👣 Let’s walk together for TBS! 👣 ¡Caminemos juntos por TBS! 👣
CHAD GADJO is a remarkable German Expressionist rendering of the beloved seder song, Had Gadya. Now on display at the Temple Sholom of West Essex Musem Case, curated by Rabbi Norman and Naomi Patz.CHADGADJOTSWEmuseumcasedisplayforPesah2023
Almost exactly 5 years after hurricane María struck Puerto Rico, we are once again faced with another climate catastrophe. Hurricane Fiona has caused widespread destruction and flooding, and many communities remain without access to electricity, water, food and/or shelter. Our own facilities were faced with a failure of our emergency backup power system, which will also require repairs to ensure we are able to continue providing a space for the community to charge their devices, store their temperature-sensitive medications, collect water, and meet to provide emotional support to each other. So far, we have no reports of injuries or worse within our congregation, but we have yet to accomplish contact with 100% of our membership, as communications in many areas are still unavailable. We do know that our members have sustained lots of property damage.
Funds raised will go entirely towards our recovery and rebuilding efforts, first meeting the immediate emergency needs of our community for food, water, shelter, emergency power, medications and clothing, before transitioning to more long-term reconstruction and resiliency efforts of our Jewish community.
Thoughts on Shabbat Nahamu
August 12, 2022 – Av 16, 5782
Temple Sholom of West Essex
Rabbi Norman Patz
This week’s Torah portion is a triple-header of passages familiar to us: the Ten Commandments, the Sh’ma and the V’ahavta. They’re all in D’varim/Deuteronomy, chapters 5 and 6. I would be remiss if I didn’t call your attention to this part of Moses’ final speeches to the Israelites. Yet, while I recommend that you go home and read them, I want to focus instead this evening on the issues raised by the special name given to this Shabbat, Shabbat Nahamu, the Sabbath of Consolation.
This past week the Jewish people observed Tisha B’Av, the saddest day in Jewish history. According to our traditions, both the first and second temples in Jerusalem were destroyed on the ninth day of Av in the culmination of our enemies’ assaults on Jewish faith and Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel.
From early on, in the wake of these nearly overwhelming national catastrophes, the rabbis instituted a day of fasting, with the reading of Kinot, poems of sadness, along with the biblical Book of Eichah/Lamentations. Our history also records that the expulsion of Jews from Spain took place on the 9th of Av in 1492, and that many other disasters befell our people on this day in history. Each event contemporized the observance and made it newly relevant.
Our Reform movement, which in its first 100 years de-emphasized Jews’ return to the land of Israel, abandoned the observance of Tisha B’Av – the mourning for the destroyed Temples — as have many Israelis since the establishment of the State in 1948.
But I disagree. In considering Jewish history, I think it is important to remember Tisha b’Av and these two Shabbatot: the one before Tisha B’Av, called Shabbat Hazon, and the one following – Nahamu.
We need consolation! And not necessarily because of our “sins,” which the rabbis said were the cause of our suffering. Our suffering comes, rather, because of the geopolitical realities of our history: Israel is a small nation in a bad neighborhood, a tiny defenseless minority among hostile neighbors.
We need consolation to restore and reinforce hope. I characterize us Jews as Asirei tikvah – prisoners of hope. Our Jewish anthem, Hatikvah – the hope! — asserts ohd lo avdah tikvateinu – our hope is not yet lost. I believe this, and I hope (!) you do too.
On Saturday, July 23, 2022, Temple Beth Shalom honored a living legend, Shula Feldkran Vollweiler, for her lifelong love, commitment and dedication to Judaism. Over the last forty years, Shula served as TBS president, vice president, principal and teacher of the religious school as well as Hadassah vice president of education. Currently she is a member of the board of directors, social action committee and spiritual coverage committee.
“Shula understood that the key to our success was to share the love of being Jewish,” Rabbi Norman Patz wrote. He was among the illustrious visiting spiritual leaders, members of TBS community and family members who expressed their appreciation of Shula and what she meant to them in heartfelt messages. They spoke in person and in videos and letters written for the historic occasion attended by more than 70 community members and others, and by some who shared in the tribute virtually, Rebecca Román, organizer and emcee of the day-long event, credited Blanca Hernandez with conceiving the idea of an event to honor Shula’s legacy.
“Walk with her and you’ll be wiser, your Judaism (will) grow deeper,” Rabbi Roberto Graetz advised community members.
Diego Mendelbaum, spiritual leader of Shaare Zedek, attested that “Many of her students, today adults, still remember her as an outstanding teacher.”
She teaches by instruction and by example,” noted Blanca. Praise for her teaching talent was echoed by other speeches at the event.
“She gets things done around here,” said Cantor Dorothy Goldberg, sharing her observation of Shula as an effective leader in a video tribute.”
The event began at 10 a.m. with a Shabbat service led by Teresa Hernandez and assisted by Emily Krasinski in the sanctuary, followed by presentations at the Sue and Jimmy Klau Social Hall decorated in an elegant blue and yellow/gold theme with yellow roses everywhere.
Shula gave a message of appreciation entitled “gracias a la vida,” creating her own version of the Violeta Parra poem that both Mercedes Sosa and Joan Baez recorded. Attendees were captivated by the honoree’s exhibition of artifacts from her Jewish life, including a model of the family home in Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel, crafted by her uncle Herbert Bluth, personal historical documents, photographs of her grandparents and the traditional trauer buch (book of memory, recording the anniversary of death of Shula’s grandfather, Louis Vollweiler) kept by her mother, items of clothing from her school days in the village, as well as a tennis outfit she knitted (a craft she learned in Israel), and her ceramic sculpture inspired by Judaism.
Shula proudly showed four rings she wore- wedding bands once worn by her maternal and paternal grandparents. She shared pictures of the Bar Mitzvah of her son, Julio Klapper that took place in San Juan with Rabbi Alex Felch, her native village’s synagogue founded by her grandparents and the Western Wall. Kfar Shmaryahu was established by doctors, lawyers, businessmen and agronomists, all survivors of Nazi Germany, who became farmers in order to eke a living in the young country.
In a Q&A session, Shula explained that her mother, Ilse Feldkran, taught her the importance of conserving family documents and jewelry and to keep these historical treasures in a safe place, especially those related to the family tree.
The extraordinary activity featured typical Israeli food, a magnificent Challa baked by Trudy Acevedo, followed by a toast to Shula’s legacy.
On display in the Temple Sholom of West Essex museum case, curated by Rabbi Norman & Naomi Patz.tswe museum case Israel Independence Day 2022