Ian Silverman, Rabbi

Why do we wear costumes on Purim?
• Because it’s fun!
• Because it’s important to relive the Purim story by “becoming” its characters!
• Because Purim is a holiday that’s a lot more Jewish than Halloween!
• Because Esther hid her identity and we, too, get to hide ours on the outside...but like her we must be Jewish on the inside!

All of these are excellent answers. Here yet is another answer. When Joseph met Benjamin after some 20 years in Egypt, he gave all of his brothers a robe, but he gave his brother Benjamin five robes. Why did he do this and what does this have to do with Purim? He did it because he wanted to see if his brothers would still act on their feelings of jealousy and to see if they had learned their lesson. In fact, the brothers followed all the directives given them by Joseph and were protective of their youngest brother Benjamin. This proved that they had repented and changed. The Talmud says that Joseph gifted Benjamin with five robes because he had a prophetic instinct that the tribe of Benjamin would include a man who would indeed wear five robes. Who would this man be? None other than Mordecai.

Read more: Ian Silverman, Rabbi

Amy Wisotsky, ENJC President

 

I would like to thank two dear friends, who were inspirational to me in writing this month’s article. Howie Lewin, a long- time member of ENJC, dedicated board member, past membership VP and presidential advisor, sent me an article to read from the January 4th issue of Jewish Week, a publication I typically read every week and highly recommend! The article is titled “Getting to Nordstom’s,” by Erica Brown.

John Nordstrom believed that you should be able to tell you are in a Nordstom’s department store within 15 seconds. Upon entering the store, you will immediately be able to tell that you are someplace distinct for all the right reasons. What are an ENJC newcomer's first 15 seconds like upon visiting or calling on the phone? What will they see? How will they be treated? How will they feel?

Read more: Amy Wisotsky, ENJC President

Ian Silverman, Rabbi

Lately, we have been having some services "in the round," which provides a more intimate and cozy feel. We generally dance a bit, hora style, during the course of the service to, as the psalms say, feel what it's like to worship G-d "with all our bones." Those who have attended have enjoyed the more casual feel, and I sincerely hope that many more of you will come down and try it on for size. our Chazzan always finds a joyful and melodic way to inspire and energize us, and I have sought out some dialogue formats that get us to ponder the significance of Shabbat, upcoming holidays, or explore a theme in the weekly Torah portion. At the last "in the round," for example, we discussed the importance of Shabbat for each or our families and what it means that "the Shabbat Queen is descending." I shared these lyrics, which I composed to the popular Don McClean song, "Starry, Starry Night." The song was about the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh. Perhaps you will like it and sing it at your Shabbat table. Hopefully, we will see you next Shabbat!

Sung to "Starry, Starry Night," by Don McClean

Starry, starry night, Shabbat is upon us soon
Rebbe talks and the Chazzan croons,
To celebrate the day that we love best...
it's a day of rest.
For animals and servants too,
Not to mention all of you, who are davening and looking nicely dressed.

Starry, starry night, paint your tallit white and blue,
And look out the avenue
and welcome the beloved Shabbos queen...
time it can be mean.
It can swallow you with one big bite,
If you let it dominate without a fight,
Of slowing down and glowing candlelight.

Now I understand,
What G-d tried to say to me,
and how we suffered in our vanity,
And how he tries to set us free.
We don't listen often that is sad.
Without Shabbat we might go mad.

Starry, starry night, G-d paints his pallet with our souls,
Diverse and wondrous in our roles...
he looks upon it and he says it's good.
Each of us a star,
Who shines upon the world with hope
Making G-d's kaleidoscope. Our colors brighter with every brand-new year,
Now I understand.
What Shabbos means to me,
An opportunity for sanctity.
So to set our spirits free and when no hope is left inside,
on the starry, starry night.
Thank G-d for blessings G-d imbues,
The Torah tells us have hevra.
The world's a gentler place with the Shabbostik milieu.

Ralph P. Nussbaum, Cantor

We have just been through such a marvelous period of time at the ENJC, with so many wonderful programs and events that it's almost impossible to mention all of them.
 
Of special mention is our recent celebration of the festive and joyful holiday of Purim. The evening services included a spectacular service with so many children and families, and an enormous level of noise and ruach, the reading of a chapter from the M'gillah, a wonderful puppet show presented by the Rabbi, beautiful participation in many songs, an ice cream treat for the children, and so much more! A wonderful turnout was in attendance for the full Ma-ariv service, which included the chanting of the entire M'gillah. My thanks to Rabbi Silverman, Eric Loring, Steve Kass and Barri Feuer for their participation in the chanting of the M'gillah.
On the Sunday morning, we had a Shacharit service, which once again included the M'gillah. We then had a fantastic Purim Bash that was attended by almost one hundred and fifty people, young and slightly older! What an amazing celebration for all in attendance.

Read more: Ralph P. Nussbaum, Cantor

Ian Silverman, Rabbi

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Read more: Ian Silverman, Rabbi

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