By Amy Unger
Simchat Torah Celebrations
On Sunday Oct. 16, the Sam and Helen Kornblau Religious School hosted a joyous Simchat Torah celebration at the school.
The students were invited by Rabbi Sherry Grinsteiner to change the mantles on the Torahs and to help roll them. The students were able to inspect the Choshen (breastplates), the Yad (pointer), and the Keter (crown). It was wonderful to see the students wide-eyed and focused on the task. They asked thoughtful questions of Rabbi Grinsteiner and she responded with nuggets of wisdom and Judaic knowledge. (see photos above and below)
Later in the evening, a congregational Simchat Torah service and celebration was held, which included a delicious dinner.
It was a full circle moment for the students who, earlier in the day, helped change the mantles and roll the Torahs. Families danced around the sanctuary with musical instruments, flags, and sang during the seven “hakafot,” celebrating the conclusion of and new beginning of the Torah reading cycle.
Finally, Rabbi Grinsteiner unrolled a large portion of the Torah as the attending congregations held it gently in a massive circle around the sanctuary. It was a powerful symbol of togetherness and a moment of connection between self, community, and our faith.
Collaborations/Connections at the Helen and Sam Kornblau Religious School at Or Atid
The Helen and Sam Kornblau Religious School has had a busy and meaningful past month. The school has continued to focus on collaborations and connections.
One of Rabbi Sherry Grinsteiner’s themes this year is the word “flourish.” Within this framework of thinking, connections and gratitude are some of the pillars of “flourishing” which the religious school has woven throughout its programs.
On Oct. 30, the Or Atid’s religious school hosted Or Ami’s religious school including its students, teachers, and parents as the inaugural program of a planned, year-long collaboration.
Rabbi Ahuva Zaches from Or Ami, Rabbi Sherry Grinsteiner from Or Atid, and the Or Atid religious school administrator, Alexandra Mendez-Zfass, collaborated on lessons and experiences focused on harvest and community. The students spent time with Or Ami teachers inside each of the classrooms discussing what community is, what community means within Judaism, and how they can have a positive impact on the community, at large.
The students also created their own Lego people reflective of themselves.
Simultaneously, other groups of students were with the Or Atid teachers in the Gan Chesed Kindness Garden with Or Atid’s avid and resident expert gardener, Charlotte Johnson.
Mrs. Johnson graciously lent her expertise, supplies, and time to show the students how to plant herbs and flowers in the garden as well as to harvest vegetables.
The younger group of students planted parsley seeds and nasturtium flowers in containers to take home. The parsley was being planted at that time so that it will be ready to be used for Passover. The students were excited to be able to contribute to their respective Seders.
The older students had the opportunity to plant parsley and garlic as well as harvest peppers, basil, and lettuce from the Gan Chesed garden. The students then packaged the harvest for the Weinstein JCC Elmer Toth Food Pantry.
A discussion was led that centered on the mitzvah of being a part of helping others in need as well as recognizing the work that goes into growing and making food in general. Lastly, the students came together in Or Atid’s sanctuary to hang up their Lego creations in the Hebrew word for community. It was such a wonderful opportunity for both synagogues to connect and come together in such a fun and meaningful way.
On Nov. 4th, Congregation Or Atid hosted the second “Young Families Shabbat Experience.” Michael and Inna Marcus hosted the evening with Leslie and Frank Archer preparing the feast!
Once again, the sanctuary was filled with giggles and wide eyes as younger members were given a Shabbat like experience. Prayers from the religious school were used so those young members could feel confident in their space within the sanctuary. The experience was followed by a delicious dinner in which families could connect and chat!
The “Shabbat Experience” will be held the first Friday of every month.
We welcome non-member young families to join us for an upcoming “Young Families Shabbat Experience”. For additional information and/or to register, please contact Alexandra Mendez-Zfass, the School Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corner of Our Fields Tzedakah initiative
During the High Holidays, Congregation Or Atid held a food drive, a tzedakah initiative, where we collected, canned, and boxed food items for those in need.
We are very pleased to announce that this food drive resulted in over 400 pounds of food which was donated to the Weinstein JCC Elmer Toth Food Pantry, a longtime member of FeedMore.
These items have already been or will be distributed to those in the community who struggle with hunger. This program is in keeping with Congregation Or Atid’s long time commitment to the “Corner of Our Fields” program.
We are grateful to the individuals who contributed to food drive. This small act of giving to others in need demonstrates that together we can make a difference in our community.
See more recent photos from programs.