The wonderful sound of falling rain

I love the rain. Even though lately it has been a bit excessive, I still love it. I love the sound of it, the smell of rain on the asphalt, the cozy feeling I get watching it through a window. Water is one of the fundamental elements of life. We need it to sustain us. It nourishes our bodies, helps plants to grow and washes away the dirt and grime. We cannot live without rain.

Recently, I began studying about prayer. What is prayer? Why do we pray? What purpose does prayer serve in my own life? I see prayer as similar to rain. Prayer nourishes my soul, it helps to purify my thoughts and brings me closer to G-d. Prayer sustains me. As Jews, we have multiple forms and opportunities for prayer. We can pray individually at any time we like, or we can pray communally, together, at shul. I recently read a beautiful passage about Jewish prayer:

western wall“While worshipping, all Jews face, not in a particular direction, but toward one specific point – the Temple site in Jerusalem. Thus, even if the worshippers are not gathered together in one place, they nevertheless all belong to a series of concentric circles turning them into a single congregation, bonded together by a mystic unity. In this way, even the person worshipping by himself – wherever he/she might be – is bound up with the entire congregation of worshippers around the world, through both the prayer text, the time, and the orientation of prayer. ” (Steinsaltz, pg 17)

I really loved the imagery this passage displays. The idea that we are all connected through prayer is beautiful. Our small kehilla here at TOR, is part of ever larger circles of kehilla through our region, our country and the world. What a great people to be a part of!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ANNOUNCEMENTS ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This Week:

Wednesday, January 20 at 6:30pm – Hebrew School and TEEN Or  – Teen OR will join the Faces Race discussion in the main sanctuary. Everyone (parents, etc) are also encouraged to attend this great program, discussing our role in promoting tolerance and understanding in our greater community.

Friday, January 22 at 10am – Gan K’tan – Our fun Mommy and Me program continues in room 1.

Saturday, January 23 at 10am – Bar Mitzvah of Sebastian Flynn – Congratulations Sebastian!!

Sunday, January 24 at 10am – Planning meeting for all upcoming Spring events. Parents, we need your help! Plan to attend our meeting this Sunday and find out where you can assist us!

Future Events:

Sunday, February 7th from 8:30 to 9:30 – Pancake Breakfast benefiting TOR religious school. Support Aliyah Carrillo as she serves breakfast for her mitzvah project! $5 per person. Click this: Pancake Breakfast to see the flier!

Saturday, February 20th at 6:30pm – Hava Havana, TOR’s annual Gala. Babysitting is provided this year, so no excuses! Come support the temple and have a great time!

Sunday, March 13th – Purim Carnival – during religious school

Wednesday, March 23rd – the Second annual Purim Spiel! I’ll be taking names this week of people who want to participate! It’s going to be tons of fun!

+++++++++++++++++++++++ Religious School Update +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here is a recap of our Sunday session. As always, ask your child about what they learned in class this week!


We had a small group this week but we still had lots of fun. We read a silly story about a challah recipe that rose so much it oozed out of the house! We sang wonderful songs with Carol and we learned about Ruth and Naomi. Next week we will have fun learning about Tu B’shevat, the birthday of the trees!

First Grade

This week we learned a few new letters, Yud, Kaf, and Lamed. We practiced writing the letters and we put them together to make new words. As part of our study of the letter kaf, we learned about the Kippah (which starts with that letter). We made our own beautiful kippah to take home.

We continued to practice our colors, incorporating movement as we learned. We also talked about the meaning of mitzvah. What is a mitzvah? Why do we do them?

Second and Third Grade

We welcomed a guest teacher, Mrs. Delugach, this week. We learned about the shehecheyanu prayer and how we can thank G-d for all of the new and wonderful things we experience. We learned about the importance of connections and how being connected to people helps us to live lives with meaning and purpose. We also reviewed the Hebrew letters we have learned so far.

Fourth and Fifth Grade

We also enjoyed having a guest teacher, Eden, in our classroom. This week we worked on the prayers we have been practicing and discussed the importance of the upcoming holiday of Tu B’shevat. We rotated through Hebrew stations, blending letters and creating our own 3D letters with pipe cleaners, model magic and Legos!

Sixth Grade

The sixth grade class spent time discussing the upcoming Torah portion, Beshalach. They also continued their reading of the story, Night. Have your student share with you what they have learned (the questions below can help guide the discussion).  IMG_1781IMG_1782IMG_1780

  1. In the true story Night, what did one of the fellow prisoners, Akiba Drumer ask the other Jewish prisoners to remember to say so they don”t forget him?  (Akiba Drumer asked them to say the Kaddish for him)
  2. In the upcoming Torah portion Beshalach for January 23rd, what did G-d do so the Israelites would not starve in the desert? (G-d causes manna to rain down from the heavens before dawn each morning)
  3. What does Tu B’Shevat literally stand for? (Tu is the Hebrew letters that add up to 15 and Shevat is the 11th month of the Hebrew calendar)

Seventh Grade

Megan kicked off our Spring Bar/Bat Mitzvah season with a bang on Saturday! She did a phenomenal job and set the bar pretty high! So, our seventh graders worked hard on prayers this week with Avi. During the second half of the morning, Art moved the class into the library and brought in one of the Torah scrolls. The students were able to look at the Torah and try to sight read words. They did a great job!

Remember that we have some great resources on our Useful Links page above. Make sure you are practicing your Hebrew!


Have a great week! See you around the Temple!