Day 4 – Passover 2012: Ancient Story, Modern Lessons...

Nachshon – Adult Reflections The parting of the Red Sea didn’t really happened as it is portrayed in Disney’s “The Prince of Egypt” or Cecil B. De Mille’s “The Ten Commandments.”  The Midrash relates that during the Exodus, when the Israelites reached the Red Sea, it did not automatically part. The Israelites stood at the banks of the sea and wailed with despair, but Nachshon entered the waters. Once he was up to his nose in the water, the sea parted.  It is true that the Egyptians were in hot pursuit of the Israelites and would have massacred them if they met them at the shores of the Red Sea, but it still took much valor on Nachshon’s part to go into the water, not knowing if he would drown himself. Nachshon took the...

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Day 3 – Passover 2012: Ancient Story, Modern Lessons...

Miriam – Adult Reflections Chapter 15 of Exodus is a very disturbing episode that happens rights after the story of the Red Sea (which, by the way is a mistranslation, because it is really the Sea of Reeds).  After the Israelites cross safely, the sea closes on the Egyptians and drowns them.  In one of the most quoted passages from the Talmud, God’s angels start singing a song at the sea. God rebuked them, “My handiwork is drowning in the sea and you utter songs before me!” (Sanhedrin 39b).  This teaches us that seeking revenge is not a good Jewish value. One of the most interesting stories I ever heard about the Mossad’s actions in post-war Europe had to do with trying to find Nazi perpetrators. They had an agent, Manus Diamant, who was...

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Day 2 – Passover 2012: Ancient Story, Modern Lessons...

Moses – Adult Reflections Moses had it made! Even though he was an Israelite, he was adopted by Egyptian royalty, namely by Pharaoh’s sister. His adopted people enslaved his birth people.  That didn’t seem to bother him too much until he saw an Egyptian taskmaster beating up an Israelite slave.  Then, acting not on his best interest but on his conscience, he struck the task master, killing him.  The next action he takes tells us much about the man.  As Egyptian nobility, he could kill anyone “below” him with no consequence, yet he hid the corpse and ran away.  Moses, once again showed, he had a conscience. That event started a chain reaction that led him from a comfortable life in Pharaoh’s palace to a lifetime of wandering, conflict and tzores.  It is amazing...

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Passover 2012: Ancient Stories, Modern Lessons – Day 1: Pharoah...

Passover is a fascinating holiday, pregnant with meaning and insight that goes well beyond the Seder.  By only observing the Seder we barely begin to scratch the surface of what this holiday can teach us. It captures our essence as a people, so much so that when we recite the Kiddush on every Shabbat, we say that “It is the first amongst the holy festivals, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt.”  The Passover Seder is among one of the most observed practices among North American Jews.  It not only connects us with other Jews around the world who are doing exactly the same thing we at the same time, but it also connects us with generations past, who observed the same holiday in the same manner we do. Yet, Passover is far more than just...

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Jewish Tour of Kansas City

On Family Learning Day on May 6th, Rabbi Cukierkorn will lead a Jewish Tour of Kansas City. We will visit historically Jewish sites, including former synagogues and Jewish Community Centers, in order to learn more about the historical significance of each site. Bring your cameras! Participants will board a tour bus (large enough to accommodate a bathroom) and have lunch at Westport’s Fusion Buffet.  The tour begins at noon.  Space is limited on the bus so please make your reservations before April 22nd. Contact us online or Rabbi Cukierkorn directly at...

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Temple Israel attends annual Jewish Educators’ Network retreat...

Jewish educators from across Kansas City came together in early March for the annual Jewish Educators’ Network retreat. The group included our Rabbi Cukierkorn and Margaret Lange. The 2012 retreat focused on collaborative opportunities for Jewish agencies and synagogues who work with Jewish...

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Art Through Jewish Eyes: A Tour of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art...

Temple Israel members saw items in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art‘s collection from a new perspective during a tour led by Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn on January 7. Following a light lunch in Rozzelle Court, 25 people examined ancient artifacts from Egypt, Assyrian bas relief sculpture, 14th century medieval armor – even Chinese cricket cages – during an hour-long tour that began in the museum’s stately Kirkwood Hall. Afterwards, families created their own mementoes of the visit in an art workshop led by museum staff. A repeat of the event in the spring will be open to the...

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Jewish Tidbits #5

What is the big deal about Friday the 13th? The idea of 13 as an unlucky number has origins in both pagan and Christian traditions. In the Jewish tradition, however, 13 is not an inauspicious number....

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Rabbi Cukierkorn’s Year End Message...

Dear Friends, The year 2011 has been one of life-changing transitions for my family and me. It also was a year of excitement, joy and growth. With the help and support of all of you that make up our congregational family, we were able to birth Temple Israel. I am pleased to share with you that, as the year ends, we have reached our initial goal of 100 member households! There still are many hopes, dreams and aspirations to be reached, but this is a terrific start! My family and I feel blessed every day by your care, support and commitment to create our congregation and help us to stay in Kansas City. Thank you all for your faith in me and in Temple Israel as we enter a new calendar year. My wish for...

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Jewish Tidbits #3 & #4

Rabbi Cukierkorn dressed in ancient garb and taped this video inside the noisy exhibit hall during the “Maccabee town” event at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. Temple Israel’s booth was a delicatessen to showcase how Jews ate 2,000 years ago.     The Rabbi discusses the tradition of reclining while eating during...

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