Every Common Bush is Afire with God: The Legacy of Abraham and Sarah
Abraham and Sara lived their lives with an understanding that happiness emerges from unlocking the potential in any moment and appreciating the gift of every breath. The book of Genesis teaches that God created man by blowing his breath into humanity. Every breath we take is God's way of awakening within us the sacredness of every second. Every moment is new; every breath is fresh and endowed with the potential for eternal resonance.
Inspiration is everywhere when we stop and look. I call it the "burning bush" phenomenon. Redemption began in the Bible when Moses responded to the miracle of a bush that was on fire yet not consumed. He paused to reflect on the anomaly, unlike many who walked by without noticing. Moses was the only person who saw the bush afire and asked, "What is happening in front of me? What does it mean?" Living inspired requires gazing at the burning bushes in our midst and asking why they're there.
I'm forever grateful for pausing at a burning bush on a run in downtown Indianapolis. I looked forward to exploring the area on a beautiful night illuminated by a full moon and warmed by a soft breeze. As I ran past Bankers Life Fieldhouse, I approached an underpass below the interstate and noticed an array of cardboard boxes likely left by people seeking shelter. Then, out of the corner of my eye, as I ran under the bridge, I noticed a book neatly placed on one of the boxes. It was brand-new and entitled 40 Days to Lasting Change: An Aha Challenge by Kyle Idleman. I picked up the book and opened it to a chapter called "Listen to the Wake-Up Calls in Your Life." Well, I then realized that somebody must've placed the book there in the hopes of inspiring a homeless person to find strength and hope. I was inspired by this deliberate act of kindness by an anonymous person. For me, the book was a burning bush.
The following morning, I ran back to the place and saw a city worker cleaning the area. The book was still there from the previous night. I asked him, "Were there homeless people here last night?" He replied, "Yeah, they come every night and I try to offer a kind word." I showed him the book and told him that he was engaged in holy work, like the mysterious book donor, to give the impoverished a sense of possibility and hope. The shining moon of the previous night, the book, and the street cleaner reawakened within me the knowledge that inspiration is everywhere when we stop, gaze, and wonder at the burning bushes in our lives.
Keep in mind the words of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning: "Earth's crammed with heaven, / And every common bush afire with God, / But only he who sees takes off his shoes; / The rest sit round and pluck blackberries." The secret to living inspired is in knowing that though we can't stop time, we can slow it down by infusing fleeting moments with meaning; we can harness every moment for eternity.
Wishing you and your families a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Daniel Cohen
Dudes Daughters and Donuts THIS SUNDAY 9:15 AM
Women's Tefillah Group - December 17th, Noa Haron's Bat Mitzvah. If you would like to participate in the service with an Aliya or a reading, please email Ronnie Sichel (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ziona Doft (email@example.com)
We are excited to announce that the inaugural Sephardic Minyan at CAS will be held on Shabbat morning December 10th at 9am in the Social Hall. Come be part of the ONLY Sephardic Minyan in Fairfield County! Sephardic Minyan will be run as a traditional Sephardic service with beautiful melodies and meaningful tefilot. Future dates will be announced soon. For more information or to volunteer to read Torah or be a hazan send us an email at SephardicMinyanCAS@gmail.com
Best wishes to the participants in our Men's Adult Learning Trip to Israel. Rabbi Cohen will be away from this Saturday night until December 8th. He will check emails periodically. In case of an emergency, please contact Rabbi Oran Zweiter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-544-7522 or Matt Feinberg at email@example.com or 203-703 -9042.
PLEASE SEE Irwin to be a part of a special "thanks" opportunity upcoming on December 10
PARENTS - HELP US MAINTAIN CAS SECURITY We ask all parents to register their children for our Youth Groups - this allows us to contact you in an emergency. Please click here to sign up your kids for our 2016-17 programs!
CAS Membership Drive Continues New to Stamford? Attended CAS regularly and like our services? Become a member of Congregation Agudath Sholom! We provide a full range of services to our members-a very active Young Families group, classes, great Youth Programs, services, & more. Our 5777 focus: Serve our Members! Contact Matt Feinberg, our Director of Operations, firstname.lastname@example.org, to learn about our first-year dues discount.
Kosher Alerts The OU reminds you to always check the label before purchasing any item that needs kosher certification! And for the latest corrective actions, stay up with the latest OU KOSHER CONSUMER ALERTS & ADVISORIES...just click here
Kosher Advisory Breaking news from the OU - newly certified items! to check out the list click here
LIPS product of the week Check out our new Love Israel Products Blog (LIPS) for the latest ways to support Israel! Thank you to Lola Halperin and Aaron Goldenberg for organizing. www.loveisraelproducts.com
We are excited to announce our 2017 Rosalie Aberman AIPAC Teen Fellows, who will be joining the CAS Delegation to the AIPAC Policy Conference in March 2017.
Mazal Tov to our Teen Fellows!
We are grateful to our fellowship sponsors: Stephanie and Bob Sherman in memory of Stephanie's mother, Rosalie Aberman; Sandra and Michael Kamen; Beverly and David Stein; and an anonymous donor. If you would like to enable more teens to attend the AIPAC Policy Conference through a contribution to our AIPAC Teen Fund, please contact Rabbi Cohen.
Join our growing delegation. To learn more about the three most important days of the year to strengthen the Israel/US Alliance, visit www.policyconference.org.
May the fellows, their families and all of us maintain our fortitude and faith and commitment to, with the help of God, herald a time of peace speedily in our days.
Week of November 27
Rabbi Walk: Bible from the Beginning - 9:15 AM
Bob Abrams: "Books of the Bible" - 10:15 AM
Rabbi David Walk: Dvar Yom B'Yomo. - 11:30 AM
Rabbi David Walk: Kabbalah- Symbolic System of Thought - 7:30 PM
Rabbi Oran Zweiter: Jewish Law Meets Modern Times - 8:00 PM
Rabbi Oran Zweiter: Thought of Rambam (Maimonides) - 9:00 AM
Rabbi David Walk: Talmud Taanit - 7:30 PM
CAS Young Families
Toddler Time Playgroup Tuesdays, 3:30 pm. Please join us for an hour of free play for children 1 to 4 years old and their caregivers. Facilitated by two moms of toddlers, this drop-in group meets weekly at CAS in the downstairs children's classroom. No cost, a light snack provided. Info: Rachel Kaimowitz email@example.com or Jessica Furmansky JessicaL83@gmail.com
Babies & Breakfast at CAS Bring your baby and come mingle with other moms at CAS. NEXT GROUP- NOVEMBER 28. This will be a free bi-weekly group for moms to socialize and get out of the house! This group is for moms with babies from birth through 1. We meet every Monday at 9:15 for 1 hour. For more information, please contact Melissa Litwak (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rachel Kaimowitz (email@example.com).
Young Families Shalom Bayit Series with Rabbi Daniel Cohen Shalom Bayit Series with Rabbi Daniel Cohen 12/11 - Climbing in Love: Romance and Renewal - Hosted by Meredith and David Cohen 12/18 - Raising Happy Children: Cultivating Wonder and Joy - Hosted by Tina and Yossi Notik For more information and/or registration for the series, contact Rachel Maryles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Classes: Sunday mornings, 9:30 to 11:00 am Nov. 13, 20, Dec. 4, 11, 18, Jan. 8, 22 and 29th, Feb. 5th ( Feb. 12th snow date)
Matan, led by Diane Cohen, is a mother-daughter program for sixth grade Bat Mitzvah-age girls focusing on female role models from the time of the Bible through modern Israel. It is an educational, fun, interactive and uplifting way to prepare for your Bnai Mitzvah and grow closer to your daughters in the process. The Matan Class is endowed by a gift from Gerald Cohen in memory of his mother Florence Cohen, Tziporah bat Shimon.
CAS Young Families Presents Wine & Unwind..Paint Night Out for Adults of All Ages with Pinot's Pallet 7pm Quick Bites 7:45 pm Painting Begins $25/person includes food, drinks, one canvas & painting supplies Event Chairs: Miriam & Josh Sperber, Rachel & Daniel Schilowitz, and Jessica & Adam Furmansky
Rabbi Daniel Cohen explains why you should attend the AIPAC Policy Conference.
CAMERA EVENT Thursday, January 19th at 7:30 pm at Congregation Agudath Sholom. CAS and CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) present Saritz Catz, International Letter-Writing Director for CAMERA giving a presentation on "Media Manipulation: The Bias Against Israel".
WINGS, BEER AND SHIUR AT 613 - December 18. Join Rabbi Zweiter for some food, good beer and an interactive discussion of topics of your choice. Stick around to watch some Sunday Night Football after! $5 per person.
TOY OFFER Stop by the office if you would like a 20% off card for Stamford Toys and Books. Valid on purchases from November 22- November 30.
DID YOU KNOW? HEALING AND HOSPITALITY UPDATE Whether in the hospital, assisted living, rehab or at home, a visit can lift someone's spirits and help with their healing. We pray in the mi'sheberach for a healing of the spirit and healing of the body. Thank God, we have a cadre of people who volunteer to visit our members. We stay in touch and alert the group to mitzvah opportunities via the email@example.com email group. The warmth of our community is our strength and our value. Thank God, many people are moving into the community. There is no better substitute for building friendships than a Shabbat meal. Once a month, we invite our members to host new families for Shabbat by sending them names. If you would like to be added to either or both groups, please contact Matt Feinberg in the office or Rabbi Cohen.
JOURNEY OF BODY AND SOUL TO ISRAEL AND VISIT THE FOUR HOLY CITIES WITH RABBI DANIEL AND DIANE COHEN October 28 - November 7, 2017. For more info, contact Rabbi Cohen or visit http://www.israeltour.com/rcohen/
CAS FREE MEZUZAH CAMPAIGN IN FAIRFIELD COUNTY, CT Bringing Blessings to Jewish Homes. Do you know a neighbor or a friend who lacks a mezuzah? CAS offers a free mezuzah and home visit to post this sacred scroll at the entrance to all Jewish homes in the area. For more info, contact Rabbi Cohen: firstname.lastname@example.org
JOIN THE CHEVRA KADISHA We need new volunteers for the Chevra - those willing to perform a tahara. Info: Please contact Rochel Attar at email@example.com
IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING We need you to help secure our Synagogue. As you come to the building, please be aware of your surroundings. If you see something out of the ordinary, please let someone know about it. This will keep everyone safe.
WELCOME TO OUR SYNAGOGUE PROGRAM Every Shabbat we station ushers at the doors in the sanctuary to welcome people, assist them and enhance the service. We are expanding the usher roles to include a greeter in the lobby from 9-10:30 am. Please join the usher team. We need you and your smile. Info: Mitchell Bell.
COMMUNITY CHESED HELPERS An important role of the Chesed committee is outreach to the Shul's elderly and homebound, who are often isolated and lack a lifeline to our synagogue. Volunteer to reach out and identify needs, visit, or give a ride. Even small gestures mean a great deal Interested? Vivian Weiss at 203-323-0909 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are aware of elderly or homebound members in need of outreach, please notify Rabbi Cohen.
WE WANT YOU FOR BINGO! Players AND volunteers needed. Join in on the fun we have every MONDAY at 6:00 PM
THE JCC SARA WALKER NURSERY SCHOOL'S 1ST BABY FAIR! Tuesday, December 6, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. Meet and mingle with parents and expectant parents from the community! You are invited to Stamford's largest party for parents and parents-to-be at the JCC Sara Walker Nursery School's first baby fair! This is a free event! At the JCC Sara Walker Nursery School, 458 Lakeside Drive * Stamford. Speakers: 10:45 - 11 am. Baby and Marriage: How To Make It Work - Elissa Stein, LMFT, 11:15 - 11:30 am. How to Raise Successful Sleepers - Sasha Carr, Ph.D, 11:45 - 12 pm. Cord Blood Banking: Protecting Your Baby's Future - Tania Nisimblat Bodnar, MD, Free giveaway bags to the first 100. RSVP to email@example.com and your name will be entered into a drawing to win a baby gift basket (must be present to win). For a complete list of expert advisors and vendors, please visit www.stamfordjcc.org. JCC Sara Walker Nursery School tours: 11:00 - 11:30 am and 11:45 am - 12:15 pm.
LONE SOLDIER CENTER Parlor meeting in support of the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin, Tuesday evening, November 29th, 8:00-9:30, at the home of Bonnie Katzenstein, 23 Van Meter Fenway, New Rochelle. We will have the opportunity to hear from Harriet and Mark Levin, Michael's parents and the inspiring forces behind the Center, and to learn about the critically important work of the Center on behalf of thousands of lone soldiers from around the world serving in the IDF. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CARMEL ACADEMY HOSTS "THE MASKED AUCTION" On December 3rd, 7:30 PM. Enjoy a festive evening of great food and drinks, entertainment and music, a silent auction and so much more! Purchase your tickets and join the masquerade at Carmel Academy's Masked Auction. December 3rd, 7:30 PM at Carmel Academy. Tickets are $36 per person. Visit www.carmelacademy.com to purchase tickets or contact Seth Young for more information at 203-983-3508/ email@example.com.
JCC SENIOR ADULT CHANUKAH LUNCHEON Tuesday, December 13: 11:30 am - 1 pm. Light the menorah and enjoy a festive lunch with friends. $4 suggested donation. To register or for more information contact Connie Cirillo Freeman, 203.487.0983, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stamfordjcc.org
JCC MACCABI GAMES OPEN HOUSE Tuesday, December 13: 7 pm. Want to know more about the JCC Maccabi Experience? Call 203-487-0971 and join us for an information session with Mo Concepcion.
CONCERT Sam Glaser in Concert at Congregation Rodeph Sholom, December 3, 8pm. Tickets: (203)334-0159 www.samglaser.com
JEWISH SENIOR SERVICES NEEDS MINYAN MENSCHEN!! JSS is in great need of men to attend and help make our daily Minyan (prayer quorum of ten) in order to help Residents say the Kaddish 365 days of the year. Our Minyan hours will not overlap with most synagogue's Minyans. Please feel free to contact Rabbi Stephen Shulman, Director, Pastoral Services at (203) 396-1001 or email email@example.com for exact service times.
ISRAEL BONDS This Chanukah, give the gift of Israel to your children, grandchildren and relatives! For one night of Chanukah, celebrate Israel and buy an Israel Bond. With bonds starting now at $36, and easily purchased online, this is a perfect gift for the holidays. The more ties we can forge between our children and the State of Israel, the greater likelihood they will understand and appreciate their Jewish heritage, and the stronger Israel will be in the future. Israel Bonds is one of the many vehicles that can be utilized to build linkage between our children and Israel. By gifting an Israel Bond, we send a message to our children that it is as important to loan our monies to Israel as it is to make charitable gifts to our Jewish homeland. At the same time you are teaching your children about making wise investment decisions. Israel has a 100% perfect record of payment of principal and interest on Israel Bonds. The purchase of an Israel Bond is a meaningful expression of commitment to the future strength of the State of Israel and helps to build every aspect of Israel's economy, making it both strong and resilient. For more information, contact Cynthia Blustein, Development Corporation for Israel, at 914-713-9003 or make a purchase and review rates and prospectuses at www.israelbonds.com.
THE STAMFORD ERUV BRUNCH You are cordially invited to attend a brunch in support of The Stamford Eruv Sunday, December 11, 2016 9:45am at CAS. Guest Speaker Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer- "A Short History of the Eruv in America." $18 per person, sponsors welcome at $180.Info: Michael Feldstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rose Newman at Rose@Newmanemail.com
DO A MITZVAH! CONSIDER SUPPORTING THE JFS KOSHER FOOD PANTRY by purchasing Mitzvah Baskets and/or Mitzvah Centerpieces instead of flowers for your next simcha at CAS. Distributions from the JFS Kosher Food Pantry have increased by more than 1000 since the recession. With this tremendous upsurge in use, JFS is constantly challenged to keep the food pantry full. Your generosity enables JFS to help those in our community in their greatest moments of need.
JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES UPDATED VOLUNTEER INFORMATION: Please call or email Ellen Ashkins if you are interested in volunteering at JSS. There are many wonderful volunteering opportunities including one-to-one visits, writing letters, transporting residents to activities, and hospice care. At JSS, giving back to the community is not just a cliché, but a way of life. Ellen's contact information is 203-365-6417 or Eashkins@jseniors.org.
TAKING YOUR JOB SEARCH BY STORM IN 2016, Wednesday, October 19th 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm Presented by the JFS Employment and Training Services Workshop, Abby Kohut, known as "Absolutely Abby", will teach the steps needed to take to assure a successful search before the end of 2016. Workshop will be held at the Stamford office: 733 Summer Street, 6th Floor. No cost to attend but registration is suggested. Contact Ilene Locker, Director of JFS Employment & Training at 203-921-4161 or email at ILocker@ctjfs.org
JFS LIFE TRANSITIONS, beginning Wednesday, September 14th at 4 pm Support group, meeting weekly, for unemployed facing the emotional challenges of finding employment at the Stamford JFS office, 733 Summer Street, 6th Floor. Contact Anne Birchenough at 203-921-4161 or email@example.com.
FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE COMMUNITY AWARENESS EVENT , Sunday, November 20th at 7:00-8:30 pm Sponsored in part by the JCC and JFS, an evening of inspiration, at the JCC, 1035 Newfield Ave., Stamford, will feature Izzy Ezagui, an American-born, one-armed squad commander in the IDF. He speaks on topics of motivation, success and overcoming obstacles. This is a free event and open to the community to provide a better understanding of the challenges that so many face. Call JFS at 201-921-4161 for more information
JFS COLLEGE AHEAD! Thursday, December 1st at 7:30 pm Deans of Admissions of prominent colleges will form a panel of experts to share information about the college admissions, academics, Jewish life on campus, residential options and other topics of interest. Claire Friedlander, JFS College Consultant, will moderate the discussion at the Federation of Jewish Philanthropy office at 4200 Park Avenue, Bridgeport. Open to the community at no cost and registration is not required. Contact Claire Friedlander at 203-921-4161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
LET'S TALK - Thursdays, 11 :00 am Free at the Stamford JCC, 1035 Newfield Avenue. Seniors talk about common interests and concerns, facilitated by a Jewish Family Service counselor. Contact Anne Birchenough at 203-921-4161 or email@example.com.
LET'S TALK - Thursdays, 1:00 pm Free at the Westport Senior Center, 21 Imperial Avenue, Westport. Seniors talk about common interests and concerns, facilitated by a Jewish Family Service counselor. Contact Anne Birchenough at 203-921-4161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SNAP ENROLLMENT WORKSHOPS For adults and seniors, JFS will be providing information and eligibility assistance for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-formerly food stamps). The second Wednesday of every month at 2:30 pm in the Stamford office (733 Summer Street,6th Floor), SNAP Enrollment Workshops will be presented monthly. For additional information or to register, please contact Rebekah Kanefsky, JFS Case Manager at 203-921-4161 or email email@example.com.