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Parashat Yitro and Habits
By Cantor Jeri Robins, BJEP’s Director
The Torah portion, Yitro, is among my favorite in the Torah. This is the part of the Torah where we receive the Ten Commandments. But, the reason that I like it so much is because of how the Torah portion starts. Moses is listening to the grievances of the Israelites, sitting as a judge from the morning until the evening. His father-in-law, Yitro (Jethro), asks him, “what is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why are you sitting alone?” Moses responds that the people are coming to him to help them settle their disputes, so that they will know what to do in order to follow God’s laws. In what I imagine as a combination of humor and exhortation, Yitro replies,
לֹא-טוֹב, הַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה, עֹשֶׂה.
“This thing that you are doing, it is not good!” (more…)
As we approach Thanksgiving this year, I want to offer two observations. The first is that there are Jewish connections to the holiday. There is historical evidence that, prior to coming to the New World, the Pilgrims lived among Sephardic Jews in Holland for a brief time. During that period, they would have experienced Sukkot celebrations, which then served as part of the inspiration for Thanksgiving, including eating seasonal foods that would have been harvested, such as apples and squashes. In addition, there are those who say that the cornucopia imagery of Thanksgiving is drawn from the shape of a shofar.
The definition of “serve” is varied. For example, as an intransitive verb (not having a direct object and, yes, I had to look that up), it has seven different meanings, including:
Shalom! I am so happy to be starting my third year serving BJEP as your Director.
As you might expect, the start of school and High Holiday preparations are always daunting for a Jewish professional and no prayer brings that point home more than the Hineni (הִנֵנִי), which reflects on the ability to pray with humility and sincerity, while fearing that one is unworthy of the task. Hineni ִmeans much more than just the perfunctory “here” some of us may remember from attendance in school. Rather, Hineni ִis “I am ready” or “I am prepared” or, more liberally, “I am present and paying close attention to what is being asked of me.”
Written by Cantor Jeri Robins
Shavuot is one of my favorite holidays. It is the third of our three festival holidays, so-called because, in Temple times, Jews from all over would travel to Jerusalem to make sacrifices. In fact, in Hebrew, Shavuot, along with Sukkot and Pesach (Passover), are called the Shalosh Regalim ([literally] the three legs or feet), because for each of these three holidays people went walking on a pilgrimage. Just as Passover is associated with freedom and redemption from slavery, Shavuot is associated with receiving the Torah or revelation. To mark the occasion, the Ten Commandments are read on Shavuot. Each of the festivals is also marked by a special reading: on Sukkot, we read from the Book of Ecclesiastes (“for everything there is a season” – as we enter fall and winter); on Pesach, we read from the Song of Songs (love poetry); and, on Shavuot, we read the Book of Ruth.
This special Family Day is designed to celebrate the BJEP community. Please plan to stay at Family Table with your children.
Family Table is the largest kosher food pantry in New England. As volunteers we will be setting up the pantry, sorting food donations, packaging orders for recipient families, and delivering to recipients many of which are unable to drive or lack transportation.
Please plan to attend Family Table with your children and keep in mind we will be using our own cars so you may want to coordinate carpools to make the delivering more fun! Read more about volunteer and recipient experiences at Family Table: https://www.jfcsboston.org/Our-Services/Community-Services/Center-for-Basic-Needs-Assistance/Family-Table
Join us for a very fun morning filled with games, prizes and more!
Interested in cultivating your child’s authentic connection to Jewish tradition, culture, and values? Looking for an independent Hebrew School with passionate teachers and a fun curriculum? Seeking to become a part of a Jewish community?
BJEP, a vibrant and innovative educational program serving students from pre-K to Grade 7 and their families invites you to join us at one of our Open Houses this Spring. Through an interactive curriculum, BJEP instills in our students a sense of joy and belonging within the Jewish community and knowledge of Jewish traditions and the Hebrew language.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on where to park.
Judaism teaches the importance of intergenerational learning, l’dor v’dor - from generation to generation. Join us as 6th graders honor an important family member by presenting their legacy.
We invite all parents to visit the legacy fair!