GREENFIELD - The holiday of Chanukah, which celebrates the rededication of the Hebrew temple in Jerusalem some 2200 years ago has a special relevance for Temple Israel of Greenfield this year. The congregation installs Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 7-9 p.m. on the seventh night of Chanukah, a time of renewal for Temple Israel as well.
That weekend, Temple Israel will also hold a Chanukah workshop called "Rekindling the Light: Opening to Miracles," led by Rabbi Shefa Gold. Shefa Gold is a renowned author, recording artist, and teacher of chant, meditation and ritual. She is a leader in the Jewish Renewal movement.
Rabbi Gold will also officiate at Rabbi Cohen-Kiener's installation.
Rabbi Cohen-Kiener, who previously served as rabbi of Congregation P'nai Or of Central Connecticut, began in Greenfield in August. She was ordained by the Alliance for Jewish Renewal.
"It'll be a great delight for me to have Rabbi Shefa sanctify this new beginning for the congregation and me," said Cohen-Kiener. "She installed me in the Hartford position as well. She asked me what kind of appliance I was. I told her I was a blender," chuckled Rabbi Andrea. "Here at Temple Israel, I feel more like the conductor, gathering a diverse community together."
Cohen-Kiener says that the timing of the installation during Chanukah gives the congregation the opportunity to reflect on what is important to it. "I've been asking them to think about what a community is, what it is for. Congregations grow just like people do," Cohen-Kiener opined. "This is an excellent time for us to refocus on what our core values are and how we can support them together."
The installation is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
The Chanukah weekend workshop will include song, prayer and celebration, starting Friday evening at 7 p.m., with Shabbat evening services, followed by Oneg Shabbat. It continues Saturday at 10 a.m. with the Shabbat morning service. Lunch will be provided after the service and there will be an afternoon teaching session from 2 - 3 p.m. The event concludes with a workshop on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., followed by a celebration for the last night of Chanukah.
All events are at Temple Israel, 27 Pierce St. Suggested donation for the weekend as a whole is $36 to $120. For the Sunday workshop only, the fee is $18 - $36. There is some home hospitality available by request. Please register: (413) 773-0201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.