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High Holy Days

High Holy Days become introspective, with prayers and themes of human kindness and repentance as we renew our faith, family ties and understanding of the Jewish experience. Temple Sinai offers adult services and educational programs during the High Holy Days. Babysitting, for children ages one to five years old, is available during the High Holy Day services through generous gifts from the Larry Cohen Pre-School Fund. Please call the Temple office at 203.322.1649 to make arrangements for babysitting prior to the High Holy Days.

2018/5779 High Holy Day Service Schedule

Saturday, September 1 - Selichot, 7:30pm
Please join us for Selichot evening with Rabbi TelRav, Cantor Morgovsky and RUACH. The contemplative evening begins with heavy hors d'oeuvres, continues with the service and will conclude with the changing the Torah mantles. 

Open to the public - no ticket required

Sunday, September 2
Cemetery Memorial Service at Fairfield Memorial Park 10:00am

Healing Service At Temple Sinai,11:30am
Open to the public - no ticket required

Sunday, September 9 - Erev Rosh Hashanah*
Evening Service, 7:30pm

Monday, September 10 - Rosh Hashanah Day*
Morning Main Service, 9:30am
Service (Pre-K and younger), 1:30pm​​​​​​​
Family Service, 2:00pm
Tashlich Service, 3:00pm​​​​​​​

Tuesday, September 11 - 2nd Day Rosh Hashanah

Morning Service, 8:30am​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Kiddush Brunch, 10:00am

Tuesday, September 18 - Erev Yom Kippur*
Kol Nidre Service, 7:30pm​​​​​​​

Wednesday, September 19 - Yom Kippur Day*
Morning Main Service, 9:30am​​​​​​​
Musical Meditations with Piano, 1:00pm
Service (Pre-K and younger), 1:30pm​​​​​​​
Afternoon Programs at Temple Sinai, 2:00pm​​​​​​​
Family Service, 2:00pm​​​​​​​
Afternoon Service, 3:30pm
Yizkor & Concluding Service, 4:30pm​​​​​​​
Break-fast, 6:30pm

* Babysitting is available at Temple Sinai for children ages 5 and under. Please call the temple office 203.322.1649 to reserve.

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Other Holiday Celebrations

Other Holiday Celebrations


Wednesday, September 26 at 5:30pm

Tradition suggests that fulfilling the mitzvah to spend time in the sukkah is made more pleasant with you have guests with you – ushpizin. Temple Sinai would like that to be you! Come join us for a brief festival service followed by some dinner. The lulav and etrog are just waiting for you to come and give them a shake.

FEE: Dinner $14 per adult, $10 per child



Sunday, September 30

Pre-neg at 5:30pm

Service at 6:00pm

This evening, we will celebrate all the newest additions to our congregation’s community of learners. Students from kindergarten on up will receive their certificates, torahs and sweets and we all remember how sweet it was to start learning torah. Then, together we complete the cycle of annual Torah readings, unroll the WHOLE scroll around the social hall and then start over again with the words of creation. There will be plenty of dancing and sweets as we celebrate our most precious possession – our new students. All are warmly welcomed.




Friday, December 7 at 6:00pm

Bring your menorah because everyone else will, too. Have you ever seen dozens of menorot (the plural of menorah) burning all together? It is quite a sight and a fun way to celebrate the miracle of Chanukah. If you’ve got multiple Chanukah menorahs, bring them all – we’ll bring the fire extinguisher, just in case!

FEE: Dinner $18 per adult, $10 per child


Sunday, January 20 at 7:30pm

Stay tuned for more information about this evening’s program. We are busy at work innovating again. We’ve enjoyed wine, cheese and chocolate seders, and building our own terraria. We’ve got our work cut out for us again this year in developing a program to make new memories as we connect with ancient traditions. FEE: $18


Wednesday evening, March 20 at 7:30pm
This Megillah reading will be geared toward the adults of our community. Kids are welcome but the material will not be edited for content! The drinks will flow freely (both “leaded” and “virgin”) as we revel in the hilarity and the tradition of telling our story. There may not be many young ones with us that evening but that we still hope you’ll come in costume and ready to have fun.

Sunday morning, March 24 at 9:30am
Then…Join us for a fun-filled morning, complete with music, snacks, a parade of costumes and, of course, a GREAT STORY! Experience the annual re-telling of the Purim story and hear the chanting of the Scroll of Esther. And, of course prizes for all the kids after the readings. Bring your friends and family of all ages to show them how Sinai has a good time!



Purim 2019

This year, Purim will begin on the evening of Wednesday, March 20. In addition to the other mitzvot of Purim, there is a tradition of giving out little gift baskets to friends, neighbors and family. Temple Sinai will make it easy for you to fulfill this commandment and to help build our community at the same time. A simple form on our website will allow you to list all the Sinai families you would like to receive a notice that their bag came from you. Watch for more information at the beginning of the new year.



Saturday, April 20 at 5:00pm

The First Night might be around a table with friends and family, but the Second Night should be with us! We will conduct a Seder with all the traditions you know and love and a few more you will never forget. For more information or to reserve your space, please contact the temple office.




Sunday, May 13

Roses will be sold during Religious School hours on Mother’s Day. Buy some for your mother, grandmother, or favorite aunt, and put a smile on someone’s face. Flowers will be sold: Individually for the price of $2.00 each. In dozens for $18.00 (chai) per dozen. Last year we sold out very quickly, so if you want to make sure you don’t miss out be sure to pre-order (dozens only). Just e-mail us at by Thursday, May 9, 2019 and tell us how many dozen you would like. They will be waiting for you for pickup on Sunday morning.


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Parshas - Weekly Torah Portions

From: A Torah Commentary for our Times, by Harvey J. Fields

For more on this week's Torah Portion go to




Summary D'Var
Genesis 1:1-6:8

Bereshit may be translated as “In the beginning” or “At first.” The Torah begins by telling us how God created the heavens and earth, human beings, and the Sabbath. It continues with the stories of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and of their sons, Cain and Abel, and it concludes with the report that God regretted having created human beings because of all their wickedness. For that reason, God decided to destroy everything on earth except for Noah and his family. 


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Genesis 6.9-11:32

Parashatt Noach tells the story of God's decision to destroy the earth with a flood because of the corruption and wickedness found in the world. Only a righteous man by the name of Noah, his family, and pairs of every kind of creature were to survive. Noah was told to build a large boat, an ark, and to make a place on it for every creature he was to save. After the Flood, those aboard the ark started life on earth all over again, and God promised never to send another flood. Later, human beings decided to build a city and a huge tower that would reach from earth to heaven. Seeing what they were doing, God scattered them all over the earth and gave them different languages to speak. 


Genesis 12:1-17:27

Parashat Lech-Lecha begins with the story of Abram leaving his birthplace in Haran. God promises the land of Canaan to Abram and his descendants. Because of a famine in the land, Abram takes his family to Egypt. While there, the pharaoh orders Abram's wife, Sarai, to live in his palace. Plagues come upon Egypt as punishment for what Pharaoh has done, and Sarai is restored to Abram. Returning to Canaan, Abram and his brother's son, Lot, divide the land in order to prevent any disagreements between them. Later, Lot is attacked and taken hostage by enemy kings. Abram rescues him and his family. Because Abram and Sarai have trouble conceiving a child, Sarai, in the custom of ancient times, invites her maidservant, Hagar, to have a child with Abram. When Hagar becomes pregnant, she begins to abuse Sarai, who responds by chasing away Hagar. An angel tells Hagar to return, and she bears a son whom Abram names Ishmael. As this Torah portion concludes, Abram is instructed to circumcise himself and Ishmael. Abram is told that the circumcision of all males at eight days of age will be a sign of God's covenant with him and his people forever.


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Genesis 18:1-22:24 

Parashat Vayera begins with the visit of three men to Abraham. He welcomes them with generous hospitality, and they promise that Sarah will soon bear a son. When the men depart for the city of Sodom, God appears to Abraham and tells him that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are about to be destroyed because of the sinful behavior of their residents. Abraham protests, asking God not to destroy innocent people along with the guilty ones. God promises that, if there are as few as even ten innocent people in the cities, they will not be destroyed. Afterwards, two men-angels arrive in Sodom and are offered hospitality by Lot. He protects them from the Sodomites, who threaten to harm them. The men-angels warn Lot to leave Sodom. He escapes the next morning as fire rains down upon the cities, but his wife looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt. Abraham travels to the Negev, where Abimelech, king of Gerar, sees Sarah and wants her for a wife. Fearing the king, Abraham claims that Sarah is his "sister." The king takes her as a wife, but God appears to him and reveals Sarah's real identity. Abimelech returns her to Abraham along with a great bounty. As the visitors to Abraham had predicted, Sarah bears a son whom they name Isaac. After a few years, Sarah persuades Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away, claiming that only Isaac should inherit Abraham's wealth and position. Abraham agrees when God tells him that "I will make a nation of him [Ishmael]." Several years later, God tests Abraham's faith by ordering him to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah. Isaac is saved at the last moment when God praises Abraham's loyalty and tells him to sacrifice a ram in Isaac's place.


Genesis 23:1-25:18 
While Chaye Sarah may be translated as “Sarah's lifetime,” this Torah portion actually tells us about Sarah's death. Abraham seeks to purchase the cave of Machpelah, in Hebron, for her burial. Ephron, the son of Zohar, owns the land, and Abraham bargains with him for the purchase. After the burial, Abraham sends a trusted servant back to his native land to find a wife for Isaac. The servant chooses Rebekah and returns with her to the Land of Israel where Isaac takes her for his wife.
Genesis 25:19-28.9

Toledot may be translated as “generations,” and “history.” This Torah portion begins by describing the birth of Esau and Jacob, the twins born to Rebekah and Isaac. Esau is a rugged person of the outdoors; Jacob is a gentle person, preferring the quiet of his tent. Isaac favors Esau, and Rebekah loves Jacob. While still young, Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a pot of stew. Later, at age forty, Esau brings pain to his parents by marrying two Hittite women. When Isaac is old and near death, Rebekah and Jacob trick him into giving Jacob the special blessing he had intended for Esau. Esau discovers what they have done and vows to kill his brother. Fearing for Jacob's life and desiring that he marry someone from her people in Paddan-aram, Rebekah persuades Isaac to send Jacob to her brother, Laban. Meanwhile, Esau took his first cousin, Mahalath the daughter of Ismael, as his third wife.


Genesis 28:10-32:3

Vayetze means "and he went out" and relates the story of Jacob's departure from Beer-sheba for distant Haran, Rebekah's birthplace. The first night of his journey, he dreams of a stairway reaching from earth to heaven and is told by God that his descendants will be blessed and that they will inherit the land already promised to Abraham and Isaac. After a long journey, Jacob arrives in Haran where he is welcomed by Rebekah's brother Laban and his two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Laban promises to allow Rachel to marry Jacob if he will work seven years for him. When it comes time for the marriage, Laban deceives Jacob by sending Leah to his tent. When Jacob protests, Laban tells him that, if he will serve another seven years, then he will also give him Rachel. Jacob agrees. With his two wives and their maidservants, Bilhah and Zilpah, he has twelve children: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah with Leah; Dan and Naphtali with Bilhah; Gad and Asher with Zilpah; and Joseph with Rachel. After working many years for Laban, Jacob decides to return to his homeland. He works out an agreement with Laban for payment of his wages. They will divide the herd. Jacob will be given all the spotted and speckled sheep and goats; Laban will keep the rest. Laban agrees, but, when Jacob's herd increases in numbers, Laban's sons accuse Jacob of cheating them. Fearing trouble, Jacob decides to leave secretly with all his family and cattle. Laban pursues him, but, when he overtakes him, they share their grievances and reconcile their differences. Afterwards, Jacob and his family continue on their way.


Genesis 32:4-36:43 

Vayishlach means “and he sent” and refers to Jacob sending messengers to his brother Esau before their meeting after twenty years of separation. We are told of Jacob's fears, of his division of his community into two camps, and of his wrestling with a man-angel who changes Jacob's name to Israel. Following that struggle, Jacob and Esau meet and part peacefully, each going his separate way. After Jacob and his community settle in Shechem, Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob, is raped by Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite. Jacob's sons take revenge by murdering all the males of Shechem and plundering the city. Jacob is critical of his sons for what they have done. Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin and is buried near Bethlehem. Isaac dies and is buried in Hebron near Abraham and Sarah. The Torah portion concludes with the genealogy of Jacob and Esau.


Genesis 37:1 40:23

Vayeshev, which means "and he settled," contains the story of Jacob and his sons, who have settled in the land of Canaan. There is jealousy between the other brothers and Joseph, who dreams of ruling them. They plot Joseph's death, but Judah persuades them to sell him to a caravan of Ishmaelites heading for Egypt. Afterwards, they report to Jacob that Joseph was killed by a wild animal. Later, Judah's son Er dies, leaving his wife, Tamar, as a widow. Judah promises that his young son Shelah will marry Tamar, but Judah fails to keep his word. Therefore, Tamar disguises herself and tricks Judah into sleeping with her. When Judah is told that Tamar has "played the harlot" and is pregnant, he orders that she be put to death. Defending herself, Tamar reveals to Judah that he is the father of the child she is carrying. Realizing that he has not treated Tamar fairly, Judah declares: "She is more in the right than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah." The Torah portion continues with the adventures of Joseph in Egypt, where he is sold to Pharaoh's chief steward, Potiphar, and quickly rises from being a slave to becoming manager of his master's house. Potiphar's wife is attracted to Joseph and tries to seduce him. Angry because Joseph refuses her advances, she reports to Potiphar that Joseph tried to force himself upon her. Potiphar has Joseph thrown into prison. There he meets Pharaoh's chief cupbearer and chief baker. They tell him of their dreams, and Joseph interprets them. (Later, as Joseph has predicted, the cupbearer is returned to Pharaoh's service, but the chief baker is put to death.)  


Genesis 41:1 44:17 

Miketz, which means "at the end of. . ." continues Joseph's adventure in Egypt. Pharaoh has two dreams that none of his advisors can interpret. The cupbearer remembers Joseph and tells Pharaoh about him. Joseph is brought from jail and interprets Pharaoh's dreams to mean that Egypt will have seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of his land. When the famine strikes, Jacob sends his sons, except for Benjamin, to Egypt. When they arrive, Joseph recognizes his brothers and accuses them of coming to spy in his land. They tell him that they have come for food and that they have an elderly father and one younger brother. Joseph seizes Simeon and tells the brothers that he will not go free until they return with their youngest brother. He takes their money and sends them off with sacks of food. Later, they discover that each of their sacks contains the money they had previously given to Joseph. As the famine worsens, Jacob tells his sons to return to Egypt. They remind Jacob that they cannot return without Benjamin. Judah pledges that Benjamin will be safe. When his brothers return to Egypt, Joseph frees Simeon and invites the brothers to his house for a banquet. He has yet to reveal his identity. When the banquet concludes, he orders that the brothers' bags be filled with food and that his wine cup be secretly placed in Benjamin's bag. After the brothers depart, Joseph sends his steward to pursue and arrest them for stealing his wine cup. They reply that they have taken nothing. When the wine cup is found in Benjamin's bag, the brothers are brought back to Joseph's house. He informs them that he will keep Benjamin as a slave but release the rest of them. 


Genesis 14:18 - 17:27 

Vayigash, which means "and he approached him," begins with the confrontation between Judah and Joseph, whose identity is still unknown to his brothers. Judah tells Joseph that, if he refuses to allow Benjamin to return to his father, the old man will die. He pleads with Joseph to take him as a slave in place of Benjamin. Joseph hears Judah and then dramatically reveals his identity to his brothers. He instructs them to bring Jacob to Egypt and to settle there in Goshen. Pharaoh also invites Joseph's family "to live off the fat of the land." Jacob arrives in Egypt for an emotional reunion with Joseph and is welcomed as well by Pharaoh. The famine continues, and Joseph arranges for people to exchange livestock for food and, then, land for food. Controlling the land for Pharaoh, Joseph distributes seed for planting with the agreement that the people will give one-fifth to Pharaoh and keep four-fifths for themselves. Meanwhile, Jacob and his family increase in numbers and wealth in the area of Goshen. 


Genesis 47:28-50:26

Vayechi may be translated “and he lived” and records the last years and death of Jacob. After living in Egypt for seventeen years, Jacob calls his son Joseph and his grandsons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to his bedside for a blessing. He asks Joseph to bury him with Abraham and Isaac at the cave of Machpelah. Afterwards he calls all of his sons to his side and blesses each one. When Jacob dies, Joseph and his brothers bury him in Hebron. After their father's death, Joseph's brothers begin to fear that Joseph will now punish them for selling him into slavery. He reassures them that they are safe and promises to care for them and their families. Joseph lives to the age of one hundred and ten. Just before he dies he tells his family that God will return them to the Land of Israel and instructs them to carry his bones up from Egypt at that time.


Exodus 1 :1-6:1

Parashat Shemot begins by mentioning the shemot, or "names," of Jacob's sons and telling us that after they died a new pharaoh, who did not know Joseph, comes to power. Fearing the Jewish people, the new ruler orders taskmasters to enslave them and drown their male children in the Nile River. Defring that order, one mother places her son in a basket and casts the basket into the river. Pharaoh's daughter who was bathing nearby rescues the child and adopts him as her own. She names him Moses. Some time after Moses has grown up, he sees an Egyptian beating a Jew. Defending the Jew, Moses strikes the Egyptian and kills him. WhenPharaoh hears what has happened, he orders Moses put to death. So Moses flees from Egypt. When he arrives in Midian, he is welcomed by Jethro, a local priest, whose daughter, Zipporah, he later marries. While Moses is shepherding Jethro's flock, God speaks to him out of a burning bush, promising that Aaron, his brother, will help him liberate the Israelites from oppression. Moses then returns to Egypt where he and Aaron go to Pharaoh to demand freedom for their people. Pharaoh refuses and imposes hard labor upon the people, who blame Moses for making their situation worse. When Moses complains to God, he is told, "You shall soon see what I will do to Pharaoh: he shall let them go because of a greater might." 


Exodus 6:2-9:35

Parashat Va'era begins with God saying to Moses: "Va'era. . . 'And I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.' "We are told of the relationship between God and the Jewish people and of the promise to give the Land of Israel to the people. God tells Moses that the time has come to free the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Moses is told that he should go before Pharaoh to ask that the Egyptian ruler allow the Israelites to depart. Twice Moses responds by saying that Pharaoh will not listen and apologetically explains that, because of a speech impediment, he is not the right person to represent the Jewish people. God answers by declaring that Moses' brother, Aaron, will accompany him as the spokesman.



The two brothers appear before Pharaoh to request the freedom of their people, but Pharaoh refuses to liberate them. As a consequence, terrible plagues are set upon Egypt. The waters of the Nile are bloodied; then the land is filled with frogs and swarms of insects; then there is the death of Egyptian livestock; and later there is destructive hail. These plagues are sent to punish Pharaoh and to force him to free the Israelites. 


Exodus 10:1-13:16 

Parashat Bo takes its name from the first word of God's command to Moses, “Go (Bo) to Pharaoh.” Moses and Aaron continue to plead with Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free. Because he refuses, the Egyptians are punished with plagues of locusts, darkness, and, finally, the death of their firstborn. Pharaoh tells Moses, “Be gone from me!” God then tells Moses that, after the last plague, Pharaoh will let the Israelites leave. That midnight Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and proclaims that each year on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month a festival lasting seven days will be celebrated in order to recall their liberation from Egypt. Matzah, or “unleavened bread,” shall be eaten during the seven days, and on the first night of the festival the children will be told how God freed their people from the house of bondage.


Exodus 14:30-15:21  

Parashat Beshallach takes its name from the second word of the Torah portion. Beshallach means "when he sent forth" and refers to Pharaoh's decision to free the Israelites. Led by Moses, they depart from Egypt, but Pharaoh changes his mind and decides to pursue them. When the Israelites see Pharaoh and his army approaching, they complain to Moses that he has brought them into the wilderness to die. He assures them that God will save them and leads them through the Sea of Reeds. From the other side they watch as the pursuing Egyptians are drowned. In celebration, Moses and the Israelites sing a song of praise to God. Afterwards they begin their journey through the Sinai desert. Despite their victory over the Egyptians and their liberation, however, the Israelites continue to complain to Moses. They cr out that they have no water to drink, no bread to eat. God grants them water and provides them with "manna," a food substance resembling flour. While the Israelites are camped at Rephidim, they are attacked by the Amalekites. Joshua, who has been appointed by Moses, successfully destroys the Arnalekite forces. 



Special torah reading for the 7th day of Passover


Exodus 18:1-20:23 

Parashctt Yitro continues the journey of the Israelites across the Sinai desert. Before returning to Egypt, Moses had left his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, with his father-in-law, Jethro. Hearing that Moses has freed the Israelites from Egypt, Jethro brings Zipporah and her children to the Israelite camp. Moses tells his father-in-law about the Israelite liberation, and they offer sacrifices of thanksgiving to God. The next day Jethro observes that the people are bringing all their problems to Moses. He suggests that the burden is too great for one person to bear and advises Moses to choose trustworthy people to share leadership with him. Moses takes his advice. Three months after entering the Sinai desert, Moses and the Israelites camp at Mount Sinai. Moses goes up to the top of the mountain, and God speaks to him, giving him the Ten Commandments. Below, the people hear thunder and see lightning. They remain at a distance while Moses communes with God. 


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Exodus 21:1-24:18 

Parashat Mishpatim presents the mishpatim, "rules" or "laws," that govern the ancient Jewish community. The code of law deals with the treatment of slaves; crimes of murder and kidnapping; personal injuries; damages through neglect or theft; offenses against others through lying, witchcraft, idolatry, oppression, unfair business practices; and unjust treatment by judges. This Torah portion also includes a warning against following others to do evil, along with directives to care for the distressed animals of your enemy and to show impartiality in making judgments. Israelites are reminded to demonstrate sensitivity to the stranger because they were strangers in the land of Egypt. Finally, the portion presents rules for the Sabbath, sabbatical year, Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukot. Upon hearing all these laws, Moses gathers the people at Mount Sinai to offer sacrifices and declares, "All the things that God has commanded we will do!"  


Exodus 25:1-27:19 

Parashat Terumah is about building the first sanctuary, or the Tabernacle. The Israelites are still wandering through the Sinai desert. Moses instructs each person to bring a terumah, or "donation," "gift," for the building of the sanctuary. The contributions may be of gold, silver, and copper; of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, fine linen, goats' hair; tanned ram skins, dolphin skins, and acacia wood; oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the aromatic incense; lapis lazuli and other precious stones for the ephod and breastplate. Concerning the Tabernacle, God says to Moses, "And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them." Instructions for the architecture of the sanctuary are detailed. The ark and poles for carrying it shall be made of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Two gold cherubim with large wings are to be placed above the ark, facing each other. A table of acacia wood overlaid with gold is to be made, along with special bowls and jars for offering sacrifices. Moses is also instructed to build a menortth, or "lampstand," of pure hammered gold to hold seven lamps. As for the sanctuary itself, Moses is given details of its size, the material to be used in its construction, and instructions on how to assemble it.


Exodus 27:20-30:10 

Pizrash1cit Tetzaveh continues the description of the mikdsh, begun in the previous Torah portion. It includes commandments to create a ner tamid, "a constantly burning light," above the sanctuary ark and to appoint Aaron and his sons as priests to manage the sacrifices offered in the sanctuary. Also included are detailed instructions about clothing for Aaron. He is to wear an ephod, a breastpiece, a robe, a fringed tunic, a headdress, and a sash. Aaron's ceremony of ordination as priest is described, along with instructions for the slaughtering of the offerings. The portion concludes with directions for building an altar for burning incense before the ark.


Exodus 30:11-34:35 

God instructs Moses to collect a half-shekel from every person over the age of twenty when he takes a census of the community. He is told to make a copper container, fill it with water, and place it in the sanctuary that the priests might wash themselves before approaching the altar; he is also to create a special anointing oil for consecrating the furniture of the mikdash. Moses is told that the sanctuary furnishings, including the priestly garments, are to be made under the supervision of Bezalel, a skilled artisan. Moses is commanded to remind the people that in observing the Sabbath they celebrate the covenant between themselves and God. The Torah text now shifts back to the time of Moses standing on Mount Sinai. He is given the two tablets containing God's commandments. Forty days have passed, and below the people of Israel approach Aaron, requesting that he create a golden calf for them to worship. Aaron agrees. God tells Moses what has happened; threatening to destroy the Israelites, but Moses pleads for the people and saves them from God's anger. When Moses sees the idol they have built, however, he shatters the tablets God has given him. Entering the camp, Moses also destroys the golden idol and punishes those who have not shown loyalty to God. Fearful that God will abandon the people, Moses asks for proof that God will continue to lead them. God's Presence is shown to Moses as assurance that neither he nor the Israelites will be abandoned. Afterwards, God directs Moses to carve two new tablets and return to Mount Sinai. God commands the Israelites to observe Pesach, Shavuot, and the Sabbath. When, after the second forty days and nights, Moses returns to the people, his face is bright red, radiant from speaking with God; so he covers it with a veil.


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Exodus 35.1 40:38

Vayakhel-Pekude is one of seven designated Torah portions that, depending upon the number of Sabbaths in a year, is either read as two separate portions or combined to assure the reading of the entire Torah. While this volume will combine them, it will present an interpretation on each of their most important themes.



Parashat Vayakhel repeats the commandment to observe the Sabbath, emphasizing that no work is to be done on that day. It continues with Moses asking the Israelites to donate gifts of gold, silver, copper, precious stones, fine linen, wood, oil, or spices to be used for building the mishkan, or "sanctuar." Moses appoints Bezalel and Oholiab, skilled craftsmen, to oversee the construction of the sanctuary, and they report to Moses that the people are giving more gifts than are needed. So Moses tells the people to stop bringing their donations. Under the direction of Bezalel and Oholiab, skilled craftsmen work on the cloths, planks, bars, curtains, screens, lampstands, altars, and priestly garments of the sanctuary.



Parashat Pekude describes the records kept of all the work and materials used in the construction of the mishkan, as well as of all the donations given by the Israelites. When the mishkan is completed, Moses and the Israelites celebrate by anointing it. God's Presence fills the sanctuary and leads the people throughout their journeys. 


Leviticus 1:1-5:26 

Parashat Vayikra describes five different kinds of sacrifices to be offered in the sanctuary. They are the olah, or "burnt offering"; the minchah, or "meal offering"; the zevach shelamim, or "sacrifice of well-being"; the chatat, or "sin offering"; and the asham, or "guilt offering." The manner in which each offering is made is described in detail. 


Leviticus 6:1-8.36 

Parashat Tzav repeats and enlarges upon the descriptions of the sacrifices already discussed in Parashat Vayikra. Included in this portion are details about how the ancient offerings of the olah, minchah, chatat, asham, and zevach shelamim were performed. We are also given a description of the ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests in the sanctuary and of the dedication of the first sanctuary. 



SHEMINI         Leviticus 9:1-li e47 

Parashat Shemini opens with Moses' instructions to Aaron and his sons t )i bringing offerings to the sanctuary as atonement for any sins that they or the people may have committed. Aaron follows Moses' instructions carefully and places the offerings on the sanctuary altar. Afterwards two of Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, decide to bring fire offerings of their own. Because they have brought offerings not commanded by God, they are punished by death. Moses tells Aaron and his other sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, not to mourn for them. Later God tells Moses and Aaron which foods are permitted for eating and which are forbidden to the people of Israel. 


Leviticus 12.1-15:33 

Parashat Tazria-Metzora is one of seven designated Torah portions that, depending upon the number of Sabbaths in a year, is either read as two separate portions or combined to assure the reading of the entire Torah. While this volume will combine them, it will present an interpretation on each of their most important themes.


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Parashat Tazria presents the rituals of purification for a woman after childbirth and the methods for diagnosing and treating a variety of skin diseases.



Parashat Metzora continues the discussion of skin diseases and the purification rituals for a person cured of them. Attention is given also to the appearance and treatment of fungus or mildew in the home and to the ritual impurity resulting from contact with the discharge of sexual organs. 


Leviticus 16:1-20:27 

ParashatAchareMot-Kedoshim is one of seven designated Torah portions that, depending upon the number of Sabbaths in a year, is either read as two separate portions or combined to assure the reading of the entire Torah. While this volume will combine them, it will present an interpretation on each of their most important themes.


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Parashat Achare Mot, which means "after the death of," recalls the death of Nadab and Abihu, Aaron's sons. It describes the rituals for the sin offerings that Aaron is to present in the sanctuary for himself and the people. Mention is made of Yom Kippur, or "Day of Atonement." Laws regarding forbidden sexual relations are also presented.



Petrashat Kedoshim, which means "holiness," lists those ritual and ethical laws that, if followed, will make the Jewish people a "holy" people. 


Leviticus 21:1-24:23 

Parashat Emor presents the laws regulating the lives of priests, who presided over the sanctuary and its sacrifices. Mention is made of the donations and offerings that are acceptable for the sanctuary. This portion also includes a calendar of celebration, including the Sabbath, Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. It concludes with the laws dealing with profanity, murder, and the maiming of others. 


Leviticus 25. 1-27:34 

Parashat Behar-Bechukotai is one of seven designated Torah portions that, depending upon the number of Sabbaths in a year, is either read as two separate portions or combined to assure the reading of the entire Torah. While this volume will combine them, it will present an interpretation on each of their most important themes.



Parashat Behar presents laws regulating the sabbatical year and the jubilee year. The people are told that for six years they are to sow their fields and prune their vineyards, but, during the seventh year, the land is to be given a complete rest, a Sabbath. Every fiftieth year is to be a jubilee year in which land and vineyards must not be worked and in which liberty will be granted to all Israelites enslaved during the previous forty-nine years. The jubilee year also marks a return of any properties purchased during the previous forty- nine years to the original owner-families who had been given the land at the time the Israelites entered it.



Parashat Bechukotai is filled with God's promises to the people if they are loyal and faithfully follow all the commandments and with God's warnings if they disobey. Peace, security, and abundant crops are promised if they are faithful. Misery, suffering, and ruin will come if they spurn God's commandments. The portion also includes brief discussions of the payment of vows and gifts made to the sanctuary.


Numbers 1:1-4:20 

The second book of the Torah, Exodus, concludes with a description for setting up the sanctuary on the first day of the first month of the second year after the Israelites leave Egypt. The fourth book of the Torah, known in Hebrew as Bemidbar, or "in the desert," or in English as Numbers, begins with God commanding Moses to take a census of the entire Israelite community. The commandment is given on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites' departure from Egypt. All males over the age of twenty are counted, and it is reported that there is a total of 603,550. This number excludes 22,000 Levites, who are exclusively responsible for all services of the sanctuary and are to camp around the sanctuary at all times. After counting all firstborn Israelite males over the age of one month, Moses is instructed to compare their number of 22,273 with the total of 22,000 Levites and to charge a redemption tax for the additional 273. It is to be paid to Aaron and his sons for service to the sanctuary. Moses also lists and counts the Kohathites separately from the Levites since the Kohathites are responsible for lifting and carrying the sacred objects of the sanctuary. They are not to be present when the sanctuary is either dismantled or set up. 


Numbers 4:21-7:89 

Parashat Naso concludes the census begun in the first chapters of Numbers with a counting of the Gershonites, Merarites, and Kohathites and a description of their work in the sanctuary. It also includes instructions for removing from the Israelite camp those suspected of disease or those who may have become impure by touching a dead body. Moses explains how to seek forgiveness for wrongdoing and what to do if a husband suspects his wife of adultery. The practices of the nazirite are repeated together with a description of the ritual for completing a nazirite vow. The portion concludes with the threefold priestly blessing for the people of Israel and with a description of the offerings brought by the twelve tribal chieftains to the sanctuary dedication ceremony. 


Numbers 8:1 -12:16 

Parashat Beha'alotecha contains instructions for installing the menorah in the sanctuary and for consecrating the priests and Levites. It also describes the procedure to be followed by any Israelite who misses bringing the Pesach sacrifice, and it includes a description of the Israelites' journey through the desert. When the people complain about their diet of manna, Moses asks God, "Why have You laid the burden of all this people upon me?" He is counseled to appoint seventy experienced elders and officers to share leadership and the spirit of prophecy with him. Among the appointed are Eldad and Medad, who are filled with enthusiasm. Despite Joshua's complaint about them, Moses defends their right to act as prophets. Miriam and Aaron criticize Moses for his marriage to a Cushite woman. Miriam is punished with leprosy. Both Aaron and Moses plead on her behalf. After being excluded from the camp for seven days, she is cured.


Numbers 13:1-15:41 

Parashat Shelach-Lecha describes how the twelve spies, each representing a tribe of Israel, scout the Land of Israel. After forty days they return. Ten of them report that the land is fruitful, but its cities and countryside are filled with powerful warriors-giants. Two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, disagree. They urge the people to conquer the land. Hearing the divided report, the people protest against Moses and Aaron, telling them, "Let us go back to Egypt." God threatens to abandon the people for their disloyalty and to create a new people for Moses to lead. Moses pleads with God to pardon the people, pointing out that God's reputation is at stake. He argues that, if the people are destroyed, it will appear that God freed them from Egypt to crush them in the desert. The people are told that, because of their lack of faith, they will die before entering the Land of Israel, and only after forty years of wandering in the desert will their children conquer the land. Offerings to be presented at the sanctuary are described, as is the treatment of the ger, or "stranger," who resides among the Israelites. The Israelites are warned that the penalty for gathering wood on the Sabbath is death by stoning. They are commanded to attach a blue cord or thread to the fringes at the corners of their garments as a reminder of their responsibility to fulfill all the commandments of Torah. 


Numbers 16:1-18:32 

Parashat Korah tells of the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and On against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. With 250 respected leaders of the community, they accuse Moses and Aaron of acting "holier" than the other Israelites. Hearing their complaint, Moses instructs them to bring offerings to the sanctuary on the next day and tells them that God will demonstrate who is to be trusted as leader of the community. The next morning the leaders of the rebellion and their followers are punished. Some are swallowed when the earth opens; others are killed by fire or plague. The community then accuses Moses and Aaron of bringing death upon the people. God threatens to destroy the entire people, but Moses orders Aaron to place an offering on the altar, which is meant to save the people from harm. Moses then organizes the priesthood to be headed by Aaron and his descendants. They, along with the tribe of Levi, are to be responsible for managing all gifts donated to the sanctuary. Unlike other tribes of Israel, Levites are not given an' territory. They are given offerings as payment for their work in the sanctuary. 


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Numbers 19:1 -22.1 

Parasliat Chukat begins by describing the ritual slaughter and sacrifice of the parah adumah, or "red cow," by Eleazar the priest, and the ritual cleansing for those who touch a corpse. Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, dies at Kadesh. Again the people complain that they have no water to drink. God tells Moses to take his rod and order a rock to bring forth water. Angry at the complaining people, whom he calls "rebels," Moses strikes the rock with his rod. Water pours out. The people drink and water their animals. God informs Moses that because of his anger he will not be allowed to lead his people into the Land of Israel. Moses asks the king of Edom for permission to pass through his land. The king refuses, and the Israelites take another route. When they reach Hor, Aaron dies, and his priestly authority is passed on to his son, Eleazar. The people mourn Aaron for thirty days. Afterwards they are attacked by the Canaanites, whom they conquer with God's help. However, the people continue to complain to Moses: "Why did you make us leave Egypt to die in the wilderness?" God sends snakes among the people to bite them for their disloyalty. Moses begs forgiveness for them when they admit their wrongdoing. God tells Moses to place a seraph figure-a snake made of copper-on his staff. When the people see it, they will be healed. The Israelites are later attacked by the Amorites and the people of Bashan and Og. In each battle the Israelites emerge victorious, conquering towns and acquiring large territories. 


Numbers 22:2-25:9 

Parashctt Balak takes its title from Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab. Afraid that the Israelites will attack his nation, Balak sends messengers to invite Bala'am ben Beor, a well-known pagan prophet, to come and curse the people of Israel. At first, God forbids Bala'am to grant Balak's request. Then the seer is sent but told that he must say only what God commands. On the way, Bala'am's donkey sees an angel standing before her and refuses to go forward. Bala'am beats her. After the donkey protests that she is being mistreated, Bala'am himself sees the angel. Fearful, he asks if he should return home, but the angel tells him to continue, warning once again that he is to say only what God commands. On three occasions King Balak asks Bala'am to curse the Israelites, but each time the seer blesses them. Furious, Balak tells Bala'am to return home. In parting, the seer predicts that Israel will soon "smash the brow of Moab." Later, when the Israelites camp in Shittim, they have sexual relations with Moabite women and offer sacrifices to the Moabites' god. As a result they are punished with a plague. When Pinchas, son of Eleazar the priest, witnesses an Israelite entering a tent with a Moabite woman, he takes a spear and kills both of them. His action ends the plague after 24,000 Israelites have died. 


Numbers 25:10-30:1

Parashat Pinchas elaborates on the incident at the end of Parashat Balak: Pinchas, son of Eleazar, kills Zimri son of Sam, and Cozhi, daughter of Zur, a Midianite, who have entered a tent to have sex. Pinchas's zealousness saves the Israelites from a plague. God rewards him with a covenant of peace and his descendants with the office of the priesthood for all time. Moses tells the people to crush the Midianites for their "trickery" in seducing the Israelites into idolatry and whoring with their women. After the plague, Moses and Aaron take a census of the entire Israelite community. The total number of Israelites is 601,730. Moses also announces the division of the land, providing larger tribes with greater holdings and smaller tribes with lesser ones. Each person is assigned a lot of equal size, except for the Levites who are not given land but are compensated monetarily for their work in the sanctuary. During the taking of the census the case of the daughters of Zelophehad-Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah-arises. They claim that, because their father has died and left no sons, they should have the right to inherit his holdings. God confirms their claim and instructs Moses to announce that, if a man dies without leaving a son, a daughter will inherit his property. Moses is told to climb to the top of Mount Abarirn to see the Land of Israel, and he is informed that he will die there. When Moses requests that his successor be chosen, God tells Moses to appoint Joshua. Moses is to instruct Joshua to present himself to Eleazar the priest, who will consult the Urim for important decisions and instructions regarding the community. The parashah concludes with a description of the offerings to be presented daily, on the Sabbath, on new moons, for Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and for each of the days of Sukkot, including the eighth day, or Shemini Atzeret. 


Numbers 30:2-36:13 

Parashat Matot-Mas'ey is one of seven designated Torah portions that, depending upon the number of Sabbaths in a year, is either read as two separate portions or combined to assure the reading of the entire Torah. While this volume will combine them, it will present an interpretation on each of their most important themes.



Parashat Matot reports the laws, given to the Israelites, for making vows. It also contains a description of the Israelites' war against the Midianites, including the distribution of the booty. The Torah portion concludes with Moses resolving a request by the Gadites and Reubenites for the lands of Jazer and Gilead.



Parashat Mas'ey recounts forty years of mas'ey, or "journeys," by the Israelites from Egypt to the Land of Israel. Moses provides instructions for conquering the land, defining its borders, and dividing it among the tribes. He also defines provisions for setting up six cities of refuge where those accused of manslaughter may go for safety and a fair trial. The Book of Numbers concludes with a counter protest regarding the daughters of Zelophehad (see the discussion in Parshat Pinchas) and a further clarification of the Torah's laws of inheritance. 


Deuteronomy 1:1 -3:22 

Parashat Devarim begins a series of speeches by Moses to the Israelites. They are about to enter the Land of Israel. Moses will die in Moab on Mount Nebo. He reminds the people that they will take possession of the land given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He recalls the time when he was unable to lead them by himself and how God told him to appoint wise leaders to assist him. Moses also recounts sending scouts to explore the land, resulting in a divisive report that frightened the people with predictions of defeat. Because of the scouts' lies and the people's lack of faith, their whole generation was not allowed to enter the land. Only Caleb and Joshua, son of Nun, who brought back a positive report, would lead the new generation of Israelites into the Land of Israel. Moses then recounts their route of travel from Kadesh-barnea southward to Ezion-geber, then northward skirting Edom and Moab to Kedemoth and Heshbon, and their victorious battles with Sihon, (king of Heshbon), and Og, (king of Bashan). 


Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 

Parashat Va'etchanan continues Moses' speeches to the Israelites just before his death. He pleads with God to allow him to enter the Land of Israel, but he is refused. He warns the people against falling into idolatry; reminds them to observe all the commandments given to them; and recalls their awesome experience at Mount Horeb, where they received the Ten Commandments. Moses also sets aside Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan as refuge cities for those who commit unintentional homicide. Proclaiming that God made a covenant with the Israelites at Mount Horeb, Moses recites the Ten Commandments. The people are overwhelmed and ask Moses to recite the rest of the commandments, promising to obey them. Afterwards, Moses tells them, "Hear, 0 Israel: Adonai is our God, Adonai is One. You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." Warning them against repeating their  rebelliousness at Massah, Moses tells them, "Do what is right and good in the sight of Adonai, that it may go well with you. . . ." Finally, Moses informs the Israelites that they are not to spare the people who occupy their land nor intermarry with them. The Israelites are God's chosen and treasured people who will be loved by God if they remain loyal to God's covenant and commandments. 


Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 

Parashat Ekev continues the speeches of Moses to the Israelites. He tells them that, if they maintain their covenant with God by observing all the commandments, God will make them fruitful and victorious over their enemies. Reminding them of their forty years of wandering through the wilderness, Moses tells them: "God subjected you to the hardship of hunger then gave you manna. . . in order to teach you that human beings do not live on bread alone. . . ." He then warns them that after settling in their land and enjoying its fruits, they should not arrogantly assume: "My own power and the might of my own hand have won this wealth for me." Nor, continues Moses, should they conclude that it is for their virtue that God allows them to defeat their enemies and conquer their land. Rather, it is punishment of the inhabitants for idolatry, and it is God's fulfillment of the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses recalls the disloyalty of the people; how they built the golden calf when he was receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Horeb; how they rebelled at Kadesh-bamea; and how he intervened with God to save them, granting them another set of the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were engraved. Moses recounts the death and burial of Aaron. He also tells the people that God wants them to "cut away the thickening about their hearts," observe the commandments, and learn from their history how God freed them from Egyptian slavery and led them through the desert. If you keep the commandments, Moses promises, God will dislodge all nations before you. No one will stand before your power. 


Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 

Parashat Re'eh continues Moses' speeches to the Israelites. Warning that they face the choice between a life of blessings or a life of curses, he urges them to observe God's commandments in the land west of the Jordan, where they will settle. He tells them to destroy all idolatrous altars and to worship at the place designated by God. Rules about sacrifices, tithes, and care for the Levites are discussed along with regulations for slaughtering and eating meat. Moses warns the people not to be lured into idolatry by false prophets, family members, or friends. He commands them not to disfigure themselves or eat anything harmful to their health. He clarifies which animals are permitted and which are forbidden for eating and details regulations for setting aside a tenth part of one's produce (tithe) for the stranger, fatherless, and widow. Moses also defines the sabbatical year as a time for canceling all debts and for extending care to the needy, promising that those who help the poor will be blessed with no regrets. In addition, he instructs the Israelites in the treatment of slaves and reviews the three Pilgrimage Festivals of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. 


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Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 

Parashat Shofetim opens with the command to appoint judges and legal officials to carry out justice within the society and with a warning against the worship of other gods. Two witnesses must be heard before a court can impose the death penalty. Cases of homicide, civil law, or assault too difficult to decide in one court must be transferred to a higher court. Regulations for choosing a king/leader are presented, including a warning that this leader should follow the laws of Torah faithfully. The offerings for priests are again set forth; also set forth is the difference between a true and false prophet. Cities of refuge for those guilty of manslaughter are described, with laws forbidding the movement of landmarks. The portion concludes with regulations to be observed during war and with assessments of communal responsibilities when the body of a murder victim is found beyond city limits. 


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KI TETZE Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 

Parashat Ki Tetze contains a mixture of seventy-two commandments, dealing with such diverse subjects as the treatment of captives, defiant children, lost animals, birds' nests, roof railings, divorce, rights of aliens, loans, vows, protection of works, parental guilt, charity for the poor, regulations for inheritance, and fair weights and measures. The portion concludes with a warning to remember how the Amalekites attacked the weary Israelites in the desert. 

Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 

Parashat Ki Tavo addresses the time when the Israelites will settle in the Land of Israel. Moses instructs them to place in a basket the first fruits they have harvested and present them, together with a prayer, to the priest at the sanctuary. Their prayer is to be a formula recalling they were slaves in Egypt, liberated by God, and given the land whose first fruits they now enjoy. They are also to set aside a tenth part of their yield for the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and they are to keep all the commandments given to them. In this way they will be a treasured people to God. Moses and the elders tell them, when they have settled in the land, to write the commandments on large plastered stones and set them up on Mount Ebal, where they are also to build an altar to God. Then representatives of the tribes of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin are to stand on Mount Gerizim to hear the blessing describing the good times that will come as a result of observing God's commandments. Facing them on Mount Ebal, representatives from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali are to stand to hear the curse resulting from disobeying the commandments. God promises the Israelites blessings of plenty, security, and peace if they observe faithfully the teachings of Torah. Curses of destruction, agony, want, and exile will befall them if they spurn the teachings of Torah. "Observe faithfully all the terms of this covenant," Moses warns, "that you may succeed in all that you undertake." 


Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30 

Parashat Nitzavim- Vayelech is one of seven designated Torah portions that, depending upon the number of Sabbaths in a year, is either read as two separate portions or combined to assure the reading of the entire Torah. While this volume will combine them, it will present an interpretation on each of their most important themes.



Parashat Nitzavim continues Moses' speeches to the Israelites just before they enter the Land of Israel. He tells them that God is making a covenant with them and, through them, with all future generations, fulfilling the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The covenant will last, he warns, only if they do not worship other gods. If they forsake the Torah's commandments, devastation, plagues, and curses will afflict them. However, Moses promises that they will not be entirely forsaken. If they return to Adonai and take the blessings and curses seriously, God will forgive them and restore them to their land, allowing them another opportunity to conduct their lives according to the laws of Torah. God, says Moses, is setting the choice of life and death before them. They are told: "Choose life."



Parashat Vayelech begins with Moses' announcement that he is one hundred and twenty years old and no longer able to lead the people. He assures them that they will be successful in re-conquering the Land of Israel and calls upon Joshua to succeed him as leader, promising that God "will not fail you or forsake you." He transmits the Torah to the priests, instructing the people to gather every seven years at the festival of Sukot to hear the reading of the Torah, which they are to study. Forecasting that the people will nonetheless abandon the laws of Torah, God gives Moses a poem to "confront them as a witness" to all they have been taught. (See Deuteronomy 32: 1 -43.) Moses transmits the Torah to the Levites, asking them to place it in the Ark of the Covenant. Moses then calls the people together to hear the poem. 


Deuteronomy 32:1 -52

Prashit H'zinu is a prayer-poem that Moses presents to the people of Israel just before he ascends Mount Neho, where he will die. In these verses, Moses declares that God's "deeds are perfect . . . and just," and God is "never false" but always "true and upright." He warns against those who act dishonestly against God. He tells the Israelites to "remember" their history and their special relationship with God, who guided their ancestors and cared for them despite the many times they turned to idolatry. God, Moses declares, could have obliterated the Israelites many times for their disloyalty but decided against doing so lest their enemies assume Israel's destruction was their doing rather than God's punishment. Indeed, says Moses, it is God who constantly saves Israel from destruction. It is God "who deals death and gives life." God, Moses concludes, will bring vengeance upon Israel's enemies. Moses warns the people to "take to heart" all of the Torah arid its laws and to teach the laws to their children. "The Torah is your very life," he tells them, and "through it you shall long endure. . . . "Moses is then told to climb Mount Neho from which he will be able to see the Land of Israel. There he will die, without entering the land, punishment for his anger at the Waters of Meribath-kadesh. 


Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

Parashat Vezot ha-berachah, meaning "This is the blessing ..." begins with Moses' blessing of and his farewell to the people of Israel. He blesses each of the twelve tribes, noting that the Torah is "the heritage of the congregation of Jacob." He concludes with the pronouncement: "O happy Israel! Who is like you,/A people delivered by Adonai,/Your protecting Shield, your Sword triumphant!" Then Moses climbs Mount Nebo, located in Moab just across from Jericho and the Dead Sea, from whose peak he sees the Land of Israel. He dies there at the age of one hundred and twenty years and is buried in Moab. No one knows the location of his grave. At the end of a thirty-day mourning period, Joshua assumes leadership of the people. "Never again," declares the Torah, "did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses- whom Adonai singled out, face to face. . . . "

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B'nai Mitzvah

B'nai Mitzvah Training

The B'nai Mitzvah is one of many high points in a Jewish child's life, the marking of a most significant milestone. At Temple Sinai, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a family experience from the first steps of receiving the date to sharing the bima together as a family on the day of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Our program includes training and teaching with Rabbi Jay TelRav and Cantor Micah Morgovsky. In addition to their Religious School and Hebrew School studies, every student receives individual lessons beginning approximately six months prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. Each student does a Mitzvah project and prepares a D'var Torah for the day of the celebration. In addition, families are expected to participate in family education programming during the 7th grade year, and 7th grade students go on a retreat to Kutz Camp in September. It is the hope of Temple Sinai that a positive and relaxed program has been created which emphasizes the meaning of family and the meaning of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah itself.


August 26


Benjamin Isenstein

September 9


Brent Schwartz

September 16

Nitzavim Vayelech

James Schiff

October 7

Hol Hamoed Succoth

Carly Diamond

October 14


Aaron Stark

October 15


Eli Pardo

October 21


Asher Berni

October 28

Lech L’cha

Eliza Auslander




November 4


Samantha Rosano

November 11

Haye Sarah

Kevin Murace

November 18


Jena Spezzano




December 2


Lauren Heller

December 16


Jacqueline Siegel


January 6


Koby Rubin

January 20


Erica & Julia Christ

January 27

Beshallah Shirah

Ben Deutsch




April 7

Pesah VIII

Michael Schiffman

April 28

Ahar Kedoshim

Jeremy Matloub




May 5


Hannah Shaw

May 12


Kayla Richman

May 19


Max Katchko




June 2


Lilly Lapine

June 9

Shelah L’cha


June 16



June 23


Robert Lebo

June 30


Malcolm Fenster




August 25

Ki Tetze

Jacob Safir




September 22


Jacob Silver

September 29

Hol Hamoed Succoth

Max Fink




October 6


Zoe Goldberg

October 13


Bailey Gendason

October 27


Jake Isolda




November 3

Haye Sarah

Callie Morson

November 17


Samuel Sherman




December 1


Chloe Schlesinger

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A list of Yahrzeits follows:          

January 4

Etta Rich, Aunt of Meryl Silverstein
Helen Rosen, Mother-in-Law of Susan Rosen
George Rakos, Father of Gerald Rakos
Jane Watell Meyers, Mother of Katy Meyers
Florence Rosenstein, Great Aunt of
   Beth Peters
Faye Brafman, Mother of Carole Brafman
Seymour Finkelstein, Father of Susan Kostin
Elaine Bleiweiss, Sister-in-Law of
   Betty Roberts
Phyllis Orlow, Mother of Harold Orlow
Freda Novick, Mother of Meryl Silverstein
Esther Fox, Aunt of Janet Weintraub
Irma Rose, Aunt of Suellyn Bache
Mae Tublin, Mother of Mitchell Tublin
Eleanore Dunn, Mother of Joan Hendrickson
Sidney Goodman, Father of Gerry Goodman
Shirley Wachtel, Mother of Jayne Schiff
Sophie Kaplan, Mother of Suellyn Bache
John Lese, Father of Jonathan Lese

January 11

Leo Radwin, Father of Susan Isaacs
Alice Schlessinger, Mother of
   Michael Schlessinger
Charles “Tod” White, Brother of Kenneth White
Leon Levine, Father of Paula Simon
Arthur Himmel, Father of Jeffrey Himmel
Ethel Bassin, Grandmother of Elizabeth Lebo
Aaron David Weiner, Brother of Sharon Okun
Arnold Tannenbaum, Father of Harriet Roth
Shirley Gordon, Mother of Paul Gordon
Jerome Esbin, Father of Randi Leeds
Barnet Sapiro, Grandfather of Susan Kostin
Sarah Geller, Grandmother of Eileen Orlow
William Kandel, Father of Sally Kelman
Sylvia Weintraub, Mother-in-Law of
   Janet Weintraub
Belle Fierstein, Mother of Richard Fierstein
Sarah Geller, Grandmother of Phyllis Lyons
Louis Steinhorn, Grandfather of Karen Conti
Bertha Rosenstein, Great Grandmother of
   Beth Peters
Isadore Gepner, Father of Gary Gepner
Esther Sicherman, Mother of
   Genevieve Weingrad
Hyman Brafman, Father of Carole Brafman
Allen Kanovsky, Father of Melissa Spiesman

January 18

Marie Gray, Mother of Robert Gray
Norman Gallop, Uncle of Carole Gladstone
Lois Ginsberg, Mother of Sharon Kaplove
Grace Shaby, Mother of Steven Shaby
Allen Grossfeld, Grandfather of Glenn Stark
Sylvia Simon, Mother of Patti Roth
Milton Nemerow, Father of Jayne Schiff
Al Kandel, Brother of Sally Kelman
Mary Crespi, Mother of Susan Rosen
Michael Ain, Cousin of Sallie Kuh
Louis Cohen, Brother of David Cohen and
   Uncle of Eve Block
Gerard “Jerry” Rubin, Father of Elizabeth Rubin
Janet Scherer, Grandmother of Daniel Scherer
Myron Silverstein, Brother of Alice Fierstein
Dorothy Lilien, Wife of Gary Lilien and
   Mother of Amy Lilien-Harper
Carolyn Crocker, Aunt of Roberta Cohen
Edward Isaacs, Father of Jed Isaacs
Frank Simon, Husband of Paula Simon
John Marks, Cousin of Sallie Kuh
David Ross Bowbeer, Father of
   David Lee Bowbeer
Louis Rudowsky, Grandfather of
   Michele Haiken
Laura Posner, Mother of Steven Posner
Mildred Schifreen, Sister of Frieda Knopf
Joyce Trief, Sister of Frank Trief
Lawrence Novak, Father of Debby Vellozzi
Herman Leppo, Father-in-Law of Elaine Leppo
Mel Moed, Brother of Sandra Mehl
Rose Dash, Mother of Vivian Levine and
   Grandmother of Karen Gordon
Maier (Mike) Levine, Husband of Vivian Levine
   and Father of Karen Gordon
Alfred Schechter, Father-in-Law of
   Francine Schechter
Jack Weintraub, Father-in-Law of
   Janet Weintraub
Jessica Goldman, Granddaughter of
   Suzanne Goldman

January 25

Gerald “Jerry” Shaulson, Father of
   Joseph Shaulson
Saul Gold, Father of Michael Gold
Donald Preschel, Father of Nan Gordon
Harriet Serchuk, Mother of Sharon Rosano
Katherine Weinstein, Mother of Bud Schiff
Mae Reiner, Mother of Pearl Rosenbaum
Jeanette Gladstone, First Cousin of
   Evelyn Fowler
Mona Jane Blasnik, Mother of Bruce Blasnik
Norma Cohen, Mother of David Cohen and
   Grandmother of Eve Block
Bernerd Dunn, Father of Joan Hendrickson
Marion Rubin Copley, Sister of Elizabeth Rubin
Charles S. Kramer, Father of Martha Kramer
Abraham Shaby, Father of Steven Shaby
Harold Sherman, Brother of
   Genevieve Weingrad
Ann C. Poch, Mother of Gerald Poch

February 1

Samuel Goldman, Uncle of Martha Kramer
Seymour Klanfer, Father of Robert Klanfer
Phyllis Ginsberg, Mother of Shelley Leibowitz
Esther Goldberg, Mother of Judith Margolin
Cynthia Schwartz, Mother of Lisa Last
William Levi Straus, Jr., Father of
   Pauline Rauh
Richard LeVine, Husband of Helen LeVine
Louis Seibel, Father of Judith Liebeskind
Charles Silver, Father of Steven Silver
David Crespi, Brother of Susan Rosen
Edward Gluck, Father of Meryl Gluck Pisano
Linda Stark, Daughter of
   Genevieve Weingrad
Barbara Watson, Mother of Doug Watson
William Lurie, Father of Jay Lurie
Mary Schwartz, Mother of Eugene Schwartz
Levi Joshua & Lena Anna Berkman,
   Father & Mother of Gertrude Shapiro
Rosalind Gehr, Mother of Dennis Gehr

February 8

Pearl Selden, Grandmother of Robin Selden
Sadye Steinberg, Mother of Lila Lubov
Lillian Sapiro, Grandmother of Susan Kostin
Sadye Steinberg, Mother of Janet Morris
William Epstein, Grandfather of Keeva Crelan
Milton Lewis, Father of Lorraine Cohen
Richard Paull, Father of Allan Paull
Samuel Lurie, Grandfather of Jay Lurie
Richard Engel, Brother of Carole Gladstone
Melvin Spiesman, Father of Michael Spiesman
Bernard Todrin, Father of David Todrin
Neil Tublin, Brother of Mitchell Tublin
Alex Steiner, Father of Diane Shaby
William Gersten, Grandfather of David Lyons
Sondra Scarf, Aunt of Betsy Stone
Elizabeth Cowen, Mother of Ronald Cowen
Ruth Van Beek, Grandmother of
   Anne Marie Segal
Doris Ebstein, Mother of Peter Ebstein
Sylvia Leon, Sister of Genevieve Weingrad
Bonnie Palker, Mother of Todd Palker

February 15

Michael Mildred Frank, Sister of Evelyn Fowler
Robert Morris, Husband of Janet Morris
Ruth Zeldin, Sister of Robert Gray
Elias Silkes, Brother of Rosalind Carlin
Nelson Alpert, Father of Stephen Alpert
John Kallen, Father of Grant Kallen
Elaine Hohmann, Step-Mother of
   Kirsten Hohmann
Beth LeVine, Sister of Eleanor Lowenthal
Leon Katz, Husband of Blossom Katz
Ina Preschel, Mother of Nan Gordon
Frieda Karlitz, Mother of Gail Karlitz
Harry Zeidman, Father of Blossom Katz
Hyman Shapiro, Father of Marvin Shapiro

February 22

Mollie Haller, Mother of Harriet Liss
Stella Ebright, Daughter of Deena &
   Michael Ebright
Peter Remi Bouris, Father of Eric Bouris
Dr. Leonard Taylor, Father of Shelley Taylor
Martin Levene, Husband of Sally Levene
Maurice Bruder, Father of Joan Danoff
John Ebstein, Father of Peter Ebstein
William Gordon, Father of Jonathan Gordon
Harry Rosenbaum, Husband of
    Pearl Rosenbaum
Gerald Schultz, Father of Meredith Scheine
Donald Blasnik, Father of Bruce Blasnik
George Skigen, Father of Randall Skigen
Alexander Redniss, Father of Michelle Ebstein
Sarah Katz, Mother-in-Law of Blossom Katz
Josephine Grunberg, Mother of
   Michael Grunberg
Ronald Cohen, Husband of Lorraine Cohen
Leo Freed, Father of Marian Freed
Arthur H. Rosen, Father of Carl E. Rosen
Arthur Frank, Father of Sharyn Sarner
Alice Shapiro, Great Aunt of Amy Lilien-Harper
Irving Rosenbaum, Father of Caryn Rosenbaum
Robert M. Goldman, Husband of
   Suzanne Goldman
Eleanor Engel, Mother of Carole Gladstone
Sadie White, Mother of Kenneth White


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Holocaust Scroll #1468

On Loan to Temple Sinai from the Memorial Scrolls Trust of London, England

In 1942 the Nazi occupiers of Czechoslovakia directed that the contents of the country’s synagogues be sent to the Jewish Museum of Prague. Hundreds of Torah scrolls, along with large inventories of gold, silver, and textiles artifacts were accumulated at the museum.

At war’s end Czechoslovakia became a free and independent country, only to then come under Communist control in 1948. The almost 1600 warehoused scrolls were left neglected until 1964 when a London philanthropist, Ralph Yablon, purchased them. At that time,1564 Holocaust scrolls came to London, England.

The Memorial Scrolls Trust was established at that time to ensure that these scrolls would become part of the life of Jewish congregations across the world. Many congregations around the globe are in possession of one of these Torahs.

In 1995, Scroll #1468 was entrusted to Temple Sinai of Stamford, CT. This scroll is from an unknown town in Bohemia or Moravia. It is prominently displayed in an enclosed glass cabinet at the entrance to our sanctuary. We are the keepers of this scroll, and it is our duty to ensure that it remains a memorial to the community that once looked upon it as central to its worship and ritual life.

Here you will find information about the goals and activities of the Memorial Scrolls Trust of London, England. We are proud to serve as the caretakers of Scroll #1468 and the legacy it represents.


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Sun, February 17 2019 12 Adar I 5779