Congregational News & Events – January 2018 issue

Posted on: December 30th, 2017 by tgregory

@ Chabad

Kabbalah-based course: steps to fulfillment 

Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel hopes a six-step program offered through Chabad of Nashville will give participants a road map to a life of individual fulfillment resulting in better homes and communities.

“People struggle every day to understand themselves and find inner peace,” says Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel of Chabad of Nashville. “They’ve been through every book in the self-help aisle and they visit their therapist or confide in friends to sort through their feelings.” Concludes Rabbi Tiechtel, “What people really need is a guide to help them navigate their own complexity, and the Kabbalah has provided these tools for centuries.”

This month, Chabad of Nashville is proud to launch Soul Maps, an ancient yet innovative approach to human psychology. Soul Maps is structured as a six-step program, utilizing tools from the Kabbalah to help participants understand themselves and find inner contentment. The course is based on Tanya, an eighteenth-century book that made the previously esoteric teachings of Kabbalah practical, relevant, and accessible.

“The soul drives us to be good people, but there is a lot of static, interference.” Soul Maps will help people from all walks of life learn about themselves and find their way through their own complexities. “Everybody has a spark of God in them,” Rabbi Tiechtel said.

The goal is for students to leave the program with tools they can use every day to resolve guilt, conflict and confusion with a positive attitude.

Soul Maps is designed for people at all levels of Jewish knowledge, and participants don’t have to have any prior experience or background in Jewish learning to attend and enjoy this course. Additionally, all courses at Chabad are open to the entire Jewish community and people do not need to be a member of any particular synagogue or temple in order to attend. 

The course will be offered for five Tuesdays starting Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Register at or by calling (615) 480-4731. The course costs $59 if registered by Jan. 7, and includes the student textbook.  Local community members are welcome to register for the course and sample the first lesson free of charge, with no obligation to continue further.


Scholar-in-residence weekend

Rabbi Marvin Tokayer

Noted scholar and historian Rabbi Marvin Tokayer will be the scholar in residence at Chabad of Nashville on the weekend of Jan. 12-14. Rabbi Tokayer was Japan’s longest-serving rabbi and continues to travel on unknown roads that reveal the history of our people in Asia. 

The weekend is made possible through a grant from the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. All the events are free, though those who want to attend are requested to RSVP at  For more information call (615) 646-5750, or go to

The weekend begins on Friday, Jan. 12, at 6:30 p.m. with a Kabbalat Shabbat service, followed by a sit-down Shabbat dinner with Rabbi Tokayer. His after-dinner talk is titled “Pepper, Silk and Ivory: The Exotic Jews of China, Japan and India.”

On Shabbat morning, Jan. 13, at 11 a.m., Rabbi Tokayer will present the sermon on the history of the “The Fugu Plan: The Heroic Escape to Japan and China during the Holocaust.” This will be followed by a sit-down Shabbat lunch.

On Sunday morning, Jan. 14, at 10 a.m., participants are invited to join Rabbi Tokayer for breakfast as he presents a talk on “The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel – The Oriental Mystery.” 

Rabbi Tokayer studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary and received his Orthodox Rabbinic ordination in 1962. He served as United States Air Force Chaplain in Japan. Upon discharge from the military he returned to Tokyo to serve for eight years as the rabbi for the Jewish Community of Japan. For many years he was the only rabbi living in Japan and served as the Vice President and Director of Culture, Religion and Education for the Jewish Communities of the Far East. 

He has written 20 books in Japanese, including several bestsellers; discovered literally the last of the Chinese Jews; located a long-lost Jewish cemetery in Nagasaki; contributed to the Encyclopedia Judaica; acted as a bridge for many travelers between East and West; served the needs of his congregation; and became spellbound by the threads of a story he began piecing together. His investigation of the facts took him throughout Asia, to Israel and Washington D.C. as he searched for documents and tracked down the people, both Jewish and Japanese, who had taken part in the rescue of Jews from the Holocaust. 


@ Sherith Israel

Annual fundraiser in honor of ‘double-chai’ members of 36+ years 

On Jan. 21, Sherith Israel’s 2018 fundraiser will honor those stalwart members who joined in 1982 or earlier. As always, we will have a cocktail hour and a lovely dinner. Our program will highlight the reminiscences of some of our longtime members – you’ll laugh, you’ll cry as you learn more about the history of the Shul and some of its personalities.

We will also be holding a silent auction with many terrific items available: catered meals, babysitting services, concert tickets, kosher food items, etc. 

You can reserve your spot and make your donation on the website under Donations and Reservations. For more information, please call the shul office, (615) 292-6614.


Macabeenies Music Class and Play Space

Macabeenies Music Class and Play Space continues to meet the first and third Sundays in January. Karen Daniels, local musician and songwriter, will share fun Jewish music – both traditional and her own original compositions. Kids will have time to get their energy out bouncing on toys, crawling through tunnels, playing with the parachute and more. 

Families throughout the community with children age 6 months to pre-K are invited to sing, dance, bounce, and celebrate with us! Macabeenies will meet on Sundays, Jan. 7 and 21, from 10-11 a.m., downstairs in the Playspace at Sherith Israel. Free! Email Cara at or connect on Facebook with any questions. 


Sherith Community Melave Malke Series 

Sherith Israel continues its monthly community melave malke series in January. A melave malke is a celebration that extends the joy of Shabbat for just a bit longer. What better way to do that than in the warm homes of our community members? For more details about the date, timing, and location of this community melave malke dessert and social gathering, see, or contact Cara at


@ Micah

Didactic Shabbat (Learning Service) – Jan. 6

This Saturday morning Shabbat experience is an opportunity to learn about the prayers and choreography of the service. Why do we say what we say? Why do we stand or sit for certain prayers? Come get all of your questions answered and spend a beautiful morning with us in the sanctuary praying and singing and building informed community.


Social Action Week – Jan. 7-15

Social Action Week will promote tikkun olam for every individual and family, leading up to the communitywide march on MLK Day. If you’d like to learn more about service options around Nashville (including options for teens for mitzvah projects), attend our Mitzvah Fair on Friday, Jan. 12, before and after services.  

Highlights of the week include:

• Thursday, Jan. 11, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. – Social Action Lunch and Learn

• Friday, Jan. 12, before and after services – Mitzvah Fair

• Monday, Jan. 15, 10 a.m. – MLK Day March beginning at Jefferson Street Baptist Church 


Love Your Neighbor programs 

The two Love Your Neighbor programs in January include a lock-in with Second Presbyterian and the Islamic Center before participation in the MLK Day march with Oasis Center on Jan. 15.  Micah will be hosting peers from the Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple on Sunday, Jan. 28. Anyone interested in more details should contact Julie Greenberg,


Micah’s Anniversary Gala – Jan. 27

In celebration of Micah’s 25th year, join us for a night of music, dancing, amazing food and an open bar! Food by G Catering & Events, Entertainment by Spangler, and libations by the Lipman Brothers. RSVP and tickets available on our Events page. 


Women’s Spirituality Retreat 

Join Rabbi Laurie Rice and Rabbi Sherre Hirsch on Feb. 5-9. This all-inclusive package includes healthy gourmet meals, more than 40 complimentary fitness activities, a fully equipped spa, four pools, guided hikes and walks, creative arts, as well as airport transfers to and from Tucson International Airport. See the Micah Events web page and contact Rabbi Laurie Rice for more information at  


@ The Temple

Golden Lunch Bunch dates for January

Golden Lunch Bunch is held at 11:30 a.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at The Temple. Join us for lunch, entertainment and fun on Jan. 2 and 16. To RSVP, call Anna Sir at (615) 354-1686.


Join in MLK March on Jan. 15 

The Temple community will caravan to join the MLK March at the Jefferson Street Baptist Church. For more information, please contact The Temple at (615) 352-7620.


‘Jewish Megatrends’ author examines American Jewish future

Rabbi Sid Schwarz, author of “Jewish Megatrends,” will join us on Jan. 26-27. On Friday night he will speak on the topic “Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future.” Saturday morning will include “Davening Out of the Box,” with talk-back and text study after lunch. 

Rabbi Schwarz is a social entrepreneur, author and teacher. He created and directs the Clergy Leadership Incubator, a program that trains rabbis to be visionary spiritual leaders.  He also created and directs the Kenissa: Communities of Meaning Network, which is building the capacity of emerging spiritual communities across the country. 

Rabbi Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in Jewish history. In addition to “Jewish Megatrends,” he has written “Finding a Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews Can Transform the American Synagogue” and “Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World. 

The entire Temple Scholar Series is graciously underwritten by Trish & Shelly Krizelman.


Social Action Shabbat on Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. 

Each year, the Social Action Allocations subcommittee sends requests for proposals to community organizations that meet our guidelines, and then evaluates the resulting proposals. Recommendations are approved by the Social Action Committee, and then by the board of trustees, for allocations to be made from funds earmarked for social action. In 2018, 17 agencies—including our own Room in the Inn—will receive a total of $18,000. 

At Shabbat services on Feb. 2, we will honor these agencies by providing them an opportunity to display information about their organizations in our Oneg area both before and after services.  

Anna-Gene O’Neal, President/CEO of Alive Hospice, will tell us about her organization that evening. Please join us as we celebrate the wonderful works of the organizations The Temple supports.


Also in early February…

Dr. A.-J. Levine speaks on these three Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on the following topics:

• Feb. 6 – The Bible and Immigration 

• Feb. 13 – The Bible and Health Care

• Feb. 20 – The Bible and Poverty


@ West End

An Evening with Jon Meacham set for Jan. 14

This event takes place on Sunday, Jan. 14, at West End Synagogue, starting at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.  The program also features musical guest Batsheva , with dessert reception and book signing to follow. Tickets start at $75 and are available online at

For patron opportunities, please call Marcia Stewart, 615-269-4592 ext. 13


Meacham book discussion Jan. 9 

Please join us as we discuss Jon Meacham’s 2006 book, “American Gospel ,” in preparation for an evening with the author. Discussion takes place on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 6:30 p.m. at West End Synagogue, in the East Lounge. Light refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP to before Jan. 8.

Books are available at a discount at Parnassus Books.


Intro to Judaism class returns 

Once again, the West End Synagogue will be partnering with the American Jewish University hosting the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program. Rabbi Joshua Kullock will be teaching the four-month class and everyone is invited to join. This learning opportunity begins on Jan. 7 and runs through May 6.  Classes will be held every Sunday from 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m.

Cost for WES members is $36 (couples $50) and for non-members is $180. There’s no charge for members who have attended two previous classes; however, a donation is always encouraged. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn with Rabbi Joshua Kullock, make new friends and explore Judaism in new and deeper ways. For more information, check out the website at We encourage you to please register at or call (615) 269-4592, ext. 12, so that we can plan for materials and the room location of the class. We hope to see you soon!


Learn about Naale on Jan. 20 

Come hear two guest speakers: Chaim Meyers, director of Naale in the Western World, and Gidon Berman, regional manager for Naale in Central USA.  Naale’s web site,, says the program was established in 1992 in a joint effort with the Jewish Agency with a goal of providing Jewish high school students worldwide the opportunity to live and study in Israel for high school. The Naale program is fully subsidized including a full scholarship for tuition, free airfare to and from Israel, room and board, health insurance, trips and more.


Three classes on the Book of Job with Stuart Arkovitz

These classes will be held from 11 a.m. to noon, on the following dates:

• Jan. 7: Look who’s talking

• Jan. 14: That’s what friends are for

• Jan. 21: Shut up and listen to yourself


Stand with Us session 3 takes place on Jan. 2

Stand with Us session 3 will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Congregation Micah from 6-8 p.m. with facilitator Vida Velasco.

All Stand with Us sessions are open to teens in 9th through 12th grades. Stand With Us is funded by a grant from the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

Velasco, who is not Jewish, has been speaking up for Israel and educating audiences on the facts for the past seven years as an individual. She left her successful career as a real estate broker in Manhattan to give back to the world in a meaningful way. Having grown up with Jewish people, she never questioned Israel being the home of the Jewish people.  

She was hired to train and mentor high school students by StandWithUs, the Los Angeles-based international Israel education organization in recognition of her passion and commitment.  

Since August 2012, Vida has spoken to thousands of people of varying backgrounds and has helped many along their journey of discovering why everyone has a responsibility to speak up and act. It has also been her honor to help shape the next generation with the networking, critical thinking and leadership skills they will need as they build towards the future. 


WES scholar in residence weekend Feb. 2-4 

Guest scholar Rabbi Rami Shapiro will explore these topics over the weekend:

• Friday Evening: “Why Hasidism Matters”

• Shabbat Morning D’var Torah: “The Ten Commandments as a Path to Personal and Communal Liberation”

• Shabbat Afternoon: “From Self to Self and Back Again”

• Motzei Shabbat: “Parables and Paradise: Dialoguing with Hasidic Tales as a Path to Hallowing the Ordinary as You Awaken to the Extraordinary”

• Sunday Morning: The Ultimate Four Questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? How Shall I live?” 

Shabbat dinner charge is $22 for adults; $8 for children 3-11, no charge for children under 3.

The annual WES Scholar in Residence Program is funded by grants from the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, the Albert and Evelyn Stein Adult Education Fund, the Max Levine Fund and the Janet Levine March Fund for Cultural Arts.