My Shabbat Message for April 3, 2020

Dear Friends,

As we approach Passover I, and everyone I know, cannot help but see the ten plagues sent against Egypt in a new way this year.

On ten occasions God sent a plague against the Egyptian people and, time and time again, just as Pharaoh appeared to soften and behave with a bit more compassion the text of the Torah tells us that God hardened his heart.

One of the ten plagues was the plague that began when, as the text of the Torah teaches,

…there was a thick darkness (Exod. 10:22).

The rabbis of old taught:

“The darkness was twice and twice again thicker [than the darkness of any other night, so that] “no one was able to move from his place for three days” (Exod. 10:23)… During the three days of darkness, the cover of thick cloud made it dark for the Egyptians but gave light to

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TSTI Today for March 31, 2020

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Tuesday March 31, 2020

 

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As we begin week three of this (temporary) new reality called “physical distancing” it’s more important than ever to feel as connected as possible. Recognizing the challenges physical distancing presents we wanted to invite you to be part of a TSTI experiment.

We have recorded two versions of a familiar melody for Hiney Mah Tov. Our students sing this version in religious school and it frequently makes an appearance during Friday night services.

The next part requires your help.

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Step 1: Click here to download this version of the words and music. Listen to it as many times as necessary for you to become familiar with it.

Step 2: Click here to download this version with no words, just like karaoke. Practice singing along with it. When you are ready, ask someone to take video of you singing along with the instrumental track. (Please position …

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TSTI Today for March 30, 2020

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At the end of Shabbat Services Friday night we asked community members to share pictures form their Shabbat table. After all, while we might have to welcome Shabbat from a distance for the time that doesn’t mean we we aren’t able to share Shabbat services together. #CommunityNeverCloses

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(click picture to view video)

Join us each week for Shabbat services at 6pm Friday evenings and Havdalah Saturday evenings at 6pm.

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TSTI Boker Tov Music
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 9:00am

Enjoy a morning of music and movement with our Song Leader Shawn Fogel. Sing along with each other to start our day with joy. Geared toward preschool, but open to all ages. Fridays will feature special Shabbat songs and blessings.
Go to: https://zoom.us/j/588455664

NEW: Mindful 11:00 am Mondays and Wednesdays with Bela

Through social stories, mindful breathing, and movement children will learn tools to help them understand and process their emotions …

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TSTI Today Shabbat Shalom March 27, 2020

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Dear Friends,

It has been another week.

It has been another week when medical personnel continued to show us what real heroes look like.

It has been another week when we worried about the health and wellbeing of those we love.

It has been another week when the vast majority of us have continued to adjust to a (temporary) “new normal” that is anything but normal.

But, just as it does each week, Shabbat is on the way. When it arrives we will be reminded, yet again, that no matter what may be going on in our lives and in the world there is always something for which to be grateful.

I am sad that, once again, we will not be able to be in each other’s physical presence to welcome our day of rest. But, just as we have for the past few weeks, that doesn’t mean we cannot …

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TSTI Today for March 26, 2020

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UPDATE: From the Interfaith Food Pantry of South Orange

After exceedingly careful thought and numerous discussions with volunteer leadership, the IFPO temporarily ceased pantry operations on March 18. Our host Church had been, and currently remains, closed. While it pains us greatly to not be able to directly continue to serve our neighbors at this time, we made this decision out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health and well-being of our clients and volunteers, as well as concern for the local community.

The IFPO transferred all the contents of our pantry rooms (as well as our supply of maxipads) to our partner MEND last week, for distribution to Essex County pantries within the MEND network that are still able to be open. MEND is working closely with other emergency food pantries as well as local schools to make sure that emergency feeding programs continue to have …

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TSTI Today for March 25, 2020

A Message from Alon, our Rishon

Hi Everyone,
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was required to return to Israel. I am hopeful that I will  be able to come back to NJ soon! Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel has become my second home for the last six months and I am so thankful for everything we have learned and experienced together. I already miss everyone I met and experiences we shared. You are all part  of my heart, so for now I’ll say “l’hitraot” (see you soon) and not goodbye. Please stay in touch and stay healthy!
Alon
Rishonim 17 

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Alon was part of a program, Rishonim, that brought talented young adults who are embarking on a gap year between high school graduation and their mandatory IDF or national service to our area. They volunteer throughout our community in schools. Alon was our Rishon this year. He participated in the preschool, …

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TSTI Today for March 24, 2020

 

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Update: TSTI’s Building Closure

Continued connection is what we have strived for as our temple family moves into an unprecedented second week of state-mandated social distancing. Even without the benefit of the physical structure of Temple, we are one congregation and one community.

We have made every effort to bring TSTI to you to bridge the physical distance required to keep this virus at bay. With Zoom gatherings as diverse as Shabbat streaming services, morning coffees with Clergy, Hebrew School, Shabbat songs and blessings, Torah Study and educational programs like Cantor Moses’ recent discussion of Leo Frank, we are delivering the best of Temple directly to you in your home. Continue to check “TSTI Today” for daily updates about programming.

But in addition to keeping members engaged, our priority is to keep our TSTI family safe. For this reason, we have made the decision to continue with our ZOOM …

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My Shabbat Message March 13, 2020

Dear Friends,

As Shabbat approaches I want to begin by thanking all of you for your understanding and support for the decision by our Board of Directors to shut the building effective last night. The current closure is in effect until March 29. At that time we will assess next steps.

Many years ago my teacher and thesis advisor Rabbi Laurence Kushner wrote a book entitled, “Invisible Lines of Connection.” It is an excellent book whose title captures a great truth- we may not see the myriad ways in which we are connected but that does not mean they are not there. That truth has become clearer than ever in recent days. We are connected- not just within our synagogue, not just within our community but, ultimately, all people everywhere are connected one to the next. The irony, of course, is that the current “proof” of our connection also requires …

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Maintaining Community, Being Safe

Dear Friends,

From the start of this crisis we have been doing our best to put in place steps that were prudent but measured. Unfortunately, recent developments over the past 24 hours require a more urgent response.

After meeting with both our Executive Committee and our Board of Trustees this afternoon we have come to the determination that the best option to keep everyone as safe as possible is to close the building effective immediately. This closure will be in place through March 29th at which time we will reassess to determine if we should extend the closure into April.

We hoped to avoid this step but the continued spread of COVID-19, and our concern for community members leave us no choice.

Lifecycle: The building will be open with a small staff on hand for a bat mitzvah this Shabbat. We will make a determination with regard to other lifecycle …

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