April 2016 scroll article

Throughout the years, Temple Beth Shalom Religious School has evolved and changed with the times, based on the needs of our families. Continuously, we strive to adjust perspectives and to coordinate schedules, fitting in Shabbat services, Hebrew school, B’nai Mitzvah tutoring, Sunday school, and youth group with soccer, band, academic games, dance, lacrosse, school work and family obligations. It is both a delicate balance and a constant struggle to find the right combinations of “secular” life and “religious” life. But, really, is this struggle needed? Isn’t it true that being Jewish does not just take place in the synagogue setting? Don’t we carry our Jewishness everywhere we go?
Recently at one of our Sunday assemblies our students had an opportunity to observe for themselves how being Jewish does not just take place on the synagogue campus. In Parashat Pikudei the people of Israel are completing the building of the Tabernacle, following the explicit instructions given. They are told that G-d will dwell among them and go with them as they journey on. G-d is said to “appear” as a cloud, dwelling in the tabernacle and accompanying the Israelites through the desert.
To demonstrate this concept, our students created their own cloud in a jar, using hot water, a match and ice cubes. Students decided that the jar would represent the synagogue and everything in it, included Torah, ritual objects, our congregation and leadership. When the jar lid was closed tightly, the cloud remained in the jar. But when the lid was opened, the cloud (vapor) escaped from the jar and spread across the outside world, symbolizing how we take our Judaism with us wherever we go. We must remain true to our beliefs and values, even when on the soccer field or at the science fair.
Being Jewish isn’t easy in a town where you may be the only one in your class. But if we teach our children well, they will feel that they can carry their Jewishness proudly as they engage with the world. So go out in the world and participate in all it has to offer. And come to Temple to gather with Jewish friends and be part of our community. Then when you go out again, be sure to take your Jewish identity along. Act on those values and stop for a moment to kindle the spark of Jewishness in you, no matter where you are.

                      V’shinantam l’vanecha v’dibarta bam b’shivt’cha b’veitecha uv’lecht’cha vaderech…” 
                      “Teach them to your children. Speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on your way…”
                      (Deuteronomy) 6:7-8

Thank you to all who helped with the Purim Hamentaschen baking last month. We had fun, did a mitzvah, and ate well! It was certainly a group effort and the recipients of our Caring Community bags were delighted.
Sunday school meets this month on April 3, 10 and 17th.
Hebrew school meets on Wednesdays, April 6, 13 and 20th.

Join us to honor our Graduating Seniors from the class of 2016 on Friday, April 8 at Shabbat services. We congratulate Erin Cady, Joshua Hurwitz, Hunter Lazan, Jeremy Maury, Michal Pollack, Bryan Rodin and Hava Stenn on this wonderful accomplishment and wish them well as they journey on.

Submitted by
Mindy Lessem Pollack