Coming and Going: Parashat Ki Tavo

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Parashat Ki Tavo  
Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:8

Our Torah portion tells us that following the Torah is the path of blessing, while abandoning Her is the path of curses. After enumerating many blessings that promise us material wellbeing, we find: “Blessed are you in your entering and blessed are you in your leaving.” (Deut. 28:6) What do these generalized phrases refer to?

Interpreters tend to see this “coming and going” as a reference to our daily business (Ibn Ezra) or as a reference to going out to war and returning safely from it (Hizquni). But the problem with these interpretations is that the order of the phrases would then be expected to be reversed: First we go out (- to war, to work) and then we come back in (to our homes). We begin from our homes and go out of them and return to them.
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The Holidays are Comin’ In

challahRosh Hashanah, the start of the cooking season, is just weeks away. I’m always looking for recipes that update old favorites – keeping some of the flavors but with a new twist. Some become new family favorites; some just don’t make the cut.

Try these dishes which will appear on my holiday table this year.

But first start with hallah using the previously published recipe (Summer’s coming in, June 18, 2020). Make the hallah a little sweeter to reflect the new year and certainly make it round. Here’s a link to a four-strand hallah. Or to keep it simple, just make one long strand and coil it into a spiral.  No matter what, it’ll taste great.

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Balancing: Parashat Ki Tetze

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Parashat Ki Tetze
Deuteronomy 21:10 – 25:19

According to traditional enumerations of the mitzvot (commandments) in the Torah, our portion includes 74 ordinances, more than any other portion. These mitzvot encompass the full range of the Torah’s concerns for how we are to meet the challenge of our paradoxical beings, made up, as we are, of both physical and spiritual natures.

A particularly telling instance of this concern is found in the Torah’s warning regarding the proper treatment of executed criminals:

“Should there be a person guilty of a capital crime, and he is executed, you shall hang him from a tree. But do not let his corpse hang on the tree overnight. Rather, make sure to bury him that very day, for it is a Divine curse to be hung. Thus, you will not defile your land that God Your Almighty gives you as an estate.” (Deut. 21:22-23)
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Letter from Shomrei President Miriam Haimes – High Holiday Update

IMG_0397To Our Shomrei Community,

As summer nears an end and we start to see signs of fall, I wanted to reach out to you and update you on our plans for High Holidays 5781.

What do the holidays hold in store for us? In July, Rabbi Greenstein and I wrote to tell you that we made the difficult decision to not have in person services and that we would spend the summer creating a memorable holiday experience that would include the entire community rather than just a few that could be accommodated in the social hall or sanctuary.  We promised a series of programs for adults and children of various ages to be experienced not only on the holiday but in the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah and during the Days of Awe.  We also told you that we would be reaching out for your participation.

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Subject to Abuse: Parashat Shoftim

photo-1590869389592-886c4e166041Parashat Shoftim
Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9

During this time of controversy and contestation regarding the proper place of a police force within society, I offer these thoughts that I first shared in Torah Sparks of 2015:

Our Torah portion begins with the command: “You shall appoint judges (shoftim) and officials (shotrim) for your tribes … and they shall judge (v-shaftu) the people with fair justice.” (Deut. 16:18) The command is understood to require the establishment of a just judicial system for society.
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What to Expect on the High Holidays

shofar1Shalom, friends!

I’m excited to bring you an update of what we have in store for our virtual High Holiday experience.  Thanks to the participation of so many of our members, this experience will be a rich and heartwarming reflection of the Shomrei community.  Here’s a little taste of what to expect during the month of Elul (the preparatory month leading up to the High Holidays) and what to expect during our High Holiday services. Continue reading

Still More Things to Do

Here is the latest in the biweekly online- and increasingly- in person things to do. This is only the tip of the virtual iceberg.

Looking for a place to go before school starts?

stormkingStorm King, in Mountainville, NY about an hour north, is another indoor/outdoor sculpture experience although none of the indoor facilities are currently open.  Established in 1960,  the 500 acre site  is made for wandering and picnicking. The Woodbury Commons Shopping Center , south of Storm King, has over 250 vendors of all sorts.   Continue reading