Thursday, February 29, 2024

A Farewell to Ellen from Rabbi Simkha Weintraub


A Prayer/A Psalm at the Funeral of Rabbi Ellen Bernstein zts’l


It is good to give thanks for Rabbi Ellen Bernstein/HaRav Nehamah bat Etta v’Pinhas

Who leaves this life too soon for us, and passes on to the Garden of Eden,

which she will certainly till and probably enhance.

“And Adonai/God took the Human and put the Human into the Garden to till it and to guard it.”

(Genesis 2:15)

May the colors of Ellen’s garments and jewelry, flowers and plants, dishes and travel

Bless and rebuild our assaulted planet, from Kibbutz Be’eri to Zaporizhzhia,

from Gaza to benighted American zip codes,

from bursting refugee camps to razed forests, choked oceans, and decimated species.

“The Heavens are Heavens of the Holy One, but Earth was given by God to humankind.”

(Psalm 24:1)

God, give Ellen the power to empower those who truly value and respect Earth,

Who see the whole of our planet as Holy,

And seek to live on it with reverence, awe, and responsibility.

Introduce our dear Ellen to the Matriarchs and Patriarchs, to Hagar, to Serach bat Asher,

to Shifra and Puah, Miriam, Pharaoh’s daughter, and Yael.

Arrange banquets with Tzelophhad’s daughters, and those of Rashi and Mordecai Kaplan;

Brunch with Eleanor Roosevelt and Bella Abzug, Afternoon tea with Gluckel of Hamelin,

Dinner with Margaret Mead, Rachel Carson, and Henrietta Szold.

Under Your sheltering Sh’khinah, may Ellen find not just rest but peace and renewal,

Not only comfort but creative freedom and discovery,

Stellar insights, and radiant innovations.

I want You to know, God, that Ellen asserted M’hayei haMeitim loudly in a Reconstructionist

minyan in Philadelphia – affirming that You do, or will, revivify the deceased,

And so we request that You acknowledge her traditional and yet rebellious affirmations.

“Praise Adonai from the earth, sea monsters and all deeps;

Fire and hail, snow and smoke, stormy wind executing God’s command;

The mountains and all hills, the fruit trees and all cedars,

The wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds…”

(Psalm 148:7-10)

Enliven our memories of Rabbi Ellen,

Not only for our own savoring, but for the sake of the world itself.

Amen v’Amen, Halleluyah!

(Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, Feb 29, 2024)

Photo: Steven Tennenbaum

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Thanks to the Invisible Laborers Who Make our Minyan Thrive!


It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to keep Dorshei Derekh thriving.

Yesterday the Mazkirut (at present George Stern is outgoing coordinator, Deborah Weinstein is the Chair, and Betsy Teutsch is the incoming coordinator) thanks Mike Gross, who completed his three year Mazkirut term. We also thanked outgoing Green Coordinator Simone Zelitch and welcomed Jennifer Paget in that roll.

 This was also a chance to thank all the longterm coordinators who are listed on the side bar.

There are more folks whose work people might not be aware of. Neysa Nevins manages our listserve, and has done so for a long time. Betsy Teutsch manages this blog (though many other members are also editors and *could* post.) 

Sheila Erlbaum tends our plants. She selected them, has watered them weekly, and Jennifer Paget took care of them at home during the Pandemic. Thanks to Sheila and Jennifer, our room is graced with growing things!

Thanks, Dick Goldberg, our Minyan Muse, for celebrating our Coordinators, outgoing and presen

February 3, 2024 Kiddush


(To the tune of “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” by Gilbert and Sullivan)

We are the very model of a modern, major min-i-yan!

Yes, Dorshei’s quite the prayer group in my humblest of opinions!

Whose mazkirut in ’23 was led by rebbe Georgie Stern—

From such a rebbe, oy, mein kind, a person has a lot to learn!

And speaking of the mazkirut, I think we really have to boast!

For three long years that we were blessed to have a leader in Mike Gross

And while we’re hoo- and hah-ing and we’re celebrating our dear own

How ‘bout that green coordinator, our Ms. Zelitch, a/k/a Simone!

Another who coordinated with elan, aplomb and flare

Was Ms. Naomi Klayman who saw to it that our every prayer

Was uttered with con-siddur-ation, Hebraic-ly and every time

Was led by service leaders though Kol Haneshama doesn’t rhyme.

Another who has planning skills quite peachy keen and yes, exempl’ry

Is thoughtful Toby Kessler, who booked Torah readers for both you and me.

And one to whom our gratitude is more than merely o-owin’

For all those Divrei Torah, taka, taka, Debrah Co-ohen!

For managing our membership for now and ever af-after,

We give our thanks— to whom? Of course, the gifted Heather Shaf-after!

For organizing kiddushim, of course, we must express-uh

Our sheer delight from morn to night— to whom? To our dear Pesha!

Well, LBJ, as you well know had Zbigniew Brzezinski.

The Rite of Spring was one wild thing thanks to I-igor Stravinsky.

But neither could outdo our techy poohbah I mean, come on, Dorshei, since he

Is also quite the hagbah, I mean Pinsky, Pinsky, Pinsky!

I’d like to end this ditty with a gentleman who in my view, he

So ably keeps our bank accounts, I’m talking Arnie Lurie!

In short, I think you’d have to say we are one in a trill-i-on—

Yes, Dorshei is the model of a modern major min-i-yan!