The FJMC's Sefer Haftarah is at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, Illinois.

Next week it will be at Adath Israel, Cincinnati, Ohio.

This week's Unraveller is not yet sponsored.

This week's portion in the FJMC Sefer Haftarah scroll, the travelling haftarah scroll that visits a different synagogue each week and contains all of the haftarot, was sponsored by the Sinai Temple, Los Angeles.

FJMC New England Region
Hebrew Word Initiative

the famine

the famine
Each week, a set of 5 words are chosen by volunteers from the parsha ha'shavoa.

Did you know that the FJMC offers individual Haftarah parshiyot suitable for framing? Click here for the PDF

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Editorial Board
Rabbi Wayne Allen
Rabbi Leonard S. Berkowitz
Rabbi Paul Drazen
Dr Rela Mintz Geffen
Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi
Rabbi Stephan Parnes

Newsletter Chairmen
David Goldis
Bob Watts

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Registration opens
December 15!

Conservative/Masorti Men at the Crossroads: Responding to a Changing World
July 24-28, 2013. Boston, Massachusetts.

Yellow Candles

Yellow Candles
FJMC Yom Hashoah Yellow Candles website
Order now, early bird discounts in effect








It's time for Build-A-Pair
The best way to teach about tefillin!

HeneniThe "Build a Pair" Program is a comprehensive and fun learning program to introduce 5th, 6th or 7th graders to the joy and mitzvah of Tefillin in Jewish life. Multiple components interplay to explore the religious significance, the construction of, and the practice of "laying" Tefillin. A comprehensive education program with videos helps the religious school teach students the meaning of Tefillin in Jewish life and practice. Students practice writing their Hebrew/Jewish names and the SHEMA (first line) to insert into pre-made wooden Tefillin boxes. Students decorate the boxes in any creative way they wish, allowing for personal expression. Students either compete or cooperate in writing a "wRAP" song to sing at a Big Event. The Big Event can be the World Wide Wrap (WWW), sponsored by the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (FJMC), held annually on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. The WWW program is designed to introduce and re-introduce Jewish men [and women] to the significance of "laying" Tefillin. The "Build a Pair" student program attracts the parents to see their children in their model Tefillin sing the "wRap" songs, allowing two generations (or more!) to join in the mitzvah together, and to let the students' sing their "wRAP" song for an appreciative audience.

World Wide Wrap is Sunday, February 3, 2013
The Bar Mitzvah Wrap!


December 21, 2012

Haftarah for Va-yiggash
Ezekiel 37:15-28

The theme of brotherly reconciliation highlighted in this week's Torah reading is continued in Ezekiel's prophetic words selected for this week's Haftarah. But whereas the rapprochement between Joseph and Judah the two leading brothers occurs completely through their human efforts, Ezekiel has no choice but to see the future unification of Judah and Israel/Ephraim through Divine intervention. For Ezekiel sits in exile in Babylonia, trying to keep up the hopes of his people in their eventual return to Judea, and the restoration of the idyllic Jewish past is going to happen only if G-d is involved.

To make his point, Ezekiel uses symbolism extensively. The beginning of the chapter that contains our Haftarah is the famous dry bones prophecy that we read on Shabbat Hol ha-Mo'ed Pesah claiming that the Children of Israel will yet rise from its captivity and live. Here the symbolism of the two sticks become one in the prophet's hand gives a visual cast to his expectation in the eventual unification of the northern kingdom, Israel - signified by its leading tribe, Ephraim - with the southern kingdom of Judah, a further return to that wonderful bygone era. There will no longer be any jealousy or division. And everyone will live happily ever after, in peace and brotherhood, following G-d's laws and living under the rule of King David's dynastic successors on the land reserved for G-d's people.

Sadly, if that unity is to happen, it will undoubtedly only be after the Messiah arrives. Even Ezekiel, a prophet of the Holy One, couldn't get what he envisioned. For the northern tribes of Israel/Ephraim could never reunite with their brethren to the south, since they had already, in Ezekiel's day, assimilated into the Assyrian Empire following their earlier exile to Mesopotamia. And the very idea that Jews that most contentious of peoples can dwell together in peace and harmony is questionable; we just like to argue too much.

Still, the model of Ezekiel's vision of oneness stands before us. And sometimes we bring that Messianic hope into this world ourselves. Last week the American Jewish community celebrated the 25th anniversary of the March on Washington on behalf of Soviet Jewry. An outpouring of Jewish unity from coast to coast and border to border, 250,000 people gathered in our nation's capital, defying the cold to demand of the visiting Soviet President, "Let our people go." Those of us who traveled great distances, overnight or in crowded buses on behalf of our oppressed brethren saw a demonstration of unity that would have made Ezekiel proud.

Sometimes We really Are One as if we were the united sticks in Ezekiel's hand.

This week's Haftarah commentary was written by Rabbi Joel Schwab. Rabbi Schwab has served as the religious leader of Temple Sinai in Middletown, NY for 28 years. He co-founded and served as the first chair of the Jewish Family Service of Orange County and is on the Board of the Jewish Federation of Orange County. He was the first rabbi to serve as the president of the Middletown Interfaith Council, has remained active on the council and is now the chair of the Interfaith Clergy Group. He has been on the Board of the only homeless shelter in Orange County for over 20 years and is the Board president. He is a member of the Human Rights Commission of Orange County by appointment of the County Executive. As the senior rabbi in the county, Rabbi Schwab is the convening chair of the county Klei Kodesh, the organization of rabbis and cantors in the area. Rabbi Schwab also serves as the Jewish chaplain at the Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center.

Recognizing our Maasim Tovim
Doer of Good Deeds Honorees

Steve Krodman
Anshei Darom

Steve Krodman was born in New York in 1952 and spent his formative years in Massapequa on the south shore of Long Island, a town that was also the home of Jerry Seinfeld, the Baldwin brothers, Carmine Gambino, and Joey Buttafuoco. He studied chemical engineering at Princeton University, receiving his BSE degree in 1974. After graduation, Steve moved to Houston, Texas to begin a 34-year career in the petrochemicals business, most of which was spent working for ExxonMobil Chemical. It was there that he met and fell in love with Donna, a native of Fort Worth. They were married in 1977, afterwards embarking on a series of household relocations that started with a move to New Jersey in 1979, where their first child, Melissa, was born later that same year. The family migrated to Atlanta in 1981 where they were blessed with another daughter, Jocelyn, the following year. Then, after five years in the Heart of the Deep South, they moved to Glastonbury, CT... and two years later, to Trumbull, CT. In early 1991, they moved yet again, this time back to Houston. In July 1998 they left Houston to return to Atlanta, where they remain unto this day. If a rolling stone gathers no moss, then the Krodman clan is definitely "moss-less."

Having attended a Conservative synagogue growing up, Steve had a "typical" Hebrew-school education and a solid Jewish identity despite growing up in a fairly nonobservant home. But it was when the family moved to central Connecticut in the mid-1980's that Steve really connected with his Jewish roots. Finding themselves in an unfamiliar town with no friends or family nearby, affiliating with the local shul immediately connected Steve and Donna with the local community and helped them to feel at home. It was only a matter of time before Steve dusted off his long-unused Torah-reading skills, and with subsequent relocations (and at new synagogues) began learning how to lead services. After moving back to the Atlanta area, he and Donna affiliated with Congregation Etz Chaim, where Steve eventually became a part of the morning minyan group. He currently serves as one of the shul's gabbaim, as well as leading various services and shiva minyanim throughout the year. 

To continue reading this article, click here.


New Publications

Leadership - Innovation - Community
Understanding the Haftarot:
An Everyperson's Guide

In this stimulating and unusual book Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director of FJMC, provides the reader with the context to understand how the haftarot were organized, why they might have been selected and suggests reasons for finding meaning and value.
You can purchase it a number of ways.
Intermarriage: Concepts & Strategies for Families and Synagogue Leaders
If family members and community leaders wish to become engaged in the process of Keruv they often need to ask, "Does Keruv have an ideology and theology? And if so what is it?" Then they need to learn how to respond to intermarriage from the perspective of both gender and religion. This publication reflects the most current thinking about intermarriage to date and attempts to provide family members and community leaders with the needed understanding to effectively work with intermarrieds or potential intermarrieds.
You can purchase it a number of ways:

Yad Shel Chai
The Yad Shel Chai program was created by an FJMC club in Jacksonville, FL. The program is designed to provide an incentive for Torah readers to get a personalized Yad with their Hebrew name. Help create a synagogue culture where young people or your Men's Club members who regularly read Torah at Shabbat and minyan services can be recognized for their accomplishments. The program encourages Torah Study, helps increase the number of Torah readers, and provides significant long term benefits to the participant and congregation for minimal cost.

The beautiful silver-plated "fjmc" baubles to create a connection to your club. The silver plated beaded Yad can be personalized with the reader's name. It is 22.5cm long (8 7/8")

The Yad Shel Chai program is extremely simple to implement and manage. Work with your Rabbi and School Administrator to encourage teenagers to read Torah. Work with the Ritual Director to implement for the kids and adults alike. You can easily track the portions read and plan your rewards.

The original program envisions that when a student approaches 18 readings, the organizers order a Yad via the order form on the Yad Shel Chai page. The cost is $85 per Yad, plus $15 shipping and handling (regardless of how many you order). If you have any questions, please email YadShelChai@fjmc.org.

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