קישור שלום ~ Kishur Sholom

Staying Connected with the Temple Sholom Community

11 December 2023 ~ 28 Kislev 5784

4th Day of Hanukkah ~ Parashat Miketz

Shalom, chaveirim - hello, friends -

It is a mitzvah to light the Hanukkah candles. 

And of course, the rabbis of old enter into deep discussions about when to light, how many candles (and menorahs) to light, and where to light. 

This year, Jews around the U.S. have been asking what to do with the "where to light" idea. The picture displayed here comes from a lesson plan of the Zekelman Holocaust Center of Michigan with the following citation:

“Rabbi Dr. Akiva Posner, Doctor of Philosophy from Halle-Wittenberg University, served from 1924 to 1933 as the last Rabbi of the community of Kiel, Germany. On Hanukkah 1932, just one month before Hitler came to power, Rachel Posner, wife of Rabbi Dr. Akiva Posner, took this photo of the family Hanukkah menorah from the window ledge of the family home looking out on to the building across the road decorated with Nazi flags. On the back of the photograph, Rachel Posner wrote in German (translated here): Chanukah 5692 (1932) ‘Death to Judah’ So the flag says ‘Judah will live forever’ So the light answers.”

To display publicly or not  

According to Jewish legal codes - namely, the Shulchan Aruch (written in 1563) - we learn the following directions about where and how to place the Hanukkiyah (Hanukkah menorah).

"One should place the Hanukkah light at the entrance which adjoins the public domain, on the outside. If the house opens to the public domain, he should place it at its entrance. If there is a courtyard in the front of the house, he should place it at the entrance of the courtyard. If he lives in the upper floor, having no entrance leading to the public domain, he should place it at a window that adjoins the public domain. In a time of danger, when one is not allowed to perform mitzvot, it is enough that he place it on his table." 

So is this a safe year to place it in the window or not? 

For me, who lives on a cul-de-sac with my front window several yards from the street, it's not a big deal to place the menorah in the window. 

Not only that, sleepy Longmeadow, MA is not exactly bustling with anti-Israel protests, for which I am thankful. In fact, we had several very public displays of support for Israel on our main drag of Longmeadow Street. 

But what if I lived on Longmeadow Street? 

Or what if I lived in Brooklyn where loud and violent demonstrators have stormed the streets with "Flood Brooklyn for Gaza" protests. 

Or what if I lived in a building where there was a mosque nearby? 

Or what if I was a student at a university ... 

Part of the mitzvah of Hanukkah is pirsum haneis - publicizing the miracle. We display our lit menorahs to show people AND to remind ourselves of God's miraculous role in our story and the miracle of our survival against the evils of humanity. Over the centuries, there have been times when we have focused on the hope and desire that God would save us the way God kept that oil from a single jar burning for eight days and there have been times when we have focused on the role and responsibility of each individual Jew to unite with our community and work for our people's safety and salvation. 

My suggestion about where to place the menorah? Do what you feel comfortable with. If you are going to spend the time worrying about something dangerous happening, leave the menorah on the kitchen table or somewhere inside your home away from the window. If you feel safe putting the hanukkiyah in the window, go for it! 

Better to focus on the bigger questions

Pesach may have the big Four Questions. But since when do we leave questioning to one holiday?

Here are four questions for this holiday in this year: 

- What are you doing for the Jewish people to feel safe and to strengthen our Jewish community in America? 

- How can you support the people and/or organizations in Israel that reflect the Israel you hope for?

- Can you find news sources to guide you in your search for understanding Israelis, Palestinians, and next steps for both peoples? 

- Who in your circle of life and love wants to learn and explore more about Judaism and Israel such that you could be chevruta (study partners) together? 

October 7th was a watershed moment for the State of Israel and the Jewish People. Shemini Atzeret-Simchat Torah was the last holiday on the calendar and our year is moving forward ... so we are now midway through Hanukkah already. Black Saturday's massacre will always be with us and perhaps the miracle this year: we are still an "us." We are still here - and if anything, even more than we were before the horrors. We did not want those atrocities. But in typical Jewish fashion, we ask: So now, what? What do we do IN LIGHT of what has happened? 

It matters less where you place your Hanukkiyah than your lighting it, period. Light it. Learn by, from, and with the light. And ultimately, it is our challenge to live by the light of Torah. 

Chag sameach, 

Rabbi Mark Cohn

Recommended Resources from the Rabbi's Desk

Constant and important updates, podcasts, blogs, and articles from The Free Press, Times of Israel and Tablet Magazine.


Somehow I missed this article, "The Inside Story of How Palestinians Took Over the World." ... which is not surprising given the volume of what is being written right now. Gary Wexler had a front row seat twenty-five years ago, which has given him a critically important opportunity to understand and interpret how we got to this moment in the story of Israel and Palestinians, Diaspora Jews and college campuses. 

Next, you will want to read Thane Rosenbaum's fictitious though entirely real account of a view from a college student. "The Alternate Universe of Antisemitism" drops us into what our college students are facing today. And for those who think it only affects the ivory towers ... we know all too well that the same opinions are in non-profit organizations, political offices, lobby groups, educational institutions and more as what is taught to students migrates and finds its way into the mainstream. 

During any given generation, there are those who are the g'dolei hador - the greats of the generation. That title is used for only a select few and typically among the hallmarks to know this person was a "great", you will find a mix of: kindness, generosity, insightfulness, and wisdom. Rabbi Dr. David Ellenson (z"l) died last Thursday and will be remembered as one of the greats. A loving obituary, "A Conversation with David Ellenson" was written by retired Hebrew Union College professor, Dr. Steven Windmueller. You can also find a very nice obituary in the Times of Israel here. I will offer a memorial tribute and teaching to David Ellenson on Friday evening during Shabbat services.


"The Battle for Liberal Values on Campus," with host Yehuda Kurtzer on Identity Crisis with guest - and fellow teacher at the Shalom Hartman Institute Mijal Bitton.

"Gaza and Global Order" with host Sam Harris on Making Sense with guest Yuval Noah Harari.


"US Universities are pushing political agendas instead of excellence," by Fareed Zakaria on CNN.

"Lunch & Learn" with Rabbi Mark Cohn

Tuesdays, Dec. 12 & 19

NOON - 1:00 PM

Bring a friend! Bring lunch if you want (dairy only - no meat)!

Tuesday, Dec. 12

Hanukkah - let's talk menorahs! Bring your own (Herzl is - see above) and share a story ... and if you don't have one ... don't worry, Rabbi Cohn will lend you one and you can create your own tale! We'll talk menorahs, dreidls, and fun Hanukkah trivia!

Tuesday, Dec. 19

Hanukkah redux - did you know there is a megillah (scroll) for the holiday!? It's true. Megillat Antiochus. We'll explore a segment together.



Services & Study

Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday Evenings 6:30PM

IN PERSON - this week!!

Dec. 15


Shabbat Morning




We will welcome Layla Cooperman to the bima to celebrate her becoming a Bat Mitzvah. Come join in the blessing of seeing a young woman read from Torah, teach from its words, and receive blessings during a Shabbat morning service.

As part of Layla's mitzvah project, she is collecting food for the Sherman Food Pantry. If you would like to bring canned or boxed food, please do so during office hours or service-times.

Mazal tov to the Cooperman family!!


Dec. 22, 29


Shabbat Morning Torah Study - 9:30am


December 16*, 23, 30

*Rabbi Cohn will lead December 16th at 9:00am. NOTE: special start-time!

Temple Sholom

122 Kent Road ~ P.O. Box 509

New Milford, CT 06776

(860) 354-0273

Temple Sholom Website (www.tsholom.org)

Temple Sholom Facebook