Temple T pics Doing Good Together
Sunday, November 18 see pages 14-15
Let your light shine… Friday, December 7 6:30 PM see page 23
Temple Shaaray Tefila
Inside this issue
TRUSTEES EMERITI Alvin Burrows………Marian Gassman
Sisterhood President……...Jill Seraita
Brotherhood Co-Presidents....…Jack Zitomer & Matt Cohen
Main Office: 914.666.3133
Main Office Fax: 914.412.9905
Education Center: 914.666.3188
Education Center Fax: 914.412.9908 Website: ; TEMPLE TOPICS
Editors Roberta Aronovitch,
Cheryl Riina & Jill Berkowitz OFFICERS 2018-2019 President: Jodi Kimmel Vice-Presidents:
Stuart Zaro Karyn Gallant-Zitomer Lisa Schwartz VP/Treasurer: Michael Rothschild Financial Secretary Karen Spiegel Secretary Jessica Tabankin
PAST PRESIDENTS Ron Braun Ron Gassman * blessed memory Allan Schefler * blessed memory
Frank Neubauer Cary Baer Neil D. Klar Douglas Benach Susan Glickman Carl Grossman William Greene Stephanie Garry Jeff Cohen Jeff Simon Suzanne Fromm Jeff Kohn Hugh Lewis Vicki Gelbtuch Joel Adelberg Jeff Tanenbaum Lisa Roberts Sheldon Goldfarb
Lisa Roberts Sheldon Goldfarb
CLERGY AND STAFF Senior Rabbi: David Greenberg Rabbi: Jason Nevarez
Interim Executive Director: Roberta Aronovitch
Interim Director of Education: Liz Marlowe
Interim Director of Early Childhood Center: Jill Schantz
Director of Next Generation Engagement: Alli West
Senior Youth Advisor: Matthew Bergman
Middle School Youth Advisor: Jackie Kalter Music Director: Rabbi MJ Newman Comptroller: Mona Halter
Director of Membership Services: Robin Weber
Asst Director of Marketing & Comm.: Cheryl Riina
Administrative Assistant: Jill Berkowitz
Religious School Administrative Assistant: Beth Kerner
ECC Administrative Assistant: Michaela Freitas
Trustees Bob Ackerman Ken Roban Steven Adler Lisa Roberts Ivan Alter Dawn Rush Richard Chassin Jessica Tabankin Melissa Goldstein Lauren Weisfelner Carey Hollander Stuart Zaro Dena Kopleff Harriett Zeller Inside this issue
From Rabbi Greenberg…………………….. 3
B’nai Mitzvah……………………………….. 27 - 31
From Rabbi Nevarez
Loving Memory & Condolences………… 32 - 33
Torah Speaks to Us………………………….. 5
Campaign for the Future…………………. 34
News…………………………………………6 - 25
Tzedakah……………………………………. 35 - 36
FROM RABBI GREENBERG 3 I
t feels most appropriate that we are observing “Mitzvah Day” on Sunday, November 18 th
at the temple, but days before Thanksgiving. Again we will come
together as a congregation and perform deeds of kindness for those who are less fortunate than us. Whether helping to prepare Thanksgiving meals for those who are hungry, or knitting blankets to keep babies warm, or the array of other “good deeds” that we perform, our sharing in this day is rooted in the most worthy message of Thanksgiving: that we pause from our pursuit of more and bigger and give thanks for what we already have in our lives by reaching beyond ourselves with deeds of kindness and generosity. No, we cannot ignore some of the harsh realities of our world, especially on Thanksgiving. That of the 125 million children who will have been born this year, 17 million will be dead before
their fifth birthday because of hunger or disease. Especially on Thanksgiving, we remind ourselves that some 40,000 children die each day, while 100 million children go to sleep hungry each night. Yes, the intent of Mitzvah Day and Thanksgiving are the same: To open our hearts to those who need so much of what we take for granted. The story is told of a disciple of a great sage who moved to a distant town and prospered in his business. Some years later, the sage was passing through this town and naturally the disciple came to visit his former teacher. “What are you doing?” asked the sage. And the answer: “I’m doing quite well. My business has grown and I have made a lot of money.” The conversation turned to other matters, but in a few minutes the sage asked again: “What are you doing?” “Thank you” was the reply. “I have a wonderful family, a lovely wife, and we are all in good health.” Again the conversation took different turns and again the sage asked: “What are you doing?” Now the disciple could not contain himself: “Honored teacher, you have already asked me this question three times!” And the sage replied: “You tell me of your prosperity, your family, your good health. That’s not your doing. That is God’s doing. I asked you, ‘What are you doing?’ How much charity are you giving? Do you reach to the needy and give of yourself? Now tell me, my son, what are you doing?” That is the question that Thanksgiving should evoke in each of us. “What am I doing to ease the pains of our world? What difference am I making in the quest for goodness and kindness to prevail?” I hope you will join us for Mitzvah Day on Sunday, November 18 th
. In truth, we do a lot of good on that
day and spread loving-kindness in so many places and to so many people who are in need. So do I wish you not just a “happy” Thanksgiving, but a meaningful one. Yes, it does feel good to reach beyond ourselves and to give that which costs us nothing, but causes us to feel like we are making a difference for good.
FROM RABBI NEVAREZ
FROM RABBI NEVAREZ 4
Dear Friends, We are currently moving through the month of Cheshvan in the Jewish calendar. It is traditionally known as the quietest month in our Jewish calendar. Aside from Shabbat, there are no holidays, no days of remembrance- not even a time that serves as a lead up to our next communal observance. While no formal calendrical opportunities arise, our congregation has chosen to lay focus to those in and around our community. On Mitzvah Day, Sunday, November 18 th
, our hearts and hands will be
devoted to those we share our local community with (more info on Mitzvah Day can be found on page 14-15). As we reflect upon helping others, in late October, I am reflecting on a true partner to our
congregation, The Rev. Paul Alcorn. Paul just finished serving as Pastor of Bedford Presbyterian Church, and begins a new chapter of life in retirement with his wife, Shodie. In Pirke Avot, the Ethics of Our Fathers, we learn: “Aseh L’cha Rav, U’knei L’cha Haver – acquire a teacher, and gain a friend.” There is no more appropriate understanding for what I, and we as a community, have gained from our fellowship with Paul over these many years. In truth, in my tenure as Rabbi at Shaaray Tefila, I have not known our community without Paul’s friendship, teaching, collaboration, and guidance. He has ALWAYS been the “go to” when thinking of the myriad of ways we can and should support our greater community. Throughout these years, we have shared in:
15 years of joint February service learning trips to Nicaragua with Bridges to Community – bringing nearly 1000 teens
and adults to learn what it truly means to “love your neighbor”
annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Services, which bring our respective communities together under the theme of
gratitude and giving back
extensive partnerships in all things community related – from community gatherings and rallies on timely issues long-term initiatives that support those in most need throughout our greater community. While Paul’s name and
imprint appears unassuming, it is large in both passion and relevance
challenging and enlightening conversations about Israel and our respective understandings around the matzav – the
coffee and conversation with countless community members during our neighborhood series featuring a Jew, a
Christian, and a Muslim.
I have no doubt that God continues on the journey ahead for Paul, just as surely as God traveled with Israel throughout the desert, was present in the uncertainty on the ark, and with Nehemiah and company as Jerusalem was rebuilt. I thank Paul for giving his heart and soul to his Church community, and thank the Bedford Presbyterian Church for allowing Paul to extend his reach as their Pastor to our greater community, in order to shine rays of light and hope on so many. For that, my [and our] gratitude is profound. I know Paul’s absence will be felt, and the road to follow will not always be easy -- but he has guided a community that is forever embedded with his wisdom, passion, hopes and desires. I have no doubt that here at Shaaray Tefila and beyond, we will continue to do the much-needed sacred work of that which he has been invested in helping to craft these many years. For Paul and Shodie, I will continue to hold you in my prayers. I pray for you to have a future like that spoken of in Jeremiah 29: 11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” I hope you have a wonderful next chapter filled with much blessing.
The Torah Speaks to Us
The Torah Speaks to Us 5
SATURDAY MORNING TORAH STUDY CULTURAL
PRECEDED BY A 15 MINUTE MINYAN SERVICE AT 9:00am
Join us for coffee and a lively discussion of the weekly Torah portion. Readings are in English. November 3 Chaye Sarah
(Genesis 23:1-25:18) We
learn that domestic issues dominate the rest of Abraham’s life. Sarah’s death introduces the portion. Abraham responds by purchasing the cave of Machpelah (in Hebron) as a burial place. After his mourning ends, he sends his servant, Eliezer, to find a wife for Isaac in order to ensure his legacy. Eliezer encounters Rebekah, whom Isaac marries. With all accomplished, Abraham dies peacefully. November 10 Toldot
(Genesis 25:19-28:9) The focus is
on Isaac, Rebekah, and their family. We learn that the twins, Jacob and Esau, struggle within Rebekah’s womb, foreshadowing their relationship in life. The portion includes the story of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for a meal, as well as Rebekah and Jacob deceiving Isaac and causing him to bestow his blessing on Jacob. Rebekah then instructs Jacob to flee to her home town under the care of her brother Laban, in order to escape Esau’s wrath. November 17 Vayetze
(Genesis 28:10-32:3) Jacob
dreams of a ladder to Heaven with angels ascending and descending. Upon reaching the land of his mother’s ancestry, Jacob marries Leah (by her father’s deception), and then Rachel. To these two wives and two maidservants, eleven sons and a daughter are born. The portion concludes with Jacob’s entire family journeying back to Canaan. November 24 Vayishlach
(Genesis 32:4-36:43) Jacob
and Esau reunite. However, just prior to their reunion, Jacob wrestles with what is perhaps a divine entity. Following this struggle, God changes Jacob’s name to Israel. The portion also includes the story of the rape of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah. Later, God appears to Jacob and promises him the Land of Israel. The portion concludes with the birth of Benjamin, the death of Rachel, and the death of Isaac. December 1 Vayeshev
(Genesis 37:1-40:23) The Joseph
narrative begins. After annoying his brothers with his divine premonitions of being their ruler, Joseph is sold by them into slavery. In a strange interlude, Tamar conceives twin sons by her father-in-law, Judah. Meanwhile, Joseph prospers in Egypt until he is framed `by Potiphar’s wife and is thrown in jail. While
incarcerated, he correctly interprets the dreams of Pharoah’s cupbearer and baker. December 8 Miketz
(Genesis 41:1-44:17) Joseph
interprets Pharoah’s dreams and saves Egypt from a great famine. As a reward, Pharoah appoints Joseph as his Royal Vizier. Meanwhile, in Canaan, Jacob sends ten of his sons to Egypt to buy food, leaving Benjamin behind. The portion concludes with Joseph testing the righteousness of his brothers as he plays the part of the Egyptian ruler. It is Judah who causes the brothers to pass the test.
December 15 Vayigash
(Genesis 44:18-47:27) The grand
reunion of the brothers takes place. Joseph finally reveals his true identity to his brothers, then sends for Jacob, his father, who is currently in Canaan. Jacob and his entire household descend into Egypt to escape the famine. The portion concludes with the reunion of Joseph and his father as they settle in the Egyptian region of Goshen. December 22 Veyechi
(Genesis 47:28-5) Jacob gives his
final blessing to Joseph’s sons, favoring the younger, Ephraim, over the older, Menasheh. Jacob gathers his sons to deliver a final poetic testament, and enjoins them to bury him in the cave of Machpelah in Canaan, the burial site of his parents and grandparents. Upon their return from the burial, the brothers persuade (trick) Joseph into swearing not to take revenge on them, although Joseph shows no such intent. The book of Genesis concludes with the death of Joseph. December 29 Shemot
(Exodus 1:1-6:1) In this portion
the Torah introduces the grand story of slavery to freedom. The Israelites in Egypt are fruitful and multiply, but a new pharaoh, who does not remember Joseph, fears the Israelites and persecutes them with hard labor. He tries to kill their male babies, but is thwarted by the righteous midwives. Moses’s mother hides him in a basket in the Nile to escape Pharoah’s decree and then is raised by Pharoah’s daughter. After killing an Egyptian, he flees to Midian, where he marries Tziporah. God, having heard the outcry of the suffering Israelites, appears to Moses out of the burning bush at Mount Horeb (Sinai). Identified as ‘Ehyeh-Asher Ehyeh’ - ‘I will be what I will be’, God gives the reluctant Moses the charge of freeing his people.
NEWS We have mourned for the holy eleven men and women whose lives were so brutally and mercilessly Perhaps some are more aware of their Jewish[...]
We have mourned for the holy eleven men and women whose lives were so brutally and mercilessly
taken from them. And we’ve begun to think more about anti-Semitism and the divisive spirit that is felt in our country.
Perhaps some are more aware of their Jewish identity. Others feel this to be a cautious time; doing
whatever we can do to see that “Love Your Neighbor” is more than an antiquated slogan.
Yes, we Jews know all too well what we are against. We’re against anti-Semitism. We’re against Israel
being attacked. And we are surely against every other evil that exists in our world.
But what are we for? I’ll try my best to answer my own question. We are for feeling oneself a part of this
community with the knowing that each of us has something that can further enrich us. We are for doing “things” Jewish: Sabbath Services, moral living, doing our share of Tikun Olam, and doing some of the rituals that link us to earlier generations, and remind us of values and ideals that are dear to us.
At this complex and disturbing time, we long for a better time for our society and for our world: a time
proclaimed by our prophets “when all shall sit under their fig trees and none shall make them afraid.”
Yes, our hearts are heavy. Let us give strength to one another as we pridefully affirm our place among
the Jewish people, and the rest of humanity.
Rabbi David Greenberg
The pain, the anger, the mourning are all needed and necessary to hold one another as we move
through another barbaric and senseless terror attack.
Just as we mourn loss in our broader Jewish community, I am mindful that on the Shabbat in which our greater Jewish community lost 11 innocent souls, I experienced rays of hope and witnessed joy. I joined parents in placing their hands on their child’s shoulders as he claimed his rightful place in the unbroken chain of our tradition, becoming a Bar Mitzvah- surrounded by the love and joy of friends and family. I stood under the chupah with a glorious couple, committing themselves to one another and pledging to be vessels of goodness in the world as husband and wife, and the community joined in singing Mazel Tov! To cap off the evening, we recognized and honored a clergy colleague who spent his career dedicated to modeling for our greater community what it means to truly love your neighbor.
To those who try, again and again, to break our resolve and “replace us”: we’re not going anywhere!
Our values and ideals, which bring much light and hope to this world, will forever transcend the baseless hatred that you attempt to spread.
In memory of those souls innocently lost, I say: while we all may long for something else, let’s work for
something more and lean into what is yet to be.
May the memories of those lost ever inspire and be for blessing. Rabbi Jason Nevarez
How to Speak to Your Child About… Anti-Semitism, The State of the Country and Other Current Issues
Join us on Monday, November 5 th at 7:30pm Dr. Alan Siskind
Family Therapist and Founding Member of Shaaray Tefila and
Rabbi David Greenberg
RSVP to Robin Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Speak to Your Child About… Anti-Semitism,
The State of the Country
and Other Current Issues
Getting to know some of our beloved Board Members……
Getting to know some of our beloved Board Members……
Harriett (Gigi) Zeller’s
motivation to volunteer is to “give back”
for all of her blessings. She has been a member of Shaaray Tefila for the past 17 years, and is known as the “volunteer extraordinaire”. An active board member. Gigi is outgoing, detail oriented, high-energy, responsible and spiritual. She started out volunteering as Co-chair for the Membership Committee leading the effort to enlarge the “Congregational Community” and Co-President of Sisterhood. She went on to become Chair of some of the fundraisers and answers the call whenever someone is needed to help insure the continued success of her beloved Shaaray Tefila. She is presently Co-chair of the Caring Community and the Israel Action Committees. In the latter capacity was involved with the planning and building of playgrounds in Tel
Aviv and Sderot and adopting 83 families during the terror bombings which happened some years ago. Utilizing her communication and negotiation skills Gigi is able to motivate and inspire people (no one dare say “no” to her) and to work collaboratively with lay leaders and staff.
Gigi is also involved in the broader Jewish Community as a Board Member of the American Jewish
Committee (honored for her warmth and leadership and received the Light of Chanukah award) and Westchester Jewish Council, (where she is being honored into the Westchester Senior Hall of Fame). She is also a member of UJA, Hadassah and the Holocaust organizations. In addition to all of her activities she manages to be a substitute teacher in Chappaqua and volunteer at Northwell Hospital.
Gigi grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Retired now, she began her
career in sales in the Advertising Display Business, becoming one of the first successful women in the industry and a member of the “Millionaire’s Club” (for sales). Her signature hat led her to be known as “The Hat Lady”.
Gigi is proud of her children, Randi, Lori and Barry and her five grandchildren, Jon, Brian, Robert,
Darci and Dani, all of whom are very successful in their respective fields.
Gigi’s modus operandi is just to keep busy, and “if you don’t ask you don’t get”. She is truly happy to be
able to be a part of and participant in all of her volunteer endeavors. Stuart Zaro
The Zaro family have been members of Shaaray Tefila for close to 35 years. Rabbi Greenberg has officiated at the Bar Mitzvahs of all five sons and has married 2 of them. Stuart is the former chairman of The Israeli Task Force at Shaaray Tefila and is currently an officer on the Board of the Temple. He is on the board of AJC Westchester/Fairfield and LiveOnNY Foundation the organ procurement organization in New York. He also works with and has travelled with IsraAID, an Israeli NGO that goes to natural disaster sites all over the world to help rebuild the lives of those who have been profoundly affected by hurricanes, earthquakes, and other devastating events.
Mona Anesgart Halter
Mona lives in Brewster with her husband of 23 years, her son (19 years old) and her adorable miniature dachshund. After spending 3 weeks in Moscow, they adopted their son at the age of 18 months. Mona is originally from Brooklyn and attended Brooklyn College where she got her BS in Biology and minored in Art. While attending college, she worked in retail and eventually found her way to accounting and earned her MBA from Pace University. By chance, she landed a job at The NY Botanical Gardens and ever since she has remained in the non-profit sector. She is a member of a reform temple in Brewster where her son became a Bar Mitzvah. Her interests and passions are dachshunds, postcards, the beach, volleyball, travel and chocolate! Judy Wexler
After growing up on Long Island, Judy went to college at Arizona State University, where she majored in Marketing. Her first job after college was working in the buying office at Macy’s California as part of the Macy’s Management Training Program. She worked in San Francisco for 6 months and then transferred to Macy’s New York. While working in the New York buying office, she realized it was time for a new career. She decided to start graduate school at Pace University at night to study accounting. After graduate school she worked full time in the tax department at Ernst & Young in New York City and part time in the same office after she had her first child. For the last 18 years, she has been fortunate to work two days a week in the Accounting Office at Temple Shaaray Tefila. She was originally hired to handle accounts payable, but currently works on accounts receivable and special projects. Judy lives in Cortlandt Manor with her husband, Jonathan. They have two grown children, Daniel and Rachel. Dahiema Grant
Dahiema Grant has been at Temple Shaaray Tefila since 2014. She works in the Accounting Office, handling accounts payable and serves as an assistant to the Comptroller. She completed her studies in accountancy at Bernard Baruch College, CUNY. She has worked in accounting and bookkeeping for a wide range of industries include profit and non-for-profit. She enjoys serving in her church community and spends time mentoring young girls. She is an avid running and has completed three NYC marathons and one Chicago marathon.
and our fabulous Finance Team……..