President’s January 2018 Column

Happy New Year! I wish the best for everyone in 2018, and I hope you all had a very Happy Hanukkah! We had a great Hanukkah dinner at Temple Judah this past month. Thanks to all those who set up, cleaned up, brought dishes to share, and Brian Cohen and his crew for making the latkes. Also, a special thanks to Tony Smith, as well as Dan Smith and the rest of the board, for quickly taking action when the gas line to the Temple Judah kitchen began leaking a week before the dinner. The break was immediately isolated and the repairs were made just in time for frying latkes!

The ladies of the library committee have been sifting through the books in the Gasway Memorial Library, reorganizing the books, caring for them, and making the library a more appealing place. Terri Cohen, Sue Reider, and Kathy Ormond started the project over a year ago, beginning with the children’s books, so that the students in the Sunday school classes could visit and check out books to take home. Kathy was inspired to contribute her time with the library after taking one of the Chai Mitzvah classes offered here at Temple Judah a few years ago. Since then, they’ve made the initial pass through all the books and are now on the second round of organization.

While chatting with the ladies, I learned that when the building on Lindsay Lane was first built, the library was in the current Rabbi’s office. After the new wing was built, the library was relocated to its current location on the lower level, in the east wing. In addition, there is a special section in the Eben Israel Cemetery reserved for books that are in poor condition but contain sacred text, including the Hebrew name of God. They have found a few such books in the library that can’t be simply thrown out; they will need a proper burial.

Also in the library are beautiful works of art by Ira Moskowitz.  From what I understand, some of these pieces used to reside in the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and were donated by the museum director, who was Jewish, in the early 90’s.

If you’re in the mood to curl up with a good Jewish book this winter, stop by the library and check out a book or take one home from the cart. It’s open most Sunday mornings and there are Jewish books on religion, practice, biographies, and even fiction.

Some of the exciting upcoming events at Temple Judah are the Turandot opera preview on January 6th, Musical Shabbat on January 12th, early services led by Sunday school classes Kitah Alef and Kitah Bet on January 26th, and the Tu B’Shevat Seder on February 2nd. See the Shaliach or Bulletin for details and other events happening here. As a reminder, Traditional Services will take place on the second Saturday of the month, January 13th, as regularly scheduled.