Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Ain – November 17, 2017

Shabbat Shalom! In this week’s Torah portion, Toldot, Rebecca and Isaac have twins, the smooth-skinned Jacob, whom Rebecca favors, and the hairy Esau, who Isaac favors. After returning from a hunting trip, Esau asks his brother for some lentil soup, but Jacob tells him he must trade him his birthright. Years later, when Isaac is old and blind, Jacob tricks their father into giving him the firstborn blessing. Jacob leaves home, fearing his brother will retaliate, and finds a wife at his uncle Laban’s house.

Friday night services are at 6:15 pm and Saturday morning services are at 9:15. We will celebrate as Julia Demeny is called to the Torah as a bat mitzvah. Jr. Congregation is at 10:30 am and Tot Shabbat is at 11 am. Candle Lighting is at 4:17 pm.

Please Note-Minyan this coming week: The synagogue offices and schools will be closed this Thursday and Friday in order to allow our entire staff time to spend with their families for the holiday. Therefore, there will be no morning or evening minyan on Thursday, and no morning minyan on Friday morning. There will be Shabbat services Friday evening. SPEAKING OF THANKSGIVING…If you are willing, please email me a short reflection on what you are grateful for this year.

I would like to thank all those who fasted this week in honor of the fallen Torah. They include: Jeff Jacob, Dianna El Hioum, Erica Levine, Jacob Jamron, Richard Coopersmith, Sandra Jamron, Barbara Matas, Elizabeth Gittman, and Ed Saltzman.

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

Jeff Jacob
As one who was present when the Torah fell I felt an immediate need to “do something”. Participating in a community fast was a meaningful way to uphold a long time tradition for such instances.  The responses of so many who volunteered was a small scale example of how the Jewish people always come together when needed and I was grateful to be a part of it in the SPS community.

Dianna El Hioum
When I heard about the fallen Torah, I was surprised. We’re warned about this from an early age but I’d never known of it actually happening. And when I saw your e-mail about volunteering to fast, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. What a rare honor and privilege. I’m also fairly new to the congregation, and found it wonderfully heartwarming that so many others quickly raised their hands. Fasting gave me a great sense of connection and community with this synagogue.

Erica Levine
I was standing in the front row, while my son, the Bar Mitzvah boy, stood there as the Torah fell to the ground steps away.  He immediately said. “Rabbi, are you going to say something? What should we do? Do we need to fast?”  Even in his young, 13 year old mind, this was not something that could wait – it had to be addressed immediately.  For me, I had an initial feeling of helplessness, but the fast provided a way to respect and repent for the fallen Torah and a sense of community coalescing around a common cause.  As I cleansed myself from food and became holy once again so did the Torah.  I felt compelled to not only do this for myself, but to represent all of our family and friends who were at the service that day to share in our joy.

Richard Coopersmith
It was gratifying and rewarding not only to perform a time honored ritual signifying the importance of the Torah to me, but to do so as  a member of a vibrant community that shares the same values.



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.

Friday evening December 8th, following services
Giving Season: Sha-bappy Hour
We encourage you to join us whenever you can at Friday night services but especially on December 8. Following services, there’ll be a cocktail reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, plus a special Holiday season program.
As this is a Social Action-based evening, we will be inviting representatives from a group of “giving” organizations to discuss their missions and tell us how our donations can help them in their work.


On Saturday Morning December 9 we will welcome Mark Hetfield, the CEO of HIAS, who will share his thoughts on the role the Jewish community can play in welcoming the stranger. CLICK HERE for details.


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 or join them on Thursday night December 14th for a Latke making party! CLICK HERE for more details.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Ain