Palooza Week Underway at Pleasantville Synagogue

Rabbi Mark Sameth speaks about some of the week's offerings.

For the second consecutive year, is hosting a week-long open house full of activities for current and prospective members of all ages.

"It's an invitation," Rabbi Mark Sameth said of Palooza week. "The synagogue is unusual in that it's not a large synagogue, but it draws from 20 towns and villages across the county. There's a lot of diversity."

Last year, the Palooza week "had a wonderful response," according to Sameth, and by synagogue member and musician Lisa Jane Lipkin.

This week, Palooza is already underway. So far, community members have been invited to an open house at the , a movie and pizza night for kids, yoga and a lecture of ""Battle Lines: Schisms in Jewish History" with Dr. Sarah Tauber.

Tomorrow, Sameth is excited to reintroduce a lecture of "The History of the Jews of China."

"It is a lecture that I gave some years ago now at various Jewish Community Centers (JCCs), various synagogues in Westchester, at the and in Brookly and Manhattan," he said. "This is a very small story within the history of China."

Sameth said the topic fascinated him in many ways and has a large audience in Westchester County. He .

"I became very interested in learning that history from a historical perspective, as well as a religious perspective, as well as a spiritual perspective," he explained.

Sameth thinks the tomorrow's 7:30 to 9 p.m. talk will attract Chinese families from around the region, as well as provide an interesting perspective for Jews who are unfamiliar with different Jewish cultures.

Also coming up this week at the synagogue is another Hebrew School open house on Thursday (6:15 to 7:30 p.m.), where prospective members can observe Sameth's seventh grade class.

On Friday evening, there will be a Shabbaton with the first and second graders from the school, along with a Shabbat dinner.

The week wraps up with meditation from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday with a meditation session led by Sameth before Shabbat service.

Sameth said his meditation classes have jumped from monthly to weekly over the years.

"It has been part of my spiritual practice for a number of years now and has an increasing presence in our synagogue," he said.

Palooza week is designed to attract "families with very young children" to "empty nesters who are looking for an adult education experience," he said, as well as those who might just be interested in the synagogue's regular yoga or meditation offerings.

"Within the week, you can sort of get a picture of the breadth of the synagogue," explained Sameth. "We are trying to, within a week, give a snapshot of the community."



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