2610 Pioneer Avenue
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001
(307) - 634 - 3052
[email protected]

 

Online Dues and Donations

See's Candy Order Form

Photos Courtesy of Louis Davidson, Synagogues360.org

Shabbat Services

Friday - 7:00 PM - In person and online through Zoom.
Shabbat Services are led by lay leaders and Rabbi Moshe Halfon.

Coming Up

Friday, December 3 – 7 PM – Shabbat services in person, led by Rabbi Halfon, and via Zoom. We’ll open the meeting at 6:30 so people can chat. Services begin at 7:00. Zoom info: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83627327018. Meeting ID: 836 2732 7018. Here’s a link to the book we’ll be using: –https://www.ccarnet.org/publications/mishkan-tfilah-for-shabbat/.
 
Saturday, December 4 – 10 AM – Shabbat services in person, led by Rabbi Halfon, and via Zoom. We’ll open the Zoom meeting at 9:30 so people can chat. Services begin at 10:00 in person and via Zoom. Zoom info:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89143353884, Meeting ID: 891 4335 3884.
 
Sunday, December 5 – 10 AM to 4 PM – See’s Candy Sale!
 
Sunday, December 5 – 4:30 PM – Chanukah Party!!
 
Monday, December 6 – 5:30 PM – Bibles and Beer via Zoom. Please email Rodger McDaniel at [email protected] so he can add you to the list of those sent the Zoom link each week.
 
Friday, December 10 – 7 PM – Shabbat services in person and via Zoom. We’ll open the meeting at 6:30 so people can chat. Services begin at 7:00. Zoom info: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83627327018. Meeting ID: 836 2732 7018. Here’s a link to the book we’ll be using: –https://www.ccarnet.org/publications/mishkan-tfilah-for-shabbat/.
 
Sunday, December 12 – 10 AM to 4 PM – See’s Candy Sale!
Save the Dates!
 
Sunday, December 19 –  Mt. Sinai Annual Congregation Meeting – Brunch at 10 AM, Annual Meeting at 11 AM.  In person and on Zoom.  Zoom info: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87006050496.  Meeting ID: 870 0605 0496
 
January 23, 2022 at 4 PM – Our next Hadassah book group event will be Rebecca Donner’s All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler.   
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Mildred Harnack was twenty-six when she enrolled in a PhD program in Germany and witnessed the meteoric rise of the Nazi party. In 1932, she began holding secret meetings in her apartment—a small band of political activists that by 1940 had grown into the largest underground resistance group in Berlin. She recruited working-class Germans into the resistance, helped Jews escape, plotted acts of sabotage, and collaborated in writing leaflets that denounced Hitler and called for revolution. Her coconspirators circulated through Berlin under the cover of night, slipping the leaflets into mailboxes, public restrooms, phone booths. When the first shots of the Second World War were fired, she became a spy, couriering top-secret intelligence to the Allies. On the eve of her escape to Sweden, she was ambushed by the Gestapo. At a Nazi military court, a panel of five judges sentenced her to six years at a prison camp, but Hitler overruled the decision and ordered her execution. On February 16, 1943, she was strapped to a guillotine and beheaded.Historians identify Mildred Harnack as the only American in the leadership of the German resistance, yet her remarkable story has remained almost unknown until now.Harnack’s great-great-niece Rebecca Donner draws on her extensive archival research in Germany, Russia, England, and the U.S. as well as newly uncovered documents in her family archive to produce this astonishing work of narrative nonfiction. Fusing elements of biography, real-life political thriller, and scholarly detective story, Donner brilliantly interweaves letters, diary entries, notes smuggled out of a Berlin prison, survivors’ testimony, and a trove of declassified intelligence documents into a powerful, epic story, reconstructing the moral courage of an enigmatic woman nearly erased by history.
 
 
 
 
 
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The Mt. Sinai Board of Directors has decided to continue to require masks and social distancing in the Synagogue. Masks are available in our front lobby. No one will be turned away or prevented from entering the Synagogue to pray and worship. The Board does not want anyone to get sick after a visit to the Synagogue.


Weekly Message from the Board President

Let’s Party!  It’s time for the annual Hanukah party at Mt. Sinai.  The party will start at 4:30 PM on Sunday, December 5, at the Synagogue.  Sisterhood will be busy earlier in the day, making latkes, sufganiyot, Jonathan Savelle’s famous Kugel, and other treats.  Then we’ll line a wall of the social hall with menorahs, and all light them together.

Rabbi Halfon will be in town and will lead the service and singing.  We’ll see how skilled he is at dreidel… there will be Hanukah gelt up for grabs.

Hanukah is already underway, and Rabbi Halfon will lead a candle lighting ceremony tonight via Zoom.  Here’s what he says about it:

Rabbi Moshe will lead a brief (one hour max) Hanukkah ceremony for the second night of Hanukkah (“Zoomakkah”) on Monday at 6:30 PM MT.  He will lead this evening from his current home in Long Beach, and arrives in Cheyenne on Tuesday, November 30.  He is available on other nights of this week at the same time to enjoy a virtual Hanukkah with you and yours, either from the synagogue or elsewhere.   Please check the synagogue website or call the synagogue for updates, or contact Dave Lerner.  

Here’s the Zoom info for tonight’s candle lighting.  It starts at 6:30 PM.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82055855615
Meeting ID: 820 5585 5615

To get you more into the spirit of Hanukah, and get your toes tapping, here’s a dance and music mashup of Hanukah songs from Elliot Dvorin and the Key Tov Orchestra.

Rabbi Halfon is participating in the Hanukah candle lighting at the State Capitol.  The event is organized by Rabbi Zalman Mendelsohn, the Chabad Rabbi in Jackson.  It takes place Wednesday, December 1 at 11:15 AM in the West Hall of the State Capitol Building in Cheyenne.

Have you voted yet?  You can vote in person, but we also mailed out proxy ballots for our annual congregation meeting.  It’s coming up on Sunday, December 19.  We’ll start with a brunch at 10, and the annual congregation meeting starts at 11.  You’ll get an update on the Synagogue activities for the past year, and the plans for 2022.  You’ll also be electing three members to the Board of Directors.  There are four candidates running for three seats (so if you vote via mail, only vote for three).  The candidates are Dave Lerner, Steve Borin, Denise Bendori, and Tikvah (Therese) McKinnon.

The See’s Candy Sale is underway at the Synagogue. You can order online at our website, or buy in person at the Synagogue on Sundays from 10 to 4, or by appointment. The sale is going very well… which means place your order now before they run out.

The Endowment Fund has been raising money in the month of November for a chair in the large sanctuary to honor Joe Golden.  We’ve talked about his significant contributions to the Synagogue in time, energy, and enthusiasm.  Joe has been a very active volunteer and has made a real difference in our community.

A chair is $500, but an anonymous donor will cover half that amount under certain conditions.  If you would like to donate, please use our website or contact the Synagogue office.

We have one more Hanukah tidbit.  This is another cartoon sent to us by Babs Klein.

Here’s our Yiddish Phrase of the Week:

Geshvindkeit iz nor gut floi tsu chapen.
Speed is only good for catching flies.

Shalom,

Dave Lerner
President
Mt. Sinai Board of Directors

Rabbi’s Message

Mt. Sinai Congregation        Bs”D     Rabbi’s Torah Message        R. Moshe Raphael Halfon

23 Kislev, 5782  November 27, 2021

Parshat Vayeshev  Gen. 37:1-40:23   Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7

Joseph’s Trials:

Thrown into a pit

Wrongly accused 

Shabbat Shalom Sinai Members and Friends!

The Story of Joseph is the longest single story and one of the most famous narratives in the entire Bible: Chapters 37-50; from here to the end of Genesis.  As you know, this story has inspired commentaries, interpretations and even a modern play.  The story of Joseph and his brothers seems like is a cautionary tale about the disastrous results of family rivalry.

Genesis is filled with dreams, especially in this portion.  In Biblical times, people thought that God communicated to people through dreams. There were professional dream interpreters.  Even today, psychologists and people in general believe that dreams are important; they help us sort through the unconscious. Vayeshev begins and ends with dreams.

In Gen. 37:6-9, Joseph has two dreams, which he, his brothers and father all interpret as him ruling over them.  The brothers already hated Joseph because he was clearly Jacob’s favorite son as evidenced by Jacob giving Joseph a “coat of many colors” (Gen. 37:3).  Such a coat was symbolic of leadership among Semitic chiefs of the time, and was still in use the time of King David

As in the story of Cain and Abel, and hinted in the tale of Esau and Jacob, in Genesis 37 once again fratricide is contemplated.   The brother consider murdering Joseph but then decide to throw him into a pit. Judah argues against murdering Joseph, instead suggesting selling him to the Ishmaelites   In Gen. 37:18-30, rather than just have Joseph not return, the boys dip Joseph’s coat into blood and tear it apart, and tell Jacob that a wild animal killed him.  Once Joseph arrives in Egypt, his troubles compound, but improve in Chapter 39, when Potiphar chooses him to run his estate.  But then he is thrown into prison when Potiphar’s wife accuses him of molesting her.   Yet in prison, he becomes a lead prisoner.  Then we hear another dream story: the dreams of Pharoah’s cup-bearer and baker, who are also in prison (Gen. 40:5-19).  After Joseph interprets their dreams (Gen. 40), he asks the cup-bearer to put in a good word for him when he is restored to his position.  But the man does not remember to do so, so Joseph remains in prison.

D’Var Torah        Ellen M. Umansky, Ph.D.

Parashat Vayeishev introduces the Joseph saga. When it begins, Jacob’s 11th son, Joseph, is a 17-year-old shepherd working in the fields alongside his older brothers. The text’s description of him as a “youth,” na-ar, is apt, both biologically and emotionally. As Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg writes: “Joseph behaves with the narcissism of youth, with a dangerous unawareness of the inner worlds of others” (Zornberg, Genesis: The Beginning of Desire [Philadelphia: JPS,1995], p. 253). He consciously tells Jacob malicious tales about the brothers and by wearing the beautiful, multicolored coat (or ornamental tunic) that Jacob has given him, flaunts the fact that he is the favorite son. It is thus not surprising that when Joseph’s brothers see that their father loves him more than they, they come to hate Joseph (Genesis 37:4).

The medieval rabbis Rashi and Nachmanides (Ramban) excuse Joseph’s behavior because of his youth, citing variations on midrashim such as B’reishit Rabbah 84:7, which describes Joseph as “penciling his eyes, curling his hair, and lifting his heel”…The nasty stories that Joseph tells Jacob about his brothers may well be true and his tale-telling, like his flaunting his appearance, expressions of childishness….

Joseph’s early use of his gift to interpret dreams is similarly immature. The ways in which he describes their content reveal an egocentrism and indifference to the feelings of others that make the young Joseph a difficult figure to admire. When, for example, he tells his brothers about a dream of his in which they were all in a field tying up sheaves of wheat, when his rose and stood up straight while their sheaves paraded around and subsequently bowed down to his, it is no wonder that his brothers “hated him all the more for his dreams and for his words” (Genesis 37:8). Even more so, when he tells the brothers that he dreamt of the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing down to him, his brothers come to detest him, for even before he provides an interpretation, Jacob, who is also a dream interpreter, rebukes Joseph for insinuating that one day he, Rachel (Joseph’s mother), and the brothers would have to “bow down to the ground before” him (Genesis 37:10). It is thus understandable that after Reuben convinces his brothers not to kill Joseph, as they initially planned to do, they agree to seize him, remove the coat that he had flaunted before them, throw Joseph into an empty pit without water, and sell him to the Ishmaelites as a slave. The Ishmaelites then take Joseph down to Egypt where they sell him to Potiphar, one of the officers of the Pharaoh (Genesis 37:28-36).

Yet after Joseph is put in prison for sexually assaulting Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:11-20), an accusation that appears to be untrue, Joseph undergoes a significant change. For the first time, the biblical text describes God as being with Joseph. It is God’s kindness that leads the prison warden to look favorably upon all that Joseph does, consequently appointing him as chief overseer (Genesis 39:21-22). Presumably, it is God’s constant presence that gives Joseph a maturity and sense of humility that previously he did not possess. Thus, when the Pharaoh’s imprisoned cupbearer (chief butler) and baker come to Joseph to interpret their dreams, Joseph first says: “Surely interpretations are in God’s domain; but go ahead and tell them to me” (Genesis 40:8). And when they tell him their dreams, he interprets them truthfully and, it turns out, accurately with the self-aggrandizement of the past gone. To the cupbearer, whose dream, Joseph says, foretells his being restored in three days to his former position, Joseph simply requests that when all goes well for him he remember Joseph and ask Pharaoh to release him….

Self-centered, immature, and at times mean-spirited, Joseph does not yet display sufficient leadership qualities. It is only later, after experiencing the negative consequences of his words and actions towards his brothers, opening himself up to God’s presence when in prison (although it is unclear whether he is aware that God is with him), and using his gift as an interpreter of dreams not to uninvitingly boast about his superiority but to thoughtfully and honestly help others learn about their future, that Joseph begins to show himself worthy of becoming a leader….By the end of this week’s parsha, Joseph appears wiser, though naïve. The cupbearer forgets to speak to the Pharaoh about Joseph. Thus, “learning from his mistaken trust in the butler’s gratitude, next time,” notes Kass, “Joseph will take matters into his own hands” (p. 561). It is only then that Joseph actually will become a leader.

Dr. Ellen M. Umansky is the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professor of Judaic Studies at Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT; Professor of Religious Studies; and director of the university’s Bennett Center for Judaic Studies. She is a long-time member of Reform Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, NY. 

For a little humor, here is a subtitled episode of the Israeli comedy show “The Jews are Coming.”  Remember, it is a comedy, so don’t take it too seriously. 

November Birthdays

 

1              Marilyn Beeman

3              Jared Miller

4              Julie Breen

7              Ya’el McLoud

11           Alan Wolf

11           Aviv Mantaka

14           Ruth Langley

25           Therese McKinnon

25           Stephanie Ehrlich

26           James Peebles

27           Phyllis Bloomberg

27           Nolan Rap

29           Lila Gallensky

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