President’s Message – May 2011
“Only be Strong and Resolute”
The change in season has brought changing, roll-coaster emotions – with highs and lows – for our congregation. There have been illnesses and the passing of cherished community members mixed with the joys and challenges of the holiday season. The coming month will also have highs and lows, by design.
As Nisan ends, we celebrate the last days of Passover and the beginning of a memorial season. Soon will come our community’s service in memory of the Holocaust – the Yom HaShoah service – on Sunday, May 1st. Judy Stein and others have organized this moving ceremony for decades, reminding us of the horrors of war and hatred and the importance of hope to continue living. Within a week, the world Jewish community will remember those who were killed while defending Israel on Yom HaZikaron – Israel’s Memorial Day (Monday, May 9th) and Israel’s 63rd Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut) on Tuesday, May 10th. Our community will also be busy with Nora Stein’s and others’ planning for a Travelling Dinner, the closing of our religious school’s year, and simchot – happy events – including bar/bat mitzvah celebrations. Please see the calendar for our very busy May schedule.
In all these activities, these happy and sad events, some ideas do continue. There is interest in further study about our Jewish civilization. Rav Jeremy has initiated a Hebrew class that meets in novel, community settings – at Fred’s Brick House Pizza on April 26, celebrating Yom HaAtszmaut with Israeli food on May 10th.
Sue-Ellen Kirkham and others requested that we organize a study group on the other books of the Bible that we don’t read on Shabbat morning; we read from the 5 books of Moses in the Torah each week but we don’t study the 34 other books from which the haftorot are drawn. Our core literature includes Tanakh, an acronym for Torah – The Pentateuch, Nevi’im – Prophets, and K‘tuvim – Writing. Sue-Ellen asked, “When do we study the NaKh?” So we held a session on the Shabbat before Pesah and started studying the first book after the Torah, the Book of Joshua, and barely got through the first chapter. Some wanted to study a chapter once or twice a month, others wanted to study a book once a month. We estimated that by chapter, it would take several decades; by book, it would take 3 years. Our Talmud class continues on the Wednesday evenings at 7 pm when there are not board meetings – usually the 3rd Wednesday, the ritual committee – the 1st Wednesday, and when there aren’t holidays or snow storms.
We are a busy congregation with much to interest all. Please let us know how we might organize learning and social events in which you might be interested. For my own learning, I am going to plan to include a reference, an inspiration, from the NaKh in these monthly messages. At the end of the first chapter of the book of Joshua, as the children of Israel were planning to enter the Promised Land, they agreed to “only be strong and resolute” in the next stage of their lives and the lives of our people. So may we all be strong and resolute in the upcoming busy month of May.