Friday, June 20, 2014

Shabbat-O-Gram for June 20


Mazal tov to Tyler Liffmann, who become Bat Mitzvah this Shabbat, and thank you to her parents Karen and Joel for sponsoring this week’s Shabbat E-Nouncements, including this Shabbat-O-Gram. 

To see last week’s scintillating D’var Torah by Bar Mitzvah Jacob Herz, click here.  Plus,here is this week’s newsletter for Beth El’s up-and-running CSA. Finally, click here for photos from our recent Cantor’s Concert.

Tonight we’ll be saying Shalom to Cantor Mordecai and family and also hearing from Jenna Plotzky, a TBE teen who attended the March of the Living in April.  We had been planning to honor our High School graduates, but we’ve postponed that until July 18, the evening of our annual “Borechu and Barbecue” and outdoor service.

Cantor Mordecai’s final Shabbat here will actually be next week, so join us then too!

And then... keep on comin’.  We are planning some new twists to spice up our summer.  For instance, Beth Styles and I are calling all Temple Beth El musicians and singers to bring your instrument and join us for a fun and special  "KABBALAT SHABBAT JAM.” The first one will take place on Friday, July 11 and the second on Aug. 8th.  This is a wonderful opportunity to share your talent and create a beautiful collaboration of music and spirit with our community. If you'd like to participate, please RSVP to Beth

Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali

This week, people around the world have been praying for three Israeli teens kidnapped last Thursday night, one of them with American citizenship.  People’s prayers take different forms.  Some sign petitions, others hashtag (#bringbackourboys), others write letters or post and share articles (here’s one particularly hopeful one that I shared on Facebook this week), some send messages of encouragement directly to the families.  And many actually pray. Here is a prayer distributed by the Rabbinical Assembly. 

When combined with the instant mass distribution of today’s technology, prayers become particularly powerful.  Psalm 142 has been especially conspicuous at prayer vigils this week.  And no wonder. Reading it enables us to imagine the world as seen from the eyes of these three terrified teens, crammed into some basement prison somewhere, hoping against hope for their speedy rescue.  The last line especially: “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may give thanks unto Thy name.”

But better yet, don’t just read the psalm....  Listen to this haunting rendition. 

There is so much that can be said - and is already being said - about the incident.  I for one cannot believe that the desperate 911 call from one of the victims was treated by the police as a hoax, and action was not taken for seven precious hours.  Lots of interesting things have happened. But there will be time to sort out the surrounding issues.  For now, Israelis of all stripes have unified, as they do at times like this.

What’s central now is to keep these teens on the front burner - and to pray for Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali.

Other  Announcements

  • As we head off to various locales for the summer, keep in mind a couple of save-the-dates for September.  As mentioned last week, this year’s Hoffman lecture will be delivered by Ari Shavit, author of the bestseller, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel.  And on Sept. 7, we are co-sponsoring a morning with Allan Chernoff, cousin of the late Dr. Hesh Romanowitz, who has created a “communal memoir” of pre-war Jewish life in The Tailors of Tomaszow, just published by Texas Tech University Press.  Read an interview with Chernoff here.

  • We are currently looking for someone to lead a special monthly informal education program for 8th & 9th grade boys.  The group leader must be motivated to serve as a Jewish role model for teens.  The leader must feel comfortable engaging in discussions and activities with young men that address issues and dilemmas teen boys face today through a Jewish lens.  The group leader should be able to attend a 2 1/2 day training session in Boston July 27-29.  If you are interested in this position, please contact Lisa Gittelman Udi
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman 

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