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Where is Moses?

04/16/2024 11:52:55 AM


Here's a little quiz for you:

What do we have 1.5 of in the Haggadah? 

Where is the number 2 mentioned in the Haggadah? 

What do we have 3 of in the Haggadah? 

What do we have 4 of in the Haggadah? 

What do we have 5 of in the Haggadah? 

What do we have 6 of in the Haggadah? 

What do we have 10 of in the Haggadah? 

What do we have 14 of in the...

Pesach Ala Mano!

04/08/2024 09:48:53 PM


     We are officially midway between Purim and Pesach. We barely have time to recover from our Hamentashen Hangovers and catch our breath before our thoughts turn to Pesach. It seems like we have been in the month of Adar forever (for two months actually!) but, alas we finally welcome the month of Nissan.  In my house we started the countdown to Pesach as soon as Purim ended... it will be a month of freezer leftovers...Read more...

Notes from Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

04/02/2024 09:05:06 PM


Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

Cantors made it to Jeopardy 

04/01/2024 08:43:12 PM



You know you have really been "seen":" when you are the clue on Jeopardy. The Cantorial world was all a happy buzz about a week ago when the following clue appeared: "Also called a Hazan, It's the person who leads a synagogue congregation in song". Although my colleagues...Read more...

PURIM IS HERE...  and it is not just for kids!

03/18/2024 11:17:28 AM


     I have always enjoyed reading Megillat Esther "The Scroll of Esther". I first learned to chant a small passage of Megillat Esther in my teens and have made it a personal challenge to read more through the years and now I can say that  I have chanted the "gantze" megillah with trope (cantillation) many times.  I do  find I have to spend quite a bit of time every year refreshing,...Read more...

Kol Yisrael   ("The Voice of Israel") Virtual  Concert Series

03/07/2024 03:06:24 PM


On March 14, 2024, the Cantors Assembly is launching a virtual concert series, Kol Yisrael (”Voice of Israel”) featuring contemporary Israeli musician artists presenting their music. With the current situation in Israel, most professional Israeli musicians have suffered a particular blow to their livelihood, on top of the national and personal trauma every Israeli is experiencing. Performances, tours, and students have been...Read more...

What Makes an  Organization "Work"?

03/05/2024 09:26:59 AM


What makes a synagogue or school or organization work? This week's parshah, Vayakhel, describes the construction of the Mishkan (The Tabernacle) that the Israelites carried with them throughout their travels in the wilderness. The people are all asked to contribute all kinds of building materials: precious metals, linen, wool, ram and dolphin skins, oils, precious stones. However, one small phrase stands out to me. The words "And all of...Read more...

One   Child At A Time

02/27/2024 12:48:35 PM


     The visit with Rabbi Rafi this shabbat was especially inspiring. I can't say enough about the  warmth and charisma of this man.  On Friday night we had our Gimel class service and our students received their siddurim with special covers and dedications prepared by their parents. A beautiful moment was when Rabbi Rafi recited a blessing for each child as they received their siddur. He insisted on not...Read more...


02/21/2024 08:31:37 AM


Have you noticed brighter skies in the morning? I walk my dog every morning and I can't help but notice an increase in bird chatter as well.The angle of the sun has changed as too.  And, I noticed on my calendar that in just a few weeks we change the clocks. It is still cold and crisp, I am still wearing winter coat, hat and gloves, but....  there is a feeling of transitioning into  spring.  I have to say that for...Read more...

Adar Rishon - an extra month to prepare for Purim and The Art of Chanting the Megillah! 

02/13/2024 12:08:37 PM


I love Jewish leap years. Yay! As both an educator and a Cantor I have a whole extra month to prepare! And I am not referring to baking hamentashen (although, yes, that too). When it is not a Jewish leap year, the late winter and early spring holidays come one month apart and it feels like quick succession. Tu Bishvat is followed exactly one month later by Purim followed exactly one month later by Pesach... but, this year we have two months...Read more...

Be Happy It's Adar  5784 

02/05/2024 06:42:07 PM


Can you believe it is Adar again so soon? Well, not so fast, because if you are looking for Purim we still have to wait a few weeks as we are only about to begin Adar Rishon, the added month of the leap year. Purim is celebrated in Adar Shaynee which won't begin for several weeks.  I have to admit, that although we are supposed to increase our joy in the month of Adar, I am not quite ready for the silliness and antics of Purim....Read more...

Shabbat Shirah / Tu Bishvat 

01/23/2024 04:56:17 PM


One of my covid hobbies was bird feeding.I actually started sometime before covid when I got a Nyjer seed sock that I hung on the frame of my sukkah. I was so excited to see the birds come and go and eventually I bought a bird feeder... then another and another. During covid I loved sitting at my kitchen window with binoculars and watch the birds. I had no idea what had been living outside my home - sparrows, doves, cardinals, woodpeckers,...Read more...

Day of Chesed  

01/15/2024 11:38:22 AM


Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

The Day of Chesed was a big success!  Our students together with students of the Religious School of Temple Beth Am made close to 200 (?) bags for nourish.nj,  made butterfly suncatchers to give as gifts to residents of Arbor Terrace, made cards and pictures to donate to  organizations that distribute them to hospitals, foster homes, assisted livings, etc.... We also baked cookies for the Dover Faith...Read more...

MLK Weekend and Day of Chesed 

01/09/2024 08:18:35 AM


As we head into Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, our thoughts turn to social justice and equality for all in America. The song "Lift Up Every Voice and Sing!" written in 1900 is often referred to as "The Black National Anthem". This song is a reminder that a reminder for Black Americans that each generation has had to lift their voices, along with those within their community, to demand and protect their human...Read more...

First Mitzvah Project of the Year and Bring Them Home 

12/31/2023 11:48:16 AM


The Religious School is sponsoring a Day of Chesed (Day of Kindness) on Sunday, January 14th. One of our projects will be to pack Purposeful Acts of Kindness Kits for nourish.NJ.We are requesting donations of the following items by January 14. Please place your donations in the large marked bin in the lobby. 
We need the following: pocket size hand sanitizer, bottles of water, protein bars, baggie filled with...Read more...

Postscript on Chanukkah

12/20/2023 09:02:18 AM


Chanukkah has been over for almost a week as I write this. However, I want to memorialize one particular moment that filled me with hope and optimism. It was the moment on the last night of Chanukkah when our religious school students filled our bimah, held up colorful...Read more...

Maoz Tsur -Rock of Ages 

12/10/2023 05:03:23 PM


Each Jewish holiday has an anthem associated with it, a  melody which serves as the leitmotif which is woven throughout the liturgy. Maoz Tsur, a poem written as early as the 13th century and the melody linked to it has been the anthem for Chanukkah for centuries! We sing the hymn in Hebrew and in an English translation as we watch the candles burning, we feature the melody in our hallel service and insert it in other parts of our...Read more...

The Chanukkah Songs That Keep on Giving by Karen Kamenetsky

12/04/2023 09:58:50 AM


I asked our member Karen Kamenetsky to be my guest writer this issue. Please read her story and listen to her songs below.    

Songs are often gifts. They can spark joy, soothe pain, bring people together. The songs I wrote for my Chanukah album, “With This Flame” were gifts right from the start. The idea for the album came at a time when my Rheumatoid Arthritis was out of control. I had been...Read more...

Hanukkah or Chanukkah?? 

11/26/2023 11:31:32 AM


Hanukkah or Chanukkah? Passover or Pesach? For that matter, Rosh Hashanah, Roshashanah  or Jewish New Year?

I have a bit of a pet peeve to air. It is time to take back the names of our own holidays. When did the name of our holiday, lose its most important sound... the "ch" of the first letter of the holiday... ? I mean just because non Jews have difficulty pronouncing the word, does that mean we should drop the most Jewish...Read more...

Happy Kislev! 

11/13/2023 08:54:39 PM


It's official! Cheshvan 5784 is history. Welcome to the month of Kislev! This is the  month that  children all over eagerly await. I can smell the latkes already... but Chanukah doesn't arrive until the end of Kislev. So, we have plenty of time to practice our...Read more...

The Holiest Moments Outside of Our Sanctuary

11/06/2023 07:45:33 AM



Sometimes we focus so much on what is happening inside our sanctuary that we might not notice the beautiful moments that happen outside our sanctuary. Yes, the sanctuary is truly the central focus of what brings us all together. Our Beit Knesset - our house of gathering, our Beit Tefillah, house of prayer is the reason we exist. But, what we do in our sanctuary is hopefully an inspiration for all the moments we spend outside of...Read more...

Letters to Israeli   Students 

10/29/2023 07:37:12 PM


This past Sunday our Religious School students were asked to write letters to students in Israel. These letters will be translated, scanned and emailed to a school in Israel via our Rishon, Noam Vashdy. Our Rishon, (who goes by his last name, Vashdy) will share the letters with his mother who is a principal of an elementary school. I have to tell you, I was blown away by some of the letters our students wrote and I would like to share some of...Read more...

Prayer for  IDF Soldiers 

10/22/2023 07:21:10 PM


We are all familiar with the beautiful prayer for the State of Israel we recite weekly and I am sure many of us have started reciting it on a daily basis. However, there is another beautiful prayer that was composed by the late Chief Rabbi and Chief IDF Rabbi, Shlomo Goren, asking God to protect the soldiers of the IDF and strike down their enemies. The accompanying song features popular Israeli artist Gad Elbaz’s musical rendition of...Read more...

HaftOrah or HaftArah? 

10/16/2023 12:29:20 PM


Some of you may have noticed that I prefer to refer to the passage from the prophets that is chanted after the Torah reading as a haftArah rather than a haftOrah. Why is that? I mean, what is the big deal you might ask? It is true that the Ashkenazic pronunciation most of us grew up with is haftOrah with the accent on the middle syllable. However, I have found that this pronunciation leads to confusion especially among those who have no idea...Read more...

This was not how I planned to improve my Hebrew

10/09/2023 12:13:23 PM


This year I set a goal for myself to read Hebrew literature in an effort to exercise my skills. We have many works of literature in our library to choose from from childrens books to short stories and a few novels. However, this last few days have found that facebook has provided me a lot of material. And it is not the kind of Hebrew  material I had planned to use to exercise my language skills. My feed has been flooded with...Read more...

Mental Snapshots

10/02/2023 09:33:25 AM




 If I had a...

Hakarat Hatov - Sukkot

09/26/2023 01:08:15 PM


Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur differ from Sukkot. On the Jewish New Year’s festival and Yom Kippur we are judged. We confess. We resolve. We feel defensive, vulnerable and fragile.

On Sukkot, the harvest festival, we rejoice. Anyone who has gardened knows this feeling many times more. Not only is there a thrill in seeing your garden’s yield—purple eggplant, orange carrots, green lettuce, red cabbage—but fruit of a home-grown...Read more...

A Rosh Hashanah to Remember! 

09/18/2023 10:48:49 AM


Rosh Hashanah 5784 was definitely one for "the books"! There is a traditional saying:  

תכלה שנה וקללותיה - תחל שנה וברכותיה

"Tichleh shanah v'ki-l'loteh-ha, Takhel shanah u'vir-cho-teh-ha!" 

"May the (previous) year and its curses  end, and the New Year and its blessings begin". 

It strikes me that on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we...Read more...

Hakarat Hatov, Recognition of  Good

09/11/2023 03:30:37 PM


When one has only one brief Religious School lesson in which to teach about the High Holidays, the holiest days on our calendar, what to we teach? That is the challenge with which we were faced this year with the challenge imposed by this year's Jewish calendar. I had a 30 minute period...Read more...

More High Holiday music! 

09/04/2023 11:46:34 AM


Last week I shared with you a link for some basic Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur cantorial nusach (traditional liturgical melodies). This week I am excited to share a link for a wonderful program that was featured on National Public Radio. It is called "Music for the Days of Awe: An Observance of the Jewish High Holidays". This one hour narrated program contains some absolutely breathe-taking solo and choral masterpieces of the High...Read more...

Music of the High Holidays 

08/28/2023 11:29:43 AM


Would you eat Latkes on Rosh Hashanah? You might, because, well, hey, latkes! But most of us might feel that eating latkes on Rosh Hashanah would just be weird. Why? Because the aroma and taste of latkes brings to mind all things Chanukah including the memories associated with Chanukah. How about eating matzah on Chanukah? More holiday confusion!! Our traditional melodies, called"nusach" calls for different melodies for different...Read more...

Words of Chesed and Emet

08/20/2023 04:54:35 PM


I do not have an engagement ring. My husband opted for a necklace. He had a necklace made with part of a verse from Proverbs 3:3 which  loosely translates to "Chesed (loving kindness) and truth, they will not abandon you; Tie them  around your neck..."  In...Read more...

Olam Chesed Yibbaneh -The World  Will Be Built From Love

08/13/2023 08:01:47 PM


There is a beautiful passage that we recite in our morning prayers found on p.68 of our Sim Shalom Siddur.  It is a rabbinic teaching on lovingkindness, "chesed". This paragraph describes a conversation between the great Rabbis Yochanan Ben Zakkai and his disciple Rabbi Joshua as they  lamented the ruins of the Temple. Rabbi Joshua says "Alas for us! The place which atoned for the sins of the people Israel through the...Read more...


08/06/2023 08:25:59 PM


Grilled cheese, tomato soup, potato chips and ice cream. Lakes, trees, dirt paths and cabins. Camp. Filled with Jewish souls, Hebrew, Jewish culture, Shabbat, Jewish values. Jewish summer camps! I was privileged to join a group of Educators on a trip sponsored by The...Read more...

An Attitude of Gratitude  - There's an app for that!

07/30/2023 09:21:50 PM


My morning spiritual practice begins with the recitation of the traditional words of gratitude that many of us learned as children: Modeh (modah) Ani. The 12 words can be found on p.61 of our siddur. "I am grateful to You, living, enduring Sovereign, for restoring my soul to me in compassion. You are faithful beyond measure." Saying those words and taking a few moments to actually list things for which I am grateful in a little journal...Read more...

A Musical Congregation is a Spiritual Congregation

07/24/2023 09:04:38 AM


One of my many goals upon stepping into my dual role as Cantor and Director of the Religious School  has been to help build upon and develop the musical element of our services and our general congregational life. To my delight, I was made aware of the many talented musicians among our Adath Shalom family and the many ongoing musical projects. I felt it was incumbent upon me to build on the momentum. With that goal in mind, we...Read more...

New Caje 14 

07/16/2023 08:12:07 AM



I will be attending the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education  ( known as NEW CAJE) in Montclair this week. I am looking forward to several days of connecting with educational colleagues and attending workshops. Here are some of the titles of the workshops I will attend: "What's the "new normal" in our post-Covid world?", "Help, I need Guidance to Reimagine Jewish Learning in My School", "The Future...Read more...

Each note  in a melody counts! 

07/09/2023 11:56:04 AM


“In a Hassidic niggun, each note turns to the one behind him and says: ‘thank you for being my Rebbe.’ Then he turns to the note in front of him and says: ‘I bless you, and give you permission for being even more beautiful than I.”   Rabbi Nehemia Polen 

I first learned this beautiful teaching many years ago when I participated in a cohort of  The Institute for Jewish Spirituality. It came across my...Read more...

Mazal Tov to our Diller Teen Fellows! 

07/03/2023 03:05:54 PM


Among the many wonderful programs offered by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest is the Diller Teen Fellowship program. 

Diller Teen Fellows is a premier leadership development program for Jewish 10th and 11th graders in Greater MetroWest NJ. The yearlong fellowship invites a select group of 20 teens to explore their Jewish identity and develop leadership skills towards social action and community...Read more...

Ma Tovu Oha-leh-cha Ya'akov, How Goodly Are Your Tents O, Jacob? 

06/26/2023 09:03:31 AM


The terms bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah and b'nai mitzvah are possibly the most incorrectly used terms in popular usage. I too have been guilty of using these colloquialisms that are technically incorrect. The first thing to understand is that the term bar mitzvah is in itself a descriptive noun referring to a person, not a party or ceremony.  (ie. "I am going to a bar mitzvah".)

The term bar mitzvah refers to a male who has...Read more...

Happy Pride Month! 

06/19/2023 07:18:49 PM


I had an opportunity recently to visit the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. I would definitely recommend this museum which covers the America Jewish Experience from the Colonial period through our own day. The gift shop alone is worth a visit! (I do love gift shops and I love Judaica... so what is not to like?). I lived in Philadelphia while in art school in 1981 and the following year (after I quit art...Read more...

Mazal Tov to a special Bar Mitzvah Boy! 

06/13/2023 10:42:54 PM


Bar Mitzvah Boy Larry Edelstein with his dad, Sam

The end of June will mark the end of my first year at Adath Shalom. It is a good time to pause and to express my gratitude for the warm reception my husband and I have enjoyed. We truly feel we have...Read more...

The Power of Community

06/06/2023 07:55:02 AM


Pirkei Avot teaches us: "Al Tifrosh min hatzibbur", "Do not separate yourself from the community".

The name of our congregation is "Adath Shalom". The Hebrew word "Adath" means community (of). Some synagogue names begin with the word "Beit" or "Beth" meaning house (of). We are more than a "house". We are a community. 

This past shabbat was a demonstration of how joyful it can be to be among community. In fact, for me this...Read more...

October 27, 2018 - Where Were You?

05/29/2023 09:00:57 PM


Where were you on Shabbat morning, October 27, 2018. Once I remind you of the significance of that date, I am sure you will remember where you were as clearly as you remember where you were on the morning of 9/11/2001. October 27, 2018 - 18 Cheshvan 5779 - Parshat Vayera. On that date I officiated at a private bat mitzvah. When I emerged from the hall, I turned on my phone and saw my first alerts about the attack on Tree of Life Synagogue in...Read more...

Torah Trope  - Part  6

05/22/2023 09:00:57 PM


One of the biggest challenges for Torah readers is mastering the reading of the Ten Commandments. If you look at some printed texts of the Torah which include trope symbols (te'amim), you might see what appear to be more than one trope symbol for each word in the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments appears in two places in the Torah. One is in the book of Exodus (chapter 20) and then again later in the book of Deuteronomy (chapter 5). I...Read more...

Torah Trope Part 5 

05/12/2023 06:06:48 PM


     In English the word "trop" or "trope" is used to refer to the system of chanting the Torah, however, in Hebrew we refer to the symbols as "Ta'amay Hamikra", or simply "te'amim".   The word actually means "taste". The melodies are referred to as "n'ginot". We are all familiar with the "n'ginot" that the Lithuanian Jews brought with them when they came to America in the 19th century. In fact, the...Read more...

Let's do  this B'yachad!

05/09/2023 11:23:50 AM


     May 7 was the last day of Religious School for this year. There are so many people to thank for our successful year. As I drove to school early in the morning I mentally planned my closing message. The word that continuously came to my mind was "B'yachad" - Together. This year could not have been successful without the guidance and help of so many. Our teachers, madrichim, parents, committee members, Pam in the...Read more...

Torah Trope Part 4  

04/30/2023 04:09:40 PM


     The  system of trope includes  28 symbols which indicate not only melody, but syllabic stress and punctuation as well. The symbols are classified into two groups: one group being separators (disjunctives) and the other group serving as connectors (conjunctives). If  you learn to identify just two of these symbols and understand how they function to break up a pasuk (biblical verse - sentence)...Read more...

Torah Trope Part 3  

04/25/2023 02:52:50 PM


I have been reading Torah for many, many years. For a long time it felt like an exercise in memorization since the vowels and the trope do not appear in the Torah. As you know, one prepares a Torah reading by using a book called a tikkun. The tikkun shows each column in the Torah in two ways: one without vowels and trope markings and one "dressed" with vowels and trope markings. The reader must not only prepare the correct...Read more...

Torah Trope Part 2

04/18/2023 03:10:35 PM


     Who created the system of trope? Ezra the Scribe led a group of Jews back to the land of Israel from Babylonian exile. Ezra found the Jews had neglected the regular study of Torah and he instituted the public readings on Mondays, Thursdays, Shabbat and Festivals that we still follow to this day. Mondays and Thursdays were chosen because they were the days Jews gathered in public squares to buy and sell their wares. This...Read more...

Torah Trope 101

04/09/2023 01:08:10 PM


Guest contributor: Rabbi Allen Darnov

     Adath Shalom can boast a host of Torah readers able to leyen (read) Torah on sabbaths and holidays.  These individuals have not only superb Hebrew skills, they have also mastered the “accents” or ta’amim attached to the Torah’s words which have crucial importance. Look at a line of Hebrew in the Bible: the signs that don’t appear to be vowels are musical...Read more...


04/04/2023 09:42:32 AM


     How can I do a series of Passover articles about seder songs without mentioning everyone's favorite?  Dayeinu! If you use a traditional haggadah, you will see that the Dayeinu song actually consists of15 verses. We commonly explain that the word "dayeinu" which is sung as the chorus and nowadays, even as a standalone song means "it would have been enough for us". Each line describes an action of God for which we...Read more...

The Journey Song by Debbie Friedman 

03/26/2023 08:22:58 PM


    In the mid 1990's, I served a congregation in Westchester, NY. In those years the ground breaking Jewish singer/songwriter Debbie Friedman was leading Passover seders for women. These sedarim inspired many communities to create their own womens sedarim (seders). Haggadot were compiled incorporating women's themes. In 2000, the first edition of  "The Journey Continues"  Haggadah   was published by...Read more...

03/25/2024 07:02:47 PM


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03/04/2024 03:44:49 PM


Update this content.

06/13/2023 06:35:05 PM


     Last week I reflected on the beautiful moments we shared as a community almost two weeks ago.I am nearing the end of my first year at Adath Shalom. I have now observed a full cycle of Jewish holidays with this community.This is a good time to pause and  thank everyone for making my husband and myself feel so welcome here. Only a year ago, I looked out at the faces in the sanctuary and worried about how I would...Read more...

Ma Nishtana? 

03/19/2023 07:49:13 PM


     Last week I wrote about the end of the seder, but today I want to write about the beginning. Probably the best known part of the seder is the singing of the 4 questions. For generations one rite of passage for a Jewish child was the recitation of this text. I was the youngest of four children and I remember the thrill of being able to take my turn to lead the four questions. I still remember the voice of the boy soprano...Read more...

Pesach -  A musically rich festival 

03/12/2023 03:39:01 PM


     While most people will look forward to the food of Passover:  the matzah ball soup, the brisket and the desserts, I look forward and backward to the music. I say "backward" because Pesach is filled with memories of seders past, especially those of my childhood. My husband has little patience for my insistence on singing every stanza of the long songs that end the seder. And, it is true that my father too...Read more...

 Haynt is Purim Brider! 

03/07/2023 01:47:34 PM


     I am writing this on Purim day, but you will probably not read this until Shushan Purim. Those of us who live in walled cities get to continue our celebration on Shushan Purim. What is Shushan Purim? Shushan was a walled city and according to the megillah, the fighting in Shushan which was a walled city continued through Adar 14th, so they celebrated the following day, the 15th of Adar. Do you live in a walled...Read more...

The Tastes and Sounds of Purim 

02/26/2023 06:36:42 PM


     Purim is definitely in the air at Adath Shalom! It didn't just creep in quietly,  it announced itself with cheers, joy and song. As I write this we are still 8 days away from Purim, but we have already started celebrating.  Of course, a favorite theme of Purim songs is the food we eat.  After all, singing about traditional foods is almost as fun as eating them. One of my favorite...Read more...

Rejoice!  Adar is Here!!

02/19/2023 08:23:04 PM


For myself and my husband, Allen, the phrase "Mishenichnas Adar marbin b'simchah" (When Adar begins, our joy increases) has special meaning. Our first born son is named Adar. Although we didn't know if we would be planning a bris or simchat bat, the baby's arrival...Read more...

Baruch - Who /What is being blessed? 

02/14/2023 02:37:21 PM


     One of the common misunderstandings I have encountered is the confusion about who or what is being "blessed" when we utter a b'rachah. When we recite  the  blessing before lighting candles, are we blessing the candles? When we recite the kiddush  are we blessing the wine? The simple answer is no. The word "barukh" is followed by "atah Ado---ai". The word "baruch" is modifying God. So, what...Read more...

What is a B'rakhah? 

02/05/2023 08:15:21 PM


     The Talmud instructs us that Jews should recite 100 blessings a day. We begin our day with many blessings as part of our daily liturgy. B'rakhot are a device to focus our awareness of the miracles great and small in our lives. When we pause to acknowledge the miracle of a morsel of food or the ability of our body to function, we bring holiness to the moment. So, what is a b'rakhah? Yes, I am sure you can recite many...Read more...

Shabbat Shirah

01/29/2023 04:59:57 PM


     This coming shabbat will be a very special one at Adath Shalom. It is Shabbat Shirah, "The Sabbath of Song". Shabbat Shirah gets its name from the torah portion which features the poem sung by  Moses, Miriam  and the Israelites in celebration of   the miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea. This poem is actually a part of our daily liturgy. It is recited in its entirely in the preliminary...Read more...

Morning Blessings

01/23/2023 07:10:42 PM


If you are an early arriver to shabbat morning services, then you might catch the string of 15 blessings known as "Birchot Hashachar" (The morning blessings). They are recited quickly, maybe too quickly to completely process the message of each one. These blessings, which originated in the Talmud corresponded with the actions we all do in the morning. There is a blessing for opening our eyes, for getting dressed, putting a kippah on our...Read more...


01/15/2023 06:11:17 PM


Communal tefillah  (prayer) is about responding to  and interacting with whoever is leading the tefillot (Prayers).The person who leads the tefillah is called "sh'liach tzibbur" - the messenger of the congregation. (A female is called a "shlichat tzibbur"). I know, it is a bit of a mouthful, but you can also use the shortened contraction "SHATZ". What is the idea of a sh'liach tzibbur or messenger of the congregation? In...Read more...

Start Your Day with ADON OLAM!

01/10/2023 12:38:34 PM


Adon Olam is everyone's favorite prayer, right? It signals the end of the service and the next activity which is the Oneg or Kiddush! It is usually sung to a bouncy, happy tune or a melody stolen from pop music and hardly reflects the spiritual essence of this poem. Adon Olam has been ascribed to the poet Solomon Ibn Gabirol who lived in the 11th century. It might shock you to learn that in most traditional siddurim, including...Read more...


12/30/2022 01:04:55 PM


     How many of you have ever followed a diet? There seem to be a few core habits that make diets work: consistency and flexibility. On the one hand, we have to commit to a daily regiment of eating or avoiding certain foods. On the other hand, we are encouraged to "change it up" and add new foods so we don't get bored . I would say the same concepts apply to prayer. The two main ingredients of Jewish prayer are "Kevah"...Read more...


12/19/2022 02:43:19 PM


Last week I challenged you to "go on a hunt for Chanukah music that moves you either emotionally or spiritually". Every holiday provides so many opportunities for us to express our Judaism. There are rituals, there is food, there are sights, but for me, I don't feel I have fully taken in the holiday unless I have fully saturated my ears with the music. The sounds go straight from my ears to my heart. Yes, the Adam Sandler song is fun......Read more...


12/13/2022 12:48:16 PM


     I have often heard that Chanukah music is not nearly as beautiful as Christmas music. Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel is fun... but it is not glorious or soul lifting. To those of you who are of the opinion that Christmas music is much more beautiful than anything we have have to offer... I humbly suggest that maybe you are not aware of the amazing repertoire that is out there. Yes, there are a lot of children's ditties, and,...Read more...

Practicing or a practice? 

12/04/2022 07:21:46 PM


     Recently, I was trying to encourage a student to come to services in the months leading up to their becoming a bar/bat mitzvah. The student said "why do I have to come to services, I already learned all the prayers in religious school". Yes, indeed, if one  were to wander through the halls  and overhear our vav and zayin students "practice" their tefillot (prayers) with Morah Nurit, you might be pretty...Read more...


11/28/2022 09:06:36 AM


SHABBAT! A gift to yourself! Shabbat is a restful pause where we hold our hands up to the outside world, saying "give me some space to breathe... I will get back to you on that to do item on Sunday."  My week has always centered around SHABBAT. A Jew is always moving in time towards or away from Shabbat. My husband and I used to joke that on Sunday we already start planning for the next Shabbat! I have always been sad that so...Read more...


11/16/2022 06:26:13 PM


Gratitude is a main theme of Jewish prayer. In fact, Jewish prayer has often been summed up by the words: Thank you, WOW and Please. Upon waking up we begin our day by thanking God for our souls, our bodies and our Judaism. One of the first prayers taught to Jewish children was always the prayer "Modeh Ani". "I am grateful to You, living and enduring Sovereign, for restoring my soul to me in compassion. You are faithful beyond measure. The...Read more...


11/07/2022 02:29:28 PM


     ALL IN ONE WEEKEND AT ADATH SHALOM! On Thursday, there was an FBI alert requiring us to strengthen our security measures. Maybe some communities would have shut down, but we did not do anything of the sort. We strengthened our security and police presence and carried on.  We had so many amazing and rewarding activities all in one weekend. So mnay vounteers were involved in organizing each activity. We kicked off...Read more...

Parshat Noah PET BLESSING: 

11/02/2022 01:06:41 PM


Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

It was a glorious, sunny fall day!

Our pets, including about 15 dogs, 1 cat and 1 bird, assembled to be 

appreciated and celebrated for the special gifts they  give to us. 

Dr. Ron Bucher, a holistic veterinarian spoke to us about holistic animal care, 

a blessing was recited and doggie-goody bags were distributed. 

Donations were also collected for the 11th hour...


10/25/2022 01:42:06 PM


The Hebrew month of Cheshvan begins Wednesday, Oct. 26 and you will hear the sigh of relief from Jewish professionals around the world. The actual name of the month is Marcheshvan. Some say the prefix "mar" which means "bitter" in Hebrew refers to the fact that no Jewish holidays occur during this month, so therefore it is bitter.   However, the true etymology is that the name Marcheshvan is actually Akkadian. The original...Read more...


10/19/2022 04:18:53 PM


Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

When I was trying to think of a Jewish inspirational  quote for my article, I was reminded of something that I heard from Sheila Adler. Sheila Adler was one of the most successful  Jewish educators I have been privileged to work with.  She received her Masters Degree of Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1986 and served as the President of the Jewish Educators Assembly. She was the Religious School...Read more...


10/12/2022 04:58:48 PM


Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

The Grand Finale to the month long chain of holidays is upon us. The seriousness of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur gives way to the joy of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. At the same time, we are treated to the spectacle of the leaves as they change color, are released from the branches of the trees and float down to the ground. I grew up in Massachusetts and I never tire of the very slow moving fireworks display  of the Fall....Read more...


10/06/2022 08:46:42 AM



     The first mitzvah after Yom Kippur is to build the Sukkah to prepare for the festival of Sukkot which is only 5 days after Yom Kippur. I now realize that my penchant of over scheduling myself may have roots in my Judaism... but I digress... Sukkot is a multi sensory holiday... a feast for the eyes, ears and I would argue it is the best smelling holiday.If you want to know more about sukkot please click on...Read more...


09/28/2022 04:46:11 PM


Some of you may know that I am a weaver. I have dabbled a bit in knitting and crochet as well. I once read the following in a book about crochet: "Ripping out in crochet is a way of undoing something that's been done incorrectly, a technique I would find very useful in life." 

I typed out this quote and keep on a bulletin board. Anyone who has sewn, knitted or crocheted, or woven knows that ripping out and redoing a section is...Read more...


09/19/2022 11:58:07 AM


Each year, in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel, Federation brings a delegation of emissaries to Greater MetroWest to educate children, teens, and adults through the community about Israel, its people, and its culture. The   "Rishonim" are a cohort of teens  who are in their gap year between high school and army service. They are partnered with  synagogues and schools  such as ours to...Read more...


09/13/2022 06:34:07 PM


My father always said: "All Beginnings are Difficult". Of course he said it in Hebrew, "Kol Hatchalot Kashot".  I always hear that statement as advice reminding me to keep stepping forward even when I am forging a new path of some kind. This summer I had a new beginning as the Cantor and Director of the Religious School at Adath Shalom. I am sure many of you are being challenged by your own "new beginnings". This month the sound of...Read more...


08/31/2022 05:33:53 PM


THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER METROWEST: What an amazing resource!! I am still getting to know the strengths of this community. This week I had the pleasure of participating in a meeting of Religious School Directors hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest. I had the opportunity to hear about all the programs  being offered in support of  our Jewish community. As I listened to the many presentations of...Read more...

Wed, April 17 2024 9 Nisan 5784