Congregational News & Events – April 2016

Posted on: March 30th, 2016 by tgregory

@ Sherith Israel

Collaborative effort brings generations together for hamantaschen bake

By Charles Bernsen

It was a messy job, but when it was done there were more than 1,000 hamantaschen, enough to earn a charitable donation of $1,000 from an anonymous donor.

Erika Shuman prepared the cookie dough for the recent multi-generational hamantaschen bake at Congregation Sherith Israel. And let’s just say there was a lot of it. 

“I don’t know for sure how much,” Shuman said. “But it’s probably over 100 pounds because I couldn’t carry it. I had to get the guys to bring it in.” 

Somewhere between 150 and 200 people – children, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents – spent two hours turning that dough into traditional triangle-shaped Purim cookies that filled more than 30 large baking sheets.  That was more than enough to meet the goal established by an anonymous benefactor who had pledged a $1,000 charitable donation if the bakers could produce 1,000 hamantaschen. 

“This is what happens when our community collaborates,” said Sara Hanai, who was there with her daughter, Ilana, and her mother, Marcia Satinsky.

Hanai is the coordinator for PJ Library, which sponsored the event along with the Nashville chapter of Hadassah, NowGen Nashville and Sherith Israel. 

Marica Satinsky (left), her daughter, Sara Hani, and granddaughter, Ilana Hanai, were among the many families with multiple generations at the multi-generational hamantaschen bake on March 6 at Congregation Sherith Israel. (Photos by Charles Bernsen)

Hadassah President Nili Friedman said the idea for the multi-generational bake came from a similar but smaller event held about 10 years ago in a private home. 

“Making hamantaschen is an activity that lends itself to all ages,” she said. In an email after the March 6 event, she said it achieved exactly what had been hoped: “We were able to bring together people of different ages, different backgrounds, different geographic locations through our four different organizations – all in the name of hamantaschen.”

The cookie dough was supplied by the sponsors, but participants brought their own fillings. Many of the bakers used traditional fruit fillings, but there were some more exotic concoctions that included M&Ms and jelly beans – and, of course, lots of chocolate. 

Satinsky and her granddaughter, Ilana, were making a special “Reese’s recipe” that included honey, peanut butter and chocolate chips. Asked why she was at the event, she gestured fondly to her granddaughter and said, “We’ve been doing this together since she was 2.” 

Vera Balter was there to “spend time with good people” and to learn to make hamantaschen herself. “I want to teach my grandchildren and I have to learn how to do it first.” 

While the participants ate a few of the cookies, most were refrigerated and served the following Saturday at the annual Hadassah Shabbat, which was hosted this year at Sherith Israel. •

@ Micah

The Sports Rabbi will be at Micah

Rabbi Josh Halickman, author and contributor to, will be at Micah from 10-noon on April 10 for a presentation about Israeli athletes, sports and the colorful history of Israel sports. 

The event is free and open to the public. 

The Sports Rabbi is a program that brings interactive presentations to children, youth and adults with the aim of creating connections with Israel, their favorite pastimes and Judaism. 

Micah and Temple hosting NFTY spring Kallah

Congregation Micah and The Temple are partnering to host the 2016 NFTY-Ohio Valley Spring Kallah in Nashville.  

Teens from all over the region will be in Nashville for a weekend of programming, fund and worship. The Friday evening worship service will be at The Temple and the Saturday morning service at Micah. 

Online registration is at

Levine to speak on April 10

Amy-Jill Levine, Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University, will speak on “The Messianic Era: The Afterlife” at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday, April 10th at Forest Hills United Methodist Church in an event co-sponsored with Congregation Micah.

A lunch preceding Levine’s presentation begins at 11:30 a.m. The church is at 1250 Old Hickory Blvd., Brentwood.

Micah Children’s Academy spring festival set for May 1

The annual Micah Children’s Academy Spring Festival will be from 3-6 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. 

The event will include musical performances of Beatles music by academy students, a food truck, face painting, bouncy house, photos with costumed characters, crafts, bubble stations and dance party. 

Advance tickets are $25 per family or $10 per individual ($25/$15 at the door). VIP tickets, which include reserved seating and fast passes, are $100 per family for three seats or $40 per individual 

Proceeds from ticket sales and a silent auction will help fund playscape renovations. •

@ Chabad

Rabbis Tiechtel and Strosberg will celebrate completion of Talmud tractate on April 22 

Rabbis Yitzchok Tiechtel of Congregation Beit Tefilah and Saul Strosberg of Congregation Sherith Israel will each celebrate a siyum, the completion of a tractate (section of the Talmud), this month at their respective synagogues. 

The two rabbis have been meeting weekly for the past four months to study Tractate Kritut, and will conclude the day before Passover. On Friday morning, April 22, just hours before the first seder, each rabbi will celebrate the siyum following morning services at his synagogue with a light snack that will serve as a seudat mitzvah (a meal marking the fulfillment of a mitzvah). 

It is a custom to arrange for a siyum on the day before Passover, when another tradition holds that firstborn sons must fast in thanksgiving for being spared from the 10th plague – the death of Egyptian firstborn sons. By being on hand to participate in the seudat mitzvah following the siyum, firstborn sons can free themselves of the obligation to fast for the rest of the day.  •

Tiechtels will lead Nashville group to Brooklyn for Chabad’s second Shabbat in the Heights 

Rabbi Yitzchok and Esther Tiechtel will lead a group from Nashville next month to the second shabbaton in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn that is home to the Chabad Lubavitch headquarters.

“Living in Nashville and working in the community for more than 18 years makes Nashville home,” said Rabbi Tiechtel. “But a big piece of my heart is always in Crown Heights where I grew up, and I can’t wait to share it with my friends from the Nashville community.”

Last year more than 120 people from Jewish communities across the nation attended the first Shabbat in the Heights. This year’s shabbaton is scheduled for May 13-15. It will include guest lecturers and study groups focusing on the life and teachings of Menahem Mendel Schneersohn, known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, as well as guided tours of his synagogue, office and home. The weekend also offers opportunities to enjoy authentic Jewish cuisine and traditional Hasidic entertainment. 

To learn more about Shabbat in the Heights, go to to or call Nashville Chabad at (615) 646-5750. •

@ West End

Beginning Their Jewish Education 

West End Synagogue’s religious school, Beit Miriam, held its 64th consecration ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 28 to celebrate members of the first grade class, Kitah Aleph, beginning their formal Jewish education. The children learned the Aleph Bet and have begun learning about the Torah. This year’s consecration theme – Why Mount Sinai? – focused  on why God chose Mount Sinai as the location where Moshe would receive the Ten Commandments and deliver them to the Jewish people. The Midrash in Tehillim (Psalms) 68:9 teaches that all of the mountains tried to convince God why they should to be chosen.  Kitah Aleph students shared the midrash with the whole Beit Miriam kehillah and many other WES congregants. Members of the 2016 consecration class are Jack Isaac Barocas, son of Daniel and Adina Barocas; Jonah Chock Bendell, son of William and Johanna Bendell; Jacob Brayden Berkon, son of Brian and Julie Berkon; Molly Rose Cloutier, daughter of Marc and Valerie Cloutier, Jacob Lee Karlin, son of Nathaniel and Erin Karlin, Iara Kullock, daughter of Rabbi Joshua and Jessica Kullock; Lilly Samantha Lapidus, daughter of Brian and Kimberly Lapidus; Ilyana Lubovich, daughter of Ron and Netta Lubovich; Daphne Wren Polyn, daughter of Sean and Joanna Polyn, and Samuel James Sparks, son of Jason and Abigail Sparks. (Photo by Jennifer Hosney)

Program gives kids and parents tools and motivation to embrace joy of Shabbat

Nili Friedman guides Beit Miriam students as they design a frame for the Shabbat children’s blessing as part of Shabbat Just Do It! (Photos by Emily Ress Grove)

Beit Miriam, the religious school at West End Synagogue, tries to vary the curriculum on religious holidays each year so that students and their families are stimulated, excited and challenged. This year, the students’ experience included the program “Shabbat Just Do It!”

“When thinking about which holiday has the most power to make an impact on our lives as Jews, we thought, ‘SHABBAT!’” said Sharon Paz, director of lifelong learning at West End.   “It comes every week. Twenty-five hours of time away from work, devoted to being with family, three delicious meals and time to express gratitude to God for all that we have and for each other for the things we do for each other all week…it could truly be a gift for our families.”

The goal of Shabbat Just Do It was to give families both the tools and motivation to bring Shabbat into their lives each week. The program was held Sunday morning Jan. 31 and began with an assembly in which everyone was treated to a short, time-lapsed Shabbat experience, including songs, that reflected the mood from Friday evening through Saturday afternoon as Shabbat wanes.  Families were then handed program cards that guided them on a Shabbat journey: They learned the art of challah braiding from three challah mavens and sampled several recipes provided by Erika Shuman. They made Shabbat candles and completed a kosher candle quiz designed by Joanna Brichetto. The made picture frames for the parental blessing of children and a version of “Eshet Chayil” for kids to sing to their parents. They made and sampled cholent, a traditional Sabbath stew.  

Middle School students grooving with Kari Spieler singing the popular Beit Miriam Shabbat song “Ivdu Et Hashem.”

“Stanley, our 1-year old, had his first taste of cholent and could not get enough,” said Rachel Sobel. “Our other children loved learning about the different types of Jewish candles and making delicious homemade challah.  It truly was an amazing morning.”

There were several optional enrichment activities like making besamim (spice) bags, setting a Shabbat table and telling Shabbat stories.  All families ended the Shabbat journey together in a school-wide Havdalah ceremony led by the ninth graders in a darkened room complete with three stars and a moon. 

“It was amazing participating as family in all of the different phases of Shabbat,” said Brian Lapidus, Beit Miriam co-chair and father of two students, Lilly and Max. “From listening to Kari Spieler of Swear and Shake take a new approach on Shabbat songs to braiding challah, we had a terrific time.”  

Each family left with decorated Shabbat bag, a Shabbat Seder guide, a bottle of grape juice, two challot, Shabbat candles, a Havdalah candle, plus recipes for making challah and cholent.

Shabbat Just Do It! was underwritten by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. •