VOLUME XXIII, NUMBER 4          WWW.SHALOMPCS.COM                       DEC EMBER 2017

The Rabbi's Column: 
The Green Menorah and Us


by Rabbi Dr. Julie Hilton Danan
Imagine a living, green menorah as a symbol of our covenant to be guardians of God's earth. It's not so far-fetched; the original menorah in the Temple may have been modeled on a plant native to the Land of Israel. According to the Biblical Gardens,  Neot Kedumim *:
"Of the ancient Jewish holidays, only Hanukkah and Purim are based solely on historical events, with no direct connection either to the seasonal agricultural reality or to the nature of the Land of Israel. Nevertheless, there is a plant in Israel that has a very direct connection to the Temple menorah and to the hanukkiah candelabrum. The description of the menorah in the Bible is given completely in botanical terminology (Exodus 25:31-38, 37:17-24). Dr. Ephraim and Hannah Hareuveni spent years looking for a plant they knew must exist in Israel that would explain this unique description. Their search revealed the common fragrant Salvia - sage - family, called moriah in Hebrew, many of whose species bear a striking resemblance to the menorah."
Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center conceived of the Green Menorah covenant , building on this fact that both the original plant-based design of the menorah and the prophet Zachariah's  vision of a menorah lit by living olive trees (read as the Haftarah, prophetic reading on Hanukkah) are both very organic. Communities are urged to sign on to the Green Menorah Covenant , and to commit to both personal and political action to preserve the earth. Remembering the miracle of the oil, we can strive to reduce our dependency on oil and other fossil fuels through conservation and development of alternative energy sources. Says Rabbi Waskow:
"Just as the Menorah at the Holy Temple was rooted in the image of a tree, its branches and buds, so we need to renew the sense that our earth calls on us to light the Planetary Menorah by reducing our use of oil. The seven branches of the Green Menorah symbolize earthly actions in our own congregations and households. The seven lights in the Green Menorah symbolize seven actions to light up change in public policy beyond our own homes." 
(Note: Although our Hanukkah menorah has eight lights for the eight days of the festival, plus one shamash or service candle, the menorah in the ancient Holy Temple had seven).
At PCS, we are already doing a few things in line with this covenant. Many who live in Pleasantville walk to synagogue and to Hebrew School, thus combining Jewish tradition with saving resources. As we replace light bulbs and batteries, we are switching to compact fluorescent or LED bulbs, and rechargeables.
We already have an active recycling program, but we use a lot of disposable food service items. When our Shabbat noon adult study group studied Reb Zalman's concept of Eco-Kashrut, which is doing what's proper for the environment and society, above and beyond the letter of kosher laws, class members decided to bring their own dishes, cups and utensils to Shabbat Kiddush (at least on regular Shabbat mornings when there is not a Bar or Bat Mitzvah service). We can easily take them home and wash them, thus saving paper and plastic. Our Hebrew school helpers already wash and reuse plastic serving cups for the children, who are also strongly encouraged to bring their own water bottles instead of taking paper cups. If you do use a small plastic cup for Kiddush wine or juice, please recycle it in the bin in the hall, and please don't throw trash in the recycling bins.
There are many more things that we have the potential to do, including initiating a composting program and seeing how we can extend the gardening of our synagogue into under-utilized areas on the back and sides of our building. We can consider how to replace disposables at our simchas (happy occasions). We might even explore solar energy in our building. We can find ways to get more locally grown, seasonal food for our kiddushes and events. I would love to find a "Green Menorah" chairperson, a member who is passionate about the subject, who can help our community develop new ways to live in better harmony with our local environment, and get us involved beyond our walls in environmental issues.
Wishing everyone a de-light-ful Hanukkah and hoping to see you at our party and at our Shabbat services, and at our Tikkun Olam (social action) and cultural events!
* Neot Kidumim is a Biblical Landscape Preserve near Modi'in in Israel.

The Salvia, or sage, plant
Hebrew letter blocks
by Galit Sperling, Principal

We began the month of November with our first Shabbaton of the year, with our youngest students singing songs and prayers to welcome the Shabbat bride! We also had our very first consecration service at PCS with this fabulous class, with each student receiving a mini-Torah, a certificate, and a chocolate Torah as well. This ceremony celebrated the beginning of our youngest students' journey of Jewish learning, and the sweetness of the path ahead. The Gimmel/Daled (third/fourth grade) class is up next with their fall Shabbaton on Friday, December 1. All families are invited to join us at these joyful Mishpachah Shabbat services!

On November 12, Rabbi Julie led a fantastic parent-child program for our B'nei Mitzvah class and their parents. Inspired by the book Putting God on the Guest List, this workshop opened up the discussion about what becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah means, to both students and parents. Students did a gallery walk with me, completing the phrases "I wish," "I wonder," and "I appreciate," with moving results. Parents met together with Rabbi Julie and uncovered the deeper meaning to this upcoming life event for their child. It was amazing to see how much different families had in common, and how deeply meaningful and funny the discoveries were for all who attended!

The festive holiday of Hanukkah is coming up! We invite all PCS families and congregants to join us on Sunday, December 17. We will begin the afternoon by visiting the Atria in Briarcliff Manor at 3 pm. We are happy to be continuing the wonderful Hebrew School tradition of singing Hanukkah songs with the seniors and families at the Atria. Then all are invited back to PCS for our community Hanukkah celebration from 4 pm - 6 pm! Everyone of all ages is welcome to the party!

Upcoming Hebrew School Dates:

Friday, December 1: Gimmel/Daled (third /fourth grade) Shabbaton
Sunday, December 17*:
3 pm: Hebrew School students sing Hanukkah songs at the Atria Briarcliff Manor
4 pm - 6 pm: Community Hanukkah Celebration at PCS!
Sunday, December 24 - Sunday, December 31 (Winter Recess): No Classes

*in lieu of classes that Sunday morning

Students in Rabbi Julie's B'nei Mitzvah class
practicing putting on a tallit

Students preparing for their Shabbatons
 and practicing leading prayers on the bimah

Dana and Chloe host a bake sale for tzedakah

B'nei Mitzvah class parent-child mitzvah program

Zachary Bertin's Mitzvah Project

In my town, there's a small unobtrusive building just down the street from me.  I must have 
walked past it 2,000 times before I even knew what it was. For the majority of  my life, I 
thought it was a dentist's office! However, one day I was told that to have my  Bar Mitzvah,  I would have to do ten hours of community service.  After looking through   my options, I decided to go to The Community Center of Northern Westchester, which was located in that mysterious building! I chose  this mainly because it was somewhere I could volunteer at almost any time, since I live  so nearby, and because I was helping people who lived near me, so I could give back  to my community.
At first, it was an obligation, but I soon became friends with the people who  volunteered there, all wonderful people. Even though I worked (and still work) mostly  behind the scenes, restocking shelves, cleaning floors, carrying bags of donations to the  sheds, I still felt an immense amount of satisfaction watching the people coming in  and getting the food they needed for the month. This satisfaction, I think,
is what  made me keep going to the community center and still go after I had completed my 10
hours.  In fact, I think volunteering has become a part of my life.

Benjamin Stahl's Mitzvah Project
For my community service I am helping veterans at Atria Briarcliff and collecting for United for the Troops from their wish list. Thank you to everyone who left items for the troops in the big red bin in the back of PCS' sanctuary!

I am very bad at asking for help. I am, however, very good at volunteering whenever anybody needs something. This year, I sat at the High Holiday services and listened to Susan Friedman say the exact same thing and I decided that this was my time to ask for help.
After a few weeks, I emailed her and told her I was going to need some Caring Committee help and within a week or two she and one of my neighbors had a Meal Train lined up that fed the four of us for six weeks. I t was amazing. My children want i t to continue forever, which doesn't say a lot for our cooking.
I never really knew what a Caring Committee was although I understood i t in theory. Seventeen years ago I was on bed rest and I called the rabbi to ask about a mohel for my son's bris. When he found out I was home on bed rest he said, "What do you need?" He asked about grocery shopping, picking up kids, driving to doctor appointments. I hadn't been a member for very long and hadn't grown up in a spiritual home so I was surprised. That time I didn't need help. This time we did.
We live in an old-fashioned neighborhood in Pleasantville. We never know whose house our children are or who is feeding them. I knew I could ask my neighbors to do everything but, again, I was wary of asking such a big request. Susan and one of my neighbors took over. Magically food appeared  
at my house every day. I was able to relax while in the hospital knowing my kids and husband had dinner even though one knows how to cook. I t was a stressful week. We are so grateful for everyone's love support, food, flowers and good wishes.
I'm not necessarily writing this as a thank you but I will take the opportunity to thank everyone so much for all your care. It made all the difference in my recovery.
I am writing this in the hope that our members are aware of the Caring Committee. For those who receive this newsletter but aren't members, I hope you will understand how wonderful it is to be part of the PCS community, which has committees organized to provide support when there is a need in the congregation. Many of us have family and neighbors who can help us in times of need; however, having the support of my PCS family brought a level of comfort that was surprisingly important and for which I will always be thankful.
--Leyla Nakisbendi

Last month, PCS, Congregation B'nai Yisrael and friends welcomed Haroon and Nilofar from Afghanistan to America. They are a lovely young couple, and we are thrilled to
Haroon and Nilofar
have the opportunity to settle them here. Haroon and Nilofar will be settling in Queens to be close to Nilofar's sister. A communal support system will make resettlement that much easier, and we will still be helping them.
In light of this, we are trying to find employment for Haroon in the Queens, NYC, area. After spending time with Haroon, we have learned about his skills, strengths, and capabilities. Haroon is an experienced security guard who protected U.S. government personnel and dignitaries while they served overseas at the Ministry of Agriculture in Kabul, Afghanistan. He has been recognized  as a strong leader who is trustworthy, highly competent, diligent, methodical and conscientious. Haroon  trained for seven years in all areas of PSD (Protective Services Detail), FPOS (First Person On Scene/First Responders Training), guard supervision, first-aid administration, CCTV, and GPS tracking. In 2017, Haroon was awarded a Special Immigrant Visa to move to the U.S., which is only given to Afghans who worked for the U.S. government, often risking their lives, to aid the U.S. military effort in their country.
Haroon's spoken English is good and improving. He is able to read and write in English on a rudimentary level. Based on his skills and interests, jobs in the following areas are suitable for him:
  • Warehousing/Stockroom
  • Logistics
  • Facilities & Maintenance
  • Mailroom clerk
  • General Maintenance Worker/Maintenance porter
  • Doorman and Hotel valet
  • Guest Services
  • Restaurant café attendant
  • Data Entry
  • Painting
If you can help, please e-mail Haroon directly at haroon.akbarri@gmail.com and copy socialaction@cbyarmonk.org . And please reach out to anyone you think can help.

Postcards from Eretz Yisrael*
When people ask if I have family in Israel, I have to give a two-part answer.  My biological family is in the States.  However, I have people who have become my 
family since I've been both tourist and olah.  I would now like to introduce them to you, my PCS family.  They come from different walks of life, but they are united in the love I have received from them.

Yedidya Harush  is a 28-year-old young man who worships in an Orthodox synagogue.  I met him for the first time during a Jewish National Fund (JNF) Solidarity Mission during the Gaza War in August 2014.  We were visiting Halutza, a

community founded in 2005 for the Israeli families who  had to leave Gaza when it was transferred to the Palestinians.  
Yedidya is the Halutza Liaison for JNF.  He is married to Shiran, who is a teacher who also designs jewelry made from rocket fragments that landed in this community.  They have two daughters.

Hashem with his three sons: Yazan, Adam, and Kareem
Hashem Natsheh is a 44-year-old Bedouin who worships in a mosque.  I also  met him three years ago when I stayed in Jerusalem after the JNF Solidarity Mission was over.  I was trying to get 
to the Kotel (the Western Wall) one day. 
I was lost in the  Arab  shuk (market) and going around in circles.  Hashem saw me when he was standing in front of his shop and said, "Where are you trying to go?  I just saw  you twenty minutes ago!"   I told him the Kotel.  This sweet Bedouin escorted  me up to the security booth for the entrance to the Kotel.  Our relationship was forged right then and there.  
Hashem owns a  shop with beautiful Judaica, his own uniquely designed jewelry, rugs, and lamps. His wife,
Ratibaa, is a stay-at-home mom.  They have three sons.  We are very close.  He calls me "his sweet sister" and I call him "my brother."  As a result, I have three Bedouin nephews!

Yedidya's and Hashem's names even have an interesting connection.  The name Yedidya means "beloved of G-d."  Hashem is a popular Arabic boy's name and is said to have been the name of Mohammed's grandfather.  It is pronounced by putting the accent on the first syllable.  However, if you put the accent on the second syllable, as it is in Hebrew, it is one of the names of G-d.   We're all connected to one another.

Chana, Yedidya's sister, and me during a Sheva Brachas

Hashem's father, Ahmed, flanked by Hashem's uncles, Yacov and David

*Our correspondent is Rhea (Rachel) Wolfthal, long-time PCS congregant,  who made 
aliyah to Israel  in August 2017.
TGI Shabbat

PCS Mishpachah (Family!) 
Shabbat Dinner and Service
Friday night, December 1
5:30 pm: Tot Shabbat program
6 pm: Shabbat dinner for all*
6:45 pm: Family-friendly service,
led by Kitah Gimmel/Daled (third/fourth grade)
7:30 pm: Dessert Oneg

*To help offset the cost of the dinner, there is a suggested donation of 
$18/adult, $9/child, free/5 and under.

here  for easy on-line payment and to RSVP!
Or copy and paste:
or email   mgray@shalompcs.com or call 914-769-2672.
Joyful Judaism! 
(914) 769-2672, info@shalomPCS.com
219 Bedford Road, Pleasantville, NY
Please volunteer: Sunday, Nov. 20, 3-4:30 pm
Volunteers Needed
for an
Afternoon of Service
Sunday, December 3, 2 pm-3:30 pm
at the Edenwald Center, JCCA of Pleasantville
1075 Broadway, Pleasantville, NY 10570
Coordinated with the PCS Tikkun Olam/Social Action Committee
Open to adults and teen volunteers
in grades 9-12

(Seventh and eighth graders can attend with supervision)
We will be facilitating several fun activities such as cookie decoration, arts and crafts, nail polishing, and playing games like Bingo and Connect 4 with the youth who live on campus. The residents are young people dealing with developmental and emotional disabilities and great personal hardships in their lives.
If you are unable to attend, perhaps you could make a batch of cookies for the event or drop off at PCS craft supplies including sparkles, feathers, pipe cleaners and nail polish.
This promises to be a very meaningful event for all who volunteer.
If you can help out in 
any way, please contact 
Tikkun Olam/Social Action Committee chair, Leslie Mack, at
lesrn3259@aol.com or call the PCS office at 914-769-2672.
Pleasantville Community Synagogue  
219 Bedford Road, Pleasantville, NY
(914) 769-2672,
info@shalomPCS.com www.ShalomPCS.com

Pleasantville Community Synagogue invites
FRIDAY, December 15, 2017
Are you looking to welcome Shabbat and the Jewish holidays with your child, but not sure where to begin?
Is your child a unique learner who thrives in more intimate, personalized environments?

PCS Banner

Doors open at 6 pm for a fun pizza dinner followed by a short Hanukkah-themed Shabbat service.
EVERYONE is welcome: all ages, levels of ability and literacy, anyone and everyone looking for a very welcoming, joyful and inclusive Shabbat experience.
For more information or to RSVP, please e-mail Marcy Gray at mgray@shalompcs.com , call the PCS office at 914-769-2672, or email Marlo Klein at marlo.klein2@gmail.com.
To help offset the cost of SNAP programs,
donations of any kind are greatly appreciated!
Pleasantville Community Synagogue is a welcoming Jewish community
with people of diverse traditions and backgrounds who want to share
a joyous spiritual and cultural home.
Pleasantville Community Synagogue
219 Bedford Road, Pleasantville, NY
www.shalompcs.com ~ 914-769-2672 ~ info@shalompcs.com


Celebrate Hanukkah as a Community



    Pleasantville Community Synagogue invites you to

Celebrate Hanukkah at PCS!*


SUNDAY, DEC. 17, 4-6 pm 




All are welcome for fun and games, food and drinks,

music and laughter!

Suggested donation: $18 per family; $9 per person.

Pay online by clicking here or at the door.
Everyone and any donations are welcome!

To RSVP, or for more information or questions,

please contact Marcy Gray in the PCS office.

*A Mitzvah Project will be part of the party. Please bring in the following items - either before or at the time of the party - to be donated to My Sister's Place: small sets of crayons or markers, coloring books or blank coloring pages and stickers. At the party, the children will decorate goodie bags for the art supplies to be brought to My Sister's Place (http://mspny.org/).



Pleasantville Community Synagogue 

219 Bedford Road, Pleasantville, NY
www.shalompcs.com ~ 914-769-2672 ~ info@shalompcs.com




If you are intellectually adventurous, Jewish, and currently in 11th grade, apply for 
The Bronfman Fellowship!

Every year, 26 North American teenagers are selected as Bronfman Fellows. The highlight of the Fellowship is a five-week, all-expenses-paid trip to Israel the summer between Fellows' junior and senior year of high school. The North American and Israeli Fellows engage in thought-provoking study and conversation, exploring deep existential questions and Jewish ideas while building lifelong friendships with peers who challenge and inspire them. 

The Fellowship's high-caliber educators focus on teaching a broad range of traditional and contemporary Jewish texts, and Fellows encounter the land and people of Israel, studying major issues in contemporary Jewish life, meeting with some of today's most influential figures, and learning about themselves and each other. The Fellowship year continues with seminars in December and March in New York. 

Alumni of the program join a network of 1100+ young Jews from Israel and North America that includes some of today's most inspiring Jewish writers, thinkers and leaders.
Applications are  due by January 4, 2018 . To apply, click here or visit http://bronfman.org/applynow.
Please volunteer: Sunday, Nov. 20, 3-4:30 pm
Photo: Hub Wilson
Saturday, Jan. 13, 8 pm
In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, the popular folk-rock band The Kennedys will perform at PCS to help support Ezra Uganda.  
The Jews of Eastern Uganda, about 2,000 in number, are devout in Jewish practice. They subsist almost entirely on small farming and raising goats for sale. The funds collected from The Kennedys' concert at PCS beyond our expenses will be donated directly to Ezra Uganda for the purchase of a plow and oxen.
The cost of admission is $20 (but of course any donations above that are more than welcomed and greatly appreciated!)
For more information or to RSVP and pay, please click here or copy and paste: https://the-kennedys-in-concert-at-pcs.cheddarup.com 
This will be a wonderful night for a great cause. 
Please join us!
If you'd like to help, please contact
Tikkun Olam/Social Action Committee chair, Leslie Mack, at
lesrn3259@aol.com or call the PCS office at 914-769-2672.
Pleasantville Community Synagogue
219 Bedford Road, Pleasantville, NY
(914) 769-2672,
info@shalomPCS.com , www.ShalomPCS.com
Please volunteer: Sunday, Nov. 20, 3-4:30 pm

Saturday, February 3, 2018

at 6:15 pm

Call for Hosts!
Plan to have a fun evening 
progressing  from  one home to 
the next enjoying  great food in 
a warm, relaxed atmosphere.
Let's all start together at the 
same home  for appetizers, 
then draw names for dinner 
assignments and proceed to 
our host homes  for the entrée.
At the end of the evening, we 
gather together once again for 
dessert at another member's 
Look for your invitation in the 

Marlo 914*238*0082

We appreciate the thoughtfulness of those who support
the Pleasantville Community Synagogue by remembering and honoring
their friends and loved ones through their generous contributions.  
For information on making donations to PCS, including online donations,
please click here.
December 2017 Donations
Fair Share/General Fund
Karen Fixler

Peter Volgyes

Susan and Malcolm Netburn

Rabbi's Discretionary Fund
Harriet Goldwin-Cohen and Gregory Cohen, to go toward the repair of PCS' sacred Torahs.

Amy and Bruce Gutenplan

Making-the-Bimah-Safe-for-All Fund
Dara Meyers-Kingsley and Evan Kingsley, and Harriet Goldwin-Cohen and Gregory Cohen for donating the necessary funds to affix a beautiful wood bannister by the steps going up the bima.

Claire Kach, mother of Barbara Doctor
December 9
Eugene Friedman, father of Rachel Friedman
December 16
Louis Israelow, father of Marvin Israelow
December 18
Margaret Sperling, mother of Edward Sperling
December 19
Jay Polansky, father of Debra Schor
December 23
Michael Fineman, nephew of Roberta Berman
December 28
Joyce Goldman, mother of Dorian Goldman
December 30
Frederick Berman, father of Roberta Berman
December 31
Julie Chazen, mother of Eileen Jagoda
December 31
Nathan Blackman, father of Jonathan Blackman
December 31

To all PCS members:
If you or another member suffer personal tragedy or loss or are otherwise in need of help, please immediately contact Rabbi Julie at (914) 769-2672 or Rabbi@ShalomPCS.com, or to our Caring (Chesed) Committee Chair, Susan Friedman at (917) 846-3038, or SFriedman@ShalomPCS.com.

The PCS Yahrzeit Memorial Board is a beautiful and symbolic place to honor your loved ones while helping to support your synagogue. The anniversary of their passing will be commemorated with a light by their name plate. You will find the appropriate form for purchasing a memorial name plate by clicking here.

Pleasantville Community Synagogue Mission Statement
Pleasantville Community Synagogue is a welcoming Jewish community connecting people of diverse traditions and backgrounds who want to share a joyous spiritual and cultural home.
PCS officers and trustees:
President: Leyla Nakisbendi

Secretary: TBD

Treasurer: Oren Cohen

Vice President: Roberta Korus

Vice President: Richard Solomon
Board of Trustees
David Benattar

Robert Marshak

Robin Berman

Leyla Nakisbendi

Gregory Cohen

Karen Neuburger

Lisa Nicotra

Jonathan Goodman

Laurie Hirsch Schulz

Amy Gutenplan

Roberta Korus

Richard Solomon
Sheila Major

Rabbi Julie Danan

To contact PCS 
Phone: (914) 769-2672;  Fax: (914) 769-1795;  Websitewww.ShalomPCS.com
Marcy Gray, Synagogue Administrator: (914) 769-2672;  mgray@ShalomPCS.com
Galit Sperling, Religious School: (914) 773-0043; principal@ShalomPCS.com
Barbara Doctor, Member Accounts: (914) 747-3017; Accounts@ShalomPCS.com
Please click for the full PCS calendar for December 2017
Pleasantville Community Synagogue Newsletter  
December 2017         13 Kislev - 13 Tevet 5778