The story of Noah is the story of a new beginning – brought about by the crashing ending of the first beginning. Everything that God began – the entire world – is destroyed out of God’s disgust with its corruption. A new beginning starts with Noah emerging from the ark.
As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, we will be inside more than ever. Tear your eyes away from the screen and pick up a real book. Most libraries are open for limited in-person visits or at the very least, offer pick-up service.
The synagogue library will pull books for you and leave them in the office. The library is also open for browsing. Please wear your mask, sanitize your hands and put books in the designated basket. Continue reading
During the Simhat Torah Service on Zoom, congregants shared their jokes via chat. Due to popular request, here is the chat log:
Saul 07:35 PM:
Why don’t cannibals eat clowns?
Adrienne 07:36 PM:
Allen 07:36 PM:
because they taste funny!
A Playlist of Light and Dark
Since I will be away for this coming Shabbat, when we are scheduled to read the first portion of the Torah – B’reshit – In the Beginning, I would like to share this playlist of musical selections that I feel are connected to some of the themes of this rich Torah portion.
Looking for some ways to fill your time? Here are a few suggestions.
Ruth Wisse, Martin Peretz professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature emerita at Harvard has a series of podcasts and webinars produced by the Tikvah Fund. While you may or may not agree with the organization’s politics, Professor Wisse’s lectures are well worth listening to. Continue reading
Parashat V’zot Ha-b’rakhah/Bereshit
The Torah ends with blessing – v’zot ha-b’rakhah, Moses’ very last words of blessing to the tribes of Israel – and it also begins with blessing – almost.
Actually, the first four days of Creation pass by without any mention of this action or state of being. Nothing is blessed on those day. It is only on the fifth day of Creation that we first encounter blessing. Then God blesses all the creatures brought into being on that day, the fish in the seas and the birds of the skies. God says, “Be fruitful and multiply!” (Gen. 1:22) And then blessing is found in the sixth day, as well. God blesses the newly created human beings with the same blessing of fruitfulness. Continue reading
Delia and Jonah
STOM (Shomrei Teens of Montclair) kids writing non-partisan get-out-the-vote letters as part of the Vote Forward Project.
Vote Forward’s mission is to empower grassroots volunteers to help register voters from under-represented demographics and encourage them to vote. We build tools to enable Americans, wherever they may be, to encourage fellow citizens to participate in our democracy.
Our STOM teens engaged in the democratic process…here’s what they wrote to Americans across the country: Continue reading
At this time of year with the month of Elul behind us and Tishri on its way out, I often think of my own mortality and relationships that have flourished, struggled or withered away.
My uncle Robert, the last of my father’s generation recently passed away at aged 97. A few months before his death, in January on Shabbat Vayigash he gave a d’var Torah in his synagogue. He linked the story of Joseph’s revelation of his identity to his brothers and their reconciliation to the longstanding rift between him and one of his daughters. He asked for his daughter’s forgiveness- no discussion, no arguments, no recriminations or explanations. Continue reading
Sukkot/Sh’mini Atzeret/Simhat Torah
The festival of Sukkot is called “the Season of our Rejoicing – z’man simhateinu.” What is the cause – the source – of our rejoicing? What are we supposed to be happy about?
As I have explained on numerous occasions, this description of Sukkot parallels but is also different from the descriptions we have assigned to the other two pilgrimage festivals, Passover and Shavuot. Sukkot does not commemorate a specific occurrence such as the Exodus (Passover is z’man herutenu – the Time of Our Freedom) or the Giving of the Torah (Shavuot is z’man matan Toratenu – the Time of the Giving of Our Torah).