Message of Solidarity and Rabbi Cohen's Latest Blog
As we enter the Nine Days, the darkest days of the year for Klal Yisrael, we mourn the brutal murders of five Israelis, most of them in their twenties, and the violence done to over 20 others, in the Bulgarian resort city of Burgas. Their only intent was to find rest and relaxation; they sought to harm no one. They were attacked only because they were Israeli Jews, and Jews everywhere feel the pain.
We also express our deepest, most heartfelt condolences go out to the victims of this horrific crime and tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.
We send our thoughts, prayers and condolences to the victims and their families.
May G-d give them strength and comfort during this difficult time.
"How Stephen Covey's Words to Wasendorf Can Affect Our "Futures"
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Congregation Agudath Sholom
Torah on the Go
Are we making progress? We are at the mid point of the counting of the Omer but the critical question is whether we are making the days count. Are we nurturing and nourishing our souls?
The studying of Ethics of Our Fathers (Chabad.org) during this period reinforces our mission of personal development. As Peggy Noonan noted in her recent article, (Click here to read), "I think more and more people are worried about the American character-who we are and what kind of adults we are raising.
Every story that has broken through the past few weeks has been about who we are as a people. And they are all disturbing."
The world and we need Pirkei Avot, Ethics of our Fathers. Take a few moments, this Shabbat to study a selection from Chapter 3 and reflect on the relevant messages. Listen to a class posted below or find your own source of Torah inspiration to harness the gift of the Omer.
Wishing you and your families a wonderful Shabbat,
Rabbi Daniel Cohen
"The Tolerance and Turnaround of Lag B'Omer" SermonClick Here!Kedoshim-Navigating Peace and Principle-Parsha Perspective Class
This Week's Podcast:Parsha Acharei Mot/Kedoshim - Timely and TimelessClick Here! Prophets: Kings Chapter 8 - Humanity, Hubris & HolinessClick Here!
Stay in touch and feel free to forward the email. To be added to the Torah to Go email list, please send the address to
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301 Strawberry Hill Avenue, Stamford, CT (203) 358-2200
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Reflection and Podcast for Yom Ha'zikaron and Yom Ha'aztamut
As we commemorate Israel Remembrance Day and Independence Day, I would like share the inspiring story from my friend, Phillip Rosen as well as a podcast from a class on the theme of Israel.
Here is the link to the class entitled:
Fate vs.Destiny: A Biblical, Mystical and Personal Perspective on the State of Israel
Also,the article below:
My Uncle The Hero
Looking forward to seeing everyone tonight at our program at 7:00 pm.
Wishing everyone a Happy Yom Ha'atazmaut.
All the best,
Rabbi Daniel Cohen
Rabbi Daniel Cohen
Congregation Agudath Sholom
301 Strawberry Hill Ave, Stamford, CT 06902
Phone:203-358-2200 Fax: 203 358-2323
Life is a path and every holiday is a gateway to growth. What is in store for Purim? Most people associate the holiday with drinking, costumes, noise makers and the reading of the Book of Esther - the entire megillah.
In truth, though, Purim expresses some of the deepest secrets of Jewish Life. The roots of Purim trace back to the Garden of Eden with the story of the snake, Adam and Eve. According to tradition, the holiday of Purim, albeit today a minor festival, will be the greatest holiday we celebrate in the Messianic Age. What is the eternal relevance of this holiday?
Let's go a bit deeper. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year. Yet, Jewish mysticism teaches that Purim possesses the capacity to lift us to even greater spiritual heights? How is a holiday filled with revelry and partying imbued with the potential for such holiness?
The Purim season begins today with the new month of Adar. The highlights are the Fast of Esther which occurs on Wednesday, March 7th (from dawn until nightfall) and the holiday of Purim which commences on Wednesday evening, March 7th with the reading of the Book of Esther. The day of Purim consists of the fulfillment of the four mitzvoth of the day.
1. Hearing the Book of Esther in the evening and morning
2. Gifts to the Poor - Matanot LeEvyonim
3. Gifts to Your Friends - Mishloach Manot
4. Festive Purim Feast - Purim Seudah
The Six Secrets of Purim, beginning on Sunday, March 4th, will explore how each one of these mitzvoth serves as a vehicle to inspire us to rededicate our lives to a fundamental mission of Jewish life.
Join me on our special Purim edition of "40 Days to a Better You" as we unlock the secrets of this holiday. Sign up to receive the daily messages. Be in touch via email with your own Purim inspiration or questions about the holiday.
Looking forward! Wishing you and your families a Happy Adar and Purim!
On Friday night, March 2nd, Congregation Agudath Sholom is joining with synagogues throughout North America in sponsoring the 16th annual "Shabbat Across America," a nationwide effort coordinated by the National Jewish Outreach Program to share the beauty of Shabbat with unaffiliated Jews.
Our program will include a special Friday Carlebach Style Service and a tasty Shabbat dinner prepared catered by Kosh. Elana Stein Hain will be our scholar in residence, and will speak at the Friday night dinner and twice on Shabbat day.
We are grateful to Adam & Jessica Batkin for serving as event chairs and Andrew & Janet Bein for sponsoring our scholar in residence, in honor of Shabbat Across America
In the past, Shabbat Across America has been enormously successful at Agudath Sholom with 300 participants enjoying a truly beautiful Shabbat together in the social hall. This year, I hope we can equal or even surpass that total!
There are several ways to participate, and I urge everyone to be a part of this initiative.
Encourage participation in our Shabbat Across Americaprogram. Everyone has at least one Jewish friend, family member, co-worker, or someone you know who has not truly experienced Shabbat in a long time - if at all. Tell them about Shabbat Across America and urge them to participate.
We are also looking for "table hosts" to help familiarize the unfamiliar and add energy to the event. Being a host entails attending the dinner, working to establish a connection with those at your table, and sharing the beauty of Shabbat with fellow Jews, many of who want so very much to be part of the Jewish community, but have not yet felt that sense of welcome.
Can't join us? That's OK...you can still create your own Shabbat Across America in your home! While the communal event at CAS is a wonderful experience, please consider using Friday night, March 2nd as an opportunity in your home to share a Shabbat meal with those who may not ordinarily enjoy a meaningful Friday night. We all regularly enjoy the beauty of Shabbat, so let's share that beauty by opening our homes to those less familiar with the warmth of the holy day. If you're interested, I am happy to provide you with materials to help make your "Shabbat Across America: At Home Edition" the perfect opportunity for learning and inspiration.
As you can see, there is a Shabbat Across America opportunity for everyone: Whether you come to CAS, or participate at home; whether you recruit others or serve as a table host; whether you're 30 years old or 60 years old. Regardless of how you participate in Shabbat Across America, let us all commit to doing what we can to include as many people as possible in celebrating a more meaningful Shabbat on March 4th. How special it will be to fill up CAS, open our homes, and engage Jews of all ages!
The message below from a friend and colleague, Rabbi Ira Ebbin, rabbi of Congratoin Ohav Shalom in Merrick, NY offers a meaningful and inspiring reflection for Chanukah. Thank you to the Alexander's for forwarding the thought.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Shabbat and Happy Chanuakah!
I often refer to the week of Chanukah as Jewish Pride week. It is then, more than any other Holiday, where we promote our Jewish Identity in a very public fashion. Perhaps there is an underlying complex of being overshadowed by our "younger brothers" with their Holiday paraphernalia, but especially on years like this one when the two holidays coincide, I feel the need to overcompensate and "do Chanukah" in as big of a way as I can. The public Menorah lightings, like the one we had in front of Ohav this past Wednesday, are just one of the acts that enables us to sound our voice to the world and announce "ani Yehudi" I am a Jew.
As I shared with the nearly hundred people that gathered Wednesday Night, for so many years our ancestors were not able to wear their religion on their sleeve. They kindled their religion behind closed blinds, too intimidated to let their light shine outside, too apprehensive to draw attention to their light in a world that was filled with darkness. We must never under-appreciate the opportunity we have in this country that enables us to shine our lights brightly. We should share these lights with our brothers and sisters who don't appreciate the unique value beauty of the lights of our tradition. We should sing and sing loudly, proudly declaring that the lights of our people can and will never be extinguished.
Too bad Chanukah only lasts Eight days. We have a lot of work to do.