From Our Rabbi
Join the Rabbi this Sunday, December 6 at 10:00 for Story Time. This is for kids of all ages. There will be Kiddish Yiddish and the book The 8 Knights of Hanukkah. This will take place via Facebook Live (and not Zoom as in Temple Topics).
There are two Chanukahs! One of them commemorates the military victory of the Maccabees over the Hellenistic forces of the Greek Syrians. The other is the familiar tale that was spun over a century and a half later: the oil lasting eight days. Which one do you prefer? As for me it depends on my mood which is often a consequence of current events. After the sixth day war in which Israel averted what could have been a second Holocaust in that century, the military narratives tended to prevail. That bravado was for me best summed up in my relatives’ home which featured a spent Israel shell – one foot long converted into a Menorah! Later on such images in a more kumbaya time, when the confusion about America’s prosecution of the Viet Nam war prevailed, the peaceful view took center stage.
Hanukkah which of course was a minor holiday in decades past has become more popular. Other holidays such as Sukkot which seems to be an afterthought to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur go largely uncelebrated. They were in times gone by far more important in their observance and spiritual implications. No longer! Before its comparisons to Christmas this minor holiday was for kids only! Gift giving was a limited affair. Nobody exchanged gifts as some do in great abundance. Adam Sandler’s Chanukah song is representative of this phenomenon with its tongue in cheek boast about eight gifts as opposed to the one gift at Christmas. It is my view that the overt attention to materialism has diminished the holiday’s spiritual import.
I realize that I am swimming against the tide. I don’t know how we can reverse that trajectory. As we are in recovery from this election and its vituperative dynamics in which the bar has been lowered beyond reasonable satire and criticism (the conspiratorial accusations, mocking of men with disabilities, the attack on time honored institutions), some bells are hard to un-ring. Personal attacks abide on those who are simply expressing their views. Like the Menorah, we will shed more light and generate less heat. I hope in our relationships we can as it has been said to disagree without being disagreeable!
Happy Hanukkah any way you celebrate its meaning.
YOSSI LIEBOWITZ, Rabbi
Monday, December 7 at 7:00
In partnership with The Spartanburg Historical Foundation’s Holiday Traditions event, they will join Rabbi Liebowitz in the temple kitchen as he shares various foods usually prepared for Hanukkah. This will be a Facebook live event on the Foundation’s page.
Friday, December 18 at 6:00
Join Rabbi Liebowitz for Kabbalat Shabbat followed by an interview and discussion via Zoom with Pastoral Counselor at First Presbyterian, Kirk Neely. This will feature Kirk’s latest book, December Light 1916, and auto- graphed copies will be available for $22.
December Light 1916 is an historical novel that takes place in Georgetown County, South Carolina. Set in the early twentieth century, the book gives insight into the social history of the Deep South. It also presents a fascinating look at the natural history of North Island and Winyah Bay. Here is master storyteller Kirk Neely at his best.
Kirk’s book is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
Zoom link: Yossi Liebowitz is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Shabbat Service with Dr. Kirk Neely – December Light 1916
Time: Dec 18, 2020 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 836 2891 1208
December 2020 Service Schedule
Until further notice, services will be at 6:00 via Facebook Live on the Congregation B’nai Israel Facebook page. If you cannot make the “live” service, it will be available to watch any time at your convenience. This is the link to the Temple’s Facebook Page . Simply go to the page at 6:00 and click on the live video to view.
Saturday morning Torah Studies will be held via Skype at 10:00 am.
Join the Rabbi via the links below for the Spartanburg Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. See the flyer attached for more information.
Thanksgiving Service promo video:
Here is the link to the giving page:
Condensed giving page version