Trick or Treat-Equal Opportunity Offender?
10/30/2015 03:07:21 PM
Seasonal convergence: This Shabbat is erev Halloween,and in Westport it is a big yomtov! But, the choice of costuming at Walmart will be rather limited this year, as America's largest retailer has decided to no longer sell costumes with a Middle East reference, including IDF (Israel Defense Forces) costumes. Of course, dressing up like Satan is perfectly acceptable. Read the NBC News take here. They had previously dropped an Osama ben Laden inspired terrorist costume. What ever happened to My Favorite Martian….
Shabbat Hagadol 5775
03/25/2015 11:10:14 AM
the "Great Shabbat" just before Pesach, where we have an opportunity to focus ourselves before the festival which starts next Friday night, ready or not!
We use this shabbat to focus on making sure our spiritual homes are in order as we prepare to relive one of the seminal moments in Jewish history.
Learn more about it here.
I will be giving a specially themed Shabbat Hagadol sermon this week, so I hope you can make it.
Meanwhile, on a practical (and halachic) level there are a few very important details to take care of before the festival- please take a minute and go through thepre passover checklist I have prepared, and do not hesitate to contact me at any time for any questions on preparation, kashrut, the seder, or anything else you can think off.
The complete schedule is posted here, please note that we will have evening services on Friday and Saturday nights before the seder. Please let me knowif you are in town and able to come. We have people in the community who are counting on a minyan for kaddish, even just one of the nights would be helpful. Since we do not begin the seder until nightfall everyone will be home in time to start the seder promptly.
Finally, the sale of Chometz is very important, and easy to do.
You can download the form here, and fax it to the shul (203) 227-3335 by Thursday April 2, or sell through me right after services this Sunday morning, following 8:30 AM shacharit.
Don't forget to search for chometz Sunday night after dark, and bring your chometz for burning Monday morning by 11:00AM.
Rosh Chodesh Nissan
03/20/2015 10:15:43 AM
02/04/2015 03:40:58 PM
11/26/2014 01:22:42 PM
Yom Kippur 5775
10/01/2014 08:14:02 AM
Shabbat Ki Teitzei
09/02/2014 10:51:43 PM
08/06/2014 02:02:50 PM
Be comforted, be comforted my people, says the L-rd.
The Shabbat after Tisha B'Av is know as Shabbat Nachamu, the Sabbath of consolation, and our nation mood changes from mourning Jerusalem to joy in anticipation of the pending Redemption.
Fireworks at Beit Chaverim!
07/02/2014 10:27:26 AM
It has been a week of mixed emotions. The joyful shabbat with the extended Kurtz family gave way to the horrible news from Israel. These senseless killings deeply affected the Jewish people around the world, and left us all numb, angry, and distraught.
I am very encouraged by the large turnout we had last night at the memorial service for Gilad, Naftali and Eyal, and the fact that our synagogue is here to offer solace and comfort to everyone in our community, not just our members. May we only come together in the future to celebrate life!
Now for some positive news: This week, after many, many years of hard work, we finally obtained our zoning permit to begin developing our property on Ludlow Rd, and build our new synagogue building! It has been a long time coming, and we look forward to continuing to grow together, inside and outside of the new shul.
Our most sincere appreciation for the hard work of Alan Benjamin in completing the final phase of the permit process, to our co-presidents Louis Parks and Andrew Marcus for refusing to give up the dream, and to the board for their support.The new building committee is in formation, and we welcome everyone to get involved. Help us build the permanent home on Ludlow Rd. we can enjoy now, and leave as a legacy to our children, grandchildren and the entire community.
Big kiddush this shabbat to celebrate, sponsored by the Board of Directors- see you there!
Mazel Tov to Jean and George Sichel on the wedding of their son Jonathan to Elana Hagler, to take place Thursday night. May we continue to share in each other's s'machot!
A new class has set sail- "Adrift in a Sea of Talmud". The class is held on Friday mornings at 10AM... on a sailboat! We sail into the Sound, and take out our volumes of Talmud (Masechet Yoma) and go to work! Some Hebrew text skills helpful, but not required.
Contact Rabbi Wall for more info
Finally- please join us for our mincha and Seudat Shlishit at 8PM on Shabbat afternoon. We have been having a wonderful time with spirited singing, a bon mot or two, a nosh, and great company as we try to keep the Shabbat from slipping away.
Enjoy this preview of my new CD!
What a Gala!
06/24/2014 11:14:47 PM
Post Shavuot Wrap-up
06/08/2014 01:25:03 AM
Fresh Ink! (ok, celluloid..)
06/03/2014 06:50:39 PM
Great piece on News12 CT by Kathryn Hauser and Dan Renzetti- thanks, guys!
05/30/2014 01:17:44 PM
Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 5774
Yesterday I stopped by a synagogue in Westchester on my way home, to pray the afternoon mincha service. I was number 6, so I was there a while as they hastily assembled a minyan so several men and one woman could say kaddish. I was probably there about fifteen or twenty minutes before the service started, and not one person said hello, introduced themselves, or did anything to make a guest feel comfortable. Those few moments were all it took for me to form an opinion about that synagogue, and I will not be returning soon. Too bad- a nice new building, and lavishly appointed public spaces. Lots of plaques with the names of the big donors...
As we read about the dedication of the Mishkan in this week's parsha, and the gifts each tribe brought, we realize that no attention is paid to unique contributions. The Torah describes the identical gift each brought, downplaying the larger individual contributions that some must have been able to give. What counts is that everybody gave of themselves.
Yes, we are the House of Friends, and we enjoy each other's company. But, anyone walking through our doors immediately senses the contribution we all make here- a warm, welcoming, and accepting attitude that says more about this congregation than any furnishings possibly could.
A gift of ones self is sometime the dearest of all. To take time out to visit a shut in, bring food to a shiva house, or make a minyan, is the highest form of giving, and here we shine.
From last Friday afternoon through Monday night we conducted every synagogue service, (including a delightful Shabbat Mincha with Seudat Shlishit, and a wonderful shiur from Rabbi Schindler) and the response from our community was inspiring. With mourners in the community our ability to provide a community for prayer is essential. In particular I would like to send a shout out to 13 year old Jacob Cohen, who was the tenth for minyan two mornings in a row, and showed us just what it means to be a bar mitzvah. May he grow and be able to help bestow blessings upon the entire Jewish people, as we see in the Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessings taught in this week parasha, given only by a Kohane. Jacob- you make us all proud.
In less than a week the counting of the omer will conclude, as we usher in the most historically significant of our shalosh regalim, our three festivals, Chag Shavuot, which commemorates the receiving of the Torah at Sinai. Unlike Pesach and Sukkot, there are no symbolic rituals or mitzvot (cheesecake is not a mitzvah, although it feels like one!) to make the holiday more accessible. We observe Shavuot by studying Torah, the living legacy of the original revelation that created the Jewish people thirty three hundred years ago. More on Shavuot here and here. We read the Book of Ruth in the synagogue- more on Ruth here.
Save the date! June 3rd- Shavuot feast, and Learn-a-thon! This shavuot we will celebrate our Torah by studying into the wee hours (and all night for the young and young at heart..click here for background on the tikkun leil/all night learning custom) following a yom tov dairy meal. Save the date, Tuesday night June 3, and stay tuned for details. Also, don't miss the next shul BBQ kiddush on June 5, following morning holiday services.
The next installment of the Berson/Ziskin congregational learning and kiddush luncheon will take place this week, Sat May 31, in memory of Louis Berson.
And the final installment of Perek in the Park will be this Sat at 5:30PM (note later time).
our Sages taught, "Whether one does a lot, or whether one does a little, the main thing is to direct ones heart to Heaven".