Shabbat Service News

Sof Board Approves New Service Attendance Policy

July 2, 2021

The Sof Maʻarav Board has voted on a policy to expand the number of people permitted to attend Saturday services. The number of people permitted to attend services will be raised to 25 beginning Saturday, July 10.

Only congregants fully vaccinated from Covid-19 will be permitted to attend services in person. Face masks and social distancing will continue. The Board has done this as a safety measure to protect all congregants from the virus. We have many older members of our congregation and want to ensure the comfort and safety of all members of our Sof community. Guests will not be permitted to attend service at this time.

If you wish to attend services, we ask you to do the following. Make a copy of your vaccine card, either through scanning or via a PDF and send it to Sof Treasurer Robert Littman.

Robert is going to maintain the file of vaccine cards to ensure that all attendees are fully vaccinated.

Services will continue to be available via Zoom every Saturday morning.

Rosh Hashanah services begin Monday evening September 6. We want to make sure that a process is in place that will allow everyone to have a safe and meaningful High Holy Days experience. This process of allowing 25 fully vaccinated people into the Unitarian Church will continue until the board meets again on Sunday, August 1. At that time, the process for admission to High Holy Days services will be finalized.

Thank you to everyone in our community for your cooperation.


Sof Experiments with Hybrid Services

June 7, 2021

by Sandra Z. Armstrong & Margie Walkover

A phone showing an image of trees and nature behind it.The June 5 service was opened to Board and Committee members and the lay leadership for that particular Shabbat. The board established guidelines for a trial run to be shared on Zoom and at the Unitarian Church:

  • RSVPs to President Sandra Armstrong will be an essential component.
  • Only vaccinated individuals may attend.
  • 6 feet of separation will apply (unless a family member).
  • Everyone will remain masked – including service leaders.
  • Services start at 9:50am and we will try our best to be finished by noon.
  • There will be no physical oneg.
  • Hebrew classes will remain online and begin 40 minutes after services actually end.

The trial period runs from June 5 through June 26, four Shabbats. On June 27, the Sof Board will reconvene to discuss our progress and assess the situation.

During the recent Sof Ma’arav Annual Meeting we discussed our public health community’s success in learning how to manage the pandemic: vaccinations are available; contact tracing systems have stabilized; and infection rates in Hawai’i are under control. Because our nation’s epidemiologists better understand the behavior of this coronavirus, we know better how to contain the virus during outbreaks. We have also learned how to safely open the economy and our social networks as outbreaks subside. Now we feel comfortable moving forward in our efforts to reintegrate face-to-face meetings as part of life at Sof Ma’arav.

This is important because Rabbi Rosalind Glazer will be joining us in Hawaiʻi for High Holy Days 2021! We have  plenty of time to learn how to hold the face-to face portion of the service. We plan to offer a hybrid set of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services to Sof Ma’arav congregants.

The majority of our congregation will be invited to participate via Zoom. During the test period we will have a small gathering at the Unitarian Church. The plan is to invite approximately 15 board members, committee chairs and lay leaders who have been fully vaccinated. Everyone will be masked during the entire service. Social distancing will be practiced.

We will try this pattern for four weeks. As we learn how to manage the technology and our safety procedures, we will create more space for people to attend in person. Eventually, we hope to invite all vaccinated congregants to “in house” Shabbat services.

A phone showing an image of nature behind itHow did we create this plan? The Sof Ma’arav Executive Committee gathered information about practices that would ensure safety during this ‘reopening’ phase of the pandemic. First, Sandy and Mat attended meetings of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Pacific Southwest Region. These meetings included discussions about how congregations around the country were managing Shabbat gatherings, over Zoom, and more recently, in person, during COVID-19. Second, conversations were held with shul members who are part of the medical profession and who are associated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Health. Third, we met with the Unitarian Church to find out how they have adapted their space to support hybrid services on Zoom. Finally, we discussed the plan at our 2021 Annual Meeting on May 23rd.

During this research process, we gathered the practical knowledge required to develop our plan. We discovered that many shuls in the West have already established successful track records in using a hybrid form of gathering. Our medical advisors confirmed criteria for face-to-face gatherings that are easy to follow. The Unitarian Church shared that they have the technology required to offer Zoom for in-person services and will make their tech assistant available to us. We received feedback at the Annual Meeting that will be helpful to ensure that this process meets the needs of our diverse congregation.

We are grateful for this opportunity to develop hybrid Shabbat services. Please be on the look-out for an email with a Zoom link and an invitation. We look forward to seeing you at Shabbat services via Zoom and as time goes by, in person.


How to Make Jewish Spaces More Accessible for Disabled Jews Like Me

By Allison Wallis

Previously published in Kveller:

https://www.kveller.com/how-to-make-jewish-spaces-more-accessible-for-disabled-jews-like-me/

One in four Americans has at least one disability. If you live long enough, the odds are that you will develop a disability. It’s just part of the spectrum of the human condition. The Torah is full of disabled heroes. Moses had a speech impediment. Jacob wrestled with an angel and was left with a limp. Leah suffered from eye problems, and Miriam was exiled from camp due to leprosy. Saul struggled with severe mental illness, and Isaac was blind in later life and may have had PTSD. In fact, Aaron speaking for Moses is the first instance of reasonable accommodations in the Torah. Our tradition encourages us all to learn, gather together in community, and allow for accommodations to make that happen. Leviticus 19:14 explicitly spells it out: “You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind.”

Here in the U.S., religious institutions are not required to adhere to the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This means it’s up to the organization’s leadership and members to ensure that spaces and services are accessible.

I have multiple disabilities and am a manual wheelchair user. For a few years, before I switched to a wheelchair, I used a cane. I couldn’t stand for very long, and I always felt self-conscious during services when everyone stands. I would either struggle to stand — so I wouldn’t stick out — or sit and deal with some curious stares and intrusive questions. The first time a rabbi said, “Please stand if you are able,” it made me feel like an acknowledged member of the congregation. I stayed seated and was able to have a much more meaningful time without the added stress on my body taking me out of the moment. It was such a simple thing for the rabbi to say — only four additional words —  but it made me feel like a full member of the community.

I recently asked disabled members of Jewish Twitter about negative experiences they’ve had in Jewish spaces and stories poured in. One new wheelchair user requested that their school move a third-floor service to the first floor; the student president asked if they were sure they couldn’t climb the stairs. I know families with autistic kids who were asked to leave services because they were “distracting.” One temple member with low-vision let their 20-year membership lapse after the synagogue refused to buy large-print siddurs (prayer books).

As a community, we can do so much better. Here are some basic guidelines to help you provide access to disabled people in your Jewish spaces.

  1. Always assume a disabled person has agency and knows what they need. Don’t do things fora person, do them witha person. Do ask the person how you can make things more accessible for them. My favorite example of this is when people run in front of my wheelchair, cutting me off in the process, to open a door that I could have very easily opened myself. A simple, “Do you need help with that?” could have saved us both embarrassment.
  2. Do you know who is homebound or chronically ill in your community? Do you reach out to them? Have you asked them how you can help provide better access? When I was at my sickest, I would regularly miss months of services at a time. While a few people would check in with me at home, others asked me nonstop where I hadbeen whenever I would return to services.
  3. Build physical improvements such as ramps, handrails, automatic door openers, etc., to make sure that your bathroom is genuinely accessible. That means that faucets, changing tables, paper towel dispensers — everything — must be within reach for a seated person. Ensure the accessible restroom is clearly labeled and that the door isn’t too heavy; it should require no more than 5 pounds of force to open.
  4. Do you have a ramp to the bimah?If not, consider building one, or placing a desk and the Torah on the same level as the sanctuary’s seats so that everyone can access it. There’s nothing that makes me feel lonelier as a disabled Jew than to visit a temple that doesn’t have access to the bimah. Have your plan for access in place before it’s needed to not cause anyone embarrassment.
  5. Remodeling? Hire an architect who uses Universal Design standards. These standards go beyond ADA regulations and provide better accessibility to all who attend. Involve people with various disabilities to help consult on remodeling plans.
  6. Do you have a room that you can turn into a Quiet Room during services, events, and meetings?A dark, cool, quiet space to retreat to is wonderful to provide for people with various disabilities. When my cerebrospinal fluid leaks were terrible, and the only relief I could get was from being flat, I would go into the room used as a classroom and library and lie on the couch on and off throughout services.
  7. Advocate for Zoom (or similar) coverage of in-person meetings and services post-pandemic.When our lives shifted online due to the pandemic, many home-bound people became able to attend services for the first time in years — or ever. Disability activists are worried that our access through Zoom to live events may be curtailed again as the pandemic ends. Weirdly, many disabled people have moreaccess to the world now than before the pandemic. I’d hate to see that go away.
  8. Switch to scent-free soaps and cleaning products. Ask that attendees skip perfume or other scented grooming items. One of my medical conditions, Mast Cell Activation Disease (MCAD), causes me to develop severe sensitivities to fragrances and cleaning products. I don’t use them in my home, but I can’t control what people use out in the world, which means that I’m always at risk of getting sick. Refraining from using them also helps people who get migraines.
  9. Present information in more than one format. This includes captions, image descriptions, audio, braille, large print, and so on. Do you have an ASL translator on call?
  10. Is your web page accessible? Hire a designer who knows the ins and outs of web accessibility. The ADA requires that websites be accessible, and even though synagogues aren’t obliged to follow the ADA rule, it’s still best practice to do so. The web is the first place people go to for information about your organization. If it’s not readable by a screen reader, for instance, then that person will move on to the next Jewish organization.
  11. Announce and use a whiteboard to list page numbers during services. Whiteboards help people who are hard of hearing or deaf, as well as people like me who have brain fog and forget numbers easily.
  12. Leave spaces throughout seating areas for wheelchair and walker users.There were many times that I would roll into kiddush, and my husband would have to scramble to move chairs so I could have a space to park my wheelchair while I tried to wrangle our toddler.
  13. If you’re serving food, make sure it’s labeled with every ingredient listed.People with food sensitivities and allergies have to be very careful about what they eat. I’ll skip trying something if I don’t know what’s in it.
  14. Be flexible when accommodation needs clash.What happens if one member has a service dog and another has severe dog allergies? Or one person is hard-of-hearing, but another has sound sensitivity due to migraines? True accessibility requires the ability to make changes on the fly in order to accommodate the needs of various people. It requires a pause, followed by thoughtfulness and creativity. I know of one synagogue that has a member with severe back issues who needs to lie flat as often as possible. The temple manager found a folding table and set it up in an aisle of the sanctuary. The member lies on the table and can be present for services. Another Twitter user told me that their synagogue gave them a music stand for their siddur, so they could turn the pages while still standing with their cane.

These suggestions are just a beginning. As we reach herd immunity and society slowly returns to public life, this is a great time to consider how accessible your Jewish spaces (and your homes and workplaces) genuinely are, and an excellent time to make any necessary changes. After all, and I think Aaron and Moses would agree, making reasonable accommodations is part of our tradition.


Guidelines for Giving a Drash at Congregation Sof Maʻarav

by Sally Morgan and Fran Margulies

March 30, 2021

When?

 

After the Torah service is complete and before Musaf.

 

How Long?

 

Ten minutes or less (Really!)

 

Who Gives It?

 

As a havurah, Sof Maʻarav depends on its own congregation and its guests to volunteer.

 

Subject?

 

A response to the Torah portion of that Shabbat (but not necessarily of the shorter triennial portion we chant that morning). Or – to the Haftarah for that Shabbat, or – to a yearly cycle holiday.

–        Research is encouraged. Creative response is welcome. Personal anecdote enriches the drosh.

–        Political advocacy is not welcome.

–        Editing is essential! Ten minutes is short. We ask droshers to get to their point quickly and stay with it; we rent our space from the Unitarian Church only until 1pm, and they expect us to leave on time.

–        Help and guidance is freely offered to potential droshers by the drosh chair or other experienced members.

 

Who Assigns? Drash assignments are made by the Drosh Chair following Sof guidelines.

*drash = dʻvar torah = midrash = commentary. (Midrash, capital M, also refers to specific compilations of Halacha and Oral Law).


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”.)

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

Calendar
Upcoming Events
  1. Shabbat Saturday – Hol HaMoʻed & Sukkot Celebration

    September 25 @ 9:50 am - 12:00 pm
  2. Shmini Atzeret & Yizkor Services

    September 28 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
  3. Simchat Torah Service / Celebration

    September 28 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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