jewish awareness disabilities & Inclusion month JDAIM is a unified initiative to raise disability awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion in Jewish communities worldwide.

Tikvah Times Staff: Alene Schonhaut - Editor at Large, Madeleine Wolf - Assistant Editor, and

Jay Beber - Cover Design & Consultant

Photograph Credits: Sharon Kahn, Meryl Root & Alene Schonhaut

Rabbi Randy Sheinberg

Jewish Disabilities Awareness & Inclusion Month

No More Outsiders

I remember those few years when I was thinking about making a career change and deciding to apply to Rabbinical School. I remember sitting in the library in Bloomington, Indiana with my Hebrew textbook open, struggling to make sense of those squiggles and lines that came together to form the letters of the alef-bet. I remember talking to rabbis and rabbinical students about my growing love for Judaism, but also about my insecurities. Would I, who had spent much of her spiritual life outside of the tent of Reform Judaism, be accepted as a rabbinic student? Even after I learned the alef-bet and studied the texts, would there be a place for me in the Jewish world?

I imagine you too may have felt like an outsider at some point in your life. It is a common experience. Whether it is starting a new venture, embarking on a career change, relocating, joining a new Temple or something else; chances are there has been a time when you felt like the odd person out, unsure if you belonged.

This month Temple Tikvah is proud to participate in Jewish Disabilities Inclusion and Awareness Month (JDAIM). JDAIM is a unified initiative to raise disability awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion in Jewish communities worldwide.

Here at Temple Tikvah and in the Jewish world at large, we practice the mitzvah of being welcoming (haknasat orchim). We strive to make our House of Worship a home for all who wish to join us. Yet even with our best intentions, those with disabilities can easily feel like outsiders.

I am proud of what Temple Tikvah has done to become a welcoming, inclusive House of Worship that is accessible to a broad array of people. We have a lift that connects the three floors of our building; the ramp in our Sanctuary enables anyone with mobility issues to ascend the Bimah to participate in an honor; and the podium used for Torah Readings can be lowered to accommodate people of different statures or those in wheelchairs. We also provide large print siddurim and copies of the Service for those who are visually impaired, and hearing-assist devices for the hearing impaired. In our Religious School, we have teachers with backgrounds in Special Education to assist students with learning differences. In addition, our Bat/Bar Mitzvah Services and requirements are tailored to each individual’s needs and abilities.

I’m proud of all this, but at the same time, I think we can do more.

I recently had a chance to watch an “ELI Talk” (the Jewish version of the “TED Talk”) by recently ordained Rabbi Lauren Tuchman, the first blind woman ordained as a Rabbi. Rabbi Tuchman brings us back to the moment of revelation at Mount Sinai. At Sinai, as the midrash tells it, each individual Jew experienced revelation and received the Divine message in his or her own unique way. One way was not better or worse than the other.

There were no outsiders. Each person’s piece of revelation was a necessary part of the whole picture of Torah. Without everyone’s presence, full Torah could not be revealed.

We need to look beyond ‘accommodation’ of those with disabilities to full inclusion. Not because it is the nice thing to do, but because we know that we are less without them. Our tradition teaches: “Do not disdain any person; do not underrate the importance of anything - for there is no person who does not have his hour and there is no thing without its place in the sun.” (Pirkei Avot 4.3) Let us continue to build a place where ALL feel like insiders, where we can each tell our story and share our perspectives and teachings freely, so that we can make Torah fully present to one another and bring more light into the world.

Cantor Guy Bonné

Will Salvation Come to the World?

“Israel, born out of a dream, a yearning, and then forced to face, for better or worse, what reality brings, found in Amos Oz a writer who combined both the country’s essential idealism and the ability to see the cracked nature of what had been wrought...Mr. Oz, who died on Friday at the age of 79, was Israel’s most significant cultural ambassador for nearly 50 years, perennially mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. But what he most proudly championed was modern Hebrew itself, the form of the language that Zionism revived.” Gal Beckerman, The New York Times

Amos Oz was born in Jerusalem in 1939. Besides being a prolific novelist of 40 books, he was a journalist and a very influential intellectual. He taught literature at Ben Gurion University. His novels were translated into 45 languages and he received many honors and awards.

From the few books of Amos Oz that I have read, Judas is my favorite. This novel was written in 2014 and it describes the relationship between three characters in Jerusalem in the winter of 1959. The theme developed in the story is the many faces of betrayal. It intertwines in such a fascinating way the story of Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. According to the gospels, Jesus was handed over to the Jewish Council (the Sanhedrin) by Judas, who exposed Jesus by kissing him and calling him Rabbi. The Council found Jesus guilty in profaning the Temple and handed him to the Roman authorities to be crucified. Judas himself, after learning that Jesus was to be crucified, committed suicide by hanging.

In Judas, Shmuel Ash is a 24 years old second-degree student of history and religion. He is writing a thesis about Jesus and the Jews and comes up with the idea that Judas was Jesus’ most fervent believer to be the son of God. Judas was actually convinced by Jesus, that giving Jesus away to the Council would propel the circumstances in such a way that Jesus’ divinity would be revealed to all; for Jesus would certainly survive his crucifixion, get down from the cross, and bring salvation to the world.

Amos Oz based his story on an ancient script that was found in 2006 and that shocked the Christian world. It is another gospel, on top of the 4 gospels in the New Testament and some 54 gospels that were not canonized and didn’t make it to the New Testament. It is known as The Gospel of Judas, composed in the second century CE and it consists of a conversation between Jesus and Judas in which we learn that Judas was the only disciple who actually understood Jesus. For Jesus himself asked Judas to assist in his capturing so his crucifying. That would release Jesus’ spirit that was imprisoned in his body. Only then salvation would come to the world.

More about Judas in my next article.

President's Message

Shari Rotstein

An Open Invitation...Walk Down Judaism Road With Us

During my Kol Nidre Appeal, I recited a poem from our prayer book entitled "A Walk Down Judaism Road" and made reference to the walkway of our Synagogue being filled with jewels. I equated those jewels that we see on our walk, to the community events and programs in our Synagogue, to which ones spark your interest and your participation.

There is no shortage of filled spaces on our calendar and we are constantly updating it and adding more entries of events and programs. One of my favorite things about Temple Tikvah is that there is something for everyone.

In honor of February being Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month, we have invited Lloyd Bachrach to be our Scholar In Residence. He was born with a disability and he will share his amazing story with us, and tell us how he rises above his challenges to reach higher feats. We will have a great opportunity to hear his story.

You are invited to help us honor our guest for this special Scholar In Residence Weekend. Please join us from Friday, February 1st - Sunday February 3rd, starting with Friday Night Shabbat Services; Saturday for a Lunch and Learn Program; and Sunday during Religious School to hear Lloyd's amazing story of overcoming his disability and becoming a great motivational speaker.

On Friday night March 8th, please join us in Welcoming our New Members & Honoring the 2nd & 3rd Grade Class and come join us for Shabbat Across America. Our Service will be a Family Service led by our 2nd and 3rd Graders.

As always, I am extending an open invitation and even though I only mentioned 2 big events/programs, there are many more upcoming ones that I did not mention, that you also have an open invitation to.

There are Sisterhood Events, Brotherhood Events, Life Long Learning Programs, the Israeli Day Parade, the Israeli Festival, and of course THE BIG EVENT in April.

Also, SAVE THE DATE for the A Cappella Group Six13 Concert in May! With all of these wonderful choices, comes a lot of Committee work that goes along with all of the planning, and volunteers are always needed and appreciated.

Please take a look at the calendar, see what is happening and what events and programs we have. I invite you to any and all of these wonderful events.

Which jewels catch your eyes as you "Walk Down Judaism Road"?


Religious School

Sharon Fricano - Education Director

B’tzelem Elohim

Join us the weekend of February 1st – 3rd as we observe Jewish Disabilities Month with a Scholar in Residence Weekend featuring author, paralympian, and motivational speaker Lloyd Bachrach. His inspiring message is appropriate for children, parents, and people of all ages. Lloyd’s message also reinforces how we are all created B’tzelem Elohim, in God’s image and therefore must treat one another with love and respect.

Activities will include our Friday Night Shabbat Service with a Festive Oneg, a special Saturday Lunch and Learn Program for adults with a parallel program (sensory Shabbat) for Religious School students, a Tot Shabbat, and a special program during Hebrew School on Sunday. All are welcome. Please feel free to tell and invite your friends.

On February 8th our 4th Graders will lead us in prayer and service. There will be a Family Shabbat Dinner prior to the Service. The following students will participate: Emma Chirel, Brian Kahn, Logan Kahn, Khloe Taylor, and Jared Wolfson.

Congratulations to the Rakitovan Family on Melanie becoming a Bat Mitzvah on February 9th 2019!

On February 10th our 4th and 5th Graders and Families will visit Parker Institute at LIJ to visit with the residents and do a project as part of their Mitzvah Study.

We will be closed on February 5th for Lunar New Year and for Winter Recess from February 17th through February 24th. School will resume on February 26th.

Congratulations to the Levitan Family on Jake becoming a Bar Mitzvah on February 23rd 2019!

Upcoming Events in March

March 2nd – Havdalah Paint Night • March 3rd – Grades 2-3, Family Program with parent participation • March 8th - Grades 2-3, Family Service • March 17th – Purim Carnival • March 22nd - 24th, Weekend Kollel at Eisner for upper grades and family

Nuccia Hernan - Early Childhood

Let’s Learn Together

February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month and Early Childhood will be presenting a Special Program called Family Sensory Shabbat. This program will be running along side Temple Tikvah’s Scholar in Residence Program with Lloyd Bachrach on Saturday, February 2nd, 2019. Your children will have an opportunity to have a sensory experience as they explore planting while parents can listen to our Scholar in Residence.

The PJ Library is a wonderful resource for our children that enables them to read fictional stories that are reality-based with strong characters with disabilities, as well as storylines about acceptance, inclusion, and learning from everyone. Among the books that they suggest are: Cakes & Miracles by Barbara Diamond Goldin (‘Hershel’s blindness doesn’t keep him from living life’); Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles by Tami Lehman-Wilzig (A story about 2 brothers – one with autism & the other one coping with his brother’s challenges.); and Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco (Trisha learns to read, after being coached by a wonderful teacher!)

There will be no Friday Night Tot Shabbat during the month of February. Friday Night Tot Shabbat will resume in March.

Please note that all these programs are free of charge. However to ensure that we have enough materials for all our guests please registration is required for all our events. Register by emailing Shari Rotstein at ECP@templetikvah.org.


*Please note that all these programs are free of charge. However, to ensure that we have enough materials for all our guests, please registration is required for all our events. Register by emailing Shari Rotstein at ECP@templetikvah.org.

Cheryl Stern - Director of Youth & Family Engagement

January was a great month for families and all the activities we had. Our Havdalah Event was such a nice way to reconnect after our winter break. Everyone also had a wonderful time making ice cream sundaes and playing games. Last month our students learned about the Festival of Trees, as well and its importance. We made planters and held a Seder to remind us how important trees are important for us in our daily lives.

Our February theme is all about being your best self and making sure you try your hardest. We are all excited about our Scholar in Residence and hearing Lloyd Bachrach's motivational words. We are also looking forward to our Sensory Shabbat Program and our lunch event.

As we prepare for this exciting weekend, it is important that we communicate with our youth the following information: Underscore the importance of choosing one’s own Jewish journey; Urge Jews to welcome people with disabilities into their communities and personal lives; Include people with disabilities in all aspects of communal life; and Advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

Save the Dates: March 17th - Purim Carnival. If you are able to volunteer that day, we would love to have as many extra sets of hands as possible and from March 22nd – 24th our Kollel will be held at Camp Eisner. Please try to join us to so that your family and others from Temple can all reconnect.

If you have any questions please feel free to email me at Cheryl@templetikvah.org.


Bat Mitzvah - Saturday, February 9th 2019

Hi, my name is Melanie Rakitovan and my Bat Mitzvah is on February 9th, 2019! I live with my mom, dad, my sister Nicole, and my dog and cat. I go to Herricks Middle School and my favorite subject is science. In my free time, I hang out with my friends and I love to play volleyball. I also like to write and listen to music.

During the summer, I go to URJ Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, MA. The Temple introduced me this to camp and I am truly grateful for that, because camp has changed my life and helped me to become a better person. Camp has given me a different perspective on many things, introduced me to new ideas, and has given me the opportunity to develop relationships with so many amazing people. Camp has helped me become prouder of my Jewish identity, and helped me love and appreciate my religion more than I already did.

When I started thinking about my Mitzvah Project, I knew that I was going to do something involving mental health. Mental Health Awareness is something that is very important to me. For my Mitzvah Project I have decided to donate blankets, books, journals, teddy bears, and other plush items to bring to an inpatient psychiatric facility named Four Winds, an organization that treats young children, teenagers, and adults. Four Winds helps people young and old regain their mental health. If possible, please bring these items for donation to my Service! There will be a bin in the Beber Auditorium for donations for the next few months.

Mazel tov to Jake Levitan!

Bar Mitzvah - Saturday, February 23rd 2019

I am so excited to be welcomed to the Bimah on February 23rd 2019 for my Bar Mitzvah! I have been a member of the Temple Tikvah Congregation since I started Hebrew School at age 5. I am the middle child of Eric and Veronica Levitan, brother of Samuel and Leo. I am best described by my teachers, friends, and family as an empathetic, caring, generous, and artistic person.

At the beginning of this school year my social studies teacher assigned the following assignment – “The United States of America was not named Christopher Columbus, but after Amerigo Vespucci. Who would you have named America after?” My response was, "United States of Martin Luther King Jr.", because he stood for peace, unity, and respect.

These sentiments have been discussed numerous times at Temple. I have learned in religious studies that we are all part of the human race and have to take care of each other and the planet. I am also proud to sing with the Mitzvah Choir and love to see the faces of joy when we perform at nursing homes. In addition, I have taken my love of animals as my Mitzvah Project to work with animal shelters. My favorite quote is, “When I look into the eyes of an animal I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.”

Temple at-large


President: Marc Gold

“The most satisfying and meaningful successes in life all have one thing in common. They result from overcoming adversity.”

In recognition of Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month, Temple is having a Scholar In Residence Weekend with Lloyd Bachrach from February 1st -3rd. I urge everyone, especially my fellow Brotherhood Members to take advantage of this opportunity and participate in one of the events that weekend.

Oye...Did We Have Fun!

Listening to Alan Freedman

from the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

Save the Date

Brotherhood Dinner and Auction

Saturday, June 1st at 6:30 pm

Featuring Entertainment by Chimenti Productions


Co-Presidents: Terry Cutler & Terry Lepzelter

You are Always Warmly Welcome!

We hope everyone enjoyed a great start to the New Year! 2019 promises to be filled with many opportunities for our Congregation to work together to better our Temple and larger community. Sisterhood is up for this challenge by providing Temple Tikvah with dedicated hearts and talented hands to make our Temple Home comfortable for all who walk through our doors.

As you know, February is Jewish Disability Awareness Month. Judaism teaches us to help those in need by positive action. We are proud that Sisterhood has always been an advocate for people with special needs: we have been funding our Hebrew School’s Inclusive Program, which provides children and their parents with resources and a specially trained staff that can support their needs; we gave generously to make sure Temple was fully handicap accessible; and Sisterhood also donates to several charities and organizations that help people feel connected to each other when they are facing life challenges. We hope everyone can sincerely feel warmly welcomed when they pass through Temple Tikvah’s doors and know that we try our best to include all who want to share our spirit and love of Judaism.

We hope you have recovered from the pangs of laughter we shared on Comedy Night last month. A BIG thanks to Debbie Hochrad and her crew for making the event so successful. Funds raised will certainly help Temple Tikvah!

Please look at our flyer for our Mishloach Manot Project for Purim. They are such a treat to send to family and friends. Don’t forget you can also be a sponsor for our Temple Family as well!

Finally, we all know how time flies…start thinking ahead to our Annual Women’s Seder and Sisterhood Shabbat Dinner and Service. Look for details to follow soon.

Keep warm!

life long learning

Meryl Root

Lunch & Learn:

Judaism teaches us that we are all created B’tzelem Elohim, in G-d’s image and that none of us is perfect. To mark Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month, Temple is hosting a Scholar in Residence Weekend from February 1st - 3rd with Lloyd Bachrach who will share his personal story and help motivate each of us to overcome our challenges. Families are strongly encouraged to join us for this very special Lunch & Learn, entitled: "Conquering Your Challenges." Cheryl Stern & Nuccia Hernan will concurrently have a sensory experience Shabbat for the children.

Join us in the Sanctuary for a Family-Friendly, Sensory-Sensitive Shabbat Service from 10:45 – 11:30 a.m. on February 2nd led by our Clergy. This special Service is for people of ALL ages. Please come. A Shabbat Luncheon for all will begin at 11:30 a.m. Suggested donation: $10. Children under 18 are free. The Programs will begin at noon. While the children participate in a sensory activity with Cheryl Stern and Nuccia Hernan, the adults will take part in an Interactive PowerPoint Presentation with Lloyd Bachrach. This program will invite us to look at ourselves, our own challenges, and our spiritual pathways to motivate us to be our best selves. Dessert will served to everyone at 1:00 p.m.

Please RSVP by Thursday, January 31st to lifelonglearning@templetikvah.org so that we can plan accordingly. We look forward to seeing you there!

Torah Study:

• Friday Night Torah Study with Cantor Guy Bonné will meet on February 1st and 15th at 6:30 p.m. • Shabbat Morning Torah Study with Rabbi Randy Sheinberg continues every Saturday at 9:00 a.m. in the Loretta & George Cohen Library. We are at the midst of Sefer Shemot, the Book of Exodus, working our way through the wilderness. Join us as we continue journeying on, into 2019. We will read anew and discuss the stories of the Exodus and see how this ancient book is still relevant today. No experience or prior knowledge is required. All are welcome.

Adult Hebrew Class:

Adult Hebrew is going strong. We meet on Thursday evenings from 7:00 - 8:15 p.m. with Cantor Guy Bonné. The Cantor is delighted that the class has grown and we welcome you to also join us. If you are interested in having some fun while learning Hebrew and about Israel, then this is the class for you. We watch Israeli television. We even bake! The atmosphere is relaxed and there is plenty of reviewing. Speak to Cantor Bonné for more details.

weekend cinema:

On Wednesday, February 6th at 1:30 p.m. we will be screening Kadosh, an Israeli film in the Sanctuary. Kadosh is the story of two Hasidic sisters living in the Mea Shearim area of Jerusalem. Rivka and her husband are deeply in love, but he obeys his Rabbi father and divorces her after 10 childless years of marriage. Rivka's sister Malka loves a man who has left Hasidism after joining the army, but accepts the marriage her parents have arranged to the Rabbi's assistant. The film is in Hebrew with English subtitles and runs for 117 minutes. Please RSVP to let us know to expect you.


On Saturday, March 23rd please join us as one of our Congregants, Murray Leff presents: "WWII Combat Through the Eyes of a Rifleman." Murray will speak, show photographs, and take questions about his experiences.


Barbara Silberman

Caring Community

Sharon Kahn & Helene Schonhaut

We Are Here to Give Back to You!

In keeping with this month's theme of Jewish Disabilities Month, we present to you some thoughts of others. The Caring Community feels that these thoughts exemplify our mission and goals for ALL of our Congregants and to everyone that we would like to reach out to, to assist.




We invite you to join us at our monthly meetings, on the THIRD MONDAY OF THE MONTH.

With Love & Caring

we are grateful for all donations


Joyce Singer & Peter Milburn in honor of Cantor Guy Bonne • Barbara Orville in memory of Werner Weinstock


Lois & Richard Howard • Doris & Irving Silberman


Barbara Silberman in honor of Hunter Blechner becoming a Bar Mitzvah


Martin Kevelson, Sharon Adler, Susan & Andre Louis, Irene & Stanley Zorn, Marilyn Gilsen, Barbara Rosenthal, Cheryle & Steve Levine, and Rochelle Lilien...In honor of Rabbi Randy Sheinberg & Dr. Marty Cohen upon the birth of their Granddaughter, Isadora Lilyann Cohen-Orren

Selma Goldberg in memory of Sylvia Cember


Barbara Rosenthal in memory of Barbara Sher


Muriel Adler in memory of Betty Hersh • Carolyn Alexander in memory of Aaron Alexander • Howard Bailen in memory of Burt Bailen • Marian & Seth Baskin in memory of Beatrice G. Baskin • Maureen & Steve Berman in memory of Edna Berman • Lorraine & Lester Bertan in memory of Anna Appel • Michelle & Michael Bidner in memory of Sam Binder • Betsy Biviano in memory of Sonya Okun • Sylvia & Arnold Bloch in memory of Stanley H. Bloch • Bernice Bloch in memory of Stanley H. Bloch • Brotherhood in memory of Sylvia Cember, Sonya Okun, Werner Weinstock, and Barbara Sher • Doris Brown in memory of Ruth Hollander and Samuel Platt • Arline & Jack Cazes in memory of Sonya Okun • Edythe Fastow in memory of Mitchell Fastow • Gayle & Joel Feinstein in memory of Bernard Rubin • Judy & Mitchell Friedman in memory of Miriam Breakstone and Arnold Herroit • Susan & Robert Gelfand in memory of Esther Gelfand • Judy Gilbert in memory of Dr. Steward Gilbert • Marc & Michele Gold in memory of Abraham & Rose Cohen, Edith & Reiss, and Sonya Okun Vivien Goldbaum in memory of Elaine Biss • Jeannette & Charles Golden in memory of Elsie Brudener • Selma Goldberg in memory of Fannie Seifer • Sebastiana & Dean Hernan in memory of Esther Rosen • Charles Hyman in memory Jacob Hyman, MD • Phyllis & Michael Jacoby in memory of Sylvia Beatus • Judy & Joe Kirschner in memory of Elaine Kirschner • Nancy & Robert Kiss in memory of Mina Kiss  Leslie Kizner in memory of Esther Poselle • Evelyn & Peter Koestenblatt in memory of Judi Koestenblatt • Gloria & Larry Konstan in memory of Sylvia Cember • Rachel, Karen & Roy Kupferberg in memory of Joel Kupferberg • Judy & Sol Lefkowitz in memory of Abraham Lefkowitz • Cheryle & Steve Levine in memory of Sylvia Cember, Annette Levine, and Arthur Werner • Barbara & Joseph Massey in memory of Charlotte Freedman • Joyce & Joel Mensoff in memory of Bessie and Max Mensoff • Haya Moline in memory of Sara Koprak • Margery & Edward Orenstein in memory of Deborah Orenstein • Harriet Peaceman in memory of Clara Klein • Sandra & David Peskin in memory of Esther and Benjamin Peskin, Sonya Okun, and Lila Brown • Sandy Portnoy in memory of Rosalie Margolin Phyllis & Richard Ravens & Family in memory of Lena Barocas, Morris Barocas, and Howard Goldberg • Phyllis Richard in memory of Rita Pomerartz • Lori Robbins (Eckman) in memory of Arthur Wayne Eckman • Meryl Root in memory of Ilene Roth • Shari & Rony Rotstein in memory David Trager, Werner Weinstock, Rita Pomeratz, and Aliza Bechar • Barbara & Milton Rosenberg and Cynthia Kronenberg in memory of Max Einstein and Shirley Bach • Helaine & Edward Schachter in memory of Shirley Levine and Fannie Rosenblum • Susan & Burt Schall in memory of Sara Schall • Susan & Irwin Schneider in memory of Samuel Schneider and Mildred Rosen Marilyn Schwartz in memory of Yetta Schwartz • June & Jack Schwarz in memory of Ellen Schwarz • Claire Shapiro in memory of Lila and Morton Linzer • Doris & Irving Silberman in memory of Evelyn Goodman • Barbara Silberman in memory of Werner Weinstock and Sylvia Cember • Janet & Barry Spool in memory of Harriet Kaplan • Karen Stern in memory of Stanley Stern • Felice Tarter in memory of Fanny Mandel • Roslyn & Burton Tropp in memory of Max I. Goldman • Isaac Yavetz & Carol Fenves in memory of Osnat Yavetz • Joan Weiner in memory of Stanley Wiener • Stuart Weinstock in memory of Kurt Weinstock • Irene & Stanley Zorn in memory of Leonard Albert and Oscar Riegelhaupt • Religious Affairs in memory of Jeannette Gloden’s sister, Sylvia Cember


Susan & Burt Schall, Phyllis & Joe Horne, Sheryl Diamond-Stobar, Judy & Joe Kirschner, and Shari & Rony Rotstein...In honor of Rabbi Randy Sheinberg & Dr. Marty Cohen upon the birth of their Granddaughter, Isadora Lilyann Cohen-Orren • Carol Peretz with thanks to the Temple Tikvah Community for all of its support • Judy & Joe Kirschner in honor of Elaine & Howie Weiss’ grandson, Ben Unger becoming a Bar Mitzvah • Shari & Rony Rotstein in honor of their son Joshua’s Fall 2018 Early Graduation from College • Jack Zaffos in appreciation of the Lifelong Learning – Lunch & Learn Program • Meryl Root in appreciation of David Peskin • Rob Appel in honor of Temple Tikvah • Barry & Lenore Stein in appreciation of David Peskin


Margery & Edward Orenstein in memory of Werner Weinstock


Shirley Snyder in memory of Barbara Sher



Poetry and the Arts

Marty Cohen

Toward Solomon’s Mountain: Labelling Larry Eigner

“Multi-hyphenate” is a relatively new word, first documented in Los Angeles around 1969 to cover show business types like writer-actor-directors or singer-songwriter-producers. It’s considered a good thing.

“Intersectionality” is an even newer word, coined at the University of Chicago in 1989 to describe the marginalized situation of minority women (and later LGBTQ individuals.) Intersectionality may be claimed with pride, but denotes a burden.

How then to think about Larry Eigner (b. 1927, Massachusetts, d. 1996, California), who can be described as an Avant-garde, Jewish-Disabled-Poet? As if simply to be a poet was not marginalized enough.

Like me, you could have first encountered Eigner in Donald Allen’s 1960 anthology, The New American Poetry where his ties to Black Mountain, Master Charles Olson, fellow offspring Robert Duncan, and Robert Creeley were made plain.

And you could have found him under another label in Jerome Rothenberg & Harris Lenowitz’s, A Big Jewish Book: Poems & Other Visions of the Jews from Tribal Times to the Present (1978).

Or you might consult Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability, edited by Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black & Michael Northen (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011), in which Eigner is treated as a heroic pioneer. Eigner was palsied from a botched forceps delivery and spent most of his life looking out from the windows or front porch of his home in Swampscott, Massachusetts or later in Berkeley. We’ll know more when Bartlett, a youngish poet who herself has palsy, completes her biography of Eigner. (Do not confuse her with the more well known artist-printmaker of the same name.)

Many of Eigner’s poems are short and untitled.

Those birds and clouds and snow seem to have been prescribed by Charles Olson when he wrote in “Projective Verse” that in a poem, “ONE PERCEPTION MUST IMMEDIATELY AND DIRECTLY LEAD TO A FURTHER PERCEPTION.” (Olson credits this maxim to his own master Edward Dahlberg [Bottom Dogs, Do These Bones Live], the multi-hyphenate one-eyed expatriate Jewish autobiographer-novelist-orphaned-Kansas Citian.) Considering Eigner’s view of nature, one reviewer wrote that regardless of his disability, “Eigner’s world is so pleasant, one sometimes feels envious.”

For a deeper immersion in Eigner’s universe, you could scour used book stores for one of his many books from small presses or find a library where you can leaf through the 3,000 poems in his four volume, Collected Poems (2010, Stanford University Press) printed in the 8½” x 11” format that Eigner used for his two-fingered typescripts. (His typewriter was a Bar Mitzvah present.)

Toward Solomon’s Mountain: The Experience of Disability in Poetry (1986) edited by Joseph Baird and Deborah Workman, is one of the few predecessors of Beauty is a Verb. The title is taken from Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet-mystic-scholar whose work is revered by many of all faiths. According to the Koran, Solomon was able to speak to the birds.

What would Larry Eigner think of the labels he’s been given - avant-gardist, poet of disability, Jew? “Intersectionality” needs to be reimagined to allow more positive and ungendered connotations. “Multi-hyphenate” needs to be rescued from Hollywood. Whatever label from his wheelchair, he could speak the language of the birds.

Elaine Brooks, Judy Kirschner & Elaine Weiss


Leviticus 19:14 - “You shall not insult the deaf or place a stumbling block before the blind”

Our Congregation has obeyed. We recently prioritized spending to make our Temple a home for people with disabilities. A more comfortable physical space for prayer, contemplation, learning, and involvement in all activities are underscored by both the installation of the elevator and changes in our Sanctuary.

We have enjoyed the benefits of these decisions in every way. Disabled members of the Congregation are now engaging more comfortably in active roles and lead many of our groups. Their rich contributions are always appreciated. A Brotherhood Member who was disabled by the long-range effects of juvenile diabetes was able to become the beloved President of Brotherhood for life, as a result of our Synagogue being proactive in meeting everyone’s needs.

Many individuals in our Congregation support fund raising efforts to fight serious life threatening diseases. The entire Congregation prayed for a young girl who suffered from Familial Dysautonomia (complex set of conditions caused by a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system). We were filled with joy as she grew into a wonderful young lady.

After one of our Temple Leaders developed Multiple Sclerosis, the former Temple Israel started a team to participate in the M.S. Walk. At that time, the M.S. Walk started at the Plaza in front of the Twin Towers. As the years passed, Team Tikvah was formed. Our Congregation continues to support our Temple Members who suffer from M.S.

Members of the Congregation support other walks. Walks are more than fundraisers. They give people with disabilities a feeling of loving care from family, friends, and the full Congregation.

Social Action has supported organizations that assist special needs students and will continue to do so. Let us know about such organizations. Please continue to support the Book Fairies in their work with children who suffer from the educational effects of poverty.

These mitzvot pull us together! We will continue to expand these activities. We propose standing with the RAC’s Policy on Disabilities as a Social Action priority.


february 2019 Calendar



Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.