Welcome to The Shalom Collaborative
Sharing Inclusive Paths of Jewish Spiritual Exploration, Learning and Service
We are a welcoming spiritual community that embraces the progressive values of the Classical Reform Jewish tradition. Our worship, conducted primarily in English, is inclusive and accessible. We offer a warm, unconditional welcome to all who seek to join us in worship, study, and service, without regard to religious background or beliefs. One need not be born Jewish, be able to read Hebrew, or convert to Judaism to be a full, participating member. Interfaith families and people of all faiths, including the unaffiliated, are fully embraced. Members of the LGBTQ community are a vibrant part of our community.
This ancient Roman mosaic, from the collection of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, dramatically symbolizes our core values –
the diverse but cohesive community we hope to create, composed of individuals each of whom
is an indispensable part of our total picture! Photo Credit: James Robinson.
A Message from Rabbi Sklarz
It was so good seeing so many of you on screen at the end of December, and I am eagerly awaiting being with you in person this coming Shabbat. As we enter 2024, please allow me to offer some sentiments and reflections in light of what I shared when we were last together.
“It was the best of times…It was the worst of times.” It was the best of times as more than 1,000 Reform Jews, representing the many colors and orientations of the rainbow, gathered together in our nation’s capital to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations). Together, we celebrated our diversity, embraced our commonality and took a deep dive into issues facing our movement and the larger Jewish world. On Shabbat, our souls united in prayer with liturgy and song representing fifteen decades of Reform Judaism in America, and at the close of Havdalah, a thousand voices joined together for the singing of Hatikvah.
As glorious as the event was, none of us could help but feel that Jews are living in the worst — the most precarious — of times since the Shoah with the horrors taking place in Israel and Gaza and the unprecedented level of global anti-Semitism. On Sunday morning, immediately prior to the closing program, the URJ president, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, shared that hotel security, already on high alert, had intensified as “swatting” — calls for bomb threats to Jewish organizations throughout the nation — were rampant. With his announcement, a dark cloud enveloped all of us, further shattering a false sense of security that so many of us had long held: namely, that “Never Again” meant “Never Again.”
The pride we should all feel in the remarkable accomplishments of Reform Judaism, coupled with the nightmare that has been unfolding since October 7, has only strengthened my devotion to the Jewish people and humanitarian concerns. Indeed, I feel a fire within me to stand up and be counted as a Jew that is stronger than ever.
We do not know what lies before us in the days ahead, but may we ever hold fast to the prophetic ideals so central to Reform Judaism, speaking out whenever injustice rears its ugly head, as we ever strive to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
With wishes for love, light, joy and laughter in 2024,
Rabbi Andrew R. Sklarz, DD, MSW, MA
HIGH HOLY DAYS
From TSC Leaders: Todd, Merle, Michael, David & Sheri
It was wonderful to see so many of our TSC family at High Holy Day Services. We joined together in the spirit of our Collaborative resulting in an uplifting and inspiring High Holy Days experience. What a team effort! What some of us thought was not possible became a meaningful experience. We’ve heard from many of you how our worship exceeded your expectations. For some, they shared this was one of their most profound High Holiday Day seasons in part because of all we overcame to make our Services happen.
At the risk of leaving someone out, we do want to extend a special thank you to Rabbi Sklarz for his dedication, inspiration and guidance to make our Services so meaningful.
Thank you to our hosts, Marilyn Levitt and Andy Friedland, for opening their home to us.
We so appreciate Ian Pomerantz and Andrew Sheranian for providing the beautiful music that we treasure.
Many hours were spent by Michael Sigman, Merle Marquis and Todd Katzman planning the Services, recording the videos and editing. We also appreciate the support of Jen Zehler who provided technical support.
Thank you to our candle blessers, facilitators and readers for your participation that so defines the spirit of TSC. Paula Dickerman, Jay Berman, Andrea Kaiser and Marc LaCasse, thank you for delivering your sermonettes which were truly inspiring, touched our hearts and enriched our spiritual journey. We greatly appreciate your wisdom and guidance.
With the High Holiday Days behind us, we look forward to our continued spiritual exploration with our next Shabbat Service on October 13th. Additionally, we look forward to joining together for our upcoming movie discussion night, book club discussion, events, travel and all that we offer as we move forward in the life of our community.
With joy and gratitude for what we have accomplished together,
Todd, Merle, Michael, David and Sheri
We gather, as old friends and new, for prayer and celebration in a variety of formats and schedules. We are not a formal congregation, but rather a virtual spiritual community “without walls”. We will offer a variety of special programs and experiences open to all interested people, of various spiritual paths and practice. Our worship, whether Shabbat and holiday Services, always includes the sharing of the accessible, inclusive liturgy and music of the Reform Jewish tradition. Additionally, we join in the online worship offerings of Jewish congregations from around the world who share our progressive values. More informal gatherings for less structured spiritual exploration and celebration are also available in a variety of settings.
Touring as Torah – New Orleans Trip (March 8-10, 2024)
Participants will arrange their own airfare, arriving Friday morning or early afternoon. A block of rooms will be held through February 8, 2024 at the Renaissance Pere Marquette. this link to reserve your room: https://book.passkey.com/go/
Friday evening, we will attend Shabbat Services at one of the two Reform synagogues in New Orleans. Thereafter, we will have dinner together. On Saturday morning, we will tour the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience. On Sunday morning, we will visit the National WWII Museum. On either Saturday or Sunday, we will arrange for a Jewish Tour of New Orleans.
Most importantly, we are planning to eat and drink in one of the greatest food cities of the world!
Please contact Larry Muenz at: Lmuenz@meritzmuenzllp.com for details!
- Torah Study
March 2, 2024, 10:00 am - 11:00 am
- TSC Book Club - March 20 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. The Button Man by Andrew Gross
March 20, 2024, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
- Shabbat Service
March 22, 2024, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
- Shabbat Celebration
April 5, 2024, 6:30 pm - 7:15 pm
- Passover Program
April 16, 2024, 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
We seek to deepen and expand our personal horizons through a variety of educational experiences including regular opportunities for Torah study.
The eternal Jewish commitment to Tikkun Olam, engaging in the work of justice and peace in the world, and service to our respective local communities, is one of our defining core values.
Our worship, whether Shabbat and holiday Services, always includes the sharing of the accessible, inclusive liturgy and music of the Reform Jewish tradition.
News & Announcements
Join us on Wednesday, February 7, from 7-8 p.m. to discuss Left Luggage. Thank you to Rabbi Sklarz for the suggestion and to JB Barricklo for volunteering to moderate our discussion of this film. He and Nancy enjoyed seeing it many years ago!
A Berlin Film Festival winning drama (1998), this is the story of a secular Jewish philosophy student (Laura Fraser, “Breaking Bad”, ‘Better Call Saul”) who accepts a job as a nanny with a Hasidic Jewish family in 1970’s Antwerp, Belgium. She has little knowledge and sympathy for their many centuries-old rules. Through her bond with the family’s five-year old son, she learns to respect a culture steeped in traditions, inspiring her to find the true values of life. The cast includes notable award-winning performers including Isabella Rossellini, Chaim Topol, Maximilian Schell, Miriam Margolies and Jeroen Krabbé (who also directs).
Left Luggage is available for streaming exclusively on Chaiflicks, a service specializing in Jewish themed and Israeli movies, TV shows and documentaries. There is a 7-day free trial. Monthly membership is $9.99 a month (with an annual discount for those who want to commit to a longer membership)
Join us for our next book club gathering, February 12th from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., on Zoom. We will be discussing The Plot Against America by Philip Roth widely available at your independent bookstore, on Amazon or at your local library. Read the review here. This months discussion will be led by our member Michael Sigman.
Please RSVP to Judy Merit at Judith.Meritz@gmail.com if you are able to join us. Check the TSC monthly newsletter and emails for the zoom link.
Upcoming Book Club Meetings The Button Man by Andrew Gross on March 20, 2024, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. & Little Liars by Mitch Albion on May 15, 2024, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to attend, to suggest books and to volunteer to lead discussions!