Wednesday’s “Jewish Joke of the Day” – Evening Prayers

Evening Prayers
Young David was asked by his father to say the evening prayer but he realized he didn’t have his head covered.
He asked his little brother Henry to rest a hand on his head until prayers were over.
But after a few minutes Henry grew bored and took his hand off.
The father said, “This is important…put your hand back on his head!”
And Henry cried “Come on Dad… What am I? my brother’s kipah?”

Grillin’ Veggie Style – Meatless Mondays at Temple Sholom

For many of us, as we head into Summer, our thoughts turn to cookouts. In my family, this was especially the case, and I have distinct memories of my dad firing up the grill many times during the warm summer months. Sometimes he would do this for a larger family picnic like Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, but often we would grill out just on an ordinary night. Cooking and eating outside always made the meal feel special, even if we were just having hamburgers and hot dogs.

What is God – Part 3: God as a Metaphor

What is God – Part 3: God as a Metaphor

For part 1 go to
For part 2 go to
How hard is it for Jews to think of God in metaphorical terms? After all, we don’t even speak a name for this entity, instead using descriptions like Adonai, Elohim, Shehechinah. Yet, does God really demand that we think of Him as Lord? Or, as one book says about our use of Adonai, “It is we humans who ascribe lordship to God, out of our need for submission. Lordship is a projection from human society onto the mysterious, unknowable, divine Being.”

Our liturgies are filled, abundantly, with efforts to express our experiences of the holy through metaphor. Says a meditation from Gates of Prayer (p. 174):

L’Dor V’Dor – how does your past speak?

A couple of weeks ago I went to a luncheon at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership with my colleague, Lisa Kaplan. As the theme of the event was L’Dor V’Dor, from generation to generation, people were encouraged to attend with their family and bring an heirloom that reminded them of their family history. Participants even had the chance to have their portrait taken with the heirloom they brought. In my photo, I was wearing my Great-Grandmother’s wedding ring. To me, this ring holds a great deal of sentimental value. My grandmother had given this ring to my mother and it was passed down to me. Someday I will likely give to a daughter of my own. It is the birthright of the women in our line – something that binds us all and holds our spirits together. I am so excited to send my mother a copy of that photo, and wish that she could have been there when it was taken.

Can Temple Sholom’s Bulletins Teach us about World War II? – Thursday in Temple Sholom History

This week’s post is less focused on an artifact and more on an idea. How can we look at the Temple’s recorded history in the context of the events of World War II?

As I was looking through the old bulletins looking for information about interesting historical facts in Temple history, Kendra Gerstein (our B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator and Director of Curriculum) and I struck up a conversation. After all I was invading her space, because the old bulletins were moved to her office in a cupboard that you have to stand on a chair to get to.

Sisterhood stands with Women of the Wall

Welcome to the first Temple Sholom Sisterhood Blog post!

Members of our Temple Sholom Sisterhood joined over 100 women and men to pray at a Rosh Chodesh service held at the Daley Center on May 10. The event was sponsored by Chicagoland Women of the Wall.

What a powerful experience it was to pray at a replica of the Western Wall right here in Chicago − particularly knowing that, just ten hours earlier in Jerusalem itself, women assembled to pray and were, for the first time, assisted rather than arrested by police.

Women of the Wall is a tremendous organization which has been holding prayer services and fighting for the right of Jewish women to worship at the Western Wall for decades. The recent court decision permitting women to pray at the Wall wearing tallit and tefillin marks the first step in a long journey to come.

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.

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.