Sign In Forgot Password
Are we right for you?

Rabbi's Messages

october, 2019

Shanah Tovah – Happy New Year, All,

We’re busy hearing the sounds of the shofar, the words of confession and the BRILLIANT, LIFE-CHANGING thoughts of the rabbi’s sermons but already, I’m thinking about what is next – one of my favorites: Sukkot. I’ve got a long list of reasons I look forward to the festival including the physicality of building the sukkah with my kids, the environmentalism of the sustainable materials used and the outdoorsy-ness of eating, sleeping and recreating in the sukkah. But one of the most pleasant aspects is welcoming others into a space with significance and intention.

The tradition – introduced by the first mystical forms of Lurianic Kabbalah - is to consider and emulate the hospitality of our ancestors as we bring in both living and imagined historical guests (called “ushpizin”) to be with us in the temporary hut. Many will pause to consider which personage through history would be their chosen guest and what that conversation would look like. I consider myself lucky in that I have the opportunity to host others in great, meaningful conversations quite often as a part of my job but I recognize that most do not. That does not, however, mean that others do not need those conversations or benefit from them. I can’t tell you how often I hear people say something like, “Oh, Rabbi, I’ve been meaning to call you – there was something I wanted to talk to you about.” I believe them in their intent and I certainly know how easy it is for life to get in the way. Let us see if we can remove some of the obstacles to giving yourself that gift of time with someone paying full attention to what you have to say.

Now, what should we talk about? That’s completely up to you. Many want to know about my personal beliefs about God or would like me to help them discern their own. Maybe you want to discuss politics, the future of Temple Sinai, the complications of Israel, parenting techniques from the Talmud, etc. Maybe, you spend your days at home with young ones and you just long for an unhurried, adult conversation. Maybe you have an idea and want a thought partner to suss out the particulars. Perhaps you’d always wondered just what it is a rabbi does all day. Bottom line is, anything goes.

I’ve set aside a whole week this month for you! To sign up for a slot, you can either scan the QR code to the right, visit www.calendly.com/ravtelrav or call the office to ask Jayne to schedule you. Most of the times will be at my home’s sukkah (in mid-Stamford) but if you prefer my study, Starbucks or your home, just let me know and I’ll meet you there. And, as I practice my hospitality, be sure to indicate what you’d like to drink when you sign up – I’ll have other noshes for us when you arrive.

I hope you trust that this is a genuine offer and that you’ll take me up on it – otherwise, I’ll just be sitting, lonely and dejected in my sukkah wondering why nobody wanted to come by!

L’Shalom, In Peace,
Rabbi Jay TelRav

september, 2019

Go to top



 

President's Messages

october, 2019

I don’t know how many of you are fans of the long-running PBS show “This Old House,” but it celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. In fact, PBS recently broadcast a special episode that looked back at the history of the program. I was twenty when the show started (you can do the math) and didn’t own a home but was fascinated by the thoughtful way in which the “old house” was being renovated. I’ve been responsible for a house for 30 years now, and I’m much more familiar with the reality of home ownership — its benefits as well as its challenges.

Most recently, I have been thinking that maybe the producers of This Old House should consider a spinoff: This Old Synagogue. I’m sure it is no surprise to you that the buildings that comprise Temple Sinai are not spring chickens. Right now, we are working on two areas of our roof that may need to be repaired, a water leak in the lower level of the school building and leaky window frames in the atrium.

There is a process for dealing with all these issues. It involves the tireless efforts of Shelly Welfeld, our Operations Manager, and Sharon Goldstein, our Vice President of Administration, and then, depending on the size of the issue, the input of the Leadership Team and the Board. All repairs over a certain level get multiple bids before the work is awarded to a contractor. At our next Leadership Team meeting we are going to spend much of our time reviewing all the current needs for Temple Sinai’s physical plant as well as work on a list of projects, based on priority, for the coming year.

I imagine that many of you knew where this discussion was going as you should have recently received a letter from me with a request for the Annual Giving Campaign. Membership dues cover only a portion of the costs to run Temple Sinai. The Annual Appeal is a major source of funds to meet our annual operating budget. When considering the amount of your Annual Appeal pledge, please remember not only the physical needs of Temple Sinai but all of the important life cycle events, social action initiatives, learning and prayer that make Temple Sinai so special.

Your pledge reflects your commitment to the mission of Temple Sinai and our goal is for 100% participation, no matter the size of your pledge. Please take a moment to complete your pledge card and return it to us or visit our website, TempleSinaiStamford.org and click on the Donate  button at the top.
If the producers did create a This Old Synagogue show and came to Temple Sinai, I know they could easily point out the needs of our buildings. However, I would be most excited and proud to show them all the outstanding spiritual, musical, educational and community programming that happens within these walls. It is your support that makes this possible and for that I am immensely grateful.

Alan Cohen
President

SEPTEMBER, 2019

Go to top

 





 

Cantor's Messages

clientuploads/Bio_Images_Leadership/micah_morgovsky.jpgoctober, 2019

Dear Temple Sinai Family,

This bulletin is likely to arrive in your mailbox during the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. On Rosh Hashanah we celebrate the Jewish New Year and on Yom Kippur we atone for the past year’s misdeeds. It often feels to me like the sequence of these two holy days is backwards. Wouldn’t it make more sense to first repent and then celebrate? Shouldn’t we kick off the new year with a totally clean slate instead saying we’re sorry ten days after the start of the new year? If we take a closer look, it seems perhaps our tradition is a bit more nuanced and a little less straight forward than that.

Rosh Hashana, first and foremost, is a celebration of life – our own miraculous lives, and the beauty and wonder of the natural living world. We feel ourselves a part of the cycle of the seasons and express gratitude for having made yet another journey around the sun. On Rosh Hashana, we welcome each new year with joy and anticipation. Additionally, Rosh Hashanah asks us to stop and take stock - to open the metaphorical Book of Life and begin to reflect on our choices and actions from the past year. We acknowledge that we are imperfect beings, that we have often missed the mark, and that we should strive to better ourselves in the coming year.

During these interstitial days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we seek to do t’shuva – repentance – and return to the best version of ourselves. If we have hurt or wronged others, we must apologize in hopes that relationships can be repaired and wrongs righted. As we recount our less-than-perfect deeds and actions, we rededicate ourselves to living better in the coming year. On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, God becomes the judge who decides if we are to be sealed in the Book of Life for another year. And, at the end of Yom Kippur, after a day of reflecting and, for many, fasting, the metaphorical gates of judgement are closed, the Book is sealed and it is as if we are reborn into the new year.

So why observe these holidays in this order – first the celebration of the new year, then ten days of t’shuva and then the Day of Atonement? I believe that, in observing the High Holidays in this way, our tradition is telling us to lead with gratitude. Above all else, we should appreciate the life we have been given and treasure the joys and blessings that come with each new day. Even before we engage in cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of our souls, and acknowledge how far we have strayed from our ideal selves, Judaism reminds us to be grateful. Lest we despair, Rosh Hashana reminds us that our souls are pure and that we still have the opportunity to uncover the Divine spark within us. Thus, immediately after gratitude and celebration, the first ten days of each new year force us to acknowledge our eternal imperfection and yet still begin anew with striving to repair ourselves and our relationships. Yom Kippur closes the book on what has passed, allowing us to move forward with optimism, hope and gratitude for renewed life in the coming year.

Shana Tova umetuka,
Cantor Micah Morgovsky

 

september, 2019

Go to top

 

 

Educator's Messages

october, 2019

Growing up in a high-rise apartment building in Manhattan, the only sukkahs I ever knew was those in the courtyard of my Upper East Side synagogue, on the roof of my school and on the roof of a close friend’s apartment building on 85th Street and Central Park West with the greatest view of Central Park! I loved going over and helping my friend decorate her sukkah but it was not until I was a freshman at Syracus Univeristy college that I built my first sukkah.

Once I had my own backyard, I begged my husband to build me a sukkah and Sukkot immediately became my family’s favorite holiday, despite watching our sukkah collapse in a hurricane, carrying whole set tables into the house to avoid an aggressive delegation of visiting bees, and entertaining a family of raccoons over the years!  Kids (of all ages) are awed by eating in a sukkah and touched by the authenticity of the practice and the spirituality of the moment. Anything served in a sukkah tastes better and smells better. Guests never balk at the occasional bugs or temperature discomfort. Clean up is a cinch.
Sukkot is called the Season of our Joy. But what is the real source of our happiness?  

We leave the comfort of our luxurious suburban homes to sit in our makeshift shelters. Experiencing how fragile the physical world is, spending time outdoors in nature, and appreciating what we have is a gift that we are given as Jews and reflecting on these gifts can truly fulfill our happiness quota.

Come celebrate Sukkot with Temple Sinai on Sunday, October 20 during Religious School. Then join us that evening when we consecrate our new students in the Religious School and celebrate the Torah at Simchat Torah services.

L’shalom,
Morah Judy


October Dates to Remember:
Oct. 6      9:30am:
Religious School & Tashlich
6th Grade Lasagna Making
                 11:30am: Schiff Tichon Sinai  
Oct. 9    Yom Kippur - NO SCHOOL  
Oct. 13     NO Sunday Religious School
Oct. 14     NO Monday Religious School
Oct. 16     NO Wednesday Religious School
Oct. 20     9:30am: Religious School
                 11:30am: Schiff Tichon Sinai
    6:00pm: Simchat Torah/Consecration Services
Oct. 27     9:30am:
Religious School
3rd Grade Chavurah: Bronx Zoo
6th Grade Chavurah: Schoke JFS Food Drive at Stop & Shop
7th Grade Chavurah: Trip to the Tenement Museum  
                 11:30am: RuJu Kick-off Rehearsal
Oct. 28     Monday Religious School
Oct. 30     Wednesday Religious School

september, 2019

Go to top

 

 

Thu, October 17 2019 18 Tishrei 5780