From the Heart with Rabbi Liebowitz
“God made man because He loves stories.” Elie Weisel (The preface to The Gates of the Forest)
Fans of the television show Boston Legal will recall William Shatner’s character Denny Crane. A colorful character whose egotism was gradually impeded by his loss of mental faculties and his incessant need to pursue women. In one scene he glibly comments that the reason for his interest in fostering new romances was “I want to tell my stories again to someone!” As the quote from
Elie Weisel so succinctly conveys, people love to share their favored narratives. The Jewish people have held fast to their narratives for millennia and this devotion has helped us in our survival and more than that our need to find life’s meaning.
Narratives and stories are powerful instruments that can persuade and foster change and at the same time sustain time honored values and traditions. Such is the favored exercise of companies, political parties, and religious institutions.
There is of course a downside to clinging to our narratives. How often our personal attachment to them can become stale and in fact deleterious to growth and change!
As a onetime prison chaplain, I encountered a most charming loan shark in the correctional facility. Once, with his guard down, he engaged in a personal revelry about his father who owned a candy store, what we now would call a convenience store. With his fists clenched and sharking, this inmate recalled how his father would generously let everyone and anyone buy products promising to pay for them eventually. Like Popeye the sailor’s Wimpy “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!” This 75-year-old loan shark told me how he would complain to his father, “Dad, they take advantage of you. Don’t let them steal from you!” Respond- ing to this tale he had told over and over again, I finally said; “I guess you became a loan shark so people would not do to you what they did to your dad whom you loved!” Hearing this, he fell back in his chair for he had never put those two pieces of his life together.
Sometimes, we cling to our narratives, framing out what we think must be applied to our current situations, old ways of relating to the teachers we admired, the organizations that served us well and to the rabbis we knew. But to paste one’s antique narrative to a current situation is to get stuck in a maddening repetitive loop. That is to say, repeating the same behavior over and over again and expecting a new result. One teacher commented on how mice are smarter than people. When mice amble toward one part of the maze that does not lead to the cheese they turn around. But when people knock on a door repeatedly that won’t open, they continue to pound on it proving that was the way to go. All of us do that, you, me and everyone. It is difficult to let go of what you once knew.
While I love narratives and stories, I am suspicious of anyone who claims to have all the answers to problems based on what they think they had known before. Such persons are danger- ous. It fails to build teamsmanship and a sense of shared involvement.
Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz D.D.
Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award
These annual awards for excellence of character and service to humanity are given each year to two students from the graduating class (undergraduate or graduate) and to one non-student member of the University community.
Rabbi Liebowitz will be awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award on May 21, 2023 at the Wofford College’s commencement at 9:30.
Algernon Sydney Sullivan was born
in Madison, Indiana on April 5, 1826, son of Jeremiah Sullivan (1794–1870) and Charlotte Rudesel (Cutler) Sullivan. He was named in honor of the
British politician, Algernon Sidney. His father was a lawyer, held the rank of Major in the War of 1812, and became a member of the Indiana legislature in 1821. Jeremiah Sullivan was also a judge of the criminal court of Jefferson County, Indiana, and of the Indiana Supreme Court (1837 – 1846). His grandfather, Thomas Littleton Sullivan, the son of an Irish barrister, emigrated from Charleville, County Cork, Ireland, in 1791, to Augusta County, Virginia. He also had a younger brother named Jeremiah C. Sullivan who, in addition to his legal career, also had a successful military career in both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army. Algernon Sullivan was educated
at Hanover College and Miami University, graduating in 1845. While a law student, about the age of twenty, he made a tour of Indiana, in advocacy of taxation for the maintenance of public schools. After studying law in his father’s office, he was admitted to the bar in 1848, and for eight years practiced in Cincinnati, Ohio.
For more information about Algernon Sydney Sullivan, Click Here
A Message From Our President
Please join me in congratulating our Rabbi, Yossi Liebowitz. Rabbi Liebowitz is receiving the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, a prestigious award given by Wofford College each year during commencement. This annual award for excellence of character and service to
humanity are given each year to two students from the Wofford College graduating class (undergraduate or graduate) and to one non-student member of the college community.
Rabbi Liebowitz will be awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award on May 21, 2023 at the Wofford College commencement to be held at 9:30 am. Congratulations, Rabbi!
As the retirement of our esteemed Rabbi approaches, our search committee continues to work diligently to hire to a spiritual leader for our Temple. Please continue to check your email and mailbox for any updates and possible visits of spiritual leader candidates. I appreciate your patience and positive outlook during this time.
May is a wonderful month! For me, it has always been the summer pre-view and makes me eagerly anticipate our southern summer, which I love! I wish you an incredible May with loads of sunshine, happiness, and daydreams of summertime.
Warmly, Tina Lyon
May Happy Birthdays!
5/1 Brian Hendrickson
5/1 Rick Tanenbaum
5/2 Marilyn Litoff
5/3 Benjamin Brough
5/3 Susan Goldman
5/3 Sylvia Rex
5/7 David Blumenfeld
5/9 Andrew Poliakoff
5/9 Alane Russell
5/13 Steve Garrell
5/18 Rebeca Greenfield
5/19 Norma Mortge
5/23 Lianne Wood
5/25 Rex Russell
5/31 Robert Lyon
5/13 Roxanne & Bogdan Gheorghiu
5/17 Deede & Jeff Cohen
5/13 Irene & Junie White
5/30 Cathy & Jon Lewson
5/1 Phyllis W. Stauber
5/3 Jonathan A. Fishbein
5/3 Sue Freedman
5/7 Jack Tobin
5/8 Jack Steinbrock
5/10 Elizabeth Reemes
5/11 Sara Hecklin
5/11 Marthe Heymann
5/11 Fishel Steinbrock
5/15 Dorothy Brett
5/16 Harry Price
5/18 David Packer
5/18 Morris Unger
5/20 Ernest Emory
5/20 Pauline L. Smith
5/21 Hyman Greenfield
5/21 Jerry N. Hyder
5/21 Susan R. Wise
5/21 Rabbi Max S. Stauber
5/24 Barry Goldman
5/24 Elizabeth Nabow
5/26 Mildred P. Gelburd
5/26 Pauline Unger
5/27 Herman Klausner
5/27 Ethel Silnutze
5/28 Samuel Shapiro
5/28 Rose H. Smiley
5/31 Ayala Paula A. Marks
A Note from Sisterhood
Our sisterhood lunch meeting on Tuesday, April 25 was such a nice way to visit and catch up on each others’ lives and just talk. We discussed many topics about our temple. The big one of course was the bake sale
This year we are beginning to bake a lot earlier. The first group baking will be for butterflies on Sunday, June 4 at the Temple. We hope by doing it on a Sunday that more of our members can come and learn how to make the butterfly cookies.
We are adding veggie egg rolls as something different this year. We need your help on July 19 & 20 to prepare the ingredients and then to roll and fry them. Strudel will be prepared on August 9. Come help and learn how easy it is to make. Chicken pot pies were so popular last year that we will offer them again. Last year we sold 35. So many that purchased them have already asked and want to order more this year. Thank goodness chicken breasts are reasonably priced again. We will be making them on August 31 at Peggy Buchman’s house. Extra hands are always appreciated
Small single items will not be offered this year. Everything will be pre-packaged for safety and convenience at checkout. I have donated three calculators with paper tapes so our volunteers will have an easier job checking people out. Please let me know if you will be baking something this year so we can plan for packaging it. We will be packaging and setting up on October 29th and 30th. Pre orders will be due by October 20th. The Bake Sale is November 2.
Ruth Friedberg will be making the phone calls to remind people of their day to help with the Friday Oneg. We miss Nancy Rosenberg who helped so much with this.
Jennifer Britanisky has agreed to chair and set up the Nominating Committee for our officers next year.
Our next Sisterhood meeting will be the evening of June 7. I hope by holding a 7:00 evening meeting that more of our members can attend. We will have wine, cheese, and goodies. Please remember to send your dues of $25.00 to the temple or to Sandy Gordin.
Peggy Ann Buchman
So Proud of our Graduates!
Robert Lyon, Wake Forest, Son of Karen & Robert Lyon
High School Graduates
Leah Chandler, Spartanburg High School, Granddaughter of Ruth & Paul Friedberg Attending University of South Carolina, Columbia
Jerome Falcon, Spartanburg High School, Son of Jori & Daniel Falcon
Attending Colgate University in Hamilton, NY
Hannah Keen, Spartanburg High School, Daughter of Stefanie & Richard Keen Scholars Academy of USC Upstate
Isabella del Cid, Gaffney High, Granddaughter of Gail Goldschlag
From the Complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff 1894—1976
Not because of victories
but for the common sunshine, the breeze,
the largess of the spring.
Not for victory
but for the day’s work done as well as I was able;
not for a seat upon the dais but at the common table.