Temple Adat Elohim
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Temple Adat Elohim History - Torah Study

Torah Study. . . as described by Bob Grossmann

Celebrating the completion of another book"During the Spring of 1985, Rabbi Greenbaum and I were discussing the fact that our temple did not have a regular group that reviewed the Torah text. I had come from a congregation in New Jersey where the Torah was studied every Saturday morning and wondered whether we could continue this learning experience here at TAE. At that time, there was noon going study group. Rabbi Greenbaum thought that it was a good idea, that he also enjoyed reviewing the text and that we would make this program available to the entire congregation. We would see what interest there was, and the program started with Genesis: "In the beginning." There were just a few congregants besides myself that attended the early sessions, including Michael Lotker and Gerri Wissot. The study session started as an every other week gathering for an hour, but quickly was expanded to weekly because of the interest of the group.
"Very early on, it became apparent that the participants were eager to learn as well as to share their feelings and opinions of the text being reviewed, so there were times when only a few sentences were tackled. As a result, the group slowly went through each paragraph, sentence, and, yes, at times, every word. The participants’ feelings and understanding of text began to grow and expand under Rabbi Geenbaum’s tutelage. The text used was and remains The Torah, A Modern Commentary, with commentary by W. Gunther Plaut et al. Additionally, Bob shared footnotes from the Pentateuch Haftorahs, edited by Dr. J.H. Hertz and, at present, other Torah texts are also utilized to gain additional insights.
"The Torah study group finally completed the initial review of the Torah text on June 21, 1991,a period of 6 years from the start. Then an important question arose: what do we do next? Does the group want start all over again, does it want to go on to other texts, or should we just stop? Initially, the group decided to continue in the Tanakh, the rest of the writings in the Jewish Bible. After a while, the group decided that it was more interested in going back to the Five Books of Moses, so we went back to "the garden" and started anew. Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe became part of our temple and was also a teacher of our study group, sharing the duties with Rabbi Greenbaum. The second reading and review was completed on August 30, 2003, this time taking 12 years. This time through, however, the group was more knowledgeable, and the questions, insights and sharing of thoughts became more in depth and contemplative. Rabbi Ted Riter joined our temple, taking over the reins from Rabbi Greenbaum, and quickly added additional information for the group to discover in the text. The latest reading of the Torah was completed on October 27,2003, in just 4 years. Once again came the question as to whether the group wanted to continue or to return once again to the start of text. The decision was to renew our study with creation; so the group has started its journey once more. It is amazing and inspirational that with each review of the text, new insights become apparent and a greater appreciation of our tradition surfaces. As has been noted before by sages and scholars, that the study of Torah is like peeling an onion, ever so slowly peeling, layer by layer. It is these insights and major discoveries that keep the regulars of the group, from 25 to 30 people, continuing to attend, to study and to participate.
During the years 2002 and 2004, the group participants, under the inspiration and leadership of Rabbi Greenbaum, undertook the challenge of putting together their own written commentaries of the Torah. Individual congregants took the responsibility of sharing their insights for each of the weekly Parashahs and to compose their own commentary of each section, with Bob Grossmann and Eddie Goldfarb as our editors-in chief. The first edition of Reflections on the Torah was published in October, 2004 and was dedicated to Dr. Bill Greenbaum, of blessed memory a Torah Group participant and Rabbi Greenbaum’s father. A second written commentary by the study group was the Reflections on the Haftarah, which was completed in June, 2005, under the leadership of Lisa Bock, and was dedicated to Rabbi Alan Greenbaum.
Torah Study at Temple Adat Elohim remains a viable, informative, inspirational, soul-searching experience. Comments by participants on individual sections being read are always welcome and are an expected part of the session. The group continues to widen its knowledge of the Torah, Jewish history and customs. Rabbinic student Lisa Bock and Dr. Ken Elman conduct a Talmud study group that is getting to understand the writings and commentaries in these expansive works. All are welcome to come and join both of these wonderful groups of people each Saturday morning before services. We will leave a seat for you."
Gigi Dictor has been a Torah Study member for over 17 years, "My husband, Rick, my three-month old Elijah and I joined TAE right before High Holy Days in 1999. During those first Rosh Hashanah services I needed to take Elijah to the Shalom room, and it turned out to be a serendipitous decision. Many others were in there too, and I struck up a conversation with fellow-new-mom, Melissa Park. During our conversation I learned that she attended Torah study, something I had always wanted to do. I told her I wished I could join her, but I couldn't leave the baby yet. She told me she brought her baby with her, and the other students were fine with it. So the next Shabbat, baby and gear in tow, I went to my first Torah study. I was greeted with warmth, and indeed, bringing the baby was no problem. That was over eight years ago, and I've been going religiously ever since (pardon the pun). On the few Saturdays that I don't go, I feel like something is missing. It has been such a joy and blessing tome. I've met so many interesting and wonderful people, made good friends, gotten to know the rabbis better, and I've learned so much, and look forward to learning and studying for years to come. It also lead me to teach in the religious school and join the Religious Practices Committee. I feel very blessed to be a member of TAE."
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