Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

The Bulletin of Congregation Ner Tamid, May 1998



Digital ID


May 1998 - Vol. XVII No. 8 Sanford D. Akselrad Rabbi Bella Feldman Cantorial Soloist Bob Unger President 5 Iyar - 6 Sivan 5758 Monty E. Willey Executive Director Jacqueline Fleekop Education Director Jill Ginsburg Program Director Choose to be Chosen With Passover just weeks behind us, the next exciting (though per?haps less understood) holiday, Shavuot, is almost upon us. Sha- vuot is the commemoration of the covenant between G-d and the Jewish people that was sealed at Mount Sinai. Originally an agricul?tural festival, Shavuot meant an annual pilgrimage to bring the first fruits of the harvest to be offered in the Temple. After the destruction of the Temple, the pilgrimage ^Biect disappeared, and the prima?ry focus switched to Matan Torah, the "Giving of the Torah." Tikkun Lei! Shavuot is the custom of staying up the entire night of Shavuot studying Torah with the community. While we won't be stay?ing up the entire night, but we invite you to mark your calendars for a special evening of celebration on Saturday, May 30,1998. In conjunction with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Congregation Ner Tamid is prepar?ing to participate in the first move?ment-wide Snavuot study program. Join with Jews throughout the world in an intellectually stimulating evening to discuss tne meaning of revelation, ?From Sinai Until Now." The evening will begin with a potluck dairy dinner at 7:00pm, followed by a Havdalah service to mark the end of Shabbat. We will then conduct a Shavuot service, which will lead into your choice of discussion and study workshops. Participants will have the opportu?nity to explore their own theology of revelation through movement, song, drama, writing, and art. In December's Executive Director's Spotlight, Monty Willey, fresh from the NATA and UAHC conferences in Dallas, stressed Congregation Ner Tamid's commitment to the confer?ences' two key themes. These were, "The Challenge of Change," where?by shifting needs of the Jewish com?SpeciaC 9\[ightfor Congregation fA[or Lamid at the Las Vegas Art Museum's tHohoeaust inhibit May 7,1998 6:30pm Light ?Refreshments will Be served (seepage 12 for more information on Holocaust programs and exfiihits planned) munity has required synagogues to strive to create a wider variety of programs and services to fill the needs of our families: and the equal?ly important challenge of retaining members' interest and participation in synagogue life. Our Shavuot program is the perfect opportunity for you to help us face these chal?lenges head on, while at the same time enjoying an evening of food, fun, celebration and study. This inaugural effort to incorporate Shavuot into our hearts and minds is destined to be a special event. Don?t miss it! Please RSVP to the Temple office at 733-6292 by May 22. Rabbi?s Message 2 Worship Services 2 Confirmation Class 3 School News 4 B?nai Mitzvah 5 Auxiliaries & Committees 6 Adult Education 7 Why be Reform? by Eric Yoffie 10 Sophie Eisner turns 100 11 New Members 11 Holocaust Month Exhibits 12 Birthdays & Anniversaries 13 Tributes 14 Yahrzeits & In Memorium 17Since time immemorial our people have prayed, ?Next Year in Jerusa?lem.? These ancient prayerful words articulated a hope as old as our people. A hope that someday we would have a land of our own; a land where our people could practice their heritage in freedom and without fear of persecution. A hope which had its origins in the ancient covenant between G-d and the first Jew Abram. ?Lech lecha ? G-d told Abram ?Go forth from your father?s house to the land that / will show you. / will make of you a great nation, and / will bless you; / will make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. ? But, for a people persecuted over the centuries and thrown into exile, the statement was actually more than simply a statement of hope. It was a statement of defiance. It was a defiance born of an unshakable conviction that we did belong to this world; and that we did have a place. We were never meant to be homeless wanderers roaming across the face of this world, but rather a ?light unto the nations?. A people proud of its heritage, and proud of what it had to offer the world. Despite persecution, despite ha?tred, despite all odds that were against us, we had a vision that someday, someday we would prevail. For a people whose history is over 3,000years old, with the past 2,000 of it spent in exile, who would ever dream that our prayer would come true at long last? But it has because like our people, Israel is a land built upon hope and faith and miracles that do come true. There are still many alive today who remember a veiy different world; a world without an Israel. It was a darker world in which our people never quite felt at home. A world in which our cries for help often fell on deaf ears. But now our dream is turning 50. Just the blink of an eye in terms of all of Jewish history let alone human history. But much has been accomplished. Our people have done more than survive, they have thrived. Challenged by a world reluctant to accept her as a nation, misunderstood by her neighbors, and still fighting for acceptance and recognition, Israel is truly a ?Jewish? state. Indeed, Israel?s history mirrors that of all of Jewish history. At times I wonder to myself if our expectations of Israel are too high. That we want too much to happen too soon. That in a land where miracles have happened so often, that we are frustrated when they do not appear on demand. And then I recognize that 1 was taught an idealized view of Israel which no country could live up to, not even Israel. Just as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had their flaws; flaws which were never hidden by the Torah; so too does Israel. There are challenges unmet; squabbles that seek to divide our people; and enemies that have yet to recognize the power of peace. But that is what nation building is all about. Nothing comes easy, not to any individual or any group. Why then do we expect it of a nation just now learning to walk and spread its wings? No, my friends, at 50 Israel is neither a toddler nor a middle age country, but it is at the dawn of a greatness that lies just around the comer. Let us welcome Israel?s birthday with our heartful support and pride. Next year in Jerusalem, Next year in Jerusalem! 2{g?5iSanfor({JtfseIrad Conqreqa rioN Ner Turn'd (\\forsfiip Services Conducted by Rabbi Sanford D. Akselrad & Cantorial Soloist Bella Feldman May 1 TotShabbat 6:30pm Shabbat Services 7:30pm Guest Soloist - Frances Klamian Oneg sponsored by Christie & Alan Molasky in honor of the naming of THEIR DAUGHTER JOSIE ROSE May 8 Shabbat Services 7:30pm Guest Soloist - Frances Klamian Oneg sponsored by the Sisterhood May 9 Second Saturday Torah & Minyon Discussion 9:00am Sonney Vogel Bat Mitzvah 10:00am Kiddush sponsored by the Vogel Family May 15 Confirmation with Adult Choir 7:30pm Guest Soloist - Frances Klamian Oneg sponsored by families OF THE CONFIRMANTS May 16 Ryan Crighton Bar Mitzvah 10:00am Guest Soloist - Frances Klamian Kiddush sponsored by the Crighton Family May 22 Brian Berman Bar Mitzvah 7:30pm Guest Soloist - Frances Klamian Oneg sponsored by the Berman Family May 23 Joseph Lizar Bar Mitzvah 10:00am Guest Soloist - Frances Klamian Kiddush sponsored by the Lizar Family May 29 Shabbat Services 7:30pm Rabbi's AIPAC Conference Report Guest Soloist - Frances Klamian Oneg sponsored by the Sisterhood May 30 Shavout Services 7:00pm May 31 Yiskor Services 10:00am May 1998 m Temple Board Members uv ? ob Unger Drew Levy David Mendelson Ira Spector David Stahl Scott Stolberg Scott Dockswell Rita Goldstein Ruth Urban Mel Hallerman Sylvia Beller Frances Klamian Jacky Rosen Jon Sparer Robin Greenspun Esther Saltzman Kenny Epstein Janis Rounds Jeff Markewich Helen Herzog Dustin Tiep Jill Ewan Jerry Gordon Cal Lewis Eileen Kollins Kenneth Schnitzer Dr. David Wasserman Dr. Steve Kollins Michael Cherry Dr. Bernard Farrow 1UGENE KlRSHBAUM* f.o Wilner abbi Sanford Akselrad President VP Administration VP Ways & Means VP Membership VP Religious Activities VP Education VP Social Treasurer Secretary Trustee Trustee Trustee Trustee Trustee Trustee Trustee Trustee Sisterhood Brotherhood Golden Chai NTTY TNT Past President Past President Past President Past President Past President Past President Past President Past President Past President Advisor Ex Officio ?Deceased Help WantecJ VoluNTEERS NEEdEd TO WoRk iN tIte SisTERhood Gifr Shop Earn SisTERhood Donor CREdn!!! CaIL: Phyllis l_E\vis 458^81 19 or Phyllis MARk 2654)1 18 TO SchEdulE A TiME foR hElpiNq youR SisTERhood pROvidE A VAluAblE SERViCE TO OUR CoNCjRECjATiON ANd EARN yOUR doNOR CREdn!!! 199? Adult IBNai Mitzvah Service PlEASE MARk youR CAlENdARS ANd bE SURE TO ATTENd jhE Aduh B'NAi SERViCE TO bE hEld ON JUNE 6, 1 998 AT 10:00 AM. ThE Aduh B'NAi MrrzvAh cLass This yEAR hAs tweIve MEMbERs! ThEy are: ArIene Fran Kaqan MichAEl E. DickERMAN DsiRdRE McGraw FElqAR MARilyN PoloviNA^BulEvsky PATTiE RobERTS Betty Schloss GloRiA ShARON FlElpERN jENNifER CohEN RuTh Pearson URbAN Eve R. Marco Phyllis P. FREid Bette R. StaIjI CJfie. parents of iJze. Cotrfirmation aCass of 1998 request. tfze honor of tjowi presence. to fze?p ae?e?rrate. t&Ls important milestone in tlie ?ife of our Cong reg atlon. H^ate: <cA/{ag 15, 1998 dime: 730 pm CPCaae: Congregation dVer darnid Confirmation CCass I99S D^dstin cdfdfex <J\f[Labid Cummins <^A/[attAexJiJ *P>ufamJwu UC^oug C^otA edl/{ztzdltJx Cfro VJSX d\l[ic?iaEL Dfamex cSazaA Ceuu <Sfiatxm cSilbzr c/fiison eShaxzr JEfiaii na 'UjiQzrchool News Turning the Page When I was a child, my grandfather Zayde would tell me that G-d had a special book. This book was a record book. In this book there were records of all the Mitzvots a person remembered to keep and all of their mistakes (sins). Parents were given credit for educating their child, waking them up for religious school, and encouraging them to learn in a positive manner. Students were given credit for being respectful and truthful, for giving all their effort to learning Hebrew, prayers, Judaica and being kind to each other. Each week Zayde would say is a paragraph, and each year a page in your special book. He would tell me that at the end of the page on Yom Kippur, G-d would turn the page and give you a clean sheet. He felt that in this manner G-d did not forget what you had done in the past (because it was in the record book) but you would be given a fresh start. As we are about to turn the page on this year?s Religious School, I can only reflect back on what we have accomplished. We have not only had some wonderful programs and lots of fun, but we have made enormous strides in reaching a high level of Hebrew proficiency. With the support of our board, staff and a much more involved Parent Board, we have been very successful in addressing educational issues of concern to all, and have had many successful fund-raisers. Our west side campus has proved to be wonderful for parents and students. The small class size has helped many students learn more rapidly. Parents are so pleased. Many have expressed how much they appreci?ate having Wednesdays at Bendorf Elementary. On May 3, we will have an Israeli program which will be held from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm. Parents and friends are invited to join us to see what we have learned about Israel. No classes will be held May 10 due to Mother?s Day. On May 17th, parents and students are requested to come to the Sanctuary for our last day of school. Refreshments will be served following our assembly. Remember, school begins at 10:00 am and ends at 12:00 pm on the last day of school. Early registration will take place throughout May - this means savings foryou. Also, the last day of school does not mean the year is finished for the staff. Teachers will be participating in training sessions to help them offer their students a quality education. I will be developing new programs and teaching strategies. Tutoring will take place during the summer, please contact me at 733-6292 if you are interested. As we turn the page, we pray G-d will see that we have done a good job and will bless us with the knowledge and strength to know we can always improve and guide our choice of change. Have a wonderful and safe summer... WEEKDAY HEBREW 8CH00U Our Congregation which humorously used to joke it was "equally inconvenient to everyone," has reached out to our congregants. Weekday religious school is offered once a week to students in two separate locations. Those students living east of Las Vegas Boulevard, attend school from 4:30 to 6:00 pm at our main campus, Congrega?tion Ner Tamid. Students who reside west of Las Vegas Boulevard, can come to the main building or attend classes at Bendorf Elementary School which is located between Durango and Fort Apache on Spring Mountain. The west side campus was started for the 1997 - 1998 school year with the intent to have twelve students. As we end this school year, we find that more than twenty-two students have been part of this new program. With all the extra curricular activities children participate in, besides their secular school requirements, many find the day is about four hours ta^ short. Religious institutions need^B make Hebrew Gchool Education fum and convenient. We feel that we have successfully done this by developing the west side campus. The weekday's intense Hebrew studies are more successful on both sides of town due to smaller class sizes. Our school of more than three hundred students does serve its student body. For more information about Regis?tration or about the West side campus, please call Jackie at the office during weekday business hours at 733-6292. JacQefkefQp /?\> 4 Conqreqa rioN Ner Tam id Editor/Executive Director's Note: As in previous years, the June/July issue of the Bulletin will be a combined issue. The deadline for submittal of all items for both months will still be May 6. 3 May 1998 Kfazel Toy to our kfay B'tt&lMftzvah Students AmuioC TUeetcny "Ptea4e fain, <14, fan, (xun, Annuai Vteeting, m, fate 14, 199% at 4fmv. TVe adit 6e Having a, eHont Cu4i*te4A, Meeting, and, a, 6an,-6e-gue Cn (He 4ociat hail. Seiatv ie tHe frxofiwect 4tate inciting, <xfaicen4,. Hi, mu name is Ryan Crighton. I'm an 8th grader at Greenspun Jr, High. My hobbies are girls, snowboarding, doing Karate, and going to the beacn. I'm really excited about my Bar Mitzvah on May I6th, 1998. My name is Qonney Vogel and I am a 7th grader at Greenspun Jr. High in Green Valley. I enjoy all types of sports and drama and have participated in many acting productions including acting with The Missouli Childrens Theater. I have been studying very hard for my Bat Mitzvah on May 9, 1998. I am looking forward to sharing this special event with my close family Hi, my name is Brian Berman and I am a student at Greenspun Junior High School, I was born in Denver, Idorado, on May 21,1985. In mu free time I enjoy bowling ana playing basketball. I also collect pins, coins, and replica auto- drahheH hasphalls. Mil Rar Mi+Tvah auto?graphed baseballs. My Bar Mitzvah is in the near future and I am becoming more excited every day. I hope you can witness me becoming a Bar Mitzvah along with my family &? friends, on May 22. Hi, my name is Joseph Lizar. having my Bar Mitzvan on May 23, 1998. In my spare time, when I'm not in school, I'm in another school, learning Karate. I've also enjoyed being with Bella and the Jr. Choir for several years and hope that all my friends from choir and religious school can attend. I'm also looking forward to seeing all my relatives on this special day in my life. 2 yean, *7nu4tee - 0?nance4, 'Kiantian S^tHen, Saitgntan 3 yean, *7nu4tee - SHanna, 3'Cuntenfaid fate 'Davie Tftindy ?Ztngen-'Wad/Une Last meetings for the following c/asseswill occur this month: Last Torah Class mill meet on (Hay 5 Last Conversion Class mill meet on ITIay M Lastdauof Religious School millbemayn,luam?noon i*Xn/**\n/**\*i 5 5 $ $ c l Special May 1998 rf)laee (Jo (Belong. AUXILIARIES & Sister fiood Xews Dear CNT Family, I have just returned from the Nordstrom's Flyaway to San Francisco. What a time we had! We shopped til we dropped. It was a real treat to get awau like that and be able to shop wifnout husband or children. We were picked up by Nordstom at the airport and treated like royalty. Our Hotel was terrific ana just across the street! Debbie Haller- man and Sandy Stolberg did an outstanding job with the arrange?ments ana it all went off without a hitch (except for a nearly 3 hour plane delay!). We just had to shop faster! All agreed, it is an event that must be repeated! May is going to be a very busy month tor Temple, especially Sisterhood! Please join us on Friday night, May 8th as we honor our Executive Staff of the Sisterhood Party Shop at ser?vices. Without Bonnie Bergman, Shirley Gellin, Dottu Henkin, Lorelei Wojnicz and Mary Zone, Frances would not be able to provide all of the wonderful services that our Party Shop provides for our congregation. We would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank them for their literally hundreds of volunteer hours spent work?ing for Sisterhood in the Party Shop. Without the Party Shop, our major source of fundraising, Sisterhood would not be able to contribute to all of the projects that we do. On Wednesday evening, May 20 th at 6:00 PM we will be hold?ing our annual Pot Luck and elec- Golden Chat During the month of March, a group of Chai members went on a theater outing to see ?Beau Jest.? This was a delightful comedy concerning a Jewish family, and it was beautifully performed. We have had two theater dates, both highly successful, and we will plan others during the year. In April we had a Passover brunch - matzos, gefilte fish, macaroons, etc. which gave us a ?down home? feeling. It was a pleasure to share the holiday with our Chai friends. JJ o During the coming month we have planned a program called ?Name that Tune.? Our own Sandy Pittle, is the talented lady who will test our memories with music from the past. In June we will debut our new wooden horses with prizes for the winners. As you can see, this will continue to be a busy year for us with a wide variety of activities to appeal to every?one?s taste. We hope more temple members will join in the fun. Love and Shalom, Mdenttazog A CoNQREQATiON NeR TiMld fions. Please come and help us elect the new leadership for Sis?terhood. This is always a lovely event. We are in real need of volun?teers in the Gift Shop. It is a great way to earn donor credit and do a mitzvah, not only for Sisterhood, but also for our con?gregants. Please call Phyllis Lewis @ 458-8119 or Phyllis Mark @ 263-0118 to arrange your time to help us. We would like to welcome as new members to Sisterhood, Naomi Weber and Ann Sandell for the month of March. Until next month......Shalom & Thanks for your support. JanisfRp SCRIP IS BACK!! The temple Scrip program is up and running again. 6s announced in the April Bulletin, the old company we used went out of business. BUT, we have another company that is fully capable to handling our demand. As you look over the order sheet, you will see that a couple of new stores have been added. COSTCO is now available. Remember, this program costs you NO MONEY to support. Just mail in your order form/ check & we do the rest! May 1998 ftduCt ? ?Education The Temple will be offering two new hour-long adult education courses to be held on Thursdays, May 21 28. On both days, the first class will start at 7:00 p.m. and is entitled ?Women in the Bible.? This course will look at many is?sues facing women in the Hebrew Bible. These include ritual purity and rape. Additionally, the status of women in Ancient Israeli soci?ety will be discussed by looking at individual women in the Torah. This class will involve looking at texts in the Tanakh and will be supple?mented by writings by Feminist Bib?lical scholars. The second class for both days will be entitled, ?Reform Judaism in America? and will start at 8:15 p.m. This course will look at the devel?opment of Reform Judaism in America. It will look at issues such as why Reform Judaism in America developed a nature distinct from Pat of liberal Judaism in Europe, hy Reform Judaism is popular in America, and how its platform has changed with time as a result of events occuring both in America and the world. Cost for each class is $ 15 for mem?bers and $20 for non-members. Please call the temple office to make your reservations. For more information contact Jill Ginsburg our program director. The instructor for the the class is Joel Fleekop. Joel Fleekop will be a Junior at Brandeis University (Walth?am, MA) in the fall. Joel is sched?uled to graduate summa cum laude (highest honors) from Brandeis in the Spring of 2000 with a Near Eastern Judaic Studies major with a double concentration in Jewish History and Contemporary Jewish issues. He currently teaches fourth grade at Temple Sinai in Brookline, MA and is on the board of the Gen?erations Club, an organization under the auspices of Hillel that ^pes programing with Jewish re- Brement communities and nursing homes in the Boston area. MAy 1998 Sign Uj) 9{vwfor (Basic Judamt&Sfebrew Classes tfiis Summer In June, the Temple will be offering Introduction to Judaism and Begin?ning Hebrew. The courses will be taught by Melissa Roth. Classes will be one evening a week starting June 25 through August 13. Introduc?tion to Judiaism will be held from 7-8pm and Beginnibng Hebrew from8-9pm. The cost is $30.00 per class for members and $40.00 for non-members. Please call the Temple office at 733-6292 if you would be interested in attending either of these programs. The Interfaith Hospitality Network Week was a huge success. As usual, if 1 name names and forget one, it will be a very embarrassing situation, so... Thank You To AH Who Partcipated. You made a differ?ence for our three guest families. Our next 1HN week will begin Sunday July 5-12...1 ask that if you haven?t offered your services, please do. If you have some fears about the type of involvement expected of you, please call me... let?s talk about how you can be an asset to this very worthy program. If you are planning to be involved again, please don?t wait until the last minute to call me...I love getting all the volunteers set early. We need two people per night to sleep over at the Temple, meal makers, and/or meal dona?tors. We need people with friendly faces and warm hearts, who can just be themselves, and a theory of life: to help make this world a better place. Tell that you??? Then you have been recruited. Please call me at 898-3592 and let?s find a spot for you on this wonderful mitzvah team. Remember, when you save a life, you save the world. Please come help CNT save some lives. Shalom, CNT?S Caring Community Chesed Committee There is a large Jewish community here in Las Vegas. Of the estimated fifty to sixty thousand Jews living in the community, a great many are unaffiliated with a Temple. They are, however, part of our community. Many are new to Las Vegas. Perhaps a recent retirement. Others haven?t quite found their place within the Jewish community and live isolated from their heritage. Many in need are embarrassed to ask for help. Some have asked for help, only to learn that help may not be available directly. Rather, they are referred to agencies providing help to the Las Vegas Christian community. We must provide services for our own people. Congregation NerTamid is coming forward to meet this challenge with the recently formed Chesed committee. Chesed will provide sorely needed services and opportunities for this vast majority of congregants who can give to themselves through the act of giving to others in need. There is nothing greater than doing a Mitzvah. There are seniors, who are alone and ill, single mothers who are in dire need of information and support. There are many home- bound who need a visit or a telephone call. There are others who would join us at services if they could find someone who would offer them a ride to Temple. Others are alone at local hospitals with no friends or family to offer comfort. These are but a few of the many situations, which are real and in need of addressing within the Las Vegas Jewish community. In short, there is a loud cry coming from our community and we must answer to that call. Together with our Rabbi, it is the mission of the Chesed Committee to devise ways to answer those needs, which are not being present?ly met. The Chesed Committee is making a commitment to reach out within the Jewish community, to do a needs assessment and to offer a solution. Through volunteerism of those of us who have to those of us who need, the Jewish community ZMcpQneQTOtz (continued on page 16) cA Special rplat e (Jo BelongJift'Eman President Mommy n? Me Mondays, May U 4 18 10-1130am honored member in the 1998-99 edition of Kaleo Publication?s Who?s Who Among Top Executives. The selection is based on strict criteria to choose the most distinguished professionals of the year. Rebecca Herren Receives Honor Rebecca Herren, editor of the Jew?ish Reporter, the Publishing Divi?sion of the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, has been selected as an Herren began her publishing career in 1974 while attending the Uni?versity of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she majored in Psychology and Special Education. She moved to California in 1984 and worked for a book publishing service com?pany where her career excelled. In 1989, Herren received a Golden Poet?s Award and has received sev?eral other honorable mentions in poetry. She is a member of Congregation Ner Tamid and Sisterhood, and is the past editor of the Bulletin. She has a 16-year-old son, Matthew. <J)o "?ou have a Jamify member or friend wfio is hospitalised? Rabbi Akselrad would like to help you and your family by visiting Temple members and friends of our congregation who have been hospitalized. Since there is no notification from the hospitals, please contact Karen at the Temple office at 733-6292 when a family member or friend is hospitalized. Hi! As president of T.N.T. I want to keep you informed as to what is happening. Our T.N.T. advisor, Sandee Fleekop, has moved out of state, so we are in transition. A big THANKS goes to Sandee for doing an outstanding job for us. We are going to miss her. In the meantime, we are in the process of looking for a new advisor. We will let you know as soon as there is news. If anyone is interested in joining a fun group, please call Jill Ewan at 458- 1031. See you soon!Tost ?B?nai Mitzvah Class To (five - ?To Learn - To Qrozv Vn Sunday, ?March 29th, 20 Tost B?nai Mitzvah students accompanied By their teacher Sheryl Chenin ?WeBB and several parents visited the children?s Trauma center of U.M.C., as zvell as the Meonatal Unit (9(1 CU). Hirst stop, the ?Emergency Hoorn, ivhere toy Bunnies were delivered, Bringing comfort to the little patients. Then on to ?Pediatrics, where once again students Brought smiles to the little faces when theygave them the Bunnies and also read to them. "There was a little girl who was crying But after we gave her a Bunny she started smiling andgiggling, "said ?Barney Ties Jr. Their final trip was to the 9(1 CU where they saw BaBies weighing IV2W 2 IBs. Susan, the charge nurse exglainzdwfiat they were viewing. She also described infulldetadthe circumstances resulting in such a low Birth weight. Later they saw me holding and trying to comfort a BaBy on withdrawal from drugs. JdlEwan, one of the ?Post B?9(ai Mitzvah students could notget over that the BaB ies were so small. 'There were a lotof BaBies there and most of them were small enough to hold in one hand, "eiplainedjdl "We then went to the place they keep the BaBies that have Been Bom without life threatening problems. Most of the ones in there were fine. But one of them was a cracf BaBy, it was Bom addicted to cocaine and it wasgoing through withdrawals and in a lot of pain. ?We saw first hand the pain that results from using drugs, "said Barney. Tor these young men and women students, the day was an eye awakening experience, and one in which they saw the happiness and comfort they Brought to the little faces when they gave them the Bunnies and also read to them. The field trip was an educational experience and an important Mitzvah. ?lhan/cs to Jaage Jkelpy for arranging everything, Teacher Sheryl Chenin ?WeBB, and the parents who helped. Janet Schlesinger Volunteer Coordinator (f.I.C.U./UM.C Comments By Jdl Ewan and ?Barney Ties Jr. Rabbi Akselrad to attend AIPAC Conference Rabbi Akselrad will attend this year?s AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs) Conference to be held in Washington D.C. from May 17-19. As a representative from the Jewish community of Las Vegas and the Federation?s Community Relations Council, Rabbi Akselrad will attend a variety of workshops and plenaries led by top foreign policy makers in the U.S. Government and Israel. Among the speakers scheduled for this conference will be Vice President Al Gore, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Natan Sharansky, Israel Minister of Trade and Industry, and former Soviet Dissident; and Ambassador Dennis Ross, special Middle East Coordinator. There will also be time meet with members of Congress from our district. Rabbi Akselrad will give a report on the AIPAC conference at Shabbat Services May 29th. c l Special THojee do (Belong, MAy 1998This is an excerpt from Rabbi Yoffie's speech to the UAHC Executive Committee, February 1998. Why Be Reform? by Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie President, Union of American Hebrew Congregations Members of our movement are continually confronted, know?ingly or not, with the need to answer two questions: Why be Jewish? And Why be a Reform Jew? Our members know instinc?tively the answer to the first question. To be a Jew is to be a member of the people of the covenant, an heir to one of the world's most ancient, enduring, and awe-inspiring faiths. It is to be committed to values to which Jews have always been committed: to love of family, to education, to philanthropy, to individual righ?teousness, and to the idea of a unique Jewish destiny. But when the members of our movement are asked the second question-Why be a Reform Jew?- many have trouble articulating an answer. Why is it that so many of our members have no clear sense of what it means to be a Reform Jew? First, we are victims of our own success. Take any Reform congregation in the country, and you are likely to find that well under 50 percent of the board members grew up in a Reform temple: some came from Orthodox homes, some from Conservative homes, some from non-Jewish homes. They do not possess the positive associations or childhood memories of Reform that were common in an earlier era. Qecond, North American Jews, particularly today, are not inclined toward systematic thinking when they make religious choices. They rarely ask what is the belief system to which the synagogue subscribes or the philosophy to which it adheres. More often, Americans choose their synagogues because the location is convenient or because they like the rabbi: because they want a cantor or they don't: because they want more singing or less: because they want two days of religious school or three. Third, our communal leaders are rarely comfortable with denomi- CONQREQA T!ON NeR TAMl'd national differences. Fearing that communal unity will be disrupted and fund-raising affected, they tend to speak a language of unity - a too- often bogus language that blurs religious differences even when they need to be sharpened. Communal leaders should learn what religious leaders already know: that in most cases, the passionate particularism of religious life does not weaken our communities, it strengthens them. And so, our members ask, what are the religious principles that distinguish Reform Judaism? I suggest five. 1. Reform Jews are commit?ted to a Judaism that changes and adapts to the needs of the day. Since its earliest days, Reform Judaism has asserted that a Judaism frozen in time is an heirloom, not a living fountain. Changes must be thoughtful, of course, and must be rooted in the history and traditions of our people. But we assert Judaism's innovative character, and we assert, too, that a stubborn failure to change will make Judaism an irrelevance. This willingness to adapt has brought new vitality and strength to a Jewish community that is fully integrated into North American culture. 2. Ref