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Rabbi's Weekly Message

Rabbi Wexler - Thursday, May 13

Tensions are high, violence has escalated, and peace seems distant. Our thoughts and prayers today are focused on Israel. For the past several days, rocket sirens have blared repeatedly throughout central and southern Israel, sending millions of Israelis rushing for cover. Well over 1,000 rockets from Gaza have been targeted towards Israeli citizens. Israel has responded in turn. It is the worst violence we have seen in years between Israelis and Palestinians. I hope you will take a moment to read the Rabbinical Assembly's Response to the Violent Attacks in Israel and to recite this Prayer for Israel written by Rabbi Mikie Goldstein.

My heart breaks as I pray for peace in Israel.  Children have died on both sides. Yesterday a colleague of mine in Israel wrote in an email: “It's been a very stressful 36 hours here in Israel. Yesterday in Ra'anana, it was quiet all day even though throughout the south there were major missile barrages. Then last night, Hamas shot over 130 rockets in the direction of Tel Aviv and we literally pulled our kids out of bed and raced to our shelter. The kids were traumatized at first (so were we), but we settled them down and by the 6th siren in the middle of the night, they were adapting to a new reality.”

A new reality.  I pray it is a reality that does not last long.  I do not have many answers; I wish I did.  But here is what I do know.  I know that no child—Israeli, Jewish, Arab, Christian, Muslim, Bedoin, or Druze—should ever again have to sleep in a bomb shelter.  I know that we must work towards peace.  And I know that in uncertain moments like these, we have often turned to our tradition and to Torah as guides.  How appropriate that the holiday of Shavuot is just a few days away.  Shavuot is known as Z’man Matan Torateinu- the time of the giving of the Torah.  There is a Hassidic teaching that says that "the Torah was given to make peace in the world.”  Our task is to figure out how Torah can be a harbinger of peace.  How do we use the lessons of Torah to help bring peace in Israel and around the world?

Our 10th grade Confirmation students, who we will celebrate on Shavuot, have spent the year wrestling with questions like these and more.  I am so proud of our Confirmation students for coming together as a class despite their December Israel trip being postponed due to the pandemic and despite the year of mostly virtual learning.  I am proud of them for asking rich questions, deeply exploring their Jewish identities, and wrestling with their beliefs about God. Please take a few minutes to watch this video to meet our Confirmation students and I hope you will join us on Zoom on Monday (May 17th) at 10AM for our Shavuot Day 1 Confirmation Service.  As part of the service, the Confirmands will line the TBS tent and sing Oseh Shalom together as a class.  As they sing, I will be praying for our brothers and sisters, and all people in Israel AND I will be thinking about the peace and hope that our Confirmation students represent. 

May the Torah inspire us to continue to work every day towards peace.

Shabbat Shalom and Mazal Tov to our Confirmands and their families.

A Guide for Zooming Shabbat and Holiday Services

“The Shabbat services that we offer over Zoom help keep us spiritually connected while we are physically distant. Though we normally do not use electronic devices on Shabbat, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement considers this to be a hora’at sha’ah, an extraordinary time, which allows us to make an exception to our normal observance. You can read the halakahic ruling (teshuvah) that comprehensively addresses our situation here. Even though we are using technology to gather for services on Shabbat and holidays, we still try to minimize the use of our devices in honor of Shabbat. Click here to see our guide to help with this.

A PDF version of Siddur Lev Shalem is available HERE or can be purchased at the TBS office for $54 each.

TBS@Home

While our physical building is closed, we are excited to share with you many ways to connect and engage with our TBS family in the upcoming week through our Zoom programs. Check the TBS calendar for listings.

To join a Zoom session, click on the link at the designated time. You can also call into the number provided and enter in the meeting ID number.

Fri, May 14 2021 3 Sivan 5781