Tu B'shevat Tu B'Shevat or the "New Year of the Trees" is Jewish Arbor Day. The holiday is observed on the 15th (tu) of the Hebrew month of Shvat. Scholars believe that originally Tu Bishvat was an agricultural festival, marking the emergence of spring.

*Click on the Link & move the cursor over each Service or Event for more information, including time(s)

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

Jay Beber - Cover Design & Consultant

Custodial Staff: Tony Allen, Julio Granados, and Carlos Silva

Photograph Credits: Hillel Fox, Michele Gold, Sharon Kahn, Meryl Root, and Rabbi Sheinberg

Rabbi Randy Sheinberg

Have You Ever Looked Into the Eyes of a Newt?

On my recent trip to Southern California, I had the opportunity to visit the Annenberg Center for Photography to see the exhibit, The Photo Ark. The project is the work of Joel Sartore, an award-winning National Geographic photographer and conservationist. Having worked for National Geographic for several decades and traveled the globe, Sartore has a deep appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the natural world. In this project, he has undertaken the task of making studio-style portraits of every living species of any size under human care whether in sanctuaries, zoos, or reserves. By photographing his subject against a stark black or white backdrop, Sartore enables viewers to see each creature in close-up detail - every feather, hair, and claw is in sharp focus.

A small sample of the portraits of the 8,000 species Sartore has captured so far is on display at the exhibit. Looking eye to eye at these creatures is an amazing, wondrous thing. You see their beauty - their unique character, colors, and expressions. You can’t help but notice the things that you have in common with them – a claw that looks a lot like a hand, a wisp of hair, a look of curiosity, a frown. You can’t help but have your heart stirred by them all.

This month we celebrate the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat. This holiday, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, was instituted in the Talmud. During the time of the Second Temple, Tu B’Shevat was important, because it marked the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing. Each tree was considered to have aged one year as of Tu B’Shevat and a portion of the fruit from trees that were four years old or older had to be given to the priests as an offering annually.

In the centuries since Talmudic times, Tu B’Shevat has taken on new meanings. In particular, ever since the first Earth Day took place in 1970, Jewish environmentalists have made Tu B’Shevat into a Jewish Earth Day, a day to dwell on the current state of the global environment and to examine how our own actions affect the physical world.

By now it is no secret that humanity’s relationship with the natural world is strained and precarious. As I write these words in late November, the US Global Change Research Program has released its Fourth National Climate Assessment. And as you no doubt know by now, the news is not good. According to the report, the average global temperature is much higher and rising more rapidly than anything modern civilization has experienced. The anticipated results of this temperature rise are: more severe storms, floods, and fires destroying habitats for many land and sea animals; disruptions and shortages of food for us; and much more. This is staggering and hard to grasp.

Judaism has a lot to say about our responsibility to our natural world. It teaches that if the Messiah comes when we are in the midst of planting a tree, we should finish planting the tree before greeting him. It teaches that the divine inhabits every creature and every blade of grass and thus we should not pluck even the smallest leaf from a tree without an express purpose for doing so. It teaches that we are connected to all life on this planet - that the air we breathe is shared by all life, one neshamah (“breath” and also “soul”) that comes from God. It teaches that we were given mastery over the other animals so that we could tend to them and care for them.

What a responsibility it is to be the Earth’s steward! At a time when the scientists are sounding the alarm and warning of dire consequences if we do not radically change our ways, it can feel overwhelming, even hopeless. The temptation is great to look the other way, to let apathy and inertia overtake us.

This Tu B’Shevat, I am renewing my commitment to stay awake and to take responsibility. I am keeping the faces of those creatures on the Photo Ark in front of me. I vow to act out of compassion and love for all God’s creatures and for holiness itself. I hope you will join me.

Cantor Guy Bonné


In my previous article I provided a few details about the Jews of England. They arrived in approximately 1070, welcomed by William the Conqueror, but were expelled in 1290 by King Edward I. After the expulsion, just a few selected Jewish converts were allowed back in England, however the story of Rodrigo Lopez, physician to Queen Elizabeth I is an exception that proves the rule of the ongoing anti-Semitism. In 1594, Lopez was accused of conspiring to poison the Queen. He was convicted of high treason and hanged, drawn, and quartered. He claimed his innocence until his last breath.

Yet just 63 years after Lopez’s trial a remarkable man, Menasseh Ben Israel (1604 – 1657) changed history. Due to his spirited initiation, great timing, his wit and his wisdom, combined with Messianic impulse - Ben Israel got the English Parliament to welcome back the Jews so they would be given government protection.

After his family moved to Amsterdam, escaping the inquisition at Maderia Island, Portugal where he was born, Ben Israel established the first Hebrew Press in the Netherlands. He was already known as a prodigy in science, languages, and rhetorical talent. At the age of 18, Ben Israel became the Rabbi of the Congregation Neve Shalom. One of his students was the philosopher Baruch Spinoza. His press allowed him to print his own compositions, but also to connect with other intellectuals. The Dutch painter, Rembrandt drew his portrait.

The event that changed Jewish European history was Ben Israel’s meeting with Antonio de Montezinos, a Portuguese Jewish traveler. De Montezinos introduced Ben Israel to an astounding idea. He claimed that the South American Indians he met were the descendants of the tribe of Reuben, one of ten lost tribes expelled from the Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C by the Assyrians. De Montesinos apparently witnessed them reciting the “Shema Blessing.”

So at the age of 44, Ben Israel engaged in his life’s mission. He sat and wrote the book, The Hope of Israel aimed to be read by the English Protestant Church, who were vastly engaged at the time in Old Testament studies and investigating Hebrew interpretations and culture. Ben Israel wanted the church to convince the English Parliament to allow the Jews to resettle in England. His book paralleled the Church’s beliefs at that time, that if all the Jews in the world would become Christians, Jesus would resurrect for the second time bringing salvation to the world. The coming of the Messiah was dated to the year 1666, but Ben Israel argued that the Jews must first settle everywhere around the globe before the arrival of the Messiah. He quoted Deuteronomy 28/64: “Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other…”

Oliver Cromwell, an English military and political leader, and the head of state and government was sympathetic with Ben Israel’s aspirations (mainly since he understood the benefit of Jewish commerce to England.) Cromwell summoned the Whitehall Conference to discuss the issue. Though the conference decided not to grant Jews the permission to return to England, a thing that devastated Ben Israel (who died in 1657), 7 years later in 1664 the decision was rescinded and the Jews were granted permission to settle back with full protection.

The Jewish Home Magazine


President's Message:

Shari Rotstein - Our Role as Caretakers

Now that the weather is getting colder and colder and winter is definitely upon us, I can't help thinking of the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray and the promise of spring. I am not a fan of the cold and I am already looking forward to the warmer weather and seeing the greener scenery.

This month we will be celebrating the holiday Tu B'Shevat, also known as the "birthday of the trees" which has developed into an ecological holiday that reminds Jews of our connection to the earth and to our role as caretakers of the environment. We have a sacred obligation to care for God’s world, and the responsibility to share the fruits of God’s earth with all. Above all, the Torah itself is seen as a “tree of life,” a growing and abundant source of spiritual sustenance to a great people.

However, how can we possibly continue to do that if our spiritual world becomes endangered? For most of our existence we have been victims of anti-Semitism, annihilation, and endangerment. How can we be a source of spiritual sustenance, when we ourselves may feel uncomfortable or even scared to pray in our Synagogues?

Here's why I'm asking...I am painfully reminded of last month's tragedy that took place in a Pittsburgh Synagogue called, Tree of Life Synagogue. That day one lone gunman stormed into the Synagogue on a Saturday morning during Worship Services and interrupted a life cycle event, then shot and killed 11 innocent people who were praying, worshiping, and participating in congregational/community events.

Coincidentally, when I first heard what had happened, all three of my children were in our Synagogue that day, all three of them!!!

As you can surely imagine, my mind definitely wandered a bit (as well as my blood pressure) however, upon hearing that the doors to our Synagogue were locked, I felt much more at ease.

God willing, tragedy will never be a part of our Synagogue’s Community. It is very disconcerting that tragedy of that nature would be part of any Synagogue, School, Mosque, Temple, etc. Yet unfortunately, that is just what happened.

We can't let that happen to us - we need to be vigilant in our Synagogue! Especially when it comes to the safety of our children, our teachers, our wonderful clergy, and to ourselves.

That might entail extra volunteer participation from our Congregants to stand near the outside doors during Services or allocating some extra funds to ensure that more security measures are in place, such as: new cameras in certain places, doors that close properly, a panic button, and/or perhaps continuing to higher the security guards who have been working with us at our big events and who have made all of us feel much more relaxed since that tragic day, and in the days and weeks that followed.

I myself, can promise you that when you see me during silent prayer with my eyes closed and my mouth moving slightly, that I am praying for all of us and for the safety of our Congregation and our Synagogue.


Baruch habah!

by Sandy Peskin

The Board of Trustees and the Membership Committee were pleased to welcome the following new members and their families to Temple Tikvah during 2018. We are so glad that Lila and Stephen Redlich and Justin Wax Jacob have rejoined us and that so many members of the former Temple Sholom of Queens have chosen to join Temple Tikvah. Our Temple offers many activities in addition to Services, and we encourage all of our members to participate. The latest activity updates are available on Temple Tikvah’s website, on Facebook, and in our weekly email updates. If you are not receiving emails from the Temple, please contact the Temple Office to verify your current email address.

New Members of Temple Tikvah in 2018

• Deborah Abramowitz • Jennifer and sons, Luca & Owen • Harriet Bleichfeld • Casey & Jason DeZorett and sons, Alexander & Brandan • Hermine Elias • Barbara & Fred Fleisher • Jerome Furst • Doreen & Steven Geller and daughter, Emily • Marilyn (Mickey) Gilsen • Christine Viola Golbig & Frank Golbig and sons, Benjamin & Matthew • Barbara & Stephen Goldberg • Muriel Gorochow • Dacia Horowitz • Justin Wax Jacob • Hanna & Abe Kormas • Selma & Murray Leff • Rochelle Lilien • Ruth Loomis & Michael Greene and sons, Nathaniel & Matthew • Julie Steiner-O’Donnell & Andrew O’Donnell and daughter, Hope • Carla & Orlando Osuna • Harriet Peaceman • Esther & Robert Printz • Michele Pruskin & Dennis Baltuch • Mark Rand • Lila & Stephen Redlich • Barbara Rosenthal • Pamela (Pam) & Gerson Sabel • Junko & Gary Savage • Joan Schuster • Barbara Sher • Jill & Stuart Silverman and children, Zachary, Madilyn, & Ethan • Shirley Snyder • Beth & Barry Strobel and sons, Justin & Zachary • Roni & Paul Trolio • Judy & Stuart Weinstock • Julie Weisser and son, Aaron • Gertrude Wolf • Linda & Jack Zaffos • Sydell & Jerome Zelanko

Religious School

Sharon Fricano - Education Director

Happy New Year!

December was a busy month. We found many ways to celebrate Hanukkah with our youth, from creating beaded mezuzot and a Hanukkah Drumming Program to an Iron Chef Latke Competition and a special Hanukkah Havdalah Service. We also joined together as a school to sing, light the menorah, and dine together. Thank you to the Brotherhood for providing latkes for our school and congratulations to the Fifth Grade on leading us in prayer and services!

In January we celebrate Tu B'Shevat: the Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, celebrated as an ecological awareness day in which trees are planted. Our students will participate in activities on January 13th about Tu B'Shevat while their parents meet with their teachers for Parent Teacher Conferences.

January 13th - Tu B’Shevat Activities & Parent/Teacher Conferences

Congratulations to the Blechner Family on Hunter who will become a Bar Mitzvah on January 19th 2019!

January 20 (Martin Luther King Weekend) – Religious School is Closed

Upcoming Events in February:

February 3rd - Lloyd Bacharach Scholar in Residence Program coinciding with Jewish Disabilities Month • February 8th - Fourth Grade Service • February 9th - Melanie Rakitovan becomes a Bat Mitzvah • February 10th - Fourth/Fifth Grades visit to Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation (271-11 76th Avenue - New Hyde Park, NY 11040 at Long Island Jewish Hospital. 718-289-2100) • February 17th to 24th – Religious School is Closed for Winter Recess • February 23rd - Jake Levitan becomes a Bar Mitzvah

Nuccia Hernan - Early Childhood

A New Calendar Year Begins

January is the start of the new calendar year and the promise of snowy days as the winter season is now upon us.

We hope that you will join us for our first 2019 Early Childhood Event on January 12th at 10:15 a.m. The program will begin with our Tot Shabbat Service at 10:15 a.m. as the children join Cantor Bonné in song and help Rabbi Sheinberg name the characters in one of her great stories. This is followed by blessings and a Shabbat snack. The craft will be about Tu B'Shevat or the "New Year of the Trees", also known as Jewish Arbor Day. This holiday is observed on the 15th (Tu) of the Hebrew month of Shevat. Scholars believe that originally Tu B'Shevat was an agricultural festival, marking the emergence of spring. This will followed by a PJ Library Story.

There will be no Friday Night Tot Shabbat Services during the months of January and February. We will resume the Friday Night Tot Shabbat Program on March 29th 2019.

As always, we are looking forward to seeing all of our Tot Shabbat families and friends as we begin the new calendar year.


*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

I hope everyone enjoyed celebrating Hanukkah and all the wonderful events we had at Temple Tikvah during the month of December.

• January 12th - Family Havdalah Event January 26th - Havdalah Teen Event

On Tu B’Shevat we will be reminding our students to reach and strive upward, the way our trees grow; that our trees give generously of their fruit, as we too should be generous; and that trees are sustained by their roots and we should feel connected to and draw from our 'roots' as well.

I hope you and your families will try to attend these exciting events.

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


Bar Mitzvah - Saturday, January 19th 2019

Hi, my name is Hunter Blechner and I am becoming a Bar Mitzvah on January 19th 2019. I live with my mom, my dad, and my sister. We live in Mineola. I go to Willets Road School. I am in the Robotics Club, the Yearbook Club and the Audio Visual Club. I love computers and I love to play video games. I also love the New York Mets!

I am super excited about my Bar Mitzvah. I have enjoyed studying with the Cantor and planning with the Rabbi. Tikva has been my tutor. She was very helpful to me. At first I struggled to find a Mitzvah Project, then one day I saw a commercial for St. Judes and I realized how lucky I am, and just because I have a great life that does not mean that everyone else does. I would like for that to change. I want everyone's life to be as great as other people's.

The mission of St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of its founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.

If you would like to help, you can donate to Hunter’s Helping Hands here: http://events.stjude.org/Hunterb. Thank you and hope to see you at my Bar Mitzvah!


President: Marc Gold

Spiritual Sustenance

Tu B'Shevat is a time when we remember our obligation to care for the world and share the fruits of God’s earth. Our Torah is a “tree of life”, our source of spiritual sustenance. Brotherhood recently presented the Wolf Family with a memorial plaque in memory of our beloved past president, Barry Wolf. His legacy lives on through his family of course, as well as through our Temple Family, in particular - Brotherhood. Brotherhood serves as spiritual sustenance for many men in our Temple Tikvah Congregation.

As we begin the secular New Year, Brotherhood is preparing for its next event. Each year on Super Bowl Sunday, hours before the actual kickoff, Brotherhood sponsors a Defensive Driving Course in Temple. This year, that will be Sunday, February 3rd at 12:30 p.m. If you would like to save money on your car insurance or get rid of some points on your license, please join us. The cost is $45 for Temple Members and $50 for Non-Temple Members. Please RSVP to Brotherhood if interested. Be aware our class always fills up quickly so don’t delay.

Happy New Year!

Men At Work


Sponsored by The Brotherhood of Temple Tikvah

When: Sunday, February 3rd from 12:30 – 6:30 P.M.

Snow Date: Sunday, February 10th from 12:15 – 6:15 P.M.

Where: Temple Tikvah - 3315 Hillside Avenue - New Hyde Park, NY 11040

• Receive a 10% reduction on collision and liability from your auto insurance premium.

• You can be eligible to reduce as many as 4 points off of your New York Driving record.

• Refresh your driving knowledge.

• Get additional discounts if additional family members also take the course.

Good for 3 years

Cost: Temple Members $45.00 - Non Members $50.00

Refreshments will be served.

Any questions? Contact Marc Gold at 516.746.1120 or brotherhood@templetikvah.org

RSVP by February 1st 2019

Please make checks payable to: Brotherhood of Temple Tikvah

Mail to: Temple Tikvah - Attention: Brotherhood (Defensive Driving) 3315 Hillside Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11040


Co-Presidents: Terry Cutler & Terry Lepzelter

Our Commitment

January brings the lull of winter and we hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and a great start to the New Year. It also brings us Tu B’Shevat, a time to remember our sacred obligation to care for the world and especially those that need our help. If the Torah is the tree of life, we must live by one of its fundamental teachings, treat the stranger as you treat yourself. This is especially true, because we are so fortunate to have warm homes and plenty to eat. If we can welcome a stranger and embrace our differences, we can better share our many similarities. In this constantly changing world, Sisterhood works to bring tikkun olum to the world. We wish for peace and freedom for all people. That is why we help Temple Tikvah reach its goals by fundraising and supporting Temple whenever and wherever we can.

On that note, thank you to all our great shoppers who found wonderful gifts at our Hanukkah Boutique on November 18th. We want to especially thank Michele Gold and all our volunteers for their hard work in stocking our boutique with so many lovely items!

Even in the heart of winter we can feel warm and inviting at Temple Tikvah. We hope you will reserve your seat for Saturday, January 26th - Comedy Tonight. Back by popular demand, it promises to be lots of fun! Try your luck by buying raffles for a fantastic grand prize. Bring friends and have a great time. We are counting on you to make this event super successful!

Looking ahead to February and March we are already working on our Annual Mishloach Manot Project. Look for details to participate in the satisfaction of giving to friends and family. You can even consider being a Temple Sponsor so that your wishes for a Happy Purim can reach all our members. Your support directly helps us support Temple.

Keep warm and we hope see you soon!!


Meryl Root

Lunch & Learn:

We welcome new Congregant (from Temple Sholom) and poet, Jack Zaffos for the first 2019 Lunch & Learn! Jack has been creating poetry since he was 18 years old. He retired from Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, where he was a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Intensive Case Manager. Jack is the author of Meditations of the Heart and Songlines in the Wilderness. He writes both nature and spiritual poetry. Several of his poems are based on Jewish Liturgy, as well as the Hebrew Bible.

Jack is planning to immerse us in Contemplative Poetry on Saturday, January 5th. He will begin with a guided meditation. Jack will then introduce us to spiritual poetry, poems of paradigm change and radical amazement, as well as liturgical, holiday, and social action poetry. After listening to some poems and discussing them, we will all have a chance to try our hands at writing our own poems from a series of prompts.

Lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 5th - $10 for members & $15 for non-members. The Program will begin at noon. Please RSVP by Wednesday, January 2nd to lifelonglearning@templetikvah.org so that we can plan accordingly. We look forward to seeing you there!

Prior to Lunch & Learn, our Clergy will lead us a Learners’ Service at 10:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary. The Learners’ Service offers a chance for each of us to stop and ask questions about how and why the Service works the way it does at many points during the Service.

Torah Study:

*Friday Night Torah Study with Cantor Guy Bonné will meet on January 4th and January 18th 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 beginning of Parshat Shemot or the Book of Exodus, which began on the last Shabbat of December. Join us as we continue our journey into 2019. We will read anew 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.

Up next:

February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month and we will be having a program lead by Lloyd Bachrach - Scholar in Residence on Saturday, February 2nd.


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.

Born with a severe disability, Lloyd faced huge uphill battles his entire life. He turned his challenge into strength, first by excelling in a variety of sports, and then by taking his confidence and sharing insights with others to seek a positive message and life strategy.

His inspiring message is appropriate for people of all ages and reinforces how we are all created in B’tzelem Elohim - God’s image, and therefore must treat one another with love and respect.

There will be programming for children and adults throughout the weekend.

Program details will be sent out soon.

Jewish Disability Awareness Month, universally recognized by the Jewish community in February, is a unified initiative to raise awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion of people with disabilities and their families in Jewish communities worldwide.


Barbara Siberman

Football...TEMPLE...The Super Bowl


Now that the game is getting closer, make sure that you have picked your box in our Super Bowl Pool. Each box is $20 and 50% will go to Temple! Mandi, our Temple’s Administrator will have the sheet in the Temple Office during the week and I will be at Friday Night Services, as well as Sunday morning pick up at Religious School.

Ask family and friends if they want to join us. You can pick their box, as it is random. Your odds are better than winning the lottery!

Prizes: $125 for the score at the end of the first quarter

$250 for the score at the half

$125 for the score at the end of the third quarter

$500 for the final score

How to play:

Select a box. After the teams are known, their names will be added to the grid. At random, numbers from 0 to 9 will be assigned to the boxes.

To win, you need to match the digit column for each team to your square. For example, if the score is 10 to 3 then you would use the numbers 0 and 3. If the score is 21 to 14, you would use the numbers 1 and 4. You must match these to your numbers for each team, National Football Conference and American Football Conference.

The completed grid will be scanned and emailed to you before the game so you can see if you are winning. If not, you can watch to see who is winning with each change of score and who the 4 winners are. Buy one box…buy more than one…buy one for each of your children or grandchildren! Maybe their lucky names will be in a lucky box!!

As in the lottery, “You have to be in it to win it.”

Good Luck To All!



Click on the link below to see music videos by the group everyone is talking about!

Caring Community

Sharon Kahn & Helene Schonhaut

There is hope for a tree; If it is cut down it will renew itself; Its shoots will not cease/Job14:7-9

The wind and the smell of smoke woke us. We stumbled out of bed and joined our neighbors in the cul-de-sac to stare at the raw, red glow lighting up the hills behind our houses. Forty miles per hour gusts of wind fanned the flames, like billows blowing into a cosmic furnace.

We grabbed family photos, medications, important papers, and inexplicably, gym clothes. Emmy, our German Shepherd mix knew something was up and never left our side. We made it out; the fire stopped about a mile short of our neighborhood.

Others were not so lucky. The ravaging beast we saw approaching, the Tubbs Fire proved the most destructive wildfire in California history, part of a barrage of four fires in our area since last October. The Tubbs Fire alone killed 22 people including Marnie Schwartz, a past president of our congregation, homes, businesses, schools – 5,643 structures were destroyed, along with almost 40,000 acres of parkland, forest, and wilderness.

We first evacuated to the synagogue, opening it up to anyone else fleeing the flames. Having served as Congregation Shomrei Torah’s Rabbi since 1996, I have loved Santa Rosa and the natural beauty of “the wine country” from the start. My wife, Laura and I bought a home, raised our kids, and helped grow the congregation which built its first synagogue just over a decade ago. From there, we watched in shock as the fire gobbled up more and more of the city. In the morning, all we could see were clouds of black smoke.

At first I was in shock, immobilized, and unable to do more than manage what was right in front of me. As time passed, shock morphed into mourning for those lost to the flames, for the 32 families in our community that lost their homes, for our pre-fire sense of safety and for the landscape – parks, fields, hills, mountains, trees – that makes Sonoma County such a beautiful place to live.

For 22 years, barely a week has gone by when I haven’t spent time in the wilderness around my house. An avid birder and animal tracker, I have developed an intimate relationship with the flora and fauna around me. Now, where once there was green, the ridgeline is black and brown. Lower down the underbrush is gone, but the trees for the most part, though singed are still there. I mourn the devastation I can see and worry about the red-shouldered hawk that hunts in the grassy meadow near my house, and the colonies of acorn woodpeckers that constantly battled over their acorn granaries.

They too have lost their homes.

The Kabbalists of 16th-century Safed in Israel imagined the s’firot, the emanations of Divinity that animate our reality, as a cosmic tree with its roots in the heavens and its branches on earth. Trees play an essential role in Jewish life, beginning with the description of the Torah as Etz Chayim, the Tree of Life.

Tu B’Shevat (the fifteenth of the Hebrew month of Shevat) our New Year of the Trees, begins this January 30th at sundown. The holiday dates back at least 2,000 years, to when the upkeep and support for the Second Temple in Jerusalem depended on tithing; its name reminds us of the date that the tithing of the first fruits of the trees was calculated. In Hebrew, the number 15 is represented by the letter yud for 10 and the letter hey for 5, but yud and hey together spell one of God’s names, Yah which we are not supposed to speak except in prayer. In other words, the name of God is hidden in Tu B’Shevat.

It has been difficult to see God in the fire. So much was lost, but the devastation left behind does not tell the whole story. Here in California, wildfires are a familiar part of the natural cycle of life, death, and renewal; while some life is destroyed, new life emerges. The rains finally arrived as the fires ended and soon after, little green shoots began to appear from the scorched earth. Even my friend’s olive orchard, burned badly by the same fire that took his home is showing new growth. Those trees that don’t revive will fold back into the earth and nourish the soil around them.

They say it will be a decade before we fully recover from the fire. Hope is sometimes hard to find and we need patience. Yet, amongst the trees, even those badly damaged by the flames, new life and the hope they embody are beginning to emerge. Life is returning.

Baruch atah, Adonai, m’chayeih hameitim...Blessed is the Ground of All Being, who revives the dead.


At this time as we read Rabbi Gittleman's article it is so sad that several more areas in California are now suffering. OUR NEW YEAR OF THE TREES begins at sundown on January 20th 2019 and we pray that the recovery will take less than a decade before the land recovers and that Californians will not know from such devastation again.




Stuart & Judith Weinstock


Michele & Marc Gold in appreciation of a very special evening with Guy Bonné at the Piano Bar • Arlene Sheff in honor of Elaine Farber’s Birthday • Charles Hyman in honor of Elaine Farber’s Birthday • Neela & Ken Weber in memory of Barry Wolf


Nancy & Bob Kiss in memory of Dorothy Selcov • Sue Hurwitz in memory of Dorothy Selcov


Barbara Silberman in memory of David Trager


Temple Beth Shalom in memory of Ilene Roth • Robin & Robert Jacobson in appreciation of Rabbi SheinbergEdythe Fastow in honor of Elaine Farber’s Birthday • Neela & Ken Weber in memory of Ilene Roth • Sandra Lichtenstein in honor of Rabbi Sheinberg & Marty Cohen upon the birth of their Granddaughter, Isadora Lilyann Cohen-Orren • Sharon Adler in honor of Rabbi Sheinberg & Marty Cohen upon the birth of their Granddaughter, Isadora Lilyann Cohen-Orren


Stuart & Judith Weinstock


Muriel Adler in memory of Phil Hersh • Carolyn Alexander in memory of Florence Alexander • Dr. Ellen S. Aronoff in memory of Dr. Jeri A. Sechzer • Helen & Robert Bader in memory of Leslie Bader and Henry Wexler • Susan Berman in memory of Sion Cohen • Lorraine & Lester Bertan in memory of Celia Bertan • Betsy Jacobs Bivano in memory of Mildred Noll, Hilde Silver, Kenneth Silva, and Ilene Roth • Silvia & Arnold Bloch in memory of Florence Bloch, Marion Schiebel, and Dorothy Selcov • Bernice Bloch in memory of Judson Schiebel, Florence Bloch, and Marion Schiebel • Brotherhood of Temple in memory of David Trager, and Dorothy Selcov • Arline & Jack Cazes in memory of Erich Herz • Lynn & Roy Cohen in memory of Gloria Miller • Talia & Michael Cohen in memory of Loretta and George Cohen • Gayle & Joel Feinstein in memory Charles Feinstein and Mary Malkin • Vivian Floch in memory of Ruth and Walter Floch • Nancy Foster in memory of Dr. Milton and Anne Foster • Susan & Martin Fox in memory of Jack Gelman • Yury Gabay in memory of Henry Gabay • Ruth Gelb in memory of Myron Gelb and Alvin Luebeck • Michele & Marc Gold in memory of Wilma Cohen, Louis and Sarah Lasker, Ann Pauline Gold, Evelyn Gold, and Gilbert Gold • Barbara & Stephen Goldberg in memory of Rose Goldberg and Anne Muchik • Bonnie Goldschlag in memory of Ilene Roth • Susan & Marty Goldschmidt in memory of Herbert Goldschmidt • Sebastiana & Dean Hernan in memory of Ruth Hernan and David Rosenstroch • Gail & Steve Hollander in memory of Abraham Roth, Richard Roth, and Evelyn Steinberg • Lois and Richard Howard in memory of Sheldon Feitell, Robert Howard, and Melanie Weintraub • Robin & Robert Jacobson in memory of Pearl Sanoff • Andrea & Doug King in memory of Maribeth Denson, Isabelle Barach, and Story Mutzek • Deborah & Lawrence Klig in memory of Yehuda Klig • Evelyn Koestenblatt in memory of Evelyn and Harry Sickerman • Patrice Kolomer in memory of Evelyn Lipchonsky • Laurence Lande in memory of Ilene Roth • Elaine Lasner & Family in memory of Leonard Lasner • Judy & Sol Lefkowitz in memory George Silverman • The Lepzelter Family in memory of Jerome Lepzelter, and Dolores and Robert Schonfeld • Steven B. Levine in memory of Frances and Joseph Levine • Marilyn & Andrew Mandell in memory of Samuel Mandell • Joyce & Rabbi Ronald Millstein in memory of Abraham Bruckner and Molloy Solzberg • Lynn Moser in memory of David Trager • Joanne & Marty Neff in memory of Emma Moliver Nestel, Dr. Martin Moliver, and Ilene Roth • Roni Nelson in memory of John Nelson • Ilene Newman & Family in memory of Elsa and Erwin Singer and Lillian Newman • Gigi & Michael Newman in memory of Carmen Gutierrez • Karka & Orlando Osuna in memory of Shirley Brooks • Harriet Peaceman in memory of Clara Klein •Sandy & David Peskin in memory of Pearl Cohen, Lawrence Hershon, Ilene Roth, and David Trager • Sue Plastrik in memory of of Harvey Plastnik • Phyllis Richard in memory of Hyman Glick and Sam and Sadie Soloshatz • Barbara & Milton Rosenberg in memory of Rose Rosenberg • Barbara Rosenthal in memory of David Trager • Robin Savitt & Toby Kemelor in memory of Dr. Robert Haver • Helene & Edward Schachter in memory of Michele Levine, David Trager, Estelle Rothman, Ilene Roth, and Barry Wolf • Barbara, Ron, Melissa, & Justin Schreiber in memory of Ilene Roth and David Trager • Dorothy Selcov in memory of Max Marx • Doris & Irving Silberman in memory of Carl Goodman and Augusta Silberman • Felice Tarter in memory of Rhea Tarter and Ilene Roth • Roslyn &Burton Tropp in memory of Sol Tropp • Albert Zavadoff in memory of Shirley Zavadoff • Gayle & Howard Zeidman in memory of Robert Mindin


Stuart & Judith Weinstock • Bruce E. Ritter • Ruth Perlman in honor of Elaine Farber's Birthday • Phyllis Richards in honor of Rabbi Sheinberg & Marty Cohen upon the birth of their Granddaughter, Isadora Lilyann Cohen-Orren


Sisterhood in honor of Lenore & Barry Stein and Judy & Joe Kirschner's 50th Anniversaries


Selma Goldberg in memory of David Trager

A Note of Gratitude

To my Temple Tikvah Family - Everyone’s visits and kindness will always be remembered. The minyans were very comforting to me. I appreciate the outpouring of love, Roberta Trager


Andrea & Marc Comerchero • Marlene Gussin • Deb & Herb Hochrad in honor of the Krashnik Society • Phyllis & Joe Horne • Susan Louis • Susan & Kent Moston • Sandy & David Peskin • Helaine & Edward Schachter • Barbara Silberman


Deborah Abramowitz • Muriel Adler • Sharon Adler • Richard & Ann Arkin • Robert & Helen Bader • Dennis & Pruskin Baltuch • Jay & Lynn Beber • George & Jeanie Berger • Stephen & Maureen Berman • Susan Berman • Lester & Lorraine Bertan • Joseph & Cynthia Bettelheim • Sharon Goldberg Bibergal • Betsy Jacobs Biviano • Myles & Jennifer Blechner • Arnold & Sylvia Bloch • Bernice Bloch • Henry Bloch • Martin & Sheila Bokser • Farhad & Dashtipour Bolandakhtari • Elaine & Kolios Brooks • Brotherhood of Temple Tikvah • Jack & Arline Cazes • Tony & Tracy Chirel • Dr. Marty & Sheinberg Cohen • Lewis & Sheryl Cohen • Marc & Andrea Comerchero • Beth Curcio • Michael & Terry Cutler • Mark & Mindy Daniels • Arthur & Jody Diamond • Jozsef & Lori Domeny • William & Saralyn Duchan • Hermine Elias • Nancy Eschemuller • Elaine Farber • Edythe Fastow • Joel & Gayle Feinstein • Sonia Fink • Merle Fishkin •Fred & Barbara Fleisher • Vivian Floch •Alan B. Fogelman & Susan Feinblatt • Martin & Susan Fox • Frances Fredrick • Ruth Friedlander • Mitchell & Judy Friedman • Ruth Gelb • Steven M. & Doreen Geller • Judith Gilbert • Marilyn Gilsen • Chester & Sheryl Gittleman • Libby Glowatz • Marc & Michele Gold • Vivien & Feder Goldbaum • Selma Goldberg • Stephen & Barbara Goldberg • Charles & Jeannette Golden • Martin & Susan Goldschmidt • Deborah Golob • Craig & Dorothy Gootman • Mark & Lori Gordon • Muriel Gorochow • Yvette Greiff • Bruce & Maria Gross • David Herz & Janet Stahl • Herb & Debra Hochrad • Roberta Hoffer • Charles & Ronni Hollander • Irene Horn • Joseph & Phyllis Horne • Dacia Horowitz • Richard & Lois Howard • Robert & Robin Jacobson • Edward & Carole Kaplan • Toby Kemlor & Robin Savitt • Douglas & Andrea King • Joseph & Judith Kirschner • Leslie Kizner • Lawrence Konstan & Gloria Ferreras- Konstan • Abe & Hanna Kormas • Joel & Rosaria Kramer • Rachel & Nicole Lavoie • Ira & Terry Lepzelter • Steven Levine • Sandra Lichtenstein • Rochelle Lilien • Lisa Selkin Lupo • Estelle Magidson • Andrew & Marilyn Gold- Mandell • Jerome & Marilyn Markowitz • Barbara & Joseph Massey • Michael & Gail Meisel • Joel & Joyce Mensoff • Lynn Moser • Kent & Sue Kane Moston • Lee Newman • Edward & Margery Orenstein • Karla & Orlando Osuna • Andrew Passariello • Devin & Annie Leitingberg Passariello • Harriet Peaceman • David & Sandra Peskin • Jamie Polish-Jones • Sandy Portnoy • Melissa Price • George & Susan Prinz • Rachel Raphael-Kupferberg • Richard M. & Phyllis M. Ravens • Stephen & Lila Redlich • Phyllis Richards • Milton & Barbara Rosenberg • Barbara Rosenthal • Rony & Shari Rotstein • Jaynie Rudick • Gerson & Pamela Sabel • Edward & Helaine Schachter • Burton & Susan Schall • Irwin & Susan Schneider • Charla Schnupp • Alene Schonhaut • Helene Schonhaut • Joan Schuster • Rosalyn Schwartz • Jack & June Schwarz • Ruth Selig • Arlene Sheff • Barbara Silberman • Stuart & Jill Silverman • Martin & Susan Siroka • Shirley Snyder • Barry & Janet Spool • Barry & Lenore Stein • Felice Tarter • Burton & Roslyn Tropp • Ken & Neela Weber • Amram & Carol Weiner • Howard & Elaine Weiss • Joan Wiene • Gertrude Wolf • Isaac & Carol Fenves-Yavetz • Jeffrey Young • Jack & Lustig-Zaffos • Howard & Gale Zeidman • Jerome & Sydell Zelanko • Stanley Zorn & Irene Heimrath Zorn • Anonymous Donor

Poetry and the Arts

Marty Cohen

Imagine that you are Amos Klausner; an 8-year-old boy in Jerusalem and your teacher, Zelda Schneurson (b. Ukraine, 1914; d. Jerusalem, 1984) is the frumpiest woman you have ever seen. She is bereft of makeup or pretense, looking older than her 36 years, yet endowed with the ability to make words dance and light up the room. You grow up to be Amos Oz, the best-selling Israeli novelist. She, though you do not know it yet, is on the road to becoming “Zelda,” a poet beloved by Orthodox, liberal (reform and other non-orthodox) and secular Israelis alike. On her mother’s side she was the descendant of an 11th century dynasty of Sephardic Rabbis; on her father’s side, she was of the Lubavitch Dynasty. Many Chabad Lubavitchers believe that Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994), her first cousin is Moshiach, the Messiah.

Marcia Falk (b. New York, 1946) spent over thirty years translating Zelda’s poetry and becoming her friend despite the difference in their respective ages, cultures, and doctrines. In addition to Hebrew and English texts, Falk’s The Spectacular Difference: Selected Poems of Zelda contains “Nature and Spirituality in Zelda’s Poetry,” an investigation of Zelda’s major themes. Several of Zelda’s poems are contained in Mishkan T’Filah and Mishkan Hanefesh. Several are also in Trees, Earth, and Torah: A Tu B’Shevat Anthology (ed. Elon, Hyman and Waskow, JPS, 2000).

"Sun-Startled Pines"

Sun-startled pines

wafted a wild fragrance -

the same stunning strength

from the inmost flowering

made the world my home again

but did not reveal the core,

the divine intention

in budding and wilting plants.

And the point of my life

and the point of my death -

I will not know in this world.

(from The Spectacular Difference: Selected Poems of Zelda, translated by Marcia Falk. Hebrew Union College Press, 2004)

Falk is one of the heroes of translation whose work is essential for us monoglots (people who speak only one language) with little or no Hebrew. Despite Falk’s best efforts, the deeper meanings of Zelda’s poetry can be elusive. Through their dialogue with the Bible, Talmud, Jewish mysticism, folklore, and world literature - Zelda’s poems blossom with allusions that even the most sympathetic translation would be stretched to convey. When Zelda writes of nature, she may seem to be observing the surface of things, but there is more. The life cycle of trees in “Sun-Startled Pines” leads to her confession that “in this world” she will never understand the meaning of her own life.

Some members of our Congregation have expressed unease at the number of nature poems in the new machzor (prayer book for the High Holy Days.) Some nature poems simply express gratitude. Others…like Zelda’s reflect the association of God with Nature, as demonstrated by Gematria (a Kabbalistic method for discovering hidden equivalences): the Hebrew letters of Elohim (God, Aleph/1 + Lamed/30 + Hay/5 + Yod/10 + Mem/40 = 86) and haTeva (Nature, Hay/5 + Tet/9 + Bet/2 + Ayin/70 = 86) share the same Gematria. To many mystics, God and Nature are one.

from "The Spectacular Difference"

A Growing

Jasmine Branch

Beauty detached itself

from the wilting of the plant,

fled from the decree

and did not return to dust

with the scattering, vanishing leaves.

Slowly it turned into an angel,

and forgot the wails of change.

Marcia Falk is herself a poet and artist (Inner East; The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayers for Daily Life, the Sabbath, and the New Moon Festival; The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season). If you must choose just one of her books, I would start with The Song of Songs: Love Lyrics from the Bible (Brandeis University Press, 2004), with illustrations by the master print-maker Barry Moser.

Elaine Brooks, Judy Kirschner & Elaine Weiss


Happy New Year to Everyone!

The Social Action Committee held a meeting on November 18th to discuss moving forward with our focus on immigration this year. After the Social Action Shabbat in October, when we spent an evening with the founders of Immigrant Families Together, and a Guatemalan Family they have been helping here in N.Y., we all felt inspired to find a meaningful way to contribute to this work as part of our participation in the Brit Olam Initiative and the Immigrant Justice Campaign of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Our next meeting will be on Sunday, January 27th at 10:30 a.m.

The theme of the Tikvah Times this month is Tu B’Shevat and the sacred obligation to care for our world. In our state, we now have the chance to pass significant legislation to protect the environment. As of this month, a Democratic majority is being seated in the NY State Senate. The New York State Climate and Community Protection Act, which has been passed in the State Assembly, will finally be brought to the floor of the senate for a vote. Among its provisions, it requires the state economy to be free of fossil fuels by 2050, with clear benchmarks along the way. It requires climate commitments that are enforceable and written in law. It is strong on climate justice and equitable use of resources.

Many states and municipalities are trying to ensure that the United States meets the commitments of the Paris Agreement, even as our country has withdrawn from the Agreement and the federal government continues to weaken existing environmental protections. We can help as New Yorkers by telling our representatives that we need them to pass strong legislation that will protect our environment for future generations. We can call them now and ask when the bill will come to the floor and how they plan to vote. If you are unsure who your state senator is, check out https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator.

On its website, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism has this statement: “The Reform Movement is committed to protecting the environment. From the pressing global crisis of climate change to advocacy on clean water and food justice, we are heirs to a tradition of stewardship and partnership in the ongoing work of Creation that goes back to Genesis.” This website is a good place to begin if you are looking for ways to act on environmental issues.

January 2019 Calendar


Sunday - January 20th


Monday – January 21st


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