Current Newsletter
for the week of:
December 8th 2017

  ​Sholem Aleichem!

Sholem aleichem!  

Today is the 20th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, 5778.  (Chankukah begins on the 25th of Kislev.)

Shabbat on St Croix this week begins at 5:26 pm.
A summary of this week's Torah portion is found below.

It's almost CHANUKAH!   The first night of the festival is this Tuesday night, December 12.
Here are the blessings for lighting the Chanukah candles:

And here's a detailed refresher course in candle-lighting, complete with illustrations (Remember: load from the right, light from the left):

How to Light a Chanukah Menorah
The most central feature of the Jewish Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah, is the Chanukiya, or Hanukkiah. (It is commonly referred to as a Menorah, but this is incorr...
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Our Community Chanukah Party is a week from tonight, on Friday night December 15th (the 4th night of Chanukah) at 5:30  place at the Temple.  It's been a long time since our Community has gathered together in celebration.   Plan to be there!
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The Congregation will provide latkes and fixins'.  
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Please bring a dish to share. (What goes well with latkes?  Perhaps a family recipe -- something your bubbie made?)  Oh --- and don't forget your menorah!
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Will you be needing candles?
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Please let Ellie know ( / 340-643-0707).  Thanks to Aan for bringing them from New York!
Note from Rabbi Marna:
Oh, how I will miss celebrating with you all this Chanukah!
One other name for Chanukah is  חג האורים /Chag haUrim / "the Festival of Lights."  At precisely the darkest time of the year (the darkest time in the moon's monthly cycle, when the days are at their shortest [at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere!], we light candles!  And every night, we light one more!  We watch the light increase!  Better: we CAUSE light to increase!  A particularly apt image this year: may we model for WAPA the return of the light!  And may each of us, in more symbolic ways, continue to bring more light into our world!
Feeling playful?  Here are instructions for playing Dreidel:
This week's Torah portion is Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23.  

Jacob makes an ornamented tunic [known in popular culture as the "coat of many colors"] for Joseph, his favorite son.  His other sons, seeing that Joesph is favored, are jealous. Joseph has two dreams in which he appears to have supremacy over his family.  He relates these dreams to his brothers, which serves to increase their anger toward him.
At Jacob's request, Joseph goes to meet his brothers in Dothan where they are grazing their father's flock.  Before Joseph reaches them, they plot to kill him.  Reuben asks them not to kill him, but instead to throw him into a pit.  (Reuben plans to rescue Joseph later.)  The brothers cast Joseph into a pit, taking his coat.  Then, unbeknownst to Reuben, they sell Joseph to some merchants who take him to Egypt and there sell him to Potiphar, an Egyptian noble.
The portion digresses to the story of Judah [another of Jacob's sons] and Tamar.  [This is another one you didn't learn in Hebrew school.]  When his eldest son Er dies, Judah gives Tamar, his daughter-in-law, to his second son Onan as a wife, in order to ensure offspring for his dead son.  Onan shirks his obligation to procreate with Tamar, and, as divine punishment, he also dies.  Tamar, now twice widowed, has a claim on Judah's third son, Shelah.  But Shelah is still a lad and needs time to mature.  Tamar waits, but Judah reneges on his promise.  Tamar, the righteous widow, dresses as a harlot and deceives Judah into having sexual relations with her.  She becomes pregnant by him and bears twins, thus preserving her dead  husband's line.
The narrative now returns to Joseph in Egypt.  Potiphar entrusts his entire house and holdings to Joseph.  Potiphar's wife tries to seduce Joseph, but Joseph spurns her.  In retaliation, she accuses Joseph of attempting to rape her.  Joseph is imprisone.  Yet even in prison Joseph is successful, and is put in charge of all the prisoners.
In this prison are Pharaoh's cupbearer and baker, each of whom has committed offenses against Pharaoh.  Each has a dream which Joseph interprets.  As Joseph foretells, the cupbearer is restored to his former position, while the baker is executed.  Joseph asks the cupbearer to remember him --- but he is forgotten. 
[Adapted from Teaching Torah: A Treasury of Insights and Activities, by Sorel Goldberg Loeb and Barbara Binder Kadden.]

Shabbat shalom!  And chag sameach!  A bright and happy Chanukah!






Rabbi Marna Sapsowitz