Build, Decorate & BBQ


sukkah_4Join us today, Sunday 10/5  at 4:00 to build and decorate our Sukkah at our interim location the Freedom Plains Presbyterian Church.  Bring something to share for a BBQ (no dairy please).
Sukkot is from sunset October 8, 2014 to nightfall October 15, 2014.  To learn more, take a look at Judaism 101.

Selichot Service

We began our High Holy Day season with a Selichot study session and service last Saturday evening with the unusual opportunity to learn from three Rabbis, and to listen to the music of two Cantors and two choirs.  During the break between study and prayer, we enjoyed dessert and each other’s company.  We are pleased that Linda Perfecto, President of Temple Beth El let us know that her congregation appreciated the evening and looks forward to other joint events.

ShofarDear Victor, Jane, Rabbi Polish and Cantor Hirschenfang,

On behalf of our congregation, thank you for hosting such a moving and inspiring Selichot program last night! The choir and cantorial selections were beautiful; the study session really got me thinking about the liturgy and the themes of the high holidays.
Thanks also for the delicious refreshments, and for your consideration in providing kosher-supervised goodies. The dessert-break was a lovely opportunity to get to meet some of your members.
Please convey to everyone how much we enjoyed the evening and how appreciative we are. We look forward to future occasions for joint learning, celebration and reflection.
Best wishes for a good and sweet New Year,
Linda Perfecto

Rosh Chodesh Brunch & Discussion

Sunday November 16th 10:30 AM—12:30 PM
At the home of Susan and Allen Fink
13 Carriage Hill Lane, Poughkeepsie (off 376/Hooker Avenue) 473-3168

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

Museum Hoffman

New York Times Book Review
Alice Hoffman has always celebrated the marvelousness of what’s real in the world, even as she creates the distinctive atmosphere of uncanniness and magical potential that looms over her fiction. Her devoted readers expect melodramatic stories imbued with the atmosphere of folk tales. Omens and portents are her stock in trade. Feminist themes and generous amounts of Renaissance Faire-style potted history make her storytelling all the more suggestive. Eerie and powerful acts of nature signify undercurrents of mood the way irregular minor chords in the background music tell us how to feel during ominous scenes at the movies. Lost in a dark forest of one kind or another, Hoffman’s characters have a heightened awareness of the hidden meanings that surround them as they struggle toward the light…more

Publisher’s Synopsis
Coney Island: Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a boardwalk freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father’s “museum,” alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a one-hundred-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man photographing moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River...more

 Boston Globe Review
Alice Hoffman specializes in fairy tales for impressionable grown-ups and cautionary tales for precocious adolescents. Not infrequently, the two overlap.

Her latest fiction for the former demographic, a melancholic love story that spotlights corruption and exploitative labor practices in 1911 New York City, revisiting kid-enticing motifs from the author’s earliest young-adult novels “Aquamarine,” “Indigo,” and “Green Angel”: mermaids, conflagrations, and children with webbed hands….more





Coming Up

Services are at 7:30 PM on Friday, September 12.  Rabbi Polish will talk about “The most important time of the Year” leading us in a reflection about the month of Elul and how we can make use of it as we prepare ourselves for the Yamim Nora’im/ the High Holy Days.


Visit our booth at East Fishkill Community Day on Saturday, 9/13.


Enjoy Shalom on Grand on Sunday, 9/14.  Contact Ellen Rand if you’d like to help work the booth.

Gesher and Ivrit

Aleph BetCongregation Shir Chadash has joined up with Temple Beth-El in Poughkeepsie to bring our young people Hebrew classes and a High School curriculum. Scheduling details for the beginning of the term are below.  All classes for Ivrit and Gesher on on the Shir Chadash calendar.

Sunday, September 7th at 9:30 AM. and Tuesday, September 9th at 4:30 PM parents are invited to opening assemblies.  After the assembly there will be a 15-20 minute period during which you are invited to go with your child to his/her classroom to meet the teacher and find out more about the curriculum. (Location – Temple Beth-El)

Wednesday, September 10th at 6:30 Gesher students will have dinner and meet their teachers. Then they’ll choose the courses that interest them which is what will be used to make the schedule for the upcoming year. (Location, Temple Beth-El)


This summer Rabbi Polish spoke at an interfaith conference in Berlin for “emerging leaders” from the Catholic and Jewish worlds, co-sponsored by the Vatican Commission on Religious Relations with the Jewish people, the International Jewish Committee for Interfaith Consultations, and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. It was his first visit to Germany. He also traveled to Budapest, Hungary and on to Jerusalem. It was hardly a restful summer. This upcoming Shabbat (9/5) he will report on his experiences.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Book of Remembrance

Every year Shir Chadash publishes a Book of Remembrance which includes the names of loved ones who have passed away. The format is:
Name of Loved one, Relationship, Person Who is Remembering


Such as:

Sidney Rothman, father of Michael Rothman

The cost is $25 per name.

If you would like to have any names included in the Book of Remembrance use the PayPal button below. You can also call ( 845 223-5925) or email Michael Rothman.

Name of Loved One
Relationship & Your Name


HHD Ad Blue


Shir Chadash is gathering our walkers into a team to join the Dutchess County Interfaith Council for their annual CROP Walk taking place on Sunday October 19 from 10 am to 4 pm.


The CROPWALK is a national walk for hunger, with proceeds of each walk going to local (25% stays in Dutchess County), national and international hunger, educational, and emergency relief programs. Hundreds of community members walk 6 miles (or whatever they can manage) and, with the financial support of their sponsors, raise on average, $50,000 per year just in Dutchess county alone! Many church, synagogue, school and civic groups participate as part of their social outreach agenda.

DCIC has been organizing the local CROP Walk for the past 39 years raising funds to end hunger at home and around the world.  It is sponsored by Church World Service.  The 6.3 mile walk begins and ends at the Hudson Valley Community Center in Poughkeepsie with three stops along the route with access to bathrooms and water.

Interesting in joining the Shir Chadash Team or donating money?  Email
Brian Hollander or Ed Ginsberg.

“Sense of Sadness”

Reprinted from Poughkeepsie Journal 7/25/14

The sound of an alert coming from a smartphone is a common sound to hear in Israel now — the beeps and vibrations mean that a missile or rocket attack has been detected.

“You’re walking down the street and everyone’s alarm is going off,” since most everyone there has the Red Alert app, which provides real-time updates, said Rabbi Daniel Polish of LaGrangeville.

Polish and his wife, cantor Gail Hirschenfang, make a trek nearly every year to Jerusalem, one of Israel’s largest cities, where they rent an apartment.

This year, the couple found themselves in the middle of Operation Protective Edge, the conflict between the Israeli military and Hamas, Palestinian organization that governs the Gaza Strip.

Israel “is under siege in a way it hasn’t been before,” despite other conflicts, said Polish, clergy of the Congregation Shir Chadash in Poughkeepsie. “It was traumatic but … I was able to leave. I can only imagine what it’s like to live with it day in and day out, to grow up with it.”

The battle continued this week, despite U.S. officials reporting progress in efforts to end the fighting that has killed more than 788 Palestinians and 34 Israelis, The Associated Press reported.

Israel has been bombarded with rockets from the Gaza Strip, while the Israeli military has hit Gaza with numerous airstrikes.

Because America supports Israel, “we cannot express views which might conflict with that,” said Aziz Ahsan of Hopewell Junction, an attorney and former Mid-Hudson Islamic Association trustee. “It creates an ‘us-against-them mentality.’ ”

The latest Israeli and Hamas tensions follow a stream of violence, along with stalled peace talks.

In June, three Israeli teens disappeared while hitchhiking in the West Bank. Israel blamed their abduction on Hamas, which praised the kidnapping but has not taken responsibility for it.

Israeli forces launched an operation to find the teens, arresting hundreds of suspects during reportedly “aggressive” raids.

Polish was at a conference for Jewish and Catholic leaders in Berlin, Germany, on June 30, when “it was announced that the (bodies) of the three teens had been found,” he said. “There was a profound sense of sadness shared.”

Polish and his wife headed to Israel, as planned, after the conference, and arrived around the time that a Palestinian teen’s charred body was found in a Jerusalem forest, in what Palestinians say was a revenge killing.

“What was striking to me was the profound sense of sadness among the Israel Jews I met, and really a sense of anger at those who perpetrated this,” Polish said.

Three Israeli Jews later admitted to beating and burning the Palestinian teen alive.

“Right after news got out about this awful murder, rioting broke out in East Jerusalem on the Arab side,” Polish said. “At night we would hear the yelling and screaming and carrying on.”

Impact on civilians

On July 8, fighting officially began and the couple heard the air raid warnings in Tel Aviv.

“I noticed hastily improvised signs” alerting people to seek shelter when “rockets come down,” Polish said.

Police and military were “everywhere, and it reminded us that we were in a very tense place. The country was on high alert,” the rabbi said. “During the day you’d hear sirens, at night you’d hear helicopters over the house.”

One night, a “loud explosion” woke the couple up. In the morning, they learned it was part of the rioting, Polish said: Three light rail stations had been vandalized and were heavily damaged, according to The Associated Press.

When sirens sounded on July 10, indicating rocket activity, Polish and his wife decided to stay in the hallway of their apartment building. They hadn’t been able to locate a nearby shelter.

“No one could ever have imagined Hamas sending (rockets) to Jerusalem,” the rabbi said. “One would assume it’s more or less safe. Once you realize that rockets can reach Jerusalem … there was so much fear and anxiety.”

The streets of Jerusalem would usually be packed the next day, Friday, “with everyone prepping for Shabbat … but they were virtually deserted. … The playgrounds were totally empty,” Polish said. “On Friday night, we had planned on an open-air Sabbath, in an old train station in Jerusalem. I was looking forward to going.”

But all public gatherings had been canceled, he said.

“The Orthodox chief rabbi of Israel gave permission to cancel Friday night and Saturday morning Sabbath services. That’s unprecedented,” Polish said. “I never remember that happening. This really is a singular event.”

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights has warned both sides against targeting civilians and said war crimes may have been committed.

“Almost 80 percent of the dead (in Gaza) are women and children and elderly,” Ahsan said. “Civilians nothing to do with the conflict.”

The U.S.-born cousin of the Palestinian teen beaten and burned alive was reportedly beaten unconscious by Israeli police recently, because they claimed he participated in the riots. He returned home to Florida after spending days in jail and on house arrest, according to The Associated Press.

The teen said he had no part in the riots and various U.S. agencies “did nothing about this,” Ahsan said. “An American citizen, standing outside the family home …”

Under President Barrack Obama, “Hamas is a terrorist organization, however under (former President George) Bush, they had a free and fair election,” Ahsan said.

“If America is promoting democracy, they have to respect the will of the people,” he added. “Hamas does a lot of good for the local population, that’s why they had the grass-roots support. Anyone who has militant views is addressed.”

Since Polish and his wife got home, he’s had moments of feeling tense.

“I felt unhappy about leaving,” he said. “You feel a solidarity with what they’re going through.”

Nina Schutzman:, 845-451-4518 Twitter: @pojonschutzman