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The Future of Reform Judaism in Stamford

The only thing missing is YOU 




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Sinai Circles are congregant-led small groups, comprised of 8-12 congregants, which meet on a regular basis throughout the year. These self-selecting affinity groups serve to intersect shared interests and Jewish values. Sinai Circles provide a safe and nurturing community within our community and participants experience meaningful connections and powerful personal growth. If you would like more information or have an idea for a new circle, please contact Larry Stoogenke (

2021 Circle Leaders 

  Sinai Circles Leaders

Sinai Circles for 5782



It is never too late to become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Whether you studied Hebrew years ago or are starting from scratch, this can be an extremely meaningful study opportunity to spark a new relationship to Jewish studies, renew an existing one or connect to children who are embarking on their own. We will begin with a focus on learning the Hebrew letters and vowels and progress to reading Hebrew. Ultimately participants will lead a Shabbat service, read from the Torah and become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Meetings will incorporate conversations about Jewish rituals and holiday traditions, providing circle members the opportunity to develop close relationships with one another and to reflect on the role Judaism plays in their lives. Take this memorable journey with others to reaffirm and grow Jewishly. Involves a bi monthly commitment.




We work all week with our mind and our body but on Shabbat, we set that aside and we turn to the labor of the heart. Using traditional Jewish meditation practices, elements of the prayer service and intentions written by the clergy, we spend 1 hour on Shabbat morning together to get our day started well. We welcome anyone who is curious about meditation, is searching for the path to deepen their shabbat practice or just wants another way to connect with their Sinai family. All ages, religions, experience levels and Judaic knowledge are welcome.



Circle Leader: Marc Friedman 

Please join the Breaking the Cycle Circle to learn about the lack of access to education in Malawi, Africa and how you can perform a Mitzvah by helping to build a primary school there. Arguably one of the economically poorest countries on the planet, more than 70 percent of Malawians live below the poverty line at only $1.90 a day. Judaism has much to teach about the responsibility to care for the most vulnerable members of society. Temple Sinai demonstrates this commitment through acts of service close to home but, in a globalized world, we are all part of one Human Family. In partnership with buildOn, this Circle will meet monthly (via Zoom and in-person) to learn about the need for education, the culture and the history in the country nicknamed “The Warm Heart of Africa” because of the friendliness of its people. We will collectively fundraise and then journey to a remote village in Malawi in July, 2022 to immerse ourselves in their culture and work alongside the villagers to break ground on a school. This Circle will be for those who are committed to fundraising for the school and then traveling to Malawi to help build it through buildOn's Global Programs. Please join the Breaking the Cycle Circle and help us break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. For more information about this Circle please contact Marc Friedman (


Circle Leaders: Carl Rosen and Glenn Wolff 

Movies affect many of us powerfully because the combined impact of images, music, dialogue, lighting, sound and special effects can elicit deep feelings and help us reflect on our lives or the lives and culture of others. Movies are often a mirror image of society and can be inspirational and expand our basic knowledge of the world and attitudes around us. Current and classic movies will serve as a background for discussion on a wide variety of topics. Movies will be selected by the circle members who will view them in advance and may be experienced individually or in groups, either in theaters or on streaming services. The Circle meetings will hopefully include an active dialog amongst the group on the content and impact of the movie experience. 



Circle Leader: Sheldon Green 

Dance is a journey! Embarked upon by two people, they meet, travel along a road of melody and tempo. Sometimes the road can be bumpy - or it may be convoluted with many twists and turns. The two may cooperate with one another or they may challenge one another for the leadership role. Along the way, these two may come to know one another and choose to embark along other journeys or they may each go onto separate journeys with new partners. Come join us—learn the steps—improve your technique and meet new friends!  



Circle Leader: Mike Markovits 

When we think about the climate crisis, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge, and skeptical of our capacity as individuals to make a meaningful difference. Dayenu Circles are a nation-wide movement of small groups of Jewish people working on climate action. We do this work together not only to take effective action to confront the climate crisis, but to sustain ourselves and our spirits as we act. A Dayenu Circle can provide a center of gravity, enabling us to align Jewish values with the change we seek to make in the world. Rooted in community and drawing on Jewish wisdom and experience supports us as we move from fear and anxiety to courageous action. We hope this Dayenu Circle will be a Jewish home base for climate education and action.  



Circle Leader: Maggie Seligman 

Folk songs—whether traditional or composed—provide a window into a variety of cultures, social movements and history, as well as the ideas and feelings of poets and composers. This Circle will focus on all kinds of folk music and folk songs as we find a way to explore and savor this rich and vibrant musical genre, but it will ultimately be the input from the Circle members themselves that will help inform our direction and purpose.  



Circle Leader: Lee Bowbeer 

John Muir said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” In this circle focused on hiking, we will seek to strengthen our relationships with the outdoors and with each other. Every month, we'll go on a hike (hiking boots REQUIRED!) in Connecticut or New York. Hikes will vary in their difficulty—we'll start with easier jaunts (think Westchester Wilderness Walk or Devil's Den) and build to more difficult treks (think Breakneck Ridge or St. John's Ledges). We'll learn what we need, what we don't need, and how we can use each other for support along the way. A bottle of water will be sufficient for our easy hikes; a day pack with snacks, a map and compass, and a first aid kit will be necessary for our more difficult hikes. Through it all, we'll grow together as a more cohesive unit, which is essential in the backcountry!  



Circle Leader: Judah Plotner 

Jewish identity has been in a state of flux from biblical times and antiquity up through the Middle Ages and into modernity. Throughout those thousands of years it was never monolithic. Our religious, ethnic/national identity was buffeted by the forever shifting political, economic, and social forces that acted upon us. Our responses, both internal and external, created a Judaism with multiple denominations, cultural and secular expressions and eventually, national/political self-determination. This circle will not be a history lesson but a forum for active personal discussions about our individual Jewish identities, their evolution, and those of our parents and grandparents. We will discuss the current shifting forces (definitely inconsistent) and explore what it may mean for the Jewish identities of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  


Circle Leader: Joan Madison 

An important and effective means of reducing racism is for White people to examine their own ideas, thoughts and subtle or hidden feelings that may unwittingly lead to racist behaviors. The members of this Temple Sinai Circle have been engaged in this process. We have shared experiences and emotions, read, observed, attended workshops, and watched movies. We learned about ourselves, about historical events and patterns, and about the inequitable and challenging racial environment in which we live. We have taken steps to change some of our own behaviors. This includes demonstrating the courage to respectfully question racist comments and actions when we talk with acquaintances, friends, and family. We are eager to continue this process of self-examination, growth, and change, and we invite congregants who are on their own journeys to join us as we move forward together.  


Circle Leader: David Swerdloff 

Looking to read books that are so engaging you can’t wait to discuss them with others? The Men's Book Club Circle is designed to discover books that are suitable for conversation, learning and fostering deeper relationships with others who share the passion for reading and conversation. Discussions will reflect the Jewish "angle" or theme or other related aspects of the book that can be both fiction and non-fiction. Join us to make new friends and add a new dimension to your enjoyment of reading.  




CirCle Leaders: Grant Kallen and Rabbi Jay TelRav

Thursday evenings, once a month 

Feel like you’re spiritual but not religious - we are too!  Feel like the traditional versions of the Bible Stories are problematic and inadequate, we do too!  Feel your faith is something you do but yearn to live? Yep, we do too! Join as we step back, unplug if you will, from what we’ve traditionally learned. We’ll explore the mystical roots of our faith and a reinterpretation of their meaning as a foundation of a faith that is deeply meaningful, socially engaged and environmentally conscious in meeting the challenges of 21st century life.   We will be studying works from Rabbi Art Green, a scholar of Jewish Mysticism and one of the most important theologians of today.



Circle Leader: Cantor Micah Morgovsky 

Join Cantor Micah as we delve deeper into the liturgy of Shabbat. We’ll begin each session with a contemplative niggun, we’ll read a close translation of the prayer, and then explore various interpretations and creative reimaginings of each text. We’ll then set out, each one of us, to write our own poetic version of the prayer, making it our own and weaving our story with these ancient texts.  



Circle Leader: Marian Freed 

Do you feel squeezed? Caring for both your children (young or grown) and your parents (near or far) financially and/or emotionally can be challenging. How do we take care of everyone and still make sure we have the support we need for ourselves? What resources are out there? When do we ask for help and what is that help? Join our Circle and share with others who know how difficult but also rewarding it can be.  



Circle Leader: Sandra Mehl 

They tried to kill us, we survived, now let’s eat. Share Shabbat and a meal with other Temple Sinai members. Enjoy a small-group setting each month and strengthen connections in a meaningful way.  



Circle Leader: EJ Fink 

The Sinai Circle Auto Group (name to be voted on by the group at a later date) exists for the sole purpose of expressing our love, devotion, and enthusiasm for all things motor vehicle. And then to share in the joy we get from them—both in our everyday lives as well as our passion from the leisure/recreation/sport they offer. Whether you are nostalgic for the vintage, retro classics of yesteryear or a devotee of modern technology, luxury, and exotics, if you love cars, then we have a chair for you. The intention is to share stories, photos, information, know-how and maybe even take the obligatory field trip to a car show/meet/rally once in a while. We will take turns offering spotlight presentations, sharing our coffee table books, and helping each other live out our dreams of being on the open American road. Driver’s license required.  



Circle Leader: Jeff Pardo 

Shakedown: When you’ve had a long day, what’s better than embracing the wisdom of the line “nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile.” Come smile with other Deadheads and “let the inspiration move you rightly” as we link the Dead to Judaism. Listen to the music, dance and “keep on trucking.”  



Circle Leader: Nan Gordon 

Temple Sinai members will come together to help each other discover our individual roots. Whether you are a novice or an expert, you can always uncover someone or something new! Let’s plan on sharing our greatest successes as well as tales of our strangest relatives and their stories. Let’s help those who haven’t started to begin their search. In addition, let’s help those who have hit the inevitable brick wall to move past it. We can share books, resources, ancestry sites, as well as organizational tools that some people may have developed. Whether you come from Jewish, Irish, Italian or some other stock, we will love hearing your discoveries! Collectively, we will decide the agenda and format of our meetings.  



Circle Leader: Sharon Pardo 

If you have always wanted to chant (or, in Yiddish, leyn) Torah during services, Torah Nerds is the Circle for you! We will read through Torah portions pre-selected by the Rabbi and Cantor, identify the meaningful parts of the portion that we each want to highlight, help each other learn the text and trope (with support by Cantor Micah), and then chant them during Friday Night services throughout the year. To enrich our understanding of what we are reading, we will translate the sections word for word from Hebrew into English and discuss how the trope (cantillation marks) add to the depth of the reading. All Torah chanting enthusiasts who want to add a new dimension to their enjoyment of Torah are welcome. Basic Hebrew reading is required, the ability to carry a tune is optional, open to everyone 13 years and older.  



Circle Leader: Katherine Magyarody 

Have a half-finished novel manuscript in your drawer? Looking for time to write that memoir? Trying to find a space to think through a picture book you want to publish? Give yourself the time you need to tell that special story…and to support others as they share their creative voices. This group meets monthly for a period of freewriting (with prompts available for those who want them) followed by time for “pair and share” peer editing. Discussion about the process of writing and publishing different genres can be incorporated according to interest.  

Circles for families and kids


Circle Leader: Susan Brown 

Come, bring the kids, and get to know other families in an informal and fun way. We'll meet on synagogue grounds (inside or the 'backyard'), or at the selected restaurant, to taste our way through local pizzerias—we'll order in from one of them each month. Many of us are busy with drop offs/pickups, and this is a great opportunity to pause and get to know some of the Sinai families. By the end of 12 months, hopefully we will have crowned a pizza winner and made new family friends.  


Circle Leader: Harrison Stoogenke 

FKBK – For Kids, By Kids. Ages 7-13 years old Do you love Fantasy Football? Do you love following your favorite players? Do you want to learn how Fantasy Football works? Come and learn and engage with your fellow NFL fans. Feel what it’s like to be a General Manager and pick your own team of players and participate in a season-long league. We will meet once a month to discuss our teams, injuries, waiver wire pick-ups, and top NFL stories.  


Circle Leader: Amitai TelRav 

Sundays, once a month for 30 minutes following religious school FKBK – For Kids, By Kids. Ages 5-12 years old Think you make the best paper airplanes? Maybe so but we want you to come and prove it! Each month, we’ll learn a new paper airplane model and then see whose goes the furthest. Within a few months, everyone will be welcome to sign up and to bring their own design to teach the rest of us.  


Circle Leader: Rabbi Jay TelRav 

Sunday mornings (11:30am – 12:45pm): Sept. 26, Oct. 14, Nov. 14, Dec. 12, Jan. 23, Feb. 6, March 20, April 3, May 15 Our 11th and 12th graders have come a long way on their Jewish journeys but the good stuff is just getting underway. For the first time, these teens will have the chance to keep learning with the Rabbi after Confirmation. Tackling the ethical conundra of life and the personal growth we work on all our lives, the teens will keep up their training to become valuable members of society thanks to their time at Temple Sinai. Fee: 11th-12th Graders: $500  



Tue, August 9 2022 12 Av 5782