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Upcoming

  • Friday May 24
    • 5:30pm: Mincha & Kabbalat Shabbat services
  • Saturday May 25
    • 9:30am: Shabbat services
    • 9:30pm: Havdalah service (on Zoom only)
  • Tuesday May 28
    • 4:45pm: Prayer discussion group
    • 5:30pm: Minyan services
  • Tuesday June 18
    • 7:00pm: Special Congregational Meeting and Annual Meeting (TI and Zoom)
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May 2024

Letter from the Rabbi

Dear Temple Israel Community,

     As we begin May, it feels clear that our seasons have shifted. In addition to the end of Pesach, the beginning of this month has corresponded with several exceptionally sunny days. I hope that in the weeks to come we will all have many opportunities to absorb the warmth and light of the Springtime.

     We ushered in Springtime with robust communal celebrations of Passover! In addition to services on the first morning of the holiday, we gathered a great group to learn and sing ancient Psalms of praise the 7th day of the holiday and then a larger group on the 8th and final day to daven together and to remember our loved ones who have passed on from this world through Yizkor.

     Now, we find ourselves in the period of our people’s calendar called Sefirat haOmer. For seven weeks from the second day of Passover until the Summer festival of Shavuot, we count each day and we strive to prepare ourselves to be able to receive the Torah anew during Shavuot (this year June 11-13). While the Omer always corresponds with warming weather that naturally warms our hearts, our tradition also teaches that this is a season of mourning.

     Almost 2000 years later, we remember a horrific plague which claimed the lives of 24,000 students of Torah who were disciples of the great Rabbi Akiva. It is for this reason that we traditionally do not arrange weddings in this time of the year. This year, my personal sense of mourning was amplified since we lost a member and leader in our community (Moira Shirvan a”h) over the intermediate days of Passover and laid her to rest the day following.

     Of course, my heart is also burdened by the ongoing war in which our people is mired in Gaza and that has become increasingly complicated in this past month due to the attack from Iran, protest movements, and more. I am sure that many of you share in this experience of a heart burdened by the unfolding events in Israel, Gaza, and around the world. May we see soon a peaceful end to this war along with a return of all those being held captive.

     Though this entire month to come will be within the period of the Omer, we can look forward to many meaningful and joyous opportunities to gather in community together especially over Shabbat in the weeks to come. I hope this month will provide me with the time to connect with more of you, valued members of our local Jewish community with whom I have yet to grow a relationship. Please, do not hesitate to be in touch with me if you would like to get to know one another or to continue to do so! May this Spring season enable us to see the blooming and blossoming of flowers and relationships alike here in the Southern Tier!

Rabbi Micah R. Friedman

הרב מיכה שמחה פרידמן 

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