Share our Stories, Heal the World

Shabbat Va-Yeira
November 3-4, 2017 – 15 Cheshvan 5778

Torah: Genesis 18:1 – 22:24
Haftarah: II Kings 4:1-37

“Indeed, I have known him, in order that he may charge his descendants and his household after him: they shall keep the way of God, to do what is right and just, in order that God may bring upon Abraham what God spoke concerning him.”
(Genesis 18:19)

This pivotal weekly reading comes during another difficult week in our State of New York and our country.

As our hearts go out to our family, friends, and fellow New Yorkers in the wake of yet another act of violence against humanity, I continue to ask: How can I fulfill the promise of doing “what is right and just”?

Hatred and intolerance seem to swirl around us. Scratch the surface and our personal and communal insecurity can quickly turn to anger. I know that I must take my elevated heart rate, my visceral responses, and turn them into expressions of my experiences that others can hear without recoiling.

We must turn our concerns and our worries into stories that connect us to one another. Yesterday, a teacher of reconciliation, Terry Cross, shared this piece of Native American wisdom with the Racial Equity Roundtable: “The shortest distance between two people is a story”.

Our stories are filled with our strivings to do righteously and live justly. Let us figure out a way to share what we’ve lived so that others can view us as companions.

May your week and Shabbat be filled with stories that bring us together,

Jonathan

Summertime Judaism

A quick look back on the last week at Temple Beth El tells you just how vibrant our Jewish community is:


- We had our weekly events - Shabbat evening and morning - including two B’nei Mitzvah, Anniversary Blessings, Torah Study, FIJI Class, and Tot Shabbat too!

- We celebrated: two baby-namings and a same-sex marriage ceremony.

- We mourned our losses and comforted our mourners with two shiva minyanim and a memorial service.

- We had some intriguing conversations about tattoos, organ donation, marijuana, the novel The Golem and the Jinni, Taste of Judaism, The Porch Torah, and even Talmud, in a myriad of locales including the Temple Beth El building, at The Village Tavern, Whole Foods, and at the Bechtler Museum Cafe.

- We ate together at a SPICE Potluck on Shabbat, and shopped together at our Attic Sale.

- Our Annual Congregational Trip to Israel returned with Rabbi Judy - everyone had an amazing and meaningful adventure, and four kids became Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

- And even though it is summer, B’nei Mitzvah preparations continue with a full schedule of training for our soon to be Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies.

I hear that other Jewish communities slow down in the summer.

I feel so honored and blessed to be part of our Temple Beth El family, to be all together so often for important times and moments of thoughtful discussion.

Looking forward to a great summer!

Check out the next book we will read for our August Book Club, or enjoy the last - links below:

Next book for August 3, 11:00 AM:

But Where is the Lamb?

Last book, a fun summer read:

The Golem and the Jinni