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Temple Beth Sholom - Vatican Rome

Prayer doesn't change the world.
Prayer changes us and we change the world.
Blessed are all who have joined together to pray, to learn, to do.

Temple Beth Sholom
228 New Hempstead Rd
New City, NY 10956
(845) 638-0770
FAX: (845) 638-1696

On each monthly bill from the Temple for dues and billet Vatican & Chapelle Sixtine, there is a box on the upper portion asking you for your e-mail address. Please be sure to write in the information, either in the box if you return the entire page, or on the bottom portion if you tear off that section.
Let's all help TBS get into the electronic age!

Educator's Column

Educational Director - Gail F. Nalven, R.J.E.
Yasher Koach!

When someone does a mitzvah, we say Yasher Koach, may you have strength. This reminds us that it takes energy to do a mitzvah and it’s often not an easy thing to do. So yasher koach to just some of the many people around TBS doing wonderful mitzvot.

Yasher Koach to Jake Majansky who raised $132.50 in bottle returns, enough to send a pregnant goat to a family in a developing country through the Hefer Foundation.

Yasher Koach to our students who made Pesach cards to send to the elderly in NYC through Dorot and to our local nursing homes.

Yasher Koach to Ilexis Kleinman, Lauren Leichman, Jacquee Lerner, Katie Papo and Liz Goldstein and their leaders Amy SaNogueira and Gary Hochman for delivering Pesach packages to the elderly in NYC through Dorot.

Yasher Koach to our 4th, 5th, and 6th graders for leading services on March 19th.

Special yasher koach to Gennifer Rollins and Jamie Etkind for giving the D’var Torah and their service.

Yasher Koach to our students and congregants who participated in the Israeli Food Drive for Rockland’s hungry spearheaded by Melinda Levin. I encourage you all to support Israel by buying Israeli products.

Yasher Koach to Darien Lieb for her Books for Israel Drive

Yasher Koach to all our students who collected toiletries to donate to People-to-People.

Yasher Koach to all those students who tzedakah every day!

Yasher Koach to Sounds Write Productions, Transcontinental Music, Peter & Ellen Allard, and Karen Daniel who donated great CDs and sheet music for us to send to Congregation HaTikvah in Kiev. (You can check out the web for their music.)

Yasher Koach to all of the volunteers who helped make our Pesach seders a great success.

Special thanks to parent coordinators Nancy Kenney, Les Helprin, Randi Silverman, and of course, Rabbi Fass and Cantor Schwartz for leading the K-3rd grade seder and Amy SaNogueira planned and let the chocolate seders.

Parent volunteers were: K-3 – Debbie Cooper, Lanie Etkind, Christina Joseph, Elena Dale, Lucille Borden, Carol Adelman, Sherry Sholomon; 4th grade – Amy Rockower, Randi Silverman, Regina Kay, Fran Kaye, Aviva Gallay, Ruth Anne Brenner; 5th/6th grade – Karen Babat, Sheri Kallenberg, Donna Paz, Sharon Mellion, Marilyn Wasserman, Sherry and Jake Solomon, Don Cummings; 7th grade – Gail Schrumpf; and student aides Sarah Beckerman, Katie Osterlitz, Jacquee Lerner, Alana Kitt, and Maxie Silverman.

Yasher Koach to our Post Confirmation class Jaclyn Fisher, Stephanie Freyer Alyssa Glasser, Darien Lieb, Carolyn Mindich, Katie Osterlitz, Anni Turkel, their teacher Amy SaNogueira, and all those who contributed $1600 to support Ethiopian Jewry through their “Soup Splash.”

Yasher Koach to Amy SaNogueira who joined several of our students last year in donating their locks to Locks of Love. Check them out at locksoflove.com.

Religious School Happenings
May 2 School Committee Meeting, 10AM-Noon in the Library
May 4 Fourth Grade Art with Avi
May 7 Faculty Recognition Shabbat at 8PM
May 10 Sixth Grade Holocaust Speaker, Edith Klein
May 17 Closing Day for Eight Grade
May 18 Closing Day for Fourth and Seventh Grades
May 19 Closing Day for Fifth and Sixth Grades
May 23 Closing Day for Kindergarten through Grade Three
May 25 Confirmation at 7:30 PM

School Closings Email List: If you would like to be on our school closings notification list, please send your email address(es) to educator@templebethsholom.info. Hopefully, we will not have to use this system this year! Just in case, it will be in place.


Gail F. Nalven, R.J.E.
Educational Director

Youth Group

The Senior Youth Group Board would like to invite all our volunteer helpers, for an evening of thanks, appreciation and dessert! Thursday, June 9th from 7-8:30 pm in the Youth House. Your support, both financially as well as the gift of your time and energy, is truly needed and appreciated.

Please, count yourself as one who enriched our youth program and together let us celebrate a year of Jewish learning, joy and action.
If you helped with our Leadership Training Institute in September, or our 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th grade Kesher Programs in the Religious School throughout the year, the Purim Carnival, the Spaghetti Dinner, or served on the youth and religious school committees, made phone calls, shopped or cooked, supported us in our creative worship services or with our fundraisers~ this Thank You is for you. This is the time the BSTYG Board has chosen to let you each know how appreciated you are.

and…please bring all your children (still living at home!) with you—for delicious ice cream sundaes and a taste of what BSTYG is!

Please RSVP by June 2nd to
Amy J. SaNogueira
amyjsano@aol.com

Youth Groupers Attend NFTY-GER Kallah

NFTY-GER has a lot of events to get involved in during the year. From October 31-November 2 NFTY-GER had a Kallah called New Member which took place at Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY. This weekend went from a Friday to a Sunday morning and was where many new teenagers came together from New York and New Jersey to meet new people and get involved in this fabulous organization. This weekend was full of things to do. There were programs and Jewish related workshops. During the programs and workshops, teenagers learned about responsibility and also had a lot of fun. There were many things to do. The teens who came on this event for the first time had an amazing weekend in which they met many new people and made a lot of new friendships.

Another event, also by NFTY-GER, was Homecoming. This was a dance where the alumni from past years were able to come back and share in the event. Many teens were there. There was a dance and everyone had fun. At the beginning of the night there was a havdallah service which everyone took part in. During the evening you were able to either dance or talk with your friends. There was even a mind reader, Flavian, at the beginning on the night. He was great. The evening came to an end very fast and everyone had to say goodbye to their new and old friends who were made.

In the future, BSTYG will be having more events within the youth group and within NFTY-GER. By the time you read this, another Kallah, “Winter,” will have taken place at Kutz with over 150 teens from our region participating in an awesome five day get-a-way! There are going to be many more opportunities to join in on the fun. So come join us.

Ilexis Kleinman

Amy J. SaNogueira, Director of Youth Activities

Please contact Amy at the Temple or by e-mail at youthgroup@templebethsholom.info.

Summer Jewish Experiences

Our congregation offers scholarship funds toward summer experiences such as attending Jewish camps and youth trips to Israel. We make every effort to insure that no one will be excluded from important summer experiences that will help strengthen their Jewish identity and create lasting Jewish memories solely because of finances. Past funding has come from the generosity of our Brotherhood, Sisterhood and the Youth Scholarship Fund. For more information, contact Rabbi Fass at the Temple.

Camp Harlam Grades 3 - 12
Youth in grades 3-12 can take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to combine the excitement of outdoor activities with Jewish living. The Union of American Hebrew Congregation (UAHC), the umbrella of the Reform Movement, operates 12 outstanding summer camps throughout the country. Camp Harlam in Kunkeltown, PA is our regional camp. Many of our congregation's youth have attended Camp Harlam and come back with a strong desire to return the following summer (Julie Godfry went there for 10 years!). Most spaces fill up by November so if you are interested in receiving additional information, please contact either Rabbi Fass or Julie Godfry as soon as possible.

Kutz Camp Leadership Institute Grades 9 - 12
The leadership academy is a unique program built to exclusively serve the needs and interests of high school students (applicants must be entering 9th through 12th grades). It takes place in a college campus environment at a camp in Warwick, New York. Teens from across North America, Israel and Europe come together in an informal environment of experiencing and learning. From boating to photography to creative worship services, a summer at Kutz provides a total Jewish social experience and will leave you with outstanding friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

NFTY In Israel-Grades 9-12
The North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) offers a full range of summer in Israel experiences for high school age youth.

NFTY L'Dor V'Dor
From Generation to Generation (5 1/2 weeks)
*2 Days in Prague, Czech Republic

Sail across the Mediterranean recreating the voyage of the Exodus, culminating in almost five weeks of touring ancient and modern Israel.
NFTY Exodus-Odyssey
Voyage of Hope (5 1/2 weeks)

Fly to Athens and board a cruise ship for a three-day Exodus-like voyage to Israel including five weeks exploring Israel from border to border and sea to sea.

NFTY Adventure
Tour and Explore Israel (4 weeks)

*NFTY 4 Weeks in Israel
A unique four-week taste of Israel for those seeking a shorter program jam-packed with great sites, fun and friendship. Walk on the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, ascend to the summit of Masada, explore the Galilee and Golan, snorkel in the Red Sea, ride a camel, enjoy Falafel in Tel Aviv and much more.

UPCOMING EVENTS

If you have any questions please contact Amy J. SaNogueira at the Temple.

B'Shalom

TEMPLE BETH SHOLOM YOUTH SCHOLARSHIP FUND

Youth programs depend on the active participation of their members to remain consistently strong. As a result, we have established a scholarship fund to encourage participants within our youth groups to attend various summer or leadership training programs. These invaluable programs offer leadership training and opportunities for personal growth that will help to guide our youth into becoming effective, confident and mature congregational leaders.
We make every effort to insure that no one will be excluded from important youth group experiences solely because of finances. If assistance is needed, please write a letter to **myself and the youth committee as to what the money will be used for (Jewish summer program, NFTY retreat). All letters received are kept confidential.

Our scholarship fund has provided partial scholarships to active members of our youth groups as well as to assisting those with financial need. Please join us in supporting our commitment to our youth. Your gift donated to the Youth Scholarship Fund "in memory of" or "in honor of" is the best way of ensuring funds to provide "need-based" and "incentive" scholarships. With your help we can strengthen Jewish identity among our youth.

**Chairperson, Youth Committee

College Outreach

From New York to Florida to California to Atlanta to Europe - no matter where our college students are -
TEMPLE BETH SHOLOM remains close by.
The final COLLEGE OUTREACH package has been sent and fifty-five students will begin Pesach with traditional goodies! Soon after the holiday, many of the students will be finishing up school and heading home, so we’d like to wish everyone good luck on their final exams.

I would personally like to thank everyone involved in packing for Passover. First, thanks to Marcia Bittman, Lori Scott, and Roberta Dunn who volunteered to help but ended up not needing to come to the evening packing session. Due to a time change, the Senior Youth Group girls packed the Passover boxes. I am extremely grateful for their assistance and enthusiasm. Along with the Amy’s assistance, this project was completed in record time!

Thanks girls for a job well done.

Since this is the last outreach project until next fall, I’d once again like to thank everyone who helped throughout the year! I hope the students enjoyed Temple Beth Sholom’s connection throughout the year. Wishing everyone a Happy Passover and a safe, enjoyable summer.

Devra Kanter—638-1691
College Outreach Chairperson

Please click here to go to an E-mail form to fill out that will go directly to the College Outreach Chairperson, Devra Kanter, by e-mail.
Please click here to show a printable form, fill in all the information and US Mail it to:
Devra Kantor c/o Temple Beth Sholom, 228 New Hempstead Road, New City, NY 10956, as soon as possible.

Nursery School News

This year, our Nursery School families re-enacted the Exodus from Egypt with song, music and great enthusiasm. Our 3's held their Seders on Wednesday and we thank the fathers who we put on the spot to play the parts of Pharaoh and Moses. Our 4's held their Seder on Thursday morning.

Using our newly written Haggadah, every four year old joined together with his or her family to tell the story. The grandparents who honored us with their presence were called upon to light the candles and once again, we thank the fathers who were such good sports in asking "Pharaoh, will you let my people go?" and in responding, "No,no,no, I will not let them go!" To Cantor Schwartz's masterful accompaniment, we sang our way through an incredible Passover experience.

A huge thank you to Cantor, who played for us and then went on to do a second Seder at a Nursing Home that same day, and to the teachers who helped the children to craft masterful Passover projects of Seder plates, Elijah cups, afikomen bags, pyramids and frogs. Even our toddlers got in on the act as they marched around singing about the frogs on Pharaoh's bed.

We ended the week off with a wonderful, warm Children's Service in which our students sang their hearts out and marched around the Sanctuary singing Dayenu as the Rabbi played his Irish whistle. Rabbi also read some of our 4's questions and prayers to God written for our "Western Wall" as the Explorers "traveled" to Israel. Miss Libby and Miss Loren were on hand to greet everyone at the Service and it was a very special night.

April brings a "Special Someone Pizza and Pajama Night" for our 3's from 6 to 7PM in the Nursery School Building as well as our annual Explorers Art Show on April 28 from 6 to 7PM in the Social Hall. Please join us at the art show and marvel at the amazing work produced by our 4 year olds under the guidance of their incredibly creative teachers.

May will bring one of the highlights of our school year. On May 7, we will celebrate our Nursery School Shabbat with our 4's. The children will sing their way through a year full of holidays and we promise that many of you will need tissues so be prepared to cry with joy!

That same night, join us for Teacher Recognition Night as we honor Susan Sawyer and Susan Leifer for 20 years of dedication and outstanding teaching.

A zissen Pesach to all.
Lori Scott, Nursery School Director

Judaica

Available in Temple Office 9 - 5, Mon-Fri
or
Call Leah 634-1338
Holiday Items
Shofars & Children's Shofars
Challah Boards
Kidish Cups
Shabbat Candlesticks
Challah Covers
New Years Cards
Honey Servers

Bar & Bat Mitzvah and wedding items- yarmulkas, talis, talis clips, and a custom made basket to store and distribute the yarmulkas.

Temple Beautification
temple
It is the responsibility of a congregation to continually maintain the appearance of their Temple and the components needed for religious and social functions. Many improvements are planned and you will be seeing them in the near future. You can make more of them possible by donating to the Fine Arts Fund in honor or memory of a loved one. If you would like to make a special donation, please contact Phyllis Stone.

Bereavement

A Shiva Committee has been initiated to help provide assistance to our Congregants at the time of the passing of a loved one. In addition to the involvement of our Rabbi and Cantor, members of the committee will be available to lead a service in the home, to help gather people for a minyan, to help set up the home for the meal of condolence that is eaten upon returning from the cemetery, to provide low shivah chairs that are sturdier than the usual cardboard ones, and to provide general support and comfort at a time of grief. The Rabbi is scheduling a training session to teach anyone wishing to do so how to lead a shivah service in someone’s home.
Your support in this wonderful mitzvah would be greatly appreciated. Please call Sherry Solomon at 639-9102 if you can take part and assist our fellow congregants in this very important endeavor.

These loved ones passed away during preceding months. Our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy to all the bereaved.
Charles Krantz, father of Michele Silver

Minnie Stahl, mother of Hindie Weissman

Charles Rosen, father of Jack Rosen


    Yetta Grund, aunt of Anne Miller
    
    Julius (Gene) Schatz, father of Stuart Schatz
    
    Adam Don, father of Nettie Medvedev
    
    Leo Schwartz, father of Roberta Dunn
    
    Lee Horowitz, grandmother of Terry Zeitlen
    
    Paul Crown, father of Valerie Crown
    
    Pauline Malkin, mother of Sharon Merrill
    
    

Simply Simchas

mazel tov

Congratulations to:
Betty & Alan Goodman on the birth of their granddaughter Victoria Ivy Jaslow
Temple Beth Sholom has formed a CARING COMMUNITY. We CARE so please SHARE your SIMCHAS and TSURIS with us.

Let us know if you need help. Some things we can provide our members with are:
Meals for those recuperating from an illness or operation or who are just overwhelmed
Rides to Temple for services or to a doctor’s appointment.
A shoulder to lean on or a compassionate ear

Call ARLENE IPP 634-0058 or RUTH LAITMAN 623-9265
Give us a call and let us know what we can do to show we CARE.

Refuah Schlemcha

Mi Schebeirach
Mi Schebeirach Avoteinu
Mikor Ha Beracha L'imoteinu
May the source of strength
Bless those in need of healing
with Refua Sh'leima
The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit
And let us say,
Amen

Temple Beth Sholom has formed a CARING COMMUNITY. We CARE so please SHARE your SIMCHAS and TSURIS with us.

Let us know if you need help. Some things we can provide our members with are:
Meals for those recuperating from an illness or operation or who are just overwhelmed
Rides to Temple for services or to a doctor’s appointment.
A shoulder to lean on or a compassionate ear

Call ARLENE IPP 634-0058 or RUTH LAITMAN 623-9265
Give us a call and let us know what we can do to show we CARE.

TZEDAKAH

As Jews, we have been supporting our communities for thousands of years. Tzedakah was commanded and invented by us. Many of us grew up believing that giving Tzedakah meant giving a little spare change to charity. Remember those little blue boxes they used to pass around in Hebrew School? They were perfect for collecting a few coins. But it's a different world today and our spare change isn't enough anymore to take care of so many Jewish people who depend on us for help.

So this year I'm going to ask you to change your mindset, and think outside the box, outside the Tzedakah box. I'm going to ask you to think BIG. Think in terms of filling gigantic boxes like this with all you have to give. By the way, Temple Beth Sholom is starting to give each Bar and Bat Mitzvah their own beautiful ceramic Tzedakah Box, thanks to the generosity of one of our congregants.

That's where we start, small with our children, but as adults, we have the ability and responsibility to fill these larger boxes. I know that times are tough for a lot of people, and some of us don't have the money we had a few years ago. But we still have much more than the people we're helping. How lucky we are to be on the giving end.

Please give to the Jewish Federation Annual Campaign. You can mail your donations to The Jewish Federation of Rockland at 900 Route 45-Suite One, New City, NY 10956

L'shana Tova, Bob Silverman

Rabbi's Desk

From the Desk of ............... Rabbi David E. Fass

May Lamp -
What Do You Want Them to Say?

April Lamp -
Gibson, Again

Holyday Sermons:

Listen to Rabbi's Radio Holocaust Memorial Broadcast

What Do You Want Them to Say?

What do you want our children to say when a kid in their class says:
“You Jews are oppressing the Palestinians. If you’d stop, there would be no terrorism.”

What do you want our children to say when they’re at a friend’s house and their parent asks:
“Why don’t you Jews believe in Jesus?”

What do you want our children to say when they’re in a group and someone says:
“The Jews are the ones who killed Christ.”

What do you want our children to say when someone on their sports team says:
“The Holocaust never happened. It’s just Jewish propaganda to make people feel sorry for the Jews.”

What do you want our children to say when they overhear someone say:
“The Jews really are responsible for 9/11. They did it to create conflict between America and the Arab world.”

What do you want our children to say when a fellow student begins “warning” other students:
“There’s a secret Zionist conspiracy to rule the world. They already control Hollywood, and banking, and the stock market.”

Do you think our children would know how to respond to these anti-Semitic lies? Do you?
What do you want us to say when you let your kids stop coming to the one place they can learn these things, our Religious School, just as they are beginning to be grown up enough to understand them?

What do you want us to say when you let your kids come late to class, or pull them out early for soccer, basketball, ballet, piano, karate, and it destroys the dynamics of the classroom, ruins everyone’s learning, and makes it almost impossible to hire and budget properly for faculty?
What we say is: JUDAISM IS NOT JUST ANOTHER AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITY

Do you think the Christian evangelicals who are now on a reinvigorated campaign to convert us, and especially our children, will ignore Jews over thirteen because they’re just not very involved anymore? Do you think the Arab propaganda machine, unbelievably active on more and more college campuses and fueled by the untold wealth of the Saudis, will find much resistance from Jews who know little or nothing of substance about Judaism or Israel? Do you think a teacher who questions the right of Israel to exist in a college classroom will get much of a rebuttal from Jewish students who know Judaism only from what they were taught in elementary school?

Do you think of any of these things before giving in to the perfectly predictable desire of adolescents to attend as little school as possible? Do you understand that although leisure time activities may be fun, they are temporary and must take a back seat to the learning and creation of a permanent sense of Jewish ethics and spiritual growth? Do you understand that it’s not very important to be your child’s friend, but absolutely crucial to be a parent who sets limits and presents an example of adult maturity and morality?

You should.

Please forgive the strident tone of this article, but I feel an increasing sense of danger. Our people, our Judaism, is under attack all over the world, including here in the America that was and is a haven for so many millions of our people. Maybe before 9/11 some of us might have fooled ourselves into letting other people be Jewish for us, the Rabbis perhaps, or the Orthodox. Not any more. Terrorist bombs, evangelical proselytizing, Arab propaganda and just plain old-fashioned anti-Semitism don’t make any distinctions based on varieties of Jewish ritual observance and philosophy.

The most important thing we do as a Temple is teach our people, young and old, to be proud to be Jewish. We try and teach what we believe to be the truth about Judaism and Christianity and Islam and… We try and teach knowledge of Judaism, past and present. We try and teach an ethical and moral approach to our lives and to others that is the opposite of bigotry and prejudice.

Please, see to it that your kids attend. See to it that they don’t come late and leave early. See to it that you teach by example by coming to our adult education programs yourself. Don’t send your kids to Temple, bring them. Come to services as a family. Make Friday night Temple night.
We all need to know what to say.


The very highest mitzvah in all of Judaism is Pikuach Nefesh, saving a human life. By donating blood, you will be doing exactly that. Whether your donation brings someone back from the brink of death or sustains someone in health so that they can continue their normal existence, you are helping others to live.

The harsh winter we have just left behind had a very negative impact on our local blood supply. With travel difficult, many blood drives had to be canceled. Yet, the daily need for blood in our area persisted.

Please, from a Jewish perspective, from a humanitarian perspective, from any perspective at all give blood and give regularly. If you are already a donor, your next opportunity is at our Temple's blood drive on Tuesday, May 4th from 4:00-9:30 pm in the Temple social hall. If you are not yet a donor, this is a wonderful opportunity to become one.

I can tell you from personal experience that it is a wonderful feeling to walk out after giving blood knowing that you have just helped to save someone's life. Why not bless yourself with that feeling and bless someone else with the gift of life?

Rabbi Fass

Gibson, Again

Lately it seems as if my colleagues and I have been speaking more about Jesus than about Moses. If nothing else, Mel Gibson has gotten people talking. He has also made an unconscionable amount of money by unleashing yet again the most primitive and prejudiced aspects of the Christian attitude towards Judaism: that we are decides, killers of Christ. Countless Jews have been murdered over the last two thousand years by Christian mobs, often inflamed by their priests’ misreading of Christian Scriptures; the same misreading that Gibson uses.

We have a dilemma: do we see the movie so that we can respond from first-hand knowledge, knowing that some of the money we spend for tickets will go into Gibson’s pocket? I felt that as the Rabbi, I had no choice. You will have to decide for yourselves. But know that if you go you will see two hours of the most sickening gore and torture imaginable

It seems as if many Christians who view the film find it a moving religious experience that adds depth to their faith in Jesus of Nazareth. Many, apparently, don’t see the anti-Semitism the film propagates. That is here in America. I worry more about the reaction of people elsewhere, people who are already inclined to view Judaism and modern Israel as the source of most of the world’s problems.

Below is the opinion piece I sent to the newspapers. I don’t know if it changed any minds (or even, as I write this, if it was published), but I certainly hope so.

********* Passionately Biased ************

In my opinion, Mel Gibson’s passionately crafted “Passion” is a biased movie.
It is biased against Jews. It depicts the leaders of the Jews as arrogant zealots, and the overwhelming majority of the rest of the people as a bloodthirsty mob so intent on crucifying Jesus that no (supposed) leniency on the part of the Romans could dissuade them.

It is biased in that it focuses only on the material in the Gospels that blames the Jews for the killing of Jesus of Nazareth, to the exclusion of far more moderate views found elsewhere in those same Christian Scriptures.

It is biased towards historical inaccuracies and extraneous material found nowhere in the Scriptures, such as the scene in which Jesus’ captors throw him off a bridge, to inflict the pain of dangling from his chains.

It is biased against Christianity. I have never heard, in any of my reading of Christian sources or in discussions with Christian colleagues and friends, that the quality and quantity of the sins from which Jesus was to free humankind was in some way proportional to the amount of pain inflicted on him. Yet this is just what Gibson suggests. There is rarely a moment that goes by in the film in which Jesus is not being hit with fists, ropes, chains, sticks, leather whips, whips with pieces of sharp metal that tear every inch of his flesh, pierced with thorns, knives, spears, and the nails of the crucifixion. For just over two hours, Jesus’ blood washes over the screen.

It is biased against Catholicism. As a “traditionalist Catholic,” Gibson rejects the theology of the Second Vatican Council that finally and officially gave the lie to the two thousand year old, anti-Semitic canard that the Jews and only the Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death.

Mel Gibson’s “Passion” is just that – Mel Gibson’s, not Jesus’. It attempts to turn back the clock to an earlier, more primitive view of Jesus of Nazareth. At a time when we are quite literally at war with people who themselves are passionate about turning the clock back to a time of religious totalitarianism, Gibson has done no service to Christians, Jews, or anyone else. He has, instead, served only his own monumental ego, fueled by the incredible wealth of a media idol, fortunate enough to be blessed by God with good looks and a modicum of talent.

Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew, “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” “Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven but he who does the will of my Father, who is in heaven.” [Matthew 6:1 and 7:2].

It seems to me that Gibson is doing Gibson’s will, not God’s. Whether he will spend eternity with God in heaven is open to considerable doubt.
Shalom,
Rabbi Fass

Cantor's Notes

Cantor Sergei Schwartz

Read the Cantor's current Lamp message below

Our adult choir participated in a Choral Festival together with 12 other choirs in Teaneck, NJ. In was truly a musical celebration. I would like to congratulate all our choir members: Eva Simons, Carol Pitkin, Laurie Winston, Nancy Goldberg, Melinda Koss, Sandy Scharf, Marian Fass, Rita Weingold, Joyce Taub, Elaine Feig, Risa Stern, Scott Jones, Peter Taub, Gary Hochman, Rabbi David Fass, Vladimir Beryozkin, and Len Sklerov on a wonderful performance at this concert as well as at the B’nei Brith Annual Concert in RCC a few weeks ago.

It was great to see our Sanctuary filled for Purim, Shabbat Across America, and the 4th, 5th and 6th grade Shabbat Services. I would like to thank everybody who made these events so successful!

Now that the Purim celebrations are over, we are ready to celebrate the next wonderful Jewish holiday, Passover. Nothing helps us to better set the mood for a holiday than music. Passover songs are numerous and familiar. The songs that you probably know the best are "Dayenu" ("It Would Have Been Sufficient"), "Chad Gadya" ("One Goat".), "Echad Mi Yodea" ("Who Knows One?"), "Adir Hu" ("Mighty Is He"), "Eliyahu Ha-Navi" ("Elijah the Prophet"), and "Avadim Hayinu" ("We Were Slaves"). Most of these songs are about sanctifying God and were added to the Haggadah over time. There are many country and culturally specific Passover songs that were also added to the Haggadah. It is interesting to note that, for instance, Passover songs such as "Chad Gadya" and "Echad Mi Yodea" were most likely modeled after Christian songs such as "The Twelve Days of Christmas." These two songs follow a cumulative pattern where a new event is added to each stanza followed by a listing of the previous events in reverse order all the way back to the first event. The main message of these two songs is that injustices occur in life, as demonstrated by each new event added to successive stanzas, but in the end it is God who is the strongest of all and will exact justice on any individual or group that seeks to harm another individual or group of people. Passover songs are not only about sanctifying God. There are Passover songs that teach gratitude for what one has in life. An example of this is the song "Dayenu." Passover songs such as these teach the message of gratitude in that anything God does for us.

Have a great and joyful (sameach) Pesach!
Cantor Schwartz