Reflection on the Election

A member for four years, I’ve attended Adult Ed classes and events, Saturday minyans, helped prepare sandwiches, attended environmental meetings and The Lakeview Action Coalition, and- most important, I play the African drum with the Temple’s Brementown Klezmer Band.

Being a relative newcomer to Chicago, and with no other family members as Temple congregants, I had mixed feelings about last Tuesday’s election. While impressed by its dignity and good fellowship, I was, however, distressed that I missed the opportunity of seeing each candidate, after s/he was announced, for that would have enhanced my future participation, through greater familiarity with Temple leaders. I also hoped for a voice “yea” or “nay” voice vote for the slate of officers and that of board members, as well as the announced opportunity to nominate from the floor.

It also would have been a tzedakah if there had been an arrangement for linking those needing a ride home with those having wheels. Having recently reached eighty years old, I was very fortunate indeed that a female congregant caught up with me, and offered me a ride, which I much appreciated.

Temple Sholom’s Meatless Monday: How I learned to stop worrying and love cauliflower

I was talking to my mom over the weekend about some of the recipes I have wanted to try and some of the foods that are now my favorites, and she replied, “When did you start to eat like this? You didn’t like any of these foods when you were a kid!” And it’s true; when I was a kid my taste buds were much different. My favorite vegetables were cucumbers and green beans. My mom will tell you that getting me to eat other vegetables was a struggle unless they were covered with cheese!

Cauliflower was definitely not on my childhood list of favorite veggies, but now it’s one of my favorites! I am always looking for recipes that include it and making it in various ways. Mashed cauliflower is a great alternative to mashed potatoes – I add a little chive into mine!

Remembering Fr. Andrew M. Greeley, Philosemite

The Reverend Andrew M. Greeley, a priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and well-known sociologist, novelist, theologian, controversialist, and leprechaun, died Wednesday at his home in the Hancock Building in Chicago. He was 85.

He was my professor of sociology when I was an undergraduate at The University of Chicago. We were friends from the first, which was his way, and remained so to the last.

What is God – Part 2: Is God a Person?

What is God – Part 2: Is God a Person?
for Part 1 go to:

For me, God is a metaphor, a symbol I use to try to grasp a transcendent mystery. I live in a world of constant ambiguity, and I can never be certain that my experiences of the holy are real or mere sentimentality. I use the notion of God to anchor my spiritual experiences and allow me to act as if they were real. Yet, certitude is never available.

But no less than Abraham Joshua Heschel disagrees. In a wonderful essay, “Symbolism and Jewish Faith,” Rabbi Heschel argues that Jews should want more than just a symbol, that they shouldn’t be satisfied with the uncertainty I feel. “The soul of the religious man lives in the depth of certainty. This is what God wants me to do. Where that certainty is dead, the most powerful symbolism will be futile.”

He goes on to say “Let us never forget: If God is a symbol, He is a fiction. But if God is real, then He is able to express his will unambiguously. Symbols are makeshifts, necessary to those who cannot express themselves unambiguously. . . . Harsh and bitter are the problems which religion comes to solve: ignorance, evil, malice, power, agony, and despair. These problems cannot be solved through generalities, through philosophical symbols. Our problem is this: Do we believe what we confess? Do we mean what we say? We do not suffer symbolically; we suffer literally, truly, deeply; symbolic remedies are quackery. The will of God is either real or a delusion.”

Some entries into our liturgy echo Rabbi Heschel. Mediation Number 35 in the Gates of Prayer says, “The description of God as a Person is indispensable for everyone who like myself means by ‘God” not a principle. . . and not an idea. . . but who rather means by ‘God,’ as I do, Him who – whatever else He may be – enters in a direct relation with us in creative, revealing, and redeeming acts, and thus makes it possible for us to enter into a direct relation with Him. . . . The concept of personal being is indeed completely incapable of declaring what God’s essential being is, but it is both permitted and necessary to say that God is also a Person.”

I am sure that many, many Temple congregants strive for this certainty that Heschel exalts. Obviously, if I agreed with these sentiments, my contributions to the Temple Blog would end here. Whither those of us for whom such certainties are elusive? We will turn to that in the next posting.

What does Astronaut Gordon Cooper have to do with Temple Sholom? Thursday in Temple Sholom History

Found a curious bit of info in the 1963 D’var from the first week of June. This small article (no more than 50 words) is titled L’envoi – Rabbi Binstock and Fredrick A. Eisenberg have signed it.

It’s a dedication that reads:

We close our past year of wonderful temple activities with the exciting outer space achievement of Astronaut Gordon Cooper still filling our minds and hearts with great pride and anticipation for the future. We cannot say “farewell” without expressing the hope that our achievements in inner space within our minds and hearts and souls through the ever increasing and inspiring thrust of Judaism will fill us with the same joy and anticipation – and above all PEACE.

Wednesday’s “Jewish Joke of the Day” – The Island

A cruise liner goes down in the Pacific and Benny is the only survivor. He manages to swim to an uninhabited island.
Many years later, when a search party finally comes to rescue him, they see that he has constructed TWO synagogues on his tiny island.

The captain notices and asks.. “hmm…Why TWO synagogues?”.

Benny points to the nearest one and replies, “Well, that’s the one I go to every Saturday. …And the other one – Oy.. that place! I wouldn’t go to that place if you paid me!”

WANTED: Music Lovers; Your Voices; You — to join us!

Sure I’m a musician, and yep I’m biased, but I can’t imagine anything more rewarding, more fulfilling, more spiritually uplifting and more fun than “making” music together. Most of my greatest memories are of singing or playing with friends who are dearest to my heart. Joining in the grandeur and mystery of human voices raised in song is truly one of the Devine’s most humbling gifts. But we need you! Cantor Katzman, Shir Shalom’s choristers and I have great plans for Temple Sholom’s music world, but none of it can happen without you. Plain and simple, we want to draft you!! We know that with nearly 1,000 families in our congregation that there are scores of talented individuals currently singing in the shower; or in the car along with the radio; or whistling happy tunes. Regardless of the category into which you fit, we want you to help us to grow our music program.

On account of it’s June – LGBT Pride!

For me this is one of the most exciting times in the LGBT Community because June is Pride Month. Beginning June 1, the LGBT community will contemplate our accomplishments over the past year and look to the next year and think about what are our next steps we need to take towards taking a seat at the table of equality; we are going to cast a sharp and at times a critical eye at ourselves as individuals and as community as well as compare ourselves to the ally community. Pride Month is not all about contemplation because the LGBT community loves having fun and Pride provides an opportunity for us to celebrate with our families, friends, allies, business and spiritual associates the positive changes that have occurred in the community over the past year. All the above, is just run up to biggest celebration party, the Pride Parade.

Are you a kosher culture vulture?

While Temple Sholom takes a Summer break from our Adult Ed and Religious School,
Saturday morning Minyan and Spirituality groups as well as our busy affiliates sponsor events year round.

But while we have longer days and warmer temps, let’s explore the greater Chicago Jewish experiences.

Check out some of the Jewish themed events happening now…

Mel Brooks documentary on PBS: Retrospective on his career.

The Pianist of Willesden Lane: Royal George Theatre, memoir of Lisa Yura as portrayed by her daughter.

The Invasion of Skokie: Mayer Kaplan JCC 5050 W. Dempster, Skokie. Drama explores the Nazi petition to march in Skokie in 1978

Shalom Chicago: Chicago History Museum, Clark Street at North Avenue*

Chicago Jewish Festival: June 10 Niles*

*family friendly

Support A Moratorium on Fracking in Illinois

Many of you may have heard about fracking but not be aware of what it is and the controversy surrounding this method of drilling for natural gas and oil. Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling for natural gas or oil using a large volume of water mixed with chemicals and sand. This is injected with high pressure into underground rock to force out the natural gas and oil.