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Rabbi Eva's November Letter & Shul Calendar

10/31/2017 02:29:14 PM





Dear Shul Family and Friends,


Autumn has arrived! Pumpkins line the sidewalk markets, colors are dotting the trees in Central Park, outerwear has replaced the light wear of summer and it’s time to nest.


This summer, I immersed myself in our Scandinavian adventure in hygge, the Danish concept of making life sweet and cozy. It is a practice to enhance our sense of well-being and comfort. As the daylight diminishes and the nights feel longer, this is a lovely time to mindfully practice relaxation as an antidote to the busy and hectic lives we live as New Yorkers. It seems to be a global phenomenon, as no one appears to be immune from the stresses that surround us.


We can learn from the Danes who embrace calm and happiness through their mindful and cozy lifestyle to take some time and offer ourselves and our loved ones a daily cup of TLC. Perhaps we find it in the surroundings we keep, our connection to the outdoors, a prayer before a mindfully prepared meal or lighting a candle to create a special ambiance. Time to find your hygge!


Our Jewish tradition also provides us with a spiritual toolbox to slow down and feel the presence of ‘being.’ One of the practices that enriches my daily life is mussar. Mussar” is the Jewish path of character development and spiritual growth leading to awareness, wisdom and transformation.” You can learn more on the website of The Mussar Institute.


At this stage in my life, I rely on tools to help guide me to a life of balance. One way I personally find balance in my daily life is to maintain a “gratitude notebook. I find moments to pause throughout the day to write something I feel grateful for. It is my way of recognizing the little things in life as well as the more monumental blessings. It is my way to remember that I am part of a wondrous life, and to acknowledge the blessings to help me get through the challenges.


Time to take a deep breath and bask in all the spiritual work of these past months. Beginning with the month of Elul and celebrating the High holidays, many of us had the pleasure of continuing our festivities by sitting in the Sukkah and dancing with joy on Simchat Torah. What resonates for you today? Can you recall a special moment during the holidays to inspire the way you live?


Time to take stock and discern what we learned and yearned for during the holidays that we commit to bringing into our new year, 5778. We are in the month of Cheshvan, the only month in the Jewish calendar with no holidays. It is no coincidence that in this month following a sequence of intense and purposeful holidays there is stillness, offering us time to honor and manifest our intentions, bringing us closer to living the life we choose to live. During Cheshvan, we can commit ourselves to doing the work we promised ourselves during Rosh Hashanah.


We begin with noticing. . .what are the patterns in our lives? How might we want to tweak our routines to add a little more mindfulness, loving kindness and awe-wareness into our day?



Time to take out our calendars.


Please join our Shul of New York this season for some interesting learning and entertaining programs. We have created a balance of services and programs to nourish you during these Autumn months. I welcome your ideas as we plan for the winter.


May you be blessed with peace, with love, with compassion and with joy. May you find balance in your day and cherish the goodness with gratitude.


~ Rabbi Eva



Upcoming Events


November 1, 6:30pm: Tikkun Olam Committee meeting on the UWS. Our Shul has made a commitment to social justice and social activism through providing opportunities to do our part in healing the world, tikkun olam. We organize Monthly Tzedakah Projects, are involved in Synagogue Coalition for Refugees and Immigrants, and attend trainings in community outreach. We try to stay apprised of opportunities to heed the call to support those in need locally, nationally and globally. Please contact me with your ideas for our Shul or if you are interested in participating on this committee:


November 3, 6:30pm: Shabbat Veyeira B’nai Mitzvot at Middle Collegiate Church Click for map. We welcome Ben and Joey Freeman-Carroll as they are called to the Torah as B’nai Mitzvot. A lovely oneg will follow the service sponsored by the Freeman-Carroll family.


November 4, 10am to 12pm: Contemplative Shabbat Circle. Join this intimate group as we spend the Shabbat morning in contemplative practices to enrich our Shabbat experience. We chant, meditate, study mussar in addition to exploring the liturgy and the Torah reading for the week. All are welcome. Upper Eastside location. Click to Register.


November 7: Election Day. Be informed. Your vote counts!


November 9, 7pm: Join us for a fabulous movie and food tasting night as our Shul member, Roger Sherman shares his film, “In Search of Israeli Cuisine” and afterwards answers your questions. I saw this movie twice last year at the Angelika Theater and was ready to get on a plane to Israel in search of Israeli recipes. The movie features Michael Solomonov, the chef of one of my favorite restaurants, Zahav in Philadelphia. And you may win his cookbook, “Zahav!” Bring your friends for a great night! And don’t miss our video preview! Click for Tickets!


November 14, gather at 7:15; Chanting at 7:30pm: Sing your Soul: Jewish Chant: Unlocking the Secrets of the Heart Many of you have asked how and where you can participate in Jewish chanting, as we experienced on Yom Kippur afternoon. Come join me and Rabbi Shoshana Mitrani Knapp for an inspiring evening of chanting on the second Tuesday of each month. We will guide you through a sequence of chants that will nourish your soul. Register through the JCC.


November 15: Holiday class featuring Shabbat and Havdalah: Using the book, My Jewish Year, we follow the exploration of author Abigail Pogrebin as she discovers the meaning of the core 18 Jewish holidays. We will discuss rituals and practical ways to integrate Shabbat and Havdalah into our weekly practices. We meet at a private home in the East Village. Click to register.


November 16: Wise Aging. This class is fully subscribed. If you would like to be put on a wait list for a subsequent cohort, please contact Rabbi Eva.


November 17, 6:30pm: Second annual Shabbat Dinner of Gratitude. Join us for a special Kabbalat Shabbat followed by a potluck dinner. As we approach Thanksgiving, let us share in the abundance of our blessings and give voice to all we are grateful for in community.  Click to register.


And. . . coming up in December. . .


December 1: Shabbat Vayishlach service at the Middle Collegiate Church. 6:30 p.m. D’var by special guest, Andrew Samuels.


December 2: Contemplative Shabbat Circle.


December 3: Join the Shul of New York at the Big Apple Circus. Click for Tickets


December 12: First Night Chanukah . . . Chant Circle at the JCC.


December 13: Holiday Class featuring the Celebration of Chanukah (second night).


December 14: Wise Aging: closed. If you are interested in the next cohort, please contact Rabbi Eva.


December 15, 6:30pm: Shabbat Miketz: Chanukah service at Middle Collegiate.


December 17: Shul Chanukah Party for families at 4pm with music, storytelling, and crafts, followed by community celebration with candle lighting, singing and latkes tasting at 6pm.  Sign-up coming soon!


December 18: Join Rabbi Eva and her friends on the seventh night of Chanukah for A Jewcy Rosh Hodesh Women’s Gathering. We will welcome the new month of Tevet and prepare for the Winter Solstice with Dancing, Singing, Sharing stories and Candle Lighting. Sponsored by SPARKS: Designing Creative Opportunities to Connect with the Divine.



I maintain a MiShebeirach list. Please contact me with the names of those who you hold in your heart for healing prayers, including yourself. I redo the list each month, so please keep me aware of the person(s) changing status.


Wed, June 20 2018 7 Tammuz 5778