Temple Teens heading to Israel
Welcome to Temple Tiferet Shalom!
Your Reform Jewish Home
We are a warm and vibrant congregation based in the Reform Jewish tradition. Here you will find a welcoming and inclusive community of spirituality, comfort, and life-long learning for individuals and families. We have a culture of engaging in Jewish life through prayer, study, celebration, and social action to make our world a better place.
A Statement from Rabbi Evan Sheinhait and TTS President, Bryna Musuira
Hamas’s attacks in Israel this week have left Jews around the world in a state of grief, anger, and mourning.
In all moments of life, Temple Tiferet Shalom supports its members, our local and national communities, and Jewish communities in Israel and around the world.
In the coming weeks, and for as long as this conflict continues, our Temple is here to support you and your family through constructive dialogue and prayer.
For ways to support Israel during this difficult time, please visit the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ’s) article entitled “How You Can Support Israel During This Time of Great Tragedy and Mourning,” at https://urj.org/blog/how-you-can-support-israel-during-time-great-tragedy-and-mourning.
Rabbi Evan Sheinhait
When creating their celebration of sustenance, the Puritan settlers of Massachusetts Colony looked to the Bible for inspiration. For once, Leviticus struck as useful and pertinent as God describes the fall harvest festival: the bounty of a land filled with God's blessing, the praise for reaching this new opportunity of well being and life, the abundance of produce (lulavs, etrogs, and pumpkins, oh my!). The Pilgrims modeled their day of thanksgiving after the biblical description of Sukkot. As our American holiday of Thanksgiving developed, it held on to its biblical origins.
For us, Sukkot is still a day to give thanks. Sukkot is known as the holiday of happiness, as the Torah actually commands us to feel joy. While I am definitely still fatigued from Yom Kippur, Sukkot brings me immense joy. The rituals of our fall harvest inspire us to gather with loved ones and be joyful of the changing seasons. We build a Sukkah, our temporary dwelling, that needs multiple hands to put up. We have wonderful meals with loved ones. We welcome in the ushpizin, guests both ancient and modern, to offer us inspiration and blessing. As we begin our new year, we have the wonderful opportunity to give thanks. May the joy and thanks-giving of Sukkot be with you during the week of Sukkot and throughout the year ahead! Chag sameach!
Rabbi Evan (he/him)
Bryna Rosen Misiura
It is with gratitude that I thank every person who was involved in our High Holy Days preparation, services, and celebration. In the spirit of that coming together, it seems appropriate to print the speech I gave on Yom Kippur morning:
Good morning and yom tov!
It is my pleasure to welcome everyone this morning to our morning Yom Kippur service – both in our beautifully renovated sanctuary and on StreamSpot. It is a time-honored tradition in Temples around the country for Presidents to make an annual Kol Nidre appeal.
Last year, the focus of my appeal was on the building project, where we were, and plans to re-open our Temple. This year, I want to talk about a new theme -- “One Jewish Congregation Family United.”
In the past few years, we have seen unparalleled change at Temple Tiferet Shalom. The first change was the complete renovation of our building. That project started in 2018 and was complete in the first quarter of 2023. Through the leadership of David Yazel, Rachel Zalvan, and a Renovation and Fundraising committee, and with the help of generous donations, we took a 55 year old, worn-out building, brought it up to code, made it ADA-accessible, and made it beautiful. The result was beautiful and will benefit our community long into the future.
The second major change was a change of Rabbinic leadership. With Rabbi Kudan’s departure in 2022, we welcomed Rabbi Evan for our High Holidays last year, and then formally as our official spiritual leader on January 1, 2023. A Rabbi is essential to a Jewish community -- in guiding us not only through every Shabbat and year-round through the holidays, but also in counseling and leading us through our most important life events, be they happy or sad.
A new Rabbi was no doubt a big change, but what a wonderful blessing Rabbi Evan has been to us, reaching out across the community to get to know congregants, and holding community meetings in different towns. He has become very involved in getting to know our Pre-School and Religious School youth and families and is bringing fresh ideas and initiatives to post-B’nai mitzvah education through J School. In fact, Rabbi Evan brings fresh ideas, energy, and an innovative approach to every aspect of his role.
As if renovating our building and retaining a new rabbi were not enough change, 2023 has brought a change in music to our community. Not long after Rabbi Evan joined us, we learned that our beloved Music Director, Bryna Toder Tabasky, who had generously agreed to stay on a few extra years while we underwent those changes, really was ready for a well-deserved retirement after serving our community for 63 years. But now, the conundrum: how do fill the vacuum of extraordinary talent and experience left by Bunny? The answer is that it is impossible, but that doesn’t mean that there are not opportunities to develop and have beautiful music at Temple Tiferet Shalom. So, with that, we began to search for a cantorial soloist or intern. We are so very lucky to have found Lisa Schnapper, a cantorial student from Hebrew College, who started with us on September 1st and will be with us through the spring of 2024. That, combined with our very talented prayer leader, Gary Gillette, and his guitar, and with the anticipated special guest appearances by Bryna Toder Tabasky (and I hope the choir), will be a great start to a new generation of music.
That’s not it for change. Change has touched so many other facets of our community:
A new website developed by Lisa Cohen;
a new, dependable Wifi and computer network – led by David Yazel and Josh Goldstein;
new conference room technology being installed for hybrid events;
a new bulletin format by Jodi Coburn.
Friends, our technology is moving into the 21st century.
We are also seeing great programming by our Sisterhood and the resurgence of activity in our Brotherhood. Next month, we hope to start a 20s group to welcome back the children of Temple members to get them back involved with the Temple.
So much change has the capacity to divide or unite a community. Do we do things the old way or the new way? At every juncture, there is more than one path to take. How do you make everyone feel included when change is occurring?
I can tell you this -- there has never been a time in our Jewish history that staying united as a community and promoting Jewish education has been more important. Over the past ten years, we have seen a dramatic rise in antisemitism. The ADL this year reported the highest number of antisemitic incidents in the United States EVER RECORDED. That was a 36% increase over 2022, with campus and school incidents up nearly 50% and 91 bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions. Since 2013, there has been a 492% increase in reported antisemitism incidents, going from 751 in 2013 to 3,697 in 2022.
We’ve been a consolidated community for – believe it or not – eight years now, since 2015. Temple Tiferet Shalom is the result of a blending of two Reform communities with most that was similar, but some traditions that were not. Everyone in this community is important and has a place. I have come to love people across this community, regardless of where they come from. I don’t care where the next great idea comes from; I am just grateful to receive great ideas.
This is the time for our community to unite – to be strong and invincible – and together to forge our collective future. This will require everyone to give a little, and it may take some of us out of our comfort zone. I ask you all to be open-minded in thinking about how things are done. The world is changing around us. We may need to reach people in new ways. Who knew five years ago that we would be having hybrid events? The goal unquestionably is to serve our Jewish community well and to grow it for the next generation.
In the next few months, Rabbi Evan and I, along with Temple leadership, will be returning to finalize our Five-Year Mission Statement. Where do we hope to be in five years? What demonstrable goals do we want to achieve? Last year, we discussed having Temple Tiferet Shalom be the center of Reform Jewish learning, worship, social interaction, and tikkun olam on the North Shore, the hub of Reform Jewish activity. This still sounds wonderful, but we will be asking for additional input as we embark on this together.
So, here comes the ask! We need your help. Please consider making a financial donation to the Temple during this High Holiday season. Every year, the President’s Yom Kippur Appeal generates income for the Temple that makes a big difference in our operations! In my years here, there has never been a year without unexpected expenses. Whether it’s replacing a refrigerator, cutting down trees so their leaves don’t cause roof leaks, unusual snow removal costs during a particularly snowy winter, or solving some other problem, your donation matters. One of my big wishes is to improve sound technology in this sanctuary, which was pieced together with used equipment and essentially duct tape by our resident genius, Mike Ardai. Another wish is to improve our Temple management software, Temple Tracker, which is so old that it can’t be updated. So, my friends, your donations do make a difference!
Here’s the second ask. We know your lives are busy and that you have many places to go and volunteer your time. I want this Temple to be relevant and important in your life. I’d love to return to the model when the Temple was the center of life for Jewish families, like it was in the 1950’s. This requires us to provide programming and learning opportunities that matter to you. To do that, we need your help. We need your ideas and your time. You don’t have to serve on a major committee to make an impact. If you volunteer for one or two small, short-term projects or events, that will make a big difference. So, please, if you have an idea for an event that you think our community would enjoy doing, and you are willing to do a little coordinating, just let Rabbi Evan or anyone on the Executive Committee know about it. Again, you do not need to make a major investment of time to make a difference.
With that, I wish you all a L’shana tova. G’mar chatimah tova. May you be sealed in the Book of Life for a good New Year.
Bryna Rosen Misiura
President, Temple Tiferet Shalom