JANUARY 2015 TEVET – SHEVAT 5775 ISSUE 5
Wishing everyone a
year of good health,
happiness, and peace!
The deadline for item
submissions to the Megillah is
the Third Friday of the month.
Rabbi Art’s Corner
We start the New Year with the second book in the Torah; Exodus. The Jewish
People really begin in Exodus. Before that was the account of patriarchs,
matriarchs, and nomadic tribes.
Coming out of Egypt from slavery to freedom,Moses took a motley group of slaves and made
them into a People. We were formed in Egypt, but matured in the desert. The Jewish People
are a product of wilderness origins; the long trek through the desert generated momentum to
enter the Promised Land. The Revelation at Sinai with the Tablets of the Ten
Commandments forged the foundation for Judaism.
Jewish history begins with the Exodus. The image of escaping to freedom has inspired
future generations. Benjamin Franklin saw the escape from tyranny as a model for the new
United States of America. Martin Luther King used the Exodus as a model for the Civil Rights
Movement and the freedom of the Blacks in America.
We are told in the Torah never to forget our origins. The Passover Haggadah uses the
quotation from Exodus: “And you shall tell your son the story of the Exodus.” It is molded into
our heritage and legacy. We came from humble origins and developed into the Ethical
Monotheistic Culture that we now have.
We are never to forget our origins, and as such, must always favor social justice and equal
treatment for all peoples. Our task in this world is not to find salvation in some other world, but
to redeem society as it is. The Mission of Judaism is “Tikkun Olam” (to repair the world). That is why Jews should always be in the forefront for civil rights and civil liberties.
We have been oppressed throughout history and must never forget the oppression of others.
Our religion does not seek converts, it seeks human rights. Its call is not for power, but
for righteousness. It is a religious culture that expects and demands ethical behavior and
Abraham Heschel said: “Religion is for God’s sake. The human side of religion, its creeds,
rituals and instruction is a way rather than the goal.” The goal is “to do justice, to love mercy
and to walk humbly with thy God.”
Cantorial Soloist Pam Beitman
Each year around November I start looking for new Hanukkah melodies to sing for the Hanukkah service. Each year in the past I have come up with the same answer, “There are no new melodies to sing.” Well this year was so different. Thanks to the Internet, I found many new singable and powerful songs to download. The artists I loved most were the Maccabeats, Naomi Less, Michelle Citrin, The Yeshiva Boys Choir, and Six13. Their songs vary from A capella to jazz and are very singable. This is like a breath of fresh air for me. Now I can play my list of Hanukkah songs proudly and perhaps a little loudly.
If you would like to know more about these songs, I will be more than happy to share…although the sheet music has still escaped me. So until the time I can write my own Hanukkah songs, or write the sheet music, many of these songs will only be on my play list.
I hope you had a very Happy Hanukkah.
KEEPING KOSHER IN TODAY’S ISRAEL
Stevie Sacks from Ashkelon, Israel
Well, I’ve been in Israel for five months now, and I’ve become accustomed to using plastic for almost
everything in the kitchen. I know some of you are rolling your eyes so let me explain.
In the US as in other parts of the world, the temple or shul is not just a place of worship, but also the
glue that holds a certain section of the Jewish community together. Here in Israel that is still true of the
Conservative, Chabad, and Reform houses of worship. Chabad, of course, because this is part of their
method of outreach. For the Conservative and Reform it’s more a part of being a minority.
I knew a year before coming to Israel that I wanted to start keeping Kosher, so I started to “practice”. I
didn’t buy non-kosher food, so there went my beloved shellfish! I spent a good deal of time hunting at
discounters for all new pots, pans, dishes, can openers you name it! Luckily I don’t do dairy so it
simplified matters. But, why keep kosher? First of all, it’s out of respect for the people I would meet
who are more observant than I, out of respect for moving to Eretz Israel and out of of sense of this was
the right thing for me to do as a Reform Jew.
Joan Lowell can attest, I become obsessed with the idea of toveling my dishes to do it the Orthodox
way. I had two women I know, who are both Americans and much more observant than I would ever
be, come over and try to help me plan the entire process of saying a blessing and then immersing your
items. Luckily being new dishes I didn’t have to “kasher” anything.
And frankly, these women and the more observant of my friends, would not eat off of my dishes or eat
what I cooked regardless if I toveled or not, being they wouldn’t trust a new-to- kosher person not to
mess the whole thing up! And logic says, if all the water used in Ashkelon is desalinized sea water, and
that water runs through the pipes – washing the dishes in the dishwasher serves the same purpose, so
no toveling for me!
So, how can I have the more observant over for 3rd meal, a monthly practice I’m initiating? There are a
number of places in every city here such as hotels and catering facilities that open on early Friday
morning and you can get almost everything you need, and it’s all certified Kosher! These places are
packed. So, the food preparation issue is solved. So what do I put all this food on?
Which gets me back to topic! I have met many people since coming to Ashkelon and they range from
nonobservant, to Biblically kosher, to conservative all the way to very observant. Although most
rational people I’ve met follow the “don’t ask don’t tell” philosophy the easiest way to have people over
is to use plastics. Why? Because plastics are the great Kosher loop-hole, along with aluminum pans!
Plastics and aluminum are deemed as temporary and are thus ready for prime time – no special
treatment needed! So even if you reuse your plastics and aluminum there is this loop-hole – hence
everyone has a large selection of plastics in the house and almost every store carries the basic. And yes,
almost everyone I’ve met, who has purchased the more expensive ones do wash and reuse them – but the book says temporary so no toveling needed! So, about now you are saying, why not paper? Well,
you can’t find paper plates here. It’s just one of those facts of life.
All the above said, we are supposed to emulate Abraham and Sarah and be gracious hosts, so if using
plastics will make my guests feel more comfortable — so be it.
The following three books have become my go-to- source and recently read this article on the Reform
Judaism Organization’s site – http://www.reformjudaism.org/purpose-kashrut .
Gateway to Judaism by Rabbi Mordecai Becher
The Kosher Kitchen – A Practical Guide by Rabbi Binyomin Forst
and the e-book – How to Keep Kosher by Lise Stern
Take care till the next time!
This year has just flown by, and now we are in 2015. I wish all of you health,happiness, and fun.
I will look forward to seeing you all in the new year.
Be happy, and do something wonderful
HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2015
The funeral for Beth Ami Temple member, Dan
Helfant, was held on December 11, at the
National Cemetery of Arizona. He was a Korean
War Navy veteran. It was an impressive military
ceremony with blowing of taps and a 3 gun
salute, followed by a brief euolgy and prayers
by Rabbi Art. His sons spoke eloquently and
lovingly about their father, who was a gentle,
On Janurary 29th, the Cultural Group is going to
the Bashas Museum of Western American and
American Indian Art.
We will meet at 10:00 a.m. The museum is
located in Chandler (22402 S. Baseline Rd.).We’ll
carpool as there is limited parking.
There is no charge for admission. We’ll go to
lunch after the museum. The “Landmark” has
If you are interested, please call or e-mail Nancy
Special Interest Groups
Thinking about joining a
special interest group, please
contact the designated
leader below. We look
forward to having you as a
THE DISCUSSION CLUB
Hold the Date
The Discussion Club is planning to have
our own Steve Hertzfeld speak on Sunday,
February 22nd about his 30 day amazing
trip with slides.
Details in the February 1 Megillah.
(THE DINING OUT GROUP)
Fresser’s meets the first Wednesday of
every month. All are welcome.
For the month of January. 2015 we are
going to Chompies at Paradise Mall on
Wednesday, January 7th at 6:00.
Please let Nancy Stiegel know if you will be
coming. Her phone number is 602-404-7180
or her e-mail is email@example.com.
BETH AMI STROLLERS
AN INCREDIBLE DAY IN AN
December 27, 2014
Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park
This is the place where the Strollers went to on their
December 27th stroll. They discovered the intricate
beauty and many faces of Arizona’s oldest and largest
They saw plants from the world’s deserts, towering
trees, captivating cacti, sheer mountain cliffs, a
streamside forest, panoramic vistas, many natural
habitats with varied wildlife, a desert lake, a hidden
canyon, specialty gardens and more.
Bernie Pollack, Susan Pollack, Susan brother , Joan
Lowell, Joan’s son in law, Steve Hertzfeld, Jan
Hertzfeld, and Stuart Meckler. Not in picture, Arnie
Schwartz (guess who took the picture)
FORGOTTEN HISTORICAL TREASURES
BETH AMI TEMPLE HISTORIAN,
GOLDIE COHEN, SEEKING
If anyone has pictures or articles from
events at Beth Ami Temple please
contact Goldie Cohen or bring them to
Beth Ami temple gratefully
acknowledges the following
Terry Samuels in memory of William Samuels,
Dolly Brazlin in memory of Hy Brazlin,
Pelberg family in memory of Malva Holyoak,
mother of Linda
Kurzrok family in Honor of Blossom Osofsky
for hosting new member
Susi Stone is continuing to keep the
Yahrzeit list current.
If you have changes, or updates,
please send her the information.
Thank you all for your help in this.
Contact Susi at: firstname.lastname@example.org.