June Bulletin

June CEI Bulletin

Congregation Emanu-El Israel

222 North Main Street, Greensburg, PA. 15601          

                 Sivan – Tammuz      5782                 

June 2022

 724-834-0560    

office@cei-greensburg.org     rabbi@cei-greensburg.org     www.ceigreensburg.org

 The Mission of Congregation Emanu-El Israel is: To support Judaism and the welfare of our community.

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From the desk of Rabbi Leonard Sarko

Education in Judaism is a foundational principle.  Most rabbi’s believe it is more important than faith in our religion.  I have read articles how in past generations, education beyond High School was considered rare.  How different the approach of Judaism.  Adult Education, a secular field that was just starting to be promoted in my lifetime, was standard in Jewish communities as far back as biblical times.

     The reason seems simple enough.  The principles of Judaism are found in the Torah.  To access this information you need to know how to read, and preferably how to write.  A question is sometimes asked, did women in biblical times have the opportunity to go to school?  Women also needed to access information from the Torah.  How else would they know what to do?  We have evidence of schools for women as far back as biblical times.  To learn or practice Judaism you had to know how to read, and this included women.

     Education played a role in Jewish survival in history.  The Middle Ages were sometimes titled the Dark Ages.  This label was used because more than 90% of the population, Christian or Muslim, were illiterate.  In Jewish communities during that same time frame, 95% or more were literate.  If the king of Aragon wanted to make a trade of grain with the king of Paris, who would write up the contract?  It would be a Jew.  Who would collect the taxes and keep the books?  The Jews.  Can you be a doctor without knowing how to read or write?  No – so many doctors during that age were Jewish.  Jews could not own land, farm and do many other professions.  However, their education opened doors to survival.

     The importance of education remains established in Jewish communities today.  In my own experience, I have gone into non-Jewish homes with a High School senior and have heard the question, Are you going to go to college next year?  I have never heard that question in a Jewish home.  The question was, what college are you going to next year?  When I was growing up, I do not remember this topic ever being raised.  It was just understood by me, my family and anyone else that college would be the natural next step.

     Please understand, even within Jewish homes, education beyond High School may not mean a standard college.  It may be a trade school or any number of other choices.  But it was always something!

     This extends for Jews beyond college.  Education does not cease when you stop going to school.  It is a standard activity for the remainder of our lives.  Some topics cannot be learned without a certain maturity and age.  The standard for attempting Talmudic studies is an example.  Typically this is not approached until a certain maturity is reached.

     In our post-modern Jewish world we have witnessed a new approach in our religion, that of the adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah. No such animal existed in the past. The standard definition of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a declaration of the child that he/she will no longer be considered a child religiously, but will be responsible to practice their religion as an adult.  For those wishing to do this ceremony as an adult this definition does not hold.  So why have an adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah?  They have them because it provides an opportunity to study our religion thru our mature eyes and bring a new perspective to how to apply our Jewish concepts in new and enlightened ways.  Adults who do this life cycle event study for some period of time.  They examine it with a far greater understanding and depth than they could have in earlier years.  They can get far more out of it than they could have at age 12 or 13.  It is a beautiful service. It is a wondrous adult journey.

     We have had many in our congregation who have already travelled the road of an adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  If this is something you might like to explore please contact the rabbi and we will have a conversation.

Shalom,

Rabbi Lenny

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President:  Irene Rothschild

After a long slow two years during COVID, the activities of the Congregation are picking back up again and it feels good!  There are conversions, adult Bat Mitzvahs, baby namings and weddings.  Sisterhood will hold its Donor Dinner on June 15th and the Annual Congregation Meeting will be on June 26th, starting at 1:00 PM.  As I wrote last month an officer from the Greensburg Police will be there to speak to us about how to survive an attack.  You will learn life-saving skills that will help you no matter where you are, so please make plans to attend.  After the seminar, we will hold our regular annual meeting, something that we haven’t done for three years!  You will have the opportunity to ask questions or to discuss matters of importance to you.  This is YOUR Congregation, so I am hopeful that there will be good attendance. 

Whenever the meeting is over, probably around 4:00 PM we will go down to the Social Hall for a pot luck dinner.  The Men’s Club will provide and grill the kosher hot dogs and buns.  Please RSVP through the office as to your attendance and what you plan to bring.  Last names beginning A through M will be asked to bring a side dish and last names beginning N through Z will be asked to bring a dessert.  Please remember not to bring anything that is dairy.  But, if someone would like to bring bottles/cans of soda, paper plates, cups or napkins that would be great! 

Thank you so much for being such terrific Congregants and for being willing to volunteer to plant flowers in the front yard, Robin Mickey, to help to clean up Urania Ave., Gary and Teri Moidel and Richard Virshup, to all of the men who helped on Mitzvah Day last month!

Irene

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CEI LINK Program – a video conference experience.  CEI continues to video conference the Shabbat Services on Friday at 7:30 pm.  So you can now attend services from home.  Please go to our website www.ceigreensburg.org for instructions on how to log into the meeting and for the meeting code (which should be the same each week).  If you have any questions, please call and talk with Rabbi Lenny and he will walk you through the process.  Songs for the service will be available on the website.  The Mishkan T’filah (prayer books) used in the service are available digitally on the website or may be borrowed from CEI for use online.  To borrow a Mishkan T’filah, please call the office for pick up arrangements.  These must be signed out through the office.  The “chat” room is usually open by 7:15 pm for a socialization time before service.

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CHATTER                             

   Happy Birthday to:   Francois Gau, Beth Frederick, William Friedlander, Doris Kaufman, Nina Lewis, Ruth Papernick, Gerald Pavloff, Gwen Sarko, Robert Slone, John Vivio and Hannah Winters.

   Happy Anniversary to:   Suzan & Josh Estner, Beth & Troy Frederick, Ann & Bob Gelman, Karen & Bruce Kaufer, Virginia & John Lieberman and Yolanda & Gerald Pavloff.

   Rabbi Lenny received a thank you from the Westmoreland County Board of Commissioners for delivering the invocation for their May meeting.

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Friday evening, June 3, we will have an early 5:30 PM Shabbat Service.

This enables those that wish to attend the free Summer Sounds Concert in St. Clair Park

at 7:00 PM will be able to walk over.

The band that evening is “Sideline”, a traditional Bluegrass band.

For further information or to see the rest of the summer schedule, visit http://summersounds.com.

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We will be celebrating SHAVUOT on Friday, June 10th at 7:30 PM services.

Also that night Rabbi Lenny and Karen’s son-in-law Rabbi Brad Levenberg (Temple Sinai, Atlanta), daughter Rebecca Levenberg and two grandchildren IIana and Evan will be visiting.  We will have a Special Oneg after services.

If you would like to meet them, please join us live that night.

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Men’s Club Happening:

It is our intent to provide a number of options throughout the year for the men to get together to have some fun.

Our first outing will be on Sunday, July 17.  The Men’s Club will be going to a baseball game.  We will see the Altoona Curve play the Richmond Flying Squirrels.  We will be renting a vehicle that will leave from the synagogue, take us and return us as a group to and from the game.  All male members of the congregation are invited and you may invite guests if they are of the same gender.  The game starts at 1 pm. 

So we know the size vehicle to get and to calculate the cost, please contact Rabbi Lenny at rabbi@cei-greensburg.org or leave a message with the office, if you are interested in joining us.  Game tickets, as an order of magnitude, cost about $15 per seat.

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LET’S MEET AND EAT!

CONGREGATION EMANU-EL ISRAEL SISTERHOOD

CLOSING DINNER AT

 RODNEY’S

557 WENDEL ROAD, IRWIN, PA

ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, 2022 AT 6 P.M.

WE CAN CELEBRATE A YEAR THAT HAS BEEN FILLED WITH HELPING OTHERS, VISITING FINE ART, AND MAKING MEMORIES AT THE CHOCOLATE SHOPPE.  WE CAN THINK OF WHAT WE WOULD LIKE TO DO IN THE NEXT SISTERHOOD YEAR.  AND, WE CAN JUST HAVE FUN.

WE WILL ORDER FROM THE MENU AND PAY SEPARATELY. 

WE DO NEED YOU TO RSVP– CORI LIPTAK AT 412-996-5722 OR TERRI KATZMAN AT 724-837-8275 NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, JUNE 10.

THIS IS THE USUAL TIME WE ENCOURAGE MEMBERS TO OFFER A CONTRIBUTION TO OUR SISTERHOOD (DONOR) IN THE AMOUNT OF $18, $25, $36, OR MORE.

BRING A PICTURE OF YOU AS A BABY FOR OUR “GUESSING GAME”.

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Do you know of someone who is Jewish and currently unaffiliated?

Do you know of someone who would like to worship with us as a member?

If so, please give info to Mary Ellen Kane.  

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     If you are planning to initiate or change your will or estate plan, please remember to include Congregation Emanu-El Israel (CEI) as part of your legacy.  The monies can be used for a specific purpose as designated by you, or added to an Endowment Fund already set up to assure the ability to continue providing a full-service Congregation to serve the Jewish people of the area.

     This legacy can be accomplished by a simple bequest in your will, by one of the allowable charitable trusts where you get an immediate tax advantage, or through life insurance.

     PLEASE DO IT NOW!  Please check with your attorney or insurance agent.  If you have any questions or need additional information, contact Jerry Pavloff (724-593-6513) or Gary Moidel (724-468-0005).

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Tree of Life Share your joy!

Inscribe a leaf our Tree of Life. Leaf — $180 ea.

(Price includes engraving)

The golden leaves may be inscribed to commemorate joyous events such as births, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, etc.  Share your joy by inscribing simchas on our Tree of Life…… an everlasting remembrance of the meaningful happy events that touch life.

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ALFRED RATNER LIBRARY NEWS by Shirley Shpargel, Librarian

Book purchased with Alfred Ratner Library Fund:

The House of Fragile Things: Jewish Art Collectors and the Fall of France by James McAuley (History).

     The Netanyahus: An account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the

     History of a Very Famous Family by Joshua Cohen (Fiction).

     To Repair a Broken World: The Life of Henrietta Szold, Founder of Hadassah by Dvora

     Hacohen (Biography).

     A Play for the End of the World: A Novel by Jai Chakrabarti (Fiction).

     The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner is a novel that follows Rosa and her very young daughter, Shira as they fled the Nazis to stay alive and how these experiences shaped their consciousness during World War II.  As Nazi soldiers rounded up the Jews in their Polish town, Rosa and 5-year-old Shira flee after Rosa’s husband and parents are killed.  They sheltered in the hayloft of a neighbor’s barn.  The owners discovered them and begrudgingly agreed to shelter them but felt entitled to favors in return for their sacrifice.  Shira struggles to stay still and quiet so to pass the time, Rosa tells her a story about a girl in an enchanted garden who is forbidden to make a sound, instead the yellow bird sings.  The bird sings whatever the girl composes in her head.  Rosa and Shira share this love of music; memories of their past when Rosa played the Cello, her husband played the violin and her father made violins.  The day comes when it is no longer safe to hide in the hayloft.

     The second part of the novel follows Shira as she is sent to a convent orphanage and Rosa fended for herself in the woods.  Rosa made her way to a community of Jewish resisters.  Shira is stripped of her identity and family, but holds on to her passion for music and pursued playing the violin.  Rosner identifies some of the psychology aspects of the survivors and the guilt they often carry with them after being forced to leave loved ones behind.   Readers can empathize with the characters as they struggle to survive.  When the war ended, Rosa and Shira faced new struggles to postwar adaption, but their lives continued through music and intersect in the ending.  The Yellow Bird Sings is available in the Alfred Ratner Library.

CHECK OUT A BOOK FROM THE LIBRARY TO READ THIS SUMMER

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WHEN MAKING A DONATION:  When making a donation, whether to a CEI Fund or the Remembrance Fund, please provide complete information.  This will make it easier and faster to process.

  1. The name and address of where to send the response to let them know you made a donation.
  2. The reason for the donation (in memory of, in honor of, speedy recovery, etc) and the full name of the honoree.
  3. Name and address of donor.

Example:  Please send a card (or accept this donation) to Jane Doe, XXX Main St, Greensburg, PA 156XX.  In Honor of the Birthday of Jane Doe!  From Jack Jones, XXX Broadway Dr, Greensburg, PA  156XX.

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“These are a few of our favorite Jewish things:”

Western Pennsylvania Small Congregational Clergy Explorations

Clergy Explorations is a series of the Western PA Small Congregations initiative, in collaboration with Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the Jewish Community Legacy Project.  This series and future programs are designed to enhance the Jewish experiences of the members of the 13 small congregations in the Western PA region.

Program #5: 

Conversion to Judaism: Different Eras, Different Views

will be presented on

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

at 7:00 PM

by Cantor Michal Gray-Schaffer

Congregation B’nai Abraham in Butler

In a Power Point and discussion session, we will explore the views and practices concerning conversion in the biblical and early rabbinic eras.  Prepare to be surprised!!  All programs are virtual presentations. 

Register using this link.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUlceGqpjkqEt2vJpg-D-EKPRC4tXvML8ns

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We gratefully acknowledge the following gifts:

PULPIT FLOWERS.  In Memory of: 

In Memory of: 

Apr. 29:          Ruth Metz Shpargel by Shirley & Jerold Shpargel.  Norma Gespass by Marilyn & Jim Davis.  Dr. Thomas W. Wilson by Virginia & John Lieberman.

May 6:  Mark Weisberger by Linda & Jeffrey Reisner.  June Ziff by Marilyn & Jim Davis, Phyllis Davis & Family.

May 13:  Janet Engelhart Gutterman by Marilyn & Jim Davis.    

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CEI Funds

ER LIBRARY FUND:  Supports library facilities, books, & equipment.

ARCHIVE FUND:   Helps to defray the cost of archiving the CEI material sent to the Rauh Jewish archives.  

BOB & PHYLLIS DAVIS FAMILY FUND:  Youth scholarships & enrichment. 

CARING FUND: Supports congregants who are experiencing sickness, bereavement & other personal difficulties.     

CEI CAPITAL FUND:  For approved building structure repairs & replacements.

CEI ENDOWMENT FUND: Provides for the continuity of the congregation by subsidizing future operating expenses.  

TEMPLE EMANU-EL CEMETERY FUND:  For beautification and upkeep of the Temple Emanu-El Cemetery.  Her family by Linda Reisner

COMPUTER FUND: Provides a means to continually upgrade & maintain CEI’s computer system/software.  

CONGREGATION GENERAL FUND:  CEI operating expenses. CEI operating expenses.

CONGREGATION GENERAL FUND:  CEI operating expenses.    

CONGREGATION YAHRZEIT FUND: In Memory of: Addie Reid Powell by Robin R. Mickey.  Paula Last by Joel I. Last. Family observances for the year by Lois Browdie. Dr. Thomas W. Wilson by Virginia & John Lieberman. Richard Liebman by Linda Liebman.                                             

NEW SHABBAT PRAYER BOOKS: Provides for the purchase of new Mishkan T’filah.

IVAN B. YOUNG EDUCATIONAL ADVANCEMENT FUND: Supports the advancement of Jewish education.                                                                                                                                                                                        LIBRARY BOOK FUND: Provides for the purchase of books and other resource material for the library. 

RABBI’S DISCRETIONARY FUND: Helps individuals and/or org. in need.  

REMEMBRANCE FUND: A special donation to Sisterhood to honor or celebrate an event or person.  Terri Katzman (724-837-8275) or Virginia Lieberman (724-668-2442).

In Honor of:

Anna & Jeremy Spor on the birth of their daughter Mira by Irene Rothschild. A Speedy Recovery to Bob Slone by Jack Wilder, Virginia & John Lieberman. To Gerry & Ron Seaman on their 60th wedding anniversary by Irene Rothschild. In Memory of:  Mickey Radman by Shirley Friedberg.

SOCIAL ACTION FUND:  Supports projects that benefit our community.

TORAH REPAIR FUND: To provide funds to repair the Torah scrolls.

TREE OF LIFE: A personalized leaf commemorating a happy lifecycle event to be added to the Tree of Life in lobby. In Honor of: The Bat Mitzvah of Terri Katzman by The Blozowich Family, Lois Browdie, Yvonne & Ed Bureau, Wally Caplan, The Chobirko Family, Marilyn & Jim Davis, Jonathan Dohner, Liz & Larry Eisenstatt, Beth & Troy Frederick, Esther & Stuart Glasser, Ronda Goetz, The Goldstein Family, Shoshana & Bob Halden, Mary Ellen Kane, Amy Karelitz, Jamie Kaufer, Karen & Bruce Kaufer, Doris Kaufman, Nina & Jon Lewis, Virginia & John Lieberman, Cori & Michael Liptak, Robin Mickey, Teri & Gary Moidel, Ruth & Arnie Papernick, Linda & Jeffrey Reisner, Irene C. Rothschild, Joyce Schenck, Shirley & Jerry Shpargel, Marion & Bob Slone, The Vivio Family and Jack Wilder.

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Tree of Life Share your joy!

Inscribe a leaf our Tree of Life. Leaf — $180 ea.

(Price includes engraving)

The golden leaves may be inscribed to commemorate joyous events such as births, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, etc.  Share your joy by inscribing simchas on our Tree of Life…… an everlasting remembrance of the meaningful happy events that touch life.

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MEMORIAL PLAQUES:  Remember a loved one by purchasing a plaque for the sanctuary

Memorial Boards.  For more details, please contact the CEI office at 724-834-0560.

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Save the Date

With Love and Joy, we invite you to celebrate with us!

Michelle and Rachel Gau

will be called to the Torah on 

May 27th at 7:30 pm

at CEI

Substantial Oneg will follow in the Social Hall

Please RSVP by May 12th at myriamgau@gmail.com

You are also welcome to join us online.

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Dvars by Jessica and Nicollette

If you did not get a chance to hear these wonderful speeches, we have reprinted them here.

Jessica Roberts Dvar

     The parasha that we are discussing today concerns proper intent, or Kavanah, it reads:

“WHEN YOU SACRIFICE AN OFFERING OF WELL BEING TO THE LORD, SACRIFICE IT

SOTHAT IT MAY BE ACCEPTED ON YOUR BEHALF” (Vayikra 19:5)

     The Hebrew word for intent is Kavanah meaning direction, intention or purpose. In its simplest meaning, it refers concentrating the mind in the performance of a religious act, ensuring that it does not devolve into rote mechanical action. Kavanah most commonly is associated with concentration and intention in prayer, but the concept of Kavanah applies to all mitzvot.

     The Talmud states someone involved in some action and by accident the mitzvah happens, one doesn’t fulfill the obligation as there must be intention.

     In the Talmud, specifically Berakhot 16a, the rabbis debated the mishnah which asked the question, can laborers recite the shema while standing on a precarious surface? The Gemara then asked, can it be true that they didn’t require Kavanah, or proper intention, to say the shema?

     They answered, No!  They resolved, the workers can only recite the shema when they are idle from their work, so that they can focus their hearts. In this instance, the rabbis defined proper intention as refraining from thoughts of physical work and to focus on the words themselves.

     Rashi said, a person must intend that a sacrifice will actually be a sacrifice.   You cannot accidentally kill an animal, and then decide you want to offer it as a sacrifice. Since prayer is based on the sacrificial system, it stands to reason that in order for the prayer to be accepted, then prayer must also be approached in the same way, with proper intention.  A famous 11th century saying from Philosopher Bayha Ibn Pakudah is quoted in this regard: “prayer without Kavanah is like a body without a soul”.

     Abraham Joshua Heschel, in his classic work, God in Search of Man, explained that performing a mitzvah without proper Kavanah is inadequate because while it might have a positive effect on the world, it leaves the doer of the mitzvah unaffected. He goes on… “A moral deed unwittingly done may be relevant to the world because of the aid it renders unto others. Yet a deed without devotion, for all its effects on the lives of others, will leave the life of the doer unaffected. The true goal for man is to be what he does.

     Intention or Kavanah,  is the glue that holds our actions, mitzvot, and prayer together. It is an essential part of everything we do, or at least it should be. Without intention or Kavanah, our words and works have no meaning. We should not allow our prayer and sacrifice to become rote, become meaningless. This is why I feel the use of a Tallit in prayer can be so powerful. To quote Rabbi Lenny, when a football player puts on his pads, he is getting ready to get in the game, he is laying his intention. When we put on our Tallit we are putting on our prayer pads. We are laying our intention out and getting our heart and mind in the correct space to speak with our creator.  When you pray know who you are praying to.

     When you write, you write for your audience, when you pray, pray for your audience.

Kavanah is needed in our lives because it gives a deeper meaning to our every day actions. Honoring our mother and father out of rote action is empty and devoid of Kavanah.  However, honoring our mother and father with the intention of honoring them give a deeper meaning to that action. 

     In my career I am a therapist working in a psychiatric hospital here in Spring Hill, Florida. Many times in my line of work, seeing patients is a means to an end. That end is getting paperwork completed.  I strive daily to not allow meeting with patients to become rote and routine. When meeting with my patients, my intention is to attend to their needs.  I try to learn where I can help them to connect to their support systems, their community, and their aftercare options so they can become well again. Having this intention of connection is important in my line of work for the patient’s wellbeing. It’s not a requirement of my job, but I believe it is a requirement of my humanity. Having the proper intention helps me become a better clinician, and I believe it helps me to become a better human being.

     Finally, I would like to take this moment to intentionally thank Rabbi Lenny for his tireless efforts and endless patience to educate us during this past year. To my class mates Sydney, Nicolette and the girls…. Thank you for your patience with all of my questions and comments during this time we have had together. To the congregation, you’ve not seen me in person much, but I thank you for welcoming me into the community online. To the people that run the cameras there at CEI… thank you for your time and expertise as your skills are invaluable to this synagogue. Finally, I would like to thank my father who supported my decision to convert and who listened to me attempt a new language.

Nicolette Cloutier Dvar

Chapter 18 verse 22  “You shall not lie with a man, as one lies with a woman; it is abomination.”

     This is a widely known verse throughout the Jewish, Christian, and mainstream world, and has been the center of debate about gayness and sexuality in our culture. Throughout Jewish history, there have been many different interpretations of the verse. For me, the key differences in how Jewish scholars have looked at this verse in contrast to Christian scholars.  It is one example of the differences between Judaism and other religions

     The simplest difference is the actual act of discussing the verse. In Judaism, discussing and different opinions are not just tolerated, but are instead encouraged, hence why Talmud and Responsa exists. While most Christian scholars interpret Leviticus 18 22 very literally, you cannot say the same for Jewish scholars. While many also interpret it literally, there are many more that have debated and dug deep for the other meanings of the verse, which like so many concepts in Judaism, does not have one answer.

     The most literal opinion you can take is that this verse means that you should not lie with the same sex. A man and another man should not sleep together, and by extension, nether shall a woman and another woman. A good example of this interpretation is by Nachmonides. He says “Now the reason for the prohibition against lying carnally (in a homosexual relationship) is well known, as it is an abominable act and is not for the preservation of the human species, because it will not beget offspring.”

     This interpretation differs from many Christian scholars who view it as justification for homophobia. While Nachmonides thinks it is prohibited because he believes same sex relations would not help the human species, as it can not beget offspring. In today’s world, is this really true? With adoption, invitro, sperm donors and egg donors, is this really a problem anymore?  It begs the question, would Nachmonides still think it is prohibited if he lived in todays world?

     It also ignores the existence of same sex couples who can have children biologically, related to both parents together. There is the case, one partner in the relationship is cisgender, and identify with their sex and gender given at birth, while the other partner is transgender, and identifies as a different gender than assigned at birth, but may still have the reproductive organs of their assigned gender.

     This one interpretation shows the depth and discussion that goes into this verse, and how many different ideas and “what if” theories can be applied, and how different definitions of same sex or gay couples have changed over time.

     Another opinion on this verse is by the JPS Commentary. They bring up an idea found in Leviticus; concerning the separation of Jews and the mainstream culture of the time.

     They note that homosexuality at that time was considered a Canaanite and Egyptian characteristic, as well as many of the polytheistic peoples in the Promised Land.  In these communities they had male prostitutes who did homosexual acts for pay.  No love, no children – only the carnal act.  As a way for Jews to differentiate themselves, these acts of prostitution were forbidden.  The JPS also comments that such acts tend to isolate those that do them for pay in a way to ostracize them from the community.  As Jews, we wish to promote community involvement, and so prohibit these acts – again as a form of employment instead of for love from a Reform point of view. This view greatly ties into the idea of separation at that time, and how looking at culture and historic context is important for this, and many other texts.

     There are two more commentaries I want to discuss. The first one is by Ibn Ezra, who gave an interpretation that is popular in the Reform community. He says to look at the word (transliterated) shachavti.  He notes that this word was used with Lots daughter who lied with their father.  Ibn Ezra notes that the word implies lust, as the person who the act is committed against is passive, in a way allows, permits the abuse.  The difference of love verses lust is that love is two way, takes two people and lust is one way, only requires one person in the activity.

     In this interpretation, it is not the act of being gay or being in a same sex relationship, it is against the act of abuse and lust in a relationship, which can be seen by the word usage in the passage.

     The final interpretation I want to present uses concepts from Rabbi Ishmael, and early scholar, and can be found on the Jewish Blog “Mah Rabu”

     Rabbi Ishmael, who was a second-century tanna, listed 13 principles by which the Torah can be interpreted.

  1. Ishmael’s 6th principle is kelal ufrat uchlal i atah dan ela che’ein ha-perat (“general, specific, general – you can only infer [items that are] similar to the specific [items]”).

     Let’s apply this principle to the overall structure of Leviticus 18. The chapter contains a series of commandments regarding forbidden sexual relationships. All of the commandments are given in the second-person masculine singular, but all agree that these prohibitions apply to both men and women. For example, 18:9 forbids the male addressee from having sexual relations with his sister, but if such an action were carried out, both the brother and the sister would be culpable. (Leviticus 20:17 prescribes the punishment of kareit for both of them.)

     Kelal (general): Leviticus 18:6 says אִישׁ אִישׁ אֶל-כָּל-שְׁאֵר בְּשָׂרוֹ לֹא תִקְרְבוּ לְגַלּוֹת עֶרְוָה — “None of you shall come near anyone of his own flesh to uncover nakedness.”

     Perat (specific): Verses 18:7-20 list a series of specific sexual prohibitions, all referring to relations between a man and a woman. A man may not have sex with any of his close female relatives by blood or by marriage, or with another man’s wife.

     Kelal (general): Leviticus 18:22 says וְאֶת זָכָר לֹא תִשְׁכַּב מִשְׁכְּבֵי אִשָּׁה תּוֹעֵבָה הִוא — “A male do not lie the lyings of a woman.”

     According to the principle of kelal ufrat uchlal, the general terms (“kol she’eir besaro / anyone of his own flesh” and “mishkevei ishah / the lyings of a woman”) only apply to items that are similar to the specific items on the list, viz. incestuous and adulterous relationships. However, the general terms extend the reach of the specific list so that it includes some additional prohibited relationships in the same general category. Leviticus 18:22 says that the male addressee should not lie these mishkevei ishah with a male. Therefore, just as a man is forbidden from having sex with his mother, his sister, or a married woman, he is also forbidden from having sex with his father, his brother, or a married man. Likewise, since all of these commandments apply to women as well, we can derive an equivalent category of forbidden relationships between two women.

     This is one of my favorite interpretations. To be concise, this commentary is saying that same sex relations and relationships are only forbidden incestuously, which was talked about heavily in the verses before Leviticus 18 22

     However, I believe this verse can tie into a bigger mitzvot; hakhnasat orchim, or hospitality. I believe it’s important to that no matter how you interpret the verse, and how you view same sex relations and relationships, we should welcome them into our congregation, our home, with open arms and haknsat orchim, as we should do with everyone.

     I would like to thank Rabbi Lenny for taking me on as a student, and my mother and sister for being so supportive. I would like to say thank you to the synagogue for welcoming me with opens arms and never treating me like an outsider. Thank you.

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Dear Friends,

Once again, we are in the process of preparing the Memorial Booklet for the Yizkor service on Yom Kippur, October 5, 2022.  This tradition has been well received by our membership and in this time of virtual services, we would still like it to continue as an Online Memorial to your loved one/s.

Only the names of those deceased during the past year (5782: 2021-2022) will be read from the pulpit.  If you wish to have the names of deceased relatives included in the Memorial Booklet on our website, please call the office. 

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At this time of the year, it is appropriate to make contributions in memory of our loved ones.  If you wish to honor your loved ones in this way, kindly indicate the contribution below and make checks payable to Congregation Emanu-El Israel or to CEI and mail to CEI, 222 N. Main St., Greensburg, PA 15601.  Please note that due to High Holiday deadlines, forms should be returned no later than September 5, 2022

May the upcoming year bring you the blessings of love, health and happiness.

Sincerely,

Memorial Committee                  

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Rabbi Leonard Sarko 

CEI Officers:  President: Irene C. Rothschild.  1st Vice President: Terri Katzman.  Treasurer: Julie Goldstein.  Recording Secretary: Virginia Lieberman.  Sisterhood President: Marion Slone, Men’s Club President: Gary Moidel. Bulletin Editors: Mary Ellen Kane & Bea Harrison. 

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Honoring Their Memory

The following Yahrzeits will be honored at CEI

June 3:  *Harry Berger, *Simon Feinberg, *Isidore Felder, Minna Lader Feuerstein, Stuart Freeman, *Herbert L. Friedlander, *Dr. Philip H. Gold, *James (Yaney) Grossman, *Maurice Kramer, *Samuel Moldovan, *Abraham Pavloff, Linda Schwartzman, *Mollie R. Whiteman and *Barbara Wilder.

June 10:  *Patricia Barnhart, *Isadore Friedman, *Louis Glantz, *Edward Gordon, *Margot Halden, *Barry J. Kane, Ethel Krokosky, Maxine Morris, *Yale Ozik, *Robert Schindowich, Robert Schrag and Fay Wolinsky.

June 17:  *Abraham Buchman, *Sarah Tucker Cohen, *Elaine Friedlander-Smith, *Benjamin Geier, *Rose Goldberg, *Benjamin Geier, *Rose Goldberg, *Simon Gordon, *Sarah Levin, *Anna Magadof, *Martin Theodore Schindowich, *Isadore Sine and *Ethel Ziff.

June 24:  *Albert Boyer, *Lawrence Brodell, Eleanor Chobirko, Joseph Cohen, *Jacob Daniels, *Ida Sarah Friedman, *Aaron Harry Gillis, *George Gillis, *William Lifshitz and *Theodore Rossen.

July 01:  Ben Berlin, Leonard Berman, *Esther Caplan, *Edna G. Cobetto, *Fannie Davis, *Rachel Leah Flamm, Norton Geier, *Louis I. Gould, *Nathan Jaskulek, *Maurice Nevins, Joan Silvis and *Leonard Wolinsky.

* A light will be lit on a Memorial Board