Sof Services Online

Sof Maʻarav High Holiday Services 2020 | 5781 via Zoom

August 25, 2020

Image of a trellis made of tree branches

Rosh HaShanah via Zoom

Sept 18, 2020    8:00-9:00 pm    FRIDAY            Erev Rosh Hashanah –

Sept 19, 2020    9-11:30 am          SATURDAY     First Day of Rosh Hashanah –

Sept 20, 2020    9-11:30 am          SUNDAY          Second Day of Rosh Hashanah – HNL

Yom Kippur via Zoom

Sept 27, 2020    6:30-8:30 pm    SUNDAY          Kol Nidre –

Sept 28, 2020                                 MONDAY

9:00 am-12:30 pm                         YK morning–

12:30-4:00                                      BREAK

4:00-5:00 pm                                 Job Study Session Monday

5:00-6:45 pm                                  YK Mincha / Neilah

We will do kiddush at the end of Rosh Hashanah evening and Rosh Hashanah day 1 and 2, if people at home want to have their own wine and bread ready, and we will do Havdalah at the end of Yom Kippur if they want to have their Havdalah candle ready.

Book of Jonah Discussion

Dina and Mat will once again look forward to discussing the Book of Jonah on Yom Kippur 5781. This zoom session will be at 4:00 PM to 4:50 PM on Monday, September 28, 2020. All are welcome to share their thoughts about the humorous, spiritual, cultural, religious, and human relations themes that one finds in this special book.


Board Votes to Hold High Holy Days On Zoom

August 3, 2020

By Sandra Z. Armstrong

A child blowing a shofar

“A modern Conservative perspective would see the Torah as a living organism, constantly shedding cells and growing new ones, changing and adapting to new and unprecedented circumstances.”

– Commentary, Etz Hayim, 4:2 Va-Ethannan, p.1007

On Friday, June 26, we held an outdoor Sof event at Kalama Beach Club in Kailua. We were hoping that outdoors would provide the safest possible venue to have a live service during the pandemic. Fortunately, we had a beautiful beach day with lots of sun and ocean fun combined with sounds of children’s laughter and boogie boarding waves. As evening approached, Malka Rappaport led an exquisite service enhanced by the cool ocean breezes, clear skies and softly swaying pines nearby.

This important event helped clarify thoughts regarding resumption of services in the Unitarian Church. As a minyan is made of ten Jews, so it is also made up of ten individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 in uniquely different ways. What might be okay for one person will not be okay for the next. No matter how many precautions are taken, there is no way to predict how or why each person will react to a particular social event. And then, up to the minute, the outlook of any member of that minyan has an absolute right to say, “I am uncomfortable with this.” We are in a time in our lives when the health and welfare of our beloved community needs to be our highest consideration. Therefore, the board has decided to have High Holy Day services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur on Zoom.

I am honored to be your president at a time when zooming creates the best possible atmosphere on Shabbat. This interactive venue is lively and enables us to come away feeling passion, compassion, and love.

As a congregation that worships and builds our Jewish community during these difficult times, we create extraordinary ruach. Each week, it happens, and each week we are fulfilled with God’s promise to extend ourselves in ways we never thought possible. On the screen of faces, we catch emotion and joy up close and personal. We share in each other’s lives in a way never achieved before by seeing everyone’s expression all at once. This unique weekly celebration of life keeps us, as Shabbat has kept the Jewish people for thousands of years, so we keep it now. We have found a way to adapt and to adapt well.


Hope Is Who We Are in Hawaiʻi: Perhaps Zoom Gets Us There for Now

July 15, 2020

By Sandra Z. Armstrong

As I walked along the Hawaiian shore today, it occurred to me that the world is a bigger, brighter place like the ocean that surrounds us. The crystal-clear water gently swirls around our feet as we walk along the water’s edge. Suddenly, I heard a voice speaking loudly. As I looked up, I saw a man directing a kite boarder, calling out “Lift up” and “Turn the other way.” The directions were clear, but I am not so sure the newly ordained kite boarder heard his voice.

How much is life like this? We are directed and called to, but we do not always hear an inner voice inside us. Perhaps God is our director? With hope, we will listen to these words with all the goodness of our heart. We were born to repair the world with everlasting kindness along with our continual success in keeping our community strong and engaged.

When we began Zoom, I was afraid. I thought nothing would be good enough for Sof to carry on its 47 year tradition of bringing comfort, joy, and holiness into our Jewish lives. I was fearful and I was wrong. If not for Zoom, we would have been detached for over 3 months now… much too long a time not to be connected to each other. We hold onto our weekly Shabbat gatherings in a world that has turned upside down momentarily.

Whether it be for our weekly Shabbat services, festival days, or even our shiva gathering for Helen Haymer, we have met our goal of maintaining the holiness of Sof Ma’arav. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for all of you in achieving this incredible goal. This took time and effort on the part of many congregants.

Sof Ma’arav has found a way to achieve continual holiness for each other. We thank God that we have achieved our goals with many voices, including our Snowbirds, leading us in song and prayer. Our personalities are vibrant and delightful on the screen. The sages point out that the giving of the Torah took place at Sinai on one day to one people, but the receiving takes place at all times and in all generations. Let us continue to go from strength to strength as we hold Saturday services to the best of our ability, representing the westernmost synagogue in the world to do so!


Congregation Sof Ma’arav went from the Party Shul to the Zoomers: A Heartfelt Message to You

March 30, 2020

Information from Sof President Sandra Z. Armstrong

My biggest fear this morning was not the coronavirus but how was Congregation Sof Ma’arav going to keep our reputation going as a learning experience, a welcoming place, a week Torah reading experience, a lively Shacharit and Musaf service, an opportunity to explore our feelings while we listen to a D’var Torah, a service filled with the laughter of children as they learn about Yiddishkeit and join the Torah service procession (amid smiles from everyone), a place where HaShem would rest the Shechinah upon us weekly. Written below is a presidential diary of the last two weeks and how Sof has adapted.

A Wonderfully Ordinary gathering every Shabbat (written 3/16/2020)

Sometimes we have to sit back and reflect on all the good that we have been given and all the good that we have been doing. This is one of those times. Siddur Sim Shalom in the Musaf Amidah for Shabbat says: “May your gift of Shabbat continue to bind us to You throughout all generations, teaching each of us that holiness can be a living presence in our lives. May we serve You purely, without thought of reward. May we be inspired by the spirit of Shabbat, as we praise You, HaShem who hallows Shabbat.”

As the President of Congregation Sof Ma’arav and a proud member of this congregation, I am forever amazed at the amount of time and energy that goes into each and everyone of our beautiful Shabbat Saturday services. For during the week, starting Saturday night to Sunday and weekdays after, we are incredibly busy learning to read a Torah portion (sometimes for the first time ever), practicing a Haftarah, reviewing a lay leadership role in Shaharit, Torah service or Musaf. Many are practicing to go up to receive an aliyah on the bimah (again sometimes a first), planning what to bring to our lively onegs, baking delicious challah as both Peter and Arnie graciously do and prepping for hours with detailed messages out to the adult Biblical Hebrew classes, as Lorna does.

Robert and Rev Daniel are our Gabbaim keeping a meticulous eye on our service leadership. We remember others as we prepare our lists for the misheberakhs and say names of people we love who need our prayers, weekly reminders go out with yahrzeit notices as Morris faithfully does, shopping for oneg supplies as Jessie does, the weekly task of facilities manager opening/closing the building and putting microphones/lighting in place as Don does.

Others of us are preparing for incredible drashes (sometimes weeks ahead) as the Rabbinic drash Marc Flitter gave last Shabbat speaking of Hashem, the importance of Shabbat gatherings and the unfortunate circumstances of plagues/diseases. Naomi continues as our shammas giving out honors especially with kindness to our visitors that day.

We begin each Shabbat with either Torah study, a profoundly moving experience, or with Gregg in his Talmud class. Gregg shows us a glimpse into the minds of Rabbis 1000’s of years ago and he does it both with humor and expertise. On that note, how about Dina and Gregg announcing/emailing us each Shabbat, requesting everyone to respond to the line up of lay leyning and service leadership positions, as well as for our festival holidays, too. And then there are the children who walk out of the children’s class and light up the sanctuary as they approach the bimah with the Torah. And of course the Sof newsletter where Sid and Lynley pool all of us together in a wonderful version of who we are and who we are becoming.

Sof Ma’arav has been, is, and will continue to be. Sof is a place of intensely positive learning experiences for all of us every single week. For the congregants that I did not mention here, please forgive me, for the joyous task of putting a Sof Ma’arav service together is all consuming for so many of us and everyone is equally important.

Stay safe and be well………………………………………………………Sandra Z.

 

And now an Extraordinary experience as of (3/30/2020) Fourteen days later

I woke up this morning elated over our Zoom Shabbat services yesterday! What a break from, the news here, the news from the mainland and the dreaded coronavirus. We live in an uncertain, fearful time right now. A pandemic is not our ordinary existence and yet somehow, someway we are coping with our extraordinary way of living. Congregation Sof Ma’arav is our strong base to withstand the forces of nature that surround us and keep us physically apart. I say physically apart because spiritually we are still very close. As we become more creative with our zoom service, we feel better each Shabbat; more alive, more connected to each other and HaShem. I urge you to participate on any level in this weekly uplifting experience and become a Zoomer on Shabbat. The ruach created will stay with you through these difficult times.

Dina Yoshimi had the passion to put us together on Zoom! Is it the same as being physically near each other? Yes, the only difference is that we are in different places, in our homes yet together as always to celebrate Shabbat as a joyous occasion in our lives each week. We begin at 9:00am with Talmud study led by Gregg along with alternating Torah study each week. We are still doing it and doing it well! Gregg lays down the magnificent background and sends us the Talmud sheets ahead of time. He teaches us Talmud and the wisdom of our Rabbis and sages. Can you imagine learning to this extent in 2020/5780? What would our Talmudic Scholars have thought of this? What would Rashi be thinking? And Gregg does this with incredible knowledge, flair and humor combined.

We begin our service at 10:00am promptly with a lively Shacharit. Then a very abbreviated Torah service because we are not taking out the Torah but we are reading the parsha of the week out of our Etz Hayim. The Haftarah is chanted as usual with the prayers before and after (and Todah Rabah for this week to Marlene). We follow up with the prayers for peace, our country and Israel led by Don. And we sing a full Musaf together followed by Mourners Kaddish. We have a minyan of “way more than” 10 on the Zoom screen and so this is how we do it.

For our snowbirds on the mainland and Canada, some of you are joining us and we are thrilled! At Sof we have a “Snowbirds” representative on our board as Les Rosenthal because we have so many of you out there that belong to Sof and who we dearly miss.

Speaking of Snowbirds and I will end with this thought. Staying in place for so many of us is like being blanketed with snow on a blizzard.

The drifts pile up as we look outside and stare from our windows. Yet we are safe inside. When the sun comes out, the world is crisp and beautiful out there but we are better off inside. As we see the light streaming through our windows, we think of HaShem brightening up our days and melting away the large drifts of snow that appear before us. We stay positive; we work from home, rest, read good books, email our friends/relatives and have long luxurious conversations over the phone. We pray that this pandemic will be over soon and then we will be together at Sof again celebrating Shabbat yet in the meantime, zoom it is!

Please contact me with any questions.

 

An updated and new Zoom account is on its way.

 

With aloha and lots of love sent to all of you,

 

Sandra Z.


Sof Services Move Online – No Physical Services 3/21, 3/28 and 4/4

March 20, 2020

Letter from Congregation Sof Ma’arav President Sandra Z. Armstrong


Aloha Everyone,

Sometimes we have to sit back and reflect on all the good that we have been given and all the good that we have been doing. This is one of those times. Siddur Sim Shalom in the Musaf Amidah for Shabbat says: “May your gift of Shabbat continue to bind us to You throughout all generations, teaching each of us that holiness can be a living presence in our lives. May we serve You purely, without thought of reward. May we be inspired by the spirit of Shabbat, as we praise You, G-d who hallows Shabbat.”

As the President of Congregation Sof Ma’arav and a proud member of this congregation, I am forever amazed at the amount of time and energy that goes into each and everyone of our beautiful Shabbat Saturday services. For during the week, starting Saturday night to Sunday and weekdays after, we are incredibly busy learning to read a Torah portion (sometimes for the first time ever), practicing a Haftarah, reviewing a lay leadership role in Shaharit, Torah service or Musaf. Many are practicing to go up to receive an aliyah on the bimah (again sometimes a first), planning what to bring to our lively onegs, baking delicious challah as both Peter and Arnie graciously do and prepping for hours with detailed messages out to the adult Biblical Hebrew classes, as Lorna does.

Robert and Rev Daniel are our Gabbaim keeping a meticulous eye on our service leadership. We remember others as we prepare our lists for the misheberakhs and say names of people we love who need our prayers, weekly reminders go out with yahrzeit notices as Morris faithfully does, shopping for oneg supplies as Jessie does, the weekly task of facilities manager opening/closing the building and putting microphones/lighting in place as Don does.

Others of us are preparing for incredible drashes (sometimes weeks ahead) as the Rabbinic drash Marc Flitter gave last Shabbat speaking of Hashem, the importance of Shabbat gatherings and the unfortunate circumstances of plagues/diseases. Naomi continues as our shammas giving out honors especially with kindness to our visitors that day.

We begin each Shabbat with either Torah study, a profoundly moving experience, or with Gregg in his Talmud class. Gregg shows us a glimpse into the minds of Rabbis 1000’s of years ago and he does it both with humor and expertise. On that note, how about Dina and Gregg announcing/emailing us each Shabbat, requesting everyone to respond to the line up of lay leyning and service leadership positions, as well as for our festival holidays, too. And then there are the children who walk out of the children’s class and light up the sanctuary as they approach the bimah with the Torah. And of course the Sof newsletter where Sid and Lynley pool all of us together in a wonderful version of who we are and who we are becoming. 

If I have gone on a long time, it is just the beginning of what Sof Ma’arav has been, is, and will continue to be. Sof is a place of intensely positive learning experiences for all of us every single week. For the congregants that I did not mention here, please forgive me, for the joyous task of putting a Sof Ma’arav service together is all consuming for so many of us and every one is equally important. 

So it is with responsibility and also a temporary bit of sadness that we will not be able to physically meet over the next 3 weeks 3/21, 3/28 and 4/4 until further information about the coronavirus is known to us.

In the meantime, the virtual schedule for services and classes appears here.

Stay safe and be well,

Sandra Z.

 

Upcoming Events

Virtual Torah and Talmud Study

Saturday mornings 9-9:50 Look for an announcement from Dina, Gregg, or Sid

Virtual Shabbat Service

Saturday mornings 10am-12 Noon. Look for an announcement from Dina or Sid

Hebrew Classes

Prayerbook Hebrew and Intermediate Parsha Classes are meeting at 12:45 after the online services. If you would like to join, please send a request to Lorna Holmes. She will send you a link to get into the class.

Sof Shabbat Morning Services –

You are invited to participate in Saturday morning Shabbat services through an interactive Zoom meeting. (This is NOT streaming video; it is an interactive “meeting room”.)

Join by a) digital device or b) by phone:

  1. a) Join the Zoom Meeting using your Mac, PC, laptop, I-pad, smartphone or other digital device by clicking on this link:

Join Zoom Meeting

https://hawaii.zoom.us/j/878179114

Meeting ID: 878 179 114

Dial by your location

+1 253 215 8782 US

+1 301 715 8592 US

Meeting ID: 878 179 114

The Siddur Sim Shalom is available online from the Rabbinical Assembly.

Calendar
Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Archives
Shabbat Times
  • The Royal Road to Relational Spirituality
    This is a 10 session course taught in 2019. Click here to purchase full course recordings. Click here for a free download of first session. Derekh HaMelekh— “The Royal Road”—is a collection of Shabbat and holiday teachings by Reb Kalanymous Kalman Shapira, who was the “Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto” as well as a major […]
  • Rising Above Isolation: The Piaseczner Rebbe’s Shavuot Torah of Connection
    Dates and Times: Tuesdays – May 12, May 19, May 267 – 8 pm EST Cost: Pay-what-you-can  Presenter: Rabbi Dr. Natan Margalit Description: We’ll learn together an amazing Shavuot Torah by Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapiro, the Piaseczner Rebbe, also known for being the Hasidic Rebbe in the Warsaw Ghetto during the horrific years of the Holocaust. In this Torah he explores […]