Friday, September 16, 2016

Shabbat-O-Gram for Sept 16

Shabbat Shalom!

Mazal Tov to Josh Schulman, who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat.  Josh is a huge fan of Pokemon, so much so that he chose to write about it in his d’var Torah BEFORE the huge “Pokemon Go” craze took off earlier this summer.  Join us for services tomorrow morning - and of course, come tonight as well, at 7:30, as we welcome back musical guest Gon Halevi, a major talent who wowed us last week with his rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” in duet with Cantor Fishman. 

And speaking of musical events, join us next Sat. night for Selichot.  The service will begin after a spirited sing a long led by Cantor Fishman and guest clergy from our area.  The flyer is at the bottom of this O-Gram.

Our pilgrimage to Eastern Europe is gathering steam.  Go to the trip’s website to check the itinerary, and sign up now to take advantage of early bird rates.

Our Hebrew School kicks off another great year this Sunday. Check out our promotional video and if you know anyone who is looking for a top-notch, educational and fun program - send them our way!

If you are free on Sunday between 10-2, head on down to Fairway for a TBeeE honey tasting, led by our own bee keeper, Beth Boyer.  This example of Public Space Judaism is our way of extending the reach of our congregation to the community at large, introducing people to Jewish customs and to TBE.

Why did the (lab-grown) chicken cross the street?


One of the less publicized events of the past summer might well be, in the long run, among the most important.

Israeli biotechnology startup SuperMeat launched a crowdfunding campaign to develop technology to grow cultured chicken meat, eliminating the need for farming and killing the birds. The project is based on the research of Hebrew University Professor Yaakov Nahmias, and the goal is to grow chicken breasts from the cells of chickens with a “meat oven” device that could be used by supermarkets, restaurants, and hopefully at some point in people’s homes.  Read more here and here and see the Supermeat site.

This is an enormous story, especially for those who are concerned about cruelty to animals, sensitivity to life, the environment, world hunger and Israel - and I check all of those boxes.

So you can imagine that I’ve been chompin’ at the bit to discuss this finger-lickin’ good topic.  Well, the stars are aligned for this weekend, as our weekly Torah portion of Ki Tetze is the most animal-friendly portion this side of Noah.

Preview the Parsha Packet here and join us for the discussion at services tomorrow.

The Pilot Light of Judaism

I always feel good when I come to morning minyan, though I often am too tired to notice - or too consumed with thoughts of the day ahead, all those mini-tasks on my morning to-do list that spring to mind when I’m ostensibly praying.

I thought about that when reading Rob Kutner’s personal essay, “How to say Kaddish for your father in 7 different cities” from this week’s Forward.  He writes:

“So what did I learn from my five-state, seven-city survey of American minyanim? That I am in awe of anyone who drags himself out of bed (or away from dinner and Netflix) to make these, day in, day out, year-round - not just because of an obligation. These folks are the pilot light of Judaism, if not the ner tamid, the lamp by the Ark. As such, they are a delicate institution.”

I’m thankful to all those who get up for morning minyan, those who are here every day and those who come merely from time to time.  You are TBE’s Pilot Light.  It’s not just for those who mourning a close relative - and we have several regular minyan-goers who are doing just that right now - but for being our signal to the world that no matter where  Jews may wander, there is a place for them to rest their weary feet. 

A place right here.

Mensch•Mark For Elul 14 (Shabbat’s is delivered in advance)

According to one Biblical commentator, this text, taken from the Book of Psalms, suggests that one should always study Torah first, and then take the time to meditate (or dwell) upon it. "For Scripture says, "His delight is in the Torah of the Lord" (Ps.1:2) and only after that, "And in God's law he meditates."

In Sefer Haggadah (Tanhuma Yitro 15), we are also reminded of the importance of studying with slow, unhurried reflection. We are told that the Torah teaches: if you are a person of learning, do not be so arrogant as to say something in front of an assembly before you have made the matter clear to yourself by going over it two or three times. In fact, an individual is not allowed to read a portion of Scripture in public unless that person has made its words thoroughly clear by going over them two or three times.

In the "Commentary on Pirkei Avos" (page 415), we are cautioned never to rush to reply to questions; rather one should spend time deliberating and carefully analyzing a question before replying. This prevents jumping to premature conclusions. In addition, to derive the most from studying Torah, it suggests that one must have a calm environment.

The Talmudic rabbis asked what purpose was served by the empty spaces that occur from time to time in the written text of Scripture. They considered the following explanation: "To give Moses time to reflect between one passage and the next, between one subject and the next. They went on to say that "If he who hears words from the mouth of the Holy One and himself speaks with God requires reflection between one passage and the next, between one subject and the next, how much more is reflection required by one who is a mere commoner taught by another commoner." (Sif. Lev. 1:1).
-- Marlene Myerson

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

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