Friday, April 28, was our last Shabbat Service until the High Holy Days. It was the last service for our outstanding accompanist Harrison Scheckler. Harrison leaves us to teach at a university in Iowa as Professor of Piano. Harrison learned Jewish liturgical music from scratch. We will be forever grateful for his commitment, performance, and musicality—and even wearing a kippah. The community cited our thanks with a framed document of our appreciation.
Our April Oneg was sponsored by Hy Beraznik in memoriam of his wife Roseanne Beraznik. Many thanks to Hy, his son, and daughter-in-law.
As we pause for the summer, our thoughts and gratitude turn to Rabbi Sanford Seltzer for his leadership and guidance. His enthusiasm and energy are infectious. We will welcome his return at our High Holy Day Services and Shabbat Services thereafter. Credos to Eliyanah Powers, cantorial soloist, with her melodic and spiritual voice over the past several months. Eliyanah will return in September to bring us prayers and songs during our services.
Dr. Joshua Nichols, our new accompanist, was recommended to Rabbi Seltzer by Dr. Daniel Asia, a professor of musical arts and composition at the University of Arizona and a mentor to Dr. Nichols.
Shavuot (meaning “weeks”) is on May 25. The holiday celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. If you have ever had the experience of flying over the Sinai Peninsula, you can see Mount Sinai from the air. It is a beautiful sight, with the mountains on the left and the Gulf of Aqaba and the Negev on the right as you travel north. I learned on that flight that if there are areas of darkness, that means there is water, or so I was told!
Traditionally, the holiday is celebrated by a night and early morning of study—coupled, of course, with dairy foods, which often are cheese blintzes and my favorite, New York-style cheesecake.
People I know: Sometimes when writing an article for general publication, you may take a personal step forward. I wish to do that here. For 50 years, my husband and I resided in Northern California. For the past 30 or so years, in the small community of Castro Valley. Our involvement in the Jewish community bridged our Temple Shir Ami and Chabad of San Leandro/Castro Valley.
When we first met Chabad Rabbi Shimon Gruzman and Chanie Gruzman, we were taken with their friendliness, warmth, and welcoming. I knew Chanie before she was a mother. When she gave birth to twins, we were happy for both. When she gave birth to her second set of twins, we were surprised and marveled at the idea of two sets of twins. And then came the third set! Oh my gosh—both smiling and perplexed. But most recently, Chanie delivered her fourth set of twins! Now, with eight children (four sets of twins), do we have a Guinness Book of World Records? Our congratulations to them, and most especially Chanie whose warmth and caring embraces us all.
Contributions to The Institute for Judaic Services and Studies (IJSS) are always welcome. Recently, we have received information that charitable donations can be made from your IRA account. There is an article on the IRS website entitled “Reminder to IRA owners aged 70 1/2 or over: Qualified charitable distributions are great options for making tax-free gifts to charity.” The article gives instructions on Qualified Charitable Distributions. If you would like more information, please contact Seth Eisner, IJSS treasurer, at [email protected]. Of course, for any donation, please seek the advisement of your legal and/or financial professionals.
Bonnie Lasky is the editor of Jewish Links, a newsletter of Jewish events, interests, and celebrations throughout the community. To receive a copy, contact Bonnie at [email protected]. Jewish Links includes IJSS events and happenings.
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.
Wishes for a wonderful summer to all!