Traditional, Egalitarian & Participatory Conservative Synagogue
127 East 82nd St, New York, NY 10028  |  Tel: 212.452.2310
Scott N. Bolton, Rabbi  |  Sara Stone, President
a Conservative synagogue on the upper east side of nyc
O"Z Events & News
Sabbath Morning Youth Programs
Or Zarua Talmud Class 2017-2018  
The Gates Are Unlocked: The Yom Kippur Experience in the Talmud
Wednesday evenings from 7:30 - 9:00 in the Library.
Study of the last chapter of Tractate Yom Kippur, delving into philosophical reflections on repentance, as well as practical questions dealing with the observance of the fast.
Join us for our 29th year studying Talmud together! No previous participation is needed.
Anyone may join the class at any time. No prior knowledge of Talmud, Hebrew, or Aramaic is required.
If you can't make every class, please join when you can; it's easier than you think to be a Talmud learner and to enjoy the material. Contact Rabbi Bolton directly with any questions. All you need to bring is your life experience. Bring your family, friends, and associates, and share the news.
If it's possible for you to do so, although you need not do so to attend the class, it's recommended that you acquire the ArtScroll Schottenstein Talmud volume containing the last chapter of Masekhet Yoma. The volume is available in both the full size and Daf Yomi size (content is identical but type is smaller in the Daf Yomi version). The ArtScroll item number is TYO2 for the full-size version, and DTYO2 for the Daf Yomi size. The volume can be acquired directly from ArtScroll at or any one of a variety of other online sources.
Registration is NOT required for this class.
Exploring the Siddur: History, Meaning and Commentaries on the Jewish Prayerbook
Thursday mornings, following minyan, from 8:40 - 9:40 am in the Library.
Explore the history of our prayer book, the meaning of the prayers, and Jewish law and teachings about prayer in a new class led by Rabbi Scott Bolton. Prior attendance is not required.
Registration is NOT required for this class.
The Shank Bone: The Phantom Limb of the Passover Seder
Rabbi Mordecai Schwartz, Ph.D.
Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 7:00 pm
One metaphor that we employ with sacrifices is sharing a meal with God. For human beings sharing food is a form of intimacy and a way of developing relationships; it is a sign of caring, love, and generosity. What happens when this sign is removed, and we are forced to continue without it? We keenly feel the absence of the Paschal Lamb throughout the Passover Seder. In this session of Talmudic Takes we will spend time looking at a few of the places where we can notice the absence of the Paschal Lamb most strongly. We will also try and uncover its meaning and significance in the present time.
Talmudic Takes, led by Rabbi Schwartz, PhD, Beit Midrash Director at JTS, are scholarly presentations about major themes of our holidays. The goal is to expand on profound ideas and practices that enrich the holidays. Rabbi Schwartz led our two-year hevruta program. Please join us for this unique opportunity to study with a master teacher of Talmudic and Rabbinic texts in preparation for Passover. Talmudic Takes is open to everyone.
Registration is not required.
Congregational Second Seder 5778
Second Seder: Saturday, March 31, 2018, at 8:00 pm
We invite you, your family and your friends to join Or Zarua for this year's Congregational Second Seder, led by Rabbi Bolton.
OZ Members & Guests: Adults $75 / Children 8 and under $50
Nonmembers: Adults $125 / Children 8 and under $50
Registration is required by Monday, March 26, 2018.
  •  To sign up online, click here
     - or -
  •  Call 212-452-2310, Ext 39.
Oral Law Seminar 5778
The Paradox of Pharaoh's Heart: Free Will in Jewish Thought
Three Sundays between Pesah and Shavu'ot - April 22 & 29 and May 6 at 10:00 am
Or Zarua congregants generally are avid learners, eager to grapple with traditional and modern texts, from the Torah to the Talmud and beyond, that form the religious and intellectual bedrock of Judaism. Some congregants are also eager to share their learning with fellow members.
For more than a decade now at Or Zarua, congregant Marc Ashley has taught an annual adult education course on several Sunday mornings between Pesach and Shavuot. During this spring period leading up to the yearly commemoration of the revelation of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the perfect time for contemplation and introspection regarding our religious beliefs and practices, Ashley's course has covered a variety of core theological, legal and historical issues. With a recurring focus on the origins and authority of the Torah she'be'al peh (the Oral Law in Judaism), we have examined wide-ranging issues including the ideological foundations of denominational differences, parameters of Jewish pluralism, reasons for the commandments, sources of authentic Jewish knowledge, subjective dynamics of halakhic decision-making, and seminal historiography of Yosef Yerushalmi.
The fundamental Jewish principle that we are rewarded and punished by God for the choices we make is premised on the equally core assumption that we have free will to choose to do good or evil. For surely, if our decisions are predetermined by causes beyond our control, God could have no rational basis to hold us accountable for them. Indeed, if divine providence over our lives is all consuming, then free will may be illusory.
To put it in biblical terms: If God hardened Pharaoh's heart and deprived him of the freedom to make his own decision about liberating the Israelites, how was it fair that God punished Pharaoh and the Egyptians with the plagues?
If God is all-powerful and all-knowing, then the notion of human free will may not be tenable. And it would be unjust for us to be held accountable for our actions if God has determined them in advance. So which is it - is God omniscient and omnipotent, or are human beings freely capable of shaping their own destinies? Paradoxically, Judaism seems to embrace both concepts concurrently.
God's control over history plays out on both an individual and national scale. God's defining role in historical events, implicating people and nations, is reflected in the stories of Passover and Purim. God hardened Pharaoh's heart and miraculously intervened in Jewish history to bring about the Passover exodus. No less miraculously, even if the divine name is absent from Megillat Esther, God seems to have orchestrated Purim's palace intrigue and collective salvation.
Despite God's purposeful intervention in the details of history, our tradition also highlights how much of our fate rests in our own hands. The entire system of Jewish commandments, accountability and repentance would be nonsensical if we lacked the free will to decide whether or not to do good. It is in that dynamic – and mysterious – intersection of divine providence and moral decision-making that the paradox of free will comes to life.
Please join us on three Sundays in April and May as congregant Marc Ashley leads his annual adult education course. We'll survey classical Jewish texts and modern commentaries as we explore the continuing relevance of the provocative topic of free will.
No prior knowledge of any kind is required for these annual adult education courses. Please join us for stimulating discussions of crucial issues in Jewish life, as together we help sustain and nourish a community of learners and learning at Or Zarua.
Classes will meet in the Or Zarua Library.
Attendance at all classes is NOT required; if you can't attend all sessions, come to the ones you can attend. Please contact Marc Ashley with any questions.
Registration is not required.
Or Zarua History Wanted
Or Zarua is recording its oral history and creating an archive. If you have information, memorabilia, photos, or other material to be included, please contact the Oral History Committee by email to either Phyllis Solomon or Caroline Golden.
Refu'ah Shleymah, Comfort and Caring Calls
It's not always easy to reach out at times when we are ill or facing personal challenges. Nevertheless, our Hesed Committee and Hevra Kadisha Committee, as well as Rabbi Bolton, seek to extend our community's caring network. We would like all Congregants to know that if you are ailing or going through a particularly challenging time, our community would like to offer encouragement and words of support. For home-bound Congregants, or those with limited abilities to attend classes and programs at Or Zarua, let us help connect you, say hello, arrange a time for phone study, or set up visits. To get the connection started, call Deborah at 212.452.2310, Extension 12.
Or Zarua's literary journal for the High Holidays
  Read the 5774 edition of Orot
  Read the 5768 edition of Orot
  Read the 5767 edition of Orot
  Read the 5766 edition of Orot
Kids: Learn Anim Z'mirot! -  Help Lead the Singing on Shabbat!
It's a tradition that kids lead the singing of Anim Z'mirot - so here's a great way to learn it (even if you're an adult!): Download it from the Or Zarua website and learn it at your own pace!
Here are the links:
wma Format
mp3 Format
"Rabbi Wechsler Teaches" on Sirius/XM Radio -  Sundays at 4:00 am and 8:00 - Channel 106 pm
Rabbi Wechsler is on Sirius XM Stars Radio each Sunday. Subscribers to Sirius Radio can access this program on Channel 102, and XM subscribers can tune in to Channel 155 on XM Radio. Non-subscribers to Sirius Radio can obtain a free three day trial at .
Songs and Niggunim -  Including Joey Weisenberg niggunim. Link x
This week at O"Z
Service Times
March 11 - 17, 2018
Morning Minyan:
Weekdays at 7:15 am
Musaf days at 7:00 am
Shabbat at 9:00 am
Sundays at 8:45 am
Check Calendar for changes
   to starting time, if any
Our Morning Minyan is
open to the Community
365 days per year!
FRIDAY, March 16, 2018
Candlelighting 6:46 pm
Minhah, Kabbalat Shabbat
& Ma'ariv
   6:46 pm
SATURDAY, March 17, 2018
Shaharit at 9:00 am
This week's Torah reading:
Parashat Vayikra
Leviticus 1:1 - 5:26
This week's Haftarah:
Ezekiel 45:16 - 46:18
Shabbat Ends
7:51 pm
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127 East 82nd Street
New York, NY 10028
Telephone 212.452.2310
Fax 212.452.2103
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