“In These Times”

Cheshvan/Kislev/Tevet 5777 - 5778

VOL. 50 NO. 12


Aliza Goland, Executive Director Marcy Goldberg, Director of Education Donna Becker, ECC Director

Sandy Greenstein, President Alan Greenbaum, Rabbi Emeritus

Andrew Straus, Rabbi David Shukiar, Cantor

From the Rabbi’s Desk

• Volunteer to work in our Winter Shelter. The TAE Winter Shelter opens Sunday, December 3 rd . We need volunteers to cook, clean sheets, provide breakfast and lunch, and most of all chaperone. For more info email We should also remember that on Thanksgiving we are all pilgrims. One of my favorite Thanksgiving children’s books is Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen: “Molly and her parents are a Jewish family who have emigrated from Russia to the United States to escape religious persecution. Molly is the only Jewish child in her third grade. When Thanksgiving arrives, the teacher assigns a project to make a Pilgrim doll. Molly is embarrassed by her mother’s attempts to help with her Thanksgiving project. She makes a pilgrim doll — but dresses it in Russian clothing. Soon, however, Molly learns that it takes all kinds of “pilgrims” to make a Thanksgiving.” Since 1621 this nation has welcomed those fleeing persecution and seeking refuge. This year, as I celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, I will give thanks for all the pilgrims who have come to these shores and have made this nation what it is – a land of freedom and opportunity, a land of diversity and unity. I will give thanks that this nation believes, “that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

I am writing this article about Thanksgiving during Sukkot. And for some reason, it just seems totally appropriate because Thanksgiving’s origins are in Sukkot. There is no doubt that the Pilgrims, who first celebrated Thanksgiving in 1621, were familiar with the biblical holiday of Sukkot and, at least on some level, based their celebration on it. Thanksgiving is truly a beautiful holiday. It gives us a chance to gather with friends and family and give thanks for all the gifts that we have. But, how many of us really stop and give thanks for our blessings? For many of us, Thanksgiving has become a day on which we watch too much football, eat too much food, and then rush to the mall so we can buy too many things. From my perspective, Thanksgiving in too many cases has become a day of excess and not a day of gratitude. Can we recover it? Of course we can! There are a number of simple things that we can do. Here are a few of my suggestions: (I am sure you will come up with many other ideas) • When you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal, take some time and go around the table and ask people what they are grateful for. (No one word answers allowed.)

• Before you eat, say HaMotzi, the blessing for food. • Turn off the football game and talk to each other.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Don’t’ forget to join us for the Thanksgiving Interfaith Service on Wednesday November 22 nd , 7:00 pm at California Lutheran University.

• Go for a walk in nature. Karen’s mother lived near Jones Beach and when we celebrated Thanksgiving with her we always went for a walk on the beach. The beach was beautiful and the conversations were even better. • Before Thanksgiving, remember to support one of our local food drives.

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