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Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

04/17/2024 02:25:49 PM

Apr17

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

            This week, Israel has been especially on my mind.  I was surprised, saddened, scared, angered, frustrated, and relieved by the news out of Israel on Saturday.  In an unprecedented attack, Iran launched over 300 drones and missiles directly at Israel.  Thankfully, Israel was prepared and its defenses held up.  99% of the drones and missiles were shot down. There was little damage and no loss of life in Israel.  I am grateful that Israel’s allies, the United States and the U.K., helped with Israel’s defense, as did neighboring Jordan.  Iran succeeding in sending a message to Israel and causing a night of terror: sirens were sounded throughout Israel, and much of the country was thrown into a panic as Israelis woke up and rushed to emergency shelters.

            It could have been much worse.  I worry about what might happen next and fear an escalation.  It is a reminder that it is not a return to “normal life” in Israel right now – and it has not been for over six months, since the Hamas on October 6.  Over 100 hostages are still being held in Gaza.  Israelis have been unable to return to their northern homes.  Too many soldiers have been killed.  And there has been such a loss of life and destruction and devastation in Gaza. It is all heart-breaking.  And as Jews we feel that pain and share in the shock and horror that Israelis have felt and continue to experience.

            Next week we will welcome Passover.  We will retell the story of how we were redeemed out of Egypt and began our journey to a better life in the Promised Land.  This year in particular we will pray for the people and land of Israel, and pray that L’SHANAH HABA’AH – that next year will be an even better year for Israel and for the Jewish people.

            With all of this fear, uncertainty, and anger, I am glad that we have good things to look forward to here in our community.  I am excited about our Installation Weekend.  I hope you are planning on joining us for a special and historic Shabbat Evening this Friday.  Our service will begin at 6:00pm, and we will officially welcome and install Cantor Rebecca Garfein as the Cantor of Temple Sinai.  The service will be joyful with lots of wonderful music, led by Cantor Garfein and joined by Cantor Colman, in addition to visiting colleagues, a quartet of voices from our choir, and band members, as well.  A celebratory Shabbat dinner will follow services – please make your reservation today.  The celebration continues on Sunday afternoon with a wonderful Cantorial Concert – “From Bimah to Broadway” – that everyone will enjoy.  Please buy your tickets and plan on joining us at Temple Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm.

            On Monday evening we will welcome our seven-day Festival of Passover.  We still have space available at our Congregational Seder on Tuesday, April 23 – but you must reserve your place today or tomorrow, please.

            I look forward to seeing you at Temple!  I want to wish everyone a very happy and meaningful Passover!  Chag Sameach!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

04/10/2024 01:41:40 PM

Apr10

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

First, on this stormy and wet Wednesday afternoon, I hope that everyone is staying safe and dry. It’s scary out there – please be careful! We have cancelled all in-person meetings and events at Temple today, including Hebrew School and Gesher (11-12th grades). Our Wednesday Night Live discussion will still take place on-line over Zoom at 7:00PM. Our topic is “Jews, News & Views,” and we will be talking about Israel and whatever else is on participants’ minds.

The rain may temporarily dampen our spirits, but we have much to look forward to at this time of year. After all, it’s “festing” season in New Orleans. Here at Temple Sinai we are looking forward to our two upcoming Spring Festivals: InstallationFest and the Festival of Unleavened Bread.

I hope everyone has the weekend of April 19-21 saved on their calendars for two very special events. On Friday evening during our Shabbat Service, we will officially install Cantor Rebecca Garfein as Cantor of Temple Sinai. We have all enjoyed welcoming Cantor Garfein and her family to our Sinai Family. Installation is our formal ceremony with which we enter into this covenantal relationship between clergy and congregation. Joining Cantor Garfein and myself, will be our beloved emeriti – Rabbi Cohn and Cantor Colman – along with two of Cantor Garfein’s favorite colleagues from New York: Cantor Claire Franco and Cantor Daniel Singer. It will be a wonderful and memorable service beginning at 6:00pm, followed by a celebratory Shabbat Dinner for the entire congregation (please make your reservation).

InstallationFest will continue on Sunday, April 21, with a special Cantorial Concert: “From Bimah to Broadway” at 2:00PM at Temple. Cantor Garfein’s local colleagues, Cantor Kevin Margolius (Touro Synagogue) and Cantorial Soloist Jordan Lawrence (Congregation Gates of Prayer) will also be participating. Tickets are available online and through the Temple office – the entire community is invited to attend. We will also be raising money to support our family and friends in Israel through the ACC’s (American Conference of Cantors) upcoming Mission to Israel.

Passover – also known as our Springtime Festival and Festival of Unleavened Bread – begins on Monday evening, April 22. Our Congregational Seder will be held on the second night of Passover: Tuesday, April 23 at 6:00PM. Please make your reservations this week. We are also proud to host our Annual LGBTQ+ Pride Seder with JPNOLA on Wednesday, April 24. For more information on Passover this year, please see our April Bulletin and Temple website.

Wednesday, Wisdom & Wit

02/07/2024 01:54:50 PM

Feb7

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

Mardi Gras Sameach – Happy Mardi Gras Season!  We hope that everyone enjoys this special time of year.  We wish you lots of fun and safe celebrations and travel.

            I want to remind you that this year Temple Sinai is collecting unwanted Mardi Gras beads to be recycled.  Feel free to drop them by Temple during business hours or before services or at drop-off for Religious School.

            And as we are celebrating this year, please remember all of those within our community who could use some help.  It’s a great time to donate to a local organization to help feed, house, and take care of those who are less fortunate right here in our beloved city.  Blood centers are also collecting donations right now as the need for blood always increases at this time of year.

            Our hearts and prayers also go out to our family members and friends – the people of Israel.  As we celebrate here in New Orleans, we continue to pray for the release of the hostages, an end to the attacks on Israel, and peace and security for the entire region.  Shaalu Shlom Yerushalayim – let us continue to pray for the peace and well-being of Jerusalem and all Israel.

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

01/24/2024 01:45:48 PM

Jan24

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

Things change quickly here in Louisiana.  This week alone we have had a 30-40 degree shift in the weather, going from beautiful sunny skies to cloudy dreary days.  But something that doesn’t change: no matter what time of year or what the weather is like outside, there is always something good happening at Temple Sinai.

            To the New Orleans Pelicans, we say: “You’re welcome!”  Temple Sinai shows up at last night’s home game, and not only did the Pelicans win – they set a franchise record for points scored.  I say: you should invite us more often!  Go Pels!  Thank you to Jenn Daley for making our night at The Blender happen, and thank you to everyone who attended the game – we had a great time.

            There’s lots happening at Temple this week.  This evening Sisterhood is hosting a “Salad and King Cake Tasting” at 6:00pm here at Temple.  Come for the vegetables and stay for the treats.  Tomorrow evening our Brotherhood is hosting a meeting and making plans for the rest of the year and future.  I hope that everyone will consider joining and supporting these two important arms of the congregation.

            Speaking of supporting Temple Sinai, I hope that everyone has this year’s Annual Gala on your calendars for Sunday, March 3.  It will be a wonderful event at the Pavilion of the Two Sisters in City Park and will feature Cantor Garfein’s one-woman show: “Cantorful!”  Tomorrow is the deadline for sponsorships and to be included in the printed invitation.

            This Friday evening, please join us for Shabbat B’Shir – our Sabbath in Song.  This special musical service will feature additional musicians and instruments and lots of wonderful music: including beloved melodies and some new tunes, as well.  Our Shabbat Shalom Nosh will begin at 6:00pm in the auditorium, following by Shabbat B’Shir in the sanctuary.

            Finally, this evening marks the beginning of Tu B'Shevat – the 15th day of Shevat, also known as the “birthday of the trees.”  It is a day on which we are reminded of our dependence on trees and nature, and how we have to do our part to protect and preserve our planet and environment.  So eat some fruit, plant a tree, reduce-reuse-recycle, and go green this Tu B'Shevat!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

12/13/2023 11:42:46 AM

Dec13

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

HAPPY CHANUKAH!

            Happy Chanukah!  I hope you are enjoying our Festival of Lights.  It is going by quickly – we are three-quarters of the way through Chanukah, as of today.  Only two more nights to go!

            We have had wonderful Chanukah celebrations here at Temple this year.  It was great seeing so many people join us for “Chanukah on the Avenue” this past Friday.  We celebrated Chanukah altogether in a warm, welcoming, and safe atmosphere for all.  After lighting the outdoor menorah, we came inside for food and to wish each other a happy holiday.  Our festive, joyous, musical Shabbat of Chanukah Service followed in the sanctuary.  Thank to you everyone who helped make our celebration so special.  The festivities continued on Sunday morning with our Chavurah@Sinai students and families.  Everyone enjoyed as we lit the Chanukiah, sang songs, ate latkes and doughnuts, played games, danced, and more. 

            I especially want to thank our Temple Sinai Sisterhood who sponsored the latkes this past weekend and provided Chanukah candles for all of our students.

            I also want to thank everyone who has donated to our Sinai Tzedek Project for this month.  We are continuing to collect NEW cold-weather apparel (coats, hats, gloves, socks, and blankets) for the New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter.  You can drop items off in the collection bin in the Temple lobby.  Thank you for your support!

            As we light the last two candles of Chanukah, may they be a source of light, hope and pride, and may we be rededicated, like the Maccabees of old, to our faith, our Temple, and our people everywhere.  We celebrate our survival – AM YISRAEL CHAI – and look forward to better days ahead.

            Happy Chanukah!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

12/06/2023 01:31:49 PM

Dec6

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

Ready or not – Chanukah is here!  Chanukah is our annual Winter Festival of Light.  It begins tomorrow evening, December 7, and lasts for eight nights and days.  We remember our people’s fight for religious freedom and their miraculous victory over their enemies.  As we light the candles of our Chanukiot we remember the miracle of our survival – despite all who have sought our destruction – and add hope to our lives.  In that spirit, I think we really need Chanukah this year.

So this evening we will prepare for Chanukah.  At 6pm, Sisterhood is hosting a “Vodka & Latkes” event at Temple.  At 7pm during Wednesday Night Live on Zoom we will discuss the holiday of Chanukah, including its story, history, traditions, and meaning for today.  Are all welcome to join with me.

I also want to invite everyone to join us for “Chanukah on the Avenue,” this Friday evening, December 8, beginning at 6:00pm.  We will start with the lighting of our outdoor menorah on St. Charles Avenue.  Then we will come inside for latkes, brisket, salad, and sufganiot (jelly doughnuts).  At 7:00pm we will gather in the Sanctuary for our special Shabbat of Chanukah Family Service, which this year will include our Children’s Choir, as well as members of the Panorama Band.  It will be a fun and exciting evening for all ages – we hope that you will plan on joining us.  Please help us by making a reservation for dinner on the Temple website.

The Chanukah celebrations will continue on Sunday morning with our Chavurah@Sinai students and Bim Bam Kids Club.  Classes begin at our regular 9:00am start time, and the festivities will kick off at 10:15am and end around 11:30am.  I am sure it will be a wonderful time.

There are many community Chanukah events throughout the eight days – please check out our website, weekly e-blast, as well as the Jewish Federation calendar for more information.

Many families have the tradition of exchanging gifts during Chanukah.  As you are searching for presents, I hope you will keep in mind our December Sinai Tzedek Project: this month we are collecting NEW cold-weather apparel (coats, hats, gloves, socks, and blankets) for the New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter.  You can drop items off in the collection bin in the Temple lobby.  Thank you for your support!

I want to wish everyone a very happy Chanukah!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

11/29/2023 12:19:27 PM

Nov29

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

SHA’ALU SHLOM YERUSHALAYIM –
PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM & ALL OF ISRAEL

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  I always enjoy Thanksgiving: time spent with loved ones, good food, an opportunity to catch one’s breath, count one’s blessings, and express our gratitude and appreciation.

I am encouraged by the news from Israel.  I am grateful for the release of hostages and that so many have made their way safely home to family and friends.  I am grateful for the pause in the fighting and that more aid has made its way to those in need.  No, it is not a long-term answer nor solution.  But I hope and pray this is a step in the right direction.  I hope that all of the hostages will soon be released.  We will continue to discuss the situation in Israel and the war with Hamas during our Wednesday Night Live discussion this evening at 7:00pm on Zoom.

It's hard to believe that December is almost here.  On Friday evening we will celebrate this month’s birthdays and anniversaries with our special blessings at services at 6:30pm. 

Now it is time to get ready for Chanukah.  Chanukah begins on Thursday evening, December 7 – it’s just over a week away.  So let’s get out the Chanukiot, candles, and dreidels and get ready to celebrate our annual winter Festival of Lights.  We will have a special “Chanukah on the Avenue” on Friday evening, December 8 at Temple.  We will begin at 6:00pm outside with the lighting of our Temple Menorah.  Then we will move inside for latkes and dinner and singing.  Our special Service for the Shabbat of Chanukah will follow in the Sanctuary at 7:00pm and will feature our new Children’s Choir as well as members of the Panorama Band.  It will be a fun and exciting service for all ages – we hope that you will plan on joining us.

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

11/15/2023 01:59:50 PM

Nov15

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

SHA’ALU SHLOM YERUSHALAYIM –

PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM & ALL OF ISRAEL

            We continue to watch carefully the news from Israel.  And I was excited to see the pictures and read the reports from yesterday’s March for Israel in Washington, DC on the National Mall.  It was described as “Americans march FOR Israel, march TO free hostages, and march AGAINST anti-Semitism.”  The crowd was estimated possibly to have been a many as 200,000-300,000 people from across the country.  There was a long list of speakers, including Israeli President Herzog who joined virtually from Israel.  I hope that the success of the march will provide strength and support for the Jewish community throughout the United States and especially for our Israeli family.

            There is lots going on here in our community.  Tomorrow evening, Thursday, November 16, is our 34th Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Interfaith Service.  It will be held at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church at 6:00pm.  Both Cantor Garfein and I will be participating.

            On Friday, we will have our first Bim Bam Kids Club Shabbat for our 2-5 year old kids and their families in the chapel at 5:30pm.  Then we will all join together for our Shabbat Shalom Nosh reception in the auditorium.  At 6:30pm is our first “Shabbat B’Shir” Service in the sanctuary.  This is a special Musical Shabbat with joyful singing and additional instrumentalists.  I hope that you will join us.

            I also want to remind you that this Sunday, November 19, is our Mitzvah Day.  Our Chavurah@ Sinai students and families along with the entire congregation are invited to join us from 9:00-11:00am at Temple to help with some great projects and social action drives for the greater community.

            This evening I will continue our Wednesday Night Live discussions on Zoom at 7:00pm as we focus on what’s going on in Israel and the latest headlines.

            Please take care, stay dry, and I hope to see you soon.

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

11/01/2023 02:47:00 PM

Nov1

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

We continue to watch the news from Israel.  We pray for the urgent release of all of those taken hostage from Israel.  We hope and pray for an end to the conflict and that Israelis may once again go to sleep at night without fear of attacks.  We mourn the awful loss of life.  We hope and pray for an end of the violence – and that all those innocent civilians in Israel and Gaza will be safe and healed from injury.

            All of us are struggling with the rise of anti-Semitism throughout the country and world.  Please know that we take safety and security very seriously here at Temple and throughout the Jewish community here in Greater New Orleans. 

Last week was particularly difficult with the protest and violence that followed at the rally next to the campuses of Tulane and Loyola.  We know that this has been an incredibly difficult time to be Jewish on college campuses: locally here in New Orleans and throughout the country.  We know that many students have feared for their safety.  We want all of our students to know that we, Temple Sinai, are here for them.  If you know of someone, whether a college student or anyone from our community, who could use some outreach – please let me know.

            We will continue offering special prayers for Israel and for peace at our Shabbat Services.  May God grant strength to our people – and may God bless all of Israel with peace.

Wednesday Wisom & Wit

10/25/2023 01:37:27 PM

Oct25

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

It’s a week later, and our attention is still very much focused on Israel.  We continue to pray for peace and protection for Israel and all who defend Israel from its enemies.  We have been encouraged by the release of a few hostages – we pray that all will soon be freed and reunited with their family and loved ones.  I would like to share with you the prayer for captives that we have offered at services these past two weeks:

“Our God, the One who raised Joseph up from the pit, be a ‘refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble’ (Psalm 9:10). 

“Send complete rescue and full redemption to those held captive by the enemy.  Strengthen their spirit and bring them our prayers that they be protected from all harm.  Implant understanding in the heart of the enemy that they may return the captives in wholeness of body and spirit.  Grant wisdom to the Israel Defense Forces that they may secure freedom for the captives without loss of life.  Grant strength of spirit and courage of heart to all the children of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar to release bonds of captivity and allow us all to live in freedom.

“’They shall call upon Me, and I will answer them.  I will be with them in distress; I will rescue them and honor them’ (from Psalm 91:15).”  [Prayer taken from Birkon Artzi: Blessings and Meditations for Travelers to Israel, CCAR Press – 2012]

            This evening during our Wednesday Night Live discussion, we will continue to talk about what is happening in Israel and our own reactions and feelings.  We will try to answer questions and discuss what we can do to help and to show our support for Israel.  All are welcome to join us online at 7:00pm on Zoom.

            There are a number of interesting programs happening this evening, including at the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience and at Dillard University.

            We will continue offering special prayers for Israel and for peace at our Shabbat Services on Friday evening and Saturday morning.  May God grant strength to our people – and may God bless all of Israel with peace.

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

10/18/2023 01:13:31 PM

Oct18

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

It’s a week later, and our attention is still very much focused on Israel.  We continue to pray for peace and protection for Israel and all who defend Israel from its enemies.  It was wonderful to come together last week for our “Stand With Israel Shabbat.”  We are grateful that so many people came to services and participated in our discussions about what is happening in Israel and our reactions to the war that is ongoing with Hamas.

Cantor Garfein and I both want you to know that we are here for you – and that Temple Sinai proudly stands with Israel.  We are also proud of the way the Jewish community has come together in solidarity and support for Israel and will continue to do so.

This afternoon the Jewish Federation is holding a vigil at 5:30pm at Lafayette Square with leaders from the Jewish community and of Greater New Orleans.  In explaining the purpose of the event, Federation writes: “Tonight we will come together to mourn those lost and pray for those held hostage to be returned safely to their families. Together we will seek healing and call for a complete rejection of terrorism. We will pray for the civilians of Israel and Gaza, and we will pray for the safety of the soldiers - many of whom are barely adults themselves - and pray for their wisdom and humanity as they face life and death. Collectively we will pray for peace, for the dream of a world without violence, without bomb shelters, without guarded border crossings, and without war.”

We will hold our next Wednesday Night Live discussion this evening at 7:00pm on Zoom.  We will discuss the war in Israel, the latest news and updates, and our own personal and communal responses to what is happening in Israel.  I hope that you will join with me this evening.

At services this Shabbat, we will continue to include special prayers, readings, and music for Israel and for peace.  May God grant strength to our people, and may God bless us and all of Israel with peace.

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

10/11/2023 02:16:04 PM

Oct11

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

SHA’ALU SHLOM YERUSHALAYIM –PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM & ALL OF ISRAEL

I am staring at my blank computer screen, trying to figure out what to write and how to express what I am feeling. I am still in shock and in horror from the tragic attack on Israel. I am sad, I am angry, I am confused. I am stunned and I am heartbroken. Our hearts go out to all of the victims of this terror in Israel and to their families. They are part of our Jewish family – and we mourn their loss and attempt to share in their pain. We pray for them. We pray for the healing of the wounded and for the release of the captured. We also pray for the brave soldiers who have rushed in to protect and defend Israel and all her citizens.

So what can we do? We can stand with Israel and express our support for Israel. We can remind our leaders – locally and nationally – of the importance of supporting Israel, especially in times of emergency and terror. We can make sure our families, our neighbors, and the people we encounter understand what is happening: how Israel was ruthlessly attacked by terrorists and how Israel must defend itself and its people.

What can we do? We can be there for each other and for our Jewish community. We can be proud to be part of a Jewish community that comes together, rallies, and supports one another in times of crisis. Cantor Garfein and I were honored to represent Temple Sinai in our community’s Standing With Israel event on Monday evening – we were proud to be joined by so many members of Temple Sinai and add our voices to the call of our community for solidarity and support.

We will continue to show our support for Israel and to be there for each other this Shabbat. We invite you to join us for a “Standing With Israel Shabbat.” We begin on Friday Evening at 6:00pm in the sanctuary with a special service in solidarity with Israel. We will include special prayers, music, and readings as our thoughts and hearts are directed east towards Jerusalem. Afterwards, we will share a congregational Shabbat dinner and have the opportunity to discuss what is happening in Israel, as well as our reactions and feelings. I hope you will make plans to join us (and please make a reservation for dinner). We will continue on Saturday morning with Torah Study at 9:15am, followed by a special Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30am in the chapel. We will again include prayers and songs for Israel and take some time to discuss further what is happening there as well as our own reactions.

On Sunday morning, we will address the terror and situation in Israel with our Chavurah@Sinai students, as we start the morning in the chapel altogether for Tefilah at 9:00am.

As always, we are taking security at Temple very seriously. And we are grateful to the NOPD, as well as the Loyola University Police Department, for keeping an extra eye on us, and for all of the hard work and support of the Jewish Federation, the Secure Community Network, and ADL in keeping our community safe. We also thank our Temple Sinai security coordinator, Joe Williamson, for all that he does for our congregation.

We pray for an end to the violence and bloodshed. We pray that God will send God’s shelter of peace over all of Israel. May God send strength to our people – and may we be blessed with Shalom.

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

10/04/2023 01:46:58 PM

Oct4

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

ZEMAN SIMCHATEINU

            This is that time of year when we feel like the Jewish Holidays just never stop.  From Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur to Sukkot, which began five days later.  Sukkot is our Fall Harvest Festival.  It is also known as “ZEMAN SIMCHATEINU – the Season of our Joy.”  It is a time to rejoice and to give thanks.

            And that’s what we’ve been doing here at Temple.  We kicked off Sukkot Friday evening with a special Festival Evening Service followed by Kiddush in the Sukkah.  We have had something going on everyday in our Temple Sukkah – a special thank you goes to Brotherhood for putting up our new Sukkah again this year on the Calhoun Street side of the building.

            The fun continues on Thursday evening with “Pizza in the Hut” at 6:00pm.  Come hang out in the Sukkah and help us choose a favorite local pizza.

            Friday is the last day of Sukkot – which means it’s time to welcome our next holiday: Simchat Torah!  On Friday evening we will hold a special Simchat Torah Service & Celebration
(Shabbat Shalom Nosh at 6:00pm and services at 6:30pm in the sanctuary).  During services, we will take our Torah Scrolls out of the Ark and march around the sanctuary in a Second Line as we celebrate Torah and all that it means to us.  The Kinfolk Brass Band will help us with our hakafot (Torah processions) – it will be a fun and joyous time for all.  Afterwards, we will read the end of the Book of Deuteronomy and then immediately turn to the beginning of Genesis: we conclude one annual cycle of Torah reading and immediately begin again.  The celebration will continue on Saturday morning with a special Festival & Shabbat Morning Service.  Sunday morning we will have a special Simchat Torah program for Chavurah@Sinai.

            Chag Sameach – enjoy the end of Sukkot and looking forward to Simchat Torah!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

09/20/2023 12:48:27 PM

Sep20

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

L’SHANAH TOVAH TEICHATEIMU!

It was wonderful seeing so many people here at Temple for Rosh HaShanah. The warm feelings of holiness and community surrounded us. It was a pleasure to welcome in the New Year 5784 altogether.

Now these Ten Days of Repentance continue as we work our way towards Yom Kippur. Hopefully we are challenging ourselves to reflect, to repent, and to prepare for an even better New Year. Remember: the more we put into our High Holy Day preparations and observances, the more we will get out of them.

To help us with our process of Teshuvah, we welcome Shabbat Shuvah this week – the Sabbath of Return, or the Sabbath of Repentance. We will continue with the themes and music of the High Holy Days on this special Shabbat. Then we will return to Temple once again for Yom Kippur – our holiest day of the year, the Day of Atonement. We will gather for our Evening Service on Sunday at 7:30pm to hear Kol Nidrei and to join together in prayer and seeking forgiveness. Services continue all day on Monday, Sept. 25 with our Morning Service beginning at 10:00am. Afterwards, we will have a Study Session for those who wish to remain at Temple. Our Family Service will take place at 2:00pm in the Sanctuary. The Afternoon Service begins at 3:00pm and will include the reading of the Book of Jonah. From there we will continue with our Yizkor Memorial Service, beginning at approximately 4:30pm, followed immediately by our Neilah Concluding Service. Afterwards all are invited to join in our Congregational Break-the-Fast.

I hope you have made your reservations for Yom Kippur services, and we look forward to being all together once again at Temple Sinai. For those who cannot be here in person, we hope that you will join us on the livestream or on Zoom.

On Rosh HaShanah, we wished each other: “L’SHANAH TOVAH TIKATEIVU – May you be inscribed for a good New Year in the Book of Life.” On Yom Kippur, we say: “L’SHANAH TOVAH TEIKATEIMU – May you be sealed in the Book of Life for a good New Year.” Or more simply: “G’MAR CHATIMAH TOVAH – May you complete this day with a seal for good in the Book of Life.”

Wishing you a good and healthy New Year filled with peace and blessing!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

09/13/2023 02:28:11 PM

Sep13

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

L’SHANAH TOVAH TIKATEIVU!

Rosh HaShanah is here.  It is time for us to wrap up the year 5783 and to welcome the New Year 5784.  Cantor Garfein and I are so excited to welcome everyone back to Temple for our High Holy Day Services this year – we cannot wait to see you and to experience these Days of Awe together.

Reminder: I hope you have made your reservations for services.  This will help us to expedite the process of entering the building for both Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.

We will begin Rosh HaShanah with our Evening Service on Friday, Sept. 15 at 7:30pm.  Cantor Garfein is looking forward to her first High Holy Days with us, and we will all be moved by the beautiful music of this time of year.  We want to thank Dr. Marcus St. Julien and our High Holy Day Choir for adding their talents and voices to help make our services even more special.  After services, all are invited to join in our Sweet New Year Reception sponsored by the Temple Sinai Sisterhood.

On Saturday, we will begin with our Morning Service at 10:00am, which will include our Shofar Service and the Reading of Torah.  Our luncheon reception will follow.  We will continue at 2:30pm in the afternoon with our Family Service for all ages.  At 3:30pm we will gather on the steps outside the sanctuary to walk over to Audubon Park for Tashlich, as we attempt symbolically to cast away our sins at the start of the New Year. 

On Sunday afternoon at 1:00pm, we will gather at Hebrew Rest Cemetery #3 for our Kever Avot Ceremony.  This is our annual pilgrimage to the cemetery at the start of the year to visit the final resting place of our loved ones, whom we especially remember at these High Holy Days.

Again, we look forward to seeing you at Temple for Rosh HaShanah.  On behalf of your Temple Sinai Family, we want to wish you a good and healthy year of peace and blessings: L’SHANAH TOVAH TIKATEIVU!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

09/06/2023 03:30:41 PM

Sep6

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

Here at Temple we are getting ready for the High Holy Days.  We are excited to welcome everyone back home to Temple Sinai as we begin the New Year 5784.  Rosh HaShanah is just over a week away.  Rosh HaShanah begins on Friday evening, September 15 and continues on Saturday, September 16.  Yom Kippur is Sunday evening, September 24 and Monday, September 25.

I want to remind everyone that we are asking you to make reservations for High Holy Day services again this year.  You can do this through the weekly email blast, the Temple website, or by calling the Temple office.  This is for security purposes and will help us to welcome everyone into the Temple building for services.  We appreciate your doing this.

This evening I invite you to join me for Wednesday Night Live at 7:00pm on Zoom.  We will be discussing our Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur plans and answering questions about the High Holy Days: from music to liturgy to traditions and foods.

This Saturday, Sept. 9, we will host our Selichot Service.  “Selichot” are our “prayers for forgiveness” which we begin to recite at this time of year.  We will begin at 7:00pm in the auditorium for coffee, desserts, and Havdalah.  At 7:30pm we will host our Selichot Service in the sanctuary.  Selichot introduces us to the music, themes, and prayers of these ASERET YEMEI TESHUVAH – the “10 Days of Repentance” – that begin with Rosh HaShanah and conclude with Yom Kippur.  It is a great way to prepare for the beginning of the New Year.

We also want to wish Cantor Garfein and her family “Mazal Tov!” as her son, Jake Gellman, becomes a Bar Mitzvah this week at our Shabbat Morning Service, which begins at 10:30am.

Remember: now is the time to get ready for the start of the New Year.  Make your plans, set some goals, and take advantage of this prep time.  The more we put into our holy day observances, the more we will get out of this holiest time of the year.

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

08/16/2023 03:09:24 PM

Aug16

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

This week we welcome the month of Elul on the Jewish calendar.  Elul is the last month of the year – the month that comes right before the High Holy Days.  Therefore, Elul is our month of preparation.  It is a time to reflect on the year now ending and to look forward to the year about to begin.  I want to encourage everyone to take some time over the next four weeks to review the year 5783: what are you most proud of?  What did you learn?  What did you experience?  How did you grow?  What do you want to take with you into the New Year?  And also: what mistakes did you make?  What choices do you wish you could take back or change?  What do you not want to take with you into the New Year?  Now is the time to reflect and to take an accounting, as well as to start to set goals for the New Year.  The more we prepare for our High Holy Days – the more we will gain from them.  Avoid the Yom Kippur rush – now is the time to begin!

I want to remind everyone that this Sunday, August 20 is our Welcome Back Event from 10:00am – 12noon at Temple.  There will be food and activities for everyone.  It is a chance to meet Cantor Rebecca Garfein.  We are also hosting a Blood Drive, which is especially important this year as blood bank levels are low.  For those who are able, I hope you will consider donating the “gift of life.”  For our Religious School students and families this Sunday will also be an opportunity to get ready and excited for the new year of Chavurah@Sinai.

Don’t forget: Summer Union Shabbat Services continue all of this month at Touro Synagogue.

I also invite you to join me online this evening at 7:00pm for a Wednesday Night Live discussion on “Jews, News & Views.”  Let’s talk about what’s going on in our world and discuss what’s on our minds at this time of year.

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

08/09/2023 11:48:10 AM

Aug9

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

August is already here, and that means many things for us.  It means it is hot outside – and is still going to be hot for awhile.  It means that the school year is beginning: most of our students have already started school or will begin next week.  We hope all of our students and teachers have a wonderful year of learning and growth.  I also want to remind everyone that our school supply drive continues throughout this month – we are collecting supplies for students and schools in need.  Please pick up a few extra school supplies and drop them off in the Temple office when you have a chance.

This year August means we will gather down the avenue at Touro Synagogue for our Summer Union Shabbat Services this month.  I look forward to our community’s coming together during these last few weeks of summer.

August also means a very important Temple Sinai bulletin is now available.  It includes lots of important information about the upcoming High Holy Days, as well as welcome back events and the beginning of the Religious School year.  I hope that everyone will read carefully about all of the wonderful things happening at Temple Sinai and make plans to join with us.

Finally, a reminder: next week I invite you to join with me for Wednesday Night Live and our online discussion on “Jews, News & Views” at 7:00pm.

Stay cool, stay hydrated and see you soon!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

07/26/2023 02:14:42 PM

Jul26

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

There is lots on my mind as the month of July will soon be coming to an end. It has been wonderful hosting our Summer Union Shabbat Services and leading services with Cantor Rebecca Garfein. This week will be our last summer services at Temple Sinai. For August, services will shift down the avenue to Touro Synagogue.

Reminder: this evening we will mark the beginning of Tisha B’Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, with a special Wednesday Night Live discussion on the history, traditions and observances for Tisha B’Av. Everyone is invited to join us on Zoom this evening at 7:00pm.

First and foremost on my mind this week is the current political situation in Israel. I am saddened and worried by the actions of the government. On the other hand, I am encouraged by the massive protests that have taken place throughout Israel – as much of Israel is united on these complex issues.

I wanted to share with you the statement issued by the Reform Movement this week. We will discuss the current situation more at Shabbat Services this week and next month in an additional WNL discussion.

REFORM MOVEMENT RESPONDS TO ISRAELI GOVERNMENT’S VOTE TO WEAKEN ISRAEL’S SUPREME COURT

July 24, 2023

Today is a sad day for Israel’s democracy. The passage of the amendment removing the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to overrule decisions and appointments of Israel’s Government using the legal standard of “reasonableness” will reduce the checks and balances placed on the government. This is the first significant step of the ruling coalition to move forward with their judicial overhaul and pass their radical legislative agenda.

The Reform Movement in North America vehemently condemns the strongarm tactics of the current coalition as they push through this divisive legislation which imperils Israel’s already-fragile democracy. This could have been a moment for Netanyahu to unite the nation and secure Israel’s standing in the world as a strong and leading democracy. Instead, the concerns of the majority of Israelis and Jews across the world, including the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have taken to the streets in recent days and the thousands who marched from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, have been ignored.

The upcoming holiday of Tishah B’Av, when the Jewish people mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples, is widely recognized in our tradition as punishment for our ancestors’ internal intolerance and hatred. Seventy-five years after its creation, the modern Jewish state of Israel is being threatened by extremists, which we know from history can only bring calamity upon our people.

As the largest Movement in Jewish life outside of Israel, we remain committed to the State of Israel, its people, and the values outlined in its Declaration of Independence. We are deeply committed to strengthening the institutions of Israeli civil society, specifically the Israel

Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), which is leading the fight to keep Israel a Jewish and democratic state. As MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv stated, “We lost this battle, but we will win in the end.” We call on the members and institutions of our Movement to lean in and support our partners in Israel, strengthening their resolve to preserve Israel’s democracy.

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

07/12/2023 01:43:12 PM

Jul12

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

I hope that everyone is enjoying the summer so far – and finding ways to stay cool and dry.  Here at Temple, we are so excited to welcome Cantor Rebecca Garfein and her family to Temple Sinai and to New Orleans.

We enjoyed a wonderful first Shabbat of July last week.  It was so nice to welcome everyone back home to Temple Sinai for our first Summer Union Shabbat Services.  It was also Cantor Garfein’s first Shabbat with us.  We had an energetic and welcoming atmosphere, and I think everyone enjoyed being together.  A reminder: we are hosting Shabbat Services throughout July.  Friday Evenings begin at 6:00pm with our Shabbat Shalom Nosh reception in the auditorium, followed by services in the sanctuary at 6:30pm.  On Saturday mornings, we begin with Torah Study in the library at 9:15am, followed by our Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30am in the chapel.

I really hope that you will plan on joining us for Shabbat Services throughout July.  It is a great opportunity to come together, visit, and welcome Cantor Garfein to our community.  Summer Union Services will continue in August at Touro Synagogue.

I also want to remind everyone that we have begun preparing for the upcoming school year by collecting school supplies for students and schools in need.  Please drop items off in the collection bin in the lobby – let’s all try to support this fantastic and important Sinai Tzedek Project.

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

05/31/2023 04:11:42 PM

May31

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

It’s hard to believe that today is the last day of May.  What a busy and exciting month it has been – with lots of wonderful moments and events at Temple.

            Now it is time to look ahead to the summer.  One of the highlights of every year is our Summer Union Shabbat Services.  I do not know of any other community where the local Reform Congregations join together for worship for the entire summer.  I think it helps us to get to know our neighbors and to reinforce the sense of community that we share.  I know that I look forward to worshipping in the chapels and sanctuaries of our fellow congregations.  A reminder of the schedule this year: Congregation Gates of Prayer will host the month of June, Temple Sinai will host July, and Touro Synagogue will host August.  All of the details can be found in our weekly e-blasts, the Temple website, and the June/July Bulletin.

            For many of our families, summer means camp.  I am excited that so many of our Temple Sinai students will attend the URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp this summer.  We know that they will have a fantastic experience.  We are also excited to have students visiting Israel this summer – an unforgettable summer experience.  We look forward to hearing reports about all of our students’ activities and experiences this summer.

            I am also curious this week to read about the trial that has now begun in Pittsburgh, PA for the accused shooter from the Tree of Life Synagogue Massacre on October 27, 2018. I feel for the families of the victims and for the greater Pittsburgh Jewish community.  All of this is happening while we witness alarming rises in anti-Semitism throughout the country and around the world.  Please know that we take safety and security very seriously at Temple and throughout the Greater New Orleans Jewish Community.  I want to thank all who are working very hard to keep our community protected.

            I hope that everyone has a wonderful summer.  Wishing you safe travels, some rest and relaxation, new experiences, and lasting memories!

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

05/17/2023 01:41:59 PM

May17

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

            The countdown is on: only 2 more days until our special weekend honoring Cantor Joel Colman.  The weekend kicks off with a special Friday evening on May 19.  Our Shabbat Service will begin in the Sanctuary at 6:00pm.  Rabbi Cohn and I will both share some thoughts and memories about our beloved clergy partner.  There will be special music and presentations as we express our love and appreciation for Cantor Colman and all he has meant to Temple Sinai over the past 24 years.  A Congregational Shabbat Dinner will follow featuring some of Cantor’s favorites.  Please make your reservations for dinner as soon as possible.

            The fun will continue on Sunday, May 21 with CantorColmanFest 2023 at Temple from 11:00am until 1:00pm.  There will live music, games, a bounce house, a Second Line and more.  We will have a cookout lunch in the auditorium and outside – please make a reservation so that we can make sure we have enough food for everyone (there is no charge).  And since we are honoring Cantor Colman, there will also be a “candy bar” plus sno-balls and cotton candy.  Please plan on dropping by and expressing our gratitude to Cantor Colman.

            Cantor Colman will officially retire over the summer, and we look forward to welcoming Cantor Rebecca Garfein and her family to Temple Sinai and New Orleans in July.

            This evening is our final Wednesday Night Live discussion of the season.  We’ll talk about the state of Temple Sinai today, reviewing this past year and making plans for the future.  We will also discuss ideas and suggestions for future Adult Education classes and topics.  I hope you can join me this evening on Zoom at 7:00pm.

            I look forward to seeing you this weekend as we honor Cantor Colman at Temple!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

05/10/2023 11:33:13 AM

May10

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

What a busy time this is at Temple!  There is lots going on – and I hope you will make plans to be a part of the activity.

            This evening during Wednesday Night Live (7:00pm on Zoom) we will discuss “What’s Next on the Jewish Calendar?”  We will take a closer look at special days this month (including Lag B’Omer, Yom Yerushalayim, and the Festival of Shavuot), as well as other important days that occur over the summer.  Please join us for an enlightening conversation.

            I am looking forward to this Friday evening, May 12, when we will hold our Annual Confirmation Service at 6:30pm in the Sanctuary.  I am very proud of our Confirmation Class of 5783: Adam Kirschman, Max Klein, Jackson Mendler, Dario Miranda, Nolan Rosenfeld, and Eden Rung.  These six 10th graders have studied with me every Sunday morning as we have explored adult Judaism today.  They are ready to lead our service and to confirm their commitment to living meaningful Jewish lives.  I hope you will join me in congratulating our students and their families for reaching this milestone in their Jewish education.

            Don’t forget: next week on Tuesday, May 16, is our Annual Congregational Meeting at 7:00pm.  We will discuss the state of Temple Sinai today, elect new officers and board members, and thank our outgoing leaders.

            The following weekend we will honor and thank our beloved Cantor Joel Colman before his upcoming retirement this summer.  On Friday, May 19 we will hold a special Shabbat Evening Service at 6:00pm as we express our appreciation to Cantor Colman for all that he has meant to us over the past 24 years.  After services there will be a Congregational Shabbat Dinner.  Please plan on joining us and make your reservations today.

            The celebration continues on Sunday, May 21 with CantorColmanFest 2023!  Join us at Temple from 11:00am – 1:00pm.  There will be music, games, fun, and a Second Line honoring Cantor Colman.  There will also be a cookout lunch, along with treats and some of the Cantor’s favorites.  It will be fun for all ages.  We hope to see you as we honor and thank Cantor Colman and begin to prepare for the upcoming transition this summer.

            I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe and dry.  I look forward to seeing you this month here at Temple!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

05/03/2023 01:39:58 PM

May3

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

I am still struggling to accept that May is here.  But, as I look at the calendar, I am very excited about all that will be happening this month at Temple.

            A few things to point out here at the beginning of the month.  This evening there is a Jewish Community Town Hall Meeting with U.S. Representative Troy Carter.  The event will take place from 6:30-7:30pm at Touro Synagogue.  The entire Jewish community is invited to participate.  Please register at the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans website: jewishnola.com.  I will look forward to seeing you there.

            This Friday, May 5, band members will be joining us for a Festive Musical Shabbat Service in the Feibelman Chapel at 6:30pm.  We will also be celebrating our May anniversaries and birthdays.

            It is hard to believe that today is our last official day of Hebrew School, and Sunday will be our last morning of Chavurah@Sinai for this school year.  It has been a great year of learning here at Temple.  I especially want to thank Mollie Sloter, who has stepped in as our interim Religious School Administrator, and all of our teachers for all that they do for our students, families, and congregation.  I am looking forward to our Confirmation Service, which this year will be held on Friday Evening, May 12, at 6:30pm in the sanctuary.

            Please mark your calendars for our special weekend as we honor and thank Cantor Joel Colman for his 24 years of service to Temple Sinai.  On Friday, May 19 we will hold a special service of appreciation at 6:00pm, followed by a Congregational Shabbat Dinner (please make your reservations).  Sunday, May 21 is CantorColmanFest here at Temple from 11:00am – 1:00pm.  It will be lots of fun with something for everyone.  Please plan on joining us for these fabulous events in honor of our beloved Cantor.

            Happy May!  See you at Temple!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

04/19/2023 01:35:56 PM

Apr19

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

            What a great time this is on the calendar here in New Orleans.  The weather is nice, and there seems to be a festival every weekend.  This is also the time of year when we have a number of modern holidays on the Jewish calendar.

            This week we observed Yom HaShoah – our Holocaust Remembrance Day, as we remember the 6 Million Jews who were murdered in the Shoah.  May we never forget, and may we be inspired to work towards an end to anti-Semitism, hate, prejudice, and violence in our world.

            Next week we will join with Jews around the world in marking first Yom HaZikaron – Israel’s Memorial Day on Tuesday, April 25.  We will remember all of those who have lost their lives creating, building, serving, defending and protecting the land of Israel throughout its history.  The next day, Wednesday April 26, is Yom HaAtzmaut – Israel’s Independence Day.  This year we celebrate the 75th birthday of the Modern State of Israel.  Israel has been through so much – and it has accomplished so very much.  There is much to celebrate, as we pray for peace, security, and prosperity for Israel. 

            We will discuss Israel of the past, present, and future during our Wednesday Night Live discussions this week and next week (April 19 & 26) on Zoom at 7:00pm.  We also have a special program and activities for our students during Chavurah@Sinai this Sunday morning, April 23.  There is a wonderful community ceremony and Israeli concert next Tuesday, April 25 at the Uptown JCC that I hope you will consider attending.  Next Friday, April 28 we will have an Israel-themed Shabbat Evening here at Temple.

            This Friday, April 21, we will have a special Musical Shabbat Service at 6:30pm in the Sanctuary.  Joining Cantor Colman will be members of the choir in our Vocal Ensemble, and we will feature Dr. Marcus St. Julien on the organ.  I hope you will plan on joining us for services.

            Stay well, enjoy Spring, and see you at Temple!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

03/29/2023 02:31:09 PM

Mar29

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

Well, my joy from this weekend’s Gala unfortunately did not last as long as I had hoped.  I want to thank everyone who planned and worked so hard to make the annual event happen.  I want to thank everyone who attended and who supported Temple Sinai again this year.  I know that everyone had a wonderful time and enjoyed being altogether at Temple for our Casino Night on the Avenue fundraiser.

I am also excited because finally we are able to announce our plans for the position of Cantor at Temple Sinai moving forward.  We are so pleased to tell everyone that Cantor Rebecca Garfein will be joining Temple Sinai this summer.  She and her family cannot wait to get here and to get started.  Cantor Garfein will be an incredible addition to Temple Sinai – we are fortunate that she has chosen to become part of the Sinai family and community.

That’s the good news.  Now the bad news.

I am saddened to read the news of the storms and tornadoes that caused such devastating damage in our neighboring Mississippi.  I feel for all the families that lost lives and homes.  I hope that we can find ways to be good neighbors and to lend a helping hand.

I was heart-broken once again by the news of the school shooting in Nashville.  I just do not understand how we can allow these mass shootings, especially in our schools, to happen again and again and again – and not seem to do anything about them.  We need new gun laws, and we must find ways to keep our children safe.  Even sadder to me: how unsurprised our kids are when they here such news, and how surprised they are that I continue to be surprised when another school shooting takes place in our country.  We must demand change from all of our leaders.

I am saddened and worried about the news from Israel.  The last few months, since the election, have been filled with conflicts and rising fears.  The reactions within Israel have been fascinating to watch.  Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have protested in order to make sure the Israeli government hears their voices and keeps Israel a strong democracy.  I am grateful that Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has temporarily stalled his government’s plans for judicial reform.  I hope that this will lead to rethinking and compromise, but I have my doubts.  I hope that you are following the news from Israel.  I want to encourage you to read the statement put out yesterday by our Reform Movement’s leadership: the link is https://urj.org/press-room/reform-jewish-leaders-respond-netanyahus-conciliation-delay-judicial-overhaul?_gl=1*1hixfvr*_ga*MTgxOTQ0MzYwNi4xNjM4MzEwMjk5*_ga_6WX143SJW5*MTY4MDExNzUzMC4yOC4wLjE2ODAxMTc1MzAuMC4wLjA.

I also want to encourage you to join Jews throughout the United States in a campaign to fight anti-Semitism in our country.  Go to www.standuptojewishhate.org for more information.  It is a clear and straight-forward approach – now we all need to help spread the word.

Finally, what I thought the theme of this week’s message was going to be – Passover is around the corner.  Passover begins next Wednesday evening, April 5.  Our Congregational Seder will be held on the second night of Passover, Thursday, April 6 at 6:00pm.  I hope you will consider participating as we celebrate our springtime Festival of Freedom together.  Please make your reservations by Monday, April 3.  There are more details and information about Passover 5783 in our April Bulletin and on the Temple website.

I want to wish everyone a very happy and meaningful Passover!  Chag Sameach!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

03/15/2023 02:19:34 PM

Mar15

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

A few things on my mind this week…

  • WEDNESDAY NIGHT LIVE: This evening I am beginning a new two-week discussion on the upcoming “holy days” of Passover and Easter.  What do the two holidays have in common?  What is their religious significance?  What do their symbols really mean?  We will attempt to answer these questions and more as we prepare for our Spring festival.  I invite you to join me on Zoom this Wednesday and next week at 7:00pm.
  • LIMMUDFEST: Limmudfest NOLA is happening this weekend.  I am excited to participate for my first time – this is the first in-person Limmudfest in four years.  It is not too late to register and to join in the learning and community that will be happening.  All events on Friday evening and Saturday will be held at Congregation Gates of Prayer.  Everything will shift to the Uptown JCC for Sunday.  There is an amazing assortment of classes, speakers, and topics – with something for everyone.  For more information, go to www.limmudnola.org.
  • TEMPLE SINAI GALA: Our Annual Temple Gala and Fundraiser is only 11 days away.  I hope you are planning on joining us for “Casino Night on the Avenue” on Sunday, March 26 from 4-6pm at the Temple.  You can bet that it will be a fun event and entertaining afternoon, as we gather together to support Temple Sinai.  The Silent Auction is live on-line right now.  Please buy your tickets (including raffle tickets for great prizes) and become a sponsor – and get ready for a spectacular time!
  • PASSOVER: Believe it or not, Passover is al most here.  Pesach begins three weeks from this evening.  So it is time to start making your plans and get ready.  I hope you will consider joining us for our Congregational Seder on the 2nd Night of Passover – Thursday, April 6 at 6:00pm.  Please make your reservations online or call the Temple office.
  • ISRAEL: There is a lot happening in Israel right now.  Mass protests have taken place across the country in response to the right-wing government that has been making plans and pushing new policies.  I am glad to see so many Israelis making sure their voices are heard.  It is important that we understand the issues and show our support as American Jews and as a community that loves and cares about the State of Israel.  Please stay tuned for more information.  And don’t forget – this year Israel turns 75!

I look forward to seeing you at Temple!

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

02/15/2023 01:21:45 PM

Feb15

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

            Yesterday was Valentine’s Day.  To be honest, it’s a day I have been known to forget.  Some years it barely crosses my mind (my apologies to Morgan).  I have issues with “Greeting Card Holidays” – especially as the price of those cards keeps going up.

            However, I love the idea of a day dedicated to love and to the ones whom we love.  We should never miss an opportunity to express our feelings for the most important people in our lives. 

            And as we read the news headlines, I think we could all agree that the world could use a little more “love, sweet love.”      Of course, yesterday was also the fifth anniversary of the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.  A day I remember well, as we lived at the time in Broward County less than 30 minutes from Parkland.  How was the anniversary observed?  By mourning the victims of the shooting at Michigan State University.  Gun violence is still a plague upon our country – and it seems only to be getting worse.  We must work harder and take steps to stop gun violence and to make our schools, universities, grocery stores, movie theaters, neighborhoods, and homes safer.  How many more anniversaries will we spend mourning the loss of innocent lives?

            May we be moved by our love of life to stop the taking of lives by those with guns.  And in that spirit, we may also continue to protect lives by promoting reproductive justice and health care rights for all.  This Shabbat, the National Council of Jewish Women is promoting its annual “Repro Shabbat,” encouraging Jews across the country to stand up for abortion access and rights.  We must join the fight and make sure our voices are heard.

            Today is also Jewish Disability Advocacy Day, a day dedicated to standing up for those who need our help and support to stand and have access to everyday life.  Let us show our love for those who face challenges by being advocates for change.

            To find out more about all of these issues, I encourage you to check out and support the wonderful work of the URJ’s Religious Action Center (www.rac.org) in Washington, DC.

            Enjoy Mardi Gras, be safe, and help spread love as we work to make our world a better and safer place.

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

02/01/2023 03:09:48 PM

Feb1

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

            Last week ended with heart-breaking news: the murder of seven Israelis who were shot coming out of their synagogue in East Jerusalem following Shabbat services.  On Saturday, there was a shooting in Jerusalem by a Palestinian teenager with a gun.  We discussed the violence at our Torah Study on Shabbat morning.  At services we prayed for the victims and their families.  On Sunday morning we talked about the importance of Israel with our Chavurah@Sinai students and how we hoped all of them would be able to visit Israel one day.  We prayed for peace and sang HaTikvah – the Israeli national anthem, which means “The Hope.”

            The terror of last Shabbat concluded a few violent days in Israel and the West Bank.  And I fear that there will be more.  We mourn for the victims and pray for the healing of those who were injured.  “SHA’ALU SH’LOM YERUSHALAYIM – Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for all those who live there.”  May all live there in peace and security.  May our Israeli family members know safety – and we pray for the leaders and all those who protect Israel.

            I look back on last Shabbat with fear and sadness.  But I look forward to this Shabbat with much joy and excitement.  This Shabbat is known as “SHABBAT SHIRAH – the Sabbath of Song,” as we read the Song of the Sea: the song we sang thanking and praising God after we successfully crossed the Red Sea to freedom.  We will have a special musical Shabbat service this Friday evening, Feb. 3.  Joining Cantor Colman will be Cantor Rebecca Garfein, and they have planned a joyous service as we celebrate this special Shabbat together.  Our pre-service Shabbat Shalom Nosh begins at 6:00pm and services will start at 6:30pm, followed by an Oneg Shabbat.

            And the joy and music won’t stop there.  I hope you will also join us for a fantastic Cantorial Concert on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 5 at 3:00pm in the sanctuary.  We are celebrating Cantor Colman, who will be joined by two very talented colleagues and friends: Cantor Rebecca Garfein and Cantor Steven Weiss.  The concert will feature Jewish liturgical music, along with some opera and Yiddish tunes, as well as favorites from Broadway.  I hope will you will plan on being there as we honor and thank Cantor Colman for all that he has meant to Temple Sinai.

            And don’t forget – Wednesday Night Live: Join me this evening at 7:00pm on Zoom for an “Ask the Rabbi” conversation. 

Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

01/18/2023 03:39:11 PM

Jan18

Rabbi Daniel Sherman

How is it already the CHAI (18th) of January?  I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy here at the beginning of this New Year. There is lots going on at Temple these days.  Here are just a few quick reminders:

  • WEDNESDAY NIGHT LIVE: Cantor Colman will continue his discussion on the new play Leopoldstadt this evening at 7:00pm on Zoom.  All are welcome to join in.
  • FRIDAY EVENING: Join us this week for a special musical Shabbat Evening Service featuring our Vocal Ensemble (members of our choir) and organ in the sanctuary.  Our Shabbat Shalom Nosh Reception begins at 6:00pm, followed by services at 6:30pm.
  • SATURDAY MORNING: Torah Study continues every week at 9:15am.  Afterwards, join us this week for our Shabbat Morning Service in the chapel at 10:30am.
  • SUNDAY MORNING: Chavurah@Sinai resumed this past week.  Every Sunday is a wonderful experience for our students from pre-K through Confirmation (10th grade).

And mark your calendars and make plans for:

  • Wednesday, January 25 (next week): Join Brotherhood for a visit to The Sazerac House.  Everyone is invited.  Come join us for a wonderful social evening.
  • Sunday, Feb. 5: Join us for a very special cantorial concert with Cantor Colman and Friends at 3:00pm.  Come for the amazing music as we honor Cantor Colman and thank him for his many years of service to our congregation and community.  You won’t want to miss out.  Make your reservations and get your tickets now.

 

Remember: all this information and more can be found in our weekly email blasts on Thursdays, in the monthly bulletin, and on the Temple website. I look forward to seeing you at Temple!

Thu, May 30 2024 22 Iyyar 5784