Saturday, April 30, 2011

What TBJ means to Susan Levy

Today is the 12th day, that is one week and five days, of the counting of the Omer.

TBJ is my shelter- in a personal storm I find comfort and strength. When there is joy and happiness I have “ Family” to share it with. TBJ completes me and my family.

Susan Levy reports that she has been a member for "many years."

Friday, April 29, 2011

What TBJ means to Sherrill Murray-Lazarus

Today is the 11th day, that is one week and 4 days, of the counting of the Omer.

Simply put and sincerely said, Tempe Beth Jacob is home to me. Home where my family greets me at the door and where I belong, unconditionally without question, I belong. TBJ is more than a place that I call home, it is a people to whom I belong. TBJ is comfort and caring, compassion and kindness to me. As Dorothy said in the Wizard of OZ, “ There is no place like home” Similarly, when I think of what Temple Beth Jacob means to me. There is no place like home- and- to me, TBJ is home.

Sherrill Murray-Lazarus has been a member since 1980.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What TBJ means to Madeline Kronegold

Today is the tenth day, that is one week and 3 days, of the counting of the Omer.

TBJ has become my extended family, one I can always count on to share life's joys and sorrows. I have no family in NY and life has been quite the roller coaster these past few years. It is so amazing to know that TBJ and my friends I have come to know and love will always have my back and will be there to share their joys and sorrows with me.

Madeline Kronegold has been a member for 10 years.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What TBJ means to Gan and Kitah Aleph

Today is the ninth day, that is one week and two days, of the counting of the Omer.

Gan is our kindergarten class. Kitah Aleph is first grade.

Noah: I like the Jewish star.
Victoria: I love making stuff.
Sarah: I like making projects.
Jonah: I like the cantor.
Paris: I like making stuff like food in religious school.
Zachary: I like to put tzedakah in the tzedakah bin.
Ryan: I like seeing my friends.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What TBJ means to...

Today is the eighth day, that is one week and one day, of the counting of the Omer.

Some people preferred to remain anonymous in their thoughts. Here is one of them.

The comfort in knowing familiar faces; those that have shared simchas and sorrows.
A structure that whispers voices of generations past calling our future to hold tightly to their dreams.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What TBJ means to Jeff Rubin

Today is the seventh day, that is one week, of the counting of the Omer.

The temple resonates with deep significance for me and my family. The importance of celebrating our mitzvahs and sharing our sorrows. The sense of mishpucha whenever we are present with our fellow congregants is both spiritual and soulful.

Jeff Rubin has been a member for 31 years.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What TBJ means to Wendy Rosario

Day six of counting the Omer.

Being connected to people who are like minded, staying close to my religious roots.
Becoming a better person.
Having a place to go on the holidays.
Being educated and educating my children.
Making new friends and having a support system. (It's family for me as I have no family.)
It's cultivating a relationship with the God of my understanding.
I appreciate what the temple has done for Leah and Gabriel. They have met great friends and their participation in the music program has been GREAT!!

Wendy Rosario has been a member for 5 years with her children but a whole lot of years with her mother Sarah Levy

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What TBJ means to Brenda Seiden

Day 5 of the counting of the Omer.

Temple Beth Jacob has been in my life for lots and lots of years. During my college years, I taught Religious School in the basement of the South Street TBJ - all the classes men in one large room with pull down walls to separate the classes - three walls to each class. In 1953, I married and moved to Poughkeepsie but my husband and I came back to TBJ. Two years later we moved to Yonkers but still came back to TBJ. In 1959 we made yet another move back to Newburgh and became a permanent part of TBJ. Two years ago I was given the extreme honor of being named as a Lifetime member of the Board of Trustees. It is my job to remain a part of TBJ as long as I am able.

Friday, April 22, 2011

What TBJ means to Kitah Zayin

Day 4 of the counting of the Omer.

Kitah Zayin is our seventh grade class.

Temple means many things to me. It means that I will be preparing for my Bar Mitzvah.

Temple Beth Jacob means to me religious freedom. And it also means to me a place to go on Sunday mornings.

TBJ means a lot to me. It teaches me about my religion. I appreciate the teachers’ hard work and the time they spent teaching me throughout the years. Nava has been a great teacher this year for preparing me for my bat mitzvah. Thank you.

TBJ means many things to me. It is the place that has helped me teach my bat mitzvah and meet many friends. Also this place has taught me about my culture and religion and helped me reach my bat mitzvah. This is what TBJ means to me.

Temple is why I have my bar mitzvah. It is where I grew up. I went to that temple for a long time.

Temple Beth Jacob means many things to me. First it means Hebrew school where I prepare for my Bat Mitzvah.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What TBJ means to Gail Oliver

Day 3 of counting the Omer

Temple Beth Jacob is where my Judaism truly shines.
It is where I can sit on Friday evenings and holidays and pray and sing and relax and see old friends and make new ones.
It is where I can sit every Saturday morning and learn about the Torah and ponder and argue and laugh.
It is where I can send out an urgent message about the special needs of a congregant and immediately receive tons of e-mails of caring members who wish to help.
It is where I go when the homeless and needy of Newburgh are cold, or a village in Guatemala needs a school and clothing, and within a few days of my e-mail I have the lobby filled with clothing and school supplies and toothbrushes.
It is where I go when I need a delegation of "Jewish Ladies" to brighten the holidays for women with developmental disabilities who love being pampered with a beauty makeover.
It is where I go when I am down in the dumps and need a hug on Shabbat or support from a Rabbi and Cantor who truly care for their congregants.
Temple Beth Jacob is where what Judaism is all about - caring & learning & joy & prayer - comes to life...

Gail Oliver has been a member for 17 years.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What TBJ means to... us all.

From Rabbi Freedman

The counting of the omer is a curious tradition. It has numerous explanations all of which are true and none of which fully explains the reason. The main reason comes from our traditional take on our history, that we marched from Egypt to Sinai to receive the Torah. Time it took? Forty-nine days, a week of weeks, and we remember that march with great excitement as we look forward to receiving Torah again.

The counting of the omer is a semi-mourning period for some Jews. Why? Again, there are a number of reasons all shrouded in mystery. The most popular is that we are in mourning for a number of Rabbi Akiva's students who died of a plague but "plague" is probably code for military defeat at the hands of the Romans. This is the time of the Bar Kochba rebellion, an attempt to cast off Roman oppression and return to Jewish sovereignty. It didn't work. The folk custom of counting the omer as being a mourning period is a persistent memory of that catastrophe.

But for us, that explanation along with others just doesn't hold historical water and the idea of eternally mourning these deaths seems odd. Why them? Why not others? Surely we've had other catastrophes. Something about that explanation just doesn't work for us. That's why, instead, we try to focus on the positive idea of marching toward Sinai and why we've given up the idea of it being a mourning period.

But then again...

In traditional communities, the omer is a well known and observed time period. For us? Well, let's be honest. Many people reading and participating in this blog either had no or only a vague idea of the omer. Nothing motivates the Jewish community to remember like sadness. Happiness? Joy? Not so much.

And that's a shame really. When I think of what TBJ can mean, I see it as a place to celebrate uplift. I see it as a place to celebrate our values and connect ourselves to something larger than ourselves to give our lives meaning. I see it as a way of bringing joy and comfort and, frankly, fun. I fear, though, that worry and guilt and sadness and mourning are more motivating. How come we have so many more people here for Yom Kippur than for Purim? I'm glad you're here for Yom Kippur but you should try Purim. It's a lot more fun. Counting the omer is a mystical march towards the beginning of who we are as Jews. It is a march toward receiving Torah, that thing which has shaped your behavior for last 3000 years. TBJ is just the latest location to live out that Torah so that you don't just be Jewish but that you live Jewish. That's what membership in TBJ means to me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What TBJ means to Sharon Levinstein

Day 1 of Counting the Omer

What does Temple Beth Jacob mean to me? That is a very easy question to answer. For me it means memories. When I first decided to convert to Judaism, Temple Beth Jacob opened their doors and invited me in. I have always felt welcome from day one. I have many wonderful memories of TBJ. Our wedding, two Baby Namings, two Brit Milah, 2 Bat Mitzvahs, soon to be a Bar Mitzvah and in a few years a 4th. Oh and lets not forget myself becoming a Bat Mitzvah at the age of 32 and 9 months pregnant, believe me that was not easy.

Now we are starting new chapters as our children become young adults. Our Youth Group ( NewTY), Shul Ins, Kallahs, a trip to Israel, and a lot of driving children everywhere, but we love every minute of it. A very special thank you to the Freedman family for all you do. You have brought life back to our youth group, and our children have made new friends they will cherish for life.

So you see why this question is easy. Temple Beth Jacob you are my heart and soul. I believe you are part of who I am today. Most importantly you are family.

Sharon Levinstein