שירת שלום

Song of Peace

  • 11 Sep 2016 3:58 PM | Shirat Shalom (Administrator)

    Yes, I cried when I heard these two teens speak  confirming their Judaism!  They are members of the confirmation class,  teens who continue their formal Jewish education past B'nai Mitzvah.  How can we not have hope for our world, hope for Judaism,  when young people such as Jacob and Benjamin are our next generation! Read on and I know you will agree! Cantor Lee

    By Jacob Pasternack, Yaakov Shlomo



    Today, I,  Yaakov Shlomo, confirm my Judaism. On  one Wednesday a month I would come to Logger's Run to talk with the Rabbi, and occasionally a few other people, to discuss various aspects of the Jewish religion. The confirmation classes themselves would take place in a room that is at the end of the chain of three rooms used by the congregation, which was almost set up. Walking in the building and following the Rabbi to the secluded classroom gave me the opportunity to view each step of my Jewish education.  

    In the first room, young Jewish children would be learning the basics of Hebrew, and for their successes, a shekel was rewarded for the famous all-famous Shirat Shalom Shekel Shop by Rabbi David or Ms. Susan.

     In the second room, older children, those who's Bar or Bat-Mitzvah's were just around the corner, were studying vigorously with Cantor Lee or Rabbi David, yet could never miss a little break for some challah.   

    The third and final room consisted of a minimum of four things, myself, the Rabbi, and two chairs, with slight variations week to week. And just because it is the final room, doesn't signify the end of my Jewish life. Now, with the help of my formal Jewish education, I get to live and experience Judaism in the real world, weaving it into  the essence of who I am as a person.

    Now, because it is Florida, the temperature is usually sweltering outside, so Loggers' Run has generously implanted the frigid temperatures of the Arctic into their air conditioning system.  Yet, the funniest thing was that I never felt cold. While many of the young children would come in with light jackets, I was perfectly comfortable in a t-shirt and shorts. Yet it didn't occur to me why this was so until my last confirmation class.

    I was surrounded by warmth. Not in the literal sense, but in the emotional, spiritual sense. The warmth was unique, the warmth came from the Light that Cantor Lee has preached about for the past decade or so of my Jewish education.  The warmth of this Light comes from the tight bond between the whole congregation. Stepping back, I now realize that for two-thirds of my life, these same familiar faces have consistently come back week to week, month to month, year to year.

    The warmth is the Light sent by the children each Wednesday, praying for those in need. The warmth is the singing of the aleph bet, the melody or holiday songs, the telling of Jewish stories, and the smiles of the children who are in all of their glory in the all-famous Shirat Shalom shekel Shop.

    The warmth is the tight knit bond between our congregation and all Jews. The warmth isn't just there because  we're in the same building or, or same county, state or country, because during the long Jewish Diaspora, we didn't have that privilege. The warmth that I felt, that we all feel, is the family bond we have. It's the idea that no matter where you are, no matter how few Jews there are on the Earth, there will always be one of us around the corner, welcoming you with a smile, gefilte fish and, of course, a shekel to redeem something at the all-famous Shirat Shalom Shekel Shop.

    The warmth I felt, is Judaism. Judaism is more than a term, it is more than a religion, and it is more than a culture. Judaism is a family. That, is what Judaism means to me. 

    By Benjamin Venegas, Raphael Kalman

     Today, I Raphael Kalman confirm my Judaism.  Remembering what occurred in the past, not only during WWII but throughout time, helps us to be strong as a people and for our generation to have a say and not to allow such horrors to happen again. I read and watch the news daily and the societies of not only our nation but globally are scary without tolerance of others.  It is unbelievable to see how gullible and uneducated other people can be and behave with such hate toward others with not only words but with aggression.  We need to stand together as a people and condemn this treatment.

    Although Judaism is observed in my home, it is the dedication of the people in my life like Rabbi David, Cantor Lee and Miss Susan that need to be commended for my philosophy of Jewish Beliefs. From the beginning of my formal training of the Torah and even now after I’ve become a Bar Mitzvah I have looked forward to our meeting and life’s lessons. They have been more than teachers for me and my family.  I can honestly say that they have helped shape my understanding of right and all the wrongs in this world. It is right to be  respected for who and what I am; a strong Jewish man.

    I would like to read this remarkable quote by Leo Tolstoy:

    “What is the Jew?...What kind of unique creature is this whom all the rulers of all the nations of the world have disgraced and crushed and expelled and destroyed; persecuted, burned and drowned, and who, despite their anger and their fury, continues to live and to flourish. What is this Jew whom they have never succeeded in enticing with all the enticements in the world, whose oppressors and persecutors only suggested that he deny (and disown) his religion and cast aside the faithfulness of his ancestors?!
         The Jew - is the symbol of eternity. ... He is the one who for so long had guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A people such as this can never disappear.
         The Jew is eternal. He is the embodiment of eternity.”

    - Leo Tolstoy

  • 24 Jan 2016 11:17 AM | Shirat Shalom (Administrator)

    Yes, it's true! The sixth and seventh graders ate real carob pods and made carob fudge in Hebrew School to celebrate Tu B'Shvat, Birthday of the Trees!

    There are many stories in our tradition about carob trees including Choni and the Carob Tree that is associated with Tu B'Shvat. 

    Here is one version of the story: Choni, a pious person, sees an old man planting a carob tree and questions how long it will take for the carob tree to bear fruit. When the man answers 70 years, Choni questions why he is doing this as the man certainly won't live another 70 years. The old man replies, "when I was born in this world, I found many carob trees planted by my father and grandfather. Just as they planted trees for me, I am planting trees for my children and grandchildren so they will be able to eat the fruit of these trees. Choni falls asleep for 70 years and when he wakes up he sees the grandson of the man also planting a carob tree.

    Yes, a beautiful lesson for our children and for us! And along with telling this story a beautiful custom has developed to eat carob on Tu B'Shvat!  But will the children actually try the the real carob pods Rabbi David bought for them? Watch and see in this student made and produced video!

    Happy Tu B'Shvat!! And Happy Birthday to the Trees! 

    Cantor Lee 

  • 21 Dec 2015 7:56 PM | Shirat Shalom (Administrator)

    Shirat Shalom, the name of our congregation translates as "Song of Peace." The following song is based on the vision of Peace of our children. Won't you help them by sharing their message? And don't forget to add your vision of Peace as well! 



    CHORUS: We're the kids from Shirat Shalom

    And we're here to sing our song

    'Cause we see the way our world can be

    and it begins with you and me

    it begins with you and me

    VERSE: I see a world of Love and Light,

    I see a world where people don't fight,

    I see a world where animals are safe,

    Where everyone has a smile on their face!!


    VERSE: The air and the water is clean and pure,

    Every disease now has a cure,

    All the soldiers put down their guns,

    Home and food for everyone!


    VERSE: Do you have a dream that 's deep inside?

    Come now and sing it, don't let it hide!

    Every thought we have adds to the whole

    And that's how we bring to earth Love and Peace for all!


    We're the kids from Shirat Shalom

    with the grownups singing along

    'Cause we see the way our world can be

    With Love and Joy and Harmony

    A world of Peace for you and me

    It's a world that we can see

    It's a world that now can be!

    Child l: But wait a minute, we can't do a song without the dogs! Child 2: Right, what  do they have to say? Child 3: After all, what is dog spelled backwards?

    VERSE BY DOGS: We see a world where you're just like us

    If you make a mistake don't make a fuss

    No matter what you do, you're always loved

    And that 's how we bring to earth heaven from above!

    CHORUS:  'Cause we're the doggies from Shirat Shalom

    with the kids and grownups singing along!

    We see the way our world can be

    With Love and Joy and Harmony!

    A world of Peace for you and Me!

    It's a world that we can see,

    It's a world that now can be!

    Written by Cantor Lee Degani  based on visions of Peace of our children! 

    It is through our children that "Shirat Shalom," A Song of Peace, is being sung around the world! 



  • 20 Jul 2015 9:00 PM | Shirat Shalom (Administrator)

    Our beloved Oreo Cookie let us know that after 17 years he was ready to go across the rainbow bridge and so we helped him with his decision. We used "Lap of Love," a veterinary hospice practice that provides in home euthanasia.  It was such a beautiful, peaceful, loving experience!  Our other two dogs, Cinnamon and Candy  were also present and had the chance to say goodbye as well. What a gift for all of us!

    For the rest of the day, I took some quiet time to  honor Oreo and reflect on how he has enriched all of our lives.  He has certainly been an integral part of Shirat Shalom since the very beginning! As a six month old puppy he participated in our very first Friday evening service which met in our home.  I don't remember how he behaved that night but I do remember that he was always the star attraction when anyone came to the house!

    He especially loved "assisting" during lessons for the B'nai Mitzvah students. He would sit right next to each student on the couch and would guard their notebooks! And yes, if some papers were left out they might get eaten! Oreo was teaching the students to be organized and put things away! 

    B'nai Mitzvah rehearsals meant legs would be licked! I would of course stop him but most families would tell me, "He is fine!" I guess Oreo was preparing the students for all the "people" kisses they would receive  at their ceremonies!

    Oreo had many ways of teaching our students! When he was almost two years old we figured in dog years he was close to 13 and had a "Bark Mitzvah" for him on the last day of Hebrew School. All of the students brought gifts and his best dog friends were invited as well! We put him on a pillow, lifted him in the air and sang "Siman Tov and Mazel Tov!" Some of those students  still remember Oreo's Bark Mitzvah! Recognize anyone? 

    Oreo Cookie also taught many students  the aleph bet! In the beginning years when the K-2nd graders would meet at Miss Susan's house, Oreo would point to the letters with his paw during the aleph-bet song. After class his favorite trick was to run out the door when parents would come to pick up the children.  I guess he thought this all added to the fun of Hebrew School!

    After the younger grades were also moved to Loggers' Run Middle School, Oreo missed his students but he never forgot them! He would always be overjoyed when he would have the opportunity to meet a former student!

    Five years ago when Oreo had emergency surgery and ended up having a kidney taken out it seemed his  teaching career was over.  We had taken him home hoping he would improve but after a week he still wasn't responding to us or eating. We began  preparing ourselves to say goodbye. But it seems that Oreo still had more to teach and that included me as well!

    Each week during Hebrew school when we practice the prayers for lighting the candles we have a ritual of "sending Light" for people, animals and places in the world in need of healing.  This particular night I asked the students to focus on Oreo who was home with Susan.  We sent out our group prayer of Light at 7:10 p.m.  At 7:20 p.m. he all of a sudden perked up, lifted his head and went over to his food dish to eat! A few weeks later he went to school to personally thank the children!

    I truly learned about the power of prayer that night and the power of our amazing Hebrew School children!  Each year I re-tell this story to our students. And the ones that heard it before... well, they never get tired of hearing it.  

    Thank you Oreo Cookie for teaching us so many lessons, for being a master teacher! Know that your legacy lives on for your students are busy changing our world!

    And the Love you have given to each one of us, the Love we have for you...that Love is forever....

    Oreo with one of his students October 2012

    Oreo Cookie 5/17/98 - 7/19/15


 Phone: 561.488.8079    P.O. Box 971142, Boca Raton, FL, 33497-1142

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