A community of communities

February 2015

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 2:48pm -- Rabbi

 

purim celebrationPurim, which we celebrate this coming Wednesday and Thursday allows us the opportunity to turn our world topsy-turvy and to access our inner child. We can try out new identities behind costumes, masks and silliness. We can try out different versions of Hamentaschen as well. The Shabbat before Purim is called Shabbat Zachor, famously named for the counterintuitive demand in the maftir (Deuteronomy 25:19), "...you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!"  How is it truly possible to forget something if one is required to remember to do so?!  I believe this statement suggests a deep psychological truth. Often we need to forget a painful  event and move on with our lives if we are to survive and thrive. Yet we also need to acknowledge the lasting harm that has been done-the scars, fears, and tender spots that will always remain. We act out this paradox every time we sound our groggers during the megillah reading. We need to listen carefully for the name of Haman (known as a descendant of Amalek) so that we can drown it out with the loudest noise we make all year! We try to remember and blot out at the same time. So Purim, our silliest (in a good way) holiday, also contains within it a serious message.

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Fri, 02/20/2015 - 10:40am -- Rabbi

 

Praying with tefillinWe are blessed in our community to have a weekday minyan that meets on Sunday, Monday and Thursday mornings. It is great to have a way to start our day together with 45 minutes of prayer and Torah study. Our minyan also fulfills the important purpose of providing a space for community members in mourning or those marking a yahrtzeit to say the Mourner's Kaddish. Those who are present for minyan fill a vital role in answering "Amen," to mourners, letting them know they are seen and supported as they grieve and remember their loved ones.  This winter has been a difficult one, and we have been struggling to make a minyan, particularly on Monday and Thursday mornings for our 7:15 AM service.  We'd like to encourage anyone whose schedule allows to come to one of these services. Even occasional attendance or coming only for the later parts of the service can help us make a minyan (there's a reason that the Mourner's Kaddish is traditionally recited at the end!).  Please consider making a commitment to attend a service in the next few weeks.  We look forward to seeing you!

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Fri, 02/13/2015 - 2:00pm -- Rabbi

purim celebrationThis Shabbat we announce the beginning of the month of Adar, and it comes not a moment too soon in this cold and dreary winter. Just stocking up on poppy seed filling and trying to create a costume starts me on the path to joy. Aren't we lucky that Judaism contains giddy joy as well as serious introspection and ethical responsibilities?! In the next few weeks, we'll give you more details about our Purim celebration(s). In the meantime I hope you consider joining us at the Women's Club Purim Bash on February 28th. RSVP's are due today! 

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Wed, 02/11/2015 - 2:07pm -- Rabbi

 

The fourth commandment is a transitional one in that it speaks to our relationship with bot God and our fellow human beings. We often think of Shabbat in terms of a day of rest, but as Leo Baeck points out, keeping Shabbat holy involves much more:

"The Sabbath does not mean a mere not working, nor an empty idleness. It connotes something positive.  It has guided the soul unto its mystery, so that it is not a day that just interrupts, but a day that renews, speaks through it, of something eternal.  It is the expression of a direction for life and not just an instituted day of rest.  If it were only that, or if it became that, its essence would be taken from it.  It would then be only a hollow shell." 

 

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Tue, 02/03/2015 - 12:14pm -- Rabbi

 

On Shabbat morning we read Shirat Hayam, the Song of the Sea, which is believed to be the one of the oldest parts of the Torah and therefore one of the oldest poems in Hebrew. Come join us in the Charry Sanctuary as we hear Phill Goldberg chant the special melody for this section. 

Our guest D'var Torah will be given by Reb Arthur Waskow. Those of you who know Arthur know that his words are sometimes provocative, always original and inspiring.

Shirah in Hebrew means both poem and song. We read in Exodus Rabbah, the Midrash on the book of Exodus:

From the day that God created the world until this moment, no one had sung praises to God--not Adam after having been created, not Abraham after being delivered from the fiery furnace, not Isaac when he was spared the knife, or Jacob when he escaped from wrestling with an angel and from Esau. But when Israel came to the sea and it parted for them, "Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to God." And God said, "for this I have been waiting."

Just as the birds begin their spring songs as Tu bi'Sh'vat approaches, so may we raise our voices together in songs and psalms in praise of God on this special Shabbat.

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