קישור שלום ~ Kishur Sholom

Staying Connected with the Temple Sholom Community

6 March 2024 ~ 26 Adar I 5784

Parashat Vayakhel

Shalom, chaveirim - hello, friends -

I HADN'T EVEN CLEARED SECURITY at Logan Airport without crying. I'm talking about the El Al Screening - not TSA. I was in line to check in for my El Al flight and I heard the security personnel asking questions. Now - this is standard routine for any flight to Israel. There is always questioning before flying. And they are always Israeli screeners - often young and recently out of the army.

Normally, my tears start when the plane approaches Israel and I look out the window and catch the first glimpse of the land itself. Not this past Sunday. I'm standing, waiting for the screening and I was thinking how soon I would be in Israel. I was thinking about these security personnel from Israel: Who do they know who is serving in the army? Do they know people who were at the Nova Music Festival? Are any of them from communities in the North or the South that were evacuated?

I pulled myself together. I made it through security and spoke a little Hebrew - always enough to embarrass myself but hopefully enough to get my wording out sufficiently. The flight was uneventful - though the same questions were throughout my mind ... for the Israelis around me - what are the connections ... and for the American Jews, we are similarly plagued.

I sat next to someone from a Boston-area synagogue who was on a solidarity mission and next to her was someone from Georgia with her church. Both women were on solidarity trips to show support to Israelis and volunteer where needed.

I cried when I saw the coastline and thought how calm it all looks. How can such a small piece of land have so much internal turmoil and there be so much hatred against it from outside? Why are there more protests in Western Europe and in the United States and Canada against Israel than throughout the entire Arab world? Why are people boycotting Jewish and/or Israeli restaurants in the U.S. over Gaza and not Chinese restaurants over China's behavior on a myriad of issues - not the least of which are the Uyghers?

Alas, the plane landed, I was so happy to be back in Israel and then walking toward Passport Control, I passed signs of the hostages - and so began a feeling that no matter where I would go, there would be reminders. And they are ubiquitous - on yellow-knitted scarves tied around the trunks of trees on Rothschild Blvd in central Tel Aviv, in a massive lit up sign on HaBima Square in Tel Aviv (think: Lincoln Center), in stores, on people's lapels, and certainly in the stories. Here are two quick stories from friends with whom Amy, and her daughter, Nina, and I had dinner last night.

Sandy is a psychologist. She spent three months after October 7th volunteering with survivors of the Nova Music Festival. The stories she heard are beyond chilling - you can imagine, as she primarily worked with women. She said that the government has set up a fund to allow Israeli reserve soldiers ten sessions to handle trauma for $400. It's a gift. Thank God.

Her husband, Haim, went to volunteer at a center where Israelis who have relocated can get support. A loving, vibrant grandfather, Haim went to spend time with little children so their parents could get a moment's break to get support for themselves. He wound up playing with a 2 year old for an hour. As he finished his time with the child, the social worker said: "that is the first time the boy has spoken to anyone since he left his kibbutz on that fateful morning."

More tears.

So far, from what I have seen and already known before leaving: there are several Israels happening. There is life going on. There is the war. There are the hostages. There are protests against Bibi and calls for an election. There are lovers of Bibi (my cab driver from the airport).

The weather is great. Nina is doing really well in the Army - training unbelievably hard. Tel Aviv has more construction than is conceivable. I have been here for about four meals and had some of the best food I've eaten in a while - and trust me, I don't suffer back home!!

And yet.

There is a poster Amy bought already - pictured above. On it, there is wording that says so much: "I didn't know I could miss someone I didn't know." It refers to the hostages and how they are on people's minds. On the poster is a lone yellow chair, a reminder of the Shabbat table set up in Tel Aviv - with yellow chairs for those missing at the Shabbat table and in life right now because of the vicious, genocidal Hamas that not only started this war but has conducted 18 years of fighting against Israel, subjugating its own Palestinian citizens to horrors, withholding funds from civilians in order to build a military compound out of Gaza with civilians as human shields.

No one here whom I know feels good about what is happening to the Palestinians in Gaza. But no one here whom I know believes the war should end until Hamas is brought down. I certainly don't know the whole country - hardly even a small percentage (!!) - but the reality is: this is a long, and brutal reality that everyone hopes will end soon but is unclear how that happens given the enemy (and enemies).

Sha'alu shlom Yerushalayim - as the Psalmist wrote: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." Indeed ... if there can be peace there, may it reign through the region.


Rabbi Mark Cohn


Sunday, April 7 (3:00 PM) at Temple Emanuel, 1 E. 65h Street, NYC. Join me for an extraordinary opportunity to honor our Czech Torah!! Register HERE as seating is limited. To learn more about the Czech Memorial Scroll Trust, go to their website HERE.

Thursday, May 9 (7:00 PM) at Congregation B'nai Israel, 444 Main Street, Southbury. Acclaimed author, journalist, teacher Yossi Klein Halevi will be speaking on "How October 7 Changed Israel and the Jewish World." This evening is hosted by our congregation joined with CBI of Southbury, the Jewish Federation of Western CT, the Greater Washington Coalition for Jewish Life, United Jewish Center of Danbury, and Temple Beth David of Cheshire.

Recommended Resources from the Rabbi's Desk (or more likely laptop)

Constant and important updates, podcasts, blogs, and articles from The Free Press, Times of Israel and Tablet Magazine.


"The Golden Age of American Jews is Ending." In The Atlantic, Franklin Foer explores the shifting realities for American Jewry, which began long before October 7th but has only amplified and been made quite clear.

"Israel is falling into abyss," by David Grossman from The New York Times. Grossman is one of the leading novelists of Israel and looks at the harsh reality of what Israeli society is facing during these many months.

"Everyone must serve," by Eli Weinstock in The Times of Israel as he examines the discussions surrounding the Haredi community serving in Israel's army.


"Israel at War: Rafah," with Rabbi Donniel Hartman and Yossi Klein Halevi from The Shalom Hartman Institute in Jersualem on For Heaven's Sake. Listen as they take on the moral challenges of Rafah, in southern Gaza.


Where have all the rabbis gone? Understanding the rabbi shortage in America.

RECORDED from Feb. 28.

A conversation between Shira Telushkin and Mark Oppenheimer as part of the American Jewish University study program.

"Lunch & Learn" with Rabbi Mark Cohn

NOON - 1:00 PM


April 9, 16, 30

Examining the Haggadah and getting ready for Passover: physically, mentally, emotionally, soulfully!



Services & Study

Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday Evenings 6:30PM

VIA ZOOM - this week!

March 8, 22

Howard Lapidus


Meeting ID: 876 2982 2282

Passcode: shabbat


March 15

Rabbi Jon Haddon

March 29

Barbara Kessler


Shabbat Morning Torah Study - 9:30am


March 9, 16, 23, 30

The Jewish Experience in New Milford

The New Milford Historical Society & Museum has begun work on a new exhibit entitled The Jewish Experience in New Milford. If anyone has any historical information, photos or other artifacts relevant to this upcoming project or an interest in participating, please contact Sandy Ivler at [email protected] or David Cohen at [email protected]

Help Needed for the Oneg

We have two Onegs a month all year long now. The Board of Trustees has cheerfully taken on the responsibility of sponsoring the

Onegs since July. However, having only the Board sponsor the Onegs is self-defeating. Onegs bring people together after Shabbat services on Friday. Onegs help build community and are a way for people to introduce themselves to the Temple and to each other. And most importantly, it’s a time to shmooze. And best of all: It’s easy! A challah, some cookies, some wine and juice. That’s it. Challah and wine are supplied by the Temple. The Rabbi will take care of the Kiddush blessings. A quick clean up and your finished with one of the 24 Onegs we will have.

And of course, a Board member is always ready to assist and help you. Call the office (860.354.0273) if you would like to sponsor an Oneg.

Temple Sholom

122 Kent Road ~ P.O. Box 509

New Milford, CT 06776

(860) 354-0273

Temple Sholom Website (www.tsholom.org)

Temple Sholom Facebook