Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Ain – December 15, 2017

Shabbat Shalom! In this Torah portion, Miketz, Pharaoh has two troubling dreams, and at the suggestion of his baker, who remembers Joseph from prison, Pharaoh brings Joseph to interpret them. Pharaoh is so impressed by Joseph that he makes him his adviser. There is a famine, and Jacob sends his sons, minus Benjamin, to Egypt to buy food. The brothers do not recognize Joseph when they meet him, and Joseph tests them by accusing them of being spies. Joseph arrests Simeon and demands the brothers bring Benjamin to Egypt to prove they are not spies. When Benjamin arrives, Joseph puts a goblet in Benjamin’s bag and accuses him of stealing it.

Tonight is a special night at SPS!
Our Musical Kabalat Shabbat Service begins at 5:30 pm (note the time).
KabalTOT shabbat services begin at 5:45.
Our Shabbat/Chanukah dinner where we will welcome our newest members of SPS will begin at 6:15 pm for all who registered for the dinner. 

Candle Lighting is at 4:11 pm. (Remember to light Chanukah candles before lighting Shabbat candles). There is Jr. Congregation at 10:30 am tomorrow morning.

Thought question: The cupbearer forgot Joseph during this parasha only to remember him later on. How often have we forgotten to do something? How do we make up for it when we remember? Is it ever too late?

Please note: Morning Minyan this coming MondayTuesday, and Wednesdaywill begin at 7:45 am because of Chanukah.


I would like to thank all those who fasted this week in honor of the fallen Torah. They include: Rachel Demeny, Sara Saltzman, David Nussbaum, Debby Eisenson, Jim Stern, Hal Coopersmith, Jane Judge, Lauren Orenstein, and Andy Fechter.


Here are reflections of many of those who completed their fast during this past week:

Lauren Orenstein

This was a really interesting experience for me. I have never fasted on my own, always with my family, friends, etc. for a holiday. While it was strange going through my regular work day while fasting, it was meaningful knowing that I was doing my very small part in righting a “wrong”.  Our entire community suffered when the Torah fell. For so many of us to contribute by fasting demonstrates that we are all here for each other.

Jane Judge
When I woke up on my fast day, I had to abruptly shake myself as my sleepy being started onto the usual morning pattern of heading for the coffee maker.  As I looked around to distract myself from the coffee concept, I observed that I was awarded a double bonus – it is the second day of Hanukah (as the electric menorah cheerfully reminded) and there is a blanket of fresh snow over New York City (as the snow on the balcony displayed).  With the joy of the Jewish festival and the beauty of the snow to start me off, I knew my fast would be a special day for myself, for the SPS Torah, and for our Jewish Community.  So happy I participated.

Jim Stern
The Torah falling to the ground is one of those things that I always think about when called upon to carry or lift the scroll.   And I recall being on the receiving end of and delivering ribbing about the 40 days of fasting for witnesses as a reminder to NOT to drop it.  Yes – a little bit of neuroses can be a good thing!  The bright side of this unfortunate accident?  There are many!  It fell from a pedestal, so there’s no one personally at fault.  The scroll itself was spared damage.  Forty days of fasting is less of a burden when undertaken by a different congregant each day (whew).  The community has rallied to the cause.  Kol hakavod, SPS!

Sara Saltzman
When I heard that the Torah fell during services, I was shocked and immediately signed up to fast.  I happened to be visiting my parents when I was fasting.  My parents were not surprised to hear that I would be fasting.  As active members of their synagogue for many years, they understand the value and importance of supporting their community.  I used my time to reflect on my Jewish identity and learn more from my family.  I mainly thought about what it means to be a part of a congregation as a young professional.   The day provided me with endless opportunities to learn more about my parents’ Jewish identities when they were younger and to reflect on how my Jewish identity has been shaped since joining the Sutton Place community last year.  I’m proud to be a part of such a welcoming and close community that consistently stands together for all members.

PLEASE NOTE: In light of the upcoming conclusion of the 40 days of fasting this Thursday, DECEMBER 21, please join with me at SPS at 5 pmto study Torah and to conclude the fast with the mincha/maariv service together. 

Sunday, December 17 10 am-12 pm
Join us for an awesome concert by Jam with Jamie followed by Chanukah treats and crafts. Please rsvp to Lesley Goldenberg.

$30 per family

CRASH COURSE IN JEWISH HISTORY with Dr. Benjamin Gampel-Medieval Jewish History!
Thursday, January 18th at 7:30 pm. We hope to see you there!

(Did you miss the first class in the CRASH COURSE IN JEWISH HISTORY? CLICK HERE to watch the video of Dr. Burt Visotzky on Ancient Jewish History.)

Saturday, January 27th during services and Kiddush

Each SPS member family received a copy of My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew, written by Abigail, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of our devoted member Irving Sitnick. Abigail will discuss her latest book, which chronicles her experience researching and observing every holiday in the Jewish Calendar.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Ain