קישור שלום ~ Kishur Sholom

Staying Connected with the Temple Sholom Community

26 February 2024 ~ 17 Adar I 5784

Parashat Ki Tissa

Shalom, chaveirim - hello, friends -


You might think I'm a little obsessed about Israeli music. I am. Under normal circumstances, I am. But the reality of this war, the internet, and social media has made the use of new (and older) songs in Israel a key part of this era. Music often tells the story - or stories - of life in Israel and this moment is no different. In fact, one of the songs we studied "Am Yisrael Chai ~ The People of Israel lives" (Eyal Golan) is among several featured in the article below about the soundtrack of Israel today.

I have taught a few of the songs that are discussed in the article found below in which you will find a link to a playlist of over 100 songs that are somewhat the 'soundtrack' of this moment in Israeli life. Some of the songs have Youtube videos, where the lyrics are translated. If you are interested in studying one of them, I would be only too happy to work on a translation with you. In the meantime, have a look at Yuval Dayan's "Watch over this heart."


This week's Torah reading brings out the worst in the Israelites. And it is THE story for the rabbis of old understanding the Israelites' frailties and as such they give it the nickname of "Ha-Ma'aseh / The Story." And the word for "story" here is not sippur, which literally is: a story. The word 'ma'aseh' refers to an action - a doing. The story is in the doing - the actions of the Israelites.

I will speak more about the Golden Calf later in the week, but I invite you to think about your defining your own story based on your actions.

It has been said that each of us is the story we tell ourselves. The same could be said for us, as a people. The rabbis return to the story of the Golden Calf in order to show our errant ways which were caused in faulty actions. They remind us that we are culpable for the world we create. God has given us the tools with which to build our world: how are we using those tools? We cannot take responsibility for the actions of others but we most assuredly can take control over our own deeds. And we can determine our story moving forward based on our actions.

These days and months since October 7th are morally and emotionally challenging. In the most recent episode of For Heaven's Sake: The End of Victimhood with Rabbi Donniel Hartman and Yossi Klein Halevi, Yossi reaches a remarkably insightful conclusion when he notes that October 7th was a moment in which the nation "...lapsed into powerlessness, which created an abdication of the responsibilities of Jewish power. Our challenge is to reclaim the moral responsibilities of power while affirming the necessity for power and to reclaim the seriousness of wielding power."

The Golden Calf story is not so dissimilar. The Israelites lapsed into powerlessness - or felt it as they awaited Moses' return from the top of Mt. Sinai. And thus, they abdicated their duty to observe the two (and only two) commandments they knew: That Adonai (God) had brought them from the Land of Egypt and that they were to have no other gods before God. Following that abandonment of moral responsibility, it became the role of every Jew ... to this very day ... to understand our sacred, covenantal role in upholding the divinely commanded tasks of the Torah and in the case of state-building: wielding power.

It is an awesome task for each of us and our people's nation. May we find the strength and means to support those who uphold responsible use of power and take seriously the moral considerations and commands of Torah.


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 Future of Lox." A look at the Sunday morning staple on a bagel with plenty of cream cheese by Sonya Sanford in Tablet Magazine.

"Amid thrum of war, popular songs of rage and resilience become post Oct. 7 soundtrack." An incredible review of the music of this war - reflecting on life in Israel since October 7th, with many quotes from our May speaker, Yossi Klein Halevi. From The Times of Israel.


"We need a post-Oct 7 Talmud," with Liel Lebovitz on Rabbi Jeff Salkin's podcast, Martini Judaism.


If you are worried about the Jewish future - have a look at 5,000 Jewish teens at Times Square on Saturday night for a Havdalah and concert for Jewish pride and prayers for Israel! See as well the recap video from 4,000 Jewish teens who attended the annual BBYO Convention.


Hamas and the Origins of Islamic Terrorism. Monday, February 26th at 1pm EST. TODAY!

A discussion at the YIVO Institute between Matthias Küntzel and Jeffrey Herf.

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

Wednesday, February 28th at 3pm EST.

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

Tikkun Ha’am/Repairing Our People: Israel and the Crisis of Liberal Judaism 

Thursday, February 29th at 2:30pm EST 


October 7th and its aftermath has shaken the foundations of the American Jewish community, posing untold challenges, both individually and communally. What aspects of the American Jewish identity will change as a result of these events? What does this shock to the system portend for the relationships American Jews have both within and outside of their community? How will the Jewish people heal? 


Jane Eisner, former editor-in-chief of The Forward, will moderate this one-hour conversation with Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin, Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, and Rabbi Michelle Dardashti. 

"Lunch & Learn" with Rabbi Mark Cohn

NOON - 1:00 PM

February 27

(and then off for March)


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.

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

Turning away for a week from Jewish Priorities ...

Before and After October 7th. A Before & After October 7th, A Symposium with leading American and Israeli Jewish thinkers, presented in The Jewish Review of Books.



Services & Study

Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday Evenings 6:30PM

IN PERSON - this week!

March 1

Rabbi Mark Cohn

March 15

Rabbi Jon Haddon

March 29

Barbara Kessler


March 8, 22

Howard Lapidus


Shabbat Morning Torah Study - 9:30am


March 2, 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