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Sinai News March-April 2012

Sinai News March-April 2012

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Published by sinaimilwaukee
Congregation Sinai Milwaukee newsletter for March-April, 2012
Congregation Sinai Milwaukee newsletter for March-April, 2012

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03/04/2012

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Rabbi’s Corner,
 Reflections2
Cantor’s Notes
3From the Co-Presidents 4 Adult Learning 6-7School News 7-11Purim 12-13Passover 14
What’s Happening 
15-16Women of Sinai 17Brotherhood, Chesed 18 The Green Team 19Social Action Committee 20-21Israel Committee 22My Sinai 23
“Scene” at Sinai
24Supporting Sinai 25March Calendar 26 April Calendar 27In the Sinai Family 28 Those We Remember 29Contributions 30-31
SINAI NEWS
 
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 
 
March - 
 April 2012 • Adar 
- Iyyar 5772 
In this issue
 A bi-monthly publication
Issue 9, Volume 1
Shabbat
Tetzaveh
March 2 Shabbat Service 6:15 pmMarch 3 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 amSam & Regina Golding
B’nei Mitzvah 10 am
 
Shabbat
Ki Tisa
March 9 Shabbat Service 6:15 pmMarch 10 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 amJulian Lowe Bar Mitzvah 10 am
Shabbat
Vayakhel-Pekudei 
March 16
Rockin’ Family Shabbat
Service 6:15 pmCongregational Dinner 7:15 pmMarch 17 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 amJacob Newman Bar Mitzvah 10 am
Shabbat
Vayikra
 
March 23 Shabbat Service 6:15 pmMarch 24 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 am
Shabbat
Tzav 
March 30 Shabbat Service 6:15 pmMarch 31 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 am
Shabbat
 
 April 6 No Shabbat Service, Erev Pesach April 7 Torah Study 8 am1st Day Pesach Morning Service 9:30 am
 April 13 Pesach Morning Service &Yizkor 9:30 amShabbat Service 6:15 pm April 14 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 am
Shabbat
Shmini 
 April 20 Israel Shabbat Service 6:15 pm April 21 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 am
Shabbat
Tazria-Metzora
 April 27 MCRC Shabbat Service (@ CongregationEmanu-
El B’ne Jeshurun) 7:30 pm
 No Service at Sinai April 28 Torah Study 8 amMorning Minyan 9:30 amSophie Bern Bat Mitzvah 10 am
Shabbat Schedule
Be sure to join us March 2-4 withRabbi Sheila Pelz WeinbergScholar-in-Residence
More info on page 6
 
Page 2 March-April 2012
Rabbi’s Corner
 
Purim is a very unusual Jewish holiday. On onehand, it follows the classic narrative Jewish holiday formula:
“they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat!”
 On the other hand, Purim is radically different.While most holidays are serious, Purim is vaude-ville, parody, a farce. The usually competent mon-arch turns out to be a bungling fool, Ahahverosh,
a name I’ve always suspected was Yiddish for,“Ahah! Where is my head?” The other Purim char-
acters are a reference to pre-Israelite religion. Thename Mordechai is a pun on Marduk Chai
Mar-duk, the chief god of the Babylonian pantheon,lives! The name Esther is the Hebrew cognate for
the goddess “Ishtar.” The antics of Purim remind
us of nothing so much as Mardi Gras, a spring time revelry.Purim is farce, but it also relates some pretty serious
messages. The name Esther comes from the semitic root “s
-t-
r”, which means “hidden.” On one level, this is a sociological
observation. While most holiday narratives center on charac-ters whose Jewishness is obvious and unassailable, Purim
gives us Esther, a “hidden” Jew. So hidden is Esther, evenher husband, the king, doesn’t know about her identity. Es-
ther, in this way, mirrors the calculations we make constantlyas to how public we want our own Jewishness to be.The month of March offers us ample opportunity toexplore the tensions between concealment and revelation.The weekend of March 2-4, our Scholar-in-Residence, RabbiSheila Peltz Weinberg, will help us explore the themes of Pu-rim through mindfulness, meditation, yoga and storytelling.The next Shabbat, Friday, March 9, is Social Action Shabbat.Our speaker, Jake Goodman, will share with us the challengefor congregations to be radically inclusive, particularly toLGBT Jews, whose experience of concealment and revelationis often far too real.In the Scroll of Esther, Esther is not theonly one hiding. The scroll makes no mention of God. The rabbis of the Talmud were so struck bythat fact, they were leaning toward excluding thescroll entirely from the Biblical canon (in the end,
they didn’t). Even so, they recognized in the story
a powerful theological insight, a concept called
hester panim
”, a moment when God hides thedivine face. God’s absence, then, is purposeful,
for it leads Mordechai and Esther to take action.In this way, Purim is perhaps the most
modern of Jewish holidays because it confronts God’s ab-
sence in history. In so doing, it recalls the conversation a rab-
bi had with God. “God, you say that everything has its pur-pose. Tell me, then, what is the purpose of questioning God’sexistence?” “Questioning my existence is critical,” God ex-plained, “so that when you see a poor, hungry person on thestreet you won’t think ‘God will take care of him.’ Instead,you’ll think, “I don’t know if there is a God to attend to thisperson, so I will take care of this person’s needs and do the
tzedakah
 
that needs to be done.’” May the concealments
and revelations of Purim always prod us to such conclusions.Rabbi David B. Cohen
A new motion picture, “A Dangerous Treatment”, tells of Sigmund Freud, founder and direc-
tor of the Psychoanalytic movement and Carl Jung, who Freud had originally designated as his suc-cessor. In addition to some personal conflicts, the two men eventually split on the issue of sexuality.Freud identified the sexual as the primary moving force in human existence. Repression of sexualityled to the negative consequences of mental illness, but also represented a motivating force thatgave birth to: art, religion, civilization. Jung did not take issue with the importance of the physical. Butas the son of a clergyman, he believed there was an alternate force, rooted in heaven, which drewthe soul upward.Although Freud is a Jew and Jung is not, Jewish teaching is closer to Jung. We identify thesexual image with Satan. A child is born with impulses good and evil, which struggle for supremacy.But there is a greater force, fathered in God, which comes from above and draws us toward heaven. If Jung and Torah are cor-rect, the outcome of partnering with God will offer such rewards as success, joy and spiritual enrichment.Rabbi Jay R. Brickman
Reflections
Purim Hide and Seek
 
Page 3March-April 2012
Good communication is built on many essential com-ponents, and shared expectations. When we are communi-cating with another individual, we expect that they are listen-ing to us - and we are cued that they are listening to us open-
ly through their body language and ‘active listening’ respons-
es. Most of all, we are aware we are being listenedto most when the listener responds to us in words -when through their words we know they can hearwhat we are saying, and perhaps, through theirwords they continue our conversation in a produc-tive and meaningful direction.Responses in prayer are very much the same. Whenengaged together in moments of tefillah, of prayer,our tradition bids us to include responses in ourprayer experience each time we gather to pray. The-se responses require a community, a minyan, so wecan engage in the dialogue of prayer. Only when a
minyan
, 10 Jews gathered together, is present can responso-rial prayers like the
bar’chu, kaddish
and Torah blessings berecited in the worship service. Interestingly, we find theseresponsorial prayers in moments of praise to God. This very
nature of prayer, the “praise prayers,” are doxologies. By re-
sponding one to the other (in our case at Sinai, often congre-
gation to cantor) we affirm God’s goodness by affirming our
relationship with other people present.
Why, then is the Mourner’s Kaddish set up in this
same responsorial style? When reading through the words of the
kaddish
, we find an affirmation of God; an acknowledge-
ment of God’s greatness, and God’s majesty over all the
earth and its creatures. How can this
tefillah
be of comfort toa mourner as they grieve? Perhaps it is because of preciselywhat we understand from our other responsorial prayers; that
in hearing one another in the ‘call and response’ style, we
affirm our relationship with one another and with God.When my step-mother Janice died last April 13, I
found myself on Long Island, in my mother’s house –
though
it did not feel like home. Janice’s laugh was missing and no
one was sitting in the chair at the head of the table. Wineglasses were not filled with ice cubes and for the first time intwelve years, the refrigerator contained no red peppers orprovolone cheese. While these may seem like silly things tosome, the absence of Janice from the chair in the den while I
Cantor’s Notes
 
sat with my mother was tangible, and painful. After her beau-tiful funeral
a fitting solemn and modest tribute to such agood person
we gathered with friends, family, co-workers of 
my mom’s and Janice’s. Some of these people were the very
people who taught me to be a teacher; who over a decadeago, Janice helped me find to become the best mu-
sic teacher I could be. When Rabbi Moss, my mom’s
rabbi arrived, we
davened
 
mincha
, and recited thewords in the brown prayerbooks I often bring to a
shiva home in my mother’s den. And while the
tefil-lot
, the prayers, passed by me
when we arrived at
kaddish
, I listened to my mother’s voice, with mineand my brother’s, recite the words of 
kaddish
whilethe congregation gathered responded. For the firsttime, I personally understood the power in a re-sponse in prayer.After the Holocaust, the Reform movement especial-ly encouraged congregants to recite the words of 
kaddish
asone holy community; remembering that after the
Shoah
, andat all times, there are people to be remembered who have noone to recite
kaddish
for them. I can not think of a morebeautiful tradition, a more beautiful acknowledgement of theresponsibility we have one to the other.While I will always embrace the tradition of my youthin the recitation of 
kaddish
, the past eleven months sinceJanice died, I have come to realize the power, too, in the re-
sponse. In the response that says “I am here with you.” “Icare about you.” “I am remembering too…” As Reform Jews,
the laws of 
minyan
are upon us, too, as we honor our tradi-tion. We recite these prayers requiring the response
like
Chatzi kaddish, the Bar’chu
…when a minyan is present. Andwhen it comes to mourner’s kaddish, we are faced with the
challenges of Reform Judaism: finding our own way and seek-ing our own meaning by making knowledgeable choices in
our practice. Perhaps you’ll try responding the next time you
say
kaddish
. Perhaps you will recite all of the words. Perhapsyou will listen differently as the congregation responds in the
Bar’chu
...but most of all, perhaps you will remember that inresponses we affirm one another, and in prayer responses we
affirm God…and that’s just one more moment of good com-
munication in our world.Cantor Rebecca Robins
Please join us for the Annual MCRC Shabbat
Friday, April 27, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.
 
Congregation Emanu-
El B’ne Jeshurun
 
2020 West Brown Deer Road
Milwaukee, WI 53217(414) 228-7545
 Everyone in the community isinvited to attend.Featuring guest speaker
Rabbi David Fine
URJ Senior Consultant for Congregational Systems
“Foretelling the Reform Jewish Future”
 
MCRC (Metropolitan Council of Reform Congregations)
 Beth Hillel Temple of KenoshaCongregation Emanu-
El B’ne Jeshurun
 Congregation Emanu-El of WaukeshaCongregation ShalomCongregation Sinai

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