Friday, March 15, 2013

Shabbat O' Gram for March 16


Shabbat Shalom 

This week’s Shabbat-O-Gram is  sponsored by Nicole and Ron Zussman
in honor of their son, Max, becoming a Bar Mitzvah.

Top O’ the Shabbat To You!

That’s the best I can do on the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day.  Lots of mazal tovs to go around this week:  Mazal tov to Max Zussman and family, as he becomes bar mitzvah this Shabbat.   Mazal tov and best wishes to our Catholic neighbors on the ascension of Pope Francis to his new role.  Among his many credentials cited over the past couple of days are the new pope’s close relations with the Jewish community of Argentina. Mazal tov also to Prime Minister Netanyahu (or “Bibi,” as president Obama has now taken to calling his good buddy) and his soon-to-be sworn in government.  The President’s trip to Israel next week (see the schedule here) promises to be filled with symbolism, if short on substance.  His highly touted interview on Israeli TV was aired last night and it is clear that direct outreach to the Israeli people will be a major theme next week.  Israelis are a cynical bunch, especially when it comes to Obama, but when someone comes to visit them, it can transform the relationship completely.  Anwar Sadat and Bill Clinton are the most compelling examples, but there have been others. 

This is National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath, and with legislation pending both in Washtington and Hartford, this is most definitely a time to heed Hillel’s oft quoted maxim,  “If Not Now, When?” This is a time for all faiths to reflect on the plague of gun violence in our society.  And this Shabbat morning, we'll be doing just that.

Minyan Matters

This coming week we mark the yahrzeit of Frank Rosner, Mr. Beth El, who was loved by all and who championed the morning minyan.  With that in mind, and with the ongoing challenges that have faced our morning minyan, our ritual committee asks all congregants to rededicate themselves to this important mitzvah.  We’ve even put up a sign at our Roxbury Rd. entrance to act as a constant reminder.  And if you happen to be driving by at 7:30 on a weekday (to or from Westhill drop off, perhaps), by all means, stop on by.  Here is a personal note from Eileen Rosner.

Dear Congregant,

I am writing to ask you to consider attending our morning minyan.  As many of you know, Minyan was very important to my father and remains so for me.  Kaddish cannot be recited without ten people, as you know, and this winter it has been a very challenging number to meet.  Normally we get there, but on some days, particularly Monday and Thursday (Torah reading days), it's been hard.   When people ask for a guaranteed minyan that typically helps, but some are uncomfortable asking for that, so many come without reciting their personal prayer.  If you have ever said Kaddish at our minyan, you know how powerful that experience can be, and how wonderful it is to have a supportive community around you.  Please know that your presence can be just as powerful for someone else with the similar needs.  If you've never been here on a weekday or Sunday morning, know that it can feel so good to help another person, and that performing that mitzvah can really lift your own spirits as you start your day.   Please consider doing this mitzvah just a little more frequently so that everyone has a chance to say Kaddish.  If every congregant pledged to come here just a couple of times each year (though monthly or weekly would be even better), we would never have to worry!

I thank you for your consideration.  With warm wishes for a Sweet Passover, 

Eileen Rosner

Yes, you can get haroset flavored ice cream in Israel this year. As someone commented on my Facebook page, either this is going to be delicious... or disgusting!

Pesach is Coming

Plan to join Cantor Mordecai, Rev Kate Heichler, the New World Chorus and myself, along with a host of others from many faiths, at our second annual Interfaith Seder, here next Thursday, March 21.  See the flyer here. Last year's Seder attracted well over a hundred people, and the theme for this year is compelling: "From Egypt to Sinai, Selma to Sandy Hook: Liberation from a Culture of Violence."  


With an "early" Passover sneaking up on us quickly, it's easy to be caught off guard regarding Seder preparations.  As in years past, I'd like to compile a list of households with space at the table for guests who might be looking.  If you have room at your table, please indicate how many spaces and for which night(s), whether you can accommodate children and any other information that would be helpful to know.  I would get back to you with names of prospective guests to invite, as the need arises.


Find the complete 2013 Rabbinical Assembly Passover Guide at this link.
Find a Search for Hametz guide with study materials here.
Read about the laws and customs of hametz here.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

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