קישור שלום ~ Kishur Sholom

Staying Connected with the Temple Sholom Community

5 February 2024 ~ 26 Shvat 5784

Parashat Mishpatim

Shalom, chaveirim - hello, friends -

There are so many elements of why Jewish life has been so difficult since October 7th. And we have learned so much over the last four months ...

There are two resources I want to share today - which both need far more unpacking than this column can offer. Nonetheless, these resources explain and stand solidly on their own and certainly do not need my editorial comment.

The first is a video and the second is a podcast.


It is not an easy video to watch. But it summarizes what has happened in the last four months on college campuses.

Several years of misguided education and the promotion of a false binary of "oppressed-oppressor" has led to heckler's vetoes, blocking of safe passage to campuses (let alone bridges, airports, and train stations), and worst of all: indirect at best - or blatant at worst -support for the terrorism, jihadism, and antisemitism that frightens not just Jews but liberal-minded people around the globe.

In a 20-minute video, "American Miseducation: How did our universities become hotbeds of hate?" Olivia Reingold of The Free Press, raises important points to help us understand the reality of this moment for the Jewish people and Israel.


It would seem that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) exists to turn back the clock to 1948 and Israel's founding. It is one of two refugee agencies of the U.N. While it deals specifically with Palestinians, the other agency, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, handles all other refugees in the entire world. Refugees from all other countries have been and are resettled and their children allowed to become citizens of their new country. ONLY Palestinians maintain their refugee status - even if they become citizens of their new country - and that status is transferred to subsequent generations.

UNRWA has been in the news recently as some of its workers are being investigated - and the evidence is already clear - for having actively participated in the Hamas terror of October 7th. Long before this recent charge, UNRWA is a known source of anti-Israel instruction and propaganda. The agency's 13,000 person staff in Gaza serve to support and at the pleasure of Hamas.

Dan Senor and Haviv Rettig Gur in "Call Me Back: UNRWA and Hamas - the perfect affair," explain and layout details of UNRWA in a very clear and cogent manner. I highly recommend listening and sharing their conversation to grasp the depth of the corruption and evil which Hamas - and subsequently UNRWA - has perpetrated against Israel and namely: Palestinians.

AZ MAH ~ עז מה? ~ SO NOW WHAT?

We are remarkably lucky and well-equipped to respond to the challenges of this moment. And there are students like Talia Khan from MIT whom we heard from last month who give us great inspiration about Jewish students on campus who not only stand up to those who attack Jews and Israel but also seek to deepen their Judaism, connection to community, and understanding and support of Israel.

I share this information not from a place of despondency but rather to inform and encourage you to do your part by supporting organizations that fight antisemitism and by reconsidering your relationship to institutions that do not responsibly address the reality of the antisemitism of our day. I have had to reassess my giving .

One last video from which you might find encouragement: a tank unit from Israel that, like a phoenix, has risen from the ashes. You'll find the video here on Israel from the Inside, which is an excellent blog from Rabbi Daniel Gordis.


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.


"Why did one of the best cookbooks of 2023 go unnoticed? Hint: It’s Israeli." This article is about an incredible restaurant in Jerusalem with a remarkable story (and chef) - written by Rob Eshman senior columnist for The Forward.

"We must continue to support Israel’s war — and honestly grapple with tough questions from critics," by Yehuda Kurtzer, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute, published in The Forward. 

"The Two-State Delusion," by Elliott Abrams in Tablet Magazine.


"5 Myths about the War in Gaza," by Sam Harris on his podcast Making Sense.


"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 16

VIA ZOOM - this week!

February 9, 23


Meeting ID: 876 2982 2282

Passcode: shabbat


Shabbat Morning Torah Study - 9:30am


February 10, 17, 24

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 on at [email protected]

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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