April 2015 Shofar - Nisan-Iyar 5775

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Jewish Family Congregation Newsletter - The monthly bulletin of a vibrant Reform congregation in South Salem, NY

Text of April 2015 Shofar - Nisan-Iyar 5775

  • Page Jewish Family Congregation Shofar Nissan - Iyar 5775/ April 20151

    Nissan - Iyar 5775/ April 2015 Jewish Family Congregation www.jewishfamilycongregation.org

    April Shabbat and Holiday Services Schedule

    First Shabbat of PassoverApril 3 First Seder, No Services at JFCApril 4 6:00 pm Second Seder at Temple Shearith Israel, Ridgefield, CT, RSVP Required

    Second Shabbat of Passover April 10 7:30 pm Erev Shabbat, 7th Day Pesach and Yizkor Services at Temple Shearith Israel, Ridgefield, CT

    Shabbat Shemini, Leviticus 9:1 11:47 April 17 7:30 pm Shabbat Services with Yom HaShoah Observance April 18 10:30 am Shabbat Services including Bat Mitzvah of Karina Barth

    Shabbat Tazria Metzora, Leviticus 12:1 13:59April 24 7:30 pm Shabbat Services with YomHaAtzmaut ObservanceApril 25 10:30 am Shabbat Services, Temple Sherith Isreal Ridgefield, CT. No Shabbat Services at JFC

    All smiles in Ruth Osshers Religious Schools class.

    ECC enjoying Yoga Fridays.

    Emily Wein, Rabbi Burstein, Cantor Katchko- Gray and Dr. Gray at our Pre-Pesach Wine Tasting.

  • Page Jewish Family Congregation Shofar Nissan - Iyar 5775/ April 20152

    Looking Past the Mud Rabbi Lawrence Kushner wrote in The Book of Miracles one of my favorite pieces focusing us on prayer. Kushner based his story on a midrash in Exodus 24:1, and I loved reading this prayer with Cantor Kerry on Friday nights at JFC, especially when a lot of children were present. Kushner wrote: When the people Israel crossed through the Red Sea, they witnessed a great miracle. Some say it was the greatest miracle that ever happened. On that day they saw a sight more awesome than all the visions of the prophets combined. The sea split and the waters stood like great walls, while Israel escaped to freedom on the distant shore. Awesome. But not for everyone. Two people, Re-uven and Shimon, hurried along among the crowd crossing through the sea. They never once looked up. They noticed only that the ground under their feet was still a little muddy like a beach at low tide.Yucch! said Reuven. Theres mud all over this place!Blecch! said Shimon. I have muck all over my feet.This is terrible, answered Reuven. When we were slaves in Egypt, we had to make bricks out of mud, just like this.Yeah, said Shimon. Theres no difference be-tween being a slave in Egypt and being free here.And so it went, Reuven and Shimon whining and complaining all the way to freedom. For them there was no miracle. Only mud. Their eyes were closed. They might as well have been asleep. In many ways, our congregation feels right now like we are walking through the Red Sea (or more correctly, the Sea of Reeds). Although we are

    still physically in our beautiful building on Smith Ridge Road in South Salem, psychologically it feels that we have already begun a long journey to a new land, with the possibility of combining our congregation with Temple Shearith Israel in Ridgefield, CT. No decisions have been made about our future, even as we figuratively travel in emotional, psychological, and probably-soon-physical ways to a new place. We can focus on the incredible amount of talent, devotion, energy, and promise of a stronger, larger, and healthier combined congregation -- or we can focus on the mud. In the days and weeks following Cantor Kerry Ben-Davids death and funeral, I experienced some of the best of our congregation. Countless people called, emailed, or stopped by to give me a hug or to check in to see how they could help both the congregation and me. The love and sup-port came from near and far, current and former members, colleagues of Cantor Kerrys and mine. Singing the prayers during shiva at the Ben-David home with scores of people actually shook the walls. I could not have been more proud of our community in the love that people shared as we supported each other, and I hope that we will all feel that same love in the future. I could have spent the last month wallowing in the mud; rather, I was blessed to feel the miracles of our community. Thank you. I know that it is too easy to only look at the mud. In the weeks and months ahead, we will grapple with challenges that will test our spirits and our determination. There will be no easy an-swers. Not seeing the Promised Land for some time may make us feel like we want to turn back, but we cannot. We will support each other until we reach the new land, finding new meaning and more. Along the way there will be both hurdles

    From the Rabbis Desk

    Presidents Message--------------Page 3 Religious School-------------------Page 4Early Childhood Center-------- Page 5Ritual Committee---------------- Page 6

    Ask The Rabbi-------------------- Page 7Rabbi Bursteins Eulogy for Cantor Kerry Ben-David------------------Page 10

    Continued on page 9

  • Page Jewish Family Congregation Shofar Nissan - Iyar 5775/ April 20153

    Jewish FamilyCongregation

    111 Smith Ridge RoadP.O.Box 249

    South Salem, NY 10590Phone: (914) 763-3028 Fax: (914) 763-3069

    email: office@jewishfamilycongregation.orgwebsite: www.jewishfamilycongregation.org


    RabbiMarcus L. Burstein, D.Min.


    ----------------Director of Education

    Leslie Gottlieblgottlieb@jewishfamilycongregation.org

    Administrator Kathleen Sakowicz


    Early ChildhoodCenter Director

    Jane Weil Emmerjemmer@jewishfamilycongregation.org

    --------------------Glenn Kurlander Co-President

    Hal Wolkin Co-Presidentpresident@jewishfamilycongregation.org

    Josh Blum, First Vice PresidentPolly Schnell, Second Vice-President

    Robyn Cohen, TreasurerSuzanne Sunday, Secretary


    Karen Conti, TrusteeJon Glass, Trustee

    Mindy Hoffman, TrusteeRobi Margolis, Trustee

    Paul Storfer, TrusteeBonnie Wattles, Trustee

    Richard Mishkin, Ex Officioboard@jewishfamilycongregation.org

    Shofar EditorBryan Wolkin

    Shofar PrinterCopy Stop

    Royal Press

    From The Presidents by Glenn Kurlander and Hal WolkinCo-Presidents Message

    JFCs exploration of the possibility of forming a union with Temple Shearith Israel (TSI) continues to make progress, but of course this month it has been conducted under the shadow of sadness cast by the death of our beloved friend and Cantor, Kerry Ben David. We imagine that each of us who has been touched by Kerrys warmth, his generosity of spirit and his shining optimism, and who has reveled in the glory of his sonorous voice, feels both a deep sense of loss but, at the same time, sheer gratitude for having known and been touched by this gentle spirit.

    Kerry was not deeply involved in the exploration of a union with TSI, but he very much wanted to be a part of it. We regret that, if we do come together to build a new synagogue, the congregants of TSI will now be denied the op-portunity to know Kerry as we have. As Cantor, Kerry was charged with the preservation of all that is most important to us as a people. But not in a way that simply reveres or mummifies the past. Instead, as he did so brilliantly, his responsibility was continually to explore and interpret tradition, breathing new life into it while distilling its continuing relevance, seeing it through a prism that concentrated and intensified its light so that we would be continu-ally surprised and delighted by that which could be new in something so old.

    As we reflect on all that is ephemeral and transitory in this worldwhich is to say everythingand what Kerry means to us, we realize that in a sense the motivation behind a union with TSI exemplifies all that Kerry stood for. At its heart the union is about preserving all that is most important to us as a community, but not in a way that simply entombs the past. It is about shaping what we and TSI have into something new; something we inspire (in the sense of the original meaning of that wordto infuse with life by breathing) and that inspires us; about achieving continuity, but in a way that creates something stronger, more vibrant and more sustainable; about drawing from the past, but reshaping it into something that provides for a richer and more meaning-ful future. If we all are successful in this enterprise, we cant think of a more beautiful and lasting monument to Kerrys memory. Zichrono livracha; may his memory be for a blessing.

    Those of us who are working on the exploration of a union, and the work that must be done to bring us together if that is the path congregants choose, continue to make progress. Here are some of the more important steps weve taken since we last wrote, and those we expect to take in the next month or so:

    -The joint teams we and TSI have created for the purpose of the exploration of a union continue to meet and accomplish significant results.

    Continued on page 8

  • Page Jewish Family Congregation Shofar Nissan - Iyar 5775/ April 20154

    From the Religious SchoolBy Leslie Gottlieb

    Plug into Your Life!By Leslie Gottlieb

    What does it mean to be present? My husband and I have been talking a lot about this lately because we both feel that despite the blessings of living in a digital ageour smartphones, iPads and laptops have made us completely distracted. When it comes to relationships between children and parents, being connected to the world at all times may be making us less connected to the people we live with at home. We are rarely alone with ourselves anymore let alone other;