Shalom, I hope the e-Megillah finds you well as Spring seems to have (finally) burst forth.
Recently I have been listening to a medley of songs from the last URJ Biennial. The lead song is a riff on Harry Belafonte’s “We Come From the Fire.” As the song proceeds there is an added line which goes:
We come from the Torah,
Living in the Torah,
Go back to the Torah,
Turn your world around.
In our Jewish calendar this ties into the theme of this time of the year. Immediately after the first day of Passover we start to count the Omer. Initially the Omer was a yearly grain gathering and offering at the Temple in Jerusalem. As the fields yielded their grain from the winter season, Israelites would return home and cut the new grain and either send it, or in some cases, take it to the Temple in Jerusalem. Over the years though, the tradition was amended slightly. This time of count Omer also became the time it took to go from slavery in Egypt to receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai. Hence the end of this time period culminates in the holiday of Shavuot, the giving of Torah.
As members of a synagogue I want to return to Harry’s song. It provides a good reflection for us at this time. Do we come from Torah, i.e. the world of God’s possibilities, or from Egypt, i.e. a place defined by the values of humans alone? How do we live Torah and if we were to ‘go back to the Torah,’ what would you go back to? Ultimately whether you sing the song or not, our world is constantly turning around. I see the reflection at this time of the year to be one where we are invite to once again have that turning be with pieces of Torah.
May your Torah turn you and may you turn the Torah you live towards blessing.
Rabbi Jim Egolf
Sincere thanks and appreciation go to Lisa and Rick Singer for hosting Sisterhood’s seventh annual Sista and Guest Night. This fun and lively gathering was held at the Singer’s lovely home in Medina, and a great time was had by all!
With sports as this year’s theme, folks showed up in their best team attire, proudly wearing the colors and insignia of their favorites.
TBS co-president, Kim Strausser was all decked-out in her red, white and blue Cleveland Indians attire.
Seth and Jennifer Kornblum were both sporting Cleveland Browns shirts; and Frieda Miller-Brown wore a very fashionable “statement tee” which highlighted the CAVS “All-In” Playoff event.
Emily Audra Fleisher came sporting a Boston Red Sox baseball shirt which she last wore at Fenway Park’s Clubhouse at an event in 2011. (Explanations for “I’m the other Emily,” featured on the reverse of the shirt, were provided.)
Eileen Schonfeld’s husband Steve, wearing competitor New York Yankees garb, approached Emily and simply glared…
Per usual, Rick Singer served as Bartender extraordinaire! This year’s signature cocktail was the Hemingway Daiquiri. (GOOGLE the drink name to learn about its history.)
“I drink to make other people more interesting.”
-- Ernest Hemingway
Fabulous culinary offerings made the evening special. Rick excelled at the BBQ grill by making delicious burgers, hot dogs and other stadium “fan food.”
Lisa Singer and Robin Selinger led the guests in a lovely and inspirational Havdalah Service. The “sing-along” eventually transitioned from traditional Shabbat music to popular Jewish songs… and then show tunes. Eventually, the crowd ended up with the Allan Sherman Song Book. A loud and rambunctious chorus of “Camp Granada” could be heard down the block!
Thanks again, Lisa and Rick, for a very fun and memorable evening!
As a board, we have decided this year we would each take time during one of our services to let our congregation know how each of us came to be on the board, and what it means to us to be a part of this congregation.
For me, my story starts about 9 years ago. Our family moved to Hudson and our oldest son, Sam, was ready to start school. Since moving to the Cleveland area and getting married to my beautiful wife Amy, we did not have an affiliation with any temple. During the high holidays we sampled Temple Israel in Akron a couple of times and went to a service or two at the former Kol Chadash in Solon. Fortunately for us, we learned about Temple Beth Shalom in our own backyard, and we decided to join and enroll our son in the religious school.
We came to services once in a while and mostly attended high holy services infrequently, when we did not celebrate with my parents in the Detroit area.
Sam had a great bunch of friends that were in his class, and we would frequently carpool with some other parents based on everyone’s work schedule. The magic for me really took hold when Sam was preparing for his bar mitzvah. Sam was required to attend at least one Friday night service every month. I suggested to Amy that, since we along with the other families in similar situations needed to attend as well, why don’t you contact the Gretta’s, whom we were friends with at the time, to have a Shabbat dinner and attend services after. This really was a game changer. We became even better friends with them and soon became a monthly Friday night tradition. We stated inviting other families, and soon most or all of the original HUBSTY crew families started attending services together regularly (or at least once a month).
From there Elisa, who was already on the board, asked me to get involved, and through an invitation from Kim, I soon was a committee chair. Fast forward several years later and I am very involved and currently the President of the brotherhood and Vice President of the congregation.
Funny thing is, I still hear from others the surprise when someone who has known me my whole life finds out how involved I am, and usually disbelief hearing that I am so active.
That being said, I have really enjoyed my leadership path with the temple and my service to this congregation.
This temple has a lot to offer both spiritually and socially, but it really takes both religious and lay leadership to keep it going. Although some might find it a bit overwhelming, please reach out to myself or anyone on the board if you an interested in or even curious about what it means to be on the board or join a committee. Understand that nobody is expecting you to be the president, but rather to be a voice, make a difference, and if you want to grow with us, the opportunities are here. If you are good with website design or content, helping with holiday organization or Onegs or writing up minutes, we have a place for you. The opportunities continue, just ask... Your temple needs you! I would ask that everyone look at what our temple can do for you as well as what you can do for your temple to maintain it and move it forward in the future.
I would like to close with a quote that I wrote down the other day during a temple meeting: “We are building community from the inside.”