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Transcript of El Shofar - Sephardic T · PDF file El Shofar A PUBLICATION OF SEPHARDIC TEMPLE TIFERETH...

  • El Shofar A PUBLICATION OF SEPHARDIC TEMPLE TIFERETH ISRAEL

    “And when your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this observance?’

    you shall say, ‘It is the passover sacrifice to the LORD, for he passed over the houses

    of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck down the Egyptians but spared our houses.’”

    – Exodus 12: 26-27

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    Clergy Senior Rabbi

    TAL SESSLER, PhD

    Associate Rabbi David Cohen-Henriquez

    Hazan Haim Mizrahi

    Gabbai Ed Mizrahi

    President Ben Mehdizadeh

    Senior Vice President Alex Rachmanony

    Vice Presidents L. Larry Clumeck Albert Cohen Rae Cohen

    Leon Hasson Rachel Hasson

    Robert Melamed Sharona Sarafian

    Hamid Yashar Abraham Yazdi

    Honorary Vice Presidents Raquel Bensimon Max Candiotty Ted Hasson

    Hyman Jebb Levy

    Corporate Secretary Jacqueline Amira-Slutske

    Directors Mathilde Kapuano-Abrahams

    Marie Altchech Hy Arnesty Ron Hecker

    Avi Levy David Lindheim

    Mireille Mathalon Kamran Nickfardjam Menahem Samrano Raymond Yashouafar

    Editor Vicki Karmona

    Message from the President .......................3

    Rabbi Sessler ..............................................4

    Adult Education .........................................6

    Rabbi David Cohen-Henriquez ...................7

    Cantor Hazan Mizrahi .................................8

    Pre-School..................................................9

    Talmud Torah ............................................10

    Purim Carnival ...........................................12

    Maurice Amado Merit Award Fund...........13

    Or Chadash Sisterhood ............................14

    Los Merecidos ..........................................17

    Around the World with LASHA.................18

    Community News......................................20

    New Members/Bar & Bat Mitzvahs.............21

    Jewish History ..........................................22

    Holocaust Remembrance Day...................23

    In Memoriam ............................................23

    Donations.................................................24

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

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    MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

    We at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel are very fortunate to be part of such a vibrant congregation, offering countless opportunities for us to connect with each other. As president, I am fulfilled and proud when I notice the exciting changes that have come to our community. It is truly heartwarming to see our members singing beautiful Sephardic melodies, praying at the daily minyans, gathering among other families at the monthly Shabbat dinners, and interacting with each other at our various events.

    Ensuring that the Temple is a meaningful part of every congregant’s life, Rabbi Sessler, Rabbi David, and Cantor Mizrahi, with help from our staff, our Board of Di- rectors, our committee chairs, our numerous volunteers, Or Chadash Sisterhood and Men’s Club, all put in countless hours to make Sephardic Temple a place that is our spiritual, educational and a communal home. I would also like to acknowl- edge our dedicated preschool director, Eva Wysoki, and her entire staff for their tireless work. After all it’s seeing happy children run around and enjoy their day at ECC that makes all our efforts for establishing the preschool worthwhile. It truly is a labor of love. I extend my deepest gratitude to all of them.

    That being said, all the hard work of the above individuals is meaningless unless we have support from you, our members. Open yourselves and play a significant part in this amazing community of ours. There are countless opportunities for you to get involved on so many levels. Attend the daily minyan – it’s only 45 minutes in the morning; Attend the adult education programs; Support the beneficial and fun events that have been so diligently organized; Become a volunteer in your favorite committee. Not only will you be fulfilled by helping your community, but you will also be a role model for your children.

    There are two ways to look at your temple membership. Membership may be seen as a way to receive services, or it can be viewed as an adoption of the synagogue into your daily lives. Look at Sephardic Temple as one of your family’s most valuable belongings. It not only enhances your existence today, but also helps you maintain and preserve Judaism in generations to come. It must be nurtured by you so that it survives, strength- ens, flourishes, and provides sustenance to the next generation. L’dor V’ador.

    It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve as your president. I hope that my passion for all things Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel and my love for our community will inspire others. Passover is a celebration of the freedom our ancestors dreamed of, fought for, and ultimately won. But even as we give thanks, we are called to look to the future, and the future looks bright my friends.

    Let us take a moment to pause and reflect, to embrace our loved ones, and to give thanks for our countless blessings. My family and I wish you a warm home filled with loved ones, a meaningful Seder, a beautiful spring, and a Passover that reflects the goodness of life. Chag Sameach.

    Ben Mehdizadeh, President

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    MESSAGE FROM RABBI SESSLER

    Passover has many nicknames: the festival of the matzoth (in the Torah), the festival of the spring (in more recent times), and also – “the time of our freedom”

    (in the prayer book).

    I am writing these words a day after my return from the AIPAC policy conference, which was a spectacular celebration of the Jewish state’s freedom, independence and fortitude. The speakers at the conference highlighted and stressed Israel’s many achievements, including its economic robustness (Israel was one of the countries least affected by the global economic crisis during the last half a decade). Culturally, Israeli art is diverse and prolific, achieving international recog- nition and acclaim. Militarily, Israel’s strategic alliance with the US is at its peak. Scientifically, Israel is considered one of the world’s most innovative and dynamic

    information technology centers. With all of Israel’s geo-political challenges and existential threats, she is a regional superpower and a powerful player in the international arena on multiple levels.

    This year’s AIPAC conference was the best attended in history, with some fourteen thousand people present. One of the things that surprised me, was the diversity of the attendees. There were Hispanic delegates, African-American delegates, Evangelical Christians, and other non-Jewish delegates. I think that these diverse groups attended the conference because Israel is much more than a particularistic national project. Israel is an inspirational and universal story, exemplifying what happens when human beings achieve, through faith and sacrifice, “the victory of possibility over probability”.

    With scarce natural resources and surrounded by a sea of enemies, Israel is a vibrant and robust state, despite the many voices who throughout the years rejected its very plausibility and viability, be it prior to its establish- ment in 1948, before and during its existential wars of 1948, 1967, and 1973, and to the wrath of those who even today have the temerity to call for its isolation and eventual dissolution.

    Israel’s political resurrection after some 20 centuries in exile, is an unprecedented phenomenon in the history of humankind. No scriptural passage captures more forcefully and poignantly this miraculous achievement than Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones (Ezekiel 37), in which this mystical prophet envisages a group of dry bones scattered in a valley miraculously re-gathered, reintegrated, and re-covered with flesh and skin. Not only does Israel exist and survive, Israel thrives. Each time I visit the country I am amazed at how strong it is.

    As we sit with our relatives and friends around the Seder table, let us recall how incalculably privileged a eneration we are, to live in an era of Jewish political sovereignty in our spiritual homeland. Let us celebrate and cher- ish the many freedoms that we enjoy as Americans and as Jews, and most importantly – let us thank the Almighty.

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    Let us celebrate the 20th century’s many exoduses of our families from the darkness of oppression and persecution in unfriendly lands. Let us ponder how we can intensify and deepen our bond with the land and the people of Israel, and how we can grow in Torah and mitzvoth – our nation’s ultimate mission statement. And let us remember that what our people achieved collectively – the resurrection of the dry bones as envis- aged by the prophet Ezekiel, is also applicable with regard to our personal lives. We too can resurrect within us shattered emotional limbs and spiritual tissues, reconnect with deadened and numbed aspects of our soul, and start thriving again to the astonishment of others, and despite even our own skepticism and self-doubt.

    I leave you with President John F. Kennedy’s reflections about Israel, words articulated more than half a century ago, yet they still resonate in their poetic pathos as politically contemporary and pertinent for today:

    “Israel was not created in order to disappear – Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope, an