קישור שלום ~ Kishur Sholom

Staying Connected with the Temple Sholom Community

22 January 2024 ~ 12 Shvat 5784

Parashat B'shallach

Shalom, chaveirim - hello, friends -

We've not known one another that long. 

But I imagine that you have picked up on my love of Israel. 

Since October 7th, my ahavat tziyyon (love of Zion) has been even more passionate and the words of the poet and philosopher Yehuda Halevi (Spain, 1075 - 1141) have been on the tip of my tongue time and again. “My heart is in the East, but I … I am in the uttermost West.” 

With all that has happened since the war began, I have been aching to go to Israel. I have been wanting to stand, to sit, to just be with Israelis - my friends and family - because I want them to know that their pain is my pain. Their war is my war. Their fears are my fears. And yet, my life is so much easier 7,000 miles away. So very much easier. 

Many of you know that my wife’s youngest, Amy's daughter, Nina, is in Israel. She made aliyah back in August and entered the army in December. While we had anticipated visiting her this winter since Amy has a sabbatical, the duration and nature of our trip has shifted markedly. Amy will leave in late February and in early March, please God, I will be in Israel as well. We hope to be volunteering during our stay and of course, spending as much time with our loved ones there as possible. 

I also want to invite YOU. 

Working closely with Haim Aronovitz, a talented and experienced Jewish educator and David Abraham, of Israel Maven Tours, Amy and I are pleased to present an itinerary for a one-week solidarity mission, which is scheduled for March 26 - April 2. Amy has worked with Haim for many years and has created this trip for her community of Temple Beth El in Springfield, MA and she and I are hoping some of our CT community will consider coming as well. Here is a link for the itinerary and here is link for 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 trip for those who are interested in volunteering, bearing witness, and ensuring 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.

I have led multiple congregational trips to Israel and been in Israel during war, peace, and everything in-between. There is nothing I would love to do more than walk the sacred land with you. Given the needs of the hour, this trip is an unusual way for us to see it together but then again, this is a remarkably different time in the life of our people and our people’s land. 

Have a look at the itinerary and costs. Let me know if you have any questions. Regardless, know that I will stay in touch while away with travel posts and pictures knowing that this community is one that holds ahavat tziyyon as a livable and important value of the Jewish people as evidenced in our prayers and study together. 

If you are interested in other groups traveling, consider the World Union for Progressive Judaism (March 1-6) the Jewish National Fund and Authentic Israel (both of which have multiple formats for trips planned).

Not everyone can go to Israel and there are a myriad of ways to assist during this most difficult of times. Our attention is rightly on Israel and living even deeper into our Judaism and Jewish life right in our hometown(s) to maintain our connection to our people and pride, our heritage and traditions.

עם ישראל חי ~ ננצח ביחד

Am Yisrael Chai ~ N'natzeiach b'yachad

The People of Israel lives ~ we will succeed together!!


Rabbi Mark Cohn

P.S. Tu BiShvat (The Birthday of the Trees) arrives Wednesday evening - have a look on Sefaria for a host of links to take a moment to learn, sing, enjoy, and reflect.

P.P.S. The artwork above is from a piece at our temple. If anyone knows the story of it, I'd love to hear! The piece is a collage of "old Israel" and the words in Hebrew are the quote from Yehuda Halevi, "My heart is in the East ... and I am in the uttermost West."

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.


"Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Jew? Lies taught about Israel and Jews in the Public School Classroom," by Naya Lecht The Jewish Journal.

"They're Coming after Us," by Jon Podharetz in Commentary. 


"WWMLKS" (What would Martin Luther King Say?) featuring Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove of Park Avenue Synagogue's Podcast. Rabbi Cosgrove explores the impossibility of knowing what King would say in light of current realities and yet where we can learn from King still today.

"Haviv Rettig Gur, 100 Days into Israel's Forever War," on Dan Senor's Call Me Back. Haviv 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.


"Im nin’alu"

אם ננעל

דלתי נדיבים

דלתי מרום לא ננעלו

אל חי

Im nin’alu daltei n’divim daltei marom lo nin’alu ... el chai.

Literally: If the doors of the generous are locked, the doors of the heavens are not locked. Or poetically: If there be no mercy left in the world, the doors of heaven will never be barred. God of life.

Rabbi Shalom Shabazi was a 17th century poet and scholar from Yemen. He lived through the expulsion of the Jews to Mawza (1679) which resulted in death and the destruction of a significant percentage of the Yemenite Jewish community. Considered one of the greatest Jewish poets of all time, scholars believe that he wrote nearly 15,000 poems in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Judeo-Arabic. Much of his work inspired and expressed hope and faith despite hardship and exile. Only about 850 of his poems survived.

One of his most famous surviving piyyutim ("Im nin’alu") continues to be set to music. In this moment of searching, the melody and words can bring comfort.

"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


January 26 - this week!

February 9, 23


Shabbat Morning Torah Study - 9:30am


January 27

February 3, 10, 17, 24

Temple Sholom

122 Kent Road ~ P.O. Box 509

New Milford, CT 06776

(860) 354-0273

Temple Sholom Website (www.tsholom.org)

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