Shabbats, Purim, and Passover, a Special Lecture by Rabbi Seltzer

Purim spiel (left to right): Melanie Einbund, Susan Kravitz, Marilyn Anthony (photo by Alan Kravitz)

March has brought many events to the Institute for Judaic Services and Studies (IJSS), including Shabbat services, celebration of Purim, and a lecture to the community by Rabbi Sanford Seltzer. April includes the observance of Passover and Shabbat services. April Shabat service is the last IJSS Shabbat service until the High Holy Days.

Shabbat services are on March 24 and April 28. Both services begin at 7 p.m.

As we enter the period of a major festival, it is certain that our rabbi will guide us through the practices and rituals of Passover. Our cantorial soloist Eliyanah Powers, of melodic and strong voice, will assist our thoughts as we chant our prayers. Harrison Scheckler, our accompanist, has learned Jewish liturgical exceptionally well. Harrison leaves us in April to attend the University of Iowa. Harrison’s musicality and spirit are fabulous. The community wishes Harrison well in his future endeavors.

Celebrations of note: Our February oneg celebrated the birthdays of William Kaplan and Jack Rosenthal. The oneg included a very large and delicious birthday cake. Our March oneg celebratee the birthdays of Bonnie Lasky, Irv Rothenberg, Judi Friedman, and Jerry Lankin.

To sponsor an oneg for that special event, remembrance, or celebration, please contact Sherry Kaplan at [email protected].

Our Purim festival, a joint collaboration of IJSS and Jewish Friendship Group, was held with 60 attendees. An atmosphere of gaiety, fun, and an enthusiastic use of graggers (noisemakers)​​ at the mention of Haman’s name permeated the room. Many came in costumes that were creative and beautiful. Hamantaschen and baked goods were plenty.

The highlight of our festival was the creative and skillfully performed spiel (the story of Esther and her saving of the Jewish people) by Susan Kravitz. Susan is a musician with an unlimited talent in musical instruments, composition, history, and knowledge. Susan authored the spiel with a medieval flavor and invited our participation, which wasn’t lacking. She then led us in songs, written by her and traditional as well. Claps and laughter abounded.

IJSS sponsors adult education of topics of interest to the community. We are very fortunate that Rabbi Seltzer spoke in March to “When Jews Were Christians and Christians Were Jews—The Legacy of Passover and Easter.” Rabbi Seltzer’s presentation was energetic and factual and enlisted audience participation, comments, and facts. Participation was enthusiastic, and the sharing of information among some 90 attendees was robust. Our thanks to those in the audience adding flavor and fact to the discussion, as well as to Pastor Roger Pierce of Resurrection Lutheran Church (SaddleBrooke) for encouraging members of his congregation to attend.

The first night of Passover is April 5, lasting until April 13. The celebration of freedom of the Jewish people from slavery is observed with seders that retell the story of over 3,000 years and other traditions and prayers that have developed through the ages.

Bonnie Lasky has undertaken the role of editor for a new newsletter Jewish Links, which speaks to Jewish events, interests, and celebrations throughout the community. To receive a copy, contact Bonnie at [email protected].

IJSS is a small and welcoming congregation. We value our members and their needs. If you have questions or wish to join our congregation, please feel free to contact Esta Goldstein at 520-825-1181 or Seth Eisner at 520-818-6340 for information.

Wishing everyone a Happy Spring and joyful celebrations of Passover and Easter!