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Rabbis' December Message

Rabbi David Hartman said, “Judaism is a community of interpretation.” In other words, Jews are good at re-describing and re-imagining our past in light of what is happening in the present and what our hopes are for the future.

Hanukkah is a case in point We all light the same menorah, but some Jews focus on what we learn from its history lesson -- how theological differences, in this case between zealous religious Jews and Hellenized secular Jews, can lead to bloody wars. Others might prefer to focus on how the fight for religious freedom prevailed in spite of a hostile surrounding culture (which in modern terms translates as the freedom to be Jewish in a non-Jewish world). Still another approach is to celebrate Hanukkah as a holiday of miracles, affirming faith in God as evidenced by the one cruse of kosher oil that lasted for 8 days, or the miracle of the weaker Maccabean soldiers overpowering the stronger Syrian Greek army. And yet others see Hanukkah as a beautiful reminder that in the midst of the dark and cold of winter, or the darkness in the world today, or in one’s life at a particular moment -- there is always light and hope.

All Jews share a common history, but all of us have our own interpretations and unique expressions of what it means to be Jewish. The word Hanukkah means “dedication,” as Judah Maccabee re-dedicated the Temple left desecrated by the Syrian Greeks. May we dedicate ourselves to bringing our unique light and contribution to the RTPV community and beyond, and may this Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, be full of joy and warmth for us all.


Rabbi Laurie Levy and Rabbi Steve Altarescu

12/12 Friday Night Services

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat 			With this week's parasha, Vayeshev, we begin the saga of Joseph. It is one of the longest narratives in the Torah, spanning 14 chapters which we read over the next four weeks. No wonder Joseph got his own Broadway show!

Please join us for services at 8PM on Friday and see how Joseph's story is also our own. We will learn how we can use this story to shed some new light on Hanukkah, which begins Tuesday night, December 16. (Is the Hanukkah Fest, December 19, on your calendar?)

We hope to see you Friday.

Rabbi Levy and Rabbi Altarescu

Community Menorah Lighting

Community Menorah Lighting
at Jefferson Valley Mall
Sunday, December 21 at 5 pm


Join RTPV members and other temple congregations from Putnam County and Northern Westchester for a community-wide Menorah lighting and singing at the Jefferson Valley Mall on Sunday December 21 at 5 pm.

In previous years various congregations have each lit the Menorah on one night. This year our Rabbis and the local Rabbis group thought it would be great if many congregations joined together one night to sing and celebrate together. We will gather at 4:45 pm at the Menorah kiosk at the center of mall.

We hope that many of us can make it! Treats for all!

Candles and Gelt Orders have arrived

Hanukkah and Shabbat Candles and Gelt Orders
have arrived and are ready for pickup at RTPV!

Those who placed orders may pick them up at the temple.
They may be picked up Friday evening before and after services, this Saturday morning during Hebrew School, and Tuesday evening, 12/9 (during the RTPV Board Meeting) from 7:15 until 9pm. Let us know when you will be coming, so that we can have them ready, by replying to this email. If none of those times work, let us know and we will work something out. 


PLEASE NOTE: We ordered 6 extra boxes of Hanukkah candles for those of you who meant to order, but didn't get around to it! The boxes of 45 hand-dipped candles from Safed Candle Company in Northern Israel are $13 each. They are available on a first-come-first-served basis, so email now in order to have a box or two held for you.

Thank you to everyone who placed orders,
helping to support Israeli artists and RTPV!

Hanukkah begins at sundown on Dec 16, 2014

Kabbalah and Jewish Spirituality text

kabalah treeA few of you who attended the Adult Education workshop on November 23 requested that I send out the text of my talk as well as the guided mediation that we did.

Click this link for a PDF of the talk, the guided mediation and some of the handouts.

If anyone has questions or would like to discuss the workshop teaching feel free to contact me.

All the best,
Rabbi Steve Altarescu 

Learn to Read Hebrew in 5 Easy Lessons

Read Hebrew America logoThe Reform Temple of Putnam Valley is proud to offer to the community at large an innovative introductory Hebrew program where participants can learn to read Hebrew in only five 1-1/2 hour weekly sessions.
Taught by member Roni Rodman this course is designed for Jews with little or no background in reading Hebrew, but anyone may register, if only to brush up on some rusty skills.
What:             Learn to Read Hebrew in 5 Easy Lessons
Where:           Reform Temple of Putnam Valley   362 Church Road    Putnam Valley
When:            Wednesdays at 7:30, beginning November 12
Teacher:        Roni Rodman
Cost:              FREE....includes course materials
For further info or to register contact Roni

2014-2015 School Registration

Information about 2014-2015 School Registration has been posted on our Education page. Please return your Registration Forms as soon as possible to allow sufficient time to plan our faculty, classroom assignments and supplies.