Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Ain – September 15, 2017

Shabbat shalom! This week we read the double portion of Nitzavim and Vayelech. In the Torah portion Nitzavim, Moses describes the Covenant between God and the Israelites, urging the Israelites to uphold the Covenant and honor the Torah so that they may be rewarded with life in the Land of Israel. In Vayeilech, Moses concludes his speech to the Israelites, blesses Joshua, and instructs the community to gather every seven years to read publicly from the Torah. God predicts the eventual straying of the Israelites.
Our service tonight is at 6:15 and tomorrow morning at 9:15 am. Candle lighting is at 6:54 pm.
Reception: 7:30 pm
Program: 8:00 pm Come watch The Gates are Closing, as SPS community members (David Nussbaum, Barak Levy, Alexis Azria, Joel Arthur, Jared Levy, Samantha Popper, and Genna Giammatteo) perform a reading of a powerful dramatic play
Selichot service: 9:30 pm Led by Cantor Dov Keren and the Shira Choir

Thought Question: In this week’s parasha we are reminded of the importance of upholding the covenant. As we get ready to begin a new year, what commitments will you make to uphold the covenant? 

High Holiday Information:
CLICK HERE to see the times of all the different services. Please note: NEW THIS YEAR there is a tot service from 9-9:45 am on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur mornings for families with children birth-3 and then at 10 am there is a FAMILY SERVICE for children ages 3-6. On the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah there is just one family service for children birth-6 from 10-10:45.
Do you want to get in the mood for the High Holidays? CLICK HERE to listen to melodies that we sing at our services.
A special opportunity for SPS members on Tuesday October 10 from 5-6:30 pm:
Join us in the Sutton Place Synagogue’s Sukkah for an after-work get-together for Jewish feminist conversations, connections, networking, and community. We’ll toast the new fall issue of Lilith magazine–independent, Jewish & frankly feminist–with its cover story on “The Paradoxes of Power, Female Edition.” Hot-off-the-press copies will be the party favors, and you’ll meet Lilith editors, writers, and readers.
Admission is FREE to Lilith subscribers and Sutton Place Synagogue members.  Subscribe now and get in free!
Looking ahead….
There are many adult education courses starting in October-Read below to see what you might want to take and please rsvp!
After the Immersion
A course for individuals and couples who have gone through the conversion process. We will look at prayers that are said as part of the Shabbat services to give further insight and inspiration to those on their Jewish journey. Conversations about how to make Jewish ritual & Jewish living accessible now that the conversion is complete will also take place. Please let Rabbi Ain know if you are interested in this course.
Wednesdays, October 4November 1December 6February 14March 14April 18May 16 from 7:30-8 am
Israel’s Milestones and Their Meanings
This course explores the pivotal events of 1917, 1947, and 1967 as key
moments when Zionism unleashed new thinking about the meaning of
Jewishness for generations to come. As we look to Israel’s future, we need to engage anew with our past and explore its meanings and consequences. Together we will study topics such as: nationhood, land, Sovereignty, Jerusalem, Occupation and Moral Red Lines. This class will be taught by Rabbi Ain. RSVP to the office for the class. Cost $20
Mondays, October 16, 23 & 30; November 6, 20 & 27; December 18 from 4-5:45 pm
SPS Talks
In a thoughtful, facilitated manner, we invite members of SPS to join together to discuss issues that are near and dear to us but might place us in opposition to one another. The only way to learn and to grow is through listening.
Plan to  come to SPS at 7pm on Wednesdays to discuss:
October 18: “Challenging the BDS Movement: Celebrating the Existence of the Jewish State while engaging in thoughtful critique”
January 24: “Who are our bedfellows?  How do we promote Jewish values when we partner with other groups?”
March 14: “Religious Pluralism in Israel: Why does it matter and what should we do about it?”
May 23: “Current Developments in the Middle East-is there a path to peace in the region?”
RSVP to Jeremy Reiss at so he can send you reading materials in advance.
Pirkei Avot
Pirkei Avot, or Ethics of the Fathers, is a compilation of rabbinic teachings dealing with ethical and moral living. We will be looking at specific teachings within this collection that deal with giving respect/showing kindness to ourselves, to others, and to God, and discuss the question “how can we apply these teachings to our lives today?”
Tuesdays, October 24October 31November 7November 14 at 4:30 pm(With JTS Rabbinical Student Daniel Novick) RSVP to
Write Your Life Story
Have you ever wanted to write your life story but haven’t known where to start? This workshop for both beginning and experienced writers will give you the tools and confidence to produce a lasting written work. Whether you wish to leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren,or you are writing for yourself and friends, this workshop offers a supportive setting in which to shape your memories. Class led by Roberta Hershenson, a member of SPS, who worked as an arts journalist for The New York Times  for 25 years. Her essays and features can currently be found on the website She especially enjoys helping others unlock the stories within them. Fridays, October 20, 27; November 3, 10 & 17; December 1, 8 from 11 am – 1 pm

February 4-6, 2018 Join Rabbi Ain and members of the SPS community as we look at a period of Jewish and American History where the Jewish community was very involved in the struggle for civil rights. REGISTER HERE

SPS December 2018 Family Trip to Israel!
Registration has been launched for the trip to Israel! CLICK HERE for information about the trip including how to register!

Shabbat shalom,
Rabbi Ain