A Sweet Story

So, I am teaching on my new book at a local temple in Miami and someone comes up to share with me a Temple Sholom of Chicago story. Back in 1999, she was a new college graduate, singing in the Lyric Opera of Chicago and doing some work with Second City. She was alone in Chicago. She lived a few blocks away from Temple Sholom. Rosh Hashanah was approaching and she felt so lonely for her home back in Miami. She was an advertisement for practically free membership for twenty-somethings at Temple Sholom and she decided to check out Friday night services. While hazy on the details she remembers feeling an overriding wave of welcome and friendship from the moment she walked into the building.

Almost fifteen years later she still smiles as she remembers the warmth. She only stayed in Chicago a couple of years, but the friendliness of Temple Sholom of Chicago made all the difference.

I thought the congregation should know!

Temple Sholom History: Mayfair Day! May 1, 1963

Do you want to be THE MAYFAIR LADY?
50 years ago, Temple Sholom celebrated a MayFair, which sounds like a blast. The hall was dressed for May Day, “Fete Du Muguet”, with “a bower of beautiful shops”. The idea was to transport you to the continent of Europe – reminiscent of “Paree so Gay” or the eternal city with “authentic Italian décor and music”. There was everything imaginable for sale and every hour a special prize was awarded to one lucky attendant. Sitter service was available for “Trained tots”.

Happy May! If you get the right coupons, maybe you too could be The MAYFAIR LADY!
One thing I wonder about – there are many references to “The Little Theatre” – where was that at the Temple? – I’ll have to do more research.
Does anyone have any more info on this event ? It sounds as though it was amazing! Maybe MayFair will live again, one day.

Are the Chemicals in Your Shampoo Bad for You?

As strange as it may seem, although pesticides and pharmaceuticals are tested before being put on the market, many industrial chemicals found in every day products have not been tested for safety. That means your detergents may have chemicals that are bad for you. Similarly, flame retardants put on textiles, like your comfy couch or pajamas, may contain dangerous chemicals. No one knows.

How to be more organic. Meatless Monday’s From Temple Sholom’s Eco Chavura

I spent my Friday night with Jillian Michaels. It was the kind of deal where you paid a ridiculous amount of money for an expert to tell you a bunch of stuff you really already knew (like to lose weight all you need to do is eat less and move more) and a few things that you didn’t know but probably should. Like a bottle of zero calorie butter flavored spray actually has 1200 calories in the entire bottle.
The most important thing I learned during her lecture was the realities of what genetic modification is doing to our meat supply. She showed us pictures of two cows – one a normal cow and the other genetically modified. The difference was staggering. As you can imagine the same cut of beef will also look shockingly different. Most importantly its quality will be dramatically different. What’s scary is that when we go to Jewel or Dominicks and buy beef we are most likely buying beef that came from a genetically modified cow (and this does not just apply to beef, but all meat). To be sure that we’re not getting a genetically modified meat product we have to read labels carefully, in the case of beef we want to make sure that the label says grass fed on it.

Temple Sholom’s Elephant

At this year’s Olam HaMitzvot, Temple Sholom raised $135 to foster an orphan elephant baby at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Nursery in Kenya. Here’s the latest news (and an adorable picture) of “our” baby.”

Read All About It!

What gets your attention in the headline crammed inboxes of our lives? Is it an e-mail? Scrawl on your homepage? Mailed (snail style) piece? Text message or Tweet?

Over the last year, I’ve been working with a small task force to recreate the communications vehicles at Temple Sholom. A confirmed techno-dinosaur before this exercise, “Beta” is the unsuccessful competitor to VHS, “Analytics” something an actuary considers, “SEO” a typo for the senior executive, I’ve had a lot to decipher and asked a lot of questions. What the heck is a “captcha”?

Temple Sholom in History – “Lost” Oratorio from 1958, FOUND!

As the keeper of our D’var newsletter, I sometimes field fascinating questions about Temple Sholom history. And when I do, it’s time for me to go back to the dusty books, to be a Cadfael-type investigator, and find some tid-bit of striking Temple lore.

A little while ago I was asked to track down an Oratorio entitled “The Life of Moses” by Jacob Weinberg that may have had one of its few full performances here at Temple Sholom in March of 1958. The woman who asked me to seek out this information, Helen Leneman, is working on a book on the subject and through her I found myself in touch with Ellen Orchid who is the granddaughter of Weinberg.

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

Moshe was talking to his psychiatrist. He told him, “I had a weird dream recently,” he says. “I saw my mother but then I noticed she had YOUR face. I found this so disturbing that I immediately awoke and couldn’t get back to sleep. I just stayed there thinking about it over and over until 7am. Then, finally, I got up, made myself a slice of toast and some coffee and came straight here.
Can you please help me explain the meaning of this bizarre dream?”

The psychiatrist was silent for a moment… and then said, “One slice of toast and coffee? You call that a breakfast?”

“I’m melting! melting! Oh, what a world, what a world!”

I’m melting! melting! Oh, what a world, what a world!”

We are all familiar with this infamous quote from the Wicked Witch of the West as she melted away to her demise. Over the last few weeks my 5 year old daughter, Quinn, has been somewhat obsessed with the Wizard of Oz since being introduced to it on a play date.

With all the recent Oz-dom completely taking over my home, the above Wicked Witch of the West (now referred to as “WWW”) quote came to mind. Let’s focus on the latter part of the quote, “…what a world, what a world!.” In the context of the movie, the WWW cries them out and is pretty upset with the world. We really can’t blame her, after all she was melting. In today’s world it’s extremely easy for one to also join the WWW and take the negative position on “..what a world, what a world!.”

What is God – part 1

If you are one of the many Jews who think of God as a purposive entity, a real being with likes and dislikes, who intervenes in the world of humans, then you know to whom you are praying. For the rest of us, who can’t quite conjure up an image of a divine personage, to whom are we praying? Or to what are we praying?

For us, the word “God” is a metaphor we use to describe something which is beyond description. We have an experience of this force, but we can’t explain it. God, then, is the name we use to describe the transcendent mystery that gives meaning to the important things we do.

This year, I taught a class in the Adult Education program called “What is God?” about the metaphors we use to talk about this mystery. Turns out, we have found dozens of metaphors in our liturgy that help us think about God. I believe they fall into nine categories: