September 15, 2022 – Volume 19 Number 12

"First Fruits of the Harvest..."

Core to Judaism is the perspective that we are members of a covenant (brit) with God. With this worldview, it is assumed that our lives are interdependent with society, and all that we have is a blessing from the Eternal. Therefore, “If I give God my best, then in return God will bless me and my community with prosperity.” Personally, I find great comfort in the view that even though our actions are important, my success is greater than solely my hard work and determination.

Logically, I know there are smart, good people who struggle financially. And each of us may face moments without the stability or opportunity to provide for our family. In this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo, God commands that the Jewish people bring their first fruits of the harvest to the temple and give them as an offering to God. And that these crops are to be eaten by the priests, Levites, and those in need. Therefore, when individuals are blessed, they are commanded to pass a portion of that gift to the community. This protects everyone.

In addition to donating the fruits, the individual is to recite “My father was a wandering Aramean,” as part of a formal recitation with the offering to God. Maimonides points out that we say these words reminding ourselves of our humble roots, and it should help us to promote humility in giving charity. A more modern interpretation comes from Rabbi Jacob J. Weinstein. He teaches, “Each Israelite was religiously commanded to recall in the time of prosperity that his father was a wandering Aramean, a hobo, a sojourner, a rootless and homeless refugee. The intention of this admonition was to curb the conceit of the self-made person.”

In a world with way too many refugees who have been impacted by war, totalitarian governments, and other forms of violence and cruelty, may we remember our responsibility in our community and internationally. I know that my great grandparents came to the shores of this country as poor immigrants. And that it took multiple generations before attending college, having prosperous jobs, and accumulating wealth. And we know that even when our ancestors struggled, they remained generous to others. We are blessed to live in a country that has so much opportunity. A nation of innovation and resources. I hope that we can learn from the generations who came before us, and regularly offer the “first fruits” in our lives as well.

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Jesse

Service Times for Shabbat

Friday, September 16th

6:00 pm Community Shabbat 

Evening Services led by Rabbi Jesse M. Gallop and Cantor Rita Glassman in person, and on Livestream, Facebook Live, OR ZOOM (Meeting ID: 885 5732 2368, Passcode: 7wW055), followed by dinner.

Saturday, September 17th

9:00 am Shabbat Morning Blessings/Torah Study led by Rabbi Jesse M. Gallop in person and via ZOOM (Meeting ID: 853 3548 4859, Passcode: 58QLMa)

S'lichot isTHIS Saturday September 17th. Please join our clergy at Westchester Reform Temple for a shared S'lichot service beginning at 7:00 pm. Click here for more information.

NEW! Masked Only Seating Available

We want to make it possible for all to attend services in our Sanctuary. While Temple Israel remains Mask Optional, a Masked Only section is now available to all congregants. 

Community Shabbat - Friday Night Dinner

TOMORROW, Friday, September 16th6:00 pm 



At 5:30 pm there will be a Tot Shabbat Sing Along with Clergy and Rebecca, followed by snacks. Services will take place at 6:00 pm, followed by dinner.


It's our first Community Shabbat, and we're ready to break bread, and join in friendship and family! Adults: $25, Children (Grades K-6): $8, Tots – PreK: FREE. RSVP at

Celebrating Thelma Fixler - 103 Years Young!

THIS Sunday, September 18th, 11 am - 1 pm, at Temple Israel


Come celebrate! An exhibit will be available for attendees to view in the Cultural Center, of her life achievements! Everyone is welcome to attend and celebrate!


Please RSVP to Sari or (914) 523-5470 to accommodate for food.

Support Temple Israel... Membership Pledge!

"As the High Holy Days approach, and throughout the coming year, please join me in supporting Temple Israel. We are a stronger community when we all participate. I look forward to being with you, sharing in worship and programming, and creating new memories."

With gratitude and blessings,

Brian Heaps, Temple Israel President

Visit and support Temple Israel, and this congregation. 

We thank you!

The High Holy Days Are Here!

Rosh Hashanah reservations online to attend in person are closed, but you can still register for Yom Kippur and Family Apple Picking (until THIS Tuesday September 20th). LiveStream doesn't require reservations.

Nametags have been sent out to registered families (ages 13+). You have to register to receive a nametag. If you have questions please email or call (914) 235-1800.

High Holy Days Bags Are Back! Stop by Temple Israel to pick up your "High Holy Days" bags with treats to enjoy, on Thursday September 22nd11AM - 1PM and 5 - 7PM. One day only. You will also be able to borrow prayer books at the same time.

For all other details, and to register online for Yom Kippur and Family Apple Picking, please visit

Community Offerings

The Last Million: Europe's Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War

Date: Thursday, September 22nd at 6pm

Venue: Humanities Theatre at Purchase College


David Nasaw, author of The Last Million: Europe's Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War


Join David Nasaw, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, CUNY Graduate Center, to Purchase College for a lecture on his book, The Last Million: Europe's Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War. Click to register here: The Last MillionFollowing registration, you will receive a confirmation email.

Read With Us!

One Hundred Saturdays, by Michael Frank. The remarkable story of ninety-nine-year-old Stella Levi whose conversations with the writer Michael Frank over the course of six years bring to life the vibrant world of Jewish Rhodes, the deportation to Auschwitz that extinguished ninety percent of her community, and the resilience and wisdom of the woman who lived to tell the tale.

Jewish Book Council’s Natan Notable Book Award recipient.

Visit our library website to view lots more for the holidays!

Come visit the library or reserve your copy on the library website!

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