Thursday, March 19, 2009

What They Say About Stamford...

This week's Jewish Week features our own little corner of the world, Stamford Connecticut. Read what they have to say about our little town.

That's all well and good. But lately, not all the publicity has been so positive. We are the town, after all, where chimps mutilate humans and high school students tragically shoot their friends (and our hearts do go out to the family and friends of Daniel Villeda). We are the home of professional wrestling and the new home of - did I hear this correctly - Jerry Springer. We've got busloads of Catholics protesting in Hartford even when a proposal offensive to them had been withdrawn. And now, in Fairfield county communities, the village mobs are besieging the mansions of AIG executives who received bonuses. And as Conservative Jews, we have to be concerned about the anger brewing because of the current leadership crisis in Conservative Movement as well.

We're becoming the capital of anger, and there's a lot of it out there right now. At least we are doing our best to keep a lid on emotions here in or little corner of Stamford's Upper West Side. We've been addressing the current economic crisis in a most supportive and caring manner. There is a sense of common purpose that pervades all that goes on here, from classes to meetings to services. We need to continue to be the calm within the Stamford Storm.

This week's portion speaks of the prohibited labors of Shabbat- all of them, by rabbinic extension, but one in particular most directly. In Exodus 35:3 it states:

לא תבערו אש בכל משבתיכם

"Do not kindle a fire in all your settlements on the Sabbath day."

This verse is more than just a reminder not to cook or turn the lights on. It is interpreted to include the fire of anger. As Humash Etz Hayyim puts it, "Arguments and angry shouts are as much a disruption of Shabbat as working and spending of money."

During a time of great stress, let this verse be a reminder to all of us to "cool it," not just on Shabbat, but everyday. Let our Shabbat this week kindle a different kind of flame, that of love and spiritual fervor.

Join us for Shabbat Across America and Shabbat Unplugged tonight - and for services tomorrow - and let's GET HAPPY.

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