Two Minutes of Torah Study – Bereshit

Each of us is created in the image of God, we read in this week’s Torah portion.

Our sages demonstrate the preeminence of this verse when they debate its place in the hierarchy of scripture. In the Jerusalem Talmud, tractate Nedarim, we read: “The greatest principle in Torah,” says Rabbi Akiva, is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” His student, Ben-Azzai, says it’s not so: “A greater principle is that every single person is created in the image of God.”

Our love, our respect, our obligation to our fellow human being is not measured by the love of ourself. Even if indifferent to our own lot or wrapped in the devastation of self-loathing, we must not ignore the plight of our neighbor whose Divine image commands dignity and respect and safety.

On this Shabbat, the Jewish community, the American community, marks one year after the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. We remember the eleven souls, eleven sparks of the Divine, returned to their creator before their time here on earth was finished, before their acts of kindness were finished, before their expressions of love to their family and friends were complete. We grieve for them and for the many others whose lives have been tragically ended by expressions of sinat chinam, of baseless hate. We recount their names, we retell their stories, out of love and respect and our promise not to ignore their fate nor the plight of others like them in our country.

We remember:

Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, Irving Younger

Each was created in the image of God and each died in the sanctification of God, and their memories are a constant reminder of our obligation to see God in every single person, even those — and especially those — with whom we disagree.

Committee of the Month: Larry and Brenda Miller Memorial Caring Community

We welcome new members who want to help! Contact 412-835-1783

Within Temple Emanuel, there is a group of temple members who are available to help other temple members when they are in need, and to remember our temple members during life cycle events, such as the birth of a baby, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, weddings, and funerals.


  1. When a baby is born someone from the caring community writes a note of congratulations, and the parents receive a gift – a child’s book of Jewish prayers
  2. When a Torah Center student has a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, someone from the caring community writes a mazel tov note to them.
  3. When temple members have a wedding someone from the caring community writes a mazel tov note to them.
  4. When a temple member comes home from the hospital, the caring community delivers a Shabbat bag on the Friday before Shabbat begins. Inside the bag, there is a Challah and challah cover, a mini grape juice, Shabbat candlesticks, a get well card, and a small prayer book.
  5. When a temple member dies we bring a cookie tray to the house where there is a Shiva.
  6. We provide rides to the doctor for temple members who don’t drive.
  7. And the caring community makes phone calls to older temple members to see how they are doing, and to invite them to events.


The Temple Emanuel Caring Community is partnering with the Adult Education Committee to present a Bagels & Bites Sunday Brunch Series. There will be brunch style foods served along with a most interesting talk!

The first speaker at this event is scheduled for 12/16/18 from 10:30 am -12, with Philip Terman, an award-winning poet who teaches creative writing and literature at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the visiting writers’ program. Also, he co-directs the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival. Philip Terman’s most recent selection of poetry is entitled: Our Portion: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press, 2015).

Is your son or daughter looking for a meaningful internship?

The Reform Action Center (RAC) has two great opportunities for college students and recent graduates.  The RAC’s Eisendrath Legislative Assistants are recent college grads who represent the Reform Movement and its values in the political process.  Machon Kaplan is an internship program for college students interested in Judaism and social justice.  Want to learn more?  Go to or


First SHIM harvest

Learning has come to life for Melinda Freed’s 7th grade Making Meaning From our Food class. Yesterday, they reaped Temple’s first harvest for SHIM (South Hills Interfaith Movement): A large bag of swiss chard and a smaller bag of kale.

A few years in the making, the garden was the brainchild of Social Action Team chair Marty Altschul, who calls it “a dream come true.” When Freed needed a sub for this particular class, she knew Altschul would be perfect.

“I am so glad we have this garden to tie into my curriculum – the mitzvot of feeding the hungry and caring for the earth, knowing where our food comes from,” says Freed. “[The kids] got a hands-on experience picking the vegetables.”

A huge thanks goes out to everyone who made this garden possible. “Its mission goes beyond SHIM — it educates my students, Temple members, and the people who drive past it on Bower Hill Road,” says Freed. “May it ‘grow and grow.'”