Monday, November 13, 2017

Camp Pinebrook is Coming ... Open House: Sunday December 3rd, Noon


Camp Pinebrook at Temple Israel of New Rochelle is where children (ages 4-8) make friends, build skills and have fun in a vibrant community infused with Jewish values. So learn more about the program, the facilities and meet the leadership team!

Camp Pinebrook is an inclusive child-centered day camp with a wide variety of activities - from sports & games, crafts & music to swimming and outdoor adventure. This camp offers fun, immersive Reform Jewish experiences that empower children to better themselves and their communities. Located on the grounds of Temple Israel of New Rochelle, camp facilities sit on 15 wooded acres centrally located in lower Westchester County.

Come join us on Sunday, December 3rd ... and see why we're excited about Camp Pinebrook!


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Rabbi Weiner's Sabbatical "The little things do matter."

As I write this, I am just a few days back into my regular schedule after my summer sabbatical. Even in these few days, lots of you have asked me if my time away was what I had hoped it would be and if there was some great take-away from the experience of a prolonged absence from the day to day of my professional life. In short, the answers are yes and yes, without a doubt.

Indeed, the sabbatical (including the part in the spring) was all I had hoped for. It was a great gift from the congregation to both recognize the regular commitment of time on my part to Temple Israel and the value for me, my family and the congregation, for me to have a chance to recharge the batteries. This summer, I got to do many things that I have not had the chance to do in a long time – or ever!

In the early part of the summer, I got to volunteer, as I always do, at the URJ Kutz Camp. This summer however, I was able to be there for nearly the entire session of camp – something I haven’t done since I was a student, nearly 20 years ago. My service to camp, as the faculty dean, has never felt more helpful to camp and, at the same time, it has never felt more fulfilling to me. The weeks there were not just about the teaching and programming for which I was responsible. It allowed me to make more and deeper relationships with campers and staff alike. Likewise, it was so wonderful to have those weeks with colleagues from around the world. I got to learn and be inspired by their work in their communities and be moved by the kinds of collaborations that occur when excellent rabbis, cantors and educators come together in a camp environment. On the one hand, I was there to volunteer, but on the other, I gained so much from being there for such a long stint. It will be hard to be back there only for one week next year!

For the remaining six weeks of the summer, I had the gift of spending nearly all day, every day, with both of my daughters, something that hasn’t happened – ever! Some of you may be wondering if I’m being truthful, but I promise I am! I love being a rabbi and serving the Jewish community, but that comes with a trade-off of having an atypical schedule. I serve the community most nights and weekends. The six weeks with my daughters was an opportunity to just be a dad without running out to meetings at odd hours, or being the one dad on the soccer field in a suit and tie! Before leaving for Israel, we used that time to take day trips all over the New York area. We went to the Statue of Liberty (where I hadn’t been since 5th grade), national parks, museums, a Broadway show, lunches and walks and so much more. At night, we got to have dinner as a family and on weekends we spent time with family and friends. Being a one man daddy day camp was tiring, but I cherished it!

And then we went to Israel for a month, where our daily journeys to and fro in that country were amazing as well. Israel may be a small country, but even we, who have been to Israel countless times, still find new places and sites to visit as well as our favorite haunts that we never miss. We went to Israel’s biggest yogurt and pudding factory (Israelis eat an average of 2 per capita, per day, so this is a place of national importance!), lots of beaches, an escape room (you try doing that in a non-native language!), we made art with our family’s favorite Israeli artist in her private studio, we went to a stalactite cave, explored the treasures of Jerusalem, I got to run with my daughter in 95 degree weather (even less fun than it sounds), ate donuts at our favorite Arab bakery in the heart of Old Jaffa and so much more. Limor and I even got away for a vacation on our own to celebrate our 20 years together.

So yes, I got to do everything I wanted to do on my sabbatical. The great take-away, however, wasn’t grand, but it was profound. The little things do matter. Having the time to do important and meaningful things, not in the minutes or days one finds in between the other things, but doing them solely for the enjoyment of them, was amazing. It has given me insight, at this time of year, on how I’d like to prioritize my time – doing more things, more often, that I love, with those I love. I can’t wait another seven years to make the space for such important things. With the New Year just begun, I hope I live up to it! I hope this year is, for you too, a year of doing things you love and being with those you love, more than ever. Make the time, it’s worth it!








Rabbi Scott Weiner

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hurricane Harvey ... How Are You Helping?

Dear chevrei (friends),

Ah, unhappy, storm-tossed soul, with none to comfort you: I will make garnets your building-stones, and sapphires your foundations.
Two weeks ago, these were the opening words of the Haftarah portion from the prophet Isaiah. And now, there are millions of Americans storm-tossed by Hurricane Harvey. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by the storm as well as those on the ground providing aid and shelter. Reports are only beginning to quantify the amount of destruction, making it clear that recovery will be long and difficult.

Many in our community are looking for ways to provide assistance to the communities affected by the storm. In relief efforts following natural disasters there is often confusion about how best to provide help. In this case, the challenge is compounded by the ongoing rain and flooding, making it difficult to assess the damage.
With help from the Social Action Committee, we have compiled a short list of organizations that we know are directly working with storm victims and have immediate needs. We encourage you to give generously to these and other organizations.
  1. URJ Greene Family Camp: The Reform Movement's camp in Texas is spearheading two different initiatives. They have opened up the camp facility for families who need shelter. They are also organizing "Hurricane Harvey Houston Day Camp." In addition to providing a full day of supervision and activities for kids whose parents need to focus on storm recovery, the Day Camp will be serving families meals.
  2. Texas Diaper Bank: The Texas Diaper Bank helps families all year long, but are receiving a tremendous volume of requests from displaced families in need of diapers.
  3. Food Bank of Corpus Christi: The Food Bank is focused on getting food and water to displaced families.
There are two Reform congregations in Houston, Congregation Emanu El and Congregation Beth Israel. While they are still compiling data on the impact of the storm on their families, we do know that Beth Israel suffered extensive damage to its building, including the sanctuary flooding. Emanu El's building suffered only minor damage and will be hosting the day camp described above. In the coming weeks we will let you know if there are specific ways that we can help these congregations recover. We are especially proud of the work that Rabbi Josh Fixler, grandson of our member Thelma Fixler, is doing to provide comfort to his community in his first year as a rabbi at Congregation Emanu El.
In the Haftarah portion this week, also from the prophet Isaiah, God tells the people, "with love unending I take you in." May those forced to flee their homes by Hurricane Harvey feel this love through the actions of brave first-responders, kind neighbors, compassionate volunteers, and generous donors.

With great hope,
Rabbi Nichols signature
Rabbi Nichols

Monday, June 26, 2017

What Have I Learned My First Year as Your Cantor?


As I write this article, I am thinking back to this time last year when I was writing to introduce myself to the community. Well, I have now been your cantor for a year. I have gotten to know many of you, I have learned from you and I look forward to getting to know you better over the coming year. And I hope that many of you have gotten to know me, and that you have learned from me as well. But I want to focus on some of the things I have learned during my first year as your cantor:

You love this community.


That’s a strong but true statement. The only vague part is who “you” is. I’ll start with the congregation at large. Some of you regularly attend services. Some of you volunteer and commit time and talent to TINR. Some of you donate generously. Whatever your involvement, time and again you have shown how much you care about your community.
And the clergy and staff love this community. It is refreshing and energizing to work with colleagues who share such a strong commitment to this community. I enjoy working with all of my colleagues here at TINR and I am strengthened by their individual efforts and the overall commitment of the team.

You love music.

So many of you have shared your sincere appreciation for what I bring to this community, musically and otherwise. And the comments go well beyond typical praise. Clearly this congregation is made up of insightful and thoughtful appreciators of music and worship. This is not to say that I am not questioned or criticized on occasion. But those comments too show a love and respect for the role of music in the synagogue. I don’t expect everyone uniformly to love all the music we do here, but I certainly appreciate the passion that so many of you show for music in its infinite variety.
Many of you have also chosen to participate in creating music for our services. Whether you sing in one of our choirs, play instruments or have helped to lead through chanting our sacred texts, you have joined me in uplifting the community in song and prayer. In music, as in all things, we are stronger together.


You love this building.


We are lucky to inhabit such a beautiful building, designed by Percival Goodman in 1962. Clearly the mid-century modern architecture impacts the identity of our community—just look at our logo. It’s not a menorah or other Jewish symbol, but a stylized image of our building. But a building of this age, designed for a very different community more than 55 years ago, must change. How exciting that this summer we are able to renovate our sanctuary, thanks to the Raizen and Fadem families and their generous support. See all the pictures below!

Keeping with the ideals of Reform Judaism, we do not ignore our history. We seek to adapt and renovate in a way that respects the sanctity of the original design but allows the sanctuary to remain relevant and functional for contemporary worship. Besides an aesthetic freshening-up of the space, our renovation will lower the bimah, creating a stronger bond between congregation and clergy. The barriers between our synagogue musicians and the bimah will be removed, creating a direct connection between me and the other musicians, and a stronger bond between all of our musicians and the congregation. The more gracious space for musicians will also accommodate a grand piano, allowing us to create more varied musical worship. The sanctuary and bimah will become accessible to all with a ramp to the bimah and an integrated listening assistance system for the hearing impaired. The fixed pews will be replaced by flexible seating, allowing for unique seating arrangements that may suit a particular service or event. Improved lighting will enhance the worship experience for all.

By the time you are reading this, the renovation will already be underway. I encourage you to stop by the lobby to have a look at our renderings for the newly renovated sanctuary. And most importantly, mark your calendars for Shabbat evening, September 15 as we rededicate our sanctuary prior to the High Holidays.

Come Rosh Hashanah, we will be able to sing with full hearts, “Hashiveinu Adonai eilecha, v’nashuvah. Chadeish yameinu k’kedem.” Return us to You, Adonai, and we will return. Renew our days, as before. May this summer be a time of renewal for all.

L’shalom,








Cantor Schloss

Architect's Rendering

































Friday, January 27, 2017

Celebrating Tu B'Shevat in Kehillah!



While we are in the midst of the coldest months in New York, we celebrate the “official” start to Spring in Israel with Tu B’Shevat. In my mind, this holiday really encapsulates what Judaism is all about. It is a day that we celebrate trees and nature, which are an integral part of the human environment.

Traditionally, planting parsley has been a long-standing Tu B’Shevat preschool activity. Now what does parsley have to do with trees? Well, I imagine that pre-school teachers of years past could not plant actual trees with their students or that the symbolic act of “buying” a tree in Israel was not tangible enough. Given these factors, engaging in a planting activity was (and still is) a good way to discuss nature in a classroom setting. What is really wonderful about this activity is that if you plant the parsley on Tu B’shevat, by the time it germinates and grows, we have jumped two holidays to our major Spring holiday of Passover. A major component of the Passover Seder is Karpas, which is the spring herb/vegetable often represented on the Seder plate by parsley. The Jewish calendar works in amazing ways!

At Kehillah, we will be planting tons of parsley in a new parsley garden. The students will be able to both predict what will happen to the seeds and observe the parsley once it is planted. Basically, the children will be able to document the whole process from start to finish.

Planting parsley on Tu B’Shevat for use on Passover reinforces in a cyclical way how holidays connect us to seasons and one to another.

This Tu B’Shevat try planting something in your own homes that can be used later in the year.

Chag Sameach,








Abra Goldemberg
Director of Early Childhood Jewish Education

Friday, January 13, 2017

"Paint Nite" at Temple Israel of New Rochelle




This is what community looks like at Temple Israel of New Rochelle!

Grabbing aprons, paintbrushes and maybe some liquid courage, 35 women got in touch with their inner Picassos for Sisterhood's Paint Nite. It was a night full of creativity and laughter and too much cheese. Thanks to those who joined us! We look forward to seeing the "artistes" and all other Temple Israel of New Rochelle women at future Sisterhood events. Visit www.tinr.org/events to see those and other Temple Israel events!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

From Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Shabbat to the NFTY-NAR Winter Kallah...Temple Israel is the Place to Be!


Dear Chevrei (Friends),

Most people are creatures of habit. Some are mundane and personal, like using the same coffee mug every morning, and others feel grand and involve others, like fraternal organizations. Each of these, in their own way, create and maintain traditions. Traditions are hard to let go of – perhaps because human beings do not naturally love change, but we do love traditions. Judaism is, perhaps more than anything else, a system to store and deliver traditions. And, we’ve got all kind of traditions – from our rituals and holidays, to our favorite foods and special terminology.  That is why Judaism is still so important to Jews – even ones who have no religious practice at all. Even we Reform Jews, who do not fear change, nor avoid it, still know that without many of our traditions, we wouldn’t be Jews at all.

Temple Israel, like all communities, has its own traditions, unique to us. One of those traditions is that Temple Israel has always been the gathering place for the larger community. We are seen as not only a trusted communal institution, both to Jews and non-Jews, but we are known for being warm and welcoming to all who come through our doors. That did not happen by accident. It takes a lot of work, over many years, to build a culture such as we have here. We’ve played host to an array of community wide events over the years because no one does a warm welcome like Temple Israel.

Rabbi Wohl established just such a tradition by creating and hosting the Annual Coalition for Mutual Respect Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Shabbat. If you haven’t been here in the past, you have missed out on a gathering like no other.  This is one of the largest annual gatherings in New Rochelle and Westchester – bringing together hundreds of people from diverse backgrounds and communities, races and religions. Only Temple Israel was willing to open its doors like this more than thirty years ago. If you haven’t experienced this tradition, you should join us this year.  I’ll add, that this will be our first year without Rabbi Wohl presiding over the service and the evening. Those are big shoes to fill. More importantly, this is an opportunity to show Rabbi Wohl, from afar, that what he created has indeed become a tradition here – that tolerance, respect, human dignity and equality are the teachings which he has bequeathed to us. Those teachings too are our traditions and we must, perhaps more than ever, continue these traditions. I hope to see you on Friday, January 13 at the Dinner at 6 pm followed by the Service at 7:30 pm. Click here for details!

Another tradition here at Temple Israel is a commitment to our youth and youth programs. Temple Israel is no "Johnny Come Lately" to the idea that we must invest heavily in our youth if we hope for a bright future for our Jewish people. Going back generations, Temple Israel set itself apart from all other congregations in our area by having a robust high school program. Our formal education program boasts one of the highest post-B'nei Mitzvah retention rates in the country. Our 500 families produce a hundred high school enrollees every year. Congregations, quadruple our size, often do not see numbers like that! Adding to our amazing formal program, is our unmatched youth group. TIFTY is outstanding in the scope of its activities and the number of kids who are involved. Again, in a region that boasts some of the largest synagogue communities in the entire world, it is TIFTY that is regularly the largest, most active and best youth group anywhere around. Why are we so successful?  Tradition! For generations, the commitment to our youth has been clear and our kids know the congregation, and Brotherhood and Sisterhood, are supporting their growth every step of the way.

In recognition of our success in youth programs, and because our reputation and tradition of being the communal gathering space, NFTY-NAR, the region that TIFTY is a part of, has asked us to host its Winter Kallah over the January 20 - 22 weekend! This is an honor, not just for our teens, but for all of us. We all contribute to the culture of success of our youth programs. Now, we can once again put our special form of Temple Israel hospitality on display as we play host to almost 200 teens from all over New York. As we have for more than a century, we’re calling on you to support our youth by offering to host – literally – all of these teens! We need people to open their homes to house all of them over the course of the weekend and to get them to and from Temple Israel throughout the weekend. Please show these teens, what we here in our community already know – that we are the best hosts! Contact Rabbi Nichols at RabbiNichols@tinr.org if you are willing to host. We hope you do!

Abraham & Sarah, the first Jews, according to our tradition, had a tent with no sides so that they could always see visitors, strangers and wanderers from afar. Why was this so important to them? Because they felt that hospitality was among the most important traditions they wanted to begin, and hand down all the way to us! Not much about Judaism has changed in the 4,000 years since they lived. Abraham & Sarah, and Rabbi Wohl too, can all be at ease knowing that we’ve learned their lessons well.

I look forward to seeing you both weekends in January.

Senior Rabbi Scott B. Weiner