Matzoh Ball Soup, Anyone?

At the end of June, Fran Rossoff coordinated a special project cooking matzoh ball soup for the Temple Emanuel Caring Community. A team of Temple members (Bonnie Benhayon, Stephanie Claypool, Sara Frey, Deb Madaras, Amy Pardo) and Fran gathered at 9 am in the Temple kitchen and got to work cutting chicken and vegetables, cooking broth, and making matzoh balls.

Twenty quarts of soup later, the work was finished, and the products were separated into three containers – chicken soup broth, matzoh balls, and chicken/vegetables.

This delicious matzoh ball soup is now sent home with Shabbat Bags to Temple members who are ill or have recently returned from the hospital.

Our next project will be to make more soup or a pasta dish to be frozen and sent home.

If you know of someone who would benefit from a Shabbat Bag, please contact Linda at lfrankel@templeemanuelpgh.org.

2 Minutes of Torah Study – Va’etchanan

Miss Torah Study this morning? Get caught up in two minutes or less and join us next Shabbat morning in the WRJ room at 9:00am.

Shamor V’zachor B’dibur Echad — Two commandments — Shamor, to observe; and Zachor, to remember; spoken in one word. Or so the author of L’cha Dodi, Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, wants us to believe in order to homogenize a discrepancy in our text.

In the book of Exodus, we read that we are supposed to Zachor Shabbat, to remember it. When Moses recaps the commandments in this week’s Torah portion, we are supposed to Shamor Shabbat, to observe it. The sages of our tradition derive from this two separate ways of recognizing Shabbat — one joyous: reciting the blessings, and one either freeing or restrictive: refraining from work.

The difference between these texts, however, runs a bit deeper. Both Exodus and Deuteronomy provide us with the reason we should observe these commandments, and they too are different. In Exodus, Shabbat is a remembrance of God’s creative actions; in Deuteronomy it calls attention to our Exodus from Egypt. Remember / Observe, Creation / Exodus…why the differences in Torah?

Humans are both thinking and feeling beings. Sometimes an appeal to our cognition — you are part of something larger than yourself — works, and sometimes an appeal to emotion is more compelling— with an outstretched arm you were brought to safety. Sometimes we need the structure of rules to guide our actions, and sometimes we can rely of the joy of ritual. Remember / Observe, Creation / Exodus because we are each different and can yet are embraced by our age old tradition.

2 Minutes of Torah Study — D’varim

Miss Torah Study this morning? Get caught up in two minutes or less and join us in the WRJ room at 9:00am Shabbat mornings!

When we recount events, when we retell stories, we tend to do so with an agenda. Sometimes it’s about embellishment to make ourselves look better, tougher, or more virtuous: perhaps that’s how the caught fish grows from 10 to 15 to 25 inches and the walk turns out to be uphill in both directions. More often than not, however, we recount events through the lens of our interpretations, impressing upon the listener what we believe to be important…even if that differs from the full story.

In this week’s Torah portion, D’varim, Moses takes similar liberties. A compassion between the ordeal of the spies sent to scout the land in Numbers 13 and Deuteronomy 1 shows significant differences:

In Numbers, God sent the Tribal leaders; in Deuteronomy, Moses sent 12 unspecified people.

In Numbers, the spies were scouting the whole land to determine its worth; in Deuteronomy, they are merely looking for an expedient path.

In Numbers, the spies brought back considerable warning about the Nephalim, the giants living in the land; in Deuteronomy, they simply reported that the land was good.

Why the discrepancies?

According to Nehama Leibowitz, Moses tried to show the people that: “Every individual is responsible for the misdeeds of the group. Each one is obligated to resist evil and do good, and not excuse himself on the ground that he was influenced by his colleague or superior or leader. Each individual has ultimately to be his own leader, responsible for his every action.”

May our study of Deuteronomy ensure that we never forget this lesson.

IT’S TIME TO KULANU!!!

Kulanu is back again for the second year!  Kulanu is Temple Emanuel’s “small groups” program in which Temple Members join together, in small groups around a shared common interest.  And it’s time to sign up to be part of a Kulanu group. We’ve added new groups based on your feedback and requests. We expect that there will be a group for everyone – and if there isn’t, we’ll work to help you create it.  

We expect there are questions about Kulanu; We’ve provided answers to the ones we’ve anticipated. However if we missed your question, feel free to reach out to us – we’re always happy to talk, email or text!

kulanu@templeemanuelpgh.org

Beth Schwartz 412-877-5996

Kate Louik 412-999-0188

 

Q: What is Kulanu all about?  What is the purpose?

A: Kulanu is about connecting Temple members with shared interests.  It’s a way to help Temple members get to know each other, either to meet new people who they haven’t met or to develop deeper ties with members they know a little bit. The groups are based on different interests so members all share something in common from the outset.  The focus groups and surveys that were done as part of the Sr. Rabbi Search process revealed that Temple members are looking for opportunities to develop deeper connections with each other. Kulanu is one of the initiatives we developed to respond to this need.

Q: I’m eager to join a Kulanu Group! How do I sign up?  

A: Joining a Kulanu group is easy – simply complete an interest form to let us know which group you (you and your partner, or your family) want to join. Simply click here to complete the sign up form!.  You can also sign up by completing the interest form that is in bulletin.  There will be links to the online form in our weekly Temple Happenings emails. And you can always link to it from the Temple Emanuel website.  Just go to the Community section.  

Q: What kind of a commitment am I making when I join a Kulanu group?

A: Kulanu groups generally meet every 4-6 weeks but the exact frequency is up to each group.  The success of the group depends on the commitment of the participants so we do ask that you be prepared to commit to being an active participant. Generally the groups are designed to stay together for a year.  Some groups may continue beyond a year if the participants so choose. 

Q: My wife and I have different interests.  Are Kulanu Groups designed for couples or individuals?  Or are we supposed to all join as a family?

A:  Kulanu groups are for all of the above.  There will be groups for families, groups that are all couples, and groups that are all adult members (individuals and/or couples or a combination of both).  When you sign up you will specify whether you are doing so as an individual, couple or family. We’ll group you accordingly. And you can join more than one group – so you can join a family Kulanu group and one that just you are interested in.

Q: What are examples of some of the Kulanu groups?

We have a wide variety of offerings.  The actual groups that form will depend on what people are interested in.  Many of the new groups added this year came at the recommendations of our members.  A SAMPLING of this variety includes: Dining, Shabbat/Holiday observance, cycling, walking, dog walking, social action projects, cooking/baking, running and jewish study (combined), family playdates, music jam sessions, clay shooting, theater . . . . . . . . . Check out the sign up forms to see the full listing (on the digital form, you need to start the sign up process to get the list of group offerings.

Q: I have an interest that isn’t listed on the sign up form.  How do I create a Kulanu group for it?

A: Let us know what you want to do – others might have expressed interest. (Fill out the “other” option on your sign up form).  Also, feel free to ask other Temple members if they are interested in your group. We like to say that it takes 3 to Kulanu! If you can find two other people who are interested, you can start your Kulanu group (we’ll help you find them too).  And we’ll include your idea on next year’s sign up sheet.

Q: How do I know I’ll be placed in the group that I want to be in?

A: When you sign up you will rank order your preferred groups 1, 2, and 3.  We will make every effort to place you in your first group, then 2nd, then 3rd.  If we have questions or are having difficulty accommodating your interests, we’ll be in touch!  And if only one group interests you, just sign up for one.

Q: I really like my Kulanu group from last year.  Can we stay together?

A: Your group can stay together.  Or some of the participants can continue and others can “drop out” and others can continue.  Your group can also bring in new participants if some or all of you want to continue but you could also benefit from some new participants.  (If that is the case, let Beth or Kate know that you want some new people).  

Q: I was in a Kulanu Group last year that never took off, how will I know that this year will be better?

A: Many of the Kulanu groups that we formed last year worked very well, but unfortunately some did not. While there is no guarantee that any group will click together perfectly, we learned a lot from how things went last year and have changed the way we are forming the groups this year.  We hope that this year will see greater success for all of the groups.

 

It’s Time to Kulanu!

Kulanu is back again for the second year! 

Kulanu is Temple Emanuel’s “small groups” program in which Temple members join together in small groups around a shared common interest. It’s time to sign up to be part of a Kulanu group. We’ve added new groups based on your feedback and requests. We expect that there will be a group for everyone, and if there isn’t, we’ll work to help you create it.  

We expect there are questions about Kulanu; we’ve provided answers to the ones we’ve anticipated. However, if we missed your question, feel free to reach out to us – we’re always happy to talk, email or text!

kulanu@templeemanuelpgh.org

Beth Schwartz 412-877-5996

Kate Louik 412-999-0188

 

Q: What is Kulanu all about? What is the purpose?

A: Kulanu is about connecting Temple members with shared interests. It’s a way to help Temple members get to know each other, either to meet new people or to develop deeper ties with members they know a little bit. The groups are based on different interests, so members all share something in common from the outset. The focus groups and surveys that were done as part of the Sr. Rabbi Search process revealed that Temple members are looking for opportunities to develop deeper connections with each other. Kulanu is one of the initiatives we developed to respond to this need.

Q: I’m eager to join a Kulanu Group! How do I sign up?  

A: Joining a Kulanu group is easy – simply complete an interest form to let us know which group you (you and your partner, or your family) want to join. Simply click here to complete the sign up form! You can also sign up by completing the interest form that is in the bulletin. There will be links to the online form in our weekly Temple Happenings emails. And you can always link to it from the Temple Emanuel website. Just go to the Community section.  

Q: What kind of a commitment am I making when I join a Kulanu group?

A: Kulanu groups generally meet every 4-6 weeks, but the exact frequency is up to each group. The success of the group depends on the commitment of the participants, so we do ask that you be prepared to commit to being an active participant. Generally, the groups are designed to stay together for a year. Some groups may continue beyond a year if the participants so choose. 

Q: My wife and I have different interests. Are Kulanu Groups designed for couples or individuals? Or are we supposed to all join as a family?

A: Kulanu groups are for all of the above. There will be groups for families, groups that are all couples, and groups that are all adult members (individuals and/or couples or a combination of both). When you sign up, you will specify whether you are doing so as an individual, couple or family. We’ll group you accordingly. And you can join more than one group – so you can join a family Kulanu group and one that just you are interested in.

Q: What are examples of some of the Kulanu groups?

A: We have a wide variety of offerings. The actual groups that form will depend on what people are interested in. Many of the new groups added this year came at the recommendations of our members. A SAMPLING of this variety includes: Dining, Shabbat/holiday observance, cycling, walking, dog walking, social action projects, cooking/baking, running and Jewish study (combined), family playdates, music jam sessions, clay shooting, theater, and so on. Check out the sign up forms to see the full listing (on the digital form, you need to start the sign up process to get the list of group offerings).

Q: I have an interest that isn’t listed on the sign up form. How do I create a Kulanu group for it?

A: Let us know what you want to do – others might have expressed interest. (Fill out the “other” option on your sign up form).  Also, feel free to ask other Temple members if they are interested in your group. We like to say that it takes three to Kulanu! If you can find two other people who are interested, you can start your Kulanu group (we’ll help you find them too). And we’ll include your idea on next year’s sign up sheet.

Q: How do I know I’ll be placed in the group that I want to be in?

A: When you sign up, you will rank order your preferred groups 1, 2, and 3. We will make every effort to place you in your first group, then 2nd, then 3rd. If we have questions or are having difficulty accommodating your interests, we’ll be in touch! And if only one group interests you, just sign up for one.

Q: I really like my Kulanu group from last year. Can we stay together?

A: Your group can stay together. Or some of the participants can continue and others can “drop out” while others continue. Your group can also bring in new participants if some or all of you want to continue but you could also benefit from some new participants. (If that is the case, let Beth or Kate know that you want some new people).  

Q: I was in a Kulanu Group last year that never took off. How will I know that this year will be better?

A: Many of the Kulanu groups that we formed last year worked very well, but unfortunately some did not. While there is no guarantee that any group will click together perfectly, we learned a lot from how things went last year and have changed the way we are forming the groups this year. We hope that this year will see greater success for all of the groups.

 

2 Minutes of Torah Study — Matot-Masei

The Daughters of Zelophechad: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah, and Tirzah. So wise and righteous as to bring merit to their ancestors, says B’midbar Rabbah. Strong, empowered women who joined together to protest an unjust social order, writes Vanessa Ochs, professor at UVA. More righteous than the men of their generation we read elsewhere in B’midbar Rabbah. Able to affect durable, dramatic change.

Well, not so fast.

The empowered story we read in Parashat Pinchas is tempered by the end of this week’s double portion, Matot-Masei. The male leaders of Zelophechad’s daughters’ family clan point out that the geographic area of their landholdings will be diminished if the women marry outside the tribe. Moses recognizes this as just, and changes what was to be a law for all time. Yes, Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah, and Tirzah can rightfully inherit, and they can even marry whomever they please — so long as it pleased them to marry their cousins. 

In the words of Rabbi Amber Powers in Torah Queeries, interpreting Torah through a so-called “bent lens:”

“The fight for justice and equality is ongoing and not a linear path… Like the heads of the family clan in this Torah portion, there may be times when we personally stand in a place of privilege and we would risk losing something if we supported another’s fight for change. Like the daughters of Zelophekhad, there are times when we will submit to a less than fully just solution as a compromise, a temporary measure, or because we have no choice. Nevertheless, we must remain clear about our visions of justice and equality and continue to work for their fullest expression in our communities and our practices.”

2 Minutes of Torah Study – Parashat Pinchas

Sometime around the year 500CE, a new type of scholar arose who assumed responsibility for preserving, homogenizing, and transmitting the biblical text. Known as the Masorites — either from the Hebrew for “to bind” or “to hand down” — it was these scribes who added the vowels and trope marks to the text we have today. They also systematized the writing of Torah, including the “mistake” we see in Parashat Pinchas.

Notice the broken vav in the word shalom.

God promises Pinchas, a zealot who took it upon himself to mete out justice upon idolators, His “brit shalom” or “covenant of peace.” Scholars throughout time have struggled with this text, noting that ours is not a tradition where we believe the ends justify the means. The Jerusalem Talmud reports that Pinchas acted against the will of the wise men: “Rabbi Yuda said: ‘They desired to excommunicate him.’” The Kotzker Rebbe taught that it was this action that prevented him from being Moses’ successor. And the Masorites go as far as to break the vav, perhaps symbolizing either a broken trust or a broken man.

Rabbi Jacob ben Asher, the B’al HaTurim goes futher. The broken vav is our clue that Pinchas is actually Eliyahu Hanavi, Elijah the prophet. They both acted zealously for God, and Eliyahu can be spelled with or without the vav (note the difference between 1 and 2 Kings). Who else can be spelled with or without a vav? Jacob the patriarch, as we see in Leviticus 26. According to B’a HaTurim, Jacob required Elijah’s vav as a security deposit until such time as he hearlds the coming of the messiah in fulfillment of God’s promise. When that happens, and only then, Elijah — Pinchas — can have his vav back.

Jacob the trickster knew better than to trust a zealot. Neither should we.

Meet & Greets with Rabbi Aaron

We are so excited to welcome Rabbi Meyer to Temple Emanuel this summer.  We’ve scheduled several Meet & Greets throughout the summer to give everyone a chance to meet him too!  Please use the form below to RSVP for the events that you plan to attend.

Meet & Greets with Rabbi Aaron

Welcome, Rabbi Aaron!

We are thrilled to announce that the congregation voted to approve Rabbi Aaron Meyer as our next Senior Rabbi. His term will start July 1, 2019. He would like to share some words with us; please watch the following video:

 

Gratitude

A Personal Note of Gratitude (November 16, 2018)

This note is for every one of you that makes up our strong and diverse community, but particularly for the families and teachers at ECDC who are not Jewish.

Three weeks have gone by since the October 27 atrocity at Tree of Life Synagogue. I thank you for your expressions of sorrow, for your hugs and tears. Each shared moment of grief brought healing and hope for a better future. For me, grief has subsided and gratitude has grown.

In an article that was published in the Washington Post, Rabbi Dan Schiff reviewed the history of violence rooted in antisemitism. He said that this time was different – because of the love and support of our neighbors.  You made all of the difference. I will forever be grateful for your kindness.

On Rosh Hashana Rabbi Locketz gave a sermon about gratitude. She emphasized that gratitude is a choice that requires determination and cultivation. It is also an obligation. To celebrate Thanksgiving with you, I want to express my good fortune in spending my days with you – ECDC parents, children and teachers – and in working with you to build a better world.

Iris