Be a Shamash

I love this saying. I love the idea that each one of us can be a shamash for another person. It can be as simple as a smile, a hug, a cup of coffee. Lot’s of people like to talk about “paying it forward.” Let’s talk about being a Shamash. How can you be a shamash for others in your life?

I know that all of you received my email last week regarding safety and security at TOR. As parents we are nervous whenever we let our children leave our sight. Some have suggested security guards and locked buildings. I want to reassure you that your children are safe at Or Rishon. I will also reiterate that the most proactive thing that each of us can do is to build a stronger community by getting to know each other. Be aware of the people around you. If you see someone who you don’t know, walk up to them and say hello. Ask if you can assist them.  Be kind, ask people their names, find out more about each other. If you do that, you will know when someone doesn’t belong. And as I said before, the TOR Security Committee and Board of Trustees have spent a great deal of time and energy making sure we are safe. I’ll ask that you trust their judgement and the expertise of the individuals with whom they consult.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++ NEEDS +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As you enjoy this Hanukkah season, consider making a donation to the Or Rishon scholarship fund or the educators discretionary fund. Both are used to help congregants in need and to send our kids to camp. Be a Shamash for a kid who wants to learn and grow in our Jewish community!

As always, the TOR food closet is in need of a few specific items – canned tuna and chicken, macaroni and cheese, toiletry products such as deodorant, tooth brushes, etc.

Thank you!



TOR is a great place to celebrate Hanukkah!

Friday, December 11th – 6:45pm – Hanukkah Shabbat – bring your menorah and watch the sanctuary fill with light as we light the candles together. Enjoy an Oneg Shabbat complete with sufganiyot!

Saturday, December 12th – 10am – Taste of Torah – join Marcia Greene for a special Hanukkah version of Taste of Torah.

Saturday, December 12th – 6pm to 9pm – Loco for Latkes – TASTY Hanukkah Party for grades 8 through 12. RSVP to Mary or Madeline.

Sunday, December 13th – 9am to 12pm – Hanukkah Celebration at TOR. Kids will rotate through activities as we play games, make crafts, and eat latkes! Yummy fun!

Friday, December 18th – 6pm – Tot Shabbat – Join us for a child friendly Shabbat service.


Religious School Update

It was Hanukkah in almost every classroom this week!

Pre K – Kindergarten

Ms. Laurie’s had Hanukkah fun and made a sweet little menorah to light at home. They read stories and talked about the miracle of Hanukkah.

First Grade

It’s Hanukkah in first grade too! Efrat’s class learned the story of Hanukkah and then discovered the meaning behind the different letters that are on the dreidel. They painted a ceramic oil jug to represent the miracle of the oil and painted a dreidel as well.

Ask your first grader about the Hanukkah story. Have them tell you what the letters on the dreidel mean!

If you missed Family Shabbat this week, you missed a real treat! The First grade class sang three songs they have been learning in class. It was adorable and very special. Thanks First Grade!

Second and Third Grade

Second grade learned the Hanukkah story and talked about why it was a miracle. They made jars to hold the extra Hanukkah candles to be used each night.

This class should be able to say the blessing for the Hanukkah candles as well!

Fourth and Fifth Grade

Sara sent an email on Sunday about class this week. I have to say, this class has really impressed me with how quickly they have caught on to the Hebrew Sara is teaching them. I look forward to having them help me with Tefillah on Wednesday night!

Sixth Grade

The sixth grade class really covers a lot of ground each week! They are continuing to look at the top reasons being Jewish is cool, they are exploring the history behind the holidays, they have learned about the Tanakh and what it contains beyond the Torah, and much more. Ask your sixth grader to tell you more about these things. They are also continuing to read Elie Wiesel’s Night.

Below are a few questions to continue the learning for the students.

  1. In the true story Night, when the camp bombing started where did the SS officers go and prisoners? (SS took cover and the prisoners remained in their bunks)
  2. Why do we sing the traditional Chanukkah song Maoz Tzur after we light the candles? (Thanks G-d for our protection)

Seventh Grade

The seventh grade class worked in pairs this week on specific prayers that they find challenging. Additionally, they led much of the prayer service under the supervision of their teacher, Art. We encourage families to attend Shabbat services (both Friday evening and Saturday morning) as often as possible. The more the students are here, the more comfortable and familiar they will become with the service. It’s good for you too!


I hope to see you at Services and/or at one of the fabulous events in the coming week!

Happy Hanukkah!