Story and song time and more with Rabbi Yossi 10 a.m. this Sunday for kids of all ages!
Sunday mornings at 10 a.m, Click Here!
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
“Truth is stranger than fiction” is a widely used observation first made famous by the poet Byron in his work Don Juan (1823) and later cited by writers from Mark Twain to novelist Margaret Echard. (Before I wake 1943).
In an age in which truth is under attack as fake news and in which unsubstantiated conspiracy theories abound, it becomes more and more difficult to trust the great tales that come our way. Over the years I have made it a habit of reviewing Holocaust stories, many of which are miraculous and life inspiring. Included among them are tales about husbands and wives, cousins and friends, often assumed by one another to be deceased who decades later find each other. For decades Israeli newspapers and radio shows would send out calls and notices by one survivor after another in search of lost loved ones. On this you tube is one such moving tale about two reunited cousins which made it to the evening news; Click Here To Link
A college friend of mine was born in a Displaced Persons camp with his fraternal twin brother after his surviving parents were reunited. He told me of another friend, who came to Israel as a young boy after the Holocaust as an orphan, convinced that his parents were deceased. So he thought! One day, as his friend was walking the streets of Tel Aviv in 1965 he saw an elderly couple walking hand in hand, his parents who likewise thought that their little son was dead. One cannot adequately describe the depth of emotion as the parents and child were reunited. As Jews we are not immune to the tragedy of lost parents, children and friends. Our Holocaust legacy has sadly found parallel in the current accounts of Mexican children separated from their parents. We Jews feel kinship with so many who have suffered. Below is the tale of Clara Brown which I share in anticipation of next year’s Black History month. We are well advised to celebrate that history along with the heritage of others. It is a bittersweet tale which confirms once more that “truth is stranger than fiction!”
Rabbi Yossi J. Liebowitz D.D.
Clara Brown (c. 1800 –October, 1885) was a kind-hearted, generous woman whose determination led her on a life-long quest to be reunited with her daughter. Born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia in 1803, her earliest memory was of being sold on the auction block. She grew up in Logan County, Kentucky, married at age 18, and had four children. At age 36 her master, Ambrose Smith, died and her family was sold off to settle his estate. Despite her continued enslavement, Clara Brown vowed to search for her ten-year-old daughter, Eliza Jane. For twenty years Clara worked for George Brown raising her new master’s children instead of her own.
In 1856 she was freed upon Master Brown’s death allowing her, at age 53, to set out to find her daughter. Three years of searching in Kentucky, Missouri, and Kansas proved fruitless. Clara thought that perhaps Eliza Jane had joined the multitude of people that had gone to Pikes Peak hoping to find gold. Thus Clara’s search took her 700 miles west to the Colorado Territory gold fields. She had secured a job as a cook on a wagon train in exchange for the free transportation of her laundry pots.
Her wagon train arrived in Cherry Creek, which was comprised of the rival twin cities of Denver and Auraria. There she set up a laundry business to serve the miners. After six months Clara left Denver and set up business in Mountain City (later Central City). Brown invested her earnings in real estate and acquired a small fortune. She became known in the community as “Aunt Clara” as she provided food, shelter, and nursing care to the townspeople.
When the Civil War ended in 1865 Clara Brown returned east, first to Logan County, Kentucky and then, Sumner County, Tennessee in search of her daughter Eliza Jane. Brown offered her $10,000 in savings and earnings as a reward for news of her daughter. When her search proved unsuccessful Brown returned to Gilpin County, Colorado, bringing with her impoverished freed people she had befriended. In 1879, at the age of 76, Brown traveled to Kansas as an official representative of Colorado’s Governor Frederick Walker Pitkin who had offered to assist thousands of destitute “Exodusters” to relocate in Colorado. Clara Brown’s continual search for her daughter, her support for local churches and charities, and her financial assistance to young women who were educated at Oberlin College in Ohio eliminated most of her wealth.
In February 1882, however, when Brown was almost 80 years old, she received news that her daughter, Eliza Jane had been located in Iowa. In 1884 79-year-old Brown traveled to Iowa to reunite with her 56-year-old daughter. The same year Brown became the first woman member of the Colorado Pioneer Association which also provided a stipend for her lifetime of good works. Clara Brown died in Denver, Colorado in 1885. Slightly over a century later Brown was inducted into the Colorado Woman’s Hall of Fame in 1989.
11/4 Stephen Gordin
11/5 Carrie Liebowitz
11/5 Mary Helen Smith
11/6 Betty Adelman
11/7 Hank Steinberg
11/8 Susannah Lyon
11/18 Barbara Leddy
11/19 Jerome Falcon
11/19 Joseph McArn
11/22 Hava Liebowitz
11/29 Carrie Tanenbaum
11/1 Samuel Morewitz
11/1 Rose Packer
11/2 Richard Acanfora
11/3 Louis D. Portnoy
11/4 D’vorah Price
11/5 Chava Rifka B. Kirshner
11/5 Arthur Lutsky
11/5 Sophie A. Pinsley
11/6 Minnie Hyman
11/7 Kate Shapiro
11/7 Saul Tanenbaum
11/8 Ruth K. Arenson
11/9 Rosa H. Gantt
11/9 Cecilia Robinson
11/10 Fishel Levy
11/11 Morris Gerber
11/12 Leah K. Lerner
11/12 Gertrude List
11/12 Hy Packer
11/15 Ben Black
11/15 Joseph Wachter
11/18 Morris Switzer
11/19 Max Cohen
11/20 Lidia Teszler
11/20 Newman Vogelstein
11/21 Barnet Freeman
11/21 Isadore Lazarowitz
11/21 Israel Massey
11/21 Harry Reimer
11/21 Abe Smith
11/21 Dina Welsz
11/22 David Falcom
11/22 Evalynn Poliakoff
11/23 Ida Gelburd
11/23 Simon Hecklin
11/23 Simon Hecklin
11/23 Harry Levine
11/23 Julian N. Spigel
11/24 Eva Adelman
11/24 Marsha A. Horn
11/25 Maxwell H. Goldberg
11/27 Bernie Fleishman
11/27 Ester Minsky
11/28 Max N. Davidson
11/28 Hanna Price
11/8 Rebecca Price
11/29 John Barbarash
11/30 Marvin Hyman
11/30 David Nabow
Join Rabbi Yossi and others for our Friday Night live Kabbalat service October 16 6:00 p.m.
Richard Feynman and new beginnings and Genesis – Braysheet
|High Holiday services posed especially demanding challenges this year. The pandemic required us to master digital media within a very short period, and for the first time in thirteen years the Rabbi was without cantorial support.
For these reasons, we are deeply indebted to those congregants who joined us in the sanctuary and made such helpful contributions to our services, from Rosh Hashanah Eve all the way through N’ilah.
Our thanks to Mauro Wilk for his technical expertise, and to Avi Liebowitz for his professional talents as the producer of our digital services.
Thanks as well to Carrie Liebowitz and Sandy Gordin for lighting the evening candles as our holidays were beginning.
Aliyot this year went to Jennifer and Bob Britanisky, Lorie Ederr, Gary Smiley, Mauro Wilk, and Dan Falcon.
Our ark openers were Carrie Liebowitz, Jennifer Britanisky, Lynn Strait and Gary Poliakoff.
A gracious nod goes to Hank Steinberg, who stoically held the Torah on Rosh Hashanah morning even as the ark doors were summarily shut behind him.Our Hagba Galilah were Bob and Jennifer Britanisky, Ira Greenfield, and Sandy Gordin.
Readers included Les Mitchell and Lorie Ederr. Special thanks to Lynn Strait and Nancy Rosenberg for going well beyond the call of duty in the sheer number of passages they read, as well as their availability throughout all six services.
Beautiful musical contributions were made by Courtney LeBauer, Brian Steinberg, Lorie Ederr, as well as Carl and Raeleigh McCarn.
The shofars were sounded by Bob Britanisky and Rex Russell.
And thank you to Alane, Olivia, and Sophia Russell for their contributions to the Havdallah service as Yom Kippur was drawing to a close.
I want to thank as well the members of the Ritual Committee for contacting the congregants who participated in our services this year: Susan Abelkop, David Blumenfeld, Bob Britanisky. and Elaine Hyman.
As always, our multitasker-in-chief, Sandy Gordin, was available throughout the holidays wherever and whenever she was needed.
And alas, words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for the extraordinary work that Rabbi Liebowitz did to provide spiritually meaningful and engaging services this year in the face of so many difficult challenges.
During Yom Kippur, the Rabbi noted that every year, as the Passover Seder is ending, we all say: “Next Year in Jerusalem!” He then added that, as 5781 commences, may we all say: “Next Year in the Sanctuary!”
Ein Groyse Dank and Amen!
As I was raised in a Yiddish speaking home, I was blessed with various colorful expressions, most of which were a little bit R-rated. This one was not! Mitn derinin! It roughly translate as “In the middle of it all!” As in you finally settle down for dinner after a long day and Mitn derinin! The phone rings and it is a long-lost cousin who just so happens to be in the neighborhood and wants to come over a visit. Or, you have just paid all your bills for the month. You breathe a sigh of relief and Mitn derinin! The car breaks down. This expression was always followed by another expression, “I need this like a lochen cup that is to say like “a hole in my head!”
At this time of writing, Yom Kippur is just a mere six days away. I am mindful of all the efforts that have been made to make possible our services, albeit remotely. Mauro (and if you will forgive a filial boast) my son Avi have been techno wizards, allowing us to do the best we can with what are incredibly difficult times of the pandemic. I also wish to acknowledge Dr. Mark Packer, Sharon, and our President who were Johnny on the Spot showing up and supporting these liturgical efforts. A big shout out does go to Lynn Strait and Nancy Rosenberg who served tirelessly as readers. (Not to forget our Shofar sounder Dr. Britanisky!) A last note goes out to Jan, our office administrator who in addition to putting up with Rabbinical gyrations and improvisations made possible the mailings, emails, and more. There are others, board members, flower providers that warrant acknowledgement and thanks. I list only a few for fear of neglecting one or more.
Mitn derinin! No sooner does Yom Kippur draw to a close, we are bid to start preparing for Sukkot. What a crazy calendar! Yet from a spiritual point of view, the Yamim Noraim, the High Holy Days require the balance that is Sukkot, a holiday characterized by a certain degree of melancholy coupled with gratitude for what we have. We move from the harsh imperative to repent to a degree of acceptance of our human condition. (Ecclesiastes – Kohelet tempered our existential need to change with a mood-altering view that “all is vanity, like a breath,” which fades away.
One other yin to yang of these holidays is of course the fact that we deny sustenance on Yom Kippur but indulge on Sukkot, a holiday of abundance. (I look forward to your being with us on October 9th for our Sukkot Simchat Torah Drive in dinner and celebration. See page 7) This balance is quite needed in these unbalanced times. I once took a quiz in which a young man was a crossing a bridge. He noticed a sign that forbade anyone weighing more than a hundred and fifty pounds. He weighed a fairly light one hundred and forty pounds. He was on a mission to bring to the King three valuable jewels, each of which weighed five pounds each. Oy! What did he do? He crossed bridge juggling the three jewels so that at no time he held more than two of the jewels.
I pray and hope that all of you will find balance in the days ahead, given all the challenges we face. May it be so that our heritage which has stood the test of time will bring you a sense of purpose and peace in the days ahead, health and happiness to as well!
Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz, D.D.