Welcome to Or Ami

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Welcome to Or Ami

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Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah, Hebrew for "Rejoicing in the Law", celebrates the completion of the annual reading of the Torah. Simchat Torah is a joyous festival, in which we affirm our view of the Torah as a tree of life and demonstrate a living example of never-ending, lifelong study. Torah scrolls are taken from the ark and carried or danced around the synagogue seven times. During the Torah service, the concluding section of Deuteronomy is read, and immediately following, the opening section of Genesis, or B'reishit as it is called in Hebrew, is read.

For more details on this holiday, click here.  

Chanukah

The Story of Chanukah

The story of Chanukah began almost two thousand, one hundred years ago when most of the Mideast was under the influence of the Greeks.  The Greeks spread their culture throughout the area.  They developed architecture and art. They appreciated philosophy and literature.  They enjoyed sports and leisure.  The Greeks expected the people in these countries to happily adopt Greek ways while forgetting the ways of their ancestors.  This widespread culture was called “Hellenism.”

In Judea (now called “Israel”) where Jews lived, the spread of Hellenism did not go quite as smoothly.  The Jews appreciated many of the benefits that the Greeks had brought.  The Jews, however, would not bow down to the idols of the Greeks and would not give up their ancient rituals. 

To the Hellenist leader of Judea, the Jews were a peculiar and stubborn people, but since the Jews paid their taxes, they seemed harmless enough.  They were allowed to go about their business and worship a nameless, faceless God, Adonai.  They were allowed their holy Temple and their holy city of Jerusalem.  They were allowed to study the Torah and to live as their ancestors had always lived

Then, in the year 175 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era), a new dynasty came to power. In its throne sat the Assyrian king Antiochus Epiphanes, know as Antiochus IV.  He wanted everyone under his rule to be Greek in every way.  He made laws that everyone had to bow down to his idols and forbade the Jews from reading Torah and observing Shabbat.  If they refused to follow his laws, they would be killed.  Though some Jews gave in, others did not.  Many Jews died for their beliefs.  The Jews were in danger of being wiped out entirely.

In a small town called Modi’in, there lived a brave man, Mattithias.  He saw the horrors that Antiochus and his army brought.  Mattithias, his sons and a group of Jewish followers fled to the hills.  Other Jewish families joined them.  They decided to rebel against King Antiochus’ rule and began to teach themselves to fight back.  Mattithias died during this struggle but his son Judah took his place as leader.  Judah and all his followers became know as the “Maccabees,” because “Maccabee” means “hammer,” and Judah and his followers struck at Antiochus’ army with heavy blows.  The Maccabees fought on against the armies of Antiochus.  They fought for three difficult  long years, finally making their way into Jerusalem to reclaim the Holy Temple. 

When the Maccabees arrived in Jerusalem, they immediately began cleaning the desecrated Temple.  They swept out the filth and shards of shattered pottery.  They pushed out the statues and idols.  They tore down the crumbled, polluted altar and built a clean, new one, according to ancient law.  Potters and metal workers busied themselves making candlesticks, incense burners, and pots for sacred oil.  Children helped pull up weeds and plant flowers in the outside courtyard, new curtains were sewn, and the walls and floors were scrubbed inside and out.  Finally, on the twenty-fifth day of the third month of the Jewish calendar, Kislev, the Jerusalem Temple was ready.  In the year 164 B.C.E., the Maccabees dedicated the Temple and offered sacrifices to God.  The celebration was to last eight glorious days.  According to one story, they only found enough pure oil to light the menorah found to last for one day.  And miraculously it lasted longer.  The dedication festivities went on without interruption as the oil burned for more than a week. 

What is perhaps the greatest miracle of all is that those lights are still burning just as brightly today as we continue to celebrate Chanukah in our own homes.  The word “Chanukah” has come to mean “dedication” to celebrate both the dedication of the Holy Temple, and also the dedication it took the Maccabees to persevere in very dangerous and difficult times.

Holidays

Learn about the Jewish holidays and explore the customs and traditions of Reform Jews. Congregation Or Ami invites you to visit our holiday section to learn how we weave celebration and tradition into our community. We are pleased to share this information with you and wish you Chag Sameach!

URJ Resources

Calendar of Jewish Holidays.  

The Jewish Home: A Guide for Jewish Living provides a detailed explanation of Jewish holidays and home rituals.

Join the conversation about ways to celebrate Shabbat on our blog .

The Jewish holidays are often discussed on iWorship, the Union's listserv for worship issues. Read excerpts and subscribe to the listserv.

Upcoming Events

17Nov
11.17.2017 - 11.19.2017
NFTY Social Justice Kallah
19Nov
11.19.2017 9:00 am - 11:30 am
Mishpacha Session 6
19Nov
11.19.2017 11:00 am - 11:30 am
Mishpacha Havura Earthquake Drill
19Nov
11.19.2017 12:45 pm - 2:45 pm
LoMPTY Board Meeting
Livestream High Holy Day Services
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Watch Services Online

Worship with us from the comfort of your home. Find strength in prayer while in your hospital room or convalescent home. Connect spiritually while away. Services live streamed twice monthly. Our calendar lists times of live streamed services.


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Photo Gallery

Take a look at different events, occasions, and ‘happenings’ here at our synagogue. Our Mitzvah Day celebrations, Tikkun Olam, simchas and special occasions!


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Social Justice

Our community is actively involved with social action, fulfilling the mitzvah of tikkun olam, repairing the world.


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Youth Groups

Combined social, educational, religious and social action programs to create opportunities for the synagogue’s children to create lasting friendships.


OurBlog

Rabbi Kipnes' Blog

Our Rabbi explores Jewish spirituality on the journey through life. Delve into refreshing perspectives on Judaism, contemporary issues and Congregation Or Ami. Interactive commentary that lets you read and be part of a discussion.


Newsletter

Or Ami News

Read more about what's going on in our synagogue and community this week and this month. 


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Tree of Life, Yahrzeit Memorial and Noah's Ark

Honor and remember your loved ones. Our Tree of Life celebrates simchas (joyous times). Our Yahrzeit Memorial Plaques remember loved ones. Our Noah's Ark honors or remembers beloved pets.

Upcoming Events

17Nov
11.17.2017 - 11.19.2017
NFTY Social Justice Kallah
19Nov
11.19.2017 9:00 am - 11:30 am
Mishpacha Session 6
19Nov
11.19.2017 11:00 am - 11:30 am
Mishpacha Havura Earthquake Drill
19Nov
11.19.2017 12:45 pm - 2:45 pm
LoMPTY Board Meeting