Religious School

Or Olam in the Loop – Our Weekly Bulletin on All Things TOO

Miriam DancingLoopKabbalat Shabbat Service – Unplugged

If the weather is fine, we’ll be outside at PUUC on Friday, June 5. Join us for a night summery song and intentional prayer.

Bring dancing shoes and something to share at our oneg!

Location: Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church 9704 Mallard Creek Rd
Time: 7 pm

Annual Meeting – June 7 four puzzle pieces

We start at 7:15 at McGill Baptist Church. Annual reports will be submitted and our new board slate and budget will be presented and voted on. Hope to see you then!

Location: McGill Baptist Church, 5300 Poplar Tent Rd, Concord
Time: 7:15 pm


Or Olam in the Loop – Our Weekly Bulletin on All Things TOO

LoopSpecial Religious School This Sunday!

We will have a special session of Israeli dancing with Rebecca Grossman from 9:45-10:45 at Advent in the gym. All families are welcome to join us.Miriam Dancing

This Sunday is also our Tot Time with Rabbi Barbara. Children five and under are invited to sing, dance, and tell stories from 11-12 in the preschool classroom. You are welcome to come for the dancing and stay for Tot Time.

Sunday, April 12
Advent Lutheran Church

Seder medievalAn Absolutely Sensational Community Seder was had by All!

If you weren’t able to be here, you missed a true community Seder of members, friends, and relatives. Besides the always wonderful food from Ashkenazi and Sephardic traditions, we danced sang, deliberated, and brought smiles to each other’s faces. And as usually happens, we had a head-clearing experience with the horseradish.

Many thanks to the generous cooks, to Ginger for providing the Seder plate items, and Melanie and Rabbi Barbara for composing an interactive and stimulating seder experience.  Could it be any better?  Next year at TOO’s community seder!

Annual meeting approaching Latinos

Our nominating committee for Board of Directors elections in June has been formed. They will be working in the next few weeks to fill positions for a dynamic, responsive Board.

Please give them your heartfelt consideration if they approach you with a need. It takes a loving village… to create a healthy congregation!

Or Olam in the Loop – Our Weekly Bulletin on All Things TOO

LoopTot Time with Rabbi Barbara this Sunday!

Join Rabbi Barbara for songs, dancing and stories with your preschooler – a thoroughly joyful and positive way to ease into Jewish learning.  soft-torah-150x150

Please email Keri if you plan to attend,

Sunday, February 15, 11:30-12:30
Advent Lutheran Church in the religious school classrooms
University City Blvd., Charlotte

blastWe had a blast!

Everyone attending Saturday’s Dinner Dancing & Dessert 2015 enjoyed a riot of conversing, eating, dancing, and buying. You missed a great time if you were not able to be there, but there may be similar opportunities in the future. The Board is taking suggestions for fundraising events, big and small. Let us know your thoughts.

Or Olam in the Loop – Our Weekly Bulletin on All Things TOO

LoopReligious School Starts this Sunday.

And…a new class for tots!

Our Religious School will meet this Sunday morning for an opening celebration at Dorton Park, down Poplar Tent Road from McGill Baptist.  All students should meet there at the regular school time.  We will end the day with a potluck lunch for all to enjoy.

Our youngest congregants are invited to meet together for Tot Time from 11:30 -12:30 at the park.  Singing, dancing, storytelling with Rabbi Barbara for preschoolers aged 2-5.  Please email Keri Huneycutt if you are attending Tot Time:

All we need is loveLove Song Service at UNCC this Friday

Did you miss our summer Love Song Service?  You’ve got one more chance to catch it, thought this particular service will feature beaucoup Beatles.  There will also be some Seals and Cross and Simon and Garfunkel.  We’ll find out how our secular selections reflect the sentiments of the Barchu  Mi Chamocha, and Adon Olam. So dig out all those headbands, fringes, love beads, and tie-died shirts and join us on  for our UNCC Love Song Service.

Please bring something to share with the students — they’re starving!  🙂

Love Song Service, Friday, 7:00 pm

UNCC Student Union 340D&F

Or Olam in the Loop: Our Weekly Bulletin on Everything TOO

LoopUpcoming: An Weekend of Wonder at TOO

We have an amazing weekend planned for early November.  We’ll kick off the weekend with a Kabbalat Shabbat service led by our Religious School children together with Rabbi Barbara. Weekend events will also include programs offered for Temple Or Olam’s adult crowd, teachers, and students from our Institute for Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) intern, Elaine Barenblat.  Look for an evite soon for Saturday night dinner and Havdalah.

Here’s a brief overview of our schedule:
Friday night, 11/8, 7:00 – Kabbalat Shabbat with Rabbi Barbara and the Religious School students
Saturday, 11/9
2-4 pm – Religious school teacher training with Elaine, at McGill.
4-6 pm – Movie for kids with Keri; adult discussion with Elaine.
6-8 pm – Potluck supper and Havdalah
Sunday, 11/10
Elaine teaches our young’uns about tzedakah and Jewish heroes and heroines

Victory Lane for John Jensen

John Jensen’s bar mitzvah will be held Saturday, 11/30, 10:00 am, NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte.  Yup, you read that right.  SAVE THE DATE!

Feeding the Hungry: Our Next Gleaning Opportunity

We have the opportunity to glean apples on Saturday, October 26th near Hendersonville, NC.  The orchard is approximately 2 hours from central Charlotte.  If you’re looking for a crisp fall activity that will help feed a LOT of folks, contact Arlene Filkoff at

Upcoming Meetings at TOO

Fundraising committee meeting, Sat., 10/26, 1:00 pm, Filkoff’s
TOO Board meeting, Sunday, 10/27, 7:00, conference call

Our Special Needs Program Grant in the News

I am sure you all know by now that Temple Or Olam was one of two grant recipients this year of the Lenora Stein Fund for Community Creative Learning.  Marty Minchin has written a wonderful story on our efforts to work with special needs children.  It appeared today in Cabarrus News.

You can read more here.

What a beautiful story — in every sense!

L’shana tova,

Rabbi Barbara

The Purpose of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah

Just about a week ago, one of our parents asked me to explain the purpose of a bar or bat mitzvah. Her email came at an interesting time. Just days earlier, I had posted an entry on my blog, Adrenaline Drash, about that very question. Here’s the link to that piece, entitled: “Teaching is Believing.”

At game night, the parent told me that my email was helpful – so helpful that she thought I should send it to all of you. So here it is: A short answer to the question: What is the purpose of a bar or bat mitzvah?

Let me begin with a true story.

Last night, Bryston Spivock and I spent an hour on his bar mitzvah study of a small community of Chinese Jews in Kaifeng. That community was approached in the 17th century, and later, by Christian missionaries and Jesuits who were very interested in acquiring their Torah scrolls. The Jews held out in the 17th century. But in the mid-1800’s, the community sold their scrolls.

I asked Bryston: What does the Torah mean to him? Why does he value, even venerate an object he can’t read and wouldn’t understand when it is read aloud? Why does the thought of losing this object upset him? Then we asked why this little Chinese Jewish community could hold on to their scrolls in 1660 but not two hundred years later.

How did they survive with so little? What did the Torah mean to them? What is Torah in the first place? B’nai mitzvah study is about taking years of study the children have behind them and integrating them in an in-depth learning experience with their rabbi for this reason: To look at big questions around who they are and what their Jewish identity means to them.

What is the nature of God? What does it mean to be Jewish? Why do we pray and to what purpose? How do we work with challenging texts in prayer services? Why do we revere something the vast majority of us can’t read and don’t know the contents of (even in translation)? What is community? What are Jewish values and ethics?

Each young person does this kind of work with me for six to nine months no matter which track they choose (see b’nai mitzvah guidelines or my blog for a refresher on the choices available). It’s wonderfully intense and close and, in my experience, gives each child an experience with their rabbi that they will not forget — one I don’t, either. We ask the big questions, we study what it means when we say we are living Jewishly (a very individual thing, too!). We learn who we are.

I am thankful for the fact that that goes for them AND for me (see my blog entry).

With many blessings,

Rabbi Barbara

Dear TOO members: All of this work is part and parcel of adult bar and bat mitzvah training, too.  Stay tuned for an awesome experience this next year when our first class of adult women will hold their bat mitzvah ceremony!

Prayers from the Heart: Created by the Children of Temple Or Olam

A few weeks ago, I taught the children of our Religious School about acrostic prayers.  In an acrostic, the first letter, syllable or word of each line can spell out a name, a word, or even a message.  Some of our prayers, like the Ashrei  (also known as Psalm 145!) give us a way to remember the Hebrew alphabet; the acrostic is functioning here as a neat mnemonic device.

The children had two words to work with: “Prayer” and “Tefilla,” the Hebrew word for prayer.  We will be reading aloud the beautiful work they produced tonight at services.  Spelling has been left as it was in the original 🙂 :

Please let me have your hands.
Raise my spirit.
And you love us.
Yes, and we love you.
Energy is what I need.
Reach my hopes.

Please god let this be a good day
Rise above us
And make it good.
Yes we know we make mistakes
Encourage us to do better
Relise that we try to be good

The day will start
Every time
For a kindness
In each others
Love and

Please help the people in need,
Raise us up
And make life peaceful
Yes, we love you god.
Empower us to be great people
Respect each other greatly

Plese help my famlily stay happy and helthy
Redeem the world and make less vilonce
And let ne reach my favrit dream in reality
Yes, help us make peace and happiniss
Enjoy all lives
Rejouce our famelys and frinds

Wondering which child wrote which acrostic?  Check out the next Shmoozeletter for the answers!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Barbara

Sukkot and CROP Walk

Sukkot at the Malin’s

This year’s festivities will take place on the 16th at the Malin residence.  Children from the religious school will be on hand to decorate the sukkah and get a bit of education on the holiday, and all members are welcome to attend. Food will be provided, so a donation to help defray food costs would be appreciated (any excess collected funds will go to the religious school).  Those who attend should also BRING CHAIRS to sit in.

Sukkot @ the Malin’s
October 16th, 9:30 a.m.
Bring chairs & a donation!

CROP Hunger Walk

After we finish celebrating the harvest at the Malin’s, some of us are making the trek to Forest Hill United Methodist in Concord for the CROP Hunger Walk to help those who are in need of a harvest of their own.  If you would like to sponsor those who are walking or participate in the walk yourself, it’s not too late!  Click here, find “Temple Or Olam” in the list, and choose either “Donate Now” or “Join Team.”  (Don’t forget to invite your friends, family, and coworkers to sponsor our team as well!)  Our vivacious and enthusiastic participants (wearing their TOO t-shirts!) will meet at Forest Hill UMC at 1pm to register for the 1 mile walk and turn in our donations. The walk starts shortly thereafter.

CROP Hunger Walk
October 16th
Forest Hill UMC in Concord
Meet @ 1pm for the 1 mile walk

This Spring at Temple Or Olam’s Religious School…

At the end of any given school year, parents often make kind and lovely gestures to all their kids’ teachers with gift cards, small presents, and beautifully-written thank you cards.

I am sure that such tokens of appreciation are greatly appreciated.

But as we begin the spring portion of our religious school year, I would like to ask our whole congregation to consider thanking our Religious School teachers now.

During the school year, religious school teachers are sacrificing time and energy to help make Temple Or Olam’s Sunday School the most vibrant, personalized, and downright fun experience for the kids. How many congregations can boast a school that is so inventive, so communal, and so meaningful? Our curricula allow our kids to learn at their own pace, but learn deeply. They give kids the chance to experiment, unfold, find their foundations and explore their roots in terms they set and create for themselves.

Wouldn’t it be nice for the teachers if they felt appreciated all year round?

In fact, what would be the best way to thank our teachers? I am not sure the gift cards, the notes, and the little presents would be the best possible choice.

How about this – from the whole congregation?

Thanks so much for helping teach our children what fun it is to be Jewish. Thanks so much for giving them a reason to go to Sunday School. Thanks so much. And by the way – How can I help??

Blessings to all.

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