Friday, June 14, 2019

Shabbat-O-Gram for June 14


The Shabbat-O-Gram  
is sponsored by 
Shira and Ofer Vadel in honor of their son,
Liav, becoming a Bar Mitzvah.

Stephne Behrend, new regional president, speaks at 
AJC Westchester/Fairfield Annual Meeting, held here


 On June 21, Pride Shabbat special guest will be Sontaia P. Briggs of Parity.
Parity bridges the gap between LGBTQ and Faith Communities!

- Our Cuba Trip is ON! See our Cuba travel update

TBE's Hannah Nekritz on Jeopardy's Teen Tournament NEXT WEEK
See TBE's Hannah Nekritz on Jeopardy's Teen Tournament 

The tournament starts on Monday, with Hannah's appearance coming on Friday.
Hannah is not allowed to divulge how well she did, she told me as she got into her new limousine.  Just sayin'.  But no matter how well she does (did), we are proud of her! 

Shabbat Shalom!

This weekend brings our "bar mitzvah season" to an end. Mazal tov to Liav Vadel, who becomes bar mitzvah on Shabbat morning.  Friday night offers another opportunity to bid farewell to Cantor Fishman and her family, with a wine and cheese reception being held immediately before the service. This will be Cantor Fishman's final Shabbat here, as she will be on vacation through the end of June.

I hope you will be able to join us at our Cantor's Concert this evening.  This year's concert is very special, offering us the chance to say a special thank you to some very special people.
Cantor Fishman has stirred our souls since her arrival five years ago.  As she departs for Florida, we thank her for lifting us to higher heights.  Rav Kook spoke about the land of Israel as a place where "the old becomes new and the new becomes holy." Cantor Fishman's eclectic musical choices and pulsating rhythms made ancient prayers come alive, as if new, and modern songs gained a new sense of sanctity.  As she moves on, her musical legacy will remain.  We wish her, along with Zarin and Yair, much success and happiness in their new home.
Sylvan and Honni Pomerantz were partially responsible for bringing Cantor Fishman here.  But they have also brought our community a different sort of harmony.  Following the footsteps of their forbears, they have cultivated an all-embracing, inclusive brand of leadership.  I knew we had a gem when we picked a president whose brother is a rabbi - and one for whom family is paramount.  Sylvan and Honni seem to be related to everyone in town, including a number who are not actually relatives.  That's the thing about Sylvan and Honni - everyone is family to them. 

Barbra Streisand said,  "I'm not weird, just different from people who aren't different."Sylvan and Honni both have learned to appreciate those who are different and to cultivate each person's uniqueness.  That is part of the TBE ethic.  That is who we are.  When Sylvan went to Pittsburgh last fall to bring our message of compassion back to his home town, we could have had no better representative.
Through Cantor Fishman and the Pomerantz family, TBE's vision has been on display for all to see and hear.  Tonight we celebrate those individuals, and in doing so, we celebrate that TBE vision, one that is based on harmony and hope - a vision that will, God willing, continue to guide and sustain us for years to come.
Mazal tov - and thank you.

Nathaniel Harrison, who became Bar Mitzvah last week, gave an amazing speech about his relationship to his brother Jewels as well as how he has coped with people who spew hate - see it see it here.

Next week will be Pride Shabbat. Katie Kaplan will be our cantorial soloist and our guest speaker will be Sontaia P. Briggs, Executive Board Member of the New York based organization called Parity, which believes that spirituality and yes, even organized religion, so often antagonistic toward LGBTQ, can unite, rather than divide us. Parity celebrates the religious expression of LGBTQ people. 

Sontaia P. Briggs is the founder of YoUniversity, an online ministry dedicated to uplifting and affirming the gifts of youth and young adults as well as providing in-person college access/success coaching and counseling. Serving as advocate and mentor to youth is Sontaia's greatest commitment and love. 

The topic of the conversation will be Blessed by Difference. Join us for a Shabbat enjoying rich music and conversation about the Blessing of Difference in celebration of Pride 2019!

Check out Parity's website and see how they have succeeded in reconciling identity and faith.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

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