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     July 30th, 2014 | 3rd of Av, 5774      
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Rabbi David Wolpe
Rabbi David Wolpe

Parashat Devarim

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Sinai Temple - 10400 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA. 90024 Phone (310) 474-1518 Fax (310) 474-6801
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10400 Wilshire Blvd.   Los Angeles, CA. 90024   Phone (310) 481-3271   Fax (310) 943-5414

 

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Meet Our Staff      
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bullet Danielle Kassin bullet Rabbi Fruithandler bullet Julia Levine bullet Sara Capland
bullet Dale Schatz bullet Cantor Feldman bullet Cantor Miller bullet Aryell Cohen
bullet Elham Kashanirokh bullet Elaine Seltzer bullet Galya Ferd bullet Diana Pakdaman
bullet Frida Eytan bullet Samantha Loveman bullet Debbie Younesi bullet Lida Dayan
bullet Sarit Fried bullet Dina Dvir bullet Marcelle Kasheri bullet Sam Rotenberg
bullet Mary Frank bullet Tirza Volkmer bullet Michelle Willner bullet Samantha Witman
bullet Lindsay Roller      
       
       
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ST*RS


 
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Danielle Kassin

Director- Danielle Kassin

Danielle's favorite verse from the Torah is from the book of Deuteronomy (Devarim) Chapter 6; Verses 6-9: "And you shall teach them diligently to your children."

Hi, my name is Danielle and I chose a verse from the book of Deuteronomy (Devarim). I chose this verse because I strongly believe that we need to teach "our" children the beauty of Judaism, the strength of our powerful Jewish community, and to pass down the gifts and teachings from the Torah to our chlildren. I believe that even at the earliest age we all have a responsibility to learn and teach one another. I ask the students in our school to teach the shema to their younger siblings. This past year, we even had students teaching the entire Friday night Kiddish to their siblings and their parents. I love creative ways of learning and I see so many amazing things that Judaism has to offer in its teachings. Each year, I look forward to a new year of challenge, growth and learning. May we go, together as a community, from strength to strength!

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Rabbi Fruithandler

Aspirational
Sacred Liv'd Education
Inspirational

The twin gifts that I believe STRS gives our community are aspiration and inspiration. Aspiration is the specific Judaic content goals. I hope that families who go through our program leave having learned concrete, recallable, and impactful Jewish information, stories, and values. I also hope they leave with inspiration, which is the indefinable passion to learn more. Inspiration is the self-motivation to make Judaism a part of each individual's life in an individual way.

STRS treats each and every moment as a sacred opportunity to make meaningful connections. The Judaism we teach, preach, and experience is a Judaism that is translatable to everyday life. It is a Judaism that can be lived. Finally, we strive for the environment to be infused with education. Every interaction, every picture on the wall, every stair case is a teaching moment.

I am proud to be a part of a school that gives each family the tools to meet our aspirations, the passion to ignite their inspiration, and a holy place to practice this sacred lived education.

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Julia Levine - Experiential Educator

Life is our classroom
Within Sinai and outside
Learning through doing

As Sinai Temple Religious School's Experiential Educator, I am constantly looking for ways to help our students connect with Judaism in their everyday lives.  One of my favorite moments last year was when one of my students told me that his football team has a play that he calls "the zayin" because it looks like the Hebrew letter.  This is such a great example of looking at the secular world through a Jewish lens, which is one of our goals as we encourage our students to become lifelong Jewish learners.

As I work on the curriculum and get to know the students through the year, everything I do Jewishly and otherwise becomes an opportunity to develop an educational experience.  I am always asking myself: How could I help our students participate in this custom?  What is an active way to help students understand that value?  What are students excited about that could authentically teach a Jewish lesson?

I look forward to continuing to ask (and come up with answers for) these questions with the 5th-7th Grades in the Na'aseh program as we have an exciting 2013-2014 school year ahead!

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Sara Capland

Sara Capland - Office Manager

Life in the moment
Helping our starsS families
I love what I do!

As a working mom with three young children I love being busy.  I believe in living life in the moment and making every minute count. I think that we can change the world with little acts of love and kindness. 

As the point person in the Religious School office I get to meet and greet our families and  help our kids when they need something. The STARS office is always busy and everyday is interesting.  Join me on Sundays and Wednesdays for a quick schmooze, some reassurance, a chocolate from Danielle’s stash, an icepack for a bruised knee.  I’ll be here!   

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Cantor Marcus Feldman

Cantor Feldman’s favorite verse from the Torah is V’ahavta L’reiacha Kamocha – You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18)

Right in the middle of the Torah, amidst all of the priestly laws and duties, we are presented with some of the most profound words in the Torah. Parashat Kedoshim (my Bar Mitzvah parasha) contains the phrase You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy. How do we become holy like God? The parasha contains some of the most well-known verses in the Torah such as You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind, judge your kinsman fairly, and the most well known, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The Torah challenges each one of us to always treat others as we wish to be treated. We are to look out for those less fortunate and more vulnerable than ourselves. This one verse commanding us to love our neighbors as ourselves serves as the basis for all other commandments relating to how we treat our fellow human beings. Through loving our neighbors as ourselves, we rise above the desire for selfishness and set ourselves apart as a goy kadosh, a holy nation, striving to live in the image of God, caring for all human beings.

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Galya Ferd

Cantor Miller - Trope Specialist

My favorite verse in the Tanach (and there are many) is from the prophet Micah, Chapter 6:8, which is:

"It has been told to you, individuals, what is good, and what God does require of you: only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God."

There are numerous lessons in this verse, clearly. One that speaks to me is the notion of humility. Life's blessings are given to us from God, and to have the ability to recognize this is something that I try to embrace in my teaching and relationships with students, parents and colleagues. I love teaching, opening the eyes of students to the many gifts that God has bestowed upon us, as well as the responsibilities that we as Jews have as caretakers of God's world. Remembering that we are but messengers of God's Torah, a light unto God's goodness and Torah, is critical in effective Jewish instruction, and I always strive to improve in this area and be a humble person and teacher.

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Ari Cohen

Aryell Cohen- Trope Specialist

Children singing trope
Little voices rising up
Music to my ears!

While I love teaching our B'nai Mitzvah students during their individual lessons, I look forward to each Wednesday when I have the opportunity to go in to the classroom or Kohn Chapel and meet with one or more classes of our Religious School students.  Not that I could ever be like him, but it reminds me of the years when I was in Sinai Religious School, and Cantor Urstein used to come in to our classes and teach us some of the same melodies! I continue to teach the same trope and chanting that he taught me.  This is a true example of ‘from generation to generation,’ and gives me so much pleasure.

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Dale Schatz

Dale Schatz - Music Specialist

What I want to learn
Is everything people
Know who are with God

I want as a teacher, to use music and song, to open hearts and minds to the possibilities of a relationship with God.

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Elaine Seltzer

Teaching 7th grade-Na’aseh- Elaine Seltzer

Morah Elaine’s favorite verse from the Torah is from the book of Leviticus (Vayikra) Chapter 19; Verse 23: “When you come to the Land and you plant any food tree, you shall surely block its fruit [from use]; it shall be blocked from you [from use] for three years, not to be eaten.”

Hi, my name is Elaine and I chose a verse from the book of Leviticus (Vayikra). This phrase has always held an important significance in my life. At an early age, I brought my pennies to Hebrew school to buy a tree in Israel in honor of a family member. This was important to me. I knew I could make a difference and help support Israel by replenishing Her forests. I carry this special memory with me as I instill my love for Israel and my care of nature and others through my teaching.

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Galya Ferd

Hebrew Reading Specialist- Galya Ferd

Morah Galya’s favorite verse from the Torah is from the book of Genesis (Beresheet) Chapter 2; Verse 18: “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man is alone.’”

Hi, my name is Galya and I chose a verse from the book of Genesis (Beresheet). I chose this passage because I think it is important for a person to have family, friends and people that understand you, love you, and share with you. Friendship is very valuable to people of all ages and in our Religious school we strive to foster an environment of friendship, community, and respect.

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Diana Pakdaman

Teaching Gan- Kindergarden- Diana Pakdaman

Morah Diana’s favorite verse from the Tanakh (Torah, Nevi'im, Ketuvim) is from the Book of Prophets (Nevi'im) in Chapter 3: “These two spies looked at the positive things they found in the new land of Israel, and everything in their lives became positive.”

Hi, my name is Diana and I chose a verse from the Book of Prophets. I always focus on the positive aspects of life and if life gives me lemons, I make sure to make lemonade. For that reason, this verse speaks to me. I believe that if you are positive, then good things will come your way. I always try to instill this message in my students. I look forward to a fantastic year to learn and to grow in a very positive way with my students.

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Elham Kashanirokh

Teaching Kitah Aleph-1st grade- Elham Kashanirokh

Morah Elham’s favorite verse from the Torah is from the book of Leviticus (Vayikra) Chapter 19; Verse 18: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Hi, my name is Elham and I chose a verse from the Book of Leviticus (Vayikra). As a teacher, I teach my students to love their neighbors as themselves and to love and to treat each other with respect. This is an important message that I follow and want to carry with me through each step of the journey of my life. I think it is crucial that we are positive role models for our children. When our actions are strong and show care, our children will follow our lead!

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Samantha Loveman

Teaching Kitah Aleph -1st grade - Samantha Loveman

Morah Samantha’s favorite verse from the Torah is from the book of Genesis (Beresheet) Chapter 1; Verse 31: “and God saw all that He had made, and found it very good.”

Hi, my name is Samantha and I chose a verse from the Book of Genesis (Beresheet). Before God rested, "He" completed "His" masterpiece. God assured us that everything "He" created was very good. As a teacher, I strive to look for the good and the positive in all of my students and to always encourage them to do their best (even before they take a break (rest)!).

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Debbi Yonesi

Teaching Kitah Bet-2nd grade- Debbie Younesi

Morah Debbie’s favorite verse from the Torah is from the book of Leviticus (Vayikra) Chapter 19 Verses 1-2: “You shall be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.”

Hi, my name is Debbie and I chose a verse from the book of Leviticus (Vayikra). I chose this verse because I believe that each and every one of us is special. I have been teaching for many years and I learned that my students are unique and special in their own way. I encourage my students to share their unique qualities with each other and with everyone. After all, we are all one spirit in different bodies- bound together by the Holy spirit of God! I am looking forward to a great year where we will all strive to be holy and unique in the image of God.

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Lida Dayan

Teaching Kitah Gimel (Third grade)- Lida Mohabber

Morah Lida's favorite verse from the Tanakh (Torah, Nevi'im, Ketuvim) is from Ketuvim (Writings), Proverbs, Chapter 24; Verse 16: "A righteous man falls down seven times and gets up."

Hi, my name is Lida and I chose a verse from the book of Proverbs. Life is all about the ability to never give up, even in the face of challenge. Growing up in Israel and coming to the United States as a young adult, I faced many challenges. Greatness is defined as getting up one more time even after you've fallen down. The Torah defines someone who is righteous as someone who keeps getting back up and does not give up. This is one important example I try to set for my students. I always want them to get back up, look forward and never give up!

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Frida Eytan

Frida Eytan - Kitah Gimel Teacher (3rd grade)

I am a teacher
I am a friendly person
I really love school

“Teachers who love teaching… teach children to love learning”
My goal as a teacher is to encourage children to love learning Torah, Judaism and Hebrew. Through experiences that are challenging, fun, loving and positive, the children learn and interact through a variety of activities, and find the joy in meaningful learning. I look forward to a year of tremendous growth & learning.

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Dina Dvir

Teaching Kitah Dalet-4th grade- Dina Dvir

Morah Dina’s favorite verse from the Torah is from the book of Genesis (Beresheet) Chapter 14; Verses 8-9: “Let’s not have a quarrel between me and you, and between my shepherds and yours, since we are brothers. If you choose left, I will go right. If you choose right, I will go left.”

Hi, my name is Dina and I chose a verse from the Book of Genesis (Beresheet). The words that Abraham spoke to his shepherds truly convey the way I look at life. I believe it is important to focus on the positive as much as possible and I model this message for my students. I also believe that if we need to "quarrel," we should challenge each other respectfully. We are all brothers (Jews) and when we disagree we can still ask each other questions and learn from different people. If we choose "left or right" we should always be considerate, kind and positive. This is what I think is living and learning in a community.

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Marcelle Kasheri

Teaching Kitah Dalet-4th grade- Marcelle Kasheri

Morah Marcelle’s favorite verse from the Tanakh (Torah, Nevi'im, Ketuvim) is from the Book of Prophets Chapter 1; Verses 5-6: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not fail you or forsake you.”

Hi, my name is Marcelle and I chose a verse from the book of Prophets. I strongly believe that God is present in our lives as God was there with Moses. These words were told to Joshua upon becoming the leader of the Israelities (after the death of Moses), leading them to the Land of Israel, the land that was promised to Avraham, Yetzhak and Yaakov. As a teacher, I want my students to know that God is a living God, Eretz Yisrael is an integral part of our lives and that miracles are still happening in the world, if we only open our eyes to see them. I think it is very important to learn about our ancestors (le Dor V Dor). We should learn about and from Joshua and Moses and become a strong nation together!

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Teaching Kitah Hay-5th grade-Na’aseh- Sam Rotenberg

Moreh Sam’s favorite verse from the Torah is from the book of Leviticus (Vayikra) Chapter 19; Verse 14: “Do not put a stumbling block before the blind.”

Hi, my name is Sam and I chose a verse from the book of Leviticus (Vayikra). The fact that we are commanded to look out for those who need the most help is what makes our tradition so powerful. To me, teaching is about being aware of the needs of the class and taking time to assess the needs of each student to make sure the whole class is successful.


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Sarit Fried

Teaching 6th grade- Sarit Fried

Morah Sarit's favorite verse from the Torah is from the book of Numbers (Bamidbar) Chapter 3; Verses 1-2: "These are the offspring of Aaron and Moses...These are the names of Aaron's sons."

Hi, my name is Sarit and I chose a verse from the book of Numbers (Bamidbar). Rashi points out that it only mentions Aaron's sons and not Moses,' yet it calls them the offspring of Moses. This is because Moses taught them Torah and whoever teaches Torah to another it is as if he has fathered him. Parents give physical life to a child and teachers help instill that life with even more purpose and meaning. Being taught how to live a life with purpose and meaning is creating and fathering that life. So too, I consider my job as a teacher that of a mother's and it is a great honor. At the beginning of each school year I look forward to meeting my new "children" (students). I embrace this amazing opportunity to help "raise" them in the Torah way.

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Mary Frank

Teaching 6th Grade Na’aseh- Abram Goodstein

Abram's favorite verse from the Torah comes from the book of Exodus Chapter 18 Verses 17-24. "Moses heeded his father-in-law and did just what he said."

My name is Abram and I chose this verse because it contains Jewish themes of compassion, humility, and responsibility. Moses finds himself as the sole judge over Israel, but is having a hard time doing it alone. Jethro, his Father-in-law, offers some advice suggesting that Moses delegate judgment to other trustworthy Israelites who can share the responsibility. Moses, who is a great man and who could easily let that greatness go to his head, receives Jethro's advice humbly. While Jethro gives his advice compassionately to Moses. As students and teachers we will find ourselves in both Moses and Jethro's position and their interaction teaches us to receive our education humbly and give our advice compassionately. This verse also teaches us that we can't do this alone. As Jews we all share the responsibility of teaching and learning with each other as both student and teacher.

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Mary Frank

Mary Frank- GAN TA (Kindergarten TA)

Children our future
Teaching is joyful music
We teach they prosper

One of the most important and valuable lessons that my mother taught me was that in order to be successful in life it is important to have an education. It is our job to ensure that our children are learning Jewishly and are able to reach their fullest potential and grow in this world. Just like we must water plants for them to grow, so too we must educate our children in a loving manner in order for them to prosper in life.

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Tirza Volkmer

Tirza Volkmer - TA 3rd Grade

Land of Yisrael
Understanding who we are
Through Zionism

I was fortunate to be born and raised in Israel with my brothers and sisters. Israel is the heart, soul and essence of our family. Through our parents actions and ways they imparted upon us a true love of the land, and this helped us understand who we really are. My husband and I continue to instill this into our son and I hope to share this Zionism with my students as well. For generations and generations, we the Jewish people, have had a connection to the land as the land tells the story of thousands of years of our history. We continue to fight today to stand up for what is our heritage and the eternal home of the Jewish people. The responsibility of maintaining the Jewish State of Israel is the responsibility of all Jews. Not only is it our responsibility but it is our delight, as it is a land rich with landscapes of mountains, seas, snow and deserts. It is a land miraculously cultivated to farm, grow and sustain its people. I aim to bring my students this love of Israel, a love of Hashem, and a love of the Torah.

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Michelle Green Willner

Dr. Michelle Green Willner- Sinai Youth Choir Director

A song of praises,
A song to uplift and stir
Our love of Torah

It is uplifting for me, as a choral conductor, to teach children to love G-d and Torah through music. I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity. Needless to say, I can’t wait to connect with Sinai’s children through music—both of my own creation and through the great Jewish musical catalogue. So come along—the joy of singing is really infectious!

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SamanthaWitman

Samantha Witman- Na’aseh Teacher

Passion for teaching
Connecting with my students
Mother and teacher

My name is Samantha and I am very excited to be teaching at Sinai. This will be my eighth year as a Sinai teacher. I have a passion for teaching and love the relationship I share with my students. I feel I learn as much from them as they learn from me, and believe it is a relationship of reciprocity. I have a Masters in Middle Eastern History as well as a Masters in Jewish Education. I lived in Israel for four years as well as spending lots of time in Lebanon teaching peace and conflict resolution. I have spent the past few years being a mother to my daughter Emmanuelle, and just recently had another little girl named Juliette. I find being a mother incredibly rewarding but I still have a thirst for the classroom. I can’t wait to return and meet my new students.

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Lindsay Roller

Teaching Kitah Hay - 5th grade pod teacher – Lindsay Roller

Morah Lindsay’s favorite verse from the Torah is from the book of Exodus (Shemot) Chapter 15; Verse 2: “The Eternal's strength and His vengeance were my salvation.”

Hi, my name is Lindsay and I chose a verse from the book of Exodus (Shemot). I chose this verse because it lines up with my Hebrew name Etziona and I love the song that goes with it. It is a calming song and reassuring verse, which I keep in mind while I teach. I am especially drawn to it because I do feel like it is important to have a rock in my life, whether that rock is God, a friend or my family. There are always people there for me in the same way that I like to be there for my students, family and friends.

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Rabbi Penina Alexander

Rabbi Penina Alexander- Kitah Zayin Teacher (7th grade)

What is our Torah?
Life lessons, black fire on white
Loving your neighbor.

I went to rabbinical school out of a desire to learn and live Judaism deeply as well as broadly. Since ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2009, I have worked hard to show my students that we have the opportunity to live and breathe Torah through every interaction we have with another human being and that every physical act can be made a holy and spiritual one as well. I am very excited to learn with the students at Sinai and help them discover the Torah in the world around them and the Torah that lives within their hearts. I believe that it is our job as Bnai Yisrael, children of Israel, to wrestle with our tradition, asking difficult questions that lead to more and more difficult ones in order to find meaning. It is that curiosity and questioning that is at the heart of our studies this year. I look forward to a challenging and inspiring year ahead!

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torah This Week's Torah Portion: Parashat Devarim
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Sinai Temple is a partnership between its clergy, staff, lay leaders and devoted members who are committed to supporting the tradition and vision of Sinai Temple. Your gift to Sinai Temple will enable us to continue these holy tasks for years to come. Thank you for helping us to bring our history, our beliefs and our promise to a new generation.
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