High Holy Day Seating Request

This was sent to me and I have to say, I couldn’t resist. I shared it with the staff and worship committee last night and told them to please fill these out and that we will send them on to the congregation as well.  The look on our Membership/Program Director’s face was priceles!



During the last holiday season, many individuals expressed concern
about the seating arrangements in the synagogue. In order for us to
place you in a seat which will best suit you, we ask you to complete
the following questionnaire and return it to the synagogue office as
soon as possible.

1. I would prefer to sit in the… (Check one:)
___ Talking section
___ No talking section

2. If talking, which category do you prefer?
(Indicate order of interest:)
___ Stock market
___ Sports
___ Medicine
___ General gossip
___ Specific gossip (choose from below:)
___ The rabbi
___ The cantor
___ The cantor’s voice
___ The cantor’s significant other
___ The rabbis significant other
___ Fashion news
___ What others are wearing
___ Why they look awful
___ My neighbors
___ My relatives
___ My neighbors’ relatives
___ Presidential Election, results from
___ Who is cheating on/having an affair with whom

_____ My children/grandchildren
___ Other:_______________________________

3. Which of the following would you like to be near for free
professional advice?
__ Doctor
__ Dentist
__ Nutritionist
__ Psychiatrist
__ Child psychiatrist
__ Podiatrist
__ Chiropractor
__ Stockbroker
__ Accountant
__ Lawyer, General Practice
__ Criminal Lawyer
__ Civil Lawyer
__ Real estate agent
__ Architect
__ Plumber
__ Buyer (Specify store:_____________ )
__ Sexologist (??)
__ Golf pro [tentative; we’re still trying to find a Jewish One]
__ Other:____________________________

4. I want a seat located (Indicate order of priority:)
__ On the aisle
__ Near the exit
__ Near the window
__ In Aruba
__ Near the bathroom
__ Near my in-laws
__ As far away from my in-laws as possible
__ As far away from my ex-in-laws as possible
__ Near the pulpit
__ Near the Kiddush table (not applicable on Yom Kippur)
__ Near single men
__ Near available women
__ Where no one on the bimah can see/hear me talking during services
__ Where no one will notice me sleeping during services
__ Where I can sleep during the rabbi’s sermon [additional charge]

___ Where I can use my blackberry (SHHHH)

5. (Orthodox only.) I would like a seat where:
__ I can see my spouse over the mechitza
__ I cannot see my spouse over the mechitza
__ I can see my friend’s spouse over the mechitza
__ My spouse cannot see me looking at my friend’s spouse over the

6. Please do not place me anywhere near the following people:
(Limit of six; if you require more space, you may wish to consider
joining another congregation.)

Your name:_________________________________
Building fund pledge (acknowledging and in grateful appreciation for this change): $________________________


What I Did On My Summer Sabbatical

The following is an article written for the TBS Kol Sholom.

Since coming to Temple Beth Sholom in 1998, I have been privileged to be a part of each of your lives, both collectively and individually in times of simcha and sorrow, celebrations and milestones in each of your lives. And now, in my 13th year, my Bat Mitzvah year, I am thankful to my congregational family for giving me my first Sabbatical since coming to TBS and my rabbinic career.

This sabbatical gave me the opportunity to do things that during my regular schedule I was not able to do. My summer sabbatical provided me with time to learn with colleagues, personal study and most importantly, reconnect with my family.

The first few weeks at home allowed me to participate in the daily lives of Dahvi and Yoni, something that I don’t regularly get to do. I was able to take them both to school each morning and be there for them in the afternoon. I volunteered in the end of year school activities and celebrated with Dahvi as she graduated from elementary school.

Our family spent a majority of our summer in Israel. During our time there, each of us took the opportunity to experience Israel in a very personal way. While it is always amazing to tour Israel and experience her beauty with groups of individuals visiting for the first time or the fifth, this summer we were able have to experience of living in Israel.

Both kids attended Israeli camps. Yoni attended Ramah Day Camp in Jerusalem while Dahvi spent two weeks at an overnight camp, Camp Kimama, north of Netanya, on the Mediterranean coast. Both of them made new friends from all over the world and thanks to the internet, they will be able to stay in touch with friends from Israel to France, Canada, and even Japan.

Matt took the opportunity to explore Jerusalem with friends also in the country and experience the Israel weekly life rhythm.

I spent time studying with colleagues from not only the Reform movement, but rabbis from every movement and country. From 8:30 in the morning to 10:00 at night, I studied at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Mornings began with the teacher of the day presenting us with a topic and a packet of texts. For two hours I joined in chevruta, small group study with colleagues, deciphering and challenging what the text said in light of the day’s topic. The teacher returned and unraveled the two hours we just spent wrestling with the text and wove it into a new perspective for us to consider and challenge yet again.

The afternoon was filled with more learning, dinner at home and then evening programs discussing the current state of affairs in Israel.

I came home each night from my classes excited about what I would share with the TBS community. And these High Holy Days, I look forward to sharing some of these thoughts with you and beginning the conversation that will take us into this next year.

This summer in Israel was not only in the text that I studied, but also in the text of the land and the people. We traveled throughout the entire country not only to see the places, but to connect with the people and communities. My goal was successfully achieved in creating connections in Israel that I will in turn share with the TBS and Orange County community. At every opportunity, I asked Israelis their opinions about peace, land, and the world. While I was hoping to find more defined answers that would help us understand the issues of the Middle East, I found that it is even more complicated than we can imagine, let alone solve. Yet, the discussion is extremely important and vital, even for us on the other side of the sea.

I also spent time meeting with Da’at Travel, our Israel travel coordinators, in creating a unique and exciting TBS Israel adult tour itinerary for this coming January.

These final weeks of my summer Sabbatical were spent preparing our family for reentry into our year activities: Dahvi going to a new school and preparing for her Bat Mitzvah this coming April. Yoni practicing his reading and gearing up for 2nd grade and his Tae Kwon Do Black Belt test this November. Matt getting ready to juggle the busy Cohen calendar. And me, I have already begun preparing for my High Holy Day sermons as well as looking forward to reconnecting with everyone at my TBS home.

Thank you for this summer. Thank you for these 13 years together. And thank you for the many years we have ahead of us.