The Connection - Temple Emanu-El
Temple Emanu-El Connection
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The Rabbi’s Corner
This was the first year that Temple Emanu-El invited the community to attend High Holy Days services without charge. It was also a time for Rabbi Ken Aronowitz to reflect on his experiences and contemplate the relationship between us and God.
Q. How many years have you been leading High Holy Day services?
A. I’ve been on the bima for High Holy Days for 34 years. I started as a guest cantor while I was still in college. My first formal position was in Connecticut, I was 5-6 years there. Then I spent 5-6 years in Dallas, Texas followed by another 5-6 years in Buffalo. I wonder what it is about 5-6 years. (Laughs.)
Q. Now that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are complete for this year, what do you think people should be taking with them between now and next year?
A. Hopefully, everyone who attended the High Holy Days services shared moments when they felt connectedness with the divine presence, with the bigger all, and felt the strength that is open to us from a greater presence. I believe God’s divine presence enables us to do incredible things in our lives. I hope the Temple itself is a safe and open place for people to share what was going on with them.
I also feel that being Jewish and experiencing the majesty and mystery of High Holy Days gives us the structure to continuously look within ourselves to do the work we need to do to become truer, more authentic, loving selves. Let’s face it, the default is to blame others for what doesn’t go right with us. That takes the obligation off of ourselves to take responsibility for our own growth. Let’s continue what the High Holy Days started, let’s continue to talk about ourselves in order to let go of things that are weighing us down. Let’s always challenge ourselves in that way.
Q. How does teshuvah fit into our everyday lives after the High Holy Days are over?
A. The verb shuv in Hebrew means to turn back or to return. Some people might feel that after the High Holy Days, we just go forward into our year. There is always so much we head towards. In that process, we might turn to our work, technology, sports, relationships. In doing that we must be careful not to turn away from our connection with God. In a way, the High Holy Days are how we turn back so we honor and enhance or strengthen our relationship with God. And it’s not only about us Jews, either.
Q. What do you mean when you say the High Holy Days aren’t only about us Jews?
A. Of the choir’s 40-45 members, the overwhelming majority are not Jewish. It’s because the themes are so universal: Healing, peace, being present. We affirm Shema, God is one. At the end of the service, we sing the concluding portion, the Aleinu, Bayom Hahu. We pray for the day when God will be one and God’s name will be one for everyone.
Think of it this way: Passover is the birth of the Jewish people. That’s our story, the Jewish people. Rosh Hashanah is the creation of the world. We’re talking about teshuvah, turning back and reflecting on our relationships with others and our relationship with the world in light of our relationship with God. So, it’s turning to the people we’ve hurt to say, “I’m sorry.” If we’ve broken a connection, it’s our job and the High Holy Days are the time to repair it. This is open to everyone, not just Jews. That is the way we avoid the harsh consequences of our negative acts. Hopefully we will continue to form meaningful relationships feeling the presence of God in each other. I believe the High Holy Days help to make sense in an all-too-often senseless world. We admit we can’t do it by ourselves. We have to do the doing, but we need God’s help.
Q. How else do you see carrying the spirit of the High Holy Days into our daily lives?
A. One question to ask is, what am I turning to? What makes life exciting and worth living? I’m certainly not “it”. There is a presence greater than myself. I’m going to ask that presence to please show me what I should do in a given situation. I want to keep myself open and listen to the angels around me for answers. People that I encounter in my daily life. It might be a friend, a server at Starbucks, something I see, something I read. I mean, think about people who come into your life when you need it. I believe angels are messengers, people or things that God is speaking through.
Q. Thank you, Rabbi, for the words of wisdom.
A. You’re most welcome. And I want to invite everyone reading this article to join us as often as you can for services and events. They are offered as a way to come together as a spiritual community in order to realize the intentions of teshuvah and tzedakah. It’s all about shalom, peace, connecting with the spirit in you and around you, and enjoying life. L’chaim! To life!
Senator Schatz Headlines Inaugural Community Series
The Jewish Community Speaker Series kicked off the year with a presentation by Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz. The event, hosted in the Temple Emanu-El sanctuary, was sponsored through the University of Hawai'i Fund for the Promotion of Jewish Life and Studies and Hillel Hawai`i.
Senator Schatz gave his prepared remarks to the assemblage and then conducted an open forum to answer questions from the audience. The talk was titled, "Bringing the Country Together: Where Do We Go From Here". Senator Schatz discussed national reactions to the 2016 election results and how to move forward with the incoming 115th Congress.
The newly inaugurated Jewish Community Speaker Series of 2016 intends to feature discussions of topics of cultural and local interest. While sponsored by the Jewish community, topics are chosen that will be of interest for the greater Honolulu community, and everyone is warmly invited to attend and participate in the discussions.
The following speaker series event, co-sponsored by Hillel Hawai`i and the UH Fund for the Promotion of Jewish Life and Studies, was held Sunday, December 11th at Temple Emanu-El. Filmmaker Marlene Booth discussed the evening's featured film Pidgin: The Voice of Hawaii that she produced and directed. The one hour documentary profiles this language of Hawai'i's working people in its rise from plantation jargon to a source of island identity and pride.
The screening was followed by an interview with Marlene and discussion with the audience, facilitated by Professor Peter Hoffenberg. Marlene teaches film and the University of Hawai'i and is an award-winning filmmaker. She has worked in film since 1975 for public television station WGBH-TV in Boston and as an independent filmmaker.
The Jewish Community Speaker Series is an open, inclusive forum for the community to gather around topics of intellectual, cultural, and political significance. All are welcome!
Senator Brian Schatz speaking at Temple Emanu-El
Jewish Community Services: Serving Our Jewish Community With
Compassion And Commitment
A Little History
Jewish Community Services initially came into being in the 1980’s under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Hawaii. When the federation closed its doors in 1998, many people in the community felt it was essential to continue the services that JCS was providing. There was so much support from the various Jewish groups that an independent non-profit entity was created. Today, Jewish Community Services continues in its mission to “support and enhance the quality of life for those in need of help in the Hawaii Jewish community.” Member organizations include Temple Emanu-El, Congregation Sof Ma’arav, Aloha Chapel, and Oahu Jewish Ohana, as well as Rabbi David Glickman, of Maui.
JCS provides family and individual counseling, referrals, resources, emotional support, and appropriate financial assistance. It supports clients in times of crisis, need, life changes, and life transition. A disabled senior was provided with temporary housing. A woman having surgery was counseled and assisted in finding dependable caregivers. A seriously ill single parent in need was provided emotional support, advocacy, counseling, and financial support.
Meet The JCS Service Provider
Melissa Bowen began working as service provider for JCS in August. The Jewish community is fortunate to have a person with her education and experience. Melissa got her BA in psychology from Washington State University in 2005. Her next stop was a non-profit organization in San Diego that worked with homeless people suffering from severe mental illness. She got them hospitalized and followed up with them upon discharge to get them stabilized in the community. When her family was transferred here, she decided to get her master’s degree from U.H. Manoa, which Melissa did in 2011.
With her master's, Melissa began working at Queens ER in trauma intervention in 12-hour shifts. It was an environment of constant crises and trauma in the psychiatric part of the Emergency Room. Following her stint in the ER, she was hired by the Veterans Administration and has been working at Tripler with homeless vets for the past 3 years. Now, in addition to her work at Tripler and for JCS, which is a part-time position, Melissa is going for her doctorate, a 5-year commitment. When her doctorate is complete, she will be a psychologist.
Because Melissa has been working with homeless vets for years, she is familiar with people in crisis and knows how to link them to resources that will help them with food, utility bills, low income senior housing, nursing homes or places for elderly parents, and more. Having been out on the streets as well as in clinical settings, our new JCS service provider brings a wealth of knowledge and a compassionate heart to Jewish people in need.
In November, JCS held its annual volunteers awards dinner. This year, each participating organization was represented. The Volunteers of The Year were:
John Allen, Aloha Jewish Chapel
Estee & Rudi Weinbaum, Chabad Hawaii
Sally Morgan, Congregation Sof Maarav
Sion Vojdan, Jewish Congregation of Maui
Barbara & Michael Fischlowitz Leong, Oahu Jewish Ohana
Gail Marcus, Temple Emanu-El
Gail Marcus accepts her award from Steve Guttman, JCS President
What People Are Saying And How To Add Your Support
"JCS has provided our members thoughtful and helpful service over the years, and continues to be sensitive to the needs of seniors who need assistance at difficult times. Todah rabah and mahalo." – Evelyn Davis, Hawaii Jewish Seniors
"The JCS mission is to make sure that everyone has shelter and food and to help individuals achieve both personal and Jewish goals. JCS is a necessary component of our neighborhood. Thank you for all that you do." -- Rabbi David Glickman, Maui
Contributions to JCS are tax deductible. It is possible to commemorate, honor, and memorialize people and events of significance to by donating to JCS. Your donation will be acknowledged to you and all appropriate parties. Contact JCS at 808-258-7171. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hearty Band From Temple Emanu-El Makes History
For what is likely the first time in recorded history, the Oahu Jewish Community welcomed Rosh Hashanah with a sunrise blowing of the shofar on the top of Makapuu. On the morning of Erev Rosh Hashanah, 23 adults and children woke up in the wee hours of the morning to begin their uphill trek about 5:15am in order to be at the top of Makapuu for the 6:23 am sunrise.
This was a very special journey, combining a community gathering, a spiritual experience, and a time to take in the beauty of Hawaii. The group assembled under a large tallit to center themselves and hear a special reading about tikkun olam (world repair). Then, at the moment of sunrise they heard the shofars blast across the mountain. As Barry Langleib said afterward, “It was an exhilarating experience for everyone.”
After the event, the group celebrated by enjoying homemade challah made by Alice Lachman, and apples and honey provided by Alice and Cathy Joseph. The group intends for the sunrise ceremony to be an annual celebration, and is planning on doing it next year on the Sunday immediately before Rosh Hashanah, so mark your calendars and plan to join in next year!
(Above): Mani Pakizeh helps awaken the world at sunrise
(Rear, left to right): Jeannie, Julia w/Alexandria (visitors), Sarah, Joe, Cathy, Fran, Hinda, Mani, Barry, Alice, Hanania, Darlene, Aliza and Eva,
Peyton and Isabella.
(Front, left to right): Jackie, Robyn, Chava and daughter, Shari, Jackson, Elana
(Above): The “Shofar Corps” during Erev Rosh Hashanah services,
surrounded by the High Holiday Choir choir
(Above):On the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Ken Aronowitz and a large group of Temple members gathered at Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park for the annual Tashlich ceremony. Tashlich means "casting off" in Hebrew and involves symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread into a body of flowing water.
2016 Board of Trustees Hard At Work
The Rabbi leads the Board Members as they pledge their service to Temple Emanu-El.
In a moving ceremony, Rabbi Aronowitz led the installation for the 2016 Board of Trustees. The all-volunteer board has dedicated itself to practicing audacious hospitality by opening our doors to all Jews for the High Holidays and throughout the year. The Board will also focus on making Temple a place for thoughtful interactions through our educational programs and new speaker series. The board members are Ruth Freedman, Beth-Ann Kozlovich, Carol Kozlovich, Barry Langlieb, Justin Levinson, Scott Paul, Bill Schwartz and Dan Tabori. Jackie Mild Lau was selected to continue her leadership as president of the board. Other officers are 1st Vice President Marcia Klompus, Treasurer Alan Gottlieb and Secretary Jackie Foil.
JEC Holds Saturday Service for Family Education Day
For the first time in it's history, the Jewish Experience Center held it's 6th and 7th grade Family Education Day on a Saturday morning, departing from the usual SJS session time on Sunday morning. Family Education Day is designed to engage both students and parents in a full day of fun and learning with their classes. For the 6th and 7th grade class, the Saturday morning event was held to give students an idea of what to expect for their upcoming Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.
Both students and parents participated in a walk through of the service: its components and the roles they would play in the ceremony. The occasion was complete with a kiddush luncheon and a panel discussion about the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience. The panel consisted of Education Director Jessica Bram, Rabbi Ken Aronowitz, 6th/7th grade teacher Jan Fried and Kitchen Coordinator Warren Quat. Boasting an almost 100% attendance rate, Saturday morning service will likely be a standard event for future 6th/7th classes as they prepare to become b'nai mitzvah.
(Above): SJS parents and students learn more about a typical Bar/Bat Mitzvah service.
SJS 6th/7th Grade Class
PJ and Pancakes Day A Delicious Success!
On Monday, October 31st( yes, Halloween Day), the Gan children showed up in their pajamas while many of our Gan fathers came in to make a delicious pancake breakfast for the children. PJ and Pancakes was a special event because it offered a healthy, non-commercial alternative for children to dress differently and have a special meal.
The dads made fresh, yummy pancakes and served them with genuine maple syrup and orange juice. The children were eating so many pancakes that the dads couldn’t keep up with the demand! Next year we are planning to use two griddles.
For more information about enrollment in the Temple’s preschool, please contact Preschool Director Robyn Israel at email@example.com. The Gan Yerushalayim Honolulu Community Jewish Preschool, affectionately known as "The Gan," is a nationally accredited year-round preschool located on the Temple grounds. The Gan offers classes for children ages 2 -5 years.
A Gan Dad cooking pancakes for hungry Preschool Director Robyn Israel and Ms. Chavah in Gan students enjoying their breakfast
preschoolers matching frog PJs
Sisterhood to Celebrate 10th Year of Holiday Craft Fair
The Sisterhood of Temple Emanu-El held a successful 9th Annual Craft Fair on Sunday, November 13th. Along with Temple members, many Sisterhood members also attended, and several of the vendors belonged to Sisterhood, as well. In addition, there were many other unique vendors selling their wares. They loved meeting the members of the Temple Community who stopped by to say shaloha and buy their products. Sisterhood members also enjoyed the opportunity to save 25% off the Judaica merchandise.
Next year will mark Sisterhood's 10th Annual Holiday Gift and Craft Fair. Stay tuned for the dates to be announced!
For more Sisterhood events download the flyer here.
The Social Hall filled with vendors and craft fair SJS students perform Family Feud skit The Sisterhood ladies kept busy at the Chai Boutique
Hawaii Jewish Seniors Looks At New Old Idea
Hawaii Jewish Seniors is a vibrant group of Temple members who enjoy good food, good company, entertainment, and learning. They gather monthly in the social hall and sanctuary for lunch and a guest speaker. Past speakers have included the head of the Honolulu Symphony and Star-Advertiser columnist and author Bob Sigall.
On November 10, 2016, Kate Keilman spoke to the Hawaii Jewish Seniors on self-help methods of how to improve one's eyesight naturally and without medical intervention. The methods are based on Dr. William Bates’ research as seen in Better Eyesight Magazine through the 1920s - 1930s. Kate has been using the techniques herself to help her vision get better.
According to Evelyn Davis, the group’s co-leader, “Hawaii Jewish Seniors is an open group. Everyone is welcome. It is not necessary to be a Temple member; it is not necessary to be a senior; it is not even necessary to be Jewish. Just come and join us at 11:30 am on the second Thursday of each month in the Social Hall of Temple Emanu El. We promise you a good lunch ($8:00 for Temple members, $10.00 for non-members), an interesting speaker and great people to get acquainted with. Please join us and bring a friend!”
(Above): Guest Speaker Kate Keilman spoke to Hawaii Jewish Seniors in November
GENERAL TEMPLE FUND
Jackie Foil in memory of Frances Schorr
Portia Kvatek in memory of Frances Kvatek
Martha Katz in memory of Morris Katz
Martha Katz in memory of Zoltan Katz
Ruth Freedman in memory of Sally Freedman
Ruth Freedman in honor of Barry Langlieb
Errol and Nancy Rubin
Martha Katz in memory of Gabriel Neuberger
Michael Fischer in memory of Abraham Fischer
Ruth Freedman in memory of Elisa Josephsohn
Carl Zimmerman in memory of William Zimmerman
Polina and Roman Druker in memory of Shifra (Sofa) Sheiner
Leonard Rossoff in memory of Cal Rossoff
Peter Hoffenberg in memory of Phoebe Abrahams
Larry Mild in memory of George L. Mild
Diane Farkas and Larry Steinberg in memory of Phoebe Abrahams
Janie and Mark Davis in memory of Phoebe Abrahams
Janie and Mark Davis in memory of Elliott Davis and Arthur Cassell
Ruth Freedman for the Mi Shebarach of Jim Freedman
Sheila Gerstman in memory of Harold Gerstman
Jerry and Vanny Clay in memory of Louis Clay, Ruth Clay, Rose Cohen and Bessie Cohen
Ken Marcus in memory of Murray B. Lander
Marcia and Lenny Klompus in memory of Dorice Povich Menshz
Harvey Gottlieb in memory of Lewis Katz
Jerry and Vanny Clay in memory of Louis Clay
Matt Sgan in memory of Mabel "Gin" Sgan
Elaine S. Egashira in memory of Eva and Hersel Starr
GAN PLAYGROUND AREA FUND
LEVINSON-KRUPP MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Jean Hankin-Jones in memory of Frank Hankin
Peter and Nanette Levinson in memory of Carlyn Levinson
Diane Farkas and Larry Steinberg in honor of Evelyn Trapido
Diane Farkas and Larry Steinberg in honor of Celia King’s birthday
Charlotte White in memory of Maurice H. Schwartz and Carole A. Lowinger
Dora Youel in honor of Deborah Washofsky and Sally Morgan
Congregation Sof Ma'arav
SJS SCHOLARSHIP FUND
Helene Mann in honor of SJS 3rd Grade Class of 2012
Steve Edwards in memory of Phoebe Abrahams
RABBI’S DISCRETIONARY FUND
Jeffrey Grad and Elizabeth Grad in memory of Vinson W. Grad
Larry and Rosemary Mild in honor of Diane Farkas
Jan Strasburg in memory of Earl R. Strasburg
Brendan and Leocadia Conlon in honor of Bridget Conlon’s Bat Mitzvah
Diane Farkas and Larry Steinberg in honor of the Bat Mitzvah of Bridget Conlon
Joyce Heinberg in memory of Paul Heinberg
Marcia and Lenny Klompus in memory of Benjamin Mensh
Harvey and Diane Minsky in memory of Mildred J. Minsky and Ilene S. Dorfman
Larry Mild in memory of Hannah J. Mild
Seymour Kazimirski in memory of Henoch Kazimirski
Evelyn Davis in memory of Louis Vogel, Richard Buff and David Buff
Jan Strasburg in memory of Eva Strasburg
Renee Shain in memory of Harry Ashendorf
Diane Farkas and Larry Steinberg in memory of Lewis Katz
Judith, Jim and Megan Hiramoto in memory of Eric Rose
Esther Stein in memory of Grandma and Grandpa in honor of life and forgiveness
RABBI MORRIS GOLDFARB FUND
Leah Gold in memory of David L. Feldman
Leah Gold in memory of Dora Anna Gold
Jerry Clay in memory of Louis Clay
JEWISH COMMUNITY SERVICES
Jan Fried and John Woodward in honor of Yom Kippur and Temple Emanu-El
Stuart Novick, editor, writer
Stephanie DeMello, layout and production, writer
Larry Steinberg, photographs
Barry Langleib, photographs, writer
Diane Farkas, proof reader