Local Synagogues

Local Synagogues affiliated with JFEC

CONSERVATIVE SYNAGOGUES


Congregation Ahavath Achim, Rabbi Kenneth Alter


Services: 84 Lebanon Avenue / 
Mailing address: P.O. Box 5, Colchester, CT 06415

Phone: (860) 537-2809

Web site: http://congregationahavathachim.org/

84 Lebanon Ave


Please join us for the second night

Catered Community Passover Seder

A night of tradition and togetherness

Featuring Rabbi Ken Alter as our Seder leader

Date: Saturday, April 23 / When: 6:00 PM

Where: Congregation Ahavath Achim

84 Lebanon Avenue, Colchester 06415

Enjoy a delicious catered dinner of:

Matzo Ball Soup, gefilte fish with horseradish, roasted chicken with herb matzo stuffing, vegetable, potato kugel, a chocolate decadence dessert and other traditional Passover Seder fare

COST:           Member: Adult…………$21                   kids 6-13…$10   

Non-Member: Adult….$25                   kids 6-13….$13

All kids 5 and under FREE

FILL OUT THE BOTTOM PORTION AND RETURN WITH YOUR PREPAID RESERVATION TO THE SYNAGOGUE OFFICE BY Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ALL CHILDREN MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT

For more information, please contact the synagogue office at 860-537-2809 

 

I/WE WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND THE PASSOVER SEDER

Name:

 

Date:

 

# of adults attending:

member _______    non-member_______

 

Phone number:

# of kids 6-13 attending:

member_______     non-member_______

 

Amount Enclosed:

 

# of kids 5 and under attending:_______

Are you able to help before or after the Seder?         Yes _______     No_______



Congregation Beth El, Rabbi Rachel Safman

660 Ocean Avenue, New London, CT 06320

Phone: (860) 442-0418

Web site: http://www.bethel-nl.org/

 



Beth Jacob Synagogue, Rav Julius Rabinowitz


400 New London Tpk., Norwich, CT 06360

Phone: (860) 886-2459

Web site: http://bethjacob-norwich.org/



Rabbi's Message: "Return Again, Return Again..."

By Rav Julius Rabinowitz*

It’s that season again. In the words of the Shlomo Carlebach song, we are being asked to “Return again, Return to the land of your soul…”

But weren’t we here last year. Couldn’t we have just stayed on the path that we had returned to last year (and the year before, and the year before that…). Are we just habitual backsliders, and if so, what does that say about this year’s return that somehow makes it meaningful and not just a charade?

Before you get too depressed, let me suggest an understanding of our human imperfection and how it best suits the needs of this season, and hopefully the rest of the year. And before I do, I want to share a lesson from the financial markets.

There are two ways that a market can rise. One way, is for the market to go straight up; not precipitously perhaps, but nevertheless in a steady, everyday rise each day. Or, it can go up in a choppy fashion, 10 points up one day, 5 points down the next, 15 points up one day, 7 points down the next, and so on. And if you speak to market professionals, even if the straight up rise goes higher, they will tell you that it is not as ‘healthy’ as the latter “up/down” market.

The same holds true with our faith in God.

Faith in God, the endeavor in which we so fervently wish to succeed is a personal experience that each one of us pursues on our own personal path. However, faith in God, and for that matter faith in anything in life, is not a fixed or permanent undertaking. The numerous setbacks and frustrations that each of us encounters throughout every day of our lives, serves to weaken our faith. But with every re-energizing of our faith from the depths to which we will necessarily succumb because of life’s challenges, we have the opportunity to re-engage with the Divine.

Some might say that we would do better if we simply stayed on the path of righteousness and never had to “return.” For those who can achieve it…Yasher koach. But for the overwhelming majority of us -- i.e., the mortals in the room, we will fall down, we will succumb.

But each fall then gives us the opportunity to “get back on the horse” if you will. And with each return to faith in the Divine -- the process that we call teshuvah -- our spiritual abilities grow because we have tasted setbacks; and thus our resolve is made stronger than if we had not suffered those temporary defeats. Making us aware of where we have fallen down gives us a greater resolve, or a greater strengthening of the resolve, that accompanies our “return,” and thus can make it more impactful than if we had never fallen.

Shana Tovah!

Rav Julius Rabinowitz is the Spiritual Leader of Beth Jacob Synagogue.


Congregation Sharah Zedek


6 Union Street, Westerly, RI 02891

Phone: (401) 596-9951

Web site: http://www.congregationsharahzedek.org/

 




Congregation B'nai Shalom

Services: 125 Church Street, Putnam, CT 06260

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 46, Putnam

Phone: (860) 774-7187

Web site: http://www.congregationbnaishalom.org/




ORTHODOX SYNAGOGUES


Brothers of Joseph Synagogue, Rabbi Jeremy Booty


2 Broad Street, Norwich, CT 06360

Phone: (860) 887-3777

Web site: http://brofjo.tripod.com/

 







Congregation Ahavath Chesed, Rabbi Avrohom Sternberg

590 Montauk Avenue, New London, CT 06320 

Phone: (860) 442-3234

Phone: (860) 437-8000 Chabad

Web site: http://www.chabadect.com/



You are cordially invited to join us for the

 

Passover Seders

 

Friday Evening, April 22

 

Candle lighting 7:19 pm, Seder 8:00 pm

 

Saturday Night, April 23

 

Candle lighting and Seder at 8:45 pm

 

at our home, 135 Plant St, New London

 

rsvp@chabadect.com

860-437-8000

 

Rabbi Avrohom and Maryashi Sternberg


REFORM SYNAGOGUE

 

Temple Emanu-El, Rabbi Saulson

Services: 29 Dayton Road, Waterford, CT 06385                 

Mailing address: P.O. Box 288, Waterford, CT 06385

Phone: (860) 443-3005

Web site: http://www.tewaterford.org/






Join us for the Annual

Temple Emanu-El

Passover Seder

29 Dayton Rd. Waterford, CT 06385

Friday, April 22, 2016 at 6:30 pm

Adults: $35 per adult

Children (Under 13): $20 per child

-- Please Bring a Kosher-For-Passover Dessert to share. --

Any questions, please call the Temple Office 860-443-3005.

Please respond, with payment, to Temple Office no later than
Sunday- April 17, 2016 (firm deadline)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Passover Seder, Friday, April 22, 2016

 

Family Name_______________________    Phone:___________________________

 

Number Attending:______ @ $35/Adult      ________ @ $20/Child under 13
 

Requests for vegan or vegetarian meals should be made when you rsvp #_______

 

         Total Cost: $________

 

Make check payable & mail to Temple Emanu-El / P.O. Box 288 / Waterford, CT 06385 



Rabbis' Footprints in the Sand


By Armi Rowe, Special to the 
Leader

One year ago, Temple Emanu-El's Rabbi Search Committee conducted surveys, reviewed candidate resumes, held interviews and then reached a consensus to invite Rabbi Scott Saulson to fill the interim rabbi position for one year. Rabbi Aaron Rosenberg's retirement, after 35 years of service, prompted this special time in Temple Emanu-El's journey -- an opportunity for the Temple to reflect on who they are as a congregation and decide collectively how they want to proceed, before settling on their next Rabbi. 

I was invited to succeed a very fine rabbi and enter into a welcoming and open-minded atmosphere in an appealing part of the country,” said Rabbi Saulson, who appreciates the opportunity to explore different areas of the U.S. as well as meet new people. 

As of July 1, 2015, Rabbi Scott Saulson officially assumed the duties of Temple Emanu-El's Interim Rabbi, which aside from the usual responsibilities of a synagogue's spiritual leader, includes providing Temple Emanu-El's Board of Trustees and congregation with all the rabbi transition guidance he has harnessed from his past assignments as an interim rabbi. According to Saulson, his November placement was the earliest ever, as interim rabbis typically don't receive word of their next assignment until February.

"I see how I could have done things differently with each assignment," said Saulson, who admitted one of the things he enjoys about his job is acquiring new skills.

Originally from Miami Beach, Rabbi Saulson grew up with Conservative Judaism and later affiliated with the flagship Reform Congregation of Greater Miami, where his mother's family were charter members. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Michigan, served in the Peace Corps for two years and completed a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Miami. He also earned a PhD in Semitics from the University of South Africa. Ordained a Rabbi at Hebrew Union College in 1976, Rabbi Saulson engaged people with his monthly pulpits and worked in elder care mediation while serving as Chaplain to the Jewish Community of Atlanta through Jewish Family & Career Service. Temple Emanu-El is his fifth interim rabbi assignment. 

Rabbi Saulson considers several aspects of his role as an interim rabbi to be thrilling.

There is a rare kind of flourishing or excitement and reflection when a congregation is on the doorstep of a major milestone in its development,” said Saulson. “The challenges of contemporary Jewish synagogue life can come into sharp relief.”

Since his arrival, Rabbi Saulson has encouraged members of Temple Emanu-El to take advantage of the coming months as a time for experimentation and self-exploration, rather than focusing solely on the rabbi search process. At the Temple's outdoor summer barbecue Shabbat in July, he began the service by announcing, “We're going to chill for a few minutes. Just sit and relax,” as the congregation meditated to a jazz tune while sitting on folding chairs on the grass, shaded by the trees. Attended by over 100 members, the Shabbat service's unfamiliar format was met with some discomfort, however, many attendees also seemed open to different service elements offered by Rabbi Saulson. 

Challenging the Temple's communication practices, Rabbi Saulson has encouraged the Board to centralize its announcement process and circulate the newsletter more frequently. He injected his mail correspondence to congregants with creativity by personalizing each note's letterhead with a unique visual and spiritual inspiration. These are just a few examples of what he has in store for congregants this year. He has been working closely with Cantorial Soloist Sherry Barnes to craft his vision for the upcoming High Holiday Services.

Rabbi Saulson believes that his job as the interim rabbi and the next rabbi for that matter, is not to attempt to fill Rabbi Rosenberg's shoes, but rather to leave “footprints in the sand.” When he leaves, the water will wash away his footprints and the cycle reoccurs.

“When the Rabbi has been there a long time, it seems as though the footprints have been concretized,” said Saulson. “But my role is to help people remember that each Rabbi's footprints were made in sand all along. The key is to see what impressions were made and how the congregation contributed to them.”

At a recent new member prospect gathering at Temple Emanu-El, Rabbi Saulson introduced many members of the congregation, described the Temple's hamish culture, explained that its successful journey currently involves the search for a new Rabbi, and assured them that the heart of the Temple was reflected in the warmth of its people and community. He wanted attendees to be seated in a circle rather than auditorium style so that everyone could see each other. The event culminated in Cantorial Soloist Sherry Barnes leading everyone in song to the tune of Debbie Friedman's Tefilat Haderech; the enthusiastic energy of members and prospects harmonized that afternoon.

As Temple Emanu-El's Rabbi Search Committee leads the congregation in their mission, Rabbi Saulson believes the key to finding the ideal next Rabbi is for congregants to be introspective now about where the Temple currently is in its journey and its desired future as a community. The next Rabbi will be an individual who will have his or her own voice, but the membership is the most important voice that needs to be heeded, according to Saulson.

"The congregation has a major role to play in determining the shape and depth of the next rabbi's footprint," said Saulson.

Rabbi Saulson currently lives in East Lyme, from which he commutes about once a month to his home in Atlanta, where his wife Diane lives and works as a clinical psychologist. He has two daughters; Raelle is 26 years old, who is engaged to be married and Aliya is 20 years old, who attends the University of Georgia. He looks forward to exploring Southeastern Connecticut's “cultural gems” such as museums and theater, including hopefully visiting Block Island with his wife during her upcoming visit to the area.

Not a fan of coffee or tea these days, Rabbi Saulson recently embarked on a self-imposed fitness challenge. He said he was not into exercise until he became an interim rabbi as he has more time for such endeavors while on the road. He prefers strolling, following an exercise regimen with a personal trainer and uses a phone app called Lose It which keeps track of his nutritional intake.

“I prefer to cook rather than eat out at restaurants,” said Saulson, who once baked brownies for a Temple bake sale fundraiser which he proudly mentioned were mistaken for the Rebbitzin's. “I make all my meals; just about.”

Armi Rowe is a member of Temple Emanu-El and serves on the Temple’s Board of Directors. 


Rabbinic Reflections

By Rav Jeremy Schwartz, special to the Leader

The topic of refugees has been much on our minds and in our hearts lately. If our hearts haven’t been completely hardened like Pharaoh’s, the news and images of refugees flowing out of Syria, Africa, and the wider Middle East, sometimes dying on the way, has been heartbreaking. And hearts that are open will also acknowledge fear and anger in response to the sheer magnitude of the humanitarian challenge and to attacks in Europe carried out sometimes by people from the same places or of the same religions as the refugees (broadly speaking – like we at Temple Bnai Israel are the same religion as Jewish fanatics who recently burned a Palestinian family to death in the West Bank town of Duma). But our heritage isn’t one of fear and anger. We relate to our ancient slavery from Egypt not with anger, but by celebrating our freedom and by trying to create a society of freedom. We laugh at Haman. Our history and identity are entwined with being “other” and “foreign” and “powerless” and we try to act as people who “know the heart of the stranger.” It’s no coincidence that the words on the Statue of Liberty were penned by a Jew, Emma Lazarus. 

My understanding is that the United States has the most rigorous vetting process for refugees in the world and that no one who has been admitted through our refugee process has committed an act of terrorism in the US. I think it’s reasonable to assume that no system is perfect and some day, some refugee will commit a terrorist act here. Natural-born Americans of many different ethnicities and religions also commit terrorist acts and mass-murder attacks. That’s not a reason to refrain from acting Jewishly, out of love and hope. I’m proud that our Temple Board thought it obvious that we cannot be deterred by those dangers, and must live up to the Prophet Isaiah’s words that we read every Yom Kippur: 

Is not the fast that I desire

the unlocking of the chains of wickedness,

the loosening of exploitation,

the freeing of all those oppressed,

the breaking of the yoke of servitude?

Is it not the sharing of your bread with those who starve,

the bringing of the wretched poor into your house,

or clothing someone you see who is naked,

and not hiding from your kin in their need?

Then shall your light burst forth like the dawn,

your waters of healing soon flourish again,

your righteousness will travel before you,

and the glory of THE ALMIGHTY will encompass you. 

-Isaiah 58:6-8 (Joel Rosenberg translation from our Kol Haneshamah Mahzor)

________________________________________________________________________

Last month the Temple Bnai Israel Board approved support for the Refugee Resettlement 

Co-sponsorship Program that is being organized by Reverend Ann Plumley, Steve Lane and the First Church of Christ of Mansfield. Our work has already begun to a small degree as some of us have been asked to help secure health care, jobs, and gather support for the program. We are happy that the Temple Bnai Israel community is part of this process.


Rabbi's Message

"The Greater New London Jewish Community: an Inconvenient Truth" "

by Scott B. Saulson

As a greenhorn in these parts, I am thrilled to paraphrase Garrison Keillor’s portrait of Lake Wobegon, “All God’s children are above average.” At least when it comes to cordiality and devotion to the cherished ideals we have inherited as a birthright. At least that is what any rabbi, interim or no, would hope for. And, so far, that is what I have found abundant among My People here.

Yet, on the cusp of a new year and at this stage in the evolution of Greater New London Jewry, we cannot merely live on hope if by hope we mean discounting or underestimating the challenges squarely facing us. Kicking the can down the road will get us nowhere but scuffed shoes and a dented can.

So the whole history of back and forth and hours of talk and hand wringing about the need for collaboration among our institutions is wasted lung power and skin irritation unless we are jointly and severally committed to doing something about what’s squarely facing us. Unless there is a will that puts our vitality above turf, our village above personalities, our vision above our legacies.

The truth is that every evidence based projection suggests that the regional demographics are not in our favor. Even if a slew of young blood were suddenly recruited to settle in the area because of fresh employment opportunities, one can hardly imagine that Jews would make up more than 2-3% of that influx. Moreover, among them the percentage likely to be attracted to institutional frameworks fashioned more than a half century ago would be a mere pittance. If they were to have reasons to affiliate, those reasons would hardly resemble the reasons our current membership chose to affiliate upon their arrival or family growth.

Some readers may jump to the conclusion that I am standing on an old soap box. Yes, if they mean I am looking for ways to make meaningful collaboration work. But at the moment, I am not looking for “ways.” I am looking to ascertain the commitment, which once palpable, will surely find ways to make meaningful collaboration work.

Admittedly intangibles benefit hugely from tangibles -- love grows on trees no more than does money. But what will sustain us today, let alone those who will make or continue to make Greater New London their home in the years ahead? Is it precious endowments frittered away on structures way past their prime or maximum usefulness? Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai risked his life to prove that Judaism depended not on the sanctity of The Temple, not on bricks and mortar, but on the sanctity of The People. We, who owe our continuity to his boldness, must embrace the notion that spirituality is the life force of religion, community the answer to alienation and aloneness.

Make no mistake. Meaningful collaboration is not about finding ways to save a dollar or two. Nor is it about feel-good, joint programs now and then. That kind of cooperation is well and dandy. However, meaningful collaboration is about integrating and capitalizing on our human and material resources in the fulfillment of a shared vision and an inspiring mission. It’s one thing to admit, “Yes, we can.” It is another to behave as, “No, we won’t” by coming up with a litany of excuses to perpetuate the status quo. And “Maybe” is a cop-out. If we assert “We shall,” then we can ill afford to put our mouths where our money is instead of our money where our hearts are.

In my short tenure here, I would be honored to sit down with serious institutional players, who are also “we shall-niks,” to test the breadth and depth of the commitment required for a brighter future.

Scott B. Saulson, PhD, is the Interim Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El



RECONSTRUCTIONIST SYNAGOGUE

 

Temple Bnai Israel, Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz

345 Jackson Street, Willimantic, CT 06226

Phone: (860) 423-3743

Web site: http://www.templebnaiisrael.org/







Rabbi's message: "Becoming a conscious sinner"

By Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz

I’ve made spiritual progress lately; I’ve become a conscious sinner.  Not that I sin consciously, but I’m aware that I’ve sinned.  On a recent Shabbat morning, I was having some breakfast, looking over the Torah reading, when I heard a loud RRRRR in the neighborhood.  “Must be Eversource cutting down a tree.  I hope they don’t wake Arielle,” I thought.  As the noise continues incessantly, my curiosity gets to me and I look out the window. There’s a young man next door with a weed whacker. He spots a weed and whacks it. Then he looks for another weed, leaving the whacker going, “RRRRRRR!!” There’s one! “RRRRRR!!” I storm out the door. “Do you know how to use that thing?!  Do you know my daughter’s sleeping?!” I berate the kid, who apologizes and says he in fact didn’t know my daughter was sleeping.  After I got back inside, I realized I had been stupid. I had sinned.  Although I had assumed the young man worked for the landlord next door, in fact he was one of the tenants, an ECSU student.  He was exactly the type of student that was our best hope once the house next door switched to student housing.  He cared about keeping the place looking good and, although a bit clueless, also cared about the neighbors.  And here I had gotten on his case and chewed him out.  On our way to shul, I stopped over and apologized. 

What went wrong there?  Both of us were trapped in the basic spiritual problem: the illusion of our separateness.  I was stuck inside my enjoyment of a quiet Shabbes morning, and my annoyance at having it disturbed.  Me, me, me. And like so many people who whack weeds and blow leaves, he was stuck inside his task, beautifying his lawn, all oblivious to the disturbance to everyone around him (not to mention the atmosphere and the climate) on a quiet Saturday morning.  That’s the human condition; we’re born knowing only about “me” and “my needs.”  And our spiritual growth entails becoming aware that we’re not alone. In fact, ultimately, we might become more and more aware that we came from Something Eternal and are embedded in Something Infinite.  The more we realize that, the less we sin.  And the more we realize it, the more joy and comfort we take in our place in the universe. But it takes a life time of work.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are such gifts to those of us willing to do that rewarding work.  Rosh Hashanah reminds us that we are all created - none of us is self-made - and what an amazing, awe-inspiring creation we are part of! The shofar calls out to wake us from our ‘me-slumber.’  Yom Kippur confronts the illusion of our separateness by reminding us of our own mortality.  What endures? Not the little “me” that storms around trying to get what it wants.  What endures is our love, our reflection of the Infinite.  So we gather all our stupid mis-deeds, our sins, taking an accounting to make sure some aren’t still lurking in some corner of our lives, and let God take them all and toss them.  We start clean and fresh on our journey of awakening, connection,  and growth. 

 I wish all of our readers a clean, fresh start, and a year of blessing and shalom.

Rav Jeremy

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