Looking Forward in 5778 at TOL*OLS

We are very enthusiastic about beginning the New Year under the spiritual guidance of our new Rabbi, Jeffrey Myers. No summertime lull for Rabbi Myers, who spent the past month moving to Pittsburgh, davening with the morning minyonnaires, leading Shabbat services, meeting his peers in the East End rabbinic community, and preparing to hit the ground running once the high holidays are upon us and everyone is back in town and in shul.


Youthful voices in our beautiful building bring with them a terrific energy, as our Religious School begins another year under the supervision of our wonderful principal, Karen Morris.  This is Karen’s fifth year at TLC and the school continues to provide a high quality of education from kindergarten through the seventh grade.  A grant from the Martin and Sylvia Snow Foundation will fund a new program this year called “Mishpacha and Me” (“Family and Me”) for families with young children through age five.  Facilitated by Carin Bendas, the families will explore Jewish values and heritage along with dance and songs.  Our new Rabbi, Jeffrey Myers, has even promised to play a significant role in this program!  It’s fun for all those who participate and is excellent preparation for kindergarten.  The school also continues to enjoy unprecedented financial support from revenues generated by the Youth Calendar. Thank you to those who contributed to this very worthy effort, and please show your support by patronizing the businesses who advertise with us.


The cycle of holidays continues after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with Sukkot.  Traditionally we gather for a Friday night service and a pot luck dinner in the beautiful courtyard Sukkah.  And then we take it back inside as the weather turns cooler for Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, where we celebrate the conclusion – and restart – of the annual Torah-reading cycle.


With Chanukah to follow and Tu Bishvat, Purim, Passover and Shavuot in the spring, the big picture of the annual order of holidays is clear. I warmly invite you to participate in our holiday events because that’s one of the major ways our community maintains itself.  But take a closer look at our previously mentioned Youth Calendar that you’ll find in your High Holiday packets. You’ll notice there aren’t just annual cycles, but also daily, weekly and monthly cycles.  On a daily basis, our morning minyonnaires lead services at 7:30 am, Monday through Friday. Many of our congregants come to appreciate this heartiest of groups because of its members’ important role in supporting them during a Yahrtzeit observance or as they mourn the recent loss of a loved one.


The weekly cycle occurs on Friday and Saturday. Friday evening’s Kabalat Shabbat service in the Pervin Chapel is a great way to transition from the stress of the work week to the repose of Shabbat. Shabbat services the next morning at 9:45 am include a Kiddush luncheon. After our Sunday morning 9 am service we enjoy a breakfast sponsored by our Men’s Club - women welcome! Rosh Chodesh, the celebration of the arrival of each new month, provides a monthly touchstone to our lives.


As we sit in synagogue during this coming High Holidays and contemplate the ups and downs of our past year and think about what the new 5778 cycle will bring, let’s also think about how we keep our community going on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. And the best thing is that you can jump in and join us at any point! We’d love to have you and I know you’ll enjoy the spiritual and social benefits of time spent within the TOL*OLS community and getting to know our new rabbi. He is settling into his synagogue office – feel free to call, email or stop by to introduce yourself and make him feel welcome in the TOLOLS community.


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