Parshat VaY’khi

Friday, Jan 4/ Tevet 23

6:30-7:15 pm

Family Service for Very Young Children

Saturday, Jan 5

10:00 am

Shabbat Morning Service

11:00 am

Lunch & Learn

Friday, Dec 14/ Tevet 2

^^^ please bring an unwrapped gift for a child (baby to teen) and make your own wrapping paper, wrap your gift, enjoy songs and latkes and treats! *** Our Annual Chanukah Service is very lively, with a lot of singing led by some members of the JFC Choir. Come and sing all the old favourites and some new and wonderful additions to our Chanukah repertoire. This evening is very kid-friendly!


Tishrei/Cheshvan/Kislev 5773

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-- NOTES FROM THE EDITOR -The Shofar is back!! You may have been wondering what happened to it. Here it is, along with the changes that have been made. JFC IS CHANGING TO BI-MONTHLY ISSUES OF THE JFC SHOFAR as follows: Dec/Jan; Feb/Mar; Apr/May; June/July; Aug/Sept; and Oct/Nov. Each issue will be in your hands by the first day of the first month, with the exception of Dec/Jan. You will have that one in your mailboxes by the end of next week.

IN THIS ISSUE… YOU WILL FIND a recap of the past few months. Certainly you know by now that we’ve had more than our share of distractions in and around JFC, and we didn’t want you to miss anything that happened. Accordingly, please understand that there will be many things that you have already seen — others may not have seen them. YOU WILL FIND lots of big fun pictures of summer camp, the High Holy Days, Sukkot, Pot Luck Dinners… YOU WILL NOT FIND some of the usual lists such as birthdays, anniversaries and yahrzeits. We were not able to list all of these but were able to notify members of yahrzeits. YOU WILL NOT FIND a list of recent donations. This list is very long (thank you all!) and will appear in the next Shofar. YOU WILL NOT FIND many flyers as we have been sending them out as needed. YOU WILL NO LONGER FIND a calendar on the back page. JFC has switched to an active, on-line calendar. You may view it on our website at any time, and it will always be current. YOU WILL NO LONGER FIND our Oneg hosts listed in the Shofar. Oneg hosts will be posted on our website under the corresponding Friday night. Please see page 5 for more information.

WHAT’S NEW AT JFC: WE HAVE A NEW OFFICE ASSISTANT/BOOKKEEPER—CAROL WAKEMAN! Please introduce yourself the next time you call or visit JFC. Carol hours are: Mondays/Wednesdays: 9:30—2:30 Tuedays/Fridays: 8:00—1:00 PLEASE JOIN US IN WELCOMING CAROL TO OUR FAMILY!  Don’t forget we are now potable — you may drink from any of our faucets. Feel free to fill your water bottles as well! We will slowly be removing the water coolers.  Our front steps were redone! We now have nice, new bluestone rather that the outdoor carpet!  We have been doing some redecorating in our entryway. You will now find the Midnight Run bins underneath the tablecloth. Thank you for all of your contributions.


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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

Late Fall 2012


Tishrei/Cheshvan/Kislev 5773

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JFC ONEGS NEED YOUR HELP ALL JFC MEMBERS: Oneg Shabbat (literally “Joy of Sabbath”) is a wonderful and welcoming weekly tradition at JFC. After enjoying a Friday evening service, we get together in our temple’s Oneg Room to nosh and catch up with congregation friends. Each Oneg is to be hosted by two congregation members/families, and that’s where we’ve been having difficulties lately. EACH MEMBER IS ASKED TO HOST ONE ONEG SHABBAT WHEN YOUR LAST NAME COMES UP ON OUR ROTATING ALPHABETICAL LIST (roughly every 18-24 months). We try to give you as much notice as we can but have found that more than a few months is too much. For the past several months, many of our oneg hosts have been unavailable. This leaves those attending Friday night services without the benefit of the “Joy of Sabbath” after the service. PLEASE REMEMBER that oneg hosts are to find their own replacements if they are unavailable. We’d like to help with this as much as we can. Starting with December 21, JFC will list the last names of the oneg hosts on the website calendar. If you are unsure when your oneg is, you may simply check the calendar. If you are unavailable, you will be able to look ahead and see who is scheduled in the future and may be able to switch with you. PLEASE BE SURE TO LET THE OFFICE KNOW IF A CHANGE HAS BEEN MADE SO THE CALENDAR MAY BE UPDATED. The Board Host will also be available to help. Information about the things you’ll need to do to co-host the Oneg is also on our website. It’s really quite easy, and you’ll have help: At 7 p.m., the JFC Board-Member-of-the-Month will meet you at the temple to help you set up. At 7:30 p.m., you’ll be asked to light candles in the sanctuary at the start of services. About 9:30 p.m. (when the Oneg typically ends), you and the Board-Member-of-the-Month will tidy up (which takes about 15 minutes), and the Board Member will lock the building for the night. That’s it! It’s simple and fun, and takes relatively little time to do. And most importantly, your involvement helps continue a JFC tradition we can all enjoy—one of many that fosters the warmth and sense of community our congregation offers. If you have questions about hosting an Oneg, please call the JFC Office at 914-763-3028 or ask one of the Board members. We will be happy to help you. In advance of your participation, thanks for your effort! PLEASE HELP MAKE SURE THIS WONDERFUL JFC TRADITION IS NOT LOST.

BLOOD AND BONE MARROW DRIVE: JANUARY 20 12:00-6:00

We have a Facebook page! If you are on Facebook, go to: http://facebook.com/ jewishfamilycongregation and like us!


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Late Fall 2012


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On a recent visit to Kutz Camp, URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs took time to talk with and learn from a diverse cross-section of the community about an issue very dear to all of them: youth engagement. The Kutz leadership selected a diverse group of 18 participants for an open forum. Among this group was JFC’s Jackie Kalter. It was an enthusiastically engaged group of teens who enjoyed being representatives of 180 of the most invested teens in the Movement.

Jackie

Jane Emmer, JFC’s ECC Director and URJ Eisner Crane Lake Board Member, and Leslie Gottlieb, JFC’s Director of Education, accept an award given to those directors who have 10 or more students enrolled at camp. This summer, JFC sent 16 campers and 4 staff.

Yasher Koach! Pictured (l-r): Louis Bordman (URJ Eisner Camp Director), Jane Emmer, Leslie Gottlieb, Debby Shriber (URJ Crane Lake Director)


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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

Late Fall 2012

JFC’s High Holy Day Appeal: Living our Fundamental Jewish Values [as originally delivered]

A Message From JFC’s Board of Trustees Beginning with its founding, Jewish Family Congregation has defined itself in part by its emphasis on offering membership to a diverse group of individuals and families. As a result, our membership includes interdenominational families, single-parent families, same sex couples and their families, and families of different backgrounds, cultures and levels of income and wealth. Valuing inclusiveness and diversity as we do means that many of our members do not have the ability to pay full membership dues. Thus, we have always provided special arrangements to enable those who are unable to afford full dues to be JFC members. In this way, we have been able to offer the sheltering embrace of family to members of our community who face financial difficulties, perhaps at a time in their lives when synagogue membership means the most, but otherwise would be out of reach. To ensure both financial equity and fiduciary financial responsibility, we ask those who are seeking “special arrangements” to submit on a confidential basis to a special arrangements committee an application explaining their circumstances, together with the summary pages of their federal income tax return. In each of the past few years, the special arrangements committee has authorized tens of thousands of dollars in financial support to JFC members who were not able to pay full dues. Of course, the granting of special arrangements comes at a cost to JFC and contributes to the financial challenges we currently face. We don’t want to—we can’t—change our essential value of inclusiveness. But continuing to live that value as a Congregation means that those who have the financial means must shoulder the responsibility of defraying the cost of our essential values. Thus, we have decided to undertake a High Holy Day Appeal this year, as we did last year, to make it possible for us to continue to offer membership to families in need. On the morning of Rosh Hashanah, we [made] a simple appeal: we [asked] all members and guests who are in a position to do so to support anonymously all or part of the costs of membership of a JFC family requiring a special arrangement this year. This support is truly one family helping another, although neither will know the identity of the other. We recognize that membership dues have increased this year (the first such increase in three years) and that the Board has imposed a modest special assessment, but JFC will still operate with a significant budget deficit this year. Thus, a successful High Holy Day Appeal is essential. We sincerely believe, however, that with the support of the Congregation and a successful High Holy Day Appeal, JFC can make it through its near term financial difficulties and succeed in meeting our longer term shared goals. Please join with us to support our members and Jewish Family Congregation.


Tishrei/Cheshvan/Kislev 5773

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JFC’s Youth Group Leads the Children’s HHD Services

Most people wouldn’t think of the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as being particularly fun for kids. However, at Jewish Family Congregation in South Salem, a large group of kids – and their parents – recently enjoyed holiday services that were a little bit different, probably because they were designed from the ground up for kids by members of JiFTY, JFC’s Youth group, of which I am Religious and Cultural Vice President. JiFTY, led by religious school director Leslie Gottlieb, is a group of approximately 25 8th to 12th graders that meets bimonthly at JFC. President Andrew Blum (no relation), Board members Reyna Cohen, Jeremy and Sam Fischer, Jessica Sheptin, and I put together and led these services. Other JiFTY members, such as song leader Gabe Zuckerberg and tech expert Zander Bolgar, were there to help out as well. On Rosh Hashanah, we held the first service. Sure, we included the standard Jewish prayers. However, we also taught the kids new songs, watched a Jewish OneDirection parody, asked about New Year’s resolutions, and had the kids read quotes from T.S. Eliot, Gandhi, and Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson. The kids enjoyed the interesting readings and the humor of great YouTube songs. While some were tentative to sing or raise their hands, most seemed comfortable in the fun and open environment we had created. It appeared that the kids loved the service, and it was great to hear that many of their parents had a similar view. Ten days later, the Yom Kippur service was a similar success – different songs, a OneRepublic parody, and readings from Tolstoy and Steve Jobs. One thing that stayed exactly the same was a satisfaction the JiFTY board felt knowing that both the kids and the parents got something out of the services. Sam Blum, JiFTY Religious and Cultural VP


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Many thanks to: Jeff Berg Michael Gitlitz Pete Kessler Zachary Kessler Michael Salpeter Pat Shafer Marty Weisberg


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The Sukkah Setter-Uppers

Thank you!


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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

Late Fall 2012

7TH GRADERS AT JFC COLLECT 1,826 LBS. OF FOOD FOR THE KATONAH COMMUNITY CENTER

Three of the Center’s community partners, Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford Corners, Jewish Family Congregation in South Salem, and Congregation B’nai Yisrael in Armonk, conducted food drives during the solemn observance of Yom Kippur. On a day when it is traditional for their congregants to fast, these synagogues collected more than three and a half tons of food for families in their communities who fight hunger throughout the year. This year, the three synagogues amassed a total of 7,112 pounds of food for donation to the Center. Our photos: left, young members of Jewish Family Congregation, with food they brought from their Yom Kippur food drive; ... These drives make an enormous difference in the Center’s ability to provide food to our neighbors in need. Our deep thanks to these three synagogues, and their congregants, for their efforts — not only during their High Holy Days, but throughout the year.


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Yom Kippur Words From the President by Polly Schnell

[as delivered on Yom Kippur] Good morning. Dear friends,

Could it be that their allowance for my mother in law to take Wynter to the mommy and me class made the difference?

How can it be -- given that I have never been so busy in my work life?

As one child rolled into two, and Wynter made his way towards religious school, could it be that Leslie's comforting professionalism, the fact that I think she is the best religious school educator I have ever known, have made the difference?

Given that I have three young children, and scarcely a moment to rest -let alone put a home cooked meal on the table. How can it be that I have made this great committment to you?

Could it be her tolerance, patience with all types of children, her privilege to embrace and teach all types of Jewish students -- no matter how challenging their needs -- have tipped the scales for me?

How can it be, given that I grew up as a rabbi's daughter and felt I had reached maximum capacity for temple religion -- by the time my father retired -- let alone temple membership, a seat on the board -- and now presidency!

Could it be how she spent some one on one time with my little Rayn, when Rayn needed it? or the way Leslie and Rabbi Carla greet us all at the door of the temple on religious school days in all kinds of weather - since day one.

How can it be --

Could it be the little wooden box in our home that holds all of the judaica the children have made over the years at JFC -- the plastic kiddush cups, the cloth matzah covers, colored kipot, and more.

How can it be that I stand before you today as JFC's President?

After years of watching my father tend, endlessly, to the needs of a congregation.

Working on friday nights, saturday morning, sunday's How can it be that as a young family, we were able to too. make that committment to take on a full family membership, building dues, and all? My mom supporting him and our home... Our home constantly enduring calls and visitors for celebrations‌. and tragedies..

Remember, I had never had to pay temple dues in my life.

The thank you notes alone -- at my bat mitzvah -hundreds of them -- were enough for me to take a permanent break from temple life.

In fact, our temple paid us!!

Judaism remained important to me during college and young adulthood.

Could it be the sound of the rain drops splattering on its roof, an occasional drip to the forehead, or the fall breezes making their way inbetween the tent flaps.

But temple days‌..

Could it be the exposure we had as guests, to the beautiful blessed tent on the high holy days?

Could it be the way Cantor Kerry chants the sim shalom -- the deep, beautiful melancholy in his notes Could it be then, that nearly a dozen years later, after that reminds me of my jewishness -- right to the core. my father retired, when I decided my son Wynter was ready for pre school, that the beautiful mansion and Could it be that, alone? maple trees peeking at me from 123 alone, were Could it be the Choir? and how Rabbi Carla has woenough to draw me in? ven its delight into her high holy days and other services year after year, season upon season. Could it be that Bobbie Cohlan, Ellen, Dinah, Karen, Paul Turnley, Rabbi Carla, and others’ warm and nurturing welcome were enough to open the doors to (Continued on page 14) temple life for me, once again? I had nothing left.


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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

Late Fall 2012

Yom Kippur Words From the President by Polly Schnell

(cont’d)

to the JFC summer camp led by Jane, to the ECC procould it be Debbie's solos that keep me coming back, gram now led by Jane, and now, into the trustworthy sitting just left of center so I have full view of her face hands of Jane's son, Matthew, who watched over my three children at Eisner this summer; Quoya has roots as she sings l’dor vador, JFC's own personal angel here. coming for a visit. (Continued from page 13)

or could it be Michael Horowitz and Kathy, when they Could it simply be the sense of comfort I feel when I look around the room on Friday night and always see perform Michael's song, Smoke, in memory of the our most special 'regulars' -- Laurence with her sweet holocaust? boys, Doris, and Ken, and Curt, and Cheryl, Michael, Could it be Paul, in the back row, who takes his cues Emily, John, Jason and others. ever so diligently from his Choir director wife? Could it be the tiny torah, or the czechoslovakian Could it be the passion and creativity that Kathy holds scroll that came from the village of Brno, upon which in her little pinky that she has decided to share with Rabbi Carla always speaks so tenderly? all of us? Perhaps I come for the jews of brno, who never had a Or could it be the bongo drummers and how their chance. little entourage has grown in recent years. Perhaps I belong -- for them. Or could it even be Peggy's faithfulness, year after year, at the front entrance, as she professionally and Or could it be the warm embrace my father received from this congregation when he came to speak about sweetly guides us all to our parking places… making his book, The Tales of a Village Rabbi? us feel special and respected by our non-jewish neighbors on this, our holiest day of the year? or our Or that he (and my mom) are always graciously welwalk down the road a stretch when we cast our sins comed as life time guests in our tent? collectively into Barbara and John Stern's pond? Or could it be the look on Hal Wolkin's face of unbriPerhaps it could be the simple Friday night services, when I am too exhausted to dress up -- and no one minds.

dled pride upon the completion of the renovation of our sanctuary for which, i know he played a leading role?

Slacks are ok here…

Could it be the way Rabbi Carla holds the babies -during Shabbat In The Great Outdoors evenings…. many of those babies who are now bar mitzvah students and confirmands today.

Or could it be that my third child, my little Quoya, always joins me when I come. And why is it that she is always with me when I come to JFC? Could it be the special attention that Rabbi Carla always seems to have the time to carve out for her? Or how Ellen, her old hebrew school teacher always comes over to her and says "hello my little Quoyeleh…"?

Or could it be the bend in the road for me, now? -with my son, Wynter, gearing up to be one of those bar mitzvah students -- and feeling a great sense of relief and security knowing that morah Linda, Ruth and Rabbi Carla will be by his side, every step of the way.

Could it be the incessant humming i hear from the Or that people, in general just seem delighted to have back seat -- which, when I listen more closely -- I can recognize as my son practicing the ancient tunes of her there. the veahavta. Could it be that Quoya naturally feels the same things for this place, at her tender young age of 8, that I, too, now feel? Quoya has old friends here, like Jane; from the enrichment program in Jane's living room, (Continued on page 16)


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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

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Yom Kippur Words From the President by Polly Schnell (Continued from page 14)

Could it be the Midnight Runs I have joined -- lead by the visionary Jan Sanders and Debbie Lavin of JFC's social action committee…..

(cont’d)

Or how we are gearing up to take on the challenge of signing on some of you, who are our guests here today, to join our special family.

Could it be the boards that have come before me unCould it be the giving of the sandwiches my children der the leadership of people like Ted Bloch, Ken Aufsesser, Jack Goldberg, Ken Sobel, David Emmer, helped me assemble at home -- to the poor and homeless of NYC's dark and empty streets, or distrib- Laurie Wolkin, Johanna Perlman, Jeff Berg, Barbara Stern and more, those who know and lived JFC's hisuting the soup I actually made…. tory… of practicing in living rooms, a church, a Or that my children year after year keep asking when school… perhaps I want to honor them -- and their they will be old enough to join me on this journey. work -- with my current fellow board, a strong group Or could it be the late night drive home with Jan and - poised to become even stronger and larger -- by helping, now, to guide JFC -- the mansion with the others at my side….where quiet chatting turns to maple trees -- the only JFC I have known…. towards a sleep -- particularly by the b'nai mitzvah students in beautiful, long and certain future. my car. All a jewish team, a jewish family. Could it be the recently reformulated sisterhood led the by the passionate and fiery Nicole Rose --- and the quieter but no less accomplished Cindy Carson -who will not rest until every woman in South Salem comes to understand what the true meaning of sisterhood is all about. From honey fundraisers to book groups, fall dinners, winter gala fund raisers and more, this group is a force to be reckoned with -- and they are just warming up. (Fliers with details about how to join can be found outside the tent). Or could it be the long standing caring committee that has been led by Lisa Block and Doris Hettmansberger for many, many years, and is now newly supported by this sisterhood. The community that pulls together in times of need.

Perhaps, ladies and gentleman of JFC, perhaps it is all these things and many, many more. I know this to be the case. I know why I am here -- though, once, I never thought it possible -- as your president, today. Thank you, JFC, for all you have given me and my family. You are a safe haven in a busy world. Thank you for embracing, guiding, and helping me and my family find our own way in temple reform judaism. And thank you, too, for families and people that have come before me, who are here with me now, and who will be here tomorrow -- who have found and will continue to find, at various stages in their life, their own sense of comfort, jewish meaning, identity, connectedness, a sense of belonging -- in your midst.

Or could it be the twinkle in Michael Salpeter’s eyes -as he flips burgers at our JFC bbqs, and, more importantly, as he has graciously and competently And to you, dear JFC, I say; stepped up to lead our temple's ritual committee. le shana tova tikatavu vetichatamu and g’mar chatiOr could it be the excitement I and the members of mah tovah; the newly re-formed new membership committee May you be inscribed in the book of life for years to feel as we begin to discuss ways to welcome our new- come in what I hope and pray will become and always comers; the Fishkins, the Goldbergs, the Shapiros, the be a world of peace. Wilson/Schiff family, the Zusels and more…. Amen.


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Don ’ out t forg et t the o J wit FC G stop if i hC han t Sho n and p! I che uka t ck I h f i s goo you pur f i l led cha die are s s ! i i n n us kno g any teres ted t wi n th hing, in e JF plea se CO ffic let e.

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Edible Sukkah Contest

JiFTY


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The Early Childhood Center Jane Weil Emmer, Director

Our philosophy: We believe that children deserve early childhood experiences that develop their multifaceted potential and increase their love of learning. Mutual respect between teachers, children and families are hallmarks of our school.

Year round we tend our garden, we watch seeds turn into sprouts, and sprouts into plants. Teachers build on the perceptual and cognitive powOur garden is small ers of children. Experiences are provided that meet and intimate. The children’s needs and stimulate learning in all developplants are intermental areas: physical, social, emotional and intellectwined, curling tual. around each other Each child is viewed as a unique person with an indiand the fence. The vidual pattern and timing of growth and developlink to our communiment. Different levels of ability, development and ty is obvious. Our learning styles are expected, accepted and used to design appropriate activities. school constantly changes, as does the Our family engagement approach is reflected in eve- garden, sometimes in obvious ways and sometimes in rything from how families are welcomed in the morning, to communication about each child to make par- subtle ones. ents partners in the educational enterprise, to the ways we engage families in Jewish life and learning. This year our teachers and classrooms have shifted a bit. We have witnessed curriculum changes and Jewish values and ideas are the lenses through which we view our play-based, academically rich curriculum. teacher team changes. We have a small enrollment We focus on interpersonal interactions as well as fos- (true in many area schools!), yet big plans and inspitering independence. We provide opportunities both rational creativity. indoors and outdoors with an emphasis on relevant experiential learning. If you would like to help or volunteer to share a speThis summer I was taking a walk in Great Barrington cial talent, please give me a call. and I stumbled upon a beautiful community garden. The garden had a sign in front saying:

Things that grow in our garden: vegetables, confidence, love, friendship, flowers, laughter and mentors. I hope that you can visit our beautiful organic garden in the back of the playground at JFC ECC. There you will find our thriving garden, tended by three generations of nursery school families. It is, of course, one of our pride and joys of our early childhood program. However, it was not just our garden that came to mind when I read that sign. It was in fact our entire community, and how our philosophy is supported by these thoughts.

Todah Rabbah From The Early Childhood Center to…  The Carter and Wein Families for assisting in the setup of the playground.  Jolie Levy and Naomi Sapadin for my surprise ECC birthday party.  Peter Kessler for helping with our canopy… and a whole list of other tasks… too numerous to list.  Alison Brodoff for the hay and gourds in our big sukkah!


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Kids Ask the Rabbi Question: Why are we supposed to put our Chanukah menorah in the window? And…are we supposed to call it a menorah or a chanukiyah?

Answer: Let’s start with the name question. In Hebrew, the word menorah means “lamp”. And in modern Hebrew, it can refer to the lamp over your desk, or in the hall or on the street. To make sure that you are referring to the nine-branched lamp we use only for Chanukah, it is better to call it the chanukiyah. But lots of people don’t know that term, so sometimes we just call it the menorah, even though the other term is more specific. As to putting the chanukiyah in the window, there is a really good explanation. The Talmud (an encyclopedic work on Jewish law and life) instructs us to “publicize the miracle of Chanukah”. You know…the little jug of oil that lasted eight days when it normally would have only lasted for one. Today you might want to put an ad on television, or on a street sign, or post something on Facebook… to publicize the miracle. But in ancient Israel, the best they could do was light the chanukiyah in a place where it could be seen by passers-by, and that turned out to be the window of the home. They also built little niches into the wall of the house facing the street, to hold the chanukiyah in places where that was safe. In our community, many houses, my own included, are set so far back from the street that the chanukiyah cannot be seen by passers-by anyway….but if you think yours could be seen, you might want to put it in the window “to publicize the miracle”. Maybe you can get an electric chanukiyah, so you don’t have to worry about candles touching the drapes, or dripping onto the window sill. The electric one will be safe and easily recognizable. Or: make a chanukiyah and attach it to your mail box, so others can see it. That would be a new way to achieve the goal of the Talmud!

Many thanks to Gossett Nursery for donating so many beautiful flowers and plants for our High Holy Days!


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The Ritual Committee Michael Salpeter, Chairman

The tent in our parking lot has come down, Sukkot/Simchat Torah has come and gone, and we are back to the beginning of the Torah, reading from Genesis. The flurry of activity associated with our Fall festivals has diminished and our attention once again gets focused on Shabbat. As a child growing up in a Conservative synagogue in Brooklyn we attended what were known as “late Friday night services” during the winter months, which were distinguished from the usual Maariv minyan. These were more family friendly services and were followed by an oneg of honey cake and tea. Some 50 years later I still have fond memories of those evenings sitting in the sanctuary with my friends and having the Rabbi stare at us when we misbehaved. Fast forward now to my years attending services here at JFC. The services are still family friendly, the food selection at the oneg has changed and I try not to misbehave in the sanctuary. Although the style of prayer is quite different than in my youth, one of the constants has been the singing of the Lecha Dodi at the start of most Shabbat evening services. Even though I cannot explain why, it has always had a special feeling for me when it is sung. The first Friday evening I attended services at JFC, I was thrilled that Lecha Dodi was a part of the ritual. Prior to the last verse, the Rabbi explained the custom of facing the west and welcoming in the Sabbath Bride – this was something I had never experienced but only added to my joy of that prayer. Several months ago I was reading an article in the Jewish Review of Books pertaining to the comparison of architecture in a Frank Lloyd Wright synagogue in Philadelphia and a 17 th century wooden synagogue in Gwoździec, Poland. In the discussion, the author makes mention of a latticed window in the western wall of the Polish sanctuary. Not only then did the worshippers face the door at the conclusion of Lecha Dodi , but the congregants also faced the latticed window—which the author stated to represent the Gate of Heaven mentioned by Jacob after his dream. This is described as a two-way gate through which Israel looks towards Adonai and Adonai looks hopefully back at Israel. The connection between my love of the Lecha Dodi and that of Jews in Poland over 400 years ago was remarkable. Although we don’t have a latticed window in the western wall of JFC, when I now turn to welcome in the Sabbath Bride on Friday nights I also imagine Jacob’s Gate of Heaven which only adds to the poignant meaning of my favorite prayer.

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


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NER N I D K C POT LU 10, 2012 Aug.

NER N I D K C POT LU 5, 2012 Oct.

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A picture speaks a thousand words‌


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Support-A-Walk—October 7, 2012 Thank you so much for being part of an extended team for our recent Support-A-Walk. We were so lucky that the weather cooperated and the rain held off until after the walk. We were even luckier to have so many friends and family members turn out for what I hope you'd agree is a marvelous organization. The support they've provided to me and Barbara (as well as other members of Jewish Family Congregation and thousands of other women) is priceless. I hope you enjoyed the walk, despite the cold weather and sometimes rocky terrain. We were a team of 28 (including the babies) this year: Jeff and Samantha Berg and Debra Paget Lisa Block Laurie Wolkin Laurence Furic Liza and Peter Breslin Barbara, Alan, and Lauren Forst Teri and Wally Gardiner Dayna Kaplan Jennifer Mitgang Todd & Colleen Mitgang (with baby Hugh) Katy & Ari Strulson, with Emily, Jacob, Andrew, Ryan Liza & Greg Wang with Anabelle and Bode Here are three pictures we took. I think they all captured the spirit of the day - providing help to those affected by breast and ovarian cancer. These pictures are all on Support Connection's website page: Support -A-Walk team photos so feel free to tag yourself (if you're so inclined). Thanks again! Debra H. Paget dpaget@aol.com Help me raise funds to provide free services to those affected by ovarian or breast cancer http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/debra-paget/Walk2012


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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.)


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The Religious School Leslie Gottlieb, Director

Fall is always an interesting time on the calendar, but these past few months have been especially challenging in many ways. Fortunately sprinkled into life’s periods of transition and difficulty are myriad blessings that we sometimes have to be reminded of in order to get through to the other side. Leaving the tent on Yom Kippur morning to take my father straight to the hospital (and breaking our fast in the emergency room with egg salad wraps from the hospital cafeteria) was one of those uphill days—but looking back now (especially since Dad made it home and his health is improving every day) I see that even in the darkest moments there are elements for rejoice. Having a community at JFC is a real comfort in my life and I hope that when you need a little extra support you, too, will realize this place is here waiting to put its arms around you.

detour in my travels. Knowing every hill in advance is important to a fifty-two year old very average bike rider. I count on knowing, in advance, when to downshift and when to get ready for the big hills. I prepare myself mentally during each ride for every turn and crack in the road as my life truly depends on it--clipped into my pedals and trying to steer clear of school buses and other vehicles of great girth. Unprepared for this new road onto which I was diverted, I nearly pulled over into a driveway to reverse my path to return to my safe well-navigated course back home. But, frankly, I was quite intimidated by the idea of the reverse course which promised lots of daunting hills. In the end, I decided to go down this new road and let it take me where it would, scared yet excited as I plunged downward knowing that I would somehow have to make up the altitude as our house is 660 feet above sea level . If you go downhill, you know you’ll have climbing to Over the past few months, on one day in particular… I had do on the return trip—much like life. Despite my great to figure out how to get my father’s health aide back into hesitation, I felt as if I had no choice but to go onward into the condo after she locked herself out—all while I was in uncharted territory. I had to face the unknown much like the Berkshires visiting our Eisner campers. That same what is happening in my life right now. Some things are week while we were still out of town, my brother was certain and then there are some things that surprise us rushed to the ER after a near fatal sting by a hornet to after we awake to face the new day. How does one cope which we have learned he is deathly allergic. A few weeks with adversity and stay positive about life? Can we impart earlier we had to accompany our eldest son to chemotherthese lessons to our children in a healthy way so that they apy after a late June diagnosis of lymphoma that shocked grow into resilient, but not anxious, adults? all of us at home, as you can imagine (fortunately, the prognosis is excellent and our son, now twenty-five, con- Let’s add to all of this uncertainty the shifting landscape at tinues to teach us about personal strength every day). At JFC. We are in a transition phase and I am confident we around the same time the Pound Ridge Police forcefully will come out on the other side healthy and strong. We broke into our house with no one at home after receiving will get through this time and move on. Changes around a prank phone call in where a woman impersonating me here will require all of us to band together as never beclaimed she was being held at knifepoint. Months later fore. I invite you to share in this communal challenge. Be and we are still finding shards of glass in the carpet as the here. Be present in the process for a new JFC that will officers busted through a double-pane door super-charged hopefully retain the wonderful underpinnings of its former with gas to keep it insulated. Those things explode on im- incarnation. Let’s “stay the course” as our old friend pact but boy do they keep the draft at bay! Also this sum- George used to say. Let’s all help to pull together as any mer, there have been several bear sightings on our road, family would during challenging times and resolve ourand one was on our property! Had enough? I actually selves to celebrate a fresh beginning. Let’s be a team. wore a red dress on Yom Kippur hoping to get as much Authors Robert Brooks, Ph.D. and Sam Goldstein, Ph.D. in attention as I could from a God surely testing my endurtheir book The Power of Resilience, write that, “We are the ance, one who might be persuaded by my bold fashion authors of our lives. Our words and behaviors, echoed choice to listen to my entreaties that morning. We all go again and again in similar situations, in similar ways, with through rough times and I never felt sorry for myself (as predictable outcomes, become the scripts of living.” Altothers around me were and are suffering more greatly, for hough so true, there is that unexpected gap in the pavecertain) but I began to feel as if I were part of a Candid ment sending you off course, the call from the doctor, the Camera episode in where my breaking point would be fodnewness of what is unanticipated. How we respond is der for someone’s entertainment. Oy vey! surely the mark of who we really are but you never know So while on a thirteen mile bike ride through New Canaan (Continued on page 28) and Pound Ridge recently, I came upon an unanticipated


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The Religious School (cont’d) (Continued from page 27)

until, as my mother always said, “you stand in someone else’s shoes.” Until you are personally faced with a challenge of insurmountable force, you don’t know how you are going to respond. You can face trouble with grace or you can disintegrate. Some challenges leave you little choice but to move forward. You just have a hand of cards and you play them… wisely or foolishly with the best or worst part of yourself as the player. At JFC, we all need to be players who will work together through this time because we have been through so much-- as a family-- and will continue to be there for each other. We can pedal forward together. We can climb this hill. But as our friend Hilary put it, it will take a village. (Imagine George and Hilary in the same essay! See, anything is possible.) So this school year, let’s all try to get more involved. Be present. Show your kids in the Religious School that JFC means something to you. Others will follow you. You will set an example for them. Volunteer to help with the: Book Fair, the Sisterhood, the Blood Drive, the Caring Committee, the Midnight Run or— anything. Maybe you are not only authors of your own lives, but role models who can help others to feel special and involved. Let’s do this thing together. The teachers, the Rabbi and I plan to make this year at the Religious School even more special than ever before. We are going to work to accomplish this goal but we will need everyone’s continued support to get there.

Todah Rabbah From The Religious School to…  Carla Freedman for her help and enduring partnership—especially in starting off the school year with lots of ruach (spirit)!  Jolie & Kathleen for their help with the school start up  Jane Emmer & the ECC staff for their ongoing support  The Youth Group and Karen Blum for their help with our Beach Party & other events  Sam Blum and the Youth Group for their help with the Youth Group High Holy Day services  The grade 7 families for their help with the Food Drive (1,826 lbs.!!) and the Simchat Torah oneg—with special thanks to Cindy Carson and Robyn Cohen  Cantor Kerry for his continuing support  The RS staff for their professionalism and friendship through the years


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

THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM! Please visit our website at www.jewishfamilycongregation.org

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K/1 and Gr. 4 make edible torah scrolls


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A Visit to Camp

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August 9, 2012


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The JFC Sisterhood by Cindy Carson The new Sisterhood has been abuzz with activity for JFC women and their friends - planning fundraisers, dinners and upcoming fun events. Our very first New Year’s honey sale was a huge fundraising success. With a little help from the beekeepers at Salinger’s Farm in Brewster, our JFC families were able to sweeten their holiday traditions even more, knowing their honey purchases also helped JFC. We sold 130 jars of honey. The Sisterhood Book Club is in full swing, with each of our three gatherings well attended. We’ve already read some great books - The Lost Wife by Allyson Richman, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman and The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson. SAVE THE DATE for a very special Book Club event at JFC on Wednesday, December 5th at 8 pm. We are thrilled to welcome Rich Cohen, local journalist and author, who will be speaking about his latest book, The Fish that Ate the Whale. It is sure to be a most interesting evening. Our 1st Annual Membership Dinner on October 21st was a truly memorable occasion. Nicole Rose and Dina Zusel transformed the JFC sanctuary into an elegant four-star venue, thanks to their creative decorating skills. The Cutting Board in Ridgefield provided a gourmet feast, while our members brought the delectable desserts. It was a wonderful night connecting with new and old friends, and we are very grateful to all who attended. THE SUCCESS OF THE SISTERHOOD DEPENDS ON YOU! Please join us and become a member. It’s a great way to make friends and have fun, while doing good for our JFC community. Just drop off your $36 membership fee to Jolie in the office and fill out our form.

Cindy Carson Nicole Rose Linda Lederman Dina Zusel Ellen Goldstein Susan Greenberg-Shapiro

cindyfcarson@gmail.com rosetimes4@sbcglobal.net Lynled@aol.com drizant@hotmail.com ellenshurak@yahoo.com smgree@yahoo.com

Stay tuned for future fundraisers and events.

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JFC Social Action Committee The Social Action Committee has two major events coming up. The MIDNIGHT RUN is December 15. We still have room for some volunteers to attend the Run, please email Debbie Lavin at DebbieLav@aol.com to sign up. We will also need folks who would like to make bag dinners that day. This is an amazing experience and we encourage you to participate. We will need donations of used MEN'S CLOTHING, including jeans, pants, hoodies, belts, shoes, backpacks. You can also donate NEW socks and underwear packages. The drop off box is in the JFC entryway under the table, or contact Debbie. Sunday, January 20, is the Blood Drive from 12:00-6:00 pm. This is a very important community service and we want to make sure that we can collect as many pints of blood as possible, to save lives. We need volunteers to put in a few hours with a variety of tasks -- to make phone calls to past donors to remind them or to schedule appointments, to put up posters in neighboring areas, and on the day of the Drive. You can now schedule your blood donation appointment ON-LINE. Watch for an email with the link very soon. If you can register your appointment online, we will have a better sense of whom we need to call to remind. Thank you in advance to donating your blood and/or your hour or two of time.

by Debbie Lavin

Next Midnight Run: DECEMBER 15 All Tzedakah For OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER went to

HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF. Selected by the

JFC Social Action Committee

Want to help?

Contact Debbie Lavin (debbielav@aol.com)

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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The 2012 JFC Confirmands Jacob Furic My Jewish Identity has shaped my life in a way that is nearly impossible to describe. Thankfully though, it is not impossible to describe, for that would make for a very boring speech. I'm going to start off with what may be a little bit of a tangent, but is relevant to my Jewish Identity. I am currently reading a book called The Hope by Herman Wouk, which is a historical fiction novel that takes you through the lives of fictional characters fighting for Israel in its early years. While reading this, I feel that I have not only a better understanding of the history of Israel, but a special connection between myself and the state. I am growing ever impatient to go to Israel on the NFTY trip next year. So there's a little bonus for all of you. So let's rewind a little bit. It all started in 2005 when I was in third grade. That was my very first year in this temple and in religious school. At the time, I was very skeptical and unsure that this would take me anywhere, besides having a Bar Mitzvah like all Jewish kids. But as the years went on, I came to really like the Hebrew language and all the stories and culture we would talk about during classes. I was getting a sense of pride in being a Jew, which I still hold to this very day. And I retained a lot of the values of Judaism that we had learned, and I hopefully will hold on to those in the future. By the time my Bar Mitzvah rolled around, I had already known that it wasn't the end of my Jewish education. After all, I wouldn't be standing here delivering this if I hadn't continued. Confirmation class has been two wonderful years of talking about news of the Jewish world, occasional silliness, and a whole lot of pretzels. Overall, the experience was quite positive as it really kept me in sync with what's going on Israel and the world in general. I hope to come back next year for 10 Pack as well, so the Rabbi may hold me against that. Along with Confirmation class, the Youth Group also helped add to my identity. Being with other Jewish teenagers and organizing events like the Shul-In has taught me how to bring Judaism into other's lives through fun events. It's really being in a community with other Jewish people around you that makes for a great experience. Thankfully, though, I did not have to write a speech for that as well. But the most important experience that I have had in this congregation to me is my return to Religious School as a mentor. It's pretty powerful to come back to the same room that I started in and teaching kids that are new to Religious School what I learned when I first came. It is written in the bible that you shall teach your children, and hey, that's what I was doing. I am definitely anticipating continuing teaching here in the years to come. And above all else, what I feel is the most important part of who I am as a Jew is my attendance at the URJ Eisner Camp. Ever since I started going back in 2008, I have made unbreakable bonds and friendships, learned plenty of new skills, and found inside me who I am as a Jew. The environment of the camp promotes spirituality in oneself in ways that are hard to imagine. Whether it is the teaching of values and stories in Limud, or the amazing Shabbat services that are held, you really get the sense that you are part of a Jewish community. This summer will be my fifth summer going and my last as a camper, and I am always waiting for the Opening Day to arrive. Next year, I'll be going on the NFTY trip to Israel, and I plan to come back to Eisner as a counselor. I am happy with the time I have spent there, and I am happy to not only call myself a camper because of it, but a Jew because of it. So there you have it. These are all of the contributors to my Jewish Identity. While this speech does mark the end of my Confirmation Class experience, it by no way marks the end of my Jewish learning and my identity as one. It can only get stronger from here. Thank you.

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Sam Blum When thinking about my Jewish identity, the first thing I have to mention is the house I was raised in. I’ve grown up celebrating holidays like Chanukah and Sukkot and Passover. My family and my extended family have always been willing to answer any questions I had about Judaism and they always encouraged me to embrace it. My grandpa Morris is a holocaust survivor and I understand that it is my duty to preserve the heritage that he fought so hard and lost so much to maintain. It’s something that I have to carry with me throughout my life, but it feels like an honor. From the age of 2, I’ve been regularly coming here to JFC. It began with three years of preschool, with rudimentary but important lessons about Jewish holidays and traditions. When I started going to elementary school, I also began weekly sessions of Hebrew school, becoming familiar with Hebrew letters as early as kindergarten. We learned how to read the letters and vowels of Hebrew, and continued to explore the different aspects of Jewish culture, whether it was how to set up a Passover seder or what we could find in different regions of Israel. As my bar-mitzvah loomed ever nearer, my Hebrew education intensified. I began to learn the various prayers that I would have to lead the congregation in on that special day. By the time I was in seventh grade, I was going to Hebrew school several times a week: Hebrew and culture classes on Monday afternoons, classes with the rabbi on Saturday mornings, and tutoring sessions to learn my Torah portion. Coming of age as a Jew was a rigorous experience to prepare for, but I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed my bar-mitzvah and what led up to it. May 29th, 2010, was a big day for me as a Jew, and a personal milestone I won’t soon forget. Since my bar-mitzvah, I’ve had the opportunity to experience JFC in new ways. In the rabbi’s confirmation class, I’ve learned a lot, particularly about what’s currently happening with Israel. I’ve also been an active member of our temple’s youth group over the last two years, participating in a plethora of fun Jewish programs. This year I was elected to the position of Religious and Cultural Vice President, which will increase my connection to both Judaism and the Youth Group. This year, I also helped Ruth Osher teach her 3rd grade class. This allowed me to see Jewish learning through the eyes of a teacher as opposed to those of a pupil. I’m going to continue mentoring next year, working with older kids on Sunday mornings. I hope to continue to the point where I can teach my own class, completing the cycle that I started as a child. In short, whether it’s Friday night services or teaching a class, JFC is the epicenter of my Jewish life. Another place that embodies Jewish culture for me is my summer camp, Camp Harlam – not in NYC, but in Kunkletown, PA. This camp is one of the many run by the URJ – Union for Reform Judaism. Judaism is the centerpiece of our camp experience, whether it’s eating Aruchat Boker – breakfast – in the Chadar Ochel – dining hall, going to our Shiur classes to learn about a specific Jewish value, or participating in Israel Day festivities. Shabbat services and song sessions in particular connect me to my faith in a profound way, and I get to make these connections surrounded by other Jews my own age. Some of my closest friends are from camp – in fact, one of them flew in all the way from Michigan to be right here right now. It’s not like there was anything else important this weekend, right? (Well, I needed one joke.) This upcoming summer will be my fifth at camp and my last as a camper and I’m really looking forward to it. I couldn’t talk about my Jewish identity without talking about the Holy Land, which I’ve had the privilege to visit twice, once for Pesach of 2006, and again this past February. Israel is a wonderful, culturally rich nation, and is just really really awesome. Climbing Masada, floating in the Dead Sea, hiking at Ein Gedi, and visiting the Tel Aviv market were all unique in their own ways, but nothing compared to the city of Jerusalem. It was such a privilege to stand and pray at the Western Wall. There’s an indescribable aura around the place, and visiting it really is a life-changing experience. If all goes well, I’ll be visiting again with my camp-mates in the summer of 2013. Also, if I hadn’t made it clear, Go. ALL OF YOU SHOULD GO TO ISRAEL. One way I can connect with my Jewishness without leaving my bedroom is by watching Jon Stewart, who really embodies Jewish values that are important to me. While watching The Daily Show, several things become clear. First and foremost, he’s hilarious. Along with Woody Allen, Hank Azaria, Mel Brooks, Sacha Baron Cohen, Billy Crystal, Rodney Dangerfield, Gilbert Gottfried, Pee-wee Herman, The Three Stooges, Jerry Lewis, The Marx Brothers, Andy Samberg, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Peter Sellers, Wallace Shawn, Sarah Silverman, Ben Stiller, Gene Wilder, and more, he has embraced the lovable neurosis and kvetching of the Jewish people. More importantly, he is very intelligent, clearly knowing lots about an innumerable amount of subjects. He is committed to truth and fairness, and he is clearly proud of his Judaism, referencing it often. Jewish values really do make up the core of his program, and I hope to follow his great example. While I may not have my own TV program (though I certainly deserve one), I know I will look at the world with an intelligent eye, a rich sense of humor, and a deep connection to my Jewish heritage.

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Sierra Shafer Hello, my name is Sierra Shafer and as a confirmand, I have acquired my Jewish identity throughout the years at JFC. This comes from my various teachers, Linda, Leslie, and Rabbi Carla Friedman. My most recent class was confirmation and it lasted two years. Although it may have seemed slow at times, I can define certain benefits. I liked how globally aware I was of some of the world’s negativity. As a result, it made me an activist for ideas out of our community. This definitely helped as I took my turn with the Social Action Committee. I’ve participated in roughly 7 Midnight Runs and 1 Project Hope. This inspired me to run for the youth group’s board this past year, along with fellow confirmand Sam Blum. I deem it successful because we have achieved a lot, mostly dealing with an organization called Esther’s Aid, which helps orphaned children that were impacted by the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, that we raised $1500 for. The important thing though is that it still continues to grow. Another source is Surprise Lake Camp, which I started to attend in what was probably 3rd grade – it was so long ago, I can’t remember! I made lifelong friends from across the US, UK, Spain, France, and Israel. We shared living spaces, experienced Shabbat each week all summer, and even kept up a kosher diet. It was here that Judaism became a choice, one which I am very proud of. In addition, approximately 1/5 of my family was involved in the blooming of my Jewish identity. This was my dad and brother. My dad because he is probably more involved than I am here and it serves as a bonding opportunity. My brother because he has been the one sibling of mine that has also completed the JFC religious school, we can relate in that way. I also want to mention some of my aunts and uncles that offered their support and guidance. All these factors combine to give me a sense of belonging, major stability, and the advantage of very fun energy. I am thankful that this produced my Jewish identity, but they are also the reasons for my personality and attitude in life. Now that I have the contributions down, what is it exactly? It is the idea that we as Jews have a connection with each other, millions across the globe. Completing mitzvot is necessary to become “one” with G-d, but I do for mental gain too. This is because you get to help others and yourself. I have become familiar with a not so daunting task, learning Hebrew. More than that, you get consumed with a healthy thirst for it. Luckily, my previously mentioned friends in Israel try to teach it conversationally. Lastly, it’s being cheerful 75% of the time. This is undecipherable to me, but it may come from a song filled service in this synagogue from the help of Kathy Storfer and her choir. I hope my emotions have been expressed in this speech thus far, but if I’m not a good writer, I’ll tell you that I love my Jewish identity. It brings me completion and responsibility. Self-confidence with maturity – sometimes. Also, I find it admirable that all of us have found it at only 15 years old. What about most adults that have only now discovered it?

. . . Watch for one more in the next Shofar!

Rayn Schnell arrives at Religious School. Thanks Dad!


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Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

Late Fall 2012

ASK THE RABBI Question: I noticed that some of the public facilities around our area have lots of Christmas decorations, but little or nothing for Chanukah. Is it right to leave out those of us who don’t celebrate that particular holiday? Answer: This is a complicated matter. First, let me say that, years ago, the Supreme Court of this country ruled that decorating public facilities (post offices, fire stations, schools, government office buildings, etc) with non-religious seasonal holiday items is perfectly legal. So, reindeer, Santa Claus, decorative lights, snow men, etc, are… you should excuse the expression… kosher. But a crèche (nativity scene) is absolutely not permitted on public property. The decoration of a Christmas tree was permitted under the ruling, with the understanding that the decorated tree is not in fact a religious symbol of Christmas, because it is of pagan origin, and long preceded the celebration of Christmas. That it is called a “Christmas tree”, and is never seen in July or March…is not relevant. The tree itself, while it clearly says “Christmas” to all of us, is not a Christian religious symbol. There is nothing in the Supreme Court ruling that would preclude public facilities from honouring Chanukah at this time of the year, with the inclusion of dreidls and Chanukah gelt, which, like the tree, are not religious symbols in and of themselves. But when public facilities (and especially businesses, like hair dressers, doctors’ offices, service stations and wine merchants) add some Chanukah items to their decorations, they usually put up a menorah; some places will even add candles each night through the eight days. The problem is that the menorah is the Jewish religious symbol of this holiday. We recite blessings as we light the Chanukah candles, because that is what we do when we perform the actions that define a ritual mitzvah (and mitzvah means “commandment…which we understand as an act of sanctification). So, technically, the menorah has no place in any setting other than a Jewish facility where it will be used to fulfill the commandment of lighting

the candles that signify this holiday. It is on this ground, in agreement with the Supreme Court ruling, that I object to public candle lighting ceremonies; two wrongs don’t make a right. So I would say that we should encourage public facilities and private businesses that want to acknowledge the Jewish community to do so with representations of dreidls and Chanukah gelt, but not with menorahs. But that will take a lot of educating, and the holiday season is the wrong time to try that. If you want to encourage public facilities and private businesses you patronize to add some Chanukah decorations, go ahead. Try to remember that most people are unaware that they offend us by leaving us out, and are quite receptive to suggestions to correct that. And please also remember that the “holiday spirit” is meant to apply to all of us, and really is a time for “peace on earth, good will to all”. Happy Chanukah!!

JFC CLASSIFIED ALL ADS ARE A FLAT $18 AND MAY NOT EXCEED 50 WORDS. THEY WILL RUN FOR ONE MONTH ONLY. To place an ad, submit the text and your payment to the JFC Office. You may email the text to jfcoffc@gmail.com and either drop off or mail your check (payable to JFC). Credit card payments are also accepted.


Tishrei/Cheshvan/Kislev 5773

Jewish Family Congregation Shofar

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

CURRENT RESIDENT OR

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


Shofar - Late Fall 2012 - Tishri-Kislev 5773