Temple Beth Ami Philadelphia is a 60 year old tranditional Synagogue located in the NE section of Philadelphia
Temple Beth Ami Philadelphia is a 60 year old tranditional Synagogue located in the NE section of Philadelphia
Temple Beth Ami Philadelphia is a 60 year old tranditional Synagogue located in the NE section of Philadelphia

Temple Beth Ami News

Shaliach / חילש

E-mail: bethami9201@yahoo.com / Web Site: tbaphilly.org
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Temple Beth Ami Philadelphia is a 60 year old tranditional Synagogue located in the NE section of Philadelphia

May – June – July – August 2017
Iyar – Sivan – Tamuz – Av – Elul 5777

Services / שירותים

Monday morning: 7:30 am with Breakfast to follow

Monday evening: 8:00 pm

Thursday morning: 7:30 am with Breakfast to follow

Thursday evening: 8:00 pm

Friday evening: 8:00 pm with Oneg Shabbat

Saturday morning: 9:00 am with Kiddush

Sunday morning: 9:00 am with Breakfast to follow

Complimentary coffee, tea, soda and cake are served after the service on Friday and there is a Kiddush with cake, juice and wine after Saturday Shabbat service. On Sunday, Monday and Thursday morning, for those who would like to stay, we have breakfast after the morning Minyan for a $3.00 donation.


I would like to thank the congregation once again for allowing me the privilege of acting as your Rabbi.

At this time of the year, we celebrate the holiday of Shavuot (May 31-June 1). As you all know, on Shavuot we celebrate the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people. What some of you may not know, however, is that in the weeks before Shavuot we read Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) each week beginning with Passover. Pirkei Avot teaches us proper behavior and appropriate conduct towards one another, which was a precondition for G-d’s giving the Torah to the Jewish people.

Below, I will highlight some key sections from the portion of Pirkei Avot that we studied this past week (Chapter 5):

  1. There are four types of people: One who says, "What is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine". This person is lacking. There are those that say "What is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours" – This person exemplifies a median characteristic. There are those that say, "What is mine is yours, and what is yours is yours". This is a pious person. And a wicked person says "What is mine is mine, and what is yours is mine".
  2. There are four types of temperaments. One who is easily angered and easily appeased-In this case, the person’s virtue cancels his flaw. There are some who are difficult to anger and difficult to appease—In this case, the flaw cancels the virtue. A pious person is difficult to anger and is easily appeased. One who is easily angered and is difficult to appease is wicked.
  3. There are four types of students. One who is quick to understand and quick to forget--his flaw cancels his virtue. One who is slow to understand and slow to forget--his virtue cancels his flaw. One who is quick to understand and slow to forget—he is a good student. A bad student is slow to understand and quick to forget.
  4. There are four types of contributors to charity. One who wants to give but does not want others to give—He is begrudging of others. One who wants that others should give but does not want to give himself. He begrudges himself. One who wants himself as well as others to give is a pious person. One who wants neither himself nor others to give is wicked.
  5. There are four types of people who pray and study the Torah. Those who go to synagogue, but do nothing else—They get a reward for going. Those who study and pray but do not go to synagogue— They get a reward for doing. One who goes to synagogue and prays is a pious person. One who neither goes to synagogue, nor prays, nor studies the Torah, is wicked.

Anyone that is interested in studying or discussing any portion of Pirkei Avot with me is welcome to do so. Wishing you all a wonderful summer----Rabbi Mitchell Novitsky


Summer has arrived in Philadelphia with warmer temperatures and longer days. While schools are closed Temple Beth Ami remains open for our congregants and the entire community. Coming to shul is an enjoyable experience. You spend quality time with other Jews in a comfortable atmosphere.

The topics of the conversations vary from service to service and table to table. While each of us are different in many ways, we all believe in Judaism and Temple Beth Ami.

Remember to renew your membership at TBA. As a congregant, you are our best public relations. Speak to your friends, neighbors and others about TBA, inform them of our warm and inviting atmosphere, many different programs and our reasonable membership rates. Once they have experienced us, they will discover that TBA is “The Best Around”.

And now a bit of Jewish American History…

The Civil War was a stress time for this country. The country was divided as were many families. One of the most influential people in the Confederacy was a Jew, Judah Benjamin. He was accepted into Yale Law School at age 14. He left after 2 years, moved to New Orleans, studied law, taught and met his Wife, the daughter of a prominent Creole family. He became a success which allowed him to purchase a plantation with slaves. He also became active in politics and was elected to the Louisiana State house. He sold his plantation in 1850. In 1852, he was appointed to the U.S. Senate (the second Jew to serve in the U.S. Senate). He twice declined a seat on the Supreme Court. In the Senate, he established the reputation of a skilled politician and a sting supporter of the South. He resigned from the Senate with the start of the Civil War.

Jefferson Davis appointed Benjamin Judge as Attorney General. He was the first Jew to serve in an American cabinet. He later served as Secretary of War and Secretary of State. He was the only nonslave holder to serve in the Confederate cabinet. It is believed that President Jefferson trusted him more than any other person because as a Jew, he was not a political threat to him. Some people believed he was involved in the Lincoln assassination.

After the fall of the Confederacy, he escaped to England. He became a successful barrister. He died in England and is buried in France (his Wife moved to France many years prior to his death).

Kenneth G. Harrison, Esq., President

And now a bit of Jewish American History…

ABCs of Shavuot…Celebrating our receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.

It is ironic that Shavuot is such a little-known holiday, given that it commemorates the single most important event in Jewish history – the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.

Shavuot occurs on the 6th of Sivan, the culmination of a seven-week period, "counting of the Omer," that occurs following Passover. The very name "Shavuot" means "weeks," in recognition of the weeks of preparation and anticipation leading up to the Sinai experience. Since Shavuot occurs 50 days after the first day of Passover, it is sometimes known as "Pentecost," a Greek word meaning "the holiday of 50 days." (Shavuot, however, has no connection to the Christian Pentecost holiday.)

Three millennia ago, after leaving Egypt on the day of Passover, the Jews traveled into the Sinai desert. There, the entire Jewish nation – 3 million men, women and children – directly experienced divine revelation:

G-d spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you were hearing the sound of words, but you were not seeing a form, only a sound. He told you of His covenant, instructing you to keep the Ten Commandments, and He inscribed them on two stone tablets. (Deut. 4:12-13)

The giving of the Torah was an event of awesome proportions that indelibly stamped the Jewish nation with a unique character, faith and destiny. And in the 3,300 years since, the Torah’s ideals – monotheism, justice, responsibility – have become the moral basis for Western civilization. In the words of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, "The Hebraic mortars cemented the foundations of American democracy."

17th of Tammuz…Beginning three weeks of mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

The 17th of Tammuz is a fast day commemorating the fall of Jerusalem, prior to the destruction of the Holy Temple. This also marks the beginning of a 3-week national period of mourning, leading up to Tisha B'Av.

The 17th of Tammuz is the first of four fast days mentioned in the prophets. The purpose of a fast day is to awaken our sense of loss over the destroyed Temple – and the subsequent Jewish journey into exile.

Agonizing over these events is meant to help us conquer those spiritual deficiencies which brought about these tragic events. Through the process of "Teshuva" – self-introspection and a commitment to improve – we have the power to transform tragedy into joy. In fact, the Talmud says that after the future redemption of Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple, these fast days will be re-dedicated as days of rejoicing and festivity. For as the prophet Zechariah says: the 17th of Tammuz will become a day of "joy to the House of Judah, and gladness and cheerful feasts."

What Happened on the 17th of Tammuz? July 11th

Five great catastrophes occurred in Jewish history
on the 17th of Tammuz:

  1. Moses broke the tablets at Mount Sinai – in response to the sin of the Golden Calf.
  2. The daily offerings in the First Temple were suspended during the siege of Jerusalem, after the Kohanim could no longer obtain animals.
  3. Jerusalem's walls were breached, prior to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.
  4. Prior to the Great Revolt, the Roman general Apostamos burned a Torah scroll – setting a precedent for the horrifying burning of Jewish books throughout the centuries.
  5. An idolatrous image was placed in the Sanctuary of the Holy Temple – a brazen act of blasphemy and desecration.



May 1st

Yom HaZikaron/יום הזכרון , Israeli Memorial Day. Begins at sundown April 30th.

May 2nd:

Yom HaAtzma'ut/יום העצמאות , Israeli Independence Day. Begins at sundown May 1st.

May 14th:

Lag BaOmer/ל״ג בעומר , is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the 33rd day of counting the Omer. In Israel, it is celebrated as a symbol for the fighting Jewish spirit. Begins at sundown on May 13th.

May 14th: Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

May 24th:

Yom Yerushalayim/יום ירושלים , an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem, known as Jerusalem Day. Begins at sundown on May 23rd.

May 29th:

Memorial Day

May 30th, 31st & June 1st:

Shavuot/שבועות , Festival of Weeks, commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Begins at sundown on May 30th

May 30th:

Erev Shavuot – Services at 7:30 PM

May 31st:

1st day of Shavuot – Services at 9:00 AM / 8:00 PM (Rabbi will be here)

June 1st:

2nd day Shavuot – Services at 9:00 AM (Rabbi will be here), Yizkor recited at 11:00 AM

June 11th:

Temple Beth Ami Presents: Gloria Salmansohn – Join us for an afternoon full of fun, laughter and great entertainment from Gloria Salmansohn an actress who has appeared in a variety of TV, Film and Theatre productions. Join us first for brunch at 10:30 AM.

July 4th:

Independence Day

July 11th:

Tzom Tammuz/צום תמוז , fast commemorating breaching of the walls of Jerusalem before the destruction of the Second Temple. Like other minor fasts, it begins at dawn and ends at nightfall.

July 29th:

Shabbat Chazon/שבת חזון ("Sabbath [of] vision") is prior to Tish'a B'Av and referred to as the Black Sabbath due to its status as the saddest Shabbat of the year. Begins at sundown on July 28th.

August 1st

Tish'a B'Av/תשעה באב , The Ninth of Av, fast commemorating the destruction of the two Temples. The fast commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but same calendar date. Begins at sundown on July 31st.

August 5th

Shabbat Nachamu/שבת נחמו ("Sabbath of comfort/ing) is the Shabbat after Tish'a B'Av and takes its name from the haftarah from Isaiah in the Book of Isaiah 40:1-26 that speaks of "comforting" the Jewish people for their suffering. Begins at sundown on August 4th.

August 7th:

Tu B'Av/טו באב , Jewish holiday of love, similar to Valentine's Day. It has been said to be a "great day for weddings". Begins at sundown on August 6th.




Are you tired of receiving too much mail? Are you environmentally conscious and interested in helping us save a few trees as well as money on postage? Are you feeling like you might be missing out on important information from us? If you answered yes to even one of those questions then you need to be added to our email list. By providing us with your email address, I promise you will always receive the most updated information about what is happening at the synagogue. Email is the quickest way we can get the most information out to you in the shortest amount of time. It also allows you to contact us more quickly with any questions you may have about upcoming events, dates the rabbi will be here, etc. Plus, you can easily send us updates for information that has changed, such as a new address or phone number, so the benefits work both ways. If your concern is about sharing too much information or us sharing your information, then there is no need to worry, because we will NEVER share or sell your information to anyone.

To start receiving emails you can call the office 215-673-2511, stop by the synagogue and leave your contact information with someone in the office or in the purple box on the display case. The easiest way for us to add you is by sending an email to templebethami2@gmail.com and simply put in the subject line that you wish to be added to the email list.

For anyone who does not have an email address, you can setup a free one through google, yahoo, your current internet service provider, etc. You can contact Jill in the office if you need help doing any of this. I am always more than happy to help anyone who needs it.

If there is a topic you would like information about, or have information you believe our congregants would benefit from, please let our office staff know and maybe we can schedule a brunch and learn to share this with our members.

We are always looking for new ways to increase our membership. If you know anyone interested in joining, please contact the office so we can arrange a date/time to bring them in and show them around the synagogue. We would love to meet anyone interested in joining as well as have the opportunity to show them around. We are also open to any suggestions and/or ideas you may have for events, fundraisers, etc.

Please do not forget our Temple Beth Ami Pushka Project (Tzedakah Box). Please bring your full box in to the office and take a new one. If you do not have a Pushka Project Box, please stop by the office and pick one up.

Need a gift for someone special or just looking to treat yourself? Stop by and check out our display cases with the many beautiful items we have for sale. Custom cards are available for any occasion such as birthdays, anniversaries, congratulations, get well, condolence and/or just to wish someone well. For a small donation you can let someone know that you are thinking about them. We also have leaves available for the tree in our lobby. What a nice way to remember our departed or honor a loved one.

All purchases and/or donations can be made during office hours Monday-Thursday 9:00AM-4:00PM and on Friday 9:00AM-2:00PM.

Thank you – Jill & Tamara

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