Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Ain – November 24, 2017

Shabbat Shalom! In this week’s Torah portion, Vayetze, Jacob has a dream in which angels go up and down a ladder connecting earth to heaven. God appears before Jacob and renews the covenant that God had made with Abraham. Jacob sees Rachel, Laban’s daughter, tending sheep and wishes to marry her. Laban tricks Jacob into marrying his eldest daughter, Leah, after seven years of labor. In exchange for another seven years of work, Jacob is allowed to marry Rachel. Jacob has many sons with Leah, but Rachel is unable to conceive. Finally, God blesses Rachel, and she has a son, whom she names Joseph.
 


Friday night services are at 6:15 pm and Saturday morning services are at 9:15. Candle Lighting is at 4:13 pm.
 


Thought question: As Jacob journey from his home to his uncle’s house he laid down and had a dream. As he woke up he said “God was in this place and I, I did not know it.” Have you ever had a moment where you didn’t realize God’s presence until after the fact? Did it matter that it was “better late than never?”
 


I would like to thank all those who fasted this week in honor of the fallen Torah. They include: Peter Miller, Daniel Gross, Sam Kovler, Ethan Lippman, Ann Brown, Susan Weisenfeld, Marshall Wise, and Andrea Tolchinsky.
 


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


Susan Weisenfeld
I participated in the fast yesterday and other than wanting a cup of coffee, I found it a pretty easy exercise.  Although I was not in the synagogue when the torah fell, and I don’t come to services regularly, I do feel a strong connection to my Jewish culture and to my Jewish community.  Seeing how our synagogue pulled together and signed up to accomplish this joint fast was reaffirming in so many ways that I plan to participate in more events at the synagogue and deepen my commitment to our Jewish community.


Peter Miller
The most rewarding fast I have ever done. All other fasts have been for myself alone; however, for this fast, I was fasting for the entire community and the importance of this fact was not lost on me. In a very small way, I got some insight into the responsibility that Cantor Keren must feel when he prays to G-d on the community’s behalf during the Yom Kippur services. Very powerful experience.
 


Ethan Lippman

I think it’s all about showing remorse for a mistake that was made.  Because the torah fell, we, as a community, must band together for 40 days to fast and show the respect to the torah that it deserves.

There’s a few highlights in it for me:

1) Humility – we made a mistake, we must find humility in that

2) Remorse – we disrespected something holy, we must be remorseful in that

3) Community – as a community, in hard times, we must come together, lean on each other, and succeed as one unit

 


Daniel Gross
I was not at services the day the Torah fell, but I’m sure it was upsetting to experience first hand.  It was uplifting, as well as a testament to the strength and the tight bond of our community, to see how we responded so expeditiously.
 


Ann Brown
Fasting yesterday felt a lot to me like fasting on Yom Kippur. Throughout the day, when I’d feel a tinge of hunger, or my stomach would growl, I’d remind myself of the “why” — that like YK, this is a moment of humility, atonement, and reflection. However, this fast felt different in the sense that I was doing it from my desk at work, versus on YK when I spend the day in temple. This distinction was important to me, because when you’re in temple, it is somewhat easy and obvious to remember why you’re there and why you’re fasting. When you’re meeting a deadline or sitting on a conference call, feeling the periodic pangs of hunger pull you from mundane reality into a more spiritual place each time they occur. When it would happen, I’d be reminded of our Torah falling, and I was transported for a brief moment away from what was physically in front of me and taken to a place of atonement.
 


UPCOMING EVENTS
 


CRASH COURSE IN JEWISH HISTORY

PART ONE: ANCIENT JEWISH HISTORY
This coming 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.


YOUNG PROFESSIONALS’ SHA-BAPPY HOUR
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.

IMPORTANT SHABBAT MORNING SPEAKER

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.


NIGHTS OUT WITH THE MEN’S CLUB
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.


SUTTON PLACE FAMILY CENTER REGISTRATION IS OPEN!
 
Sutton Place Family Center Registration for the Winter/Spring semester is in Full Swing. Please visit https://spsnyc.org/familycenter/ to register for after school programs and toddler class. New this semester: SPFC has partnered with the Gaga Center to offer a NEW Gaga after-school class on Thursdays for children in grades K-2. There will be a 3-week preview starting in December, followed by a full semester in January. Please let your friends with older children know!


 
CHANUKAH TOY DRIVE
It’s that time of year again to start shopping for the Chanukah toy drive that will benefit Mishkon. The toy drive will take place in the lobby from Monday, November 27 through Friday, December 8th.
Please bring all donations UNWRAPPED as we will be holding two afternoons of wrapping paper decorating/gift wrapping as a way for our KNS children to be even more connected to this charitable initiative.
 

PLEASE NOTE THAT MISHKON HAS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THE FOLLOWING TOYS:

* GAMES
* PUZZLES (BIG PIECES IF POSSIBLE)
* REGULAR PUZZLES
* ARTS AND CRAFTS
* CHILDREN’S BOOKS
* TOYS THAT MAKE NOISE
* TOYS THAT LIGHT UP

If you’re bringing a toy that requires a battery, kindly include the battery with your donation.
 


WELCOME OUR NEW MEMBERS at a A CHANUKAH MUSICAL KABBALAT SHABBAT SERVICE, DINNER & MORE
All members of SPS are invited to a very special program and dinner on Friday Night December 15th where we will welcome our newest members to the SPS family.
Kabbalat Shabbat Musical Service: (Note special time) 5:30 – 6:15 pm
OR
KabalTOT Service: 5:45 – 6:15 pm (2nd floor of SPS building)
THEN:
Dinner: 6:15 pm we will all join together in the ballroom for food, fun & festivities – something for everyone.
$25 per person – children 12 and under are free
Complimentary for all members who joined after January 1, 2017
Mark your calendar and make your reservation NOW!
Email sps@spsnyc.org or call office 212-593-3300
Debby Eisenson, Dinner Chair
 


 


Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Ain