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Or Atid Happenings


By Amy Unger

Or Atid celebrates Tu B’Shevat

On Sunday morning, Feb. 5th, members of Congregation Or Atid joined together with students and families of the Or Atid Helen and Sam Kornblau Religious School to observe Tu B’Shevat and celebrate our connection with Israel.

In consultation with Rabbi Sherry Grinsteiner and Religious School Administrator, Alex Mendez-Zfass, Russ Finer (Richmond JNF-USA committee President and Or Atid member), and Or Atid member, Terry Schultz, designed an ice cream/fruit-themed Tu B’Shevat Seder.


Community members celebrate Tu Bishvat.

This included craft projects, a festival-based video and story, a Mitzvah tree, and the opportunity to purchase trees in Israel.


The Seder featured seasonal flavored ice cream and fruits prepared and served by congregational volunteers:

  • For the winter season, we paired vanilla ice cream with bananas and oranges – fruits with a non-edible outside layer as in winter when it is cold and harsh outside and we like being inside where it is warm and toasty.
  • For the spring season, we paired mint chip ice cream with cherries, a fruit with a soft outside and a pit inside – the seed from which another tree can grow.
  • For the summer season we paired strawberry ice cream with grapes and strawberries – fruits that are soft both on the inside and the outside- these fruits can be easily bruised or damaged so we know to treat them with care as we should do with the environment.
  • For the fall season we served chocolate ice cream symbolizing that even though leaves turn brown and seem to die in the fall, all good things are actually taking place. Chocolate can remind us that something so dark can be so sustaining, so nourishing.

The Seder concluded as follows:

In every seed there is the promise of a new and vital plant. So, it is with every child.  Each young life holds the promise of a new generation.

May this new year be fruitful and blessed!

Musical Kabbalat Shabbat

– A huge success.

 On. Jan. 28th, Congregation Or Atid welcomed Shabbat with a Kabbalat Shabbat Service.


Kabbalat Service

Prayer leaders, Art Todras, Chuck Berson, Frankie Snyder and Sam Richardson, along with Rabbi Grinsteiner, led us in an upbeat and inspirational service.

The congregation joined in the singing of prayers, which were accompanied by several musical instruments.  We were also introduced to some new tunes in place of some of the traditional tunes we regularly recite.  It was great to see so many congregants of all ages enthusiastically participating in this uplifting service.

It was especially gratifying to watch how the children enjoyed this special rendition of the Shabbat service.

Attention All You Musicians and Singers

We would like you to join us at Congregation Or Atid to expand our core of musicians and singers for our monthly Kabbalat Shabbat.

We want to extend our spirited, inspirational, and musical Shabbat to the broader Jewish community.  Any musical instruments are welcome, especially guitars.  We are not looking for professionals, but rather a group of prayer lovers offering their hearts in song and worship to Gd, helping others to do the same.

Congregation Or Atid will have a Musical Kabbalat Shabbat once a month (generally the last Friday of each month) on the following upcoming dates (with more planned in the future): March 31st, April 21st, and May 26th.  You would not need to commit to all these dates.  If you would like to join our core group, please contact Rabbi Grinsteiner at  sgrinsteiner@oratid.org or call the synagogue office at (804) 740-4747.

Even if you are not a musician or singer, we invite you to attend one of these Kabbalat Shabbat’s where we welcome Shabbat with others as we all “Sing unto the lord a new song”.

Rachel Lang from theAnti-Defamation League at Or Atid

Rabbi Grinsteiner and Rachel Lang.

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, Congregation Or Atid hosted Rachel Lang, Associate Regional Director from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Washington, D.C., to speak about the history and mission of the ADL and the growing voices of antisemitism over the past couple of years.

An overview of her presentation content can be found at https://www.adl.org/.


Founded in 1913, the ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. They collect, investigate, and analyze antisemitic and other “hate” activities. The ADL also provides educational programs in schools and communities to counter bias and provide advocacy to combat antisemitism and bias.

Some of the key research ADL conducts includes: an analysis of people’s views about Jews in the US and Israel; an analysis of the some of the factors contributing to the rise in antisemitism, extremism and hate activities.

Their data also shows the trends in antisemitic activities throughout the years, ranging from posts on social media, the distribution of antisemitic materials, destruction of property, to acts of violence against others.

Most significantly, and quite concerning, is the current and increasing “State of Hate.”  She presented data and graphs that clearly demonstrate that antisemitism and other hate activities have dramatically risen over the past few years.