Raising the Torah: Parashat Ki Tavo

Sparks Ki Tavo 2016
Parashat Ki Tavo
Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:8
The Torah tells us more than once that its ways are ways of blessing, while abandoning the Torah means choosing the opposite. In our portion we read of a dramatic performance meant to give this message theatrical vividness.
Moses tells us that, after we enter the land of Israel, we should gather the people and split them up into two sections, to stand on two facing mountains, . one half on Mount Gerizim and one half on Mount Ebal. The priests and Levites are to stand in the valley, between them and call out blessings and curses.

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Mesh Cafe Sept 20, 2016

MESH 92016

From Captain Linda Ariel:

MESH 920161On Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 24 hungry guests were served at the MESH Cafe at Congregation Shomrei Emunah. The chef, Sarah Steindel, was assisted by Sarita Eisenberg and Charles Steindel.

There were many people helping with serving, clean up, and washing the pots and pans. They included volunteers Erin Berman and Lou Hammerman and teens Amalia, Siona, Sebastian, Sam, Rachel, and Matt.  There were also four MASH staff who collaborated  in making the evening a smooth, welcoming environment. Continue reading

Hearty Fall Fare


As summer leaves us and fall makes its way into our lives, it’s time to think about more hearty fare than cold soups and salads.

Here are some recipes that are simple, tasty, economical and just right for those buy days of September and October.

Please send in YOUR favorite recipes to email hidden; JavaScript is required. Include a backstory for the recipe or notes on how you changed it. We’d love to publish them in Shomrei Week. Continue reading

It’s Library Month

Lampert libraryFrom the Lampert Library

September is library card sign-up month. Libraries are getting even more use than ever before.

Once known as the People’s University, today libraries provide entertainment, instruction, access to computers, and a host of other services.

Patrons don’t even have to leave their homes to use the library. Online catalogs give access to downloadable books and music. Sophisticated databases provide resources for research. Digital magazine collections let the reader browse his or her favorite magazine with subscribing or leaving that comfortable chair. Continue reading

Compassion or the Egg? Parashat Ki Tetze


Parashat Ki Tetze
Deuteronomy 21:10 – 25:19

Our Torah portion includes the strange commandment of “Shilu`ah ha-qan – the sending away [of the mother bird] from the nest.” The Torah describes a scene in which a person encounters a bird’s nest and wishes to take the chicks or eggs from it. But the mother is sitting on them. The command is that one may not take the chicks within view of the mother. Rather the mother must be shooed away first. (Deut. 22:6-7)

Our tradition records many attempts at finding the meaning of this strange commandment. Nachmanides places this commandment within a set of additional mitzvot, all of which, in his view, describe limited actions that seek to remind us of two goals of broader meaning. One goal is ecological. We are to be careful not to decimate species unthinkingly. Tragically, this concern has reached crisis proportions today. Human beings have devastated the biosphere and continue to do so every day. We are in real danger of wiping out many species, major and minor, creating permanent, irreparable loss for the sake of temporary gain.

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First Day of the New Hebrew School!


Busy busy in the New JLC!

Yasher Koach on a wonderful welcome back (indoor!) BBQ and first day of JLC!  The students were overwhelmingly positive about the change in the building and program (Wow! was a common response upon seeing the new furniture/rooms!)  The rooms looked great, the teachers were warm and wonderful, and the students had amazing energy.  I am thrilled for the year to come. Assistant Education Directors, Lily Lucey and Aylah Winter were both wonderful in their interactions with students and parents, and I think everyone is responding to having such a capable team in place.


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Mesh Cafe Sept 13, 2016


From Captain Lynne Kurzweil:

image3We hosted 24 grateful seated guests and provided 6 takeaways this past Tuesday night. With the air temperature dipping slightly, chef du jour, Lynne Kurzweil, decided to start the meal off with some homemade Split Pea and Barley Soup. Our guests were ecstatic! They love soup. Many enjoyed 2-3 helpings until the pot was empty.

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Happy Birthday, Curious George

curious1From the Lampert Library

Curious George turns 75 on September 17. That’s also Curiosity Day, inspired by the ever popular monkey. We should sing a hearty Yom Huledit Sameach for the beloved curious monkey who almost didn’t make it.

Did you know that Curious George is Jewish? Or at least his “parents,” H. A. Rey (originally Reyersbach) and Margret E. Rey were. George’s creators were born in Germany, married in Brazil and moved to Paris after their marriage. Continue reading

Pursuing Justice: Parashat Shoftim

Parashat Shofetim 2016
Our Torah reading opens with a solemn injunction: “Place for yourself, in all your gates … judges and officials, so that they will judge the people in righteousness.” (Deut. 16:18) The text continues to emphasize how important justice and righteousness is for society. Whose obligation is it to make sure that there is a just legal system operating for the people? “Place for yourself,” says the verse. The verse is phrased as a direct address to the individual. The authority wielded by judges and other officers of society ultimately derives from their mission as messengers of each of us.We are personally commanded to pursue justice. Part of our obligation is purely personal, of course – to act justly and treat each other fairly and without prejudice or violence. But another part of our personal obligation is to create social structures that extend beyond the capacities of any one person, to insure that justice and fairness apply everywhere, to everyone. Both these obligations can be daunting. But while many of us are quite confident in our own moral uprightness, we are forced to confront, on a daily basis, how flawed our justice system is on a social scale. The command to pursue justice on a societal scale is a very difficult obligation to undertake.

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Mesh Cafe Sept 6, 2016

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From Captain Aileen Grossberg:

On a balmy September evening, Shomrei’s MESH Cafe inaugurated the 2016-2017 MESH year. We served 24 guests – some new to Shomrei- a nutritious, economical meal of tossed green salad, buttered Italian bread, casserole of ground turkey, onions, eggplant , mushrooms, corn and spaghetti sauce over pasta.  Many of our guests asked for seconds. We replaced the turkey with tofu for our vegetarians.  Look for the recipe in a future Shomrei Week.

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