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March Agudagram 2024

Passover in July and Rosh Hashanah in January? That’s what could happen were it not for the
ingenious invention of the Jewish leap year. That’s because lunar calendars like this one work
beautifully until the end of the year when the 12 lunar months will inevitably miss the solar
year by an 11-day shortfall. It wouldn’t take long for such a disparity to wreak havoc with the
holidays; hence, the specter of a snow-covered Rosh Hashanah.
And the Torah makes it abundantly clear: Passover must be “in the month of springtime”
(Deuteronomy 16:1) and Sukkot must fall at harvest time when “God will have blessed you in
all your crops and in all your handiwork.” (Deuteronomy 16:15).

Register for upcoming Zoom class on “Shir haShirim/The Song of Songs” presented by Cantor Ramón Tasat and the HJCC.

The Song of Songs is considered one of the five megillot (scrolls) read on major festivals. It is chanted during Pesah/Passover.  It is also sung as an introduction to the Shabbat evening since the Sabbath serves as a renewal of loving vows between God and the Jewish People. Pained by loneliness? Exhilarated by the arrival of the Spring? Have you ever fallen in Love? This book is for you.  Can’t wait to discuss it together. -Hazzan Ramón Tasat www.ramontasat.com Register for Cantor Ramón’s “Shir HaSharim/Song of Songs” Zoom course starting March 29:

February Agudagram 2024

These are some of the places I
recited Kaddish with my
fellow mourners: grocery store
aisles, airports, restaurants,
cafes, subway stations, ATM
lobbies, cars, street corners,
doctors’ waiting rooms, the
beach, the woods, my office, my bedroom, my kitchen, my daughter’s gymnastics gym, my son’s flag football game, and the middle of Park Avenue with traffic blaring around me. I stopped to say Kaddish while in the midst of cooking, cleaning, working, driving, answering emails, tending my houseplants, doing errands, running in the park, and biking over the Manhattan Bridge. At various points in the compressed period since both of my parents died—my father in March 2021, my mother in November 2022—alarms dinged on my phone throughout the day to alert me that a minyan was about to begin.

Winter Agudagram 2023-24

New Year’s Day arrived to cheers from thousands in New York’s Times Square, where a sparkling crystal ball descended to start 2024 with hope for some even as the world’s ongoing conflicts subdued celebrations and raised security concerns across the globe. “It’s beautiful,” Corin Christian of Charlotte, North Carolina, said of the scene seconds past midnight as Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” blared from speakers in the square and many in the crowd held cellphones in the air, trying to capture the spectacle.
There were snapshots of joy from country to country as the new year was welcomed with optimism that its days will bring more joy than sorrow. In Times Square, Tyrell Jacobs, 27, and Sarah Crayton, 26, arrived from New Orleans 15 hours before midnight and got engaged in streets packed with tens of thousands of people counting first the hours and then the minutes until midnight. “It’s definitely a must-see,” Crayton said of the colorful cast of strangers nearby in tall hats blowing noisemakers even before the ball dropped. “At least go once, you know, just to experience the magic.” A small army of thousands of police officers worked to keep New York City safe, just as heightened security had done in the cities midnight hit first. New York has seen near-daily protests sparked by the Israel-Hamas war.

November 2023 Agudagram

Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7 was thousands of miles away for Jewish teens in the
United States — yet they have found themselves caught in a crossfire of opinions, misinformation and anger about the situation ever since. JTA Teen Journalism Fellows interviewed their peers about what they have been hearing and feeling over the last three weeks. Our reporters discovered that many high
schoolers were afraid to go on the record, saying they feared aggravating tensions or didn’t want to get “canceled” within their community. The ones that did agree to talk, however, say they are doing their best to stay strong and feel united, not divided. Some of the teens interviewed expressed their concerns about antisemitism while others offered insight into what’s happening in their social media circles.

Register NOW for Upcoming Zoom Course: “The Poetry and Music of the Psalms”

Register now for the upcoming interactive Zoom course presented by Cantor Ramón Tasat in conjunction with the Hazleton JCC, starting Friday October 27th, 2023 from 12-1PM, weekly for 4 weeks. We invite invite you to join us for an upcoming lecture series presented by Agudas Israel’s Cantor Ramón Tasat in conjunction with the Hazleton JCC on “The Music and Poetry of the Psalms”. The interactive & musical lectures will be broadcast live on Zoom as well as recorded for registered participants. The cost for the course is $20.  “We are all overwhelmed by the tragedy that has befallen our beloved State of Israel. During this difficult time, the Psalms provide us with moments of great inspiration, passion, introspection and beauty. Join us for 4 Fridays starting Oct. 27th from 12-1 p.m on ZOOM to connect together as a community to discuss the ideas expressed in the text and sing beautiful musical settings that enlarge the already vibrant meaning… Read More »Register NOW for Upcoming Zoom Course: “The Poetry and Music of the Psalms”

October 2023 Agudagram

The origins of Sukkot are found in an ancient autumnal harvest festival. Much of the imagery and ritual of the holiday revolves around rejoicing and thanking God for the completed harvest.
Beginning five days after Yom Kippur, Jews are supposed to dwell in a special hut, or sukkah, during this week-long celebration. According to rabbinic tradition, these huts represent the tents in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt. The festival of Sukkot is one of the three great pilgrimage festivals (chaggim or regalim) of the Jewish year.

From the rising unto the setting

Rosh Hashanah allows Jews to find strength – Standard Speaker article on Sept 11, 2023

The Jewish new year of 5784 will
be ushered in at synagogues around the world Friday at sundown and celebrated through Sunday night.

In Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah celebrates the birth of the world. On this anniversary of creation, Jews ask forgiveness for any harm they have inflicted, either wittingly or unwittingly and stand before the Creator confessing their shortcomings and asking for forgiveness.

2023 Selichot Prayer Service – Sept 9, 2023 at 10pm on ZOOM

Selichot services are communal prayers for Divine forgiveness, said during the High Holiday season and on Jewish fast days. While most Jewish services are held during the day or early evening, High Holiday Selichot are the exception, held in the wee hours of the night. Drawing from a plethora of biblical verses and rabbinic teachings, they are a soul-stirring introduction to the Days of Awe.

In Ashkenazic tradition, the first night of Selichot is the biggie, held late at night on a Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah. The liturgy for the High Holiday Selichot is not found in most prayerbooks; rather, it is found in special Selichot booklets, with a different selection for each day.

Contact the AIC office to get access to log in to ZOOM for this service.