Apr 022015

PassoverFollowing is a message from Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus:
Please join us tomorrow (Friday) morning  at 7:30 a.m. for a brief 25 minute service which will climax when Dr. Paul Barash happily completes a volume of the Talmud! Why has Dr. Barash timed this joyous event to coincide with Passover eve? Here’s the answer:
The Bible informs us that the firstborn of Egypt were “passed over” in the final plague before our Exodus from slavery.  In the course of time, a custom arose among Jewish firstborn to fast and atone on the anniversary of that dreadful plague, as a demonstration to G-d that we were indeed worthy of being passed over! 
The rabbis, however, were fearful that this practice – though noble in intent – might inadvertently cause disrespect to the holiday by inclining the firstborn to rush through the Passover Seder.  An ingenious compromise was therefore struck between the rabbis and the firstborn: A joyous occasion would be created annually, with the clear intention of canceling the fast of the firstborn! 
But how does one simply “create” a joyous occasion?  The answer: Every year a member of the community is called upon  to complete a volume of the Talmud!  Such a happy event, they held, would be reason enough to cancel the fast.   
And thus: tomorrow (Friday) morning, Passover Eve, Dr. Paul Barash will do exactly that! Please come to celebrate, and thereby enable our firstborn to cancel their fast (with the last “Chametz”in our kitchen!  Speaking of which, tomorrow morning is the deadline for selling Chametz – another good reason to attend!) 
A Sweet & Healthy Pesach
Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus

Mar 012015

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 2.33.51 PMTurn an ordinary Friday night into something extraordinary — Congregation Or Shalom, 205 Old Grassy Hill Road celebrates Shabbat Across America on Friday, March 6 at 6 p.m.

Hundreds of synagogues across the continent will take part in an historic national Jewish event to celebrate what unifies all Jews — Shabbat! Everyone is invited… singles, couples, families — all ages.

That’s the magic of Shabbat Across America and Shabbat Across Canada. By participating in this continent wide event, you will not only have the opportunity to experience Shabbat, but you will be sharing your experience with tens of thousands of Jews across North America.

Siddur presentation at 7 p.m. Service.

NOTE: Reservations were due by Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Originally Published on: Feb 13, 2015 @ 15:16

Jan 202015

unnamedCongregation Or Shalom, 205 Old Grassy Hill Road, will host its weekly Coffee & … Learn session tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 21 from 11 a.m. to noon.
The topic of discussion is: “What Does Exodus Say About … Why G-d Created The Jewish People.”
Coffee and light snack will be provided.

Dec 092014

Congregation Or Shalom

Congregation Or Shalom

Congregation Or Shalom, 205 Old Grassy Hill Road, has many things planned for the holiday season.

— If you ordered latkes, they may be picked up beginning Wednesday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and during office hours Monday – Thursday, 10-4, Friday 10-2. Pick up must be by Wednesday, Dec. 17.

— This month they are collecting blankets and tarps for the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen in New Haven.

— Or Shalom receives a commission when you shop AmazonSmile using this link: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/06-0874061 . You don’t have to enter a code or sign up for anything, just click the link before you shop.

Coffee & Learn

This week’s Coffee & Learn, on Wednesday, Dec. 10, at 11 a.m.  will feature Guest Speaker Rabbi Hesch Sommer, D.Min., Director of the Jewish Wellness and Healing Center, Jewish Family Service, Greater New Haven on the topic: “Genesis: Just a soap opera about a dysfunctional family?”

Hanukkah Haven Gift Drive

Last year the Shevis Family, with the help of Jewish Family Services started a Hanukkah gift drive, and successfully provided presents fro a number of Jewish children in the Greater New Haven area.

This year there are three times as many children to provide for.

If you are interested in helping to give these children a happier Hanukkah, contact the Shevis Family for the age and gender of a child.

For information about making a donation, contact [email protected]

Latkes & Magic

On Friday, Dec. 19, the menorah will be lit in the lobby at 7 p.m., followed by a brief Friday night service, and then the Oneg Shabbat, featuring a magic show, latkes and gelt.

Food Stamp Challenge

Or Shalom Social Action Committee members encourage all synagogue members to consider taking the Annual National Food Stamp Challenge.

The challenge originally was issued to lawmakers, urging them to consider whether they could survive on the policies and budgets they set for others. Each year the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) encourages individuals to participate in this program. Rabbis from all four denominations and community members across the country are taking the Food Stamp Challenge to help them better understand the impact of the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.)


Each person should spend only $29.40 on food and beverages during the week. This is the average food stamp benefit. Although this amount is meant to supplement budgets, many times individuals living in poverty have little more available funds to spend on food.

During the Challenge, eat only food that you purchase for the project.

Avoid accepting free food from friends, family, or at work, including at meetings or social events.

You can register at www.foodstampchallenge.com

People approved to receive SNAP benefits can only use their (credit) card for food which has exclusions, such as prepared foods, i.e. rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, and brewed coffee. The cards can be used in supermarkets and many other stores, including Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Aldi.

Nov 242014

1TempleThe Institute for Learning in Retirement will offer a class at the Congregation Or Shalom synagogue, 205 Old Grassy Hill Road, Tuesday morning, Nov. 24, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. till noon.

Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus will lead the class titled: “4,000 years of Jewish History in 90 minutes!”


Oct 292014

The "50 Children" arrive in New York.

The “50 Children” arrive in New York.

Congregation Or Shalom, 205 Old Grassy Hill Road, presents its annual Kristallnacht Commemoration on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014 at 9 a.m.All are welcome to attend.

This year’s program is in honor of “50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Eleanor & Gilbert Kraus.”

In early 1939, few Americans were doing anything about the darkening storm clouds over Europe’s Jews. But one ordinary Jewish-American couple decided something had to be done. Despite overwhelming obstacles – both in Europe and the United States – Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus made a bold and unprecedented decision to travel to Nazi Germany and Austria in an effort to save 50 Jewish children from mortal danger.

The program features guest speakers:

Steven Pressman,producer of the Emmy-nominated documentary film “50 Children”  and author of the recently published book by that title

Dr. Robert Braun one of the “50 children” rescued by Mr. & Mrs. Kraus

Ginger Kraus, granddaughter of Eleanor & Gilbert Kraus

And Senator Richard Blumenthal

Save the date to hear this inspiring story of bravery, selflessness and compassion.

Kristallnacht: “The Night Of Broken Glass” — A brief explanation for non-Jewish readers

On November 9, 1938, Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels announced a government-sanctioned reprisal against the Jews. Synagogues were ravaged and then burned. Jewish shop windows were broken. Jews were beaten, raped, arrested, and murdered. Throughout Germany and Austria, the pogrom rampaged.

Police and firefighters stood by as synagogues burned and Jews were beaten, only taking action to prevent the spread of fire to non-Jew owned property and to stop looters – upon SS officer Reinhard Heydrich’s order

The pogrom spanned the night of November 9 to 10. During this night 191 synagogues were set on fire.

The damage to shop windows was estimated at $4 million U.S. dollars. 91 Jews were murdered while 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to camps such as Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald.

— source: Jennifer Rosenberg on About Education (read more HERE)

Originally Published on: Oct 14, 2014 @ 10:21