We watched the events from Washington DC in the last 24 hours with dismay but also steely resolve to pursue peace and justice as our sacred tradition demands. What we witnessed is unparalleled since the Civil War. The violent crowd, storming into the U.S. Capital and attacking the two Houses of Congress. This is an outrage. The Mishnah teaches us that we must always pray for the government. It is imperative that the Jewish community, stand together as one. We must not allow political division to undermine the unity of our community
May God restore peace to our nation, and may God bless America.
Prayer for our Country
Our God and God of our ancestors, we invoke your blessing upon our country, and upon the leaders of our nation, and of our communities. Inspire all who lead and serve to conduct their affairs faithfully and with devotion to justice. May peace and security, happiness and prosperity, right and freedom abide among us. Unite the inhabitants of our country, of all backgrounds and creeds, to banish hatred and bigotry, to safeguard our noblest ideals, and to preserve the institution which nurture liberty. May this land under Your Providence be an influence for good throughout the world, helping to unite all peoples in peace and freedom, and bringing closer to fulfillment the vision of Your prophets; “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” “For the work of the righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness calm and confidence forever.” AMEN
“Those who slander us shall
Have no hope, and all their
evil ways be gone (lost)
We are looking forward to many more wonderful years here at Temple Beth Shmuel- Cuban Hebrew Congregation. Contrary to what you have heard as awful continuing gossip we will ALWAYS be Temple Beth Shmuel – Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami Inc. You have heard we would close many years ago but we remain functioning and we will continue to keep our doors OPEN to the community. I thank you for your support and look forward to 2021, in which we will share and participate in many cultural, educational and social events in our beautiful sanctuary and newly renovated starlight Olemberg Ballroom.
Stay safe, distance and always wear your mask.
Becky Kobrowski, President and the WL Board
Gelt as we know it is a relatively new tradition- and no one knows who invented it.
While coins “gelt” id Yiddish for coins or money it has been Hanukkah observance for centuries, chocolate gelt is considerably younger. Some credit America’s Loft candy company with creating it in the 1920s, while others suggest there were European version that inspired Israel’s Elite candy company.
The first Hanukkah celebration was actually a delayed Sukkot observance
The second book of Maccabees quotes a letter sent to the leaders of Egyptian Jewry describing the holiday as the “festival of Sukkot celebrated in the month of Kislev not Tishrei. The Jews were still in caves fighting as guerrillas on Tishre and unable the eight day of Sukkot. It was postponed until after the recapture of Jerusalem and the rededication of the Temple. Many scholars believe it is this connection to Sukkot and not the Talmudic account of the cruse of oil that lasted eight days. That explains why Hanukkah is eight days long.
The books of Maccabees, which tell the story of Hanukkah, weren’t included in the Hebrew Bible – but they are in the Catholic Bible.
There are different theories explaining why, the first century rabbis who canonized the scriptures omitted the Maccabees, ranging from the text’s relative newest at the time to fears of alienating the Roman leadership in control of Jerusalem at the time.
Marilyn Monroe owned a music playing Hanukah menorah (The Marilyn Monrorah).
When she married Jewish playwright Arthur Miller, her mother in law gave her a menorah she brought back from her visit to Israel. It has a wind up music box in its base that plays Hatikvah, Israel national anthem. Today this Menorah is in the Jewish Museum in New York City.
The game of the driedle was inspired by a German game played at Christmas time, which is itself an imitation of an English and Irish game.
Our Eastern European game (dreidle) including the letters nun, gimmel, hey, shin) is directly based on the German equivalent of a British totum game N- Nichts -= nothing, G – Ganz = all, H –Halb =half and S- Stell ein = put in. In German the spinning top was called “Torrel”
Oily foods (latkes and sufganiots) isn’t Hanukkah only tradition.
Traditionally, Hanukkah has included foods with cheese in recognition of Judith. Whose liberal use of the salty treat facilitated a victory for the Maccabees.
On Hanukkah, we celebrate a grisly murder.
The aforementioned Judith had an ulterior motive for plying general Holofernes with salty cheese making him thirsty so he would drink lots of wine and pass out, enabling her to chop off his head and bring it home to her. The beheading done by a woman was said to have frightened Holofernes troops into fleeing the Maccabees.
The next “Thanksgivukkah” will be in 51 years
In 2013 the convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah took place on Nov. 28. That year the Macys Thanksgiving Parade had the first driedle float. We will be ready in Nov. 27 2070.
The largest menorah in the world
According to the Guinness Book of World Records is 32 feet high and weighs 4,000 pounds.
Wisdom comes with Years - Part 4
6 Essential Reads on Judaism and Aging
The following books on Judaism and aging are written by Jewish writers, with many of them drawing profound lessons from Jewish texts and traditions
Getting Good at Getting Older by Richard Siegel and Rabbi Laura Geller
The authors are longtime, spiritual leaders and Jewish educator. “Getting Good and Getting Older” brings Jewish wisdom- ancient and contemporary question on how to cultivate wisdom in the second half of life. This book is about life, meant to empower, delight and challenge and whet our appetite for whatever comes next.
From Aging to Saging- A Revolutionary Approach to Growing Older. By Rabbi Zalman Shalomi
This book looks at the opportunity for self-renewal beyond middle age, and beyond the pinnacle of our professional career. The Rabbi offers an alternative aging narrative, one not focus on frailty, futility and fear, but one that helps the reader embrace the inner sage.
What will They say About you When Your Gone? – Creating a Life Legacy by Rabbi Daniel Cohen
This book draws on the Rabbi experience and helps readers create a roadmap to organize and orient their life around what they want most in the present and what will matter most at the end. It describes how to channel the Jewish prophet Elijah through fostering sacred connections with those we encounter by choice or by chance.
Getting Over Getting Older – An Intimate Journey by Letty Cottin Pogrebin
This book is a beacon of Jewish feminism is uplifting and often funny. Shedding light on the realities about what it’s like to hit 50, 60 and beyond. She addresses fears about aging bodies and minds. It explains living beyond middle age means learning to live with decay, growth, impermanence, immutability, losing and letting go.
Wise Aging – Living with Joy, Resilience and Spirit by Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Dr. Linda Thal
This book looks at the importance of developing a spiritual practice as we age, and offers up a range of reading, meditations and journaling exercises, both Jewish and secular. The authors draw on wisdom about aging from ancient texts and contemporary sages.
Jewish Wisdom for Growing Older – Finding the Grit and Grace Beyond Midlife by Rabbi Friedman
An intersection of Judaism and growing older. She takes on prevailing, but destructive ideas about aging, looks at the possibilities that the years beyond midlife may afford us Jewish wisdom along the way.
Now is the time to find the spiritual connection inside, not inside a physical structure, but inside ourselves. The community will connect with the help of technology. But we must also find the way to create our own spiritual connection. Perhaps we can make the environment in our personal home help ignite the spirit. For some candles, artwork and religious symbols could help decorate the environment, and feel like a personal sanctuary. For some it might be the presence of family or friends in the same room, or even over a computer screen. Many will want to take a quiet time before or after the recorded services, contemplating the previous year and the next year, meditating on the hopes, dreams, expectations and potential surprises the world offers. We take time to remember the blessings and the challenges, while trying to feel blessed by both especially this year. We are truly challenged to make our home our sanctuary. Let us see Hashem before our eyes, in our home and in our hearts. Starting from such holy hearts, holy homes and holy minds, together we will make it a very sweet New Year.
This year will be like no other NEW YEAR. Nobody can underestimate the impact that the Coronavirus pandemic will have as we observe the High Holidays this year. This current situation with COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges to almost every aspect of our lives, and the way we worship is no exception. It has become necessary to envision this year’s High Holiday services differently. Usually we are excited to embrace each other in a full room, singing and praying together, wishing each other a Happy New Year. Keeping all our members safe and healthy has become a bigger priority.
Even though our community will not be able to worship together, physically, we have been working hard to make sure that The Cuban Hebrew Congregation members and our broader Jewish community can have a meaningful worship experience this year. Rabbi Stephen Texon will lead services of Slichot, Rosh Hashana, Kol Nidre , Yom Kippur and Simchat Torah. The services will be prerecorded. You will be able to click on to each service. High Holiday books will be made available upon request for you to use at home. You will be able to check out the prayer book and return it after the High Holidays.
We have begun to work on our Yiskor Book. (In loving memory of our dearly departed) We are counting on your participation as you have in the past. All forms and payments must be sent in by September 6, 2020 to secure that your names will be published.
Countless times, calamities either initiated by people or nature, has turned our world upside down. And we continue to survive and thrive. And we do this due in large part, to community members coming together to support each other. Sometimes horrible catastrophes have led to new ways to improve the world.
Perhaps the isolation we experience due to the Coronovirus can lead us to new ways to reach out and connect with each other. Part of the Torah reading on Yom Kippur states “I set before you, life and death, blessing and curse… Choose life! (Deut 30:19) In the midst of our most difficult times, may we discover some blessings, especially this year!
Women’s League President
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc.
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc. 1700 Michigan Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139 US
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