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Interesting quotes from famous Jews
My father never lived to see his dream come true of an
I once wanted to become an atheist but I gave up. They have no holidays.
Look at Jewish history. Unrelieved lamenting would be intolerable. So, for every ten Jews beating their breasts, God designated one to be crazy and amuse the breast beaters. By the time I was five I knew I was that one.
The time is at hand when the wearing of a prayer shawl and skullcap will not bar a man from the White House, unless, of course, the man is Jewish.
Even if you are Catholic, if you live in New York, you're Jewish. If you live in Butte, Montana, you are going to be a goy even if you are Jewish.
The remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served us nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.
Let me tell you the one thing I have against Moses. He took us forty years into the desert in order to bring us to the one place in the Middle East that has no oil!
Even a secret agent can't lie to a Jewish mother.
My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me.
It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it.
Don't be humble; you are not that great.
I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days I had lost exactly two weeks.
-Joe E. Lewis
A spoken contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.
I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying.
Whoever called it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.
A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it.
Too bad that all the people who know how to run this country are busy driving taxis and cutting hair.
A committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours.
I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth, even if it costs them their jobs.
Television is a medium because it is neither rare nor well done.
When I bore people at a party, they think it is their fault.
"DAILY JEWISH WISDOM" is found @ Beliefnet.com
Fear builds walls to bar the light. - Baal Shem Tov
Engage in Torah and charity even with an ulterior motive, for that habit of right doing will lead also to right motivation. - Talmud: Pesahim, 50b
The sword comes into the world because of justice delayed and because of justice perverted.- Ethics of the Fathers 5:8
Ever since Rabbi Akiba used the Passover seder to plan a revolutionary struggle against the Roman occupiers, the Jews have used the seder to begin concrete work on tikkun (healing and transformation).
- Rabbi Michael Lerner, the Tikkun Magazine Passover supplement 2006
To work out ends of righteousness and love are you called; not merely to enjoy or suffer.
- S.R. Hirsch, "Nineteen Letters," 1836
“Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself.” Golda Meir
The worship of God, though desirable as an end itself, can somehow never be in the right spirit, unless it impels one to the service of man. - Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan
Concentrate on three things and you will not fall into the grip of sin. Know from where you came, where you are going, and before Whom you will have to give account and reckoning.- Pirkei Avot 3:1
We cannot learn from general principles: there may be exceptions. - Johanan, Talmud: Kiddushin
A truly generous man is he that always gives, whether it be much or little, before he is asked.- Orchot Tsadiqim
The best security for old age: respect your children.- Sholem Asch
A Jew can be Jewish with God, against God, but not without God.- Elie Wiesel
He who promotes his own honor at the expense of his neighbor's has no portion in the world to come.- Judah b. Hanina, Genesis Rabbah
Even if all the world tells you, "You are righteous," consider yourself a sinner. - Rabbi Simlai
Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism and falsehood. The liturgical movement must become a revolutionary movement, seeking to overthrow the forces that continue to destroy the promise, the hope, the vision.- Abraham Joshua Heschel, "On Prayer"
Lose with truth and right rather than gain with falsehood and wrong.- Maimonides, "Tzavaah"
Seek the good in everyone, and reveal it, bring it forth.- Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1811), "Likutey Moharan"
Just as we love ourselves despite the faults we know we have, so should we love our neighbors despite the faults we see in them.- Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov
A man should never impose an overpowering fear upon his household. - Babylonian Talmud, Gittin 6b
If you add to the truth, you subtract from it.- The Talmud
Love unaccompanied by criticism is not love....Peace unaccompanied by reproof is not peace.- Genesis Rabbah 54:3
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After a couple false starts, 2 boxes of prayer books we have adopted were sent out from Rabbi Irwin Huberman of Congregation Tifereth Israel in Glen Cove, NY, last week. Despite the Labor Day weekend they somehow managed to arrive here Tues. just in time for our committee meeting planning the Rosh HaShanah activities! We now have several more of the HertzTanach, Likrat Shabbat, and High Holy Day books. Baruch HaShem!
Kudos from Marc Mermelstein
We have gotten kudos from Marc Mermelstein and a few pointers to update our explanations about the Ramban's 13 Principles and the Noachide laws. Those tweeks have been incorporated accordingly.
Monthly Women's Issues study continues
Women's Issues study continues with the June open forum and modern great women leaders, the July session on the historical disasters of mid-summer and women's use of the commemorations to build Tikun Olam projects, and the August session on women's topics relating to the Days of Awe, etc. The underlying themes seems to be: how do we make the horrors of the past into meaningful, constructive projects for the future? & how do we women break out of the yoke of oppression which is often patriarchal and sometimes religious extremist?
Somber Tisha B'Av events allowed us to read Lamentations in the evening and learn to put on and use tefillin during the day. Perhaps most important was the feeling of community sharing in exploring aspects of our religion that are not as familiar to us as many others such as Shabbat rituals.
Shavuot Night Study Session, May 19-20
As would be expected, our Shavuot dinner was followed by a discussion of the Book of Ruth, the role of converts in Judaism, what constitutes a convert, and several sections of Proverbs relating to topics such as attitudes toward rebuke, love and forgiveness, learning from experience, laziness and its consequences, humility and arrogance, the power of speech, patience is a virtue, etc. It made it very difficult to be up and awake at 10:30 am.
Women's Issues Study May 17th - with Shavuot Customs and Recipes over Cultures and Time
Another very interesting Women's Issues study session looked mostly at various takes on Ruth and the implications of her story for women as well as the role of women during the giving of the "Ten Commandments", the 10 terms to the covenant between HaShem and the Children of Israel. The recipes held interest as well, particularly as to the historical and cultural facts of why such recipes are used for Shavuot.
The discussion was so engrossing that the several attendees lost track of the time and almost did not clear out on schedule! June 14th is the next session: an open forum and more on modern, Great Jewish Women.
Jackpot Ranch Picnic, May 16th
When Beit Torah heard that there was to be a spring Jackpot Ranch Picnic, we were thrilled! So what if it was a religious school day? Handled easily enough: we declared a FIELD TRIP!
So 6 households in four cars made the trek to a very enjoyable, pretty much all day, picnic. Not everyone made it into the pictures that came out, but at least a few can be seen in these pictures. For those of us who keep kosher, we brought chicken to add to the fruits, vegetables, chips, etc. already there. Rabbis Nina and Alicia were also there and many folk from Flagstaff and Sedona. Even Rabbi Shapiro from Flagstaff came with his wife and three children and the in-laws.
Enjoy the pictures we have so far from a couple photographers. The Children presenting stories about their favorite Jewish heroes.
Mostly children trying their hands at fishing.
and Leah and...
Hayride to visit the big tree house and the many various animals.
at the treehouse...
end of day, so long
Kevin's Bar Mitzvah
A milestone event! Beit Torah’s first Bar Mitzvah, May 8th, 2010!
LAG B'OMER picnic May 2nd
The weather did not much cooperate for a picnic, but the children enjoyed sitting in the chicken coop playing with the chicks and the indoor board games we had in Leah's house. Of course, hotdogs and hamburgers, egg salad and melon all taste just as good eaten indoors as out - so all in all, an enjoyable Lag B'Omer celebration!
May the rest of the Omer hold only good things for us all!
Women's Issues Study Continues April 19th - with Independence and Heroism
A lively discussion in the women's issues group discussed heroines during the war of Independence, in biblical liturgy, and their legacy for modern times. Since everyone present had ties to Polish and/or Russian legacies as well as holocaust family stories, the topic was clearly near and dear as to the question of what is heroism and what is just plain survival. The question was mulled over without any clear conclusion reached. Women's Issues continues May 17th, Monday - same place and time.
Prescott Observance of Holocaust Remembrance Days..
A goodly number from Beit Torah attended this gripping and moving event on April 13th at Yavapai College. For a good summary, see the Courier article by Linda Stein:
Beit Torah was given opportunity to comment at the end: ' Afterward Adele Plotkin said on behalf of Beit Torah Congregation, "We would like to state that uniformly we found the presentation to be moving, powerful, profound, educational, sensitive and gripping. We pray that the lesson presented that all people should be treated with respect, dignity and politeness is one that will be absorbed by all those in attendance." '
A follow up comment online was also submitted: Posted: Thursday, April 15, 2010
Visits to Flagstaff:Yiskor &Holocaust Remembrance Day
A group from Beit Torah carpooled to Heichal BaOranim to join in the Yiskor services on Tuesday, the last day of Pesach. Turns out all attendees were women and the service sounded, at least to this writer, like a heavenly choir - sombre, meaningful, community. It just so happened we even had macaroons left over from the Passover seder, wine, and grape juice for a small oneg afterwards.
On Sunday, April 11th, a combined Flagstaff/Sedona remembrance event took place in Flagstaff. Rabbi Alicia Magal and Rabbi Nina Perlmutter led the event. Two Holocaust survivors told their stories to a hushed audience. One of them is Rabbi Alicia's Mother, Nika Fleisig. The other is Doris Martin, co-founder of the Martin-Springer Institute. Both are publishing books to spread greater understanding of the reality of the Holocaust as they saw it unfold. The setting was intimate and interactive, allowing questions by all during the refreshments afterwards. How very meaningful it was to be able to participate with songs and prayers of remembrance including, among others, El Malei Rachamim, Kaddish, and the Partisans' Song.
Community Passover Seders
A couple dozen people signed up for the Community Passover Seder and shared the leading and the reading, the eating and the singing. The products of the five cooks and two kitchens were enjoyed by all including the matzah ball soup, the gefilte fish, roasted vegetables, tomato-cucumber salad, spinach-mushroom salad, sweet and sour meatballs, brisket, baked chicken, fruit and macaroons - not to mention three types of Haroset and chunks of horseradish root for the brave. This year was in a rented room; next year in a big house!
2nd seder was home hospitality and focussed more on children's participation.
Women's Issues Study Continues
While discussing the changing roles of women in religious life through the centuries during our March 15th session, there seemed to be a consensus that the ranges of attitudes about and among women haven't much changed with 'modernity' and seem to span the cultures even today. Yet a note of optimism was expressed that progress may be happening now that we have an orange on the seder plate and Miriam's cup next to Eliyahu's!
Purim Celebrated with Great Gusto Feb. 28th
Ten hardy souls braved the snow whitened vista and the fog to read the Book of Esther, sing silly songs, eat all kinds of neat foods, and vote on the best costume and the best food. Albert kept snapping pictures for posterity. We hope that soon we will be able to post them on this website.
Hamantaschen came in many varieties: with and without eggs; with spelt or rye or wheat flour; with white or brown sugar; with many kinds of fillings; and with lots of love. Only the oat ones never made it to the table; they all collapsed into mush! Alan won the best costume prize, but the prize for the best hamantaschen was split among the children because it, too, was yummy.
Another New Face at Kabbalat Shabbat Potluck 2/12
We welcome Susan, our prospective new librarian, and the spirit she brings to our events. She also brought really good food to the potluck. Also it is as if Jackie's place was made especially for a group Kabbalat Shabbat. So for now, we are planning to go there once a month to enjoy ourselves over and over again. March 5th is our [[[[tentative- no! actual]]]]] next date.
The lovely evening of the 12th was followed by the Children's Service of the 13th. Rivka and Miriam delighted in helping undress and dress the Torah. Even though they understood not a word, they listened raptly to the Torah reading while watching the yad mark our progress. The children also enjoyed the Shabbat picture book. However, as expected, food was the best part of it all for them. So they ate and played while the adults pondered what seemed to be inconsistencies in the Haftorah and Torah Parsha [portion] for the week.
Torah Talmidi Dedication, A New Beit Torah Chapter
A brief Jan. 30th afternoon Shabbat [Sabbath] service inaugurated the use of our new Torah Talmidi. This scroll brings the potential to serve our students and other participants well in helping them achieve the abilities to read the Torah portions and lead parts of the services. May we all find the strength to go forward building the path to a strong congregation and healing the community through Tikun Olam, Repair of the World.
TuB'Shvat Celebrates Potential and Rejuvenation
11 Souls resting for Shabbat [the Sabbath] took out time to celebrate Tu B'Shvat Seasons, the Birthday of the Trees, with lots of fruits, nuts and seeds as well as a non-meat meal and reflections of the seasons of the World, of our lives, and of our souls. As expected, the food and schmooze was the most enjoyed part of it all. The festivities ended with a wistful Havdalah service saying farewell to the Joy of Shabbat and welcoming another everyday week until next Shabbat.
Like Purim, this holiday is not from the Torah, but since the sages instituted it, Tu B'Shvat has provided a festive respite in the middle of winter for a great many Jews. So what if part of its origin was the start of the agricultural tax year? It is always a delight to have a Jewish reason to celebrate!
First Official Children's Service, Jan 16th
Well it is definitely winter. Half of the expected attendees were not well. However that gave more time to focus on the children. Morning waking-up prayers, an introduction to the Tallit and the Torah scroll, and a picture story about Shabbat were the highlights of the morning. The oldest stayed with the adults and briefly joined in the discussion on what miracles might be. Yet there is so much more to talk about miracles that it will be continued next Shabbat. [Not to mention our getting sidetracked by a discussion of the "who is a Jew" problems in Israel caused, in part, by the influx of the Russian immigrants...]
December Visiting Rabbi Snafu
The attendees waiting for Rav Levertov went ahead with a December Torah Study session on their own. They came up with some interesting observations on the family dynamics of Joseph and his brothers. Plenty to think about this week and in the weeks to come.
Our Heimisch and Heartwarming Kabbalat Shabbat Chanukah - not to mention good food
Of the 18 adults and 5 children signed up to come, 9 adults and 3 children came. Additionally, one adult and a child just happened to be able to also join in at the last minute. So the 10 adults and 4 children who did not have to deal with illness, traffic jams, or unexpected late work hours had the opportunity to share the warm ambiance of embracing our faith through candle lighting and songs for both Chanukah and Shabbat, followed by a variety of kosher food choices including turkey vegetable soup, rosemary rice with turkey and vegetables mix, tuna, salads, burmuelas, latkes, applesauce, nuts, etc. A last minute arrangement also blessed our group with news coverage as well as can be seen at
and copied on this site in our new page of the most recent Courier coverage. Happy Chanukah to all!
What a Fun Pre-Chanukah Party, Dec. 6, 2009 - !!!
On Dec. 6, 2009, Beit Torah inaugurated its Religious School with a great pre-Chanukah party. A delicious spread of latkes, burmuelos, nuts, fruit, etc. was shared after learning the story of Chanukah and songs, coloring Hebrew letters and words related to Chanukah, the dreidel game, and searching for specific Hebrew words in the Chanukah prayers. Adin found every single word searched for. Rifka did a great job coloring letters and words and of remembering that we forgot the chocolate gelt. [That will be corrected at the Chanukah Party Friday night, Dec. 11th! ALL ARE WELCOME!] Yosef found creative shortcuts to get done the quickest. Miriam was very sharp. She discovered the dreidel that was different, the one from Jerusalem with the different Hebrew letter: Pey instead of Shin. Then she realized that the Chanukah dreidel jigsaw puzzle she put together was only of Shin type dreidels! Kol HaKavod and a big High Five to Miriam!
The adults did more adult reading type things while listening to the Chanukah music.
Classes resume the second Sunday of January. Please check the calendar for class dates.
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO BEIT TORAH and INTERFAITH SERVICE
The Interfaith Thanksgiving Service held in Prescott at the United Methodist Church on Gurley near the Sharlot museum was attended by a small Beit Torah group Thurs. evening 19 NOV 2009. The half dozen presenters were various Christian groups and Brith Shalom Congregation. It was interesting to learn of the origin of the modern Hebrew word for Thank You- 'todah'. Todah. B'ezrat HaShem, with God's help and God willing, maybe one day in Prescott Valley presented by a variety of Prescott Valley congregations.
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO BEIT TORAH, just received 20 NOV 2009
Nov. 20, 2009: Fri nite Welcoming the Sabbath Potluck almost looked like the retreat the week before but with more women. Lots of good schmoozing and staying up later than we should have. Still, it was fun!
Nov. 13-14, 2009: Women's and Children's Shabbaton Retreat
A group of women, most with children, decided mid-week to have a traditional Sabbath retreat for this past Shabbat in a private home in Prescott. From Kabbalat Shabbat Friday evening through Havdalah end of Shabbat service, they enjoyed traditional Sabbath foods and prayers as well as had a chance to get to know each other better. The children also had the opportunity to get to know other children better. Lots of children's stories were read and some games played as well. However Shabbat rest was a bit hard to come by given the excitement of new faces. Nonetheless, everyone agreed that Shabbat was more Shabbasdic than usual for this city.
Nov. 11, 2009 Courier Article
Hanukkah celebrates centuries of religious liberty
|By Ken Hedler, The Daily Courier |
The ancient Jewish holiday of Hanukkah predates Christianity and commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Hellenistic Syrians in 165 B.C. It remains relevant today as a celebration of religious freedom.
Jews observe Hanukkah by lighting candles for eight days to mark the number of days that oil burned after the Maccabees lit a menorah in the temple, despite the fact that their flask only contained enough oil to burn one day.
The eight days of Hanukkah start at sunset Dec. 11 this year.
"A big part of Jewish tradition is remembering the past," Rabbi Billy Berkowitz of Temple B'rith Shalom in Prescott said. "This is the commemoration of the Maccabees' victory - the first recorded struggle of religious freedom."
Agreeing, Adele Plotkin of the Beit Torah Jewish Congregation in Prescott Valley said, "It is a symbol for us that we have the right to worship as we please, to not be imposed upon by people who are not Jewish to do anything other than our own practices.
"We do things in a Jewish fashion, and we have the right not to be forced to do it any other way," Plotkin added. "And that is the story of Hanukkah - the overthrowing of the invaders who were trying to force us to worship their gods in their way. They had desecrated our temple."
Hanukkah also celebrates community, said Plotkin, a native of Tallahassee, Fla., who lives in Chino Valley.
Berkowitz said, "It's a time of joy. It's a time for families to gather, and the synagogue hosts some Hanukkah celebrations as well."
He said Jews traditionally cook food in oils during Hanukkah. They include latkes (potato pancakes) and jelly doughnuts, which Berkowitz said are popular among Sephardic Jews from the Middle East.
Jewish children celebrate Hanukkah by spinning a four-sided top called a dreidel, Plotkin said. She described spinning the dreidel as a game, with children playing for token prizes such as nuts.
"One side (of the dreidel) says you win all," Plotkin said. "One side says you lose all. One side says you only get half the pot."
Plotkin says singing songs and lighting the candles on the menorah are important as well.
However, she said the giving of presents during Hanukkah in America began as a "knee-jerk response" to Christmas.
"It has become much bigger because the children, especially the little ones, are very attracted by the glitz they still see at Christmas," Plotkin said.
She said her congregation plans to conduct a Hanukkah party Dec. 11 at a member's home in Prescott "with a focus on children."
online comment submitted by Dr. Adele Plotkin:
Thank you Ken for this lovely article. In case some of your readers are wondering what happens when as the dreidel lands, you see that mysterious fourth, previously undescribed side: the unlucky player gets to add to the pot. Every time I ask, the rules seem to change as to how much needs to be added...
You all have a wonderful holiday season!
Study Sessions with Rabbi Levertov, Oct. 25th and Nov. 22nd
16 people attended a very interesting study session on Oct. 25th with Rabbi Zalman Levertov on the upcoming Torah portion of Lech Lecha. After the session there was time for a lively get to know each other schmooze. Discussion of possible additional events to schedule has opened the door to more opportunities. Check back soon to find out when we will be starting Kabbalat Shabbat pot luck Friday night dinners, Hebrew school for children, and Study of Basic Prayers in the Services.
The 9 attendees on the 22nd of Nov. had an interesting combo of discussion on Pirkei Avot 1:7 about good people need to not associate with riff-raff, about VaYetze Gematria, and about stones for marker pillars, for commemoration piles and for contracts. In addition there were refreshments of water, apple juice, biscuits, nuts, and rice cakes.
Rosh HaShanah, 2nd day
10 adults and 2 children attended a combined Tashlich and Shofar Service at Fain Park followed by a pot luck vegetarian lunch. So there were a few gremlins with time and transportation and forgetting the kiddush wine/grape juice...however for a first try at anything like this, it was all in all an amazing experience. Next time, we are going to find a way to keep the gremlins from attending!