Friday, February 26, 2016

Why I wear a tallit

I did not grow up wearing a tallit or a kippah.  In fact at my  home synagogue we had black kippot for the men and little doilies for the women to put on their heads.  Neither ritual item was really explained to us and why or why not we should wear one.  As I got older and then married Arthur, who always wore both kippah and tallit but I didn't think much of it.

When my kids were at Solomon Schechter Day school it was required that boys wear kippot all the time and girls were allowed to wear them.  Lital, my oldest and my daughter never wore a kippah at school but she decided to wear tallit and kippah when becoming a Bat Mitzvah.  I hope I had something to do with her wearing a tallit as I had begun to wear one when she was much younger than 13.  It was a Lakeside student who made me decide to wear a tallit.

When I was first Educational director I taught all of our Hebrew classes.  In Dalet one day as I was talking about the mitzvah (commandment) of wearing tallit and kippah and explaining to my students that my boys at school had to wear these items every day, a student (a madrich actually) asked: "Mrs. Ehrlich why don't you wear a tallit?  You told us it's a mitzvah, you have told us men and women are equal certainly in Reform Judaism, why don't you wear one?"  I remember being taken off guard.  It was many years ago and I replied that I had not grown up wearing a tallit and then deflected the question in my answer.  This madrich's question got me to think about my own mitzvot, about taking on a new ritual.  I had not grown up with women wearing tallit or kippah; I had seen some women read from the Torah but during the 1970's really just for B'not Mitzvah.

I also started thinking that if I did not start to wear a tallit how could I expect Lital to wear one when she became a Bat Mitzvah in September 2001?  That summer when I was on faculty at OSRUI where we lead t'filot every morning and help our campers lead in the evening, I started wearing a tallit.  No one said anything. At camp it was acceptable to wear a tallit or not.  No one said anything to me.  When I got back to Lakeside I started to wear a tallit for the High Holy days and slowly I added this new custom to whenever I pray.  I especially wear a tallit when I know there will be a Torah service. I don't always wear a tallit but I do have a small collection in my office.  At confirmation I always offer some of my tallitot to our girls and if you look at the pictures on the wall outside of my office you will see some of my tallitot. Enjoy and have a Shabbat Shalom.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious or happy to have students involved in the Arts.

Maddy Richter, Alex Leva and Brody LaForce in Highland Park High School's Mary Poppins
Wednesday morning I was fortunate enough to see a preview of Highland Park High School's Mary Poppins.  We have many students from Lakeside congregation and I try to attend my students' performances.  What a great production and a fun morning.  Our children in our public schools and our private schools have so many opportunities to be exposed to the arts, sports and almost any activity you can imagine.  I am glad that our students attend schools where this is valued.
Sari Lindner

I am always happy to have a spill over to Lakeside as well when it comes to music, drama or Hebrew.  Sari Lindner one of our Madrichot has been involved in  Marching band and other orchestra's at Deerfield High School.  Over the past few months she has learned guitar and played at our Tot Shabbat with our Children's Center families.  She is a welcome addition and we thank her as she begins her journey in Jewish music.

We have many fun activities coming up at Lakeside and I am sure you will want to see our own Thespians in our 6th Purim Spiel on Wednesday March 23.  (Spiel at 6:00 pm and carnival at 4:30pm)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Raising a Mensch, Valentines Day and Winter doldrums

Valentine's Day always poses a conundrum at Religious School.  We do NOT celebrate Valentines day but as I always tell my students if my husband were to forget about it I would not be happy.  It is always a balancing act to  navigate between our Jewish chagim and our secular holidays.  I like that I have to think about both as I plan out my schedule. 

This Friday night at Lakeside we will be having our Tot Shabbat and we will be celebrating "I Heart Shabbat".  This gives us an opportunity to love Shabbat, be with our families and enjoy. I love the opportunity to work with our Children's Center and bring more families together to celebrate Shabbat. 

On Sunday at 10:30 am (after t'filah with me in the sanctuary)we will have multiple programs including  a wonderful program that will discuss how we can help our children and grandchildren to raise a mensch.  Lisa Kaplan will be here to discuss with us how we can listen to our children with an open ear, free range  parenting and she will be taking questions as well.  This is a wonderful opportunity to come in from the cold for services and a delicious lox and bagel brunch. 

As we look forward to next year we will also be meeting with our 2016-2017 B'nai Mitzvah class to discuss this meaningful life cycle simcha.  We know some families find different challenges as B'nai Mitzvah approaches and we hope to discuss and share our best experiences and even our worst experiences around B'nai Mitzvah. We will culminate with a Shabbat dinner on March 18th. 

I hope these activities will get you out of your winter doldrums.  It may be cold outside but it will be very warm here at Lakeside and I am sure in your homes.