May 2015 - Iyar/Sivan 5775

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

Text of May 2015 - Iyar/Sivan 5775

  • Page Jewish Family Congregation Shofar Iyar - Sivan 5775 / May 20151

    Iyar - Sivan 5775/ May 2015 Jewish Family Congregation

    May Shabbat and Holiday Services Schedule

    Shabbat Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1 20:27 May 1 7:30 pm Shabbat Services featuring Kindergarten and Grade 1

    May 2 10:30 am Shabbat Services

    Shabbat Emor, Leviticus 21:1 24:23 May 8 7:30 pm Shabbat Services

    May 9 10:30 am Shabbat Services including Bat Mitzvah of Taylor Hoffman

    Shabbat Behar Bechukotai, Leviticus 25:1 27:34 May 15 7:30 pm Shabbat Services Free Babysitting

    May 16 10:30 am Shabbat Services including Bat Mitzvah of Molly Silva

    Shabbat Bamidbar , Numbers 1:1 4:20 May 22 7:30 pm Shabbat Service

    May 23 10:30 am Shabbat Services including Bat Mitzvah of Ella BlumShavuotMay 24 10:00 am Shavuot and Yizkor Services with Temple Shearith Isreal

    Shabbat Naso, Numbers 4:21 7:89 May 29 7:30 pm Shabbat Services Including Confirmation Service and Graduation Shabbat

    May 30 10:30 am Shabbat Services including Bat Mitzvah of Abigail Dodes

    Abigail Dodes hosts a Bake Sale as one of her Tzedakah projects.

    ECC enjoying the playground.

    Karen Blums fourth grade class making matza break up.

  • Page Jewish Family Congregation Shofar Iyar - Sivan 5775 / May 20152

    Sharing Our Voices in Three Constructive Ways -- In Israel, In the USA, and In New York State

    The deadline for articles to appear in JFCs Sho-far comes several weeks before the first of the month. While this can prove to be challenging, sometimes the early deadline works to our advan-tage. Laurence Furic and Kathleen Sakowicz pro-vide excellent attention to sharing our messages in advance of the print publication of the Shofar through electronic means -- primarily in a special e-blast notification and on our JFC website.

    Hopefully you will be able to read this message before the end of April. As you know from at-tending Shabbat and holiday services during the last several months, the World Zionist Organi-zation (WZO) currently is holding a worldwide election for Jews to direct funds inside Israel to various organizations. As a member of the Union for Reform Judaism, the American Reform Zion-ist Association (ARZA) represents Reform, liberal Jewish values in Israel. At the WZO elections held every 5 years, Jews over 18 years old can vote to direct funds towards groups with similar values in Israel. Funds are distributed in direct proportion to the number of votes received, and millions of dollars are at stake. Please vote before April 30 -- your vote makes a difference and will support such areas as womens rights and gender equality and religious equality in Israel. Go to and follow through onto the Reform-Jews4Israel website. You will need a credit card for the $10 registration fee; please be in touch with me if this fee presents a financial challenge to you. It is critical to support our Reform prin-ciples in Israel at this time.

    At the end of April, I will travel to Washington,

    DC, to participate in the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaisms Consultation on Conscience. Last year I was honored to become a Brickner Fel-low, a fellowship awarded to rabbis to learn about how to better incorporate social justice topics in congregational life. Over 20 rabbis gathered for four days of study last year, and we have contin-ued to study with teachers from all over the coun-try by webinar. The Consultation on Conscience brings together 500-600 primarily Reform Jews from around the USA to hear from top govern-ment officials and to lobby for issues important to the Reform Movement, and the Brickner Fellows program will enable me to attend. Using Reform Judaisms religious principles, the Consultation on Conscience focuses on areas of economic justice and poverty issues, LGBT rights, environ-mental and sustainability issues, reproductive choice, immigration, health care, Israel, church-state and first amendment issues and others. I have attended this biannual conference several times in the past, and look forward to learning from top leaders and then lobbying our elected officials in Washington, DC. To learn more about the conference, go to or speak with me afterward.

    Finally, at a more local level, I will participate in the Reform Jewish Voice of New York State Ad-vocacy Day in Albany, NY, on Monday, May 4. As in almost every year since I moved to New York, I have traveled to Albany to learn about important issues affecting our community and then lobbied elected officials about those topics. There is still time to join me and others from throughout New York State by registering at I would love to see you there!

    I hope that you will join and support me in shar-

    From the Rabbis Desk

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

    Ask The Rabbi-------------------- Page 7JFC Members in the Community---------------------------------------------------Page 8

    Continued on page 10

  • Page Jewish Family Congregation Shofar Iyar - Sivan 5775 / May 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:


    RabbiMarcus L. Burstein, D.Min.

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


    Administrator Kathleen Sakowicz

    Early ChildhoodCenter Director

    Jane Weil

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

    Hal Wolkin

    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

    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.

    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 explora-tion of a union continue to meet and accomplish significant results:

    The many documents and projections that are necessary in order to provide the Boards and congregants of each synagogue with the information they will need in order to determine whether a union is the right path are being prepared. We believe the case for a union is compelling and we expect that both Boards will determine that a union is in the best interests of each synagogue and the larger community. If both Boards do decide to recommend a union, they each will call a separate, special meeting of their congregants for the purpose of voting on a union. We anticipate that these special meetings will be held on or about May 31. The congregants of each synagogue will receive in writ-ing and in advance of the meeting all the detailed information they will need to make a decision.

    Leslie and the Education Team are going about the business of building a new religious school. Leslie is building out class schedules, identifying teaching responsibilities and putting the student mentor program in place.

    The Finance and Legal Team is close to finalizing financial pro-jections of what a united synagogue would look like. These projections will be a part of the materials sent to congregants in advance of a meet-ing to vote on a union.

    The Ritual Team continues to chart the future ritual practices of a united synagogue.

    The leadership of both synagogues are working jointly with Rab-bi Burstein and Rabbi Reiner of TSI to agree on new employment agree-ments that would ensure that both are Rabbis of a united synagogue. As the work is being undertaken, the Rabbis continue to create a vision of what the rabbinate of a united synagogue would look like, particularly from the perspective of the enrichment that two extraordinary Rabbis could bring to the combined community.

    Continued on page 9

  • Page Jewish Family Congregation Shofar Iyar - Sivan 5775 / May 20154

    From the Religious SchoolBy Leslie Gottlieb

    What a Successful School Feels Like

    Recently writer Kate Taylor wrote about a charter school in Harlem and the discussion turned to teacher turnover and student success. One teacher who left the profession quite young to attend Yale Law School was quoted as saying, Youre being treated like youre on the trading floor at [a stock trading company] while youre teaching in Harlem. She was talking specifi-cally about the pressure at the charter school, as she saw it; she left her post-- and the profession lost yet another talented educator. At many religious schools, constant teacher turnover is an issue, and there are great merits to the retention of a group of talented teachers, especially in the congregational school