From President Jeff Cossin
January-February Sinai Temple Bulletin 2013
There I was singing with Shir Fun and Sababa! on Shabbat evening November 30. It was a thrill to be with the group that I sang with 50 years ago. It was an honor to perform original music with Sababa! And then Shir Fun returned for our annual Chanukah Shabbat Service and again they were magnificent – all 26 of them over 25 % of our Religious School population. And what about “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins”?! Our own Sinai actors and actresses were back for the third time in three years.We have quite a troupe! I challenged our Executive Committee to think about applying for grants to allow more shows to be performed at Sinai Temple. Cantor Levson and Sheri Levson, through their productions, have created community, powerful Jewish connections, and future stars of the stage. Do you know how to write grant proposals? Do you know where to get grants? Can one of you write to Steven Spielberg to see if he would endow our Temple to create young Jewish thespians?! Let me know at PHOhead@aol.com.
Our Leadership Development initiative for 2012-2013 is well on its way.We will be starting on January 9 with at least NINE congregants getting their toes wet. I am proud of them and I thank Michael Freedman and Ronnie Leavitt who, along with Rabbi Shapiro, have created a robust training program for Sinai Temple.Thanks to Susanne Simon who helped with many calls.
Our Nominating Committee under the chairmanship of Bruce Leshine our First Vice President will begin meeting in January to choose seven congregants to join our Board of Directors and seven more to serve on the Executive Committee. The next three years will be extremely important in the history of Sinai Temple.Your participation will be crucial. If you want to be a candidate or know someone who would be a good candidate, please let me know.
Our Raise the Roof Campaign has raised nearly $41, 000 from ONE HUNDRED and FORTY ONE families as of December 12. I am thrilled with your response.Thank you very much for your generosity and interest in this project. As all of you know, I also encourage and value your volunteer time.There are multiple ways to help your Sinai community and they are all appreciated.
As a religious community we need to respond to the heart breaking events in Newtown,CT. We can be a powerful force for social justice and I believe our Social Action Committee under the guidance of our new chair Dr. Richard Segool (email@example.com ) should be the center of this activity. If you are moved to be part of this discussion please contact him.
You can help our community by recruiting new members to Sinai Temple. Call our office at 736-3619 with names of prospective members and we will take over from there!
November-December Sinai Temple Bulletin 2012
There is nothing more invigorating for me than observing and Kvelling over the youngsters and children in our STUFF program, TOT Shabbat, Shir Fun and Religious School. They are not only having fun but are actually enjoying Judaism. I was very proud of Shir Fun’s singing during the Rosh Hashanah morning service. One could observe that there was spirituality in their participation. The STUFF kids danced around Cantor "Bim Bam" even as early as 8:30 am on Rosh Hashanah Morning! And then there was Erev Sukkot. We had nearly 140 people decorating our Sinai Sukkah. I thoroughly enjoyed being advised by many of the children as to where to hang the decorations! Kudos to Jennifer and Adam Metsch and Karen Mendelsohn and their teams for planning and carrying out that evening.
And now we are looking forward to our Chanukah celebration on December 14, 2012. Our community has a wonderful opportunity to reach out to our unaffiliated Jewish friends and invite them to Sinai on that evening. It promises to be lots of fun. We will have a wonderful opportunity to honor Howard Kalodner as he "retires" from his eight year stint as Bulletin Editor and nine years as Webmaster. Chanukah has become THE holiday to honor those individuals who have worked tirelessly for Sinai over many years as "unsung heroes."
As we go to deadline for this Bulletin I am thrilled to announce that there will be a very special show on December 16 starring many of the children in our Religious School. Sheri Levson has asked for our blessing to go ahead with this project and I was excited to say "YES". Our kids are learning new skills as well as experiencing Judaism. This is wonderful!
We will be interacting with the Baby Boomers over the next 2-3 months. Our goal is to engage with this very important cohort of individuals as they transition to new generational activities to see how Sinai can fit into their evolving lives. Calls from the Board and from Rabbi Shapiro and Cantor Levson as well as a written invitation will preceed a series of Coffee Conversations. I will report on our experience later in the year.
Our Leadership Development initiative for 2012-2013 is well on its way. We are looking for congregants who would like to get more involved in the life of our Sinai Temple community. This does not necessarily mean we are only search- ing for future Presidents and Vice Presidents although that would be wonderful! I started 25 years ago on the Member- ship/Shalom Committee and then evolved to my current role as President. If you would like to play a small part in our Temple’s life contact Michael Freedman at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him of your interest.
Our Raise the Roof Campaign has raised over $37, 300 from ONE HUNDRED and TWENTY TWO families as of October 5. I am thrilled with your response. We have more to raise so please send us your checks. ANY amount is welcome. Be part of this campaign: Help us raise the roof!
And finally, the Sinai 2015 Planning Group is meeting regularly and I will update you later in the year. Thank you for all of your positive compliments after my Rosh Hashanah remarks. Everyone seems to understand the seriousness of our situation. You can help by recruiting new members to our Congregation. Call our Temple office at 736-3619 with names of prospective members and we will take over from there!
Remarks Delivered at the Morning Service
Rosh Hashanah 5772, September 29, 2011
May-June Sinai Temple Bulletin 2012
I am writing this article after attending Passover morn- ing services. It was good to see the Rabbi back and to feel the excitement in the full Sanctuary. However , as it should be, the Youth of our congregational community thrilled me and again convinced me that they are the future of our congregation and Judaism in the United States. The Confirmation class, Seventh graders and Third graders participated with pride in the service and "Shir Fun” again provided the music and spiritual excitement. Their singing of L’Dor V’Dor was outstanding and the soloists were wonderful. "Shir Fun’s” presentations are becoming ever more sophisticated. Their dedication is a testament to both their parents’ encouragement and to our Cantor who inspires them to greater accomplishments at every service they sing.
In the next few months you will see something totally new in the Temple Bulletin. We will be transitioning the advertising which historically has been in the Engagement Calendar to our Bulletin. This will give greater exposure to our advertisers who will be the lifeblood of this publication. I anticipate that the "calendar” will now be on the Temple Website and be updated frequently with the latest events and meetings. We honored all of the current and past Engagement Calendar volunteers last December as we now evolve this publication to a more modern format. If you or your business want to advertise in the Bulletin please call our Temple office at 736-3619.
I want to thank the following Temple Board Members who will be concluding their terms on the Board: Pam Kalman, Bonnie Thomas, Elaine Shusterman, Roberta Hillenberg-Gang and Shari Cooper. They have worked with great dedication for you and our Sinai Community and have all expressed a desire to continue to serve our Temple in the future.
I want to thank the following members of our House Committee who spend countless hours keeping our Building secure and safe: Irwin Pers, Chair, Jay Mustain, and Jeffrey Rembrandt. Because of their hard work we will see a completely new roof installed to prevent leaking into the second floor of the Religious School and repair of the basement to prevent ground leaking there. Their expertise and professionalism should be recognized by all of us. If you would like to be part of this Committee, please call the Temple office 736-3619.
And finally Todah Rabah to Cantor Levson for doing such a wonderful job during Rabbi Shapiro’s Sabbatical. We look forward to his performance and the performance of over 50 people in our Temple’s production of Oliver! Thank you to Sheri Levson for being Director. It could not be done without her professionalism and skill.
L'Shalom Jeff Cossin
March-April Sinai Temple Bulletin 2012
The weekend on which I am writing this article is known as Shabbat Shira - the Shabbat of Song - the weekend that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and celebrated with Miriam and her Timbrels and with Song. Shabbat at Sinai Temple was also celebratory with the Foreign Food and Foreign Film program with more than 115 of our congregants participating. I had the "nachas" of sitting in with the SPFTY group as they were conducting their own service in the Oneg Shabbat Room and then I was moved by the Cantor's service in the Sanctuary. On Shabbat Morning "Shir Fun " participated in the service and I "qvelled" as they davened in prayer and song.
We will be honoring and thanking Sheila Shear for her wonderful leadership of our Religious School on Friday evening, May 4, 2012. Details will follow. A search committee lead by Bernie Cohen is in place to find our new Religious School Director. I am confident that we will have that person in place for the new school year.
During this period of transition with the Religious School, I and the Sinai Board are thrilled to announce that Cantor Levson has signed a three year contract with us through June of 2015. I hope that you will congratulate our Cantor for this accomplishment and thank him for?his hard work, beautiful music and his dedication to our children and to our Synagogue.
We also want to encourage our unaffiliated friends in the greater community to witness and experience what we do at Sinai.The Membership Committee is sponsoring "Taste of Sinai "on April 29, as an opportunity to showcase our Temple. Please invite your friends to join you and us?in the Oneg Shabbat room on that Sunday morning. More details will be coming soon in the mail and in this Bulletin. Try A Synagogue has been a tremendous success with 18 of our 27 new household members so far this year part of that initiative.This program may just be the way to engage new members in Sinai Temple.
Joyous Activities! "Oliver" is coming our way in May. There is a cast of over FIFTY individuals including Eighteen children from our Sinai Family! Sheri Levson has many opportunities for you to participate without having to be on stage. Please email her at email@example.com to tell her you want to help.
And finally,Todah Rabah to all of you who wear your name tags at services and continue to greet those you do NOT know FIRST!
L'Shalom Jeff Cossin
January-February Sinai Temple Bulletin 2012
I wrote this article the evening of December 10, 2011. I had just returned home from our Annual New Member Social Hour and was totally invigorated by greeting and meeting many of our new members who had joined our Community since June 1, 2011. I was impressed by their vastness of experience from a Western New England University Law Student to a Springfield College Dean to a woman who converted to Judaism over 45 years ago. The Rabbi and I encouraged everyone to become involved in our Sinai Community by volunteering in a "One Time Opportunity" experience.
You do not need to be a new member to get involved. The "One Time Opportunity" experiences are for everyone. Please see the description on page 10 . You can call Robin Blanchette-Gage at 7363619 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with your selection. We guarantee that you will feel more connected to our Community through these opportunities.
OLIVER is coming to Sinai Temple in May, 2012! Sheri Levson, Director of our production, will be looking for on stage and off stage volunteers. This promises to build on the excitement generated by Music Man last year! If you have never been involved in a show before, THIS is your opportunity. Being in this show will definitely connect you to our Community.
We are continuing to attract new members to Sinai Temple even after the traditionally busy High Holiday sea son . So far since June 1, 2011, we have welcomed Twenty One new households to our Community. The trend has become very positive over the last two years. Our involvement in the Try a Synagogue outreach effort has fueled some of this growth. But we need to continue to encourage more growth in our Community. We have so much to offer and we want to share that with as many members as possible. If you know of a potential new member, call our Temple office.
It is very important for our members individually to reach out to those people they do not know, welcome them and involve them in our conversations. Be sure that EVERYONE in the Oneg Shabbat Room feels comfortable. This builds and sustains Community.
Our Sinai Facebook is LIVE at www.Facebook.com/ SinaiTemple or via our Sinai Temple web site! Just click on the "Like us on Facebook" link. It is a work in progress. We actually started to benefit from Facebook during the October snowstorm.
Lastly I want to let everyone know that Rabbi Shapiro will be on Sabbatical from the end of December to the end of March. He WILL, however, be in our Purim presentation! The congregation will be in excellent hands with Cantor Levson, Sheila Shear, our Executive Committee and Board, our office staff and Donna and Angel. We have been preparing for this for over six months. Please let me know if there are any concerns: 567 7320 or PHOhead@aol.com.
L'Shalom Jeff Cossin
November-December Sinai Temple Bulletin 2011
I want to thank you for the support and encourage- ment that I received concerning my Rosh Hashanah remarks. The theme was that of Community, the glue that will strengthen our Temple and inspire our mem- bers to be part of a Sacred Community with Sacred Purpose. I want to thank all of the Greeters and Ushers who worked so diligently to reach out to all of us, to welcome us and make us feel comfortable during the High Holidays.
It is very important, however, for our members individually to reach out to those people they do not know , welcome them and involve them in our conversations. Be sure that EVERYONE in the Oneg Shabbat Room feels comfortable. Parashat Vayera Genesis 18 will be read on the weekend of November 11. It is the one in which Abraham and Sarah welcome the three strangers into their tent. It should be OUR inspiration to do the same at Sinai.
I heard from several of our congregants that the NAMETAG idea I presented was a good one. I am now asking all of you who believe in this to let me know?if you will be on an ad hoc subcommittee to help the Membership Committee operationalize this goal. Please call me at 567-7320 or email me at PHOhead@aol.com.?I promise that this will be a short assignment with a very important goal.T
he Chavurah Program is UP and RUNNING with at least FORTY members already engaged! Join this community by contacting email@example.com or the Sinai Office at 736-3619 ext 13.
Are any of you intrigued by the environmental ideas I presented on Rosh Hashanah (Solar panels and Permaculture)? Do you have other ideas which we could investigate? Please call me at 567-7320 or email me at PHOhead@aol.com.
Our Sinai Facebook is LIVE at www.Facebook.com/ SinaiTemple or via our Sinai Temple web site! Just click on the "Like us on Facebook" link. It is a work in progress and I want to thank Shari Cooper, Joel Solomon, and Bryan Kantor for all of their hard work and Howard Kalodner, our Webmaster, for his work on the web site. It is amazing how quickly this was accomplished!
Our New Member Welcoming Social will be on Saturday, November 5, from 4- 5:30 PM. Invitations are in the mail. Please RSVP by calling the Temple Office at 736-3619 as soon as possible.
L'Shalom Jeff Cossin
October Sinai Temple Bulletin 2011
I am proud to announce that Sinai Temple has received the Shutafim ( hebrew for "Partners”) Award from the Union of Reform Judaism for its work in the Try A Synagogue initiative first conceived of and established by our previous president, Mark Stone. Our Temple will be honored for its "Exemplary collaboration with the Greater Springfield Synagogues and the Greater Springfield Jewish Federation” at the Washington, D.C. URJ Biennial in December 2011. I hope to be there (along with other Sinai members) and "Qvell” as Rabbi Shapiro takes part in a panel discussion on our accomplishments. But this is only the first step as we promote Try A Synagogue to our unaffiliated friends and neighbors in the Greater Springfield community. Be Proud of Sinai Temple and encourage your friends to join our Community.
During the September 2d Service with a Story, I was proud to watch our young children in Shir Fun thoroughly enjoy our Shabbat Service.They were totally engaged in the liturgy as they enthusiastically davened through the Amidah. Kudos to the Cantor who is their inspiration and to their parents who encourage them to be involved in that musical community.
Please take note of a wonderful greater Jewish community opportunity to celebrate Shabbat with all of our fellow Try A Synagogue friends on the weekend of October 28 and 29. Look carefully in this Bulletin for details.
Tekiah Gadolah! Remember my call to action during Rosh Hashanah. Community is the glue that will strengthen our Temple. Get involved with the Chavurot program. Greet the stranger in the parking lot and inside the Temple and include him in your conversations. Make new friends in the Oneg Shabbat Room. Put on a name tag and greet others by their name. Do not let anyone stand by him or herself.
If you have any concerns or suggestions or compliments, email me at PHOhead@aol.com or call me at 567-7320.
L’Shalom Jeff Cossin
September Sinai Temple Bulletin 2011
I am proud and excited to be able to lead Sinai Temple as your president for the next two years. I look forward to greeting all of you and addressing our wonderful Sinai Community not only during the High Holidays but also when we see each other during the year. I am not so naïve to believe that I will actually get the opportunity to greet all of you but I encourage you to contact me either at home at 567-7320 or via EMAIL at PHOhead@aol.com. As many of you know I do have a hectic day job being a physician so I ask for your patience in my response to your correspondence. Some of you have already made some great suggestions to me face to face. But may I suggest that you email me or write me at the Temple. Not only will I then have a permanent record of your thoughts but I can then respond efficiently and can route your comments and suggestions to the appropriate committee heads, Board members, office staff or Professional Staff.
Our Sinai Community is very fortunate this year to have several new committee chairpeople. I am happy to welcome to our leadership team Karen Mendelsohn, chair of the Membership Committee, Kathy Roberts, chair of the Social Action Committee, Steven Kessler, chair of the Ritual Committee, Ilene Conklin, chair of the Fundraising Committee and Alan Goldsmith, chair of the Finance Committee.
Sinai’s participation in the Try A Synagogue initiative continues this year with an Open House for the entire unaffiliated Jewish community on Wednesday September 14, 2011, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. If you have friends who do not belong to a synagogue please suggest that they come to one or all of the three synagogues that evening. I would love to have them join our Community.
I am excited to “raffle” off the PRESIDENTIAL PARKING SPACE at the rear entrance to the Temple . For FIVE dollars you may have the opportunity to park very close to the back entrance to Sinai for the entire year. Enter the raffle as many times as you would like. If you are lucky maybe I will even wash your car. Please go to the Temple website or to the Temple office to purchase your ticket.
Above all, when you enter our Sinai Home, starting in the parking lot, PLEASE say hello FIRST to someone you do NOT know and tell them your name. It will be a Mitzvah for the two of you and maybe a new friendship will be created. At the very least TWO smiles will be created and you will both be welcomed into our Community that day.
On behalf of the Executive Committee and Board of Sinai Temple, I pray that the New Year will be a sweet one with good health and happiness for all of us, and by using our 2011-12 Ten Commandments as a guidepost we will continue to create a Sacred Community at Sinai Temple.
© 2012/5773 Sinai Temple 1100 Dickinson St. Springfield Massachusetts 01108