RAB Spot

Gratitude Amidst Loss

There is a Jewish value called hakarat hatov, which I believe to be an important discipline for my life. Hakarat hatov means recognizing the good. There are some moments when I find it more challenging to recall good things happening around me and there are other moments when it is easy to do so. No matter what I am feeling or what kid of day I am experiencing, I believe that recognizing goodness is an important everyday activity. When things are going well we are encouraged to remind ourselves of that goodness and to specify the person that helped to make that goodness a reality. It helps us remember the source of our blessings and helps us appreciate the gifts we receive and never take goodness for granted. When things are not going according to our expectations or when we feel that life is not treating us well, hakarat hatov reminds us that despite all of the reasons for upset there is usually still something to be grateful for.

I imagine that this is what Noach, the protagonist of this week’s Torah portion, feels as he emerges from the ark after God destroys all of creation except for the humans and animals inside of the ark by sending a flood. Looking around, the images of destruction that Noach sees must be unimaginable. What Noach sees must shock him.… Read more

Happenings at Shaarei Tikvah

There were many many beautiful moments over this holiday period. However, there were two moments when I felt that my breath was taken away. The first was at Neilah, the final service on Yom Kippur, when I witnessed families and individuals coming before the ark and standing in front of the Torah scrolls. For some… Read more

Healing the Relationship Between North American Jews and Israel

I want to take a moment to highlight next Shabbat, Saturday September 1st.  At services that morning, we will celebrate Eugene and Diane Linett’s 50th anniversary together with their family. In the evening,  we will hold a very special service called Selichot that helps to spiritually prepare us for the Yamim Noraim, the days of… Read more

Religious School Highlights

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Tzedakah: Is it just about giving?

Our students engaged in a brief conversation about tzedekah, the Jewish Value of giving after viewing a video to set the stage (Click here to watch). As you may recall, tzedek (צֶדֶק), which can be defined as justice or righteousness, is the overarching theme for our year. Tzedakah (צְדָקָה) comes from this root. So, when we think of the action of “giving tzedakah,” we are in essence bringing about justice and/or behaving righteously. After viewing the clip, we discussed the idea that our intention when we give is much more important than the amount we give.

In a similar teaching to what the video offers, we learn:

Pirkei Avot 5:13

There are four kinds [of] givers of tzedakah (charity). [One who] wishes to give, but does not [wish for] others to give — he has an evil eye with respect to others; [one who] wishes for others to give, and he [himself] does not give — he has an evil eye with respect to himself; [one who] gives and [wishes that] others will give — [that’s a] chasid (righteous person); [one who] does not give and does not [wish that] others will give — [that’s a] rasha (wicked person).

משנה אבות ה׳:י״ג

(יג) אַרְבַּע מִדּוֹת בְּנוֹתְנֵי צְדְקָה. הָרוֹצֶה שֶׁיִּתֵּן וְלֹא יִתְּנוּ אֲחֵרִים, עֵינוֹ רָעָה בְּשֶׁל אֲחֵרִים. יִתְּנוּ אֲחֵרִים וְהוּא לֹא יִתֵּן, עֵינוֹ רָעָה בְשֶׁלּוֹ. יִתֵּן וְיִתְּנוּ אֲחֵרִים – חָסִיד. לֹא יִתֵּן וְלֹא יִתְּנוּ אֲחֵרִים – רָשָׁע:

Questions to consider:

  • What does each of these “givers” of tzedakah teach us about Judaism’s approach to giving?

  • How, if at all, does this text shift how you previously thought about giving tzedakah?

Throughout the year, your child(ren) will be putting their learning into action! Each week, we will be collecting tzedekah, (remember, the amount each child gives is not important). We also want our students to feel empowered to decide where their money will go. Toward this end, on the Monday before Rosh Hodesh, the start of the Jewish month, each class will vote on the charity towards which they wish to donate. Perhaps discuss what charities are important to your family and create a list for your child(ren) to share with their classmates and teachers.

Calendar of Events

Week of October 12 - 18

Friday services 6:00pm
Saturday services 9:18am
Friday candle lighting 6:02pm
Saturday havdalah 6:59pm
Sun. minyan 9:00am Movie Fans Minyan
Mon minyan 7:00am
Thur. minyan 7:00am



Noah

Triennial 11:1 - 11:32 (Etz Hayim pg. 58 - 63)
Haftarah - Isaiah 54:1 - 55:5 (Etz Hayim pg. 64 - 68)

While the flood wreaks great destruction, life is preserved in Noah’s Ark. God establishes a covenant: Never again to destroy the earth. The generations of Noah’s descendants flourish. They build the Tower of Babel to pierce the heavens. God thwarts their efforts by confounding “the language of all the earth” and scattering its inhabitants.

Calendar of Events

Upcoming Events:

    Oct
    20
    Sat
    ST Teen Program @ Rabbi's Home
    Oct 20 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
    Shaarei Tikvah 20th Anniversary Celebration
    Oct 20 @ 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm
    Shaarei Tikvah 20th Anniversary Celebration

    We are thrilled to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Shaarei Tikvah, a congregation born through the merger of two Southern Westchester synagogues with long and distinguished histories. Facing declining Jewish populations, Emanuel Jewish Center of Mt. Vernon and Genesis Agudas Achim of Tuckahoe sold their properties and together bought a former Christian Science Church at 46 Fox Meadow Road in Scarsdale. The new congregation celebrated its first joint service on Simchat Torah in 1998 after a joyous motorcade and parade transporting the Torahs to their new home.

    The beginning wasn’t easy. The marriage had happened fast and the two congregations came to the union with different expectations and cultures. But gradually the two melded into one and, with an influx of new members, a new Shaarei Tikvah culture was born.  Fortunately, we have had talented clergy, dedicated professional and lay leaders and volunteers to help us thrive.

    We soon outgrew our old building and after a successful capital campaign, our beautiful new synagogue and religious school building was constructed with its dedication on September 8, 2008. In a bow to our history, the most prominent feature of our sanctuary/social hall is the stained-glass windows from Emanuel Jewish Center.

    The new building brought spacious new classrooms to the Anna and Louis Shereff Religious School which has educated so many of our children. Our sanctuary holds happy memories for many of us as we look back fondly to baby namings, B’nai Mitzvot, auf rufs and other simchas celebrated here.

    Some programs stand out for their lasting significance. Synagogue 2000 helped us define a vision of welcoming, lay participation in services and great food at all events. Our Keruv program helped cement our welcome to intermarried couples and we were among the first Conservative synagogues to include non-Jews in intermarried families as members and more recently, to hold an auf ruf for an intermarried, same-sex couple. Our Women’s Study Group empowered more than 45 women to read Torah and Haftarah, many for the first time, culminating in a joyous series of group B’not Mitzvah. Trips to Israel, led by our rabbis, have brought us closer to our heritage and to each other. More recently, our LK2 Shabbats in memory of Louis Kellner have helped dozens learn and lead parts of the service. And we’ve helped feed thousands through our Cooking Days and participation in the United Interfaith Food Bank.

    Music is central to our community. A yearly concert often features works and performances by our talented cantor and congregants and our religious school year ends with a spirited Zimryah. Our SHTYX a capella group performs at many of our events. Our cadre of multi-generational shofar blowers ending Neilah services has become a tradition we cherish. And who can forget our slightly off-color, but hilarious Purim Panapoly?  Will the Megillah ever be the same?

    During these 20 years, we have formed so many lifelong friendships. We have also sadly mourned many of our founders, including the Holocaust survivors whose presence reinforced our dedication to Jewish continuity. That said, we look with unbridled optimism to the next 20 years as a new generation of leaders, together with our vibrant and active membership, embraces our mission of spirituality, learning, community and Tikun Olam.

    For information about our 20th Anniversary Celebration, please call the office.

    Oct
    21
    Sun
    Married 20+ Years Minyan
    Oct 21 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am
    Rosh Chodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! @ Beit Midrash
    Oct 21 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm