January 2015

Presidents' Message

Our Synagogue board of directors and trustees as well as many volunteers have been very busy these past few months.  As you are aware, our Synagogue building and parking lot have been improved tremendously!   We invite  you to walk into our Religious School and see the new lighting in the classrooms.  We also have improved our lighting in the parking lot and the exterior of our building.  We thank everyone for all their support and patience throughout these repairs and improvements.

We hope to see everyone at our January 18 congregational meeting.  Items on the agenda include the approval of our Rabbi's contract, approval for  the 2015 proposed board of directors and trustees as well as reports from our Rabbi and officers and trustees.  

Lunch will be served at 12:30 and the meeting will being promptly at 1:15.

At our Shabbat Friday night service on January 23 we will have Saul Kaye, a pioneer of Jewish blues lead us in our Shabbat services.  You can learn more about Saul Kaye at www.saulkaye.com.   We will also have a mortgage burning celebration and the installation of our new board of directors/trustees.  

We hope you will join us for all of our activities and Shabbat services.  We wish everyone a very healthy wonderful secular new year!

Sandy and Debbie

Rabbi's Message

Many of you may remember the play, Our Town. It tells the story of a typical town and its small population, and it describes the inhabitants as they are born, grow up, fall in love, have families, and die. The recurring line through the play, is, "Do people ever realize Life while they live it?"

In other words, do people really realize how wonderful it is to be alive, while they are alive, while they are living out their lives? The answer the play gives, is, no, they do not. We seem to take life for granted and just go on about our business, day after day, whatever that may be.

Until we come to new years, holiday and life cycle event celebrations, that is. Or so i believe. I think that when we have the New Years of December 31st, and also of Rosh Hashanah, we cannot help but realize how we are moving through the years, and when our kids and our grandkids are born, and have their bar/bat mitzvahs, confirmations, and weddings, we get a reminder of how time flies, and how, truly, precious it is!

I think that this is why our New Years celebrations are so important, and why, for Jews, it is good that we get two such celebrations a year. The first one is our religious New Year. We really get to take a look at our lives, a solemn look, and work to improve our selves and the lives we are living. But we also get the New Year that just passed, which is a secular year, but it is, right or wrong or good or bad, the way we really mark time. Which number means more to us, 2015 or 5775? Most likely it is the former, because it is the numbering of our years we understand more inherently. And so, we celebrate the New secular year in addition to Rosh Hashanah, and that gives us an advantage. How? because twice each twelve months, we mark the passage of time, and this better helps us to "realize life while we live it."

As we enter the New secular Year, may each of us realize how wonderful life is, even as we are living it! And again, let me say that I hope that each of us has a happy, Healthy, prosperous, successful New secular Year!

Rabbi Stuart Federow

Acoustic Shabat Returns

Acoustic Shabbat returns on January 23 with a very special guest! Saul Kaye, the pioneer of Jewish blues, is coming to Congregation Shaar Hashalom to help us bring in the Sabbath Bride. Enjoy an evening of song, prayer, and peace. This is an event that is not to be missed. In addition to the great music, we will be installing our new Board of Directors and celebrating the paying off of our mortgage!

So bring your family, friends, and someone you just met to a service you won't soon forget. The service starts at 7:30 and stick around for a delicious catered Oneg. All are welcome. Come as you are!

Students celebrating Hanukkah!

Our little ones learning Hanukkah songs with our very own Acoustic Shabbat masterminds, Joe Buchanan and Doug Hoffman. Photos courtesy of Richard Lehman.


Sisterhood will have a fun night of making Kippahs with Bertha Woinsky being our leader and she will have some lovely ladies assisting her. The night is January 13th at 7:00 pm. Refreshments will be served. If you are interested in coming with either the one started last year, or you want to make a new one, give me a call at 281-286-6712. You can also email me at ljschwanke@gmail.com.

We also have our sisterhood Shabbat coming up on the 16th/17th of January as well, being put together by Debbie Anderson. Please come and join us as we lead the services for our congregation. If you would like a part, please contact Debbie Anderson. A delicious Oneg and Kiddush will follow.

February is quiet, but you should be getting your letter about Mishalot Manot bags that will be distributed in March. Sheilla Goldberg is leading the way with this project.

Take care and Happy Secular New Year.

Leslie and Risa

Yom Kippur Food Drive

Winner of the best decorated Kroger bag went to Alondra who received a Barnes & Noble gift certificate from Katy Izygon, CSH School Principal.