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I composed a reading to respond to the horrific church killings at AME Church in Charleston this last week. I have enclosed it for your reading and prayers as well.
The Talmud holds that the Holy Temple was destroyed by excessive gratis hatred.
Rabbi Kook deduced, therefore, that the Holy Temple and Redemption will come only with excessive love.
The Blessing for peace asks for the Maker of Peace to make peace upon all of Israel.
The Siddur of Rabbi Saadiah Gaon reminds us too to pray that God make peace “in the world.”
The truth is that God can only help those who help themselves.
Peace begins with one’s forgiving one's self and then being open to others. Loving others is a tall order when we don’t love ourselves.
Peace or love does not "break out." It must be tended and cultivated. It begins with an open heart. It begins with empathy for another’s distress. It begins with not holding grudges. It begins when one doesn’t prejudge. It begins when we begin to transcend the selfish and the blind within ourselves.
An act of terror and White Supremacy in Charleston was intended to divide us. It appears that is has united us. An act of terror near Modiin, Israel by Palestinian terrorists yesterday also will bring us together.
We extend out condolences to the families of the victims and their families. May the fallen be remembered for blessing.
We pray for the recovery of the injured. May they find healing from physical and emotional trauma.
May a time soon come when the words of Isaiah ring out in truth: "They will neither harm nor destroy on my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." May our love one day be excessive enough to build the heavenly temple and to bring redemption nearer, and let us say AMEN.
The regional Rabbinical Assembly–a group of rabbis along with the LI Board of Rabbis–has reached out to colleague black ministers with whom we have formed a group, and sent the following message, composed by our RA Region President, Rabbi Art Vernon:
Dear Bishop White,
My colleagues in the Rabbinical Assembly of Nassau, Suffolk and Queeens join me in expressing our sadness and our outrage at the attack on the Bible Study Group at the AME Churche in Charleston, South Carolina. It is inconceivable that a house of worship, a place of peace and prayer, devoted to faith in God, would be desecrated by such an act of violence. We are heartened by the coming together of both black and white people in Charleston to express support for the victims and their bereaved relatives, and to condemn this inexplicable act. We join with you and all good people of faith in offering our condolences to the bereaved and our hope that soon we shall all learn to live together as brothers and sisters in faith. Please share this note with your colleagues and let me know if there is anything else we cando to bring people of faith together in good will. May God bless the families of those who perished, bless the good people of Charleston, SC, and may God bless America.
Yours in solidarity, faith and prayer, Read More
Rabbi Art Vernon, President
Rabbinical Assembly of Nassau, Suffolk and Queens
There are so many wonderful and exciting events that took place during the month of May, making it very difficult to single out the most outstanding ones during this period. I will highlight just a few:
LAG BAOMER CELEBRATION
On Thursday afternoon, May 7th we celebrated an amazing Lag Baomer event, which was simply fabulous! At approximately 5:45 pm, while everybody present was enjoying a sumptuous BBQ, I actually counted 156 children and parents in attendance. WOW! Due to the superb success of this event, we will obviously do it again with a few "tweaks" in the activities. There are so many individuals who were involved in the planning and orchestration of this event. As a result, I will thank EVERYBODY who assisted, as it was a team effort that guaranteed the success of this celebration. I would like to just mention a few people and arms of the ENJC.
This event was a partnering of our Ritual and Education Committees, Men's Club and Sisterhood (both of whom contributed financially) Joe and Alex Fingerman, who did most of the food shopping, Men's Club, Sisterhood members and parents, who so skillfully handled the BBQ, and a special todah rabah to some adults who have no children in our school and yet they were there to help–Nina & Steve Levine, Robin Kain & daughter Emily, Steve Hardy, Wendy Isaac and Lynn & Mark Slovin. I'd also like to thank Rabbi Silverman, who appeared as Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, Bruce Katz, an amazing professional guitarist, who entertained our children, Karyn Tyl & Evan Axelrod, who arranged all of the custodial help necessary to pull off this event, and our amazing Religious School secretary Jill Riemer, as well as 7 of our teen tutors/class assistants who were present.
A special todah rabah to Frank Brecher (ENJC President), Melisa Kurtz (our dedicated Education VP) and Robin Kain, who assisted with the logistics regarding the food etc. Kudos to Mark Infald, who partnered with me in the planning and orchestration of this event! Todah to Morah Evelyn, who was so helpful with the games and activities.
If I have omitted anybody, my apologies! The success of this event was absolutely based upon "team work" and thanks to all. Most importantly, thanks to all parents and children who were present, thus ensuring the absolute success of this unique celebration.
ADULT BAR & BAT MITZVAH CELEBRATIONS
On Shabbat Saturday, May 2nd, we celebrated the Bar Mitzvah of Bart Ayres and the Bat Mitzvah celebrations of Lisa Green, Rachel Friedman and Linda Hametz. What a wonderful, joyous and meaningful service it was. Mazal tov to all!
OUR APPRECIATION TO OUR TALENTED CONGREGANTS
During the past couple of months, we have had a number of our teenagers and adults chanting Torah portions or Haftarot. Todah rabah and thanks to the following:
Mikayala & Lara Berman, Shelby Maldavir, Kevin Stubing, Hayden Roth, Barri & Ethan Feuer, Evan Keiser, Eric & Jen Vladimir, Ralph Wertheimer, Marc Schweitzer, Howie Lewin and Eric Loring.
Springtime is here and it couldn’t arrive soon enough! We’re done with so many weeks of temperatures below freezing! It has been “March Madness” at ENJC this past month, with nonstop activities for members of all ages. The “madness” started with our Purim Party on the 1st. 85 people wouldn’t let the eight-inch snow storm stop them from having a good time. Three days later, we packed the synagogue for a costume parade and children’s program, followed by the reading of the Megillah. Sisterhood hosted a Stress Management Workshop on March 10th. The following day Rabbi Ian held his Adult Education class. On March 12th the Men’s Club had a fun evening socializing at Miller’s Ale House in Commack. We had fifteen guys, including Chazzan Nussbaum, enjoying each other’s company, and we weren’t even holding a meeting or working an event—and that was just the warmup for the weekend.
The weekend of March 13th -15th was packed with five different activities—something for everyone. Talk about the value of your membership! The weekend began with 80 people participating in the ENJC dinner for Shabbat Across America, followed by our monthly Birthday Shabbat, highlighted with the singing of “Happy Birthday” to the Chazzan. Following Saturday morning Shabbat services, Rabbi held a Nosh and Drosh. That evening 46 women and men enjoyed the Annual Sisterhood Military Bridge/Chinese Auction. It was wonderful to see so many playing military bridge for the first time. On Sunday morning, the activities continued, as the Men’s Club sponsored Bima and Bagels. Over twenty ENJC members enjoyed breakfast at Bagel Boss after the Sunday morning services. That afternoon, the Sisterhood held a Challah Baking activity with an expert baking instructor.
The endless activities continued into the following week as well. On the 18th, Sisterhood polished the ladies’ nails at Gurwin, and ENJC’s Community Relations committee helped feed the homeless that afternoon through HIHI. On the 20th, we held our bi-monthly Tot Shabbat. Sisterhood held a Passover luncheon for the patients from Pilgrim State Psychiatric Hospital on March 22nd. And of course, there were numerous other activities and I did not even mention—all the usual monthly activities involving our youth groups.
My message is: Please get the most value from your membership! From attending services to enjoying something for you and/or your family, to giving back and helping others, ENJC is the place with something for everyone! Read More