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Sinai Newsletter November - December 2010

Sinai Newsletter November - December 2010

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Published by sinaimilwaukee
Congregation Sinai Milwaukee Newsletter - November - December 2010
Congregation Sinai Milwaukee Newsletter - November - December 2010

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Published by: sinaimilwaukee on Mar 21, 2011
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Rabbi’s Corner 
Cantor’s Notes,
President’s Message
 3Reflections,Adult Learning 4Lifelong Jewish Learning 5Mini-U & School News 6Family Shabbat Services 7Tropichanukah! 8
What’s Happening 
“Scene” at Sinai
10-13Sinai Committees 14-18My Sinai 19-20Supporting Sinai 21-22November Calendar 23December Calendar 24In the Sinai Family 25Those We Remember 26Contributions 27
Rabbi David B. Cohen • Cantor Rebecca Robins • Rabbi Emeritus Jay R. Brickman
Director of Administration Karen Lancina • Program Coordinator Jen Friedman • Sinai News Nicole Sether
Congregation Sinai • 8223 N. Port Washington Road• Fox Point, WI 53217
414.352.2970• 414.352.0944 (fax)• www.congregationsinai.org 
November/December 2010 • Cheshvan 
-Tevet 5771 
In this issue
Nov 5 Tot Shabbat 5:30 pmCongregational Dinner 6 pmFamily Shabbat Service 7 pmNov 6 Torah Study 8:00 amMorning Minyan 9:30 amBenjamin Cohn Bar Mitzvah 10 am
Nov 12
Rockin’ Shabbat Service 6:15 pm
 Nov 13 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 am
Nov 19 Alan Mendeloff Adult Bar Mitzvah &Shabbat Limud Service 6:15 pmNov 20 Torah Study 8:00 amMorning Minyan 9:30 amAmanda Jacobs Bat Mitzvah 10 am
Nov 26 Shabbat Tikkun HaNefesh 6:15 pmNov 27 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 am
Dec 3 Tot Shabbat 5:30 pmChanukah Dinner 6 pmShabbat Chanukah Service 7 pmDec 4 Torah Study 8 :00 amMorning Minyan 9:30 am
Shabbat VayigashGenesis 44:18 - 47:27
Dec 10 Shabbat Service 6:15 pmDec 11 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 am
Dec 17 Shabbat Limud Service 6:15 pmDec18 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 am
Dec 24 Shabbat Service 5 pmDec 25 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 am
Dec 31 Shabbat Service 5 pmJan 1 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 am
Shabbat Schedule
A bi-monthly publication
Issue 2, Volume 1
Happy Chanukah!
Page 2 November-December 2010
The last National Jewish Population Survey presentedfive classes of Jewish identity, the last of which is the "Half-Jewish Jew." Given that approximately half of Jews who marry,
marry non Jews, it’s a category whose existence needs to be
reckoned with.This is so especially because the numberof children under age eleven born of interfaith par-ents exceeds the number of children born of twoJewish parents. Given that demographic trend, the
―half Jewish Jew‖ is destined to be a fixture.
If you have any doubts, the next time youare in the greeting card shop, check the many op-tions for two faith families, e.g. the Christmas/Hanukkah cards.Another is the amount of humor reflecting the ambiguities and ambivalence often felt by chil-dren of interfaith couples. Like the comments of half-Jewish/half-Irish Catholic Bill Maher who joked, "I used togo into confession and I would bring a lawyer with me." In theconfessional I would begin by saying: 'Bless me father for Ihave sinned;' and then add, 'I think you know Mr. Cohen overhere.'" Or the comment that "Jews and Catholics always makethe holidays come at the same time-Christmas and Hanukkah,Passover and Easter, and Yom Kippur and the World Series."
But, in fact, it’s really not a laughing matter. While
some find acceptance in both faiths, others are rejected by
one or the other. Sometimes, they conclude they are ―neither.‖
On occasion, they seek out affinity groups. One such group is
called ―Parves: Adult Children of Interfaith Marriages,‖ the Yid-
dish term Parve referring to food that is neither milk nor meat,and as such, without Kosher status.The existence of such a group reveals the alienationsome feel. Those who feel rejected might otherwise have ac-tively identified as Jewish. Consider the experience of formerDefense Secretary and Senator William Cohen, the son of aJewish baker and a non-Jewish homemaker. Young William
went to Hebrew school where he was the ―class whiz.‖ At the
age of twelve the local rabbi told William that since his motherwas a Christian, he would not be allowed to celebrate becom-ing bar mitzvah, unless he was willing to undergo conversion.Cohen was so hurt, that he removed the mezuzah hehad worn around his neck for years, flung it into a river, andannounced that he no longer considered himself a Jew, a vowhe has kept. When Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president of theUnion of American Hebrew Congregations in the early eighties,
proposed the principle of ―patra liniality‖, that the children of 
Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers raised as Jews be con-sidered Jewish, he received a postcard from then SenatorCohen: "If you had been around 30 years ago, I might still be aJew."How do we avoid such outcomes? The reform move-
ment’s stance on patraliniality is an important step but unless
Rabbi’s Corner
it is accompanied by an effort to reach out to those who
stand at our community’s periphery, it won’t mean much.
Bemoaning the rate of interfaith marriage is pointless. Gen-tly suggesting conversion is a better approach, but not al-ways desired or appropriate. Instead, we should seek to em-brace such families, welcome them to the com-munity, and give them the tools and the experi-ences through which they can fashion a mean-ingful Jewish family life. Which, of course, is our
congregation’s mission for all its members.
 For interfaith families, or families wherethe one partner has chosen Judaism later in life,we endeavor to be as inclusive as possible. Inpractice, this means a dual approach: on onehand treating them like any other family in thecongregation, and on the other, offering themtools and support when facing issues unique totheir situation. It means welcoming both sides of the familyat life cycle events, and including relatives to the extent theyfeel comfortable.The issue of interfaith families is nothing new. Evenin biblical times, Jews met and fell in love with non-Jews.Take Moses, for example, who married Tzipporah, thedaughter of a Midianite priest. Even then, the non-Jews whodwelled among us
referred to biblically as
gerei toshav 
, orresident aliens
were the support and help that made Jew-ish existence possible.Have things really changed? Consider: How often isthe non-Jewish partner the one who maintains the rhythmsof the Jewish homes? Whether lighting candles for Shabbator a holiday, wrapping Chanukah packages, preparing 
for a seder, planning the details of a baby naming orbat mitzvah or driving in the carpool
it is often the non-
Jewish partner in the proverbial driver’s seat.
 That so many choose to contribute to Jewish conti-nuity is astounding and a blessing we ought not take forgranted. Even more, the
gerei toshav 
in our midst some-times do so at great personal sacrifice. It is clear that the
gerei toshav 
in our congregation and Reform congregationseverywhere have benefited immeasurably by their presenceand participation. Every Jewish family, every Jewish child, isprecious. To those
gerei toshav 
who have made this possi-
ble, we owe the highest debt of gratitude. Let’s not take thisblessing for granted. Let’s make sure the
gerei toshav 
in ourmidst feel as welcome as they should.As we think through how to best involve and includesuch families, we invite your suggestions and help. Feel freeto contact me, Cantor Robins or Outreach Committee chair,Rob Golub.Rabbi David B. Cohen
Congregation Sinai is on Facebook!
Become a fan and join our Congregation Sinai Facebook page. Stay connected to other Sinai members andget up to date information on events. Find us atwww.facebook.com. 
Page 3November-December 2010
Cantor’s Notes
 From the President
As the seasons change we reflect with gratitude, thebeauty and solemnity of the High Holiday services this year.We also enjoyed the Sukkot BBQ; well attended, well plannedby the Brotherhood with amazing food by Mitbach Sinai. InOctober, many congregants shared the beautiful and joyousShabbat auf-ruf, as we honored Cantor Robins and Zerek be-fore their 10/10/10 marriage.Our membership is revitalized through ournew member families and this year has been mostgratifying. We warmly welcome and celebrate ourmany new members. There is a special place foryou in our diverse and inclusive Sinai family. Oursis a special synagogue that helps you learn moreabout your Jewish connection. Together we cancreate the Jewish memories that sustain us, thosememories that we instill in our families as hope forfuture generations.The reality of fiscal challenges is also re-flected in accomplishments this past year. We are working todevelop multiple avenues of fundraising at Sinai. We knowwe can no longer rely on dues to provide more that 80% of our
budget. Our Sendik’s scrip program has been successful as
we educate our members just how convenient a task this canbe. If you miss purchasing on Sunday morning, please stopinto the office anytime during office hours and purchase that
important Sendik’s scrip card. Our summer dinner and
brunch parties were such fun, a great way to build communitywhile helping Sinai. Next year the programs have potential tobe bigger and better. Please let me know if you want to help,if you have new creative ideas, if you love to entertain, andgenerate meaningful change to our fundraising programs.And now our Congregation has joined other Milwau-kee synagogues and agencies to help secure the future of Jewish life and the long-term viability of our syna-gogue by establishing a
Congregation Sinai
Endow-ment Fund
within the Milwaukee Jewish Federation'sJewish Community Foundation (JCF). The fund is re-stricted for the use and benefit of Congregation Sinaiand gives our members and their families the oppor-tunity to make tax-favored planned gifts to supportthe programs and services we provide now and forthe future. The JCF will help Sinai develop endow-ment opportunities tailored to the needs of individualcongregants and will work with our own EndowmentCommittee, to spread the word about endowmentgiving. For further information about the exciting possibilitiesthis effort will provide, please contact our office, who will di-rect you to our own Bert Bilsky at the Jewish Community Foun-dation.I need each of you. Your continued support and com-mitment empowers and ensures our congregation a strong future together.Judi KettenChag urim sameach! Happyholiday of light. As Chanukah comesthis year, we prepare by purchasing gifts, candles, and getting down our
, chanukah menorahs. We pullout recipes for chicken and brisket andall kinds of latkes! We buy fresh apple-sauce and sour cream for those yummyfried potatoes, and we plan our celebra-tions with family and friends.We are told that we add onecandle each night of Chanukah to remind us of the increasing miracle of light. By the eighth night, with nine candles ablazein our homes, we are well-reminded of the greatness of themiracle.By way of reminder, we say three blessings as wekindle the Chanukah lights.The first blessing is over the
of lighting the candles:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melech ha'olamasher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanul'had'lik neir shel Chanukah.
 Blessed are you, Adonai, our God, sovereign of the universeWho has made us holy through the commandments and com-manded us to light the lights of Chanukah.The second blessing helps us to recall the miracles of Chanukah in its time - including the miracle of the oil, and theimportant military victory of the Macabees:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melech ha'olam
she'asah nisim la'avoteinu bayamim haheim baz’man hazeh.
 Blessed are you, Adonai, our God, sovereign of the universe,Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days atthis time.And the third blessing, said only on the first night of Chanukah, reminds us to thank God for bringing us to anotheryear of Chanukah celebrations:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melech ha'olam
 Blessed are you, Adonai, our God, sovereign of the universe
shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh.
who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reachthis season!Have a wonderful and joyous Chanukah - full of light!Cantor Rebecca Robins

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