Thursday, March 22, 2018
Shabbat-O-Gram for March 23
Inspired by Cantor Fishman and assisted by Heidi Ganz, TBE's Broadway Group has nearly sold out our allotment of tickets for "The Band's Visit" on May 3. Tickets are $119.00 (center orchestra) or $99.00 (side orchestra). To purchase tickets, RSVP to Linda Rezak at 203-322-6901, ext. 302 or e-mail LindaR@tbe.org. All checks, payable to Temple Beth El, must be received no later than March 25 - no exceptions!
Join us on Friday night for Kabbalat Shabbat services at 7:30. And Friday night also features a family dinner and the Chocolate Seder, one of our annual highlights. I've gotten a sneak preview of the haggadah, created by Lisa Gittelman Udi, and our 3rd and 4th graders will lead it. I hear Matzo Man might be making a surprise appearance too. Can't wait!
On Shabbat morning we'll celebrate the naming of Brooke Eva Susman, daughter of Heather and Ben Susman. We've also got Shabbabimbam for the young children, and Meryl Silverstein will be delivering the D'var Torah.
On Sunday at 7:30 PM, the TBE Discussion Group will be having a dramatic reading of the play, "Oslo," which, if you didn't see it during its limited, Tony-winning Broadway run, you should run down here to see!
The interfaith Seder at Grace Farms, originally set for tonight, was postponed due to the snow. It will now be held on Tuesday evening, March 27, at Grace Farms, so there is still time to register (though with over 100 signed up, space is limited): Here is the link to the registration site. We will focus on welcoming the stranger, highlighting questions like this one:
What is the meaning of home at a time when 65 million people are refugees and when the average American moves 11.4 times in his/her lifetime?
These facts will frame our Interfaith conversation:
- There are now an estimated 258 million people living in a country other than their country of birth - an increase of 49% since 2000.
- An unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home.
- Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.
- There are also 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment, and freedom of movement.
- The UN reports that nearly 20 people are forcibly displaced every minute.
Passover begins next Friday night. A reminder that we will not have services here next week on Friday night, but we will have festival services on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, April 1 and 2, the first two days of the holiday. On the first day, I'll be discussing the new book by Bible scholar Richard Elliot Friedman, "The Exodus: How It Happened and Why It Matters." On Friday, the Fast of the First Born, at morning minyan, I'll conduct a brief rabbinical discourse known as a Siyyum, so that the first born may eat.
Please get your Sale of Hametz forms to me by Thursday afternoon.
Some new material to enhance your holiday
HIAS 2018 Haggadah Supplement: Welcome the Stranger, Protect the Refugee - timely material to enhance your Seder, from the legendary organization that has protected and resettled refugees since the Jewish immigrants of the Lower East Side in 1881.
Global Justice Haggadah - by the American Jewish World Service
Limmud Hevruta Project - Limmud has compiled an alternative four questions for you to explore with your family and friends this Pesach. Study material is provided on topics such as, "Are Jews outside of Israel truly free?" "Are Jews in Israel truly free?" "Are non-Jews in Israel free?" And, "What does this mean to you?" Guaranteed to start an interesting and deep discussion about Jewish identity - or a brawl.
Pardes Interactive Seder Activities - fun activities for all ages designed to make your Seder memorable, including "Truth or Dare" prompts.
Hadar Pesach Resources - lots of material from the innovative NY Jewish think tank
Shalom Hartman Institute Pesach Resources - a selection of essays, videos, and Seder material for download by Hartman scholars on Pesach, exploring a range of issues.
When discussing the four children and their different understandings of Judaism, pass around the table this vision statement for freedom of religion in Israel - so that Israel can be a true home for Jews of all backgrounds and beliefs. Many have already signed this petition, including me. Consider signing on to it yourself, and pass it along to your family and friends.
While chomping on the green vegetable and thinking of spring, pass this visionary document around too: "The Time is Now: The Theological Basis for Saving the Planet." This is a project of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, a group we have been close to since the construction of our solar panel project. I'll be delivering the keynote address at their annual Earthkeepers Dinner on Wed. May 9 in West Hartford, and we'll join with many religious institutions in dedicating the weekend of April 20-22 to the sustenance of our planet.
March for Our Lives
Last week, I shared some thoughts about the importance of the March for Our Lives, and its relation to Shabbat, which I subsequently shared with readers of Times of Israel and the Religion News Service. It's gotten lots of traction and I've received some heartwarming responses.
One was from Rabbi Jennifer Singer from Sarasota, who mentioned the article in a letter to her congregation. I share her posting here because she so beautifully put into words the exact sentiments I want to share with you on what I believe will be a historic weekend.
My plans have crystallized. I will be going to the March in Stamford, along with hundreds of others from our region. It so happens that this march is being coordinated by fellow TBE adults and teens, including teen leader Alyssa Goldberg, so here is where I can make the most difference - especially in supporting our teens. Because I'll be local, I'll be able to attend much of our Shabbat morning service and participate in the naming for Heather and Ben Susman's new baby girl. Then, I'll go out and try to make little Brooke's world a little safer.
Here is Rabbi Singer's letter: