June 2015 - Sivan/Tammuz 5775

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

Text of June 2015 - Sivan/Tammuz 5775

  • Page Jewish Family Congregation Shofar Sivan 5775 / June 20151

    Sivan 5775/ June 2015 Jewish Family Congregation www.jewishfamilycongregation.org

    June Service Schedule

    Shabbat Behaalotecha Numbers 8:1 12:16

    June 5 7:30 pm Shabbat Services including

    Cantor Sheera Ben-David


    June 6 10:30 am Shabbat Services including

    Bat Mitzvah of Ava Goodstein

    Shabbat Shelach Numbers 13:1 15:41

    June 12 7:30 pm Shabbat Services

    June 13 10:30 am Shabbat Services including

    Bat Mitzvah of Emily Wein

    Shabbat Korach Numbers 16:1 18:32

    June 19 7:30 pm Shabbat Services


    June 20 10:30 am Shabbat Services including


    Shabbat Chukat Numbers 19:1 22:1

    June 26 7:30 pm Shabbat Services at

    Temple Shearith Israel,


    ECC visits the Katonah Art Museum.

    Religious School Services.

    Moms at the Religious School STARS Party!

  • Page Jewish Family Congregation Shofar Sivan 5775 / June 20152

    I recently had the opportunity to study again with Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman, one of my profes-sors at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He spoke to the Westchester Board of Rabbis at our concluding study session of the year. For almost two hours, Rabbi Hoffman pre-sented to the gathered rabbis an overview of his upcoming book, Rethinking Synagogues in the Age of Anxious Identity. As soon as the book is published, I plan to get a copy to read. Hopefully several members of JFC will read it as well and join me in learning from this important Reform, Jewish scholar.

    After going through a history of religion in general beginning with the Enlightenment and continuing through the period ushering in the era of modernism (a history that applies to almost all religions), Rabbi Hoffman eventually rede-fines Judaism as a rolling conversation about everything. Judaism is so much more than one specific label -- it is a religion, culture, civiliza-tion, nation, and more. Rabbi Hoffman believes that the role of religion is to give people a sense of deep self, helping them understand who they are at their core. As a culture filled with wisdom literature through the centuries and millennia, Judaism offers us the vocabulary to engage in conversations about who we are at our most fundamental and intimate level. Through Jewish experiences and education, we learn to express ourselves, our beliefs, and our values. Judaism provides the words that define our essence.

    I was fascinated by the study session, and it made me think of many ways to enhance the lives of JFC members. Central to this concept is the necessity for Jews to engage in the conversation in the first place. As members of JFC, you have

    access to traditions and resources that can help you express yourself as a Jew and as a human being. Through teaching and prayer, celebrat-ing holidays and lifecycle events, I hope to share the history, laws, lore, and language of the Jewish people, ultimately helping you be the best person you can be.

    I get frustrated and am baffled when our young members -- after spending a significant amount of time and effort becoming familiar with our prayers and traditions preparing to celebrate their coming-of-age with a communal ceremony -- do not return to synagogue after their bar/bat mitzvah ceremony. After finally learning some of the vocabulary of our amazing tradition, they -- and too many of their families -- literally walk out of the conversation that Judaism offers them. They drop their temple membership and choose to effectively end the conversation they spent years preparing for. Their vocabulary is stunted, until and if at some point they rejoin the conver-sation, sometimes decades later. Sometimes they do not ever return.

    Living in our world is challenging on so many levels. Luckily, we have an incredibly rich culture and set of teachings that can help us in almost every way.

    Please dont end the conversation! And please be in touch with me if you would like to deepen your level of Jewish knowledge and conversation -- that it what I am here for!

    I look forward to continuing our conversation for many moons ahead.Thank you for joining me and our community on the journey!

    From the Rabbis Desk

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

    Ask The Rabbi-------------------- Page 7Social Action Committee------Page 8

  • Page Jewish Family Congregation Shofar Sivan 5775 / June 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 WolkinBy the time you receive this, JFC will have held its 2015 Annual Meeting and members of JFC will have voted on perhaps the most momentous matter ever to face our congregationthe question whether to come together with Temple Shearith Israel to form a new synagogue, one that draws on the strengths and traditions of both to build a more relevant, energetic and sustainable Jewish community. Thus, as we write this message, we find ourselves in an odd posi-tion: after months and months of exploration, discussion, debate, analysis and planning, by the time you read this, the matter will have been decided, but as we write this message the outcome is entirely unknown.

    Both of us hope passionately, as we have for many months, that by now the members of JFC and the members of TSI will have voted overwhelmingly to form a union. If that indeed has happened, that outcome does not make this message moot; indeed, in all the ways that matter, the vote to form a union is simply the first step along a path that ultimately will unite us. In other words, not only will there be much more work to do and many more challenges to face, but the vote itself doesnt make us who we will becomeit simply gives us the power to become something new. And with that observation in mind, an observation that is rooted in the power and optimism of potentiality, we want to address not only those who voted in favor of a union, but especially those who, because of doubts or concerns or even fears, may have abstained or voted against a union.

    We believe as sincerely as weve ever believed anything that the power to shape our future as a synagogue lies in our hands. Not ours as officers, and not the Boards, but all of our hands as members. In other words, if the vote was in favor of a union, we can make our new synagogue anything we want it to be. That realization should be immensely comforting, even liberating, to those who abstained or voted no. If you decided that you were unable to vote yes because of concerns you had about what the new synagogue would feel like, we ask you not to turn away but instead to work with us to ensure that your fears are not realized. Stay involved and help to shape the future. Because our future is not pre-ordainedit is ours to make together. If enough of usno matter how we voteddecide that we will have a warm, welcoming, energized, exuberant synagogue, then thats what well have. If we commit ourselves to seeking greater relevance and meaning, providing richer and more diverse programing, then thats what our new synagogue will offer. If our vision for worship is rooted in song and energy and joyful rejuvenation, then thats what our worship services will feel like. All of it is within our control; its all up to us, no matter how we voted.

    Undoubtedly, if the vote was in favor of a union, there will be an ending of sortsat a minimum, an ending of JFC as an entirely separate entity. But whatever we wish to preserve of JFCwhatever anyone of us found special and wonderful and essentialcan be preserved within a new synagogue if we want to preserve it.

    Continued on page 8

  • Page Jewish Family Congregation Shofar Sivan 5775 / June 20154

    From the Religious SchoolBy Leslie Gottlieb

    Thank You

    Notonlyisthenumber180tentimeseighteenorchaiit is also the number of Shofar columnsIhavewrittensincebecomingDirectorofEducationfifteenyearsagoatJewishFamilyCongregationsReligiousSchool.Youhaveto imagine the smile that came to my face upon doing themathfortwelvemonthsforallthoseyears.Itwouldinterestingtorereadthemallinordertotellthestoryofthose years and what was relevant to write about through thosetimes.Butitwouldbeto