Rimmonim Dedication. FROM LEFT: Sam Horowitz, Rita Pollack, Rabbi Seltzer, Joan Elder and Lorna Horowitz.

The services held in November featured Rabbi Sanford Seltzer, our cantorial soloist Eliyanah Powers and Harrison Sheckler, accompanist.

It was a wonderful Shabbat! There was a warmth that permeated the service with tradition and learning and the accompaniment of our talented musical staff. Many people lingered and socialized at the Oneg (an informal gathering after the service) with delicious cakes and beverages.

During our service Rabbi Seltzer took time to explain the Torah and its accessories as he prepared to dedicate the Rimmonim (Torah Finials). Our congregation thanks Rita Pollack, Sam and Lorna Horowitz for their generous donation.

So, Torah parts—SO Many. But First, What is the Torah?

The word Torah means instruction. The Torah is the foundation of all Jewish instruction and guidance. It is a parchment scroll of the Five Books of Moses and is kept in the ark of the synagogue to be taken out and read during services.

The Accessories of the Torah

Wooden Handles of the Torah (Tree of Life): The Torah scroll is rolled around two wooden dowels attached to either end of the Torah. Each shaft is made long enough to be used as a handle with which to hold the Torah and to scroll from portion to portion.

The sash is used to tie the Torah scroll so that the Torah remains closed and secured under its covering.

The Mantel is an ornate covering that both protects and beautifies the Torah scroll It is typically made of velvet and embroidered with golden thread, silk, and ornamental beads.

Rimmonim (Torah Finials) or Crown that adorns the Torah. Typically made of silver, as a symbol of endearment and veneration. The crown rests on the wooden shafts, extending above the scroll.

The Yad (“hand”) is the pointer that the reader of the Torah uses to help others follow the written words as he reads.

Chanukah: On Friday, December 16 IJSS will celebrate Chanukah (meaning Dedication). Chanukah actually begins on December 18 and ends December 26. We look forward to the celebration of the eight days of the festival of lights, with a nightly menorah lighting, prayers, and foods cooked in oil.

From our history we observe that a small band of faithful but poorly armed Jews, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, and drove them from the land. The Temple in Jerusalem was reclaimed and rededicated. In the process, there was only enough oil to burn for one night. Miraculously, the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days. To commemorate the miracle, the festival of Chanukah was begun.

Festivities include the eating of potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts. Gelt (money) is given to young children. Dreidel (a spinning game) is played for a pot of coins, nuts, or other stuff, which is won or lost based on which letter the dreidel lands when it is spun.

Please join us on December 16 for Shabbat services. If you wish to sponsor an Oneg reach out to Sam Horowitz via email at michelsonhorowitz@gmail.com.

IJSS is a small and welcoming congregation. We value our members and their needs. If you have questions or wish to join our congregation, please feel free to contact Joan Elder by phone at (520) 360-1478 or Seth Eisner by phone at (520) 818-6340 for information.

IJSS wishes the community Greetings of the Season! Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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