May 2011 Nisan 5771

Rejoicing over Bin Ladin’s death? One Rabbi’s Musings

A man who did great harm is no more. On Yom HaShoah, a day on which we remember the atrocities of the Holocaust and our communal pain, Osama Bin Ladinwas killed in a special operation by US Navy Seals. Like many of you, I turned on the tv and saw scenes of rejoicing and jubilation in New York and Washington. It was anatural response. As President Obama said: “Justice has been served”. I sincerely hope that families of those who have suffered from the tragic loss of their loved ones on 9/11 and throughout his campaign of terror now have some sense of closure, even though their pain continues. I felt a certain sense of relief that this man who demonstrated an utter contempt for human life was gone. And then I had a sense of dis-ease. I think I know why.

Reason #1: A teaching came to mind that I want to share with you – from a midrash connected to the Passover story. When our ancestors crossed over the Red Sea safely and witnessed the drowning of Pharoah’s army who had been in pursuit, not only they, but the angels, too, understandably rejoiced. The midrash teaches that the angels invited God to celebrate, but the Holy One declined, saying, “How can I rejoice when the work of my hands (my children) are drowning?” A different perspective: King Solomon wrote“When the wicked perish, there is a joyful song.” There are many more texts that capture the tension.

Reason #2:

Bin Laden may be dead, but his cause certainly isn’t. It would be foolish for us to be overly celebratory and ignore responses from others who do not share our world view. As we learned from the Holocaust, heinous acts can happen anytime and anywhere in which we neglect to see the humanity of our fellow human beings. Maybe we’ll draw a little closer to one another, be a little more compassionate, a little less fearful? Maybe peace will now be just a little bit closer?  The darkest times come before light….


President’s Message:

Dear Friends,

In the last week of April 2011, a distinguished group of people wearing their finest apparel came together to participate in a solemn yet joyful time-honored communal event. The proceedings involved a respected clergy member, additional professionals, and the participants themselves. The day signaled the start of a future filled with promise. It wasn’t the Royal Wedding, but you’re forgiven for thinking so. It was, of course, the Kehillah Leadership Retreat. We didn’t wear hats, but some of us wore our Kehillah shirts – finery indeed! Our Rabbi, administrator, and most especially our excellent facilitator, Diana Hoyt, made sure we stayed focused. The result? A plan of action to help ensure Kehillah’s promising future. Getting on the invite list for a Kehillah leadership gathering is much easier than getting on a Royal Wedding invite list. With Kehillah, all you have to do is … something you like to do. Like to throw parties and meet new people? The Membership or Oneg Committees are the place for you. Like to hang out on Facebook? Read Elyse’s note (below), then go meet her & Jonathan on Kehillah’s FB page. Does a chill of pleasure run up your spine when you admire your well-organized shelves or work space? Join Toby and others on our High Holy Days Committee. Aching to do some good in the world? Read Amina’s latest Social Action report – and take action. You can reach any of us through the Kehillah office, 602-367-7667. For just plain fun, join your Kehillah friends at the VOSJCC’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration, Sunday, May 15 from noon to 4pm. Help staff the Kehillah table for at least one hour, and you’ll receive a Kehillah shirt of your own! Then, in case you do get invited to the next Royal Wedding, you’ll already have something to wear.


Mazel Tov!

• Annie Braslawsce will play the

part of Mae Peterson in the

Starlight Community Theater

(Anthem) production of Bye

Bye Birdie, running June 9-12.


• Mazel Tov to the Hafalia family

in honor of their children,

Bradley and Hannah’s B’nai

Mitzvah May 28, 3:00. The entire congregation is invited

• Mazel Tov to the Morris/Sharfman family in honor of

daughter Rebecca upon her high school graduation.

We Need Your Updates

Dear Kehillah Community,

I am updating our membership roster and would appreciate

your help. If you have changed any of your contact information

since joining Kehillah, please let me know. You can

reach me at [email protected]

Thank you very much.

Sally Oscherwitz

Administrator, Kehillah of Arizona


Thank you

Thank you to all who helped make our Interfaith Passover

Seder a wonderful experience.

With special thanks to:

The Interfaith Passover Seder Committee

Ceil Siegel, Chair

Iris Compton

Cathy Michels

Joan Sirotkin

Reisa and Warren Miller, for their generous assistance with

printing the Haggadot; the Staff of New Vision Center;

Sheri Fogel, for printing & set-up help


Moses’ Staff

Alan Hirsh

Jane Neely

Sherry Siegel

Clara Stander

Calendar of Events

for more information

Wednesday, May 4 – 7:00 P.M. – Rosh Chodesh


Thursday, May 12 – 7:30-9:00

High Holiday Choir Rehearsal at Arlene Maletta’s


Friday, May 13 – 7:30 P.M. – Kabbalat Shabbat


Sunday, May 15-12:00 P.M. – 4:00P.M.

Yom Ha’atzmaut; celebrate Israel! Ina Levine

JCC Campus

Saturday, May 28th – Shabbat Mincha Service;

B’nai Mitzvah of Bradley and Hannah Hafalia

Tuesday, June 7th – 7:30 P.M.-5:30 A.M.

Shavuot with Ohr Chadash

Friday, June 10th – 7:00

Mini study session, “Navigating the Siddur”

followed by Kabbalat Shabbat

Saturday, June 25th – 10:00 A.M.

Torah Talk-at the home of Sherry Siegel. Light

nosh at 10:00; program begins at 10:30

Miriam’s Cup

Gil & Lynne Blumenthal

Dr. David Hecht

Betsy Kurasch

Arlene Maletta

Barbara Sharfman

Reisa & Warren Miller

Kehillah of Arizona

gratefully acknowledges the following


• A donation was made to the Rabbi’s Discretionary fund

in loving memory of Melvin Kirschler, by Irma Gottlieb,


• A donation was made to the Rabbi’s Discretionary fund

in loving memory of Melvin Kirschler, by Daniel and

Evelyn Simon, brother-in-law and sister-in-law

• A donation was made by Shelley Gilbert, in honor of

Lindsay Gilbert’s birthday

• A donation has been made for the May 13th oneg by

Marilyn Morris and Barbara Sharfman in honor of various

family simchas

• A donation has been made for the May 13th oneg by the

Hafalia Family in honor of their children Bradley and

Hannah’s B’nai Mitzvah

Kehillah of Arizona extends our


Thank you to Diana Hoyt who led the Leadership

Retreat April 24. We most appreciative about the

guidance and learning gleaned from this event and we

are most excited about moving forward with new

committees being formed and new people coming into

leadership of Kehillah of Arizona.

Kehillah of Arizona extends

our Deepest Condolences

The community of Kehillah of Arizona sends our

deepest sympathies to Linda Feldman on the loss of her

beloved uncle. May his memory be a blessing.

Join Our Celebration

Dear Kehillah Family,

Our children, Bradley and Hannah, truly feel like they

are part of a community when they come to Kehillah.

We hope that all of you will come together as a community

to help us celebrate their B’nai Mitzvah on

Saturday, May 28, 2011.

We will gather together at 3:00 in the afternoon for a

Seudah Shelishit (a light Shabbat afternoon meal)

followed by an afternoon service during which the twins

will read from the Torah.

Please RSVP with Lesley Hafalia 623.341-9114 or email

at [email protected]. Please let us know if you will be

sharing this special day with us by Sunday May 15th so

that we can make sure we have the correct amount of



Lesley and Valentino Hafalia


Blessing Exhibits in Phoenix

An exciting interfaith project

that is looking for volunteers to serve on committees.


Committees Forming!

Are you interested in becoming more involved in your

Kehillah community? New committees are being formed

and meetings scheduled. If you’re interested, please contact

any of the following people; we’d love to work with you!

High Holiday Days Committee – Toby Gerst

Membership Committee – Arlene Maletta and Elyse


Caring Committee – Reisa Miller

Hospitality Committee – Ev Simon




Did you know that our Rabbi had been a tour guide in

Israel? Join Rabbi Sharfman and your Kehillah friends on a

fabulous, one of a kind Israel trip next Spring (2012).

Highlights will include a Kabbalah experience in Tzefat, an

authentic Bedouin experience, a Middle Eastern feast, a

jeep tour in the Dead Sea area, optional hiking in Ein Gedi

and add-ons to Eilat and Petra and much more (you know

our Rabbi…). Please let Rabbi or Ceil Siegel know of your

interest. We’re picking dates now and focusing on March-


Do you use Quark?

If you don’t know what this question means, don’t worry

about it! But if you do use Quark, please contact Sherry at


SIGN UP for Kehillah’s


Board of Directors

Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman

Cantor Seth Ettinger

Sherry Siegel, President

Ceil Siegel, VP for Programming

Evelyn Simon, VP for Hospitality

Alan Hirsh, VP for Education

Lindsay Gilbert, Secretary

Dan Simon, Treasurer

Warren Miller

Jonathan Seeliger

Bob Liebman, Immediate Past President

Our Mailing Address:

10810 North Tatum Blvd., Suite 102-308, Phoenix, AZ 85028


(602) 369-7667

For general information, please e-mail [email protected].

To contact Rabbi Sharfman, please e-mail [email protected]

Congregation Kehillah

Services held at:

New Vision Center 18010 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85028

New Kehillah of Arizona