February 2021 | Shevat - Adar 5781
by Shelley Schweitzer
Ever since our son played “tallest trumpet” in the middle school band, I’ve said there was a special place in heaven for middle school band directors. I was reminded of that when I watched “Soul,” Disney and Pixar’s inspiring animated fable, which has as its central character a middle school band teacher who has the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. As the plot synopsis says, “one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth.”
At the core of this thought-provoking film is a search for meaning, for purpose, for one’s spark. It’s about relationships, self-worth and interdependence. It makes you think about nature and nurture; what is within our control and with what are we “born.”
The Hebrew word for soul is nefesh. Rabbi Marc Margolius says, “We humans come factory-equipped with latent godly qualities and the capacity to actualize them through our words and actions.” He goes on to say that Jewish tradition says that as beings created in God’s image, each of us is endowed with a soul that both reflects and embodies the divine.
Cheshbon hanefesh literally means “accounting of the soul.” This practice helps us assess our habits – both those of the heart and those of the mind – and how they impact our behavior, which in turn leads to an intentional actualization of our values and beliefs.
Pikuach nefesh means saving a life, the most important Jewish value in the compendium. Our texts teach that we can forgo almost any commandment or prohibition in order to preserve life.
So here we are, living in a time when the health and safety of those around us has taken center stage. We have been pushed to reassess our behaviors, to take time to consider what’s really important and to recognize that the seemingly small things that we do for others are in fact, big things for them.
Perhaps your actions have helped someone better understand their purpose or find their spark. Maybe something you said or did helped a person know that they are valued and appreciated. Maybe you encouraged someone to reach out to someone else in a way that deepens or repairs a relationship.
The journey we take with Soul’s middle school band teacher and the characters we encounter along the way results in lessons that reach far beyond the music. Although typically we do cheshbon hanefesh – an accounting of the soul - during the month of Elul prior to the High Holy Days, this teacher taught me not to wait until August (Elul) to think about what’s important and how one misstep may actually lead to a beautiful new path that might otherwise not have been found.
10 Ways Chadash Students Find Happiness and Joy
by Julie Zorn
The Hebrew month of Adar begins at sundown on February 11th. Rosh Chodesh Adar acts as a signal to change our perspective and straighten our crowns… to walk tall and to be silly, for Adar is the month when Purim falls.
There are so many lessons we can take away from the court jesters and the loud whirling groggers drowning out Haman’s name, but perhaps the most important lesson of them all during this time of Covid-19 is to cut loose a little bit and tap into our inner joy.
If you’re struggling to find your happy spirit during this pandemic time, do not fret, Chadash students are experts on the topic. Their exuberance is contagious, and we can all learn from these young members of Canton’s Jewish community.
Here are 10 ways Chadash students find happiness and joy!
Celebrating Sweetness – At Rosh Hashanah time, Chadash students gathered together virtually and took part in a Facebook Live Apple Crisp cooking class. Together, they chopped and cored apples, sprinkled cinnamon and sugar, and shared this delicious experience with their siblings, parents, and grandparents!
Cultivating Creativity – Our regional PJ Library chapter gave Sukkot gift bags to the youngest Chadash students this year, and many of them shared photographs of the edible Sukkahs they constructed. Their creativity was impressive, and perhaps we may even have a future architect or two among us.
Getting up and Moving – For the third year in a row, Hebrew Through Movement is part of the Chadash curriculum, and faculty member, Lori Magill, makes sure students of all ages are learning the words to stand up, walk, and sit back down.
Perfecting Paradise – Students in Morah Poole’s Kindergarten-2nd Grade Bible stories class designed and created their own Garden of Eden’s when they learned the story of creation. They paid such attention to details and crafted the perfect paradise.
Living in the Image of G-d – Morah Poole’s art specialty is a favorite among Chadash students, and one week this semester, they gazed at their reflections in the mirror as they created B’etzelim Elohim (Image of G-d), portraits.
Keeping the Sabbath and Making It Holy – Morah Shankle’s unit on Shabbat brought the spirituality of the weekly holiday to her student’s young minds as they created their Challah covers and sang Shabbat songs together. Beyond the celebration, Chadash students recognize that a pause from the week and more time with family is a really good thing.
Spiders Spin Webs – Sammy Spider is a favorite character in Morah Shankle’s Torah Tots class, and her students love to hear stories about how Sammy always finds a way to share the Jewish holidays with the Shapiro family in the house where he lives. His mother always tells him that spiders can’t take part in these human activities and that “spiders spin webs.” Sammy always perseveres though and is determined to defy all the odds.
Making the World a Better Place – When learning about B’nai Mitzvot in Moreh Silverman’s Jewish lifecycles class, his students decided that they wanted to create a Mitzvah project for the community. His 3rd-5th graders facilitated a pet food drive and donated their collections to the Domestic Violence Project.
Recognizing the Miracle of Light – Each week during Havdalah, we talk about how each of us holds a light within us that we can shine out into the world. During Chanukah, this point was really driven as we lit the Chanukiyah as a community and rejoiced in the miracle of oil.
Praying with Our Feet – Morah Wilkof’s class learned the lessons of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in Selma and “praying with our feet.” They learned that sometimes action is required in order to make change and that the world can be all the better for it.
Dr. Harvey Cohen
Lisa Izsak Fenyves
Joseph David Geduldig
Nathan Kalvin Grossman
Morris N. Halle
Dr. Beni Hervey
Carl Darwin Luntz
Grace W. Schory
Jack M. Wolf
Esther Fenyves Cooper
Harriet Weiner Green
Eldy Gross, Sr.
Rose Helen Mooradian
Bertha C. Nobil
Estelle R. Ortman
Gaye Jacobson Smolin
Irving Ronald Sweet
Ruth Steiger Ackerman
Lewis N. Buxbaum
Ileane Cooper Schwartz
Bess R. Karelitz
Dr. Sol Scholnik
Laura Ginsburg Sigel
Dr. Allen D. Weinsweig
Henry L. Diamond
Ellen T. Dinar
Anne C. Feingold
Dr. Henry H. Fladen
Brent Patrick Gold
Besse Lee Goodman
Gertrude M. Greenberger
Sara R. Levin
Katherine M. Steinbaugh
Jacob Koby Woll
The Temple's sympathy is extended to the families of:
Gloria Tanya Miller, who passed away on January 4, 2021. Gloria was the wife of Billy Miller; mother of Randi (Bill) Smuckler, Howard Miller (Jan Choy), Lori Prescott (Ed O'Hara), and Debbie (Doug) Solomon; grandmother of Ben Miller, Tucker Miller, Megan Smuckler, Hillary Smuckler, Meredith Arnold, Cory Prescott, Sarah Prescott, Sam Solomon, Eric Solomon, and Jacob Solomon; great grandmother of Stella Faye Smuckler.
Loreen Libster, who passed away on January 25, 2021. Lori was the wife of Neal; mother of Mitchell (Cindy) Libster, Steve (Anne) Barnett, Brenda (Lloyd) Miller, Larry (Becky) Libster, Richard (Terri) Barnett, Catherine (James) Holloway, Marcy Libster Stoller (z'l); sister of JoAnn (Tom) Hornsten and Dave (Beverly) Worshil.
Temple Israel Endowments
Lockshin-Goldenfeld Religious School Endowment
In Memory of
Sally Lipton, by Shirley Lockshin
Mary Lockshin, by Shirley Lockshin
Rabbi John H. Spitzer & Rabbi Jon Adland Restricted Fund for Social Justice & Action
Rabbi Spitzer, by Randi & Bill Smuckler
Temple Israel, by Jay Arnold; Matthew Comshaw-Arnold
Temple Israel Restricted Funds
Mazon Fund - A Jewish Response to Hunger
In Memory of
Glenn Silverhart, by Dave & Bev Worshil
Bob Sharkis, by Dave & Bev Worshil
Geraldine Branz, by Barbara & Stanley Rubin; Bob & Susan Narens
Gloria Miller, by Barbara & Stanley Rubin; Gail & Ted Goldman; Matt & Eileen Saltarelli; Marilyn & Paul Feldman; Eileen & Irv Dinn
Bob Schweitzer, by Jay & Marcia Berke; Betty Smith;
In Memory of
Robert & Miriam Weinberg, by Michael & Stephanie Weinberg
Samuel & Maurine Black, by Michael & Stephanie Weinberg
Martha Klett, by Sue Shafer
Howard Klett, by Sue Shafer
Richard Shafer, by Sue Shafer
Bob Schweitzer, by Diana Collum; Eileen & Irv Dinn
In Memory of
Gwen Balan, by William & Winnifred McGuire
Darlene Maxwell, by William & Winnifred McGuire
Community Relations Fund
In Memory of
Bob Schweitzer, by Gail & Marshall Bleckman
Rabbi Spitzer, by Estelle Blau
Lee Karelitz, by Estelle Blau
Bruce White, by Estelle Blau
Sheryl White, by Estelle Blau
Naomi & Arthur Freedman Library Fund
In Memory of
Ethel Sherman, by Randi & Bill Smuckler
Rabbi's Discretionary Fund
In Memory of
Geraldine Branz, by Richard Schwarz
Bilha Ron Religious School Enrichment Fund
In Memory of
Brother of Dr. Richard & Sandra Cooper, by Randi & Bill Smuckler
Bob Schweitzer, by Randi & Bill Smuckler
Gloria Miller, by Randi & Bill Smuckler
Temple Israel | www.templeisraelcanton.org