Monday, April 27, 2020

Yom Hazikaron (Day of Remembrance for Israel's fallen) and Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Israel's Independence Day) and classes and zoom services for the next three days

We cannot come together physically this year for Yom Hazikaron (Day of Remembrance for  Israel's fallen) and Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Israel's Independence Day)

We will be joining - on line - several international programs for these special days

Please click the links to the  posters attached below

We will also be adding special memorial prayers during our Tuesday morning  Zoom "minyan" for the fallen soldiers of israel

Join us here on  Tuesday at 7AM

For the memorial prayers we will use  Tuesday morning, please download this text from the RCA siddur:

After that, the first program we will be joining is organized by the World Mizrachi Organization. 
It is a "Tekes Maavar" - a "transition service"from Yom Hazikaron to Yom Hashoah please go  to this website to join our fellow jews from all over North America

For the poster for this event -please click here:

Mizrachi has a full range of programs for the entire Yom Ha'atzmaut on this same website:

See here:

The Zoom and Facebook Live Tuesday Torah Portion Class this week  will go from 6:30 -7:15 PM  due to the Mizrachi program.

Mincha should be prayed (privately) before the 7:30 program
As mentioned above, Wed. 4/29  is 5 Iyar: Yom Ha'Atzmaut
(Israel's Independence Day) 

Hence, no Tachanun Mincha Tuesday, or Shacharit and Mincha Wednesday.

In addition there is an excellent program with multiple videos and a program guide  about the founding of Israel that can be watched from home and with our  families at anytime on these days

Classes for the next three days

 Weekdays,  Mon -Fri   830 - 9AM: Ethics of our Fathers
also on 

Tues 6:30PM to 7:15 PM NOTE CHANGE IN TIME -
Weekly Torah Portion
also on 

NEW CLASS Series !  The Jewish Course of Why?
These classes will address common,interesting, relevant and important "why" questions that contemporary Jews ask about Judaism.

Wednesdays 6:30- 7:15 PM - with the Rabbi of our Forest Park Minyan  - Rabbi Wolff
Zoom Link:

Not Just stories: Midrash on the Weekly Torah Portion -  1PM Thursdays
also on


Thursdays 7PM,starting 4/23  Gateways to Prayer - "Shaarei Tefilah":
also on 
Zoom "Minyan"  Every Tuesday 7AM

Friday 7AM

Friday, April 24, 2020

Shabbat Shalom from B'nai Torah - lots of important info here!

Boruch Hashem
Dear Friends,

Today and tomorrow we celebrate a New Month in the Hebrew Calendar -Iyar

In Kabbalah, the word Iyar is seen as an acronym for the Hebrew phrase
 (Exodus 15:26), “I am God, your healer” (ani Hashem rofecha).  May we
 see this in actuality very soon!


Here are all the wonderful things happening at CBT this week:
Shabbat Times:
Friday Night:
1. Candle-lighting - 7:24 PM

2. Remember to say Yaaleh Veyavo for Rosh Chodesh in Mincha and Maariv tonight

3. The Evening Shema and the Omer Count (16th Day) should be recited no earlier than -
 8:13 PM
You may take Shabbat in earlier- after 645PM if you so desire

1. Morning Shema 
to be recited no later than 9:21 AM

2. It is Shabbat Rosh Chodesh - 
remember Yaaleh Veayavo in the Amidah, Half Hallel, and the Musaf for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh.
Also Barchi Nafshi (Psalm 104) 
at the very end of the service 

3. We study the second chapter of Pirkei Avot  (Ethics of our Fathers) in the afternoon after Mincha (Remember to say Yaaleh Veyavo for Rosh Chodesh)

4. Shabbat ends and Havdalah is recited after 8:29PM

Classes:  Please note these classes will continue every week until further notice
 All classes  are also available on Bnai Torah's Facebook Page:

 Every Sunday 09:30 AM Mastering Talmud
also on 

 Weekdays,  Mon -Fri   830 - 9AM: Ethics of our Fathers
also on 

Tuesdays 7PM: Weekly Torah Portion
also on 

Not Just stories: Midrash on the Weekly Torah Portion 1PM Thursdays

also on

NEW CLASS!  Wednesdays 7PM - with our very own  Forest Park Minyan Rabbi Wolff details to follow watch your CBT emails!

Thursdays 7PM,starting 4/23  Gateways to Prayer - "Shaarei Tefilah"
also on 
  Sermon - This week we have a guest speaker -Rabbi Jonathan  Sacks
At the risk of disclosing a spoiler, I would like to begin this week’s Covenant & Conversation by discussing the 2019 film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Tom Hanks plays the beloved American children’s television producer/presenter Mister Rogers, a legendary figure to several generations of young Americans, famous for his musical invitation, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
What makes the film unusual is that it is an unabashed celebration of the power of human goodness to heal broken hearts. Today such straightforward moral messages tend to be confined to children’s films (some of them, as it happens, works of genius). Such is the power and subtlety of the film, however, that one is not tempted to dismiss it as simplistic or naïve.
The plot is based on a true story. A magazine had decided to run a series of short profiles around the theme of heroes. It assigned one of its most gifted journalists to write the vignette about Fred Rogers. The journalist was, however, a troubled soul. He had a badly broken relationship with his father. The two had physically fought at his sister’s wedding. The father sought reconciliation, but the journalist refused even to see him.
The jagged edges of his character showed in his journalism. Everything he wrote had a critical undercurrent as if he relished destroying the images of the people he had come to portray. Given his reputation, he wondered why the children’s television star had agreed to be interviewed by him.

Had Rogers not read any of his writings? Did he not know the obvious risk that the profile would be negative, perhaps devastatingly so? It turned out that not only had Rogers read every article of his that he could get hold of; he was also the only figure who had agreed to be interviewed by him. All the other “heroes” had turned him down.
The journalist goes to meet Rogers, first sitting through the production of an episode of his show, complete with puppets, toy trains and a miniature townscape. It is a moment ripe for big-city cynicism.

Yet Rogers, when they meet and talk, defies any conventional stereotype. He turns the questions away from himself and toward the journalist. Almost immediately sensing the core of unhappiness within him, he then turns every negative question into a positive affirmation, and exudes the calmness and quiet, the listening silence, that allows and encourages the journalist to talk about himself.
It is a remarkable experience to watch as Hanks’ gentleness, immovable even under pressure, slowly allows the journalist – who had, after all, merely come to write a 400 word profile – to acknowledge his own failings vis-à-vis his father and to give him the emotional strength to forgive him and be reconciled to him in the limited time before he died. Here is a fragment of their conversation that will give you a feel for the tone of the relationship:
Journalist: You love people like me.
Fred Rogers: What are people like you? I’ve never met anyone like you in my entire life.
Journalist: Broken people.
Fred Rogers: I don’t think you are broken. I know you are a man of conviction. A person who knows the difference between what is wrong and what is right. Try to remember that your relationship with your father also helped to shape those parts. He helped you become what you are.
Note how in a few brief sentences, Rogers helps reframe the journalist’s self-image, as well as his relationship with his father. The very argumentativeness that led him to fight with his father was something he owed to his father.

The film reflects the true story of when the real Fred Rogers met the journalist Tom Junod. Junod, like his character ‘Lloyd Vogel’ in the film, came to mock but stayed to be inspired. He said about the experience, “What is grace? I’m not certain; all I know is that my heart felt like a spike, and then, in that room, it opened and felt like an umbrella.” The film is, as one reviewer put it, “a perfectly pitched and played ode to goodness.”[1]
The point of this long introduction is that the film is a rare and compelling illustration of the power of speech to heal or harm. This, according to the Sages, is what Tazria and Metzora are about. Tsara’at, the skin condition whose diagnosis and purification form the heart of the parshiyot, was a punishment for lashon hara, evil speech, and the word metzora, for one suffering from the condition, was, they said, an abridgment of the phrase motzi shem ra, one who speaks slander.

The key prooftext they brought was the case of Miriam who spoke badly about Moses, and was struck with tsara’at as a result (Num. 12). Moses alludes to this incident many years later, urging the Israelites to take it to heart: “Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam along the way after you came out of Egypt” (Deut. 24:9).
Judaism is, I have argued, a religion of words and silences, speaking and listening, communicating and attending. God created the universe by words – “And He said … and there was” – and we create the social universe by words, by the promises with which we bind ourselves to meet our obligations to others. God’s revelation at Sinai was of words – “You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a Voice” (Deut. 4:12).

Every other ancient religion had its monuments of brick and stone; Jews, exiled, had only words, the Torah they carried with them wherever they went. The supreme mitzvah in Judaism is Shema Yisrael, “Listen, Israel.” For God is invisible and we make no icons. We can’t see God; we can’t smell God; we can’t touch God; we can’t taste God. All we can do is listen in the hope of hearing God. In Judaism, listening is high religious art.
Or it should be. What Tom Hanks shows us in his portrayal of Fred Rogers is a man who is capable of attending to other people, listening to them, talking gently to them in a way that is powerfully affirming without for a moment being bland or assuming that all is well with the world or with them. The reason this is both interesting and important is that it is hard to know how to listen to God if we do not know how to listen to other people. And how can we expect God to listen to us if we are incapable of listening to others?
This entire issue of speech and its impact on people has become massively amplified by the spread of smartphones and social media and their impact, especially on young people and on the entire tone of the public conversation. Online abuse is the plague of our age. It has happened because of the ease and impersonality of communication. It gives rise to what has been called the disinhibition effect: people feel freer to be cruel and crude than they would be in a face-to-face situation.

When you are in the physical presence of someone, it is hard to forget that the other is a living, breathing human being just as you are, with feelings like yours and vulnerabilities like yours. But when you are not, all the poison within you can leak out, with sometimes devastating effects. The number of teenage suicides and attempted suicides has doubled in the past ten years, and most attribute the rise to effects of social media. Rarely have the laws of lashon hara been more timely or necessary.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood offers a fascinating commentary on an ancient debate in Judaism, one discussed by Maimonides in the sixth of his Eight Chapters, as to which is greater, the chassid, the saint, the person who is naturally good, or ha-moshel be-nafsho, one who is not naturally saintly at all but who practices self-restraint and suppresses the negative elements in their character. It is precisely this question, whose answer is not obvious, that gives the film its edge.
The Rabbis said some severe things about lashon hara. It is worse than the three cardinal sins – idolatry, adultery, and bloodshed – combined. It kills three people: the one who speaks it, the one of whom it is spoken, and the one who receives it.[2]. Joseph received the hatred of his brothers because he spoke negatively about some of them. The generation that left Egypt was denied the chance of entering the land because they spoke badly about it. One who speaks it is said to be like an atheist.[3]
I believe we need the laws of lashon hara now more than almost ever before. Social media is awash with hate. The language of politics has become ad hominem and vile. We seem to have forgotten the messages that Tazria and Metzora teach: that evil speech is a plague. It destroys relationships, rides roughshod over people’s feelings, debases the public square, turns politics into a jousting match between competing egos and defiles all that is sacred about our common life. It need not be like this.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood shows how good speech can heal where evil speech harms.
Shabbat Shalom
[1] Ian Freer, Empire, 27 January 2020.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!
Shlomo and Chana Yaffe

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Zoom minyan / Kosher cheese available by order / Classes

In honor of Rosh Chodesh there will be a Zoom "minyan" at 7:00 AM on Friday 4/24 (This is only on Zoom - not facebook live)

Classes:  Please note these classes will continue every week until further notice
 All classes  are also available on Bnai Torah's Facebook Page:

 Every Sunday 09:30 AM Mastering Talmud
also on 

 Weekdays,  Mon -Fri   830 - 9AM: Ethics of our Fathers
also on 

Tuesdays 7PM: Weekly Torah Portion
also on 

Not Just stories: Midrash on the Weekly Torah Portion 1PM Thursdays

also on

V. NEW CLASS! Thursdays 7PM,starting 4/23  Gateways to Prayer - "Shaarei Tefilah"
also on 

Kosher Cheese:
As you know it's been hard to get kosher cheese at the local supermarkets of late -and the following is really good:

Our member, Jon Edelson, has graciously agreed to organize an order from a very good kosher cheesemaker 
please contact him at

This is what they have
(Add $1.50 LB for Shipping)

Under Star K-Supervision - (Cholov Yisrael) 
All 1# random weight chunks 
White or Yellow Cheddars - $8.00/LB
Parmesan - $10.00/LB
Mozz - $5.00/LB

Under Star-D Supervision (Kosher)
White Cheddar 2 years old - $8.00/ LB
Yellow Cheddar 2 months old - $5.00/LB

Link to Solidarity rally today at 12, Classes this morning and the rest of the week

1) In response to the attempted arson at Ruth's House there will be an online community solidarity program at 12PM today. Please join here: or: 2) In honor of Rosh Chodesh there will be a Zoom "minyan" at 7:00 AM on Friday 4/24 (This is only on Zoom - not facebook live) 3) Classes: Please note these classes will continue every week until further notice All classes are also available on Bnai Torah's Facebook Page: I. Every Sunday 09:30 AM Mastering Talmud also on
II. Every Mon, Tue, Wed, Thurs, Fri- 830 -9AM: Ethics of our Fathers also on III. Every Tuesday 7PM: Weekly Torah Portion IV. Not Just stories: Midrash on the Weekly Torah Portion 1PM Thursdays also on V. NEW CLASS! Thursdays 7PM,starting 4/23 Gateways to Prayer - "Shaarei Tefilah": also on

Sunday, April 19, 2020

CBT this week: Yom Hashoah online and much more

Boruch Hashem
Dear Friends,
We have a lot happening this week - please join us 
1. Shiva Information
2. Yom Hashoah

3. Online Classes
4. "Keeping in Touch with Each Other" Initiative

1. A) Following up on our previous emails we, with sadness, inform you that Ms. Sue Scott - sitting Shiva for her mother, Mildred Stambovsky, will be available on Sunday April 19 from 3-4 PM for Zoom Shiva calls here:

B) Ms. Vickie Phillips-Chiz will be sitting Shiva for her husband, Stanley Chiz, after 4PM today through Friday. Please contact Rabbi Yaffe for her phone number if you would like to extend condolences

2) We will be having a short but meaningful community-wide Yom Hashoah program on Zoom Monday 4/20 at 7PM. Please participate. This Program will only be on Zoom, not Facebook Live. There is a password, don't forget to enter it!
 Meeting ID: 938 8051 0154
Password: 272102

3)  Classes:  Please note these classes will continue every week until further notice
 All classes except Monday morning Mishnah 4/20  (only on Zoom) are also available on Bnai Torah's Facebook Page:

I. Every Sunday 09:30 AM Mastering Talmud
also on 

II. Every  Mon, Tue, Wed, Thurs, Fri-  830 -9AMEthics of our Fathers
also on 

III.  Every Tuesday 7PM: Weekly Torah Portion
also on 

IV.  NEW CLASS! Thursdays 7PM,starting 4/23  Gateways to Prayer - "Shaarei Tefilah"
also on 

4) NEW! Staying In Touch Initiative:  Andrea Olkin has kindly agreed to spearhead a program to keep all of us at CBT  in touch with each other. If you are willing to receive phone calls from other members, or make calls to other members please email her at: 

Be Well
Shlomo and Chana Yaffe

Friday, April 17, 2020

A Correction, Shabbat Shalom and not being able to go to Synagogue

A Correction, Shabbat Shalom and not being able to go to Synagogue 

Regarding Mr Chiz,  who just passed away - his full name is Stanley Phillip Chiz, and he was always known by Stanley  

Shabbat Shalom:

Candle Lighting is 7:16PM

The Omer should be counted and Shema should be recited after 8:05 PM

Tomorrow is Shabbat Mevarchim. Shema should be recited before 9:27 AM

Birkat Hachodesh -blessing the new month should be recited before Musaf
Shabbat ends at 8:18PM

Some thoughts on the Synagogue and reflections on Judaism when we can't go to the Synagogue: 
There is no mention of the Synagogue in the “Written Torah” (i.e., the Five Books of Moses). The institution of the synagogue is of later, Rabbinic origin (1).
The purpose of the synagogue is to provide a venue to facilitate and enhance the Biblical obligation of prayer by adding a communal element.
From Moses’ times until the restoration of the Second Temple, we fulfilled the obligation to pray daily by composing our own prayers, and praying privately.
We also made pilgrimages to Jerusalem to experience the public services that were conducted in the Temple of Jerusalem.
After the restoration of the Second Temple (352 BCE), the Great Assembly (2), led by Ezra, instituted the KaddishKedushahBarechu, and the rest of the standardized communal service (requiring the participation of a minyan or quorum of ten) as well as the obligation for individuals to participate in these services.
There arose both in Israel and the Diaspora (3) places set aside to pray communally. Thus was born the “Place of Gathering”—Beit Kenesset in Hebrew, and synagogos in Greek.
The primary public worship experience remained the journey to Jerusalem to participate in and be inspired by the Temple service.
When the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 69 CE, the only place for public worship remained the synagogue, which then acquired increased importance as the center of Jewish communal life.
The primary focus of Judaism, however, has always been the life of each individual and their home and family, lived in a strong and mutually responsible community. In fact, when a Jewish community starts from scratch, building a synagogue is not the first item on its “to do” list. As set by Jewish law, the priorities as far as setting up communal institutions should be:
1) A Mikvah
2) Judaic Study for children
3) A Charity fund
4) A synagogue
Of course, people can—and do—get together anywhere to pray communally.

1. The Torah (Devarim 17:11; see Maimonides’ introduction to the Mishnah) mandates that we follow properly constituted rabbinic decrees accepted by the community at the time the decree was made; so, in the final analysis, the synagogue is a Torah-mandated institution.

2. The then high court and legislature of Judaism.

3. The Diaspora (the Jewish community residing outside of the Land of Israel) remained large even after the Second Temple was restored.

Shabbat Shalom to ALL, I hope to see you in person soon!