Yom Rishon, 3 Av 5778

Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur Sermons 5778
Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur Sermons 5777

 Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur Sermons 5776

Shabbat HaKavod Service 2014

Dear chevrei (friends),

In just a few days, July 4th, Independence Day, will be here and with it, the usual gaiety and frivolity that comes with celebrating a glorious moment in American history – world history, actually. I love the 4th of July. Unlike other patriotic holidays, such as Labor Day and Memorial Day, which sadly have lost their meaning to most Americans, as I have lamented in the past, I think this day is still true to form: outright celebration. And rightly so! We’ve earned it. The Declaration of Independence, and the chain of events it set in motion have truly changed the course of human history and I say that without even an iota of hesitation. The United States has been the catalyst for such good, positive and progressive change in our world, it would take volumes to recount.

Of course, we’ve not had a flawless history. How could we? Our foundational documents, the Declaration and the US Constitution, left an entire race in the category of property and women as second class citizens. Those issues, thankfully, were remedied over time. As were so many others. What is special about the 4th of July is not merely that it marks the beginning of American history on the calendar, but that it marks the beginning of the history of a uniquely American way of meeting the world’s challenges – audaciously and radically for the better – that progress serves all, rich or poor, man or woman, black or white.

I’m not my usual euphoric American self this year. Our uniquely American spirit has been diverted off of the trajectory of our history. This year’s 4th of July cannot celebrate our progressive society, we’ve become so regressive. As I write this, the news is filled with horrific images and sounds of children separated from their parents as they desperately seek to enter America as a safe haven – the same reason, one way or another, we all wound up here. But, this, sadly, is only the latest example of a regressive set of policies that seem so palpably un-American. We are a country of immigrants and refugees and now we’re turning our back on that heritage. My children are Americans of Russian-Polish-Hungarian-Rumanian-Syrian-Israeli descent. This 4th of July, how can they celebrate what has become of the melting pot? We’re also a country that has worked hard to build a shared society, with civil rights for all, yet, now, it seems the idea of racial equality is under attack at every turn – from Nazis with torches marching in the streets to Nazis running for the US Senate. What has been creeping out of the shadows these days is nothing to celebrate on this 4th of July. It is also feeling particularly hard to celebrate the end of British tyrannical rule over our American ancestors when our current democratic allies are dismissed at every turn in favor of the glorification of today’s tyrants, despots and dictators. Jefferson must be rolling over in his Monticello grave!

What is most distressing to me is what this all means for us Jews. I’m not a Henny Penny who’s wont to claim that the sky is falling and that there are anti-Semitic bogeymen lurking around every corner – just the contrary. Part of what makes the 4th of July such a great day for the Jews is that it was the first domino to fall in what would be the most flourishing and free space for us to live openly as Jews in the history of the world – more so even than ancient or modern Israel! America has been good to the Jews and the Jews have been very good to America in return. An open progressive society has benefitted us as much, if not more, than any group who has made this country home. Until less than a century ago, our Reform ancestors referred to this country as The New Promised Land, eschewing Zionism since we’d already found the ideal homeland, according to them.

If the sky isn’t falling, it’s got some big cracks in it, that is for sure. While we Jews know what progressive American freedoms have meant for minorities, we also know, all too well, what happens when open societies turn regressive. It ended self-rule in our ancient homeland 2,000 years ago – nearly wiping Judaism out altogether. It led to the end of the Golden Age of Judaism in Spain, bringing centuries of the Jewish good life to an end – by the sword, forced conversion or expulsion. It led to the Shoah, in the heartland of the Enlightenment, Germany and Austria, nearly exterminating the entire European Jewish community.

Will that happen here? I certainly hope not. In the past, I would have said never. I’m not so sure any longer. The tell-tale signs are piling up all around us these days.

So what should we make of this 4th of July? I’d start by re-reading the Declaration of Independence, it is an amazing document, still. Read it through your own eyes, today. Celebrate that it is ours, uniquely ours, and then think about how you can work to help our country live up to its ideals. After all, that statement of principles was just a piece of paper. It was the people that made it come to life. The first Americans. We, the newest Americans, are just as responsible for ensuring its vitality into the future. So this 4th of July, I’ll still be celebrating, but also thinking about my role in living up to Jefferson’s words: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.” I’m not one for overthrowing the government. But altering it? I’m all in. It’s the American thing to do.

Rabbi Scott Weiner


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High Holidays 5778
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

The most sacred time of the year is the period of the High Holidays, from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur.

For the Rosh Hashanah sermons given by Senior Rabbi Scott Weiner and Rabbi Beth Nichols, please click.
For the Yom Kippur sermons given, click for Senior Rabbi Scott Weiner and Rabbi Beth Nichols.

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High Holidays 5777
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

The most sacred time of the year is the period of the High Holidays, from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur.

For Rosh Hashanah sermons given by Senior Rabbi Scott Weiner and Rabbi Beth Nichols, please click.
For Yom Kippur sermons given by Rabbi Beth Nichols, please click.
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HHD 5775


High Holidays 5776
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

The most sacred time of the year is the period of the High Holidays, from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur.

For Rosh Hashanah sermons given by Senior Rabbi Scott Weiner and Rabbi Beth Nichols, please click.
For Yom Kippur sermons given by Senior Rabbi Scott Weiner, please click.
For Rosh Hashanah greetings given by Lloyd Robinson, President, click for Erev, Family and Main, please click.


Shabbat HaKavod Service

TINR 1 Year Anniversary Speech – June 6, 2014 ~ Adam Egelberg

For those of you whom we haven’t yet met, my name is Adam Egelberg. My wife Mia is sitting over there (point), and next to her are our two sons, Jake and Matt. We have lived in New Rochelle for 12 years and we’re here tonight celebrating our 1 year anniversary with the congregation of Temple Israel. I guess if we were a little quicker on the uptake we might be celebrating our 10th anniversary tonight, but better late than never.

Mia and I were invited to speak on behalf of the families being honored for their first anniversary. When considering this, we felt that we could only do so if we could reach out to as many of them as possible to get a sense of what other families thought about their first year with Temple Israel. Amazingly, all the first-years seem to be on the same page when it comes to this community. Here are some of the thoughts and feelings that came out of those conversations, many of them repeated:

Inclusive, Amazing, Tremendous positive influence, Peppy, Wonderful, Interactive, Happy, Huge help, It felt great, Thrilled, Something for everyone, Always striving to do better, Dynamic, Innovative, Creative, We are very thankful, Like family.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

The word community came up frequently. But what is a community exactly? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines community as “a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc.” That didn’t capture it for me, so I went to the font of all knowledge: Google.

Google says a community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals. While still a bit bland, I think that “feeling of fellowship” is a good place to start when describing Temple Israel. Google would also like you to know that there is a sale on Kippot at Amazon.com tonight and that you should all join Rabbi Weiner’s Google+ group.

The other sentiment uniformly expressed by the freshmen was that the Kehilah school is really something special. I would go way over my allotted one page if I tried to fully capture all the amazing things the families said about the school. So to be brief, you guys are doing a great job. Keep it up.

As Mia and I have older children, I would like to add that the Chavaya program is incredible. I am stunned to see children actually enjoying Hebrew School. You might be running afoul of some long standing traditions there.

So on behalf of my wife and children and the other first-year families who were lucky enough to discover this wonderful community, I would like to thank you for welcoming us all into your family.

Shabbat HaKavod Service

TINR 18 Years Anniversary Speech – June 6, 2014 ~ Jessica Frank

Good evening!  I feel particularly blessed and honored tonight to be able to celebrate the Cohan family’s 18 year anniversary in this glorious place.  I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone by, and how much MY HUSBAND AND I AND OUR CHILDREN have gained from being a part of the vibrant, inspirational community that is Temple Israel of New Rochelle.

18 years.  CHAI! -- the gift of life and of good luck.  How appropriate.
It all started when my 9 year old daughter came home from school one day and announced that it was imperative that she make her Bat Mitzvah.  (I think that her grandfather had something to do with her demands, but I can’t be positive.)   I drove up the winding hill from Pinebrook Blvd. just to TALK about the possibility of joining, and left Joyce Engel’s office a half hour later as a member,  armed with a complimentary prayer book in my hand.

And that day opened up a new chapter in our lives, which, 18 years later, has multiplied into volumes of beautiful experiences here for us.  Laura did make her Bat Mitzvah, but, unfortunately, her grandfather didn’t live to see it.  Neither of them did.  They both would have been proud, though.  My son David followed through as well, growing and thriving here on his journey through Bar Mitzvah, Confirmation, and Hebrew High School graduation.  

I of course, (not one to be upstaged), jumped on the spiritual bandwagon and decided, about 40 years after my 13th birthday, that I too wanted to study Hebrew and to make my Bat Mitzvah.  My husband encouraged me, my children inspired me, and my Temple laid out the welcome mat by providing a beautiful, nurturing environment with strong support so that I could reach that goal.  My adult Confirmation just last week was yet another step along my path of learning  -- being given the opportunity to  analyze, debate, and absorb Reform Judaism and all of its gifts, as well as its challenges.  

I could go on and on about everything that this place has done for me, but for now I’ll just say “Thanks, Temple Israel, from the Cohans, for the friends, for the faith, for the knowledge, and for the on-going adventure.”    

And here’s to another chai – another 18 years…or even 36, God willing!

Shabbat Shalom.

Shabbat HaKavod Service
TINR 36 Years Anniversary Speech – June 6, 2014 ~ Val Etra

In the introduction to Mishkan T’filah, our prayerbooks in the pews, Sam Karff wrote “Each generation must struggle to hear the call,
“Where art Thou?  Each must choose to answer.

Shabbat HaKavod Service

TINR 50 Years Anniversary Speech – June 6, 2014 ~ Carole & Mitch Ostrove

Yes, 50 years as a couple here at Temple Israel.  It all began in 1948 with consecration at Webster. TI has, and always will be, an important part of our lives.  Our parents were involved, so we were involved.  They were great role models.

We were both consecrated and went to Religious School, Mitch was a Bar Mitzvah.  We were part of the Junior Society, Junior Cantors, Junior Rabbi’s, Junior Choir, then Confirmation and Graduation. All that before being married, in Temple, 50 years ago. It is through our involvement that many good friends were made and kept.

Working to put together the Holiday Bazaar was a huge undertaking. The Purim Carnival and the Young Couples Club were loads of fun, especially the Scavenger Hunt at JFK.

I served as Brotherhood President, was active on the National Board, and for 20 years headed up the  Kitchen Crew and loved every minute. I served on the Temple Board and have been an active Honorary member for years.  My brother and I were the honorees for a Temple Gala 20 years ago.  It was a wonderful evening!

Our children, Marjorie and Jimmy continued the family tradition. They were named at Temple, consecrated, attended Religious School, Bar Mitzvah, Confirmation, Graduation and were active TIFTY members.

And now a 4th generation of Ostroves. Our granddaughter Jackie was named at Temple, as was our grandson Joey.  Joey was one of the first babies in the Kehillah School and his mom, Marjorie is President of the Parents Association.

L’DOR V”Dor from generation to generation.  Temple Israel, part of the fabric of our lives.


Shabbat HaKavod Service
TINR 60 Years Anniversary Speech – June 6, 2014 ~ Mary & Tom Garten

My wife’s parents lived on Aviemore Drive in New Rochelle, and I resided in Hartsdale. Mary’s parents were then members of our Temple at the Webster Avenue location.

On September 9, 1954 we were married by Rabbi Shankman at Mary’s home.  I was quite nervous so Rabbi Shankman told me to hide behind the foliage until the ceremony began.  Mary and I then became members at Temple Israel.

Both of our children received their Hebrew names at our Temple.  Our son, Lawrence was Bar Mitzvah by Rabbi Shankman after being mentored by Cantor Crockett.  Larry always valued his friendship.  Our Bar Mitzvah was held in Rosen Hall.  The first party event scheduled there.  Our daughter Jean attended Sunday school and her class picture was for many years on the corridor wall.

Mary and I will always treasure our friendship with Rabbi Wohl.  I so enjoyed being a member of his radio committee.  Cantor Reps performances were always a pleasure to listen to.

We have witnessed our Temple grow in recent years in many aspects of the religious field.  We are so proud to be affiliated with our Temple and know our Temple will continue to flourish under Rabbi Weiner’s leadership. As a World War 11 Veteran and Purple Heart recipient, I very much appreciate Rabbi Weiner’s reading at our services the names of the fallen soldiers.

Mary and I are so thankful to be honored here this evening.

Coming Up

07.16.2018 10:45 am - 12:00 pm
STARS (Seniors Together at Retirement)
07.18.2018 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Food for Thought - Summer Session
07.19.2018 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Torah Corps
07.19.2018 5:45 pm - 5:45 pm
Kehillah School Closes Early
07.20.2018 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Talmud with Rabbi Weiner
07.20.2018 10:00 am - 10:30 am
Kehillah School Shabbat #1
07.20.2018 11:00 am - 11:45 am
Kehillah School Shabbat #2
07.20.2018 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Shabbat Evening Service
07.21.2018 9:00 am - 10:30 am
Shabbat Morning Service/Torah Study
07.23.2018 10:45 am - 12:00 pm
STARS (Seniors Together at Retirement)