VISITING RABBIS SHARE BREAD AND TORAH AT BHC

Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation members and friends welcome Rabbi Linda Motzkin and Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein to Bethlehem for a spiritual and event-filled weekend July 25 through 27.

 The weekend begins at 6:45 p.m., Friday, July 25 with a Sabbath service led by Rabbis Motzkin and Rubenstein. Their talk will focus on the work they do in their community and beyond. A light oneg will follow.

     Saturday’s Sabbath service begins at 10 a.m. and will include a Torah service, a d’var Torah, and section of the week’s Haftarah.  Following the service, a Kiddush potluck luncheon is planned. Bread and nourishment will be the topic of the one-hour afternoon text study.

     RSVPs for the luncheon are requested. Please contact Eileen Regen - e.sregen@roadrunner.com or 603-823-7711.

     On Sunday, July 27, the rabbis will lead a challah workshop in the BHC Social Hall along with a hands-on Torah project. All ages are invited to participate. Rabbi Rubenstein will oversee the challah project, and participants will leave with their rising loaves to bake at home. Participants are asked to bring their own mixing bowls, mixing and measuring spoons, and measuring cups.

     During the challah downtime (waiting for the dough to rise), Rabbi Motzkin will show panels of the Torah she is scribing and ask people to work in pairs to proofread it. She will also have a PowerPoint™  presentation showing how to make a Torah, from cleaning the deer hides through final proofreading. It is a fascinating project involving hundreds of participants and giving people a once-in-a-lifetime chance for hands-on work to create a Torah scroll.

     To assure sufficient ingredients and Torah-creating supplies, your RSVP is important. Please contact Emily Cowan 603-788-2259 or chezmoi465@gmail.com. This Sunday afternoon event is open to the community. Admission is free. Donations are gratefully accepted.  

     Rabbi Linda Motzkin, soferet and scribal artist, and Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein, bread maker and baking teacher, have served since 1986 as co-rabbis of Temple Sinai, a Reform congregation in Saratoga Springs, New York. They were ordained in June, 1986, at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, and were the first rabbinic couple to share the sole rabbinic position in a synagogue. In addition to their duties at Temple Sinai, Rabbi Motzkin serves part-time as the Jewish Chaplain at Skidmore College, and Rabbi Rubenstein is Pastoral Care Director at Four Winds–Saratoga, a private psychiatric hospital.

     In 2004 Rabbis Linda and Jonathan founded the Bread and Torah Project, through which they offer interactive educational programs based on their scribal arts and bakery activities. Rabbi Linda is trained as a soferet—a scribe. For Purim 5767 (2007), she completed the writing of Megilat Esther—a scroll of Esther—for Temple Sinai. She is currently writing a Torah scroll and leading the Community Torah Project, a long term undertaking designed to involve a wide range of participants in various steps in the hands-on process of making a Torah scroll.

     Rabbi Motzkin is also the author of the Reform movement’s four-volume adult Hebrew language series: “Aleph Isn’t Tough,” “Aleph Isn’t Enough,” “Bet is for B’reishit” and Tav is for Torah.” In addition, she is co-author of “The First Hebrew Primer: The Adult Beginner’s Path to Biblical Hebrew” and “Prayerbook Hebrew the Easy Way,” from EKS Publishing.

     Since 2004 Rabbi Rubenstein has been teaching bread making and operating a non-profit, charitable bakery, Slice of Heaven Breads, out of the Temple Sinai kitchen. A volunteer program, Slice of Heaven Breads produces and sells a variety of breads and baked goods with proceeds supporting hunger relief programs, Temple Sinai’s programs, and other charitable causes. The bakery offers ongoing bread baking lessons, provides training and employment to individuals with disabilities, and donates and distributes challah weekly to nursing home residents, hospital patients, and the needy. Slice of Heaven Breads also donates products for local non-profit fund-raising efforts.

     Rabbis Motzkin and Rubenstein are frequent presenters at conferences and retreats throughout the northeast. Their work spans church and synagogue education programs (youth and adult), school groups, scout troops, civic organizations, agencies serving individuals with disabilities, and facilities for seniors.

     The rabbis are the proud parents of Ruhi Sophia, a 2007 Smith College graduate now enrolled at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Ari Shalom, a 2011 graduate of Brown University, and Shira Bracha, who graduated from Brandeis University in 2013.