Friday, November 4, 2011

Shabbat-O-Gram for November 4, 2011

The Shabbat Announcements are sponsored by Laura and Daniel Katz in honor of Victoria’s becoming a Bat Mitzvah on Shabbat morning.

This weekend, as we move the clocks back, we move forward to the beauty of our Friday night and Shabbat morning services, the drama of a Bat Mitzvah (mazal tov, Tori), the hilarity of Comedy Night (BYOB and tickets are available at the door) and, for our our Bar/Bat Mitzvah class, an important session on bullying this Sunday, coordinated by the ADL and sponsored by our own Herb Kahan.

Busy, busy, busy.

I hope everyone has power back by now - I know this has been a difficult week for so many. But this Shabbat we also think of those who have it much worse, whose concern isn’t simply whether they will be able to charge their computers or need to pile on an extra blanket (not to minimize the inconvenience of having no heat) but to fill their stomachs each day. Global Hunger Shabbat will be a prime focus of this weekend’s programming. This week’s portion includes the first famine in biblical history - no sooner do Abraham and Sarah arrive in Canaan than the food shortage forces them to relocate to Egypt. Read our Parsha Packet for Lech Lecha for more information on this and other aspects of Global Hunger Shabbat.

Speaking of Parshas, read what last week’s b’nai mitzvah, Elias Boyer and Jessica Rubin, had to say about their portions.


This weekend marks the anniversary of the murder of Prime Minister Rabin - one of those rare years when the Hebrew and English anniversaries virtually coincide. Today, President Shimon Peres lit a candle at the memorial site, eulogizing Rabin as one who “paved a path to peace.” That path was paved my many good intentions, but now we see a diplomatic stalemate with the Palestinians (who apparently have been stifled at the Security Council without need for a US veto) and, more than ever, the focus being turned on the looming threat of a nuclear Iran. The leaked news this week of Prime Minister Netanyahu having opted for the military option was either an unintended blunder of a dysfunctional Israeli leadership or a brilliant thrust designed to redirect the world’s attention and turn up the heat on Tehran. Whatever it was, Netanyahu has backed out of attending the annual Federation General Assembly in Denver - and that tells us something. I just don't know what!

There is another anniversary this coming week - Kristallnacht, on Wednesday.

See also this week’s Hammerman on Ethics column, Killing Kaddafy: Was it Ethical?

Our new, updated website should be live within a very short time. While the design is the same, you notice enhanced features, greater accessibility and much more information at your fingertips. We’ve had some delays, which has caused the old site to go somewhat stale, but the wait will have been worth it once the new one is in place. Features will include increased educational content, better online payment and reservation options, more of the cantor’s music and tutorial materials, archives, photos, and lots more. It will be a few weeks before all the information is uploaded, but check it out anytime.

So as we move the clocks back and readjust our bodily rhythms to that depressing feeling of darkness at 5 PM and winter on the way, this is a good time remind ourselves that we can avoid these gloomy shifts by instead setting our clocks to Jewish Time.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

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