Spring 2012



Breaking the Middle Matzah represents that moment in the seder when we break with our past. RABBI STEVEN C. WERNICK likens it to United Synagogue’s hopes for the future as it implements its strategic plan

RITA WERTLIEB invites the women of our congregations to join the Women’s League network of all Conservative Jewish women in this Time for Growth and Renewal

According to MICHAEL MILLS of FJMC, Cultures Can Be Changed

In The Bookshelf, RABBI NEIL GILLMAN looks at books on contemporary topics


Everyone in God's Image: Renaissance Blessings, Modern Zealots, Conservative Jews
JOANNE PALMER looks at an Italian Renaissance prayer book that has unusual wording for a standard blessing

Acknowledging American Exceptionalism: A Liturgical Proposal
RABBI JOSEPH H. PROUSER invites all admirers of the United States to add a new Harachaman to Birkat HaMazon

Understanding Your Medical Mind Through the Lens of Jewish Tradition
To find ways to help people decide on the treatments best suited to their temperaments, DR. JEROME GROOPMAN and D R . PAMELA HARTZBAND considered many paradigms, including Jewish traditions

The Kiddush Cup
A kitchen mishap does not keep ARTIE DEAN from preserving a cherished family heirloom

The Ultimate Seder Checklist
When JAMIE GELLER made her first seder she realized she really didn’t know all the specifics. Use her checklist so you don’t have to worry. We’ve added some of her recipes to enjoy at home

On the Road: Life Lived with Unemployment
After being laid off suddenly, PAUL ROITMAN BARDACK and his wife took the trip of a lifetime and learned some life-changing lessons

A Helping Hand
BONNIE RIVA RAS describes how synagogues are helping unemployed members cope and find jobs

Created in the Image of God: Women's League Reacts to Issues
Public Policy Chair DR. MARILYN LISHNOFF WIND outlines some current issues on the Women’s League agenda

Rabbis Without Borders
RABBI REBECCA W. SIRBU explains how an organization helps rabbis find wisdom in Jewish tradition so they are better equipped to help people in their communities

Moving a Shul: What We Learned About Our Congregation
In the more than five years that it took for RABBI JONAH LAYMAN’S congregation to move, its members’ vision and resiliency helped keep everyone committed to the process

Lost Synagogues of New York
When a synagogue’s doors are closed sometimes they reopen on completely different scenes, according to New York City photographer ELLEN LEVITT

The Beth El 10
For SAUL GOLUBCOW, synagogue softball is definitely a shul program

Shomrei Ha'aretz: Adath Israel Men's Club Takes Action
JOEL KLING and HAMILTON LEMPERT’S synagogue made a commitment to care for the land and created a garden whose produce has been given to a food pantry and homeless shelter

Shabbat at the Kallah with United Synagogue
Prayer, song, Torah, God, and Shabbat all were on the agenda of United Synagogue’s kallah

Tehran's Friends in America's Backyard
According to HAL WEITZMAN, the United States should be more concerned than it appears to be about Iran’s growing influence in South America

Volunteering in Israel: Transmit - Transform - Connect
No longer do volunteers in Israel have to limit themselves to picking oranges on a kibbutz. JUDY DVORAK GRAY introduces a new organization and its Volunteer & Study partnership with the Conservative Yeshiva

Masorti Makes History
President Shimon Peres addressed the Conservative movement in Israel at its 35th anniversary gala

E Pluribus Unum, With Dreidels
USYers broke records at their convention last December

Keeping the Memory Alive in Day Schools
A Solomon Schechter day school presents families with FJMC’s yellow candles to help honor the millions who died during the Shoah, explains ELAINE SUCHOW

Shabbat Candles Go Green
You can gain added satisfaction from lighting ecofriendly soy candles, says RICHARD GRAY

About the Cover

Rembrandt van Rijn’s 1667 portrait is known as The Jewish Bride. Rembrandt’s figures here are silhouetted against a page from the manuscript of an Italian siddur written in either 1471 or 1478, now among the holdings of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Cover concept: Joanne Palmer and Rhonda Kahn

Cover design: Josef Tocker

(Photo from the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary)

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