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Join us for some Adult Learning!

Shalom from Temple Israel! We're finishing up the spring with some Adult Learning offerings. Our online course The Royal Road to Connecting with the Divine begins this Thursday and will cover teachings on spiritual practice and wisdom for life from Sefer Derekh HaMelekh, by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira (Click on his name to visit his Wikipedia page and learn more about this fascinating character). This book has never been translated and is full of complex references. This course is a unique opportunity to be led through these teachings by Rabbis Andrea Cohen-Kiener and Natan Margalit.

The course will be taught over 6 Thursdays: May 18, 25, June 8 15, 22, 29 -- 7:30-8:30 PM. Sample topics include: How to Work with Community Discord, Developing the Intuitive Mind, The Value of Wholeness, Insights into the Culture of Addiction. Temple Israel members and groups get a discounted rate -- $55 per person! To register, email [email protected]

Reb Kalonymus

Read on for more info on Temple programs, services, and news...

Table of Contents

  • Spring Adult Learning Opportunities: Reb Kalonymus, Hot Topics, Tikkun Layl Shavuot
  • Yizkor Service 6/1
  • TI Community Dinner 6/2
  • Updates from the Garden
  • Book Review from TI Librarian
  • Parsha Thoughts from our Torah Study Group
  • Health Update from Rabbi Rieser
  • Jewish Valley Happenings

Spring Adult Learning Opportunities

Yizkor Service

We will gather and say Yizkor - the memorial service, on Thursday June 1, 10am. Please Help make a minyan for Yizkor June 1. Let Rabbi Andrea know if you plan to attend. We are a little shy of a minyan at this moment. Thanks for your help.

Temple Israel Community Dinner - Friday, June 2nd, 6pm-8pm

Shabbat Dinner GraphicYou are invited!

... to a delicious Shabbat dinner to celebrate our community. Please join us for a sit-down, catered meal at Temple Israel.

We'll enjoy a celebratory Shabbat dinner together, meet our newest members, and kindle friendships. If you have friends who have expressed interest in Temple Israel, bring them along. Members, prospective members, and friends of all ages are welcome!

Please RSVP by May 26th at 5pm by clicking here, so we know how much food to order. There will be vegetarian and salmon main dishes. We're looking forward to enjoying your company on June 2nd.

This event is made possible by a grant from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation

Updates from the Garden

Poet's Daffodils in the TI Garden

Thanks to everyone who has helped so far, the garden looks GREAT!!! Nancee will be at Temple on May 21st, next Sunday, at from 10:45-noon to help us weave a wattle fence. Please come to help, and/or drop off long pliable branches at least 3' long, woody vines to weave around the upright stakes.

Request from the Garden committee: We are seeking a volunteer to provide tender loving care to a newly moved bench. The bench is in decent shape. It would benefit from a surface treatment (sanding, staining) and possibly a new slat for stabilization. Any handy folks out there?

Book Review from Our Librarian

Our librarian, Michael Hurwitz, recently read and reviewed The Plague Tales by Ann Benson. View this, listing updates, and more at the library page on our website.

The Plague Tales by Ann Benson

This is a trilogy -- Part 1 is The Plague Tales; part 2 is The Burning Road; and Part 3 is The Physician's Tale.

Personally, I found the story (or, rather, stories) fascinating. The author relates two stories -- alternating between the two. One story is about a 12th century Jewish physician who lives during the height of the bubonic plague; the other story deals with a doctor of the early 21st century who lives here in Western Massachusetts and who, also, must cope with the bubonic plague.

Part of what makes these tales interesting, I think, is how Ms. Benson ties the two stories together -- both main characters are doctors, both must deal with the plague, both are in possession of an ancient journal written in Hebrew, and both discover a way to cure people of the plague (albeit using different methods -- 12th century medicine vs. 21st century medicine).

While these three books can be read in any order -- I read book two first, it is probably better to read them in order. By reading in order, the reader is able to follow the development of characters and the story lines in chronological order.

This 3-part novel is a medical mystery (or two mysteries) and is, therefore, recommended for people who enjoy that particular genre.

Parsha Thoughts from our Torah Study Group

New This Week! Musings from our weekly Torah Study group on this week's Torah Portion.

This week's portion: Behar-Bechukotai which covers many laws of the people's interactions with God. Here are two thoughts that came out of Torah Study:

  1. This portion happens to include the very center of the Torah. At the center are the holiness codes: In Leviticus 19:18: Love your neighbors as thyself and 19:34: Love the stranger in your midst, for you were strangers.
  2. Leviticus is full of prescriptions on ethical/moral behavior and sacrifices. Underlying all of them, is the idea of Kavanah. Kavanah we translated as "intention." How you relate to humans/God - what's your intention. Trying to understand laws and regulations from the point of view of the intention.

Torah Study meets every Tuesday from 12:30-2pm.

Health Update from Rabbi Rieser

We have received news from Rabbi Reiser that he will be having surgery this month as there is progression of the cancer that he has been fighting. His wife Connie wrote:

"Louis asks that you hold us in your hearts during this time. His Hebrew name is Harav Rachmiel Aryeh Lev ben Ellen and Avraham.

I must add that Louis has been and continues to be an inspiration for me as well as everyone who knows him. His deep calmness and steadfastness during these days of his deep suffering are truly awe-inspiring to witness. I am humbled to be on this journey with him."

Jewish Valley Happenings

Mak'hela Spring Concert to honor Jewish Family Services' work with refugees

May 21 @ Community Music School of Springfield

Mak'hela: The Jewish Chorus of Western Massachusetts, will conclude its 14th season with its first-ever concert in Robyn Newhouse Hall at the Community Music School of Springfield (CMSS). The "Building Bridges of Peace" concert, which will take place Sunday, May 21, 2017, at 2:00pm, will also feature members of the Layaali Arabic Music Ensemble, a Massachusetts-based group of musicians specializing in Arabic music, and will honor the New American Program, an initiative of Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Western Massachusetts dedicated to resettling refugees in the local area. For more information contact Peter Steinberg - [email protected]

Jewish Genetics 101: What you should know about breast cancer and inheritance

Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
in Temple Beth El Social Hall, 979 Dickinson Street, Springfield, MA.

Staff from the Family Cancer Risk Program of Baystate Medical Center will present on the BRCA genes, associated cancer risks, when to test, family history, options for treatment, emotional consequences and insurance concerns. National resources will be available and time will be set aside for questions and answers with experts in the field. Light refreshments will be served. Please pre-register. Email [email protected] or call 413.737.2601.

Sponsored by Jewish Family Service of Western MA, Family Cancer Risk Program of Baystate Medical Center, and Temple Beth El.

CBI'S Annual Spring Gala Fundraiser

Sunday, June 4th, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

at Valley View Farm 16 Walpole Road, Haydenville

Price before or on May 15th

$75 per person

$725 for a table of 10 friends/family

Price after May 15 and by May 26, 2017

$90 per person

$850 for a table of friends/family

For more information, contact CBI office at 413-584-3593 or [email protected]

Online registration at