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BY: RABBI PROFESSOR MARC SAPERSTEIN for ReformJudaism.org
When Imploring Fails to Give Us What We Want
The verses at the very beginning of Parashat Va-et’cḥanan record a searingly poignant incident of hopes shattered and prayers denied.
Years before, Moses had heard the words that must have filled him with immeasurable sorrow. Because of a failing described by the Torah only as a vague sin of omission — that on one occasion he had failed to sanctify God in the presence of the Israelites — he was told that he would not be permitted to bring the Israelites into the Promised Land (Numbers 20:8–12).
Remember Us: The Holocaust Bnai Mitzvah Project offers an invitation to children preparing for bar/bat mitzvah to connect with the memory of children lost in the Holocaust before they could be called to the Torah.
This is a very simple idea. The Project provides the student and the bar/bat mitzvah teacher with the name of a lost child, information about him/her, and suggestions for simple acts of remembrance:
- doing mitzvot b’shem (in the name of the child)
- mentioning the child in a dvar Torah or speech from the bimah
- taking on the mitzvah of saying Kaddish
- lighting a yahrzeit candle yearly
By Rebecca Stadlen Amir for Israel21c
Tel Aviv kicks off Global Pride Parade season with record number of attendees celebrating LGBT rights and tolerance at the city’s 20th annual event.
More than a quarter of a million people from around the world gathered in Tel Aviv on Friday to take part in the largest ever pride parade in the Middle East.
Shirtless men in bow ties, drag queens and revelers waving Israeli and rainbow flags danced through the city streets, marking 20 years since Tel Aviv’s first pride parade and paying tribute to those who played a role in promoting LGBT rights and the image of tolerance for the community in Israel.
Aryeh Tepper for Mosaic
A letter from the “development town” of Ofakim, where Jews from North Africa are helping to forge a new Israeli culture.
Ofakim is a working-class city of 30,000 people in southern Israel, twenty minutes west of Be’er Sheva, the regional capital, and thirty minutes from Gaza’s Mediterranean coast. Conventionally referred to as a “development town,” Ofakim was established in 1955 with the aim of drawing newly arriving immigrants away from Israel’s central coastal region and strengthening the country’s hold on the sparsely populated Negev desert.
By Sarah F. Berkowitz for FromtheGrapevine
These gorgeous green soybean patties make a fabulous meal with a side of tahini and Israeli salad.
Living in the South, I hear a lot about fritters and frying – whether it’s okra, collard greens, fried green tomatoes, or one of many other formerly unknown foods. And I have a lot of fun merging these Southern gems with my Israeli roots – like in these soybean patties spiced with Mediterranean za’atar spice. The tahini drizzle is a perfect finish for these gorgeous, green patties, and a side of Israeli salad makes it a complete meal (pita optional!).
BY SHANNON SARNA for Kveller
These Limonana Ice Pops Will Be Your Summer Savior
For the last few years I have spent several weeks of my summer working and vacationing in Israel, spending a significant amount of time in beachy Tel Aviv. It’s hot. It’s humid. And it was absolutely wonderful, spending many days at the beach or sitting at cafes drinking lattes and icy limonana.
By Alexander Aciman
Bookworm: The Austrian novelist dissects a broken heart
Dying of flu, a woman sends a letter to the man she has loved all her life—a man who would not know her from a stranger in the street. If he has received this letter, she warns, it means that she has died; otherwise the letter will be torn up. Over the next 70 pages she describes the first time they met, when she was a young girl, then the second time, when she was 18, and finally the third time, years later, when still unable to recognize her, he would pay for an evening of her time as a prostitute. She tells the story of life in the shadow of someone else, of a love from afar, not just unrequited, but unacknowledged, kept secret from the world except for in this letter.
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Israel is possibly the world’s best ‘lab’ for researching the little-understood phenomenon of being raised with two or more spoken languages.
“Anna,” a preschooler in the Israeli city of Bat Yam, was thought to be cognitively impaired because testing her in Hebrew showed her cognitive skills lagging behind her classmates. But when retested in her home language, Russian, she was found to be normal.
From Israel Unwired
There is so much more that unites Jews and Arabs than divides us. Unfortunately, there are always those Arabs, like Hamas, who resort to violence and murder that tear our society apart.
Jews and Arabs
Jews and Arabs can live together. Under Jewish rule in the Jewish State of Israel, Arab and Muslims have full equality. They serve as Supreme Court Justices, police officers, Parliament Members etc. All jobs are open to them. Israeli hospitals are filled with Jewish and Arab doctors and nurses as well as patients from both populations.
by Kristin Posner; This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily
When InterfaithFamily asked me to write a post for Tu B’Av, I have to admit, I had to do some research: Tu B’Av is not widely celebrated in my Reform Jewish community in San Francisco.
One of the most interesting Intro to Judaism classes I took at my temple was a class on the Jewish calendar. Jewish time is determined by the sun and primarily by the moon, making it a lunisolar calendar. The calendar is so beautifully and thoughtfully designed to punctuate the year with rituals that help us heal, reflect, mark time and celebrate. Many Jewish holidays were designed to take place on the brightest night of the month, during the full moon. Tu B’Av is one of those nights.
What does Judaism have to say about end-of-life care? How to make decisions for the terminally ill? What lessons can we learn from our Patriarchs and Matriarchs in the Torah? How does Judaism view hospice and palliative care?
Read about all these issues and more in myjewishlearning.com
BY PAUL GOLIN for myjewishlearning.com
What Is Secular Humanistic Judaism?
This "fifth denomination," founded in the 1960s by a Reform-ordained rabbi, describes itself as humanistic rather than atheistic.
Secular Humanistic Judaism is a movement that believes Judaism was created by people to meet human needs and that it is most meaningfully expressed by celebrating human knowledge, power and responsibility.
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Hydroponic hothouse program introduces disadvantaged girls to organic, sustainable veggies and herbs for eating and selling.
Photos of smiling kids planting, picking and eating vegetables line the hallways of a school for girls in an impoverished Jerusalem neighborhood. The pictures were taken in the hydroponic hothouse the girls have tended for the past three years on their concrete playground.
By Jessica Klein for Hey Alma
Last Friday night during a Shabbat service at Romemu, a Manhattan-based temple for “spiritual seekers and skeptics alike,” I marveled at the energy of an old man wearing a colorful yarmulke atop his gray ponytail as he danced through most of the service. Closing his eyes and swaying his arms, he stood alone toward the rabbi’s podium when the evening began.
By Rabbi Meir Soloveichik for Mosaic
How Rembrandt Understood the Destruction of Jerusalem (and Poussin Didn't)
A tale of two paintings and one city.
This is a tale of two paintings by two 17th-century masters. Both depict the same historical event. In every other respect, they present a complete contrast.
The first painting has a fascinating back story. During World War II, an eccentric Englishman by the name of Ernest Onians made a fortune with his invention of Tottenham Pudding, a form of pigswill produced from waste food. Having amassed his millions, Onians became an art collector, purchasing canvases at country fairs and garage sales and accumulating some 500 works in all.
South Carolina became the first state to adopt a uniform definition of anti-Semitism, but it is only on the books for the next year.
The definition is contained in a proviso to the annual state budget bill, which was signed into law on July 6.
D'VAR TORAH BY: RABBI PROFESSOR MARC SAPERSTEIN for ReformJudaism.org
Does God Command Going to War?
After a five-verse introduction, Parashat D’varim is presented as the beginning of the text of a speech by Moses addressed to the Israelite people not long before his death. The content of this oration is historical: an overview of events experienced by the listeners or their parents, beginning after the Revelation at Sinai and continuing to the present. The events have already been narrated in earlier books of the Torah, but there are subtle shifts that make this not just simple repetition. If the original narratives are a source for history, the Deuteronomy oration is evidence for historical memory. This may be illustrated by focusing on one passage, relating to Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon.
From the algemeiner.com
JNS.org – More than 80 students from nearly 70 campuses will be in Boston from July 29 to Aug. 1 for a high-level training conference on how to successfully respond to campus antisemitism and anti-Israel activism.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) is hosting the conference. The organization is providing all the students with a free trip to Boston to attend four full days of lectures, discussions and workshops.
Ahead of this weekend's event celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, in partnership with KeshetUK we take a look at 10 prime movers shaping attitudes and acceptance of LGBT+ Jews in Britain
Shaan Surat Knan
Shaan is one of the most vocal and visible campaigners within and beyond the Jewish community on LGBT+ inclusion, inspiring people with his openness during his transition.
By Grace Kessler Overbeke for The Forward
I am a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University, where I am currently working on a monograph about the very first Jewish female comedian, Jean Carroll — which is an academic way of saying that I am very, very invested in the actual Jewish, female pioneer of stand-up. I wasn’t sure that “Mrs. Maisel” would do her justice. And though it’s a great show, it doesn’t.
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Beth El is raising funds for a new playground?
Beth El is getting a new playground! If you would like to donate towards this very worthy project, simply send your donations to Beth El Hebrew Congregation and notate "Playground." If you donate on line, the playground fund is first on the list!
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Beth El House
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Beth El House enables formerly homeless families to work toward self-sufficiency and confidence.
High Holy Day Schedule & Information
Book & Author Event
Sunday, September 30, 2018
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Important Shabbat Updates!
* Beginning on June 29th, Shabbat services start at 6:30 PM and will continue to do so for the remainder of the summer.
There are activities, meetings, services and seminars at Beth El each week, ranging from service opportunities to Jewish learning and education, drawing members and guests from throughout the Washington, D.C. area.