Weekly E-News 5783
May 27 - June 2, 2023
Bat Mitzvah of
Alex Mackowiak

Come celebrate with Alex and her family as she becomes a Jewish adult! Alex will be recognized during services at 7:30 PM on May 26th and 9:45 AM on May 27th. To honor Alex, her grandparents are sponsoring the kiddush on May27th.
Shavuot is Here!
It is almost time for Shavuot! Shavuot is the holiday when we commemorate receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai. We are offering several programs for Shavuot this year:
5/25 @ 8 PM: Tikkun Leil Shavuot. Come to the Gelman's parsonage to join us in a night of learning, fun, and cheesecake. The cheesecakes made earlier in the week will be judged, and Rabbi Gelman and Naima will be leading several fun short classes, as well as an "Ask the Rabbi and Naima session." To submit your questions ahead of time, please fill out the form here. If you are also interested in teaching, please email Rabbi Gelman at [email protected]
5/26 @ 9:45 AM: Shavuot Services Day 1. Come and hear the Ten Commandments as we commemorate the day the Jews received the Torah!
5/26 @ 7:30 PM: Shabbat/Shavuot Evening Services: Join us at Shabbat evening services a little later than we normally do them, in honor of the Bat Mitzvah of Alex Mackowiak.
5/27 @ 9:45 AM: Shabbat/Shavuot Services Day 2: Not only will we continue to celebrate Shavuot, but we will also celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of Alex Mackowiak! Yizkor will also be recited.
AA Annual Gala
Sunday, June 4th, at 5:30!

Plans include dinner catered by Bryan Graves, games and decorations by Monte Carlo Productions, an open bar, silent auction, and annual raffle with grand prize of $3000!

Do you have a connection with a business owner? Do you have a business you go to frequently? Got fun toys you could share? Great auction items could be a gift card or activity, as well as things like hotel stays, boat rides, or getaways to secondary homes. Please help us procure some last minute items!

To help with food, decorating, procuring auction items, or entertainment, please email Lauren Fins ([email protected]) or Motti ([email protected]). Call the synagogue or use the link below to reserve your tickets!


As his first year as President comes to close, Adam Fins has questions for you, and wants to hear your feedback. Please take note of the following dates:

Wednesday, May 31st, 7pm - Hosted by the Shernoffs at The Landings
Sunday, June 11th, 10am - Hosted by the Hirshes in Midtown Savannah

If you are interested in attending, please contact the office to reserve your spot so we can have appropriate seating and snacks available. Passes are required for The Landings, so you must be registered to enter.

Can't attend any but want to provide some feedback? Please send Adam an email. Is there another place we should hold a meeting? Please let us know.

Thank you to the Cweibels, Hirshes, and Shernoffs for opening their homes (and everything else they do for the synagogue). Thank you to all in advance for helping the AA to Rise Up this year and going forward!
Alex Mackowiak's grandparents will sponsor the May 27th kiddush in honor of Alex's Bat Mitzvah. A delicious menu, including cheesecake bites, is being prepared by Bryan Graves.

Please consider sponsoring a shabbat, in whole or in part, to celebrate an achievement or celebration of your own. You may also donate to the Kiddush fund in any amount at any time. Please contact the office for more details.
Friday Night Services
Upcoming Themes

5/26 - Musical Shabbat - Join us as we sing together old classics, learn new tunes, and explore the varieties of Jewish music at our musical Shabbats! If you are the kind of person who loves to sing along, this service is for you! This special 7:30 PM service will be in honor of Alex Mackowiak's Bat Mitzvah.

6/2 - PJ Shabbat - Come join us for an intergenerational PJ Shabbat! We invite everyone to come in their comfiest PJs and get cozy with us, as we sing songs to welcome in Shabbat, read a book all about Purim, and pray together as a community. The person in the best set of PJs wins a prize! This slightly abbreviated service is for people of all ages. 

6/9 - Learner’s Shabbat - come learn about different parts of the Friday night service and more!

6/16 - Classic Kabbalat Shabbat -  Join us for our classic Kabbalat Shabbat service! Featuring timeless melodies, ageless prayers, and a little bit of learning. Come be a part of our heimish community as we welcome in Shabbat together.

Please add these to your calendars!
Rabbi's Message
Shavuot begins this week on Thursday night. If you know one thing about Shavuot, you probably know that this is the holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai: that day of fire and lightning, of shofar voices and sounds that could be seen, when the Israelites were given the Ten Commandments. And yet, nowhere in the Torah does it say that Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah. It is mentioned five times in the Torah: the first two times, in Exodus, call it וְחַ֤ג הַקָּצִיר֙ בִּכּוּרֵ֣י מַעֲשֶׂ֔יךָ, “The festival of the harvest, of the first fruits of your work,” and וְחַ֤ג שָׁבֻעֹת֙ תַּעֲשֶׂ֣ה לְךָ֔ בִּכּוּרֵ֖י קְצִ֣יר חִטִּ֑ים, “The festival of weeks…of the first fruit of the wheat harvest.” Leviticus does not even give the holiday a name, but stipulates counting seven weeks of the omer, and then offering a grain sacrifice to God. Numbers refers to is as “י֣וֹם הַבִּכּוּרִ֗ים” “The day of first fruits,” and Deuteronomy returns to the phrase “חַ֤ג שָׁבֻעוֹת֙” “the feast of weeks.” Everywhere Shavuot is connected to the grain harvest, but nowhere to the Torah.

Alright, you might say, but at least the 6th of Sivan, the Hebrew date that we celebrate Shavuot, appears in the Torah as the date of the giving of the Torah. But no. All we get in terms of timing is “בַּחֹ֙דֶשׁ֙ הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֔י לְצֵ֥את בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם בַּיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה בָּ֖אוּ מִדְבַּ֥ר סִינָֽי” “On the third month after the Israelites had gone forth from the land of Egypt, on that very day, they entered the wilderness of Sinai.” What is “that very day?” Rashi claims (probably accurately) that it means the first of the month, but it is far from clear. And furthermore, the delay between the Israelites arriving at Mt. Sinai and receiving the Ten Commandments is ambiguous-it is clear that God tells Moshe to wait three days before receiving the commandments, but not clear when God tells Moshe this (the rabbis of the Talmud debate when this commandment was given, and if Moshe added extra time to it). Counting backwards in 3 periods of forty days from the time Moshe comes down with the second set of tablets, we can land on the 6th of Sivan, but that is hardly made clear in the Torah.

Why? If Shavuot is the anniversary of the revelation of Mt. Sinai, why does the Torah not say so explicitly? Why is its language so vague? Rashi gives an intriguing answer. The Torah says “בַּיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה” literally “on this day,” instead of using the more expected “ביום ההוא” “on that day.” Why? Because every day should be “this day.” Every day should be like the day we received the Torah, when we were in love with the Torah and the commandments, and eager to fulfill them.

We are constantly reminded to remember much of our history-Shabbat, our forefathers, the Exodus. But the giving of the Torah-that we are encouraged to relive. To experience every single day with the awe and excitement of the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. It is not easy to get into this mindset, what Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel called “Radical amazement.” But it is spiritually fulfilling.

So this Shavuot, I invite you to relive the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai-and then to try to continue to live in that moment of love and amazement the next day, and the next day, and the next.
Chag Sameach!

Shabbot Shalom!

Rabbi Gelman
Service Leader Sign Up

Are you interested in leading services? Reading Torah? We really need help with leading services multiple weekends in June. You can sign up on our service leader sign up sheet! If you are interested in learning how to read Torah or lead services, contact Rabbi Gelman at rabb[email protected]
In Person Service Times:
Tuesday: 7:30 AM
Wednesday: 8:00 AM
Friday: 8:00 AM (followed by breakfast) & 6:00 PM*
*Friday, May 26, 7:30 PM (instead of 6:00)
Shabbat: 9:45 AM
This Shabbat:

2023 | 5783 
Shavuot Day 2
Candle Lighting: 8:04 pm
Havdalah: 9:05 pm
(all times are for Savannah)
Annual Torah reading: Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17, Numbers 28:26-31 (Etz Hayim pp TBD)
Triennial Torah reading: Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17, Numbers 28:26-31 (Etz Hayim pp TBD)
Haftarah: Habakkuk 3:1-19 (Etz Hayim TBD)
Classes Offered at the Synagogue
New Course: Judaism 101

Don't remember everything from your time in Shalom School? Never got a chance to learn in the first place? Want to brush up on your Jewish skills? Then this course is for you!

Join Rabbi Gelman as we examine the ins and outs of Judaism. Over the next six weeks, we'll touch on the Torah, the Talmud, Jewish history, Jewish practices, and more. Classes will be held at the Starbucks at Twelve Oaks on Tuesdays at 12:30 PM. If you are interested, please RSVP to Rabbi Gelman at [email protected]. If you would like to attend, but cannot make the time, please email Rabbi Gelman as well. The full course listing follows. We hope to see you there!

Tuesdays, at 12:30 PM:

May 30: History of the Jews, Part 1: 3500 years of Jewish History in 1 hour
Daf Shevui/Talmud Page of the Week:
Always wanted a chance to learn a bit of Talmud? In this class we will be going through the first tractate of the Talmud, Berachot (Blessings). We will get a good variety of rabbinic legends, Jewish law, wit, and arguments. Lots and lots of arguments. Class will be held Wednesdays at 7 PM on Zoom. The ZOOM link can be found below...
Fran & Maurice Middleberg
This is a true fairy tale about the enchanting Fran and Maurice who fell madly in love with one   another during a whirlwind romance! The year was 1975 and after that fateful first date and just one day shy of a year, they were married!

They met while both attending Florida State University. Fran was brought up in Fort Lauderdale and Maurice grew up in Philadelphia. After graduation, Fran became a psychotherapist and Maurice became a political scientist. Together they lived in: (put on your seatbelts!) Arizona, Maryland, Niger, Virginia, Connecticut, Georgia, New Jersey, and now finally consider Savannah to be their eternal resting place. (Well, not really, since they opted to donate their bodies to a medical school and not sure where they will end up!)

Both enjoyed stimulating careers in the non-profit sector, with Maurice concentrating in global public health and working on improving access to health care in developing nations. He ended his professional chapter directing an organization against human trafficking. Fran practiced psychotherapy at various places including a psychiatric hospital, crisis center, suicide prevention hotline, children's shelter as well as an addiction and recovery center. She is also deeply involved in policy and advocacy.

Fran and Maurice are extremely proud of their wonderful two children who are both “Bulldogs!” Joshua, age 46, lives in Alexandria, VA and enlisted in the US Army after college where he was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He now works as a counselor in a facility that treats people who are struggling with addiction. Amanda, 35, lives just outside Atlanta and works at the Carter Center as a Senior Grants Manager. Both are married to wonderful spouses, Lauren and Saif who blessed them with four granddaughters --- Lina (10), Madeline (5), Ellie and Ruki, born five days apart in late June of 2021.

Fran and Maurice are both deeply committed to Jewish ethics and traditions and find great meaning being part of AA’s supportive community. Their greatest pleasure is spending time with one another while exploring the world in big and small ways. Fran also enjoys genealogy and astronomy, decorating and is a voracious and eclectic reader. Maurice loves playing the mandolin, gardening and woodworking. They feel fortunate to own a home in Savannah next to a wetland preserve and avail themselves of the varied performing and visual arts scene here. Best of all, they appreciate having a main floor master bedroom and that they will never have to shovel snow again!
Birthdays and Anniversaries

May 27th
Lisa Dayan

May 28th
Wendy Cohen
Maurice Middleberg

May 29th
Marc Gordon

May 30th
Jeanmare Holstein
Nancy Isaacson

May 31st
Phyllis Aaron
Lane Emert
Happy Anniversary!
May 27th
Jana & Preston Feiler

May 28th
Wendy & Joel Katz

May 29th
Phyllis & Ken Aaron
Beth & Marc Eichenholtz

May 31st
Julie & Joel Goodman
If we have missed your birthday or anniversary, please email the office with the information so we can update your account. We apologize for the omission.
Yahrzeits For:

May 27 - June 2

Friday night/ Saturday, May 27 - 7 Sivan
Samuel Tenenbaum - grandfather of Cookie Gale, Sheldon Tenenbaum,
Bert Tenenbaum & stepfather of Harriet Ullman

Sunday night/ Monday, May 29 - 9 Sivan
Howard Weinberg - father of Lynn Simon

Monday night/ Tuesday, May 30 - 10 Sivan
Albert Ullman - husband of Harriet Ullman
& father of Susan Slotin

Tuesday night/Wednesday, May 31 - 11 Sivan
Dinah Eichler - grandmother of Steven Berwitz

Wednesday night/Thursday, June 1 - 12 Sivan
Jeanne Palefsky - mother of Elliot Palefsky & Brenda Rosenberg
Miriam Sherman - mother of Bunny Montag

Thursday night/Thursday, June 2 - 13 Sivan
Samuel Berwitz - grandfather of Steven Berwitz

Commemoration of the Yahrzeit begins the evening of the first noted date.
Security Training Sessions Scheduled

We have scheduled the first safety training session for the synagogue to take place at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, June 21st. This session will be Situation Awareness - basically, what to look for at all times to stay safe.

If you have already attended a session, don't feel like you should not attend this one. It is also something your family and friends would benefit from, so please encourage them to come. They don't have to be a member of the synagogue or even Jewish to attend.

Sessions have also been scheduled on July 25th for Countering Active Threat and on August 30th for Stop the Bleed.
"The Art Show at the JEA beginning June 1, 2023, will feature the works of
Kitt Dobry
 Kitt Dobry is a local artist specializing in oils, watercolor and graphite. She has a BFA in both illustration and art history from Moore College of Art and Design. Notably, she was the first woman in Moore’s illustrious history to successfully complete a second major with Illustration. She also minored in graphic design, to round out her skill set.
Following college, she worked a variety of in-house design and illustration jobs while also freelancing. She was accepted into the Philadelphia Sketch Club and participated in juried shows with them before moving to VA. There, she spent a year teaching art at a private school and tutoring Portfolio Prep classes for students looking to apply to art college before she ultimately moved to GA in 2013.
Kitt has since established herself as a local artist specializing in portraits, whimsical animal paintings and still lifes. She continues to show multiple times a year while taking on limited freelance work while she raises her son and daughter.
Kitt is a member of the American Portrait Society and National Watercolor Society
From the TZEDEK committee committee -
Update on legislation defining anti-semitism

AA member Simone Wilker, who has been advocating on behalf of Hadassah, shares the following update with AA community: Thank you to all of you who sent in the action alert to tell our state senators and representatives that we wanted them to pass the Bill adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Your participation has made a difference.

We were very disappointed that the Bill to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism did not pass. HOWEVER, there were some good things that came out of it. First, the fact that it did pass through the House and, second, it did pass through the Senate Children and Family Committee. It was not rejected at the Senate yesterday. It simply was not called. So it just sits there until the next session, in a year. We are walking away disappointed, but NOT defeated. We have all of next year to work to convince people (visit their offices either in person or on the phone or by mail) that this Bill is important to the Jewish community.

Thank you again for all your help. It is vital to show that we, as Jews, need and want this Bill. 
Are you interested in other charitable organizations? Contact Maurice Middleberg to find out more about what the Tzedek Committee can do to help you!
Donor Dues Program