קישור שלום ~ Kishur Sholom

Staying Connected with the Temple Sholom Community

29 January 2024 ~ 19 Shvat 5784

Parashat Yitro

Shalom, chaveirim - hello, friends -

I've been traveling out West this past week. Amy and I went to visit my son, Eitan, who lives in Los Angeles, and now have ventured onto Sedona, AZ, for a few days of hiking in what could rightly be called, "God's Country." As someone who grew up on the West Coast, there is something about the light and the air, the architecture and the flora that makes me feel very much at home. 

I want to share with you a completely unexpected moment while driving through Beverly Hills. There is a stretch of land called Beverly Gardens which is about a two mile-long linear park that runs alongside Santa Monica Boulevard including the famous Beverly Hills sign to Rodeo Drive to the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard. The park features numerous notable art sculptures and various specialty gardens. 

On our first day in Los Angeles, we drove by and I saw workers installing hundreds of flags - the vast majority of them Israeli. I surmised immediately what was happening. It turns out, the city of Beverly Hills and Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles installed a temporary memorial for the victims of the October 7 attack by Hamas in Israel. The art installation includes 1,400 flags, with each flag representing an individual who was slaughtered on that tragic day. While most of the flags were Israeli flags there were flags from 39 nations. The installation was neat and orderly. I can’t quite describe how good it felt to see this temporary memorial. I was in a place where our people’s pain mattered. I was in a place where the brutal attack was condemned and where each life lost was being honored. The display was well-maintained and beautifully manicured. So often I feel as if when it comes to Israel I am at odds with the world around me. I hear protesters and view demonstrations that are filled with ignorant vitriol and antisemitic disgust. I read articles condemning and blaming Israel for the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza with no accounting of the role of Hamas and their supporters in that suffering. So often, I lie awake at night worried how will Israel - and the Jewish people - get out of this darkness? 

And then there were those flags along Santa Monica Boulevard. This was different.

Los Angeles is not a city for walkers. The song "Nobody walks in L.A." is based on reality. What I did notice when Amy and I pulled over to take a picture of the flags: cars were slowing down and looking. There were even some people, like us, who pulled over to view the installation and to pay their respects. There was no graffiti. There were no protesters. This was, at least as of this writing, sacred ground to honor the memory of the victims.  

I was beyond pleased to see the Israeli flags flying in Beverly Hills. That being said, it's not surprising, given the neighborhood. I'm not sure how those flags would be greeted down the road near my alma mater (UCLA) in Westwood where sentiments toward Israel have been less than favorable among some

There is a home in Sedona that overlooks one of the many roundabouts here. They have a few flags flying from their balcony. An American flag and an Israeli flag are among the bunch. It is easy to feel that the world around is closing in ... but at the same time, there are countless supporters and people who recognize the legitimacy and necessity of Israel's fight to protect not just its citizenry but its very right to exist. 

May the memory of all who have died since October 7th be held in our hearts as we work to find ways to end the fighting so that Israelis and Palestinians can rebuild their lives - not for fighting but for living and thriving as independent peoples. 


Rabbi Mark Cohn


Join me for a one-week solidarity mission to Israel!!

March 26 - April 2

Together with Temple Beth El in Springfield, MA, my wife and I have created a week-long trip to show support to Israelis, volunteer in meaningful ways, and to bear witness to the reality of the last four months in Israel. For more information, consult the itinerary and the expenses. This trip is not for people who want to explore the whole of the country. Now is not the time to do that. This is a time to ensure that our brothers and sisters in Israel feel the love and support of our community. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected].

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.


"Hamas came for everyone it could kill on October 7th. Today the Hague encouraged it," by David Horovitz in The Times of Israel.

"Goodbye, Columbia," by Mark Charendoff in Sapir. 

"This Israeli designer is bringing her Oct. 7-inspired shawl to Manhattan's Vogue Knitting Live Conference," by Tanya Singer in The Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


"What Matters Now to Yossi Klein Halevi, 5 Big Questions about the War," a conversation between Deputy Editor of The Times of Israel Amanda Borschel-Dan and Yossi Klein Halevi.

"Can a Sunni-Israeli alliance win the war," on Dan Senor's Call Me Back. Nadav Eyal, a leading Israeli journalist who writes for Yediot Achronot and Dan explore a critically important discussion related to the larger context of the Arab world and meaning of the current war between Israel and Hamas.


"We are not OK." A new release by American singer-songwriter, John Ondrasik. This is a very powerful look and response to the events of October 7th. Warning: Viewer discretion advised.


Sign a LETTER to show support and express gratitude. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont recently came under attack for his support of Israel at a forum in New Haven by a group of hecklers. The Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT) has organized this letter to show and express solidarity and gratitude.

"Lunch & Learn" with Rabbi Mark Cohn

NOON - 1:00 PM


Jewish Priorities, edited by David Hazony

Bring a friend! Bring lunch if you want (dairy only - no meat)! These essays were assembled by the editor to find the points where we can agree and disagree, helping us define our own borders and places for expansion.


February 6, 14*, 20

February 6, Shaul Magid's essay: "Why Exile Matters: How to Rebuild Diaspora Culture Without Using Israel as a Crutch."

February 14, Hen Mazzig's essay: "An End to Ashkenormativity: Let's put bagels and lox behind us."

February 20, Izabella Tabarovsky's essay: "How to beat the New Antisemitism: It's Not about Human Rights. It's about Soviet Propaganda."



Services & Study

Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday Evenings 6:30PM


February 2, 16 - this week!


February 9, 23


Shabbat Morning Torah Study - 9:30am


February 3, 10, 17, 24

Temple Sholom

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New Milford, CT 06776

(860) 354-0273

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