Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Ain

Shabbat Shalom! In this Torah portion, Chaye Sarah, Sarah dies at the age of 127. Abraham searches for a place to bury her and settles on Machpelah. Abraham searches for a wife for his son, Isaac. Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for Isaac. The servant meets Rebecca at a well, where she provides water for him and his camels. Abraham marries Keturah and has six more sons. He then dies at the age of 175.
KabalTOT Shabbat services are at 5:30 tonight and our Musical Friday night services are at 6:15 pm. Following services there is a dinner and program for those who rsvp’d to mark Kristallnacht. Tomorrow morning services are at 9:15and we we look forward to congratulating the Men’s Club on a successful first Men’s Club Shabbat! Candle Lighting is at 4:23 pm.
Thought Question: This week we read in the parasha that “Abraham was old, advanced in age, and God had blessed Abraham in everything”-what does this mean? How do we understand being blessed “In Everything?”
Response to Fallen Torah-An Update:
I want to thank our entire community for the rapid response to the fallen Torah. Not only did we fill up the grid to fast in less than 48 hours, people have started to give donations to help with the repair. As I wrote last week, our Torahs were in the process of being checked for “maintenance” and there is certainly work to be done. If you would like to contribute to the repair of the Sifre Torah, we would appreciate it. If you do it online please note that it is for Torah Repair and if you send a check please write that in the memo.
I would like to thank all those who fasted this week. They include: Anita Horowitz, Jeff Uffner, Dave Levy, Joel Arthur, Rick Kaminer, Anita Kaminer, Dennis Strom, Dale Brown, Carol Mazin, Hal Fishman, Wendy Goldstein, Nathan Heilweil, and Jeff Jacob. Here are reflections of many of those who completed their fast:
Reflections on fasting for the torah
Hal Fishman
It was fulfilling a tradition and standing with one’s Jewish community in the communal obligation to honor the torah and its sacredness-There is strength in numbers and although I was not even in the sanctuary when the Torah fell,  and we didn’t even know who or what caused it to fall, no one person should have had to take on the responsibility or obligation of fasting or donating.
Joel Arthur
In my case I was there when the Torah fell.  I saw it fall and I was powerless to do anything to stop it from falling.  By taking on the fast I felt that I could at least do my part to make amends.  Fasting as part of the community also gives me a sense of being part of a close family who looks out for each other.
Dale Brown
It was very spiritual for me to follow a tradition that is thousands of years old.  We were literally called to the Torah to honor it, our religion, and the Sutton Place community. What a pure and beautiful honor.
Rick Kaminer
When a Torah falls, it is like we all fall and by doing my small part to repair this feeling I felt that the community came together.  I believe we all felt a sense of unity that was created by this scary event and allows the community to move forward and put this event behind us.
There is a silver lining in every cloud.
Anita Horowitz
Everyone gasped! Yes, we’d share responsibility for the mishap. But from my vantage point, I could see just where the Torah tumbled and I got the chills. I was a witness and felt I had to start the fast asap. That’s why I asked if I could start as you descended from the bimah. Honestly, Sunday did not go as I had expected… I spent the day reminiscing! I thought about how it felt to be lifted up to kiss the sacred scrolls as a child… I remembered how proud my family was when my father read from the Torah with his Eastern European intonations that (we believed) gave the text greater authenticity… By the end of the day I realized that the Torah had been central to holiday festivities, was prevalent for so many of life’s milestones and has certainly been essential to the many morning minyanim I’ve enjoyed… I figured out that fasting and giving tzedakah were small expressions of respect and gratitude after considering the pleasure I derive every time I follow the meticulous, hand-penned calligraphy on beautiful parchment that defines Judaism.
Odd as it may sound – committing one day to reflecting on how the Torah affects my life – was a good thing!
Jeff Uffner
The prior responses could not have described the tradition any better.; i.e., the reverence for the Torah and the solidarity among the congregation.   The one thing I might add is that the fast made me reflect on not just the symbolism and memories that the Torah brings, but also on its content; that is, the wealth of history, religious custom and practice, and moral and ethical values that it encapsulates.  Then I thought about the time and effort it takes for a sofer to prepare the parchment and scribe a Torah – not just 40 days, but possibly years.  It is all these considerations that make the Torah so precious, and why it deserves all the respect and honor we can give it.
Carol Mazin
The torah-to me represents Judaism and what as a people we are all about ,what brings us together spiritually. Hearing that the Torah fell ,saddened and upset me, because it is our sacred Jewish heritage . For me it’s as close to being with Hasham as I can get.  I am so heartened by our community uniting  and coming together to honor and respect the Torah , by fasting and or giving tzedakah. Once again we become stronger and have bonded as a community.
Dave Levy
Watching the spreadsheet for days to fast fill up was moving. Seeing the community come together to honor the Torah is inspiring, but it also got me thinking. What else can we come together for?  We are clearly more powerful together than as individuals. I hope this reminder of that important fact gives us the strength to stand together the next time the community or world needs us.
Dennis Strom
I heard the sound of the. Torah as it hit the floor and it certainly was a frightening moment. The immediate thought was. “What can we do to help”. It was a bit of a relief when told we could fast a day (not 40 days) as our part in redeeming our share in this calamity.  My thoughts were that this was the second event that our  synagogue did not need.  (The first being on our doors). And my hope was that my small expression of respect might help overcome any further bad news for our. Shul. I wish I could do more.
Wendy Feldman
Today I was reflecting on my grandparents’ plastic covering on their couch, my best friend from law school’s fancy blue crystal orrefors stems and my father’s voice telling me that I should use two hands each time I packed/unpacked the fragile antiques when I moved apartments. We individually go to great lengths to protect those tangible items that we value and tell a piece of our story. We unite as a community, without hesitation, to protect what we hold the most sacred as it tells our story.



This coming Thursday, November 16 @ 2:00 pm
Discover the secret history behind the daring abduction & high profile trial of this notorious Nazi on a docent-led tour at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Prior to the tour, enjoy lunch together at the museum’s cafe Lox. Co-sponsored with the Women’s League of SPS. For details and reservations contact Harriet Janover at or Evelyn Gomer at


Thursday, November 30 at 7:30 pm
Dr. Burton Visotzky, renowned scholar from the Jewish Theological Seminary will teach the initial class of a  four session course on Jewish history.
Be prepared to be introduced to 2000 years of Jewish history as we explore important periods in Jewish history and how the culture and context were catalysts for Jewish growth, innovation, and survival.
Sunday, November 19 4:00-6:00 pm
Families with pre-school aged kids are invited to join KNS at the Family Fun Day! CLICK HERE to learn more.
Do you want to get to know fellow SPS members! Come to a NY Islanders Hockey Game with the Men’s Club. CLICK HERE for more information for this December 11 Outing.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Ain