I have been so delighted to see so many people at services and Adult Education since the High Holidays. Lots of synagogues are filled to the brim on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but the true test of a community is how many people continue to enjoy, attend and grow throughout the year. Family services for Sukkot and Simchat Torah were joyous (our next two are Friday, November 9 and Friday, December 7 for Hanukkah) and our Documentary and Feature Film Festivals, which continue through April, were also very popular.
We strive to have a diverse program throughout the year – realizing that our members are interested in and attracted to different aspects of Jewish civilization. We want to meet your needs! For some, religious services are most important and, for others, its family activities. Some relish Adult Education, while others focus on Tikkun Olam/Social Action or social activities. Often, we try to address many needs in one evening, e.g. “Synaplex Shabbat,” when there are sequential activities for children and families, Shabbat dinner, a musical service with a band, a wonderful guest speaker and an Oneg for schmoozing.
Don’t miss these wonderful upcoming events (that are just a small selection of what’s happening over the next six weeks:
- Friday, November 2: I’ll dialogue with the Merage Israeli Executive Fellows after Shabbat Alive services. The latest group specializes in clean tech, green teach and hi-tech. We’ve increased our Israel centered programming for this year as we approach Israel’s 65th birthday in April.
- Friday, November 16: White House And Election Report. No one knows who’s going to win the election, but I’ll report on the “State of the Union” and how it affects us as Jews and Americans, based on my recent, annual 3-day White House briefing. I’ll also interpret Jewish voting patterns in the election.
- Sunday, November 18: We’re co-sponsoring a Health Fair with the Center For Spiritual Living. Learn about the latest trends in enhancing your life.
- Tuesday, November 20: Our annual Pre-Thanksgiving service with Irvine United Congregational Church is one of those annual “gems” of University Synagogue life. Bring your children and grandchildren and let them see how America is different, how Jews and Christians can celebrate together and learn from each other with mutual respect and continuing interest in what we share.
- Saturday, Dec. 8: For the first night of Hanukkah, we’re going all out – not just lighting the Hanukkiah, but by presetting a fun-filled and memorable “Laugh In Peace Tour” comedy show, headlined by nationally known Jewish (Bob Alper) and Muslim (Ahmed Ahmed) comedians. Hanukkah is about bringing light into the world and this night will be focused on enlightenment through laughter, joy and peace.
- Friday, Dec. 14: Not only will we celebrate Hanukkah/Shabbat Alive, but Pacific Symphony conductor Carl St. Clair will make a very rare speaking appearance discussing “The Spirituality of Music.” I’ll dialogue with Mr. St. Clair, one of Orange County’s leading cultural citizens and a world famous conductor, and Pacific Symphony musicians will also play music that evening in his honor.
All of us at University Synagogue should not only be proud that our national reputation as a dynamic, intellectual and cutting edge congregation enables us to bring programs of this caliber to our members and their friends, but we should also be sure to attend, experience and enjoy these blessed opportunities, as well. Circle them on your calendar today, read all of the details in our November and December issues of our newsletter, HaMakor, and be there so that we can share these precious and exciting times together. Through these events, let’s build that “congregation of relationships” of which our President, Sari Schreiber, speaks so eloquently.
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis