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Upcoming Events at Agudas Israel Synagogue
Centennial Celebration – Spring 2023:
Saturday June 3rd – Centennial Gala at Valley Country Club: 7-11pm, 79 Country Club Ln, Sugarloaf. We will enjoy entertainment from NYC comedian Carie Karavas and music & dancing with the phenomenal EPICSOUL Band. Your $25 ticket includes hors d’oeuvres and a drink. Advanced tickets required & open to the public. Click here to RSVP.
The deadline for sponsorships or ads in our centennial booklet is March 24th!
Recent Editions of the Agudagram:
Click the image or title to read the full issue…
- May 2023 AgudagramShavuot has its origins in the ancient mid-summer harvest celebrations of the Canaanites, the ancient people from which Israelite society sprang during the Bronze Age. These early religions’ celebrations, in which revelers rejoiced in the harvesting of wheat, were local affairs probably celebrated in communal threshing grounds, where the wheat was separated from the chaff, and other cultic sites. All that started to change in the 7th and 8th centuries BCE, when the Jerusalem monarchs and priesthood consolidated power, bringing formerly separate tribes under the helm of one ruler. As part of this program, they co-opted these local affairs and supplanted them by unified rites that could only be performed in the Temple in Jerusalem…
- 4/23/23 Centennial Celebration – commemorative booklet & video presentationThe event on Sunday was fabulous. Thank you to all who attended, assisted, donated and sponsored it. This post contains links to videos from event, our centennial booklet, and the program bulletin. Click the image to view post.
- April 2023 AgudagramAt the great seder night of Pesach when we read and discuss the immortal words of the Pesach Hagada, my family has always enthusiastically sung the portion of the Hagada that we know as “Dayenu.” By the grace of G-d, I have been able to witness a number of my generations singing this meaningful poem of praise to the Almighty for the bountiful goodness that he has bestowed upon us. Since I am leading the singing that always accompanies this poem, the melody may be somewhat out of tune but what it lacks in pitch it makes up for in enthusiasm and volume. I have always thought about the words that make up this poem and the entire concept that “Dayenu” communicates to us…
- 2023 Sale of Chometz for PassoverIf possible, all chametz – food not acceptable during Pesach (Passover), or materials containing such unacceptable food – should be destroyed or given away before the holiday begins. Should this be impossible, the chametz may be stored in such a way that we are sure not to use it during the holiday and its actual ownership is transferred to a non-Jew until the holiday ends. If you are not able to come to the synagogue personally to appoint Richard Kline as your agent for the sale of chametz, you may accomplish that by completing the form below by 9:00am Monday April 5th to be effective…
- March 2023 AgudagramSome may wonder, where is God? We feel distant and alone. Queen Esther, who risked her life for her people, left us with a letter of faith and love. She knew that we, her children, would battle hatred and unspeakable suffering throughout our long wanderings on this earth. The Scroll of Esther, Megillat Esther, would infuse us, her children, with hope. “Esther requested that these words of Purim should be accepted and it was written in a scroll” (Megillat Esther 9:32). It is as if Esther is whispering to us, “My dear children, you think that you are standing all alone? You think that you are going through dark times? Look at me! Every man, woman and child, in every land, I ask that you hear my words and read my scroll, until the end of time. Because my story is your story. We have been here before. You are never abandoned. You must never lose faith.”
- February 2023 AgudagramStepping back to allow for growth is a major theme of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish birthday of the trees. We plant trees knowing that we might not enjoy their shade or their fruits. It is a selfless act that reminds us that there is more to the world than us. We often quote the story of Honi the Circle Maker, from tractate Taanit in the Babylonian Talmud, during this time of year. In this story, Honi sees a man planting a carob tree and doesn’t understand why he would plant a tree that will only bear fruit in 70 years, long after the man’s lifetime. The man who plants the tree replies that he found a world full of carob trees, and just as his ancestors planted for him, he too, plants for his descendants. Hakham (Rabbi) Avraham Shaul Amir, a 20th-century Cuban rabbi of Turkish descent, shares a wonderful take on Honi’s story: “Our ancestors planted for us more than carobs. Our entire history, values, morals, and hope for the future are all thanks to our ancestors … [T]his story reminds us that we should credit our ancestors with all that we have, so that we will gain support from them and from their deeds. And all their deeds are righteous, with everlasting merit for their descendants for generations to come.”
- January 2023Jewish Tradition identifies three primary characteristics of our relationship with God. God is our Creator. God is the Revealer of Wisdom. God is our Redeemer. Creation happens, of course, at the beginning of the Book of Genesis, though mystics see it happening continually all the time. As for the Revelation—the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai—and the Redemption from Egypt, they are the focus of the Book of Exodus which we begin this week. Exodus in summary may be expressed this way: God frees us from Egyptian slavery and reveals to us the Torah at Mount Sinai—giving us freedom and holy purpose in one dramatic process.The slavery which begins the Book of Exodus is, in some ways, a surprise. Things have been good in the Goshen section of Egypt for many generations. Joseph’s good offices for the sake of Pharaoh earn him honor and his Canaanite relatives a safehaven from the famine afflicting their land. But, as we read in Exodus 1.8-11: “A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph. And, he said to his people, ‘Look, the Israelite people are much too numerous for us. Let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they may not increase; otherwise, in the event of war, they may join our enemies in fighting against us and rise from the ground.’ So they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor…”
- December 2022Hanukkah is one of the few Jewish holidays not mentioned in the Bible. The story of how Hanukkah came to be is contained in the books of 1 and 2 Maccabees, which are the Jewish canon of the Hebrew Bible. These books tell the story of the Maccabees not part of , a small band of Jewish fighters who liberated the Land of Israel from the Syrian Greeks who occupied it. Under the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Syrian Greeks sought to impose their Hellenistic culture, which many Jews found attractive. By 167 B.C.E, Antiochus intensified his campaign by defiling the Temple in Jerusalem and banning Jewish practice. The Maccabees — led by the five sons of the priest Mattathias, especially Judah — waged a three-year campaign that culminated in the cleaning and rededication of the Temple.
- November 2022The Bible usually refers to the months by their ordinal numbers, although occasional ancient Israelite names are also used.2 The currently used Jewish names for the months were imported from Babylonia and many of them appear in post-exilic books of the Bible. Some of these are derived from the names of ancient gods, such as Tammuz which is thought to come from the Assyrian Du-mu-zu, an Egyptian god, and is mentioned as the name of an idol in Ezekiel (8:14).