Hayom - July 2020 - Tammuz - 5780 Issue # 7
The Office is Open
from
9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
For normal business operations.

All services and programs continue to be suspended
until further notice.
Information from the President
Fellow congregants,
 
This issue of Hayom marks my inaugural column to the congregation. I would like to thank our past president, Victor Shernoff, for his efforts in strengthening our synagogue, and I look forward to working with Rabbi Henkin and our executive director, Motti Locker, as well as the rest of the board of directors.
 
For those of you who do not know me, please indulge me while I give you a brief introduction. My wife Michelle and I have been members of Agudath Achim for over a decade, and I have served on the synagogue board of directors for the past four years. Our two children, Lila, age 10, and Rafi, age 8, attend Shalom School, and Michelle and I have both taught at Shalom School for most of that time. Michelle has served multiple terms on the board of the JEA, and I have served multiple terms on the Savannah Jewish Federation board.
 
I mention this because I want you to know that I am invested in this community, and in this synagogue, and I am hoping we can use our experience to help move the synagogue forward and evolve. The pandemic we are currently experiencing—and make no mistake, we are still in the midst of the pandemic, even as things slowly return to “normal”—is forcing this synagogue and faith communities throughout the country and the world to rethink how we practice our faith.
 
The greatest challenge facing this synagogue in the age of coronavirus is the same challenge that the American Jewish community has faced for years, long before the onset of the pandemic: how to engage congregants and remain relevant in a world that is rapidly changing. We have multiple generations of congregants at Agudath Achim, and each generation has a different understanding and experience in how they practice their Judaism.
 
The inability to meet in person has led the synagogue to employ new ways to engage our congregants, and in some ways, we have seen glimpses of the future of synagogue engagement. As a generation of “digital natives” comes of age, I expect that we will see more virtual services, education, and gatherings. Jewish ritual and the place for worship has constantly evolved over thousands of years, from the mobile Ark of the Covenant that the first Jews carried with them, to Solomon’s temple, then the Second Temple, and into the age of the synagogue. Our ancestors would not recognize our modern synagogues, and truth be told, in more cases than we probably care to admit, would not approve of our ritual practices.
 
The march of progress continues, and the Jewish people will continue their journey through history. Congregation Agudath Achim will continue its journey, as well, and will continue to adapt to changing times and circumstances. Our greatest wish is to increase the engagement of our congregants, in whatever form that takes, and that will be a main goal of your board of directors during my presidency. An engaged congregation is a successful congregation, and I invite all congregants to share their ideas of how to increase participation, whether in-person, or virtual. I look forward to serving you.
 
Matthew Allan
From the desk of the Rabbi
Applying Lessons of Tisha B’Av Now
 
During the month of July, we will observe two fast days which are connected to some of the most important dates in our people’s history. First, on July 9, we will observe the 17 th of Tammuz, a sunrise-to-sunset fast which commemorates the Roman army’s breaching of the walls of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Exactly three weeks later comes Tisha B’Av , the 9 th of Av, a sunset-to-sunset fast (along with Yom Kippur, one of only two such fasts in the Hebrew calendar) on which, according to tradition, both the First Temple (by the Babylonians in 586 BCE) and the Second Temple (by the Romans) were destroyed. While we honor these days of mourning as terrible days in our religious story, it is admittedly difficult for many of us to feel the emotional impact of these events. After all, the destruction of the Second Temple was almost 2,000 years ago; we’ve never known a reality other than one that is not Temple-based.

In the absence of this personal connection to our history, our tradition encourages us to seek out lessons we can learn from the past and apply them to our modern lives. The rabbis of the Talmud did it themselves as they explored rationales for why the two Temples were destroyed hundreds of years after the fact. The most famous of these explanations blames the disasters on the transgressions committed by those who were alive in each period. During the time of the First Temple, there was, “idolatry, illicit sexual activity, and murder.” The choice of these three sins hardly seems accidental: they are also the only three sins for which, according to Jewish law, a person should prefer death to committing. The seriousness and frequency of these infractions led directly to the First Temple’s fall. The Second Temple’s fall is connected to one transgression, one which is logically, “considered as serious an offense as the [other] three,” sinat hinam , “baseless hatred,” hating another person without reason (see BT Yoma 9b).

While I tend to talk about sinat hinam almost every year around this time, this year it feels more significant. The COVID-19 pandemic we’ve all been suffering through whether or not we have been infected has not brought us as a nation closer together but torn us further apart as we have divided ourselves on political lines from everything about when it’s okay to go back out in public to whether or not to wear a mask. The political tensions were further stoked with the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd as protests against systemic racism that led to their deaths created more divisions. As the tone of these divisions has gotten sharper, it should not escape our notice that these divisions are precisely what the rabbis of the Talmud warn us against: hating others for no good reason other than they do not agree with us.

This month, as we observe these ancient historical days of mourning, I hope they also prompt spiritual reflection in each of us and force us to ask ourselves about our roles—whether we are open to listening to those who disagree, whether we have been complicit in the racial tensions, whether we have been guilty ourselves of sinat hinam . Perhaps we can further challenge ourselves to ask what we might need to work on and do differently in our lives. By doing so, we can use the lessons from our past to help us shape a better future for ourselves, our communities, and the world in which we live.

Rabbi Steven Henkin
Tisha B'Av
Join us for a virtual commemoration of the destruction of the First & Second Temples as well as many other tragedies in Jewish history. Zoom information where necessary is below
(all Zoom services will be simulcast to our Facebook page)


Meeting ID: 852 6777 6719
Password: 9Av5780

Wednesday, July 29
6:00 pm Minhah (via Facebook)
8:15 pm Ma'ariv (via Zoom with Megillah reading)

Thursday, July 30
7:30 am Shaharit (via Zoom with Megillah reading)
2:00 pm Minhah (via Facebook)
6:00 pm Ma'ariv (via Facebook)
8:50 pm Fast Ends

Synagogue Relationship
 All synagogue activities
(including Sisterhood and Men's Club events)
are suspended until further notice.

We are maintaining Daily Services, via Facebook
To participate, please make sure you follow us on Facebook at   https://www.facebook.com/AgudathAchimSavannah/  
Join us for Friday night and Shabbat morning services via Zoom using the
following information...
Meeting ID: 870 3207 9194
Password: 181818

All of our regular classes will be held via Zoom, an online meeting platform.
 If you'd like to join a class, please contact Rabbi Henkin for the class link.
Your Online Siddur
Shalom Hevre,

As we move towards online  minyanim  via Facebook Live, the Rabbinical Assembly has made PDF copies of the services available for those who may not have a  siddur  at home. If you would like to be able to pray with the text during our online services, please feel free to download the appropriate service and follow along during our virtual  minyan .

Our site has been updated with PDFs of the Shabbat services for those who would like to follow along during our Zoom services.

If you have any questions, please contact Rabbi Henkin at  rabbihenkin@gmail.com  
AA Happenings
Talmud Torah K'Neged Kulam - Torah Study for Everyone
1.  Rabbinic Literature Study Group  (Thursday afternoons, 2:00-3:15 pm): Take a look into the rabbinic mind and how the rabbis interpret the Torah in this weekly class.

2.   Skeptics Study Group  (second Thursday of every month, 11 a.m., hosted by Michael Konter): This group is for all of those who want to ask difficult questions about Judaism and/or seeking Jewish answers to the questions they have. Our next Skeptics class will be at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 9th online via Zoom.

3.   Rabbis of the Mishnah Class  will take a deep look into the Rabbis of the Mishnah; who they were and what they were thinking. Our next class will be held on Wednesday, July 8th and July 22nd at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom.
Please contact Motti for class link or email mottilocker@gmail.com

More classes coming soon, so stay tuned!

Have something you want to learn about but don't see a class about it?
 Contact Rabbi Henkin at rabbihenkin@gmail.com or call the AA office.

All of our regular classes will be held via Zoom , an online meeting platform. If you'd like to join a class, please contact Rabbi Henkin for the class link.
Sisterhood Mitzvah-Gram
How do I Send a Mitzvah-Gram During COVID-19 Pandemic?  

Please note effective with the July Mitzvah-Grams, the cost is $.75 per name.
Here are 3 simple steps to do this:
1 Print out the Mitzvah-Gram page from the JULY SUMMER ISSUE of the HaYom newsletter with the list of members celebrating a birthday or anniversary in AUGUST (also attached here).
2 Circle the names of all those people to whom you would like to send a Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary greeting.
3 Mail your list, along with your check made out to Agudath Achim Sisterhood (only $.75 for each circled name) , to Barbara Abrams, 24 Raindrop Lane, Bluffton, S.C. 29909 ,
 
In order for your greetings to be delivered in a timely manner, you need to turn in your AUGUST Mitzvah-gram list before JULY 15th.
 
If you have any questions about this project, please contact me at barba43@hargray.com , or at (843) 705-3723 or (843) 290-3995.
Thanks to everyone for participating in this fundraising project.
           
Barbara Abrams, Chair
Gale Hirsh, Acting Sisterhood President
August 2020 BIRTHDAYS
1 Kathryn Barker
2 Linda Harrison
10 Eleanor Galin
11 Loyce Weil
16 Louis Rabinowitz
16 Elise Shernoff
17 Raheem Grant
18 Linda Meier
18 Tova Tolman
20 Danny Weil
23 Haim Bober
23 Harriet Karlin
23 Joy Warshaw
23 Ida Zeger
25 Fred Kaplan
26 Steve Tolman
29 Amanda Barker
29 Louise Harkavy
30 Svetlana Gubenko
30 Millicent Melaver
31 Wendy Katz

AGUST 2020 ANNIVERSARIES
16 Phillip & Arlene Wizwer
23 Stanley & Brenda Rosenberg
25 Motti & Eva Locker

Please indicate how you would like your greeting signed:
           e.g. Barbara and Ellis Abrams
___________________________________________________________________________
If we are missing your July birthday and/or anniversary, please contact
Barbara Abrams at barba43@hargray.com or (843) 290-3995.

Number of Mitzvah-Grams ______ X $0.75 = $ ________(Total Amount)
JULY 2020 BIRTHDAYS
1 Andrew Walcoff
2 Linda Zoller
3 Linda Udinsky
4 Barry Schlafstein
4 Victor Shernoff
5 Amy Rosenthal
7 Lauren Fins
7 David Rosenthal
8 Melvin Haysman
8 Janice Steirn
9 Ellen Goldberg
9 Stephen Greenberg
10 Tom Rosen
10 Harriet Ullman
16 Joel Katz
17 Paul Cranman
17 Aaron Davidson
17 Adam Fins
17 Martin Miller
17 Bill Sand
20 Judy Todtfeld
21 Michael Zoller
31 Russell Rosengart
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