Friday, June 21, 2024

Welcome to the Schvitz


Shabbat shalom

The program booklet has been expanded and edited and is now a full third larger than the earlier, printed edition that will be handed out tonight.

You can access the latest edition by clicking here.

Further revisions will be made after Shabbat. Thank you so much for all the lovely letters. They have really helped us to remember key moments in your lives - and ours.

Yes it is warm in the Temple with the AC on the fritz, though great efforts are being made to make it more manageable. Still, I want to make it clear that if you have any health concerns, I would not want any unnecessary risks to be taken on my account.

That said, losing AC was not an issue for my grandparents' generation. The existence of AC was not conceivable for their grandparents. Now losing it, even just temporarily, has become nearly an existential crisis, which says less about our declining level of tolerance than the accelerating rate of climate change. Maybe it's fitting that my final service send this urgent message to all of us. Our level of sustainability is fast becoming unsustainable.

So dress lightly. I was going to wear a tie tonight but now will not. You can use your program as a fan (like in many churches) - or even bring one of those little toy fans (Shabbat doesn't begin until late). When my dad went to cantorial conventions, he used to tell me that some of the best singing was done in the schvitz. Let's sing like it's the schvitz at a cantors' convention!

Did you know that deodorant was not invented until 1888? By a woman in Philadelphia, a place of which John Adams said, "The Air of the City has been like the fierce Breath of a hot oven." But they managed to give birth to a nation in "Foul, fetid, fuming, foggy, filthy Philadephia!" (to quote John Adams in a fictionalized musical about John Adams). We're just being asked to survive an evening service.

But I do recommend deodorant. Please. See below an amusing Israeli takeoff on a deodorant ad.

Best wishes for a Shabbat shalom.

P.S. Did I say it might rain?

Click for the booklet.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Temple Beth El
350 Roxbury Road
Stamford, Connecticut 06902
203-322-6901 |

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