JANUARY 2022 NEWSLETTER
TEVET / SHEVAT 5782
TODAH RABBAH - thank you to...
The Kapp Construction office for their donation of five canisters of Folger's Decaf Coffee
Our newest members - Jerome Shapiro and his wife Tonia Yabe. They reside in Marysville Ohio and worship with us thru Zoom as well as in person. It is a pleasure to welcome them to our community of members and friends. Please add their contact information to your Temple Directory: 751 West 5th St, Marysville OH 43040. Jerome's cell 937-243-4517 and Tonia's cell 937-309-4778.
THE CONGREGATION EXPRESSES ITS SYMPATHY TO...
The family of Paulette Grodner, who passed away suddenly on December 2. A Friendship plaque will be inscribed in Paulette's memory to hang in the Room of Remembrance. Please contact the Temple office if you wish to make a donation towards this memorial.
May her memory be always for a blessing
~ RABBI'S CORNER ~
''The Fallacy of Primitivism'' and Other Challenges
Among his Reform rabbinic colleagues, the late Rabbi Dr. Jakob Petuchowski, z''l, was something of a maverick. Born in Berlin in 1926 to an Orthodox family, he was among the Jewish children who were fortunate to have escaped Germany to England in the late 1930's as part of the kindertransport. In his early years, he was greatly influenced by the liberal German rabbi, Leo Baeck, who himself had spent time in a concentration camp.
Rabbi Petuchowski was ordained at the Hebrew Union College in the early 1950's, served as a pulpit rabbi for a few years, and later pursued a career in academia, eventually becoming a professor of Jewish theology and liturgy at HUC in Cincinnati (notably, during his career he was also a Visiting Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Antioch College). The author of many books and probably hundreds of articles, ''the Pet'' (as his students affectionately called him) was a strong proponent of Jewish-Christian dialogue: his book on the Jewish origins of ''the Lord’s Prayer'' has assisted me many times in my own work in this area.
So, what exactly make Rabbi Petuchowski a maverick among his Reform colleagues? He was a maverick because several decades before the Reform Movement began to embrace a ''return to Tradition'' (the wearing of kipot and tallisim, more Hebrew in the service, etc.), he was writing about the dangers of Reform's knee-jerk jettisoning of Jewish ritual and its rejection of key elements of Jewish belief. His thinking, along with that of his colleague the late Rabbi Dr. Eugene Borowitz, greatly influenced Reform rabbis who were ordained in the 1960's and 1970's.
Rabbi P's ideas about what should constitute a modern AND authentic Judaism were the subject of his book, Ever Since Sinai: A Modern View of Torah. A short book (less than 150 pages) originally published in 1961, it has gone through several printings and is still available today. In Sinai, Rabbi P writes about some of the reasons that much of modern Jewry no longer subscribes to the belief that the mitzvot/commandments were given by G-d and therefore continue to be obligatory. One of these reasons is due to ''the fallacy of primitivism'':
''...it should be emphasized that, for an observance to be part of a ''divine Law,'' it does not mean that the observance cannot have antedated its incorporation into the Torah..[W]hat makes an observance part of the Torah is not at all the meaning and significance which this observance may originally have had in a pagan environment, but the meaning given to it within the framework of the Torah...Fascinated as we might well be by archaeological research into Hebrew antiquities, we must be on our guard against committing what a modern philosopher of religion has called the ''Fallacy of Primitivism.'' This fallacy is committed by the person who is so obsessed with beginnings that he supposes the first stage of the development of any process to reveal what the process really is. Guarding against this ''Fallacy of Primitivism,'' the believing Jew today sees no need to deny, on dogmatic grounds, that the sabbath may have originated in Babylonia, or that the dietary laws may go back to primitive food taboos (or that they were originally created for health reasons - RCK). What matters to him is the social and religious meaning given to the biblical sabbath, and the admonition to holiness and self-discipline which introduces the listing of the biblical dietary laws. Such observances...are not part of ''divine Law'' because they are ''Jewish inventions,'' but because they are made to serve a purpose within the Torah's own frame of reference. It is precisely in the hallowing of the ordinary and the customary that the genius of the Torah becomes apparent.
(Ever Since Sinai, pp. 75-77)
Reading these words 60 years later and reflecting on how the world AND the Jewish people have changed, certain questions come to mind:
-Sixty years after Rabbi P wrote the above-quoted words, are there Reform Jews that might be included in the category of ''believing Jew''? Does Reform Judaism still affirm that in some way, Torah is indeed ''divine Law'' and that its ''frame of reference'' is authentic?
-More importantly: how are the changes made by Reform and other non-Orthodox movements (e.g., less emphasis on G'd, more emphasis on personal autonomy) more legitimate than what they've replaced, and will they serve to perpetuate a Judaism that is organically connected to the Jewish past? Will such changes provide effective ways to respond to, and cope with, the questions posed by an ever challenging and uncertain future? With the generation of Rabbis Petuchowski and Borowitz passing on, where are the current Reform/non-Orthodox theologians and thinkers who will help us to wrestle with and respond to these questions?
These are essential issues facing American Jewry. We dismiss them as fallacies at our peril.
Rabbi Cary Kozberg
TU B'SHEVAT SEDER - FRIDAY, JANUARY 21
Tu B'Shevat (the 15th day of the month of Shvat) is observed as the New Year for Trees. In the Land of Israel, it marks the beginning of Spring. Temple Sholom has traditionally observed this holiday with a Tu B'Shevat seder, including the various fruits that grow in the Land of Israel.
Last year, due to COVID, we were not able to have it. This year's seder is planned for Friday evening, January 21. It will be held immediately following Shabbat services at 6:00 p.m. and WILL BE HELD AT THE TEMPLE (and on Zoom). If you plan to attend, please call the Temple office no later than Tuesday, January 18, so that we can prepare the appropriate number of seder plates.
IF THE COVID SITUATION OR THE WEATHER PREVENTS AN IN-PERSON OBSERVANCE, YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED ON THAT FRIDAY. WE WILL STILL HAVE IT ON ZOOM (WITH NECESSARY CHANGES).
Stay warm, healthy, and safe!
Rabbi Cary Kozberg
As many of you may remember, a former member of Temple Sholom, Florence Tannenbaum who had moved to Dayton many years ago, included Temple Sholom in her estate planning. Over the last several years, Temple Sholom has received several totally unexpected substantial distributions, with the latest one coming just several weeks ago. These substantial bequests have been very important to the financial well-being and security of our Temple. They have allowed us to be able to maintain the critical rabbinical services of Rabbi Kozberg as well as the vital services of Diane and Kathleen. The distributions have also allowed us to substantially increase our Temple Sholom Trust Fund that we maintain at Park National Bank, which will allow us to maintain a Temple and visible Jewish presence in our community for many years to come. We continue to be very thankful for Mrs. Tannenbaum's foresight and wonderful generosity of including Temple Sholom in her estate planning. Her generosity certainly has been a major reason for our ability to maintain an active, vital, and well-functioning Jewish facility in our community.
~ CONTRIBUTIONS ~
-In memory of Harry and Shirley Leventhal from Sarah Moore Leventhal
-In memory of Fred and Maxine Leventhal from Sarah Moore Leventhal
-A general fund contribution from Fran Rickenbach
JEFFREY D EBNER YOUTH FUND
-In memory of Mickey Meyers' beloved sister from Lyla Bailin
~ HANDS IN FRIENDSHIP PLAQUE ~
In memory of Paulette Grodner, the following members and friends have contributed toward a Hands In Friendship plaque to be hung in our Room of Remembrance:
Andy and Cathy Bell, Bob and Leslie Buerki, Sanford and Faye Flack, Rabbi Lloyd and Bernice Goldman, Rick and Anna Krauss, Jim and Kathy Leonard, Ed and Laurie Leventhal and Family, Stan and Phyllis Nedelman, Char Schiff, Marvin and Sandy Silverstein, Diane Smith, Ron and Jan Spier, Barbara Willens
~ YAHRZEIT LIST ~
JAN 7: Bernice Jean Gerson, Morris M. Gold, Anne Reich Krauss, Rose Krauss, Maxine Leventhal, Harry Sachs, Siegfried Sander, Emma Schoenthal, Antonio Espinoza Jr (brother of Rose Weiss), Marvin F Klang
JAN 14: Lilly Balicer, Beryl Kaufman, Jacob Kleeman, Abraham Schechter, Sonia Schechter, Arjae Kurtzhant (father of Itzca Zohar), Wendy Michele Bard Mesmer (sister of Priscilla Dixon), Rachel Zohar, Rae Zoldan (mother of Gail Russack)
JAN 21: Harry B. Hoffman, Isaac Levine, Dora Long, Ruth Maybruck, Samuel Draisen, Ethel Grodner (mother of Jack Grodner), Nellie Marenberg (mother of Gerald Marenberg)
JAN 28: Lois Bernstein, Fannie B. Frand, Rosa Gardner, Max D. Gross, Tilly L. Levy, Bernard C. Zitsman, Robert Arthur Buerki (father of Robert Buerki), Hyman Kohn, Miriam Kurland, Priscilla Lind (mother of Bobbi Mugford)
FEB 4: Louis Broock, Roberta Greenland (wife of Jay Greenland), Adolph D. Haas (father of Sandy Silverstein), Max Kleeman, Nathan Klein, Bonita S. Krauss (mother of Rick Krauss), Nelson B. Paris, Mary J. Rubin, Ida Florence Zitsman, Marion P. Cornez (mother of Paul Cornez)