Sunday, August 5, 2018

Eikev

This past Friday both Rabbi Schwartz and Cantor Horowitz were out of town, so for the first time in four years we had lay led services. And in response to requests, I promised I would share my D'var Torah here on our congregational blog:



Parsha Eikev

This week's Torah reading is the third from the Book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Torah. The name Deuteronomy come from the Greek, meaning Second Law, because it follows the first set of laws in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, repeating and expanding upon them, including a slightly altered version of the Ten Commandments. But the Hebrew name for the fifth book of Moses is Devarim, which means Words. So if we want to use this book's real name, not the ancient equivalent of its Ellis Island name, we would refer to it as the Book of Words.


In ancient times, books did not have titles, but were known by the first few key terms of the text, and Devarim begins with, "These are the words that Moses spoke to all of Israel on the other side of the Jordan." Taken together, the literal translation of the Hebrew names of the five books of the Torah are 

  • In the Beginning (Genesis)
  • Names (Exodus)
  • And He Called (Leviticus)
  • In the Dessert (Numbers) and
  • Words (Deuteronomy).

I want to point out that the names of three out of the five books refer to forms of communication: Names, And He Called, and Words. And I think it only fitting that the final summation of the Torah is the Book of Words. After all, In the Beginning, God begins the labor of Creation with words, with the speech act, Yehi Or, Let there be light. And it is through God's command, in the form of words, that light is first created.

The first thing we learn about God is that God uses words. And what else could it mean when it says that God creates the first human being in God's own likeness? Not that we look like God, because God cannot be seen. But God can be heard, human beings can hear God's voice calling to them, and we are like God in being given the gift of words. It follows that the first thing that Adam does after he is created by God, the first assignment given to him by God, is to name all the animals.

God speaks to Adam and Eve, to Cain and Noah, to Abraham and Moses. The first set of stone tablets containing God's commandments, the stone tablets that Moses shattered when he came down from Mount Sinai and saw his people worshiping the golden calf, were written by God, inscribed by the finger of God according to the Torah. The second set of tablets were not written directly by God. They were only dictated by God to Moses. Moses was then acting in the likeness of God in writing down God's Law.

The first prohibition in the Ten Commandments is against worshiping other gods, and the second is against making graven images, making any likeness of anything that exists on earth, in the waters, or in the heavens. This commandment is linked to the prohibition against the worship of false gods, and idolatry, and throughout the Torah and Tanach we find a polemic against idol worship.

But the prohibition against images goes beyond their worship; it extends to their creation. Why else would this be, except for the fact that images compete with words for our attention. Images compete with words as ways of representing our world. Images help us to visualize, and visualizing is a mental activity that we have in common with animals. Words, on the other hand, give us uniquely human tools for thought.

It is worth recalling the story of Helen Keller, who lost both her sight and her hearing when she was only 19 months old, and was unable to communicate as a young child. She only learned language through the dedication of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, who used a method of spelling words through the sense of touch. Keller learned the method, but for a long time didn't understand the meaning of the words, didn't understand that they represented the names of things in her environment. The breakthrough came on April 5th, 1887, when Sullivan took the then seven-year-old to a water pump. As Helen Keller described the event in her autobiography:

As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten—a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that ‘w-a-t-e-r’ meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away.

Words unleash our human potential, and beyond learning the name for that wonderful cool something she experienced in that moment, she would learn that that same word represents the liquid we drink from a glass, and bathe in, that falls from the sky, that fills ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans, and that turns to snow and ice when the temperature drops. The concept of water in general, as a category that includes a wide variety of experiences and phenomena, is impossible to convey in an image, a likeness.

The same is true for rules, for laws, for commandments, because they are generalizations. An image can depict a specific incident in which a theft occurs, but it cannot portray the abstract idea that it is wrong to steal the property of others. And consider the fact that so many of our laws and commandments are prohibitions, rules that say, you shall not do something, shall not engage in a particular activity. There is no way to produce a likeness of the concept of not, or no, or negation. There is no likeness of the number zero, no image that resembles the absence of something. These are all abstract concepts, as is the idea of one God who cannot be seen, who is not tied to a particular location, who is everywhere, all-powerful, all-knowing.

The prohibition against image-thinking is an effort to get us to use our words, and thereby to engage our higher mental functions, to expand our intellectual capacities, to open the door to more abstract thought, and thereby to accept a new form of religion based on monotheism, and the pursuit of justice through the rule of law.

So we destroyed our idols and replaced them with Torah scrolls, rejected the image and embraced the word. And we were among the Semitic peoples who developed the first form of alphabetic writing in the ancient world, and used the aleph-bet to construct the first fully formed legal code, to develop a higher form of ethics than had ever been known, to revolutionize the conception of the sacred and the divine, and to compose the first form of historical narrative. We became the first people of the book, but we remained people of the ear, not the eye.

When the ancient Greeks adopted the alphabet and adapted it to their culture, they placed an emphasis on the visual. And that emphasis became one of the primary characteristics of western civilization. Most of our figures of speech that employ visual metaphors come from ancient Greece, so when we talk or write about our thought processes and ways of knowing, we say things like, the way that I look at things, the way that I see it, from my perspective, from my point of view, this peculiar way of talking about our mental processes comes from the ancient Greeks. And so, we talk about a process of reflection, observation, about self-image, about having vision, foresight, hindsight, and insight, or about being blind . From image we get the word imagination, and the etymological root of the word idea come from the Greek verb for to see, the same root as video. We speak of in the first place, the second place, and third place, and I don't know about you, but I've never been able to visit these places, or find them on the map. Even the word topic comes from the Greek word for place, the same root as topography, topology, and topiary.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, in his discussion of this week's parsha, makes note of this disparity, and writes:

Judaism, by contrast, is a culture of the ear more than the eye. As Rabbi David Cohen, the disciple of Rav Kook known as 'the Nazirite', pointed out in his book, Kol ha-Nevuah, the Babylonian Talmud consistently uses the metaphor of hearing. So when a proof is brought, it says Ta shma, 'Come and hear.' When it speaks of inference it says, Shema mina, 'Hear from this.' When someone disagrees with an argument, it says Lo shemiyah leih, 'he could not hear it.' When it draws a conclusion it says, Mashma, 'from this it can be heard.' Maimonides calls the oral tradition, Mipi hashemua, 'from the mouth of that which was heard.' In Western culture understanding is a form of seeing. In Judaism it is a form of listening.

The Hebrew word shema, so familiar to us as the beginning of the watchword of our faith, is root of all these terms, and as Rabbi Sacks relates,

Shema is one of the key words of the book of Devarim, where it appears no less than 92 times. It is, in fact, one of the key words of Judaism as a whole. It is central to the two passages that form the first two paragraphs of the prayer we call the Shema, one in last week’s parsha, the other in this week’s.

And he goes on to explain,

At the most basic level, Shema represents that aspect of Judaism that was most radical in its day: that God cannot be seen. He can only be heard. Time and again Moses warns against making or worshipping any physical representation of the Divine. As he tells the people: It is a theme that runs through the Bible. Moses insistently reminds the people that at Mount Sinai: “The Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice” (Deut. 4:12).

Our embrace of the ear over the eye is fundamental to our tradition and identity as Jews. When we recite the Shema and our other prayers, we do so as a community, a congregation, together as one. This is true whenever we sing together, or chant, or recite, or even when we listen. But when we read in silence, even if we all are reading the same passage at the same time, we become individuals, separated and isolated from one another.

When we read from the Torah, we read it out loud. It is meant to be heard. And most of our prayers are said out loud, and are composed in the first person plural, not singular. We mostly pray as a collective, as we, as us, not as I and me. On Yom Kippur, we atone for our sins together, not just individually, taking responsibility for our families, communities, nations, for our people and for humanity as a whole. It is no accident that the word audience is a singular noun, while the word readers we all know to be plural.

We do acknowledge the importance of the individual and the role of individuality, the uniqueness of every single person. The idea of law introduced to the world the idea of equality before the law, equality as individuals. But our tradition does not go overboard in emphasizing individualism, not the way that western culture as a whole has, and American culture in particular, to the detriment of our sense of community. 

The fact that Jewish culture remained a culture of the ear is reflected in the sometimes half-serious way that we refer to ourselves as the tribe, as members of the tribe. We did not, in fact, sever all connection to the tribal way of life, as literate and urbane as we have become. In this sense, we remain connected to one another, we remain in touch with one another.

When Helen Keller was asked, if she had a choice, would she rather be blind or deaf, she answered blind, because people are kinder to individuals who have lost their sight. Without vision, we still remain connected to other people, through conversation, through speech and hearing. When we lose our ability to listen, we become isolated not only from an entire dimension of our environment, but more painfully, from one another.

Vision distances us from our world, leads us to treat the objects in our environment as things, and to objectify other people as well. It places us in what Martin Buber referred to as I-It relationships, in contrast to the I-You relationships that are associated with being in dialogue with others, with responding to others as persons just like ourselves, others
who experience the same kind of subjectivity as our own, with empathy.

This distinction also informs our tradition of written law, of what is expected of us in response to God's commandments. Rabbi Sacks explains that the word shema is actually untranslatable. Yes, we translate the prayer as Hear O Israel, but that is only one possible way to render it in English. As he explains,

It means many things: to hear, to listen, to pay attention, to understand, to internalise and to respond. It is the closest biblical Hebrew comes to a verb that means “to obey.”

Rabbi Sacks later goes on to explain,

What Moses is telling us throughout Devarim is that God does not seek blind obedience. The fact that there is no word for ‘obedience’ in biblical Hebrew, in a religion of 613 commands, is stunning in itself (modern Hebrew had to borrow a verb, letzayet, from Aramaic). He wants us to listen, not just with our ears but with the deepest resources of our minds.

According to Rabbi Sacks, when Moses says in this week's parsha, "If you indeed heed my commandments which I charge you today, to love Adonai your God and worship him with all your heart and all your soul" (Deut. 11:13), what he is essentially saying is, "If you listen—and I mean really listen."

Listening for that still, small voice that in our tradition comes from God, and listening to each other, has become increasingly more challenging when we are surrounded by so much noise. There is the noise pollution from traffic, and trains, and airplanes and helicopters, and the sounds of construction and machinery. There is the noise that comes from radio and television, from our smart phones and tablets, and all of our devices and gadgets. And there is the noise we generate ourselves, when we talk at each other, shout at each other, and refuse to listen to each other.

In this last great speech that Moses delivers to the children of Israel in the Book of Words, he asks us to listen, and to remember what we have heard. It is not enough to write things down, to record them in a book. Written records are not memory. Memory is not a thing, not an object, it is an action, an act of remembering. And the most powerful way to perform this act, to remember, is to remember not alone but with others, to remember together. The most powerful form of memory is commemoration. We remember together when we speak, when say it out loud, when we tell our stories.

Stories help us to remember. They take a bunch of isolated events and bring them together, connect them to give them form, organize them and put them in some kind of order, and help us make sense by providing a coherent framework for what may otherwise seem like the random chaos of life. And so Moses tells the Israelites the story of what they have  already experienced, what they already know, the events of their lives. He takes their experiences, and turns them into a story. He does so, so that they can continue to remember those events, to retell them, and keep them alive. The story he tells them is the story we continue to tell to ourselves, and our children. It is the story of God's signs and wonders, God's mighty hand and outstretched arm, and above all God's words, bestowed upon a humble people, nomads and slaves, a people often ungrateful, disobedient, and sinful. A people whose only redeeming quality is the capacity, sometimes, to use our words, to speak, to read and write, to tell stories, and to listen.


Monday, July 2, 2018

Visiting Our Peace Garden

On the hottest day of the year, a visitor sought refuge in our peace garden. 






Photo courtesy of Rabbi Schwartz.



Sunday, June 17, 2018

7 Reasons Why Einstein Should be Considered One of the Prophets

We are pleased to share the following op-ed by Adas Emuno president, Lance Strate, which was published on March 9th in the Jewish Standard.  The title it was published under was, Seven Reasons Why Albert Einstein is a Prophet, and here it is:



The number 139 is not one we are likely to pay attention to, so this anniversary may not get a great deal of attention. We tend to sit up and take notice when the anniversary is a multiple of 100, or 50, or 10, or even 5.


At the very least, we have a psychological bent toward even numbers, and 139 is decidedly odd. But if Einstein were still with us, he might point out that 139 is more than odd; that it is, in fact, a prime number, which makes it quite significant in its own right. He also no doubt would point to the arbitrary nature of anniversaries, and of calendars for that matter. Einstein’s date of birth on the Hebrew calendar was the 19th of Adar in the year 5639. This year, Adar 19 corresponded to March 6, last year it was March 17, next year is a leap year so it will be February 24 for Adar 1, and March 26 for Adar 2.

I suspect that the differences between the solar calendar of secular society and the lunar calendar of Jewish tradition had some influence on Einstein’s thinking. After all, when we say, for example, that Chanukah is coming late in a given year, it is just as true to say that Christmas and New Year’s are early. The experience of living with two so very different calendars could not help but point to the relativity of time.


And as we remember Einstein, we do so, along with the rest of the world, for his contributions to science, as the recipient of the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics, and the person named in 1999 as Time magazine’s Person of the Century. More than anyone else, Einstein was the person responsible for the paradigm shift in science that replaced Newton’s mechanistic view of the universe with a relativistic understanding of space and time.


And we also remember him as an especially noteworthy member of the Jewish people, one of our many gifts to the world, a prime example of what we sometimes refer to as yiddishe kop, intelligence born out of a tradition of literacy and learning, one in which teachers and sages are seen as heroic. And we may also recall that as a Jew, Einstein was forced to flee Nazi Germany as a refugee, and that he was a supporter of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel.


 






We do not remember Einstein in a religious context, however; he was not a rabbi or talmudic scholar or theologian. I want to suggest, however, that we should remember him as a prophet. Admittedly, in our tradition we consider the age of the prophets to have ended long ago, but we cannot rule out the possibility of modern prophets altogether. And while we would tend to be suspicious of anyone claiming to be a prophet today, Einstein never made any such claim, so he cannot be rejected as a false prophet.

But I do think a case can be made, and I hope you will consider the possibility as I put forth seven reasons for naming Albert Einstein as a modern-day prophet.







1. Einstein’s name has become synonymous with genius. We typically say that a given individual “is” a genius, but everyone who truly fits the description will more accurately refer to “a stroke of genius” in the sense of something coming from outside of themselves. The word “genius” originates from ancient Rome, and refers to a guiding spirit or deity, a supernatural source, like a guardian angel. (Prophets are the recipients of divine revelation, some form of communication, or we may call it inspiration, which literally means, “to breathe into,” which is how God brings Adam to life in the Book of Genesis.)






2. As a teenager, Einstein imagined himself chasing after a beam of light, which led to his understanding that light cannot be slowed or stopped, that the speed of light is constant, and that it is time, instead, that must vary. This thought experiment was the foundation that led to his special theory of relativity. Other thought experiments followed, notably the difference in what we  would observe when standing on a train vs. standing on a platform as bolts of lightning strike the train. (Prophets are known to receive revelation via visions, as in Jacob’s ladder, Joseph’s dreams, the chariot of fire that appeared to Elijah, and Ezekiel’s wheel within a wheel.)






 



3. One of Einstein’s most significant achievements was determining the nature of light as consisting of quanta, aka photons, and that light has a dual nature, as both waves and particles. Clearly, he had a unique relationship to the phenomenon of light. (Prophets are closely associated with light and enlightenment, Genesis famously says that light was the first of God’s creations, Moses has a halo when he descends from Mount Sinai after speaking to God face-to- face, a direct encounter with the divine countenance that we pray may shine upon us.)













4. Einstein gave us a new way of understanding the universe, of space and time as a single phenomenon, spacetime. (Prophets teach us about the nature of Creation to better understand the Creator, and our place in the world.)




 

5. Einstein invoked the philosophy of the Enlightenment founder Baruch Spinoza in explaining his own view of a pantheistic God. That is a view that traditionally has been seen as heretical, but is consistent with some approaches to Kabbalah, God as the Ein Sof, and certainly is acceptable within Reform Judaism. Above all, it is a view consistent with science; as Einstein famously remarked, “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” His resistance to the uncertainty principle of quantum theory was famously expressed in the quote, “God does not play dice with the universe,” asserts that Creation is governed by laws that are rational and ultimately discernible, as well as based on an underlying monotheism, as God would have no one to play dice with. (Prophets often have been critics of established religious authority, in favor of a direct encounter with God via nature.)






6. Einstein spoke out for social justice. He did so on behalf of his own people, in opposition to Nazi Germany, and in favor of Zionism and the State of Israel, but also as a strong critic of racism and supporter of the civil rights movement in the United States. He also was quite critical of capitalism, arguing on behalf of socialism and advocating for a democratic world government and pacifism after the conclusion of World War II. (Social justice is one of the primary themes of the Prophets section of the Tanach.)





 




7. Einstein warned President Roosevelt of the danger of Nazi research into the development of the atomic bomb, leading to the Manhattan Project. He later became an outspoken critic of nuclear weapons. His warnings largely have fallen on deaf ears, at least as far as governments are concerned. In 1947, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists introduced the image of the Doomsday Clock, setting it to seven minutes before midnight. On January 25 of this year, the minute hand was moved up to two minutes before midnight, the closest it has ever been, mainly because of North Korea and our president’s threatening remarks, and not taking into account Putin’s recent statements about Russian nuclear missile capability, and his animated image of the bombardment of Florida. (The biblical prophets issued warnings about the destruction of Israel and Judea, and the name Jeremiah has become synonymous with pronouncements of doom.)




 





Einstein’s predictions in the realm of physics continue to be supported by astronomical observation and experimental evidence. Perhaps his predictions about society and politics ought to be taken seriously as well?

Why bother arguing for Einstein as a prophet?



Because American culture always has had a strain of anti-intellectualism, one that includes resistance to many aspects of science, notably Darwinian evolution.

Because climate change is at least as great a threat as nuclear war, and is being met with denial, dismissal, or disinterest from significant portions of the population, and all too many in leadership positions.

Because facts and logic are under assault by religious fundamentalists, cynical political opportunists, and corporate executives with eyes only for short term profits.

As Rabbi Barry L. Schwartz makes clear in his recently published book, Paths of the Prophets: The Ethics-Driven Life, our prophetic tradition is of vital importance, one that always has and always will be relevant for us.







 

Naming Albert Einstein a prophet should not detract from this tradition, but rather enhance it, by adding a dimension that we need now more than ever: the truth that ethics cannot be divorced from an understanding of the world, of reality, in all its complexity, and glory.


Friday, June 15, 2018

A TRIBUTE TO OUR PRESIDENT

from the pages of Kadima, the newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:





From the desk of …                    
 Rabbi Barry Schwartz
    






A TRIBUTE TO OUR PRESIDENT
 

…to the president of our Congregation, that is





As Lance Strate steps down from the helm, our thanks are due.

I will leave it to future historians to assess his legacy, but allow me to point out that Lance:

  • Served three terms (six years) as our president
  • He did so while maintaining a demanding academic career
  • He did so while meeting demanding family responsibilities
  • He gave witty weekly greetings and announcements
  • He wrote wise and wonderful bimonthly bulletin columns
  • He enhanced our community profile with articles in the Jewish Standard
  • He ran our blog spot
  • He coordinated our poetry garden meetings
  • He wrote four Purim spiels
  • He brought many an intriguing speaker (and a musical ensemble) to our Congregation
  • He read Torah each Rosh Hashanah
  • He offered a passionate High Holy day appeal

With all due deference to Sir (and later Saint) Thomas More, Lance was our “man for all seasons”. One did not have to agree with all of his views or methods to respect his dedication and learning. How many other congregations have a president who rolled up his sleeves to do all the committee and board work that is required, while writing blogs, columns, poems, spiels and appeals (not to mention several books in his own field of media ecology)?

I am very fortunate to have worked with Lance for the entirety of his term, and look forward to benefiting from his continued involvement as an “elder statesman” as we near (as Lance was fond of reminding us) our “sesquicentennial” (otherwise referred to as 150th anniversary) just three years from now.

Our heartfelt thanks must also go out to Barbara, Ben and Sarah for allowing Lance to dedicate such time and effort to our congregation.

And to Lance we say, hazak v’amatz—be strong, and may you go from strength to strength.









Thursday, June 14, 2018

Let's Meet Up!

 From the pages of Kadima, the newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:



A Message From Our President


Dr. Lance Strate








Let's Meet Up!



It's an annual event, a ritual, a tradition. It only comes once a year, just once, so why miss it? It's important too, that is, if you think that Congregation Adas Emuno is important, if you think that Reform Judaism is important, if you think that being Jewish is important. It's easy too. Just come. Show up. Listen. And if you want, share your thoughts and feelings, and express your opinions.

I know it's a hard sell. Not just for us, but for congregations everywhere. As the song goes, "I know it's late, I know you're weary, I know your plans don't include me." But how about giving it a try, because regarding our shul, "still here we are." And if you haven't guessed by now, what I'm referring to is our annual congregational meeting, which will take place on Thursday, June 28th, at 7:00 PM.

I'm making a special effort to ask you to come this year, because this year's meeting will be an especially important one. This is my last meeting as president, after six years, and that means that this year we will be electing a new president at the annual meeting. I think that is going to be pretty exciting. And we will also be electing our other officers, our Vice-President, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, and Recording Secretary.

This year we will also be voting on amendments to our by-laws, which include a major change to our classifications of membership, and their concomitant privileges. A more detailed explanation of the proposed changes will be provided in a mailing, along with the slate of candidates for our Board of Trustees. And yes, forms for voting by proxy. If you must. We do need you to vote, our by-laws require it, so voting by proxy is better than not voting at all. But we’d much rather have you come and vote in person.

Our annual congregational meeting is also an opportunity to hear reports from our officers and committee chairs, as well as Rabbi Schwartz and Cantor Horowitz. And it's an opportunity to review our finances, and vote on our budget for the coming fiscal year. If you have any questions or concerns about our religious school tuition and membership dues, this is the time to raise them. And this is the way to be informed. This too will be especially important this year because the proposed changes to the by-laws will open up new possibilities for membership categories and (forgive me for using this terminology) "dues paying units". Let's discuss!

And we'll have something to nosh on too. Come for the refreshments, if for nothing else. And come and learn about the business and organization of our congregation. And most of all, come to be something more than a congregant. Come to be a citizen of Adas Emuno. Participate in our democratic and egalitarian community.

Let's meet up! I hope to see you there!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Youth Group News May 2018

From the pages of Kadima, the Newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:


Youth Group News from
Youth Group Advisor
Samantha Rosenbloom:


Our April event was a great success at the Escape Room. Our team escaped the room with over 22 minutes left, breaking the record by 2 minutes!

Our last event for the school year will be on May 6, when we will be doing a favorite activity from last year… a backwards scavenger hunt in the social hall with lunch and snacks.


samantharosenbloom at gmail.com

Thursday, May 3, 2018

End of School Year Religious School News

From the pages of Kadima, the Newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:

Religious School News 

     from

Cantor Sandy Horowitz

Religious School Director


In this often-worrisome world, the light of our small school shines ever brightly. Our children get to “be Jewish” and “do Jewish” together in an environment of acceptance and belonging; and as another year comes to a close, I am so proud of our religious school community.

For families and teachers alike, religious school is only one of many commitments that make demands on our time and energy. I’ve watched students arrive in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings looking tired, perhaps not yet fully awake. Fast-forward three hours and they’re energized, talking and laughing as they head out to resume the rest of their lives. They have been learning with their minds and their voices and their creativity. They have been singing and praying. They have donated tzedakah for the benefit of others. They have helped each other when help was needed. They have come up with ideas the rest of us hadn’t thought of. They have been striving to understand and to learn. They have been continually interacting, and wondering, and questioning. All of this is part of developing a Jewish identity, of becoming a mensch, of ensuring a future for our Jewish tradition.

Here’s the thing: the ongoing existence of our religious school depends on continuing as well as new enrollment. We need all of you to help us spread the word! If you know of families with children who might be curious about joining our “being Jewish/doing Jewish” Sundays, please reach out, and encourage them to contact me at adasschool at gmail.com. We are especially looking to re-kindle our K-1 class, as we welcome students of all ages through seventh grade to our religious school.

Thank you’s:

To the parents for all the ways you have volunteered this year–as “parent in charge”–helping with school-wide holiday celebrations, class pot-luck dinners and more. Gratitude abounds especially to the school committee for your leadership and support and incredible hard work.

To each of our amazing teachers for your commitment and creativity. And to the madrichim, our teenage teacher assistants, for your willingness to help with anything that’s needed, and doing it well.

Special thanks to Rabbi Schwartz for his inspired Confirmation class teaching, as they wrap up a year of justice-based learning. To Sabina Albirt and Samantha Rosenbloom who directed this year of socializing and social action with our Youth Group. To Kerri Klein and Jody Pugach who envisioned and implemented the new Mommy/Daddy‘n Me program, led by Reina Stern.

And may I simply add–gratitude to the One, to the very nature of Possibility, and Hope.

Our hearts are full and our spirit is strong! Have a great summer. Cantor Horowitz

Please make a note of these upcoming dates in May and June for our students & families!

Confirmation Class: May 6, 13, 17 (rehearsal)

Friday, May 18: 7:30 PM–Confirmation Service
Sunday, May 20: Last day of school
Saturday, May 26: Bar/Bat Mitzvah of Aaron and Hannah Jacobowitz
Saturday, June 16: Bat Mitzvah of Abigail Boyd