Congregation Sulam Yaakov

Please note: Due to Coronavirus, Shabbat services will not be held this Saturday, March 14, 2020.

Congregation Sulam Yaakov is an egalitarian Conservative Synagogue, a passionate Jewish community that inspires spirituality, and promotes social responsibility and action. Music is always an integral part of services and helps to lift the soul and the spirit. All are welcome to attend services, including the High Holidays.

About Us: Our approach to prayer and community concentrates on joy and learning and inclusivity, all within the framework of Conservative Judaism. Read more…

Services: Join us for Shabbat services at 9:30am for a joyful, uplifting synagogue experience. Read more…

 

Exodus-Torah Portion Ki Tissa-Chapter 30, Verses 26-28 (3/14/20)

“With oil consecrate the Tent of Meeting, the Ark of the Pact, the table and all its utensils….

I miss the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Its cavernous ceilings, mysterious darkness, medieval paintings, and profound silence captured my soul. However, what I most long for are the friars spreading aromatic incense. It was the smell of heaven. They were a vivid glimpse of Aaron, the High Priest, and the Tabernacle we are currently reading about in the Torah. I wonder how we journeyed from the intense Tabernacle sacredness to the modern synagogue in which ritualistic pageantry is almost absent. As the great thinker, Rabbi A.J. Heschel sorrowed, we have “sanitized” the synagogue from the sacred ritual. Congregants tell me about their difficulty praying. I understand them. Not much in the modern synagogue awakens our soul. Think about how Yom Kippur ignites our spirits. Its holiness is rooted in the array of sacred rituals, including some ornate, not so modern but profoundly effective liturgy. Since its foundation, Sulam has committed itself to reinsert the sacred in Judaism. My dream as your rabbi is to open the gates of the sublime jointly.  Our inclusion of chanting at services is a good beginning. My Rabbi, Marshal Mayer, who founded the South American Conservative Movement, and B’nei Jeshurun in Manhattan, called services “sacred drama.” He understood that services must have a strong emotional component. His success was unparalleled. Instead, the modern American synagogue has transformed itself mostly into a social center. That’s not wholly wrong. However, we have buried faith under monopolizing peoplehood. When I visited synagogues across the country as a scholar in residence, I never understood how the procession of the Torah became prime time to talk or say hello. Where were the awe and the respect of “the Torah is walking among us!” The art of the sacred must be re-learned—meaningful silence, wordless melodies, and relevant learning must once again take center stage in the sanctuaries of liberal Jews. I’m not naïve. I understand that most of you reading this message are not regulars at services. Still, if the soul of Judaism dries up, all of us will feel it. Our collective soul is in potentia within each of us. Good ritual suspends the rational and activates the mysterious. We Jews love to study, and we are great at it. However, it is time to be humble, give a break to the endless race for achievement and make space for the sacred. Synagogues must re-connect to the Tabernacle because sometimes the old is also precious.

Please contact me with questions or comments at aborodowski@gmail.com or 914-420-5639. L’shalom, Rabbi Alfredo

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Kabbalat Shabbat: Friday night services, followed by kiddush or dinner, as scheduled throughout the year. Read more…

Adult Education: We are committed to presenting meaningful opportunities for adults to continue exploring the breadth and depth of Judaism and to furthering our moral and spiritual growth. Read more…

The Sulam Learning Academy meets on Monday evenings from 7-9:15pm

You may attend one or both workshops. Please email Rabbi Alfredo for more information at aborodowski@gmail.com.

Social Action: Our social action programs fulfill our obligation to help the larger community in which we live through acts of loving kindness. Read more…

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