10/26/2017

Shabbat Shalom Leh Leha

Candles - October 27th @ 5:38pm
Havdalah - October 28th @ 6:32pm

Special Younger Generation Kiddush this week
sponsored by Ezra Chammah in honor of Rebecca Harary's
candidacy for NYC Council. (See note below.)

All great cultures and religions have stories of journeys and quests. Like the Gilgamish Epic, the Greek Iliad, the Odyssey or the Roman Aeneid. They involve a special person leaving home, suffering, hardships and finally returning home. Often there are awesome creatures, cruel enemies and tragedies. The objects of quests are usually things; the Golden Fleece, chalices, swords or relics.

Abraham is different. He has no intention of returning home, even if he does have to leave the destination, the land God promised, because of famine. The trials he endures are alien cultures and moralities, capricious rulers, divisions within his family, wars. All of which he surmounts and even benefits from in the end. But the fact is that his voyage is not primarily about achieving physical goals or wealth.

What really matters is his relationship with God and with human beings. His desire to be kind, hospitable, to care, is part of his quest to find the right way to live, to worship God and to get closer to understanding what God requires of him.

In both cases, human and Divine he is groping towards a resolution. He finds himself making bad decisions. He trusts the wrong people, he mistakes the will of God. Abraham is no perfect hero. In a way he is like us, everyman. And yet of course he is not. For he is the great spirit who discovers monotheism, who connects the idea of one God, with goodness. Who knows that to serve God is to serve humanity, regardless of whether people agree with his world view or not.

That is why he is the founder of our tradition. That is why he is different to all the other heroes and travelers and favorites of the gods. That is why the Bible calls him Avraham Haivri. Abraham the Jew.

* * *

Visiting this Shabbat and addressing our Kiddush, we welcome Rebecca Harary, Republican Candidate in the coming elections for NYC Council District 4.

After working for years as a successful entrepreneur, Rebecca switched gears and moved into the non-profit realm, where she has excelled in building successful organizations for people in need. Over the last 15 years, Rebecca has founded two non-profit schools; The Imagine Academy for Autism and The Yeshiva Prep High School for children with mild learning challenges.

Additionally, Rebecca was the Founding Executive Director of the Moise Safra Community Center, where she raised over $25 million for the construction of a new state-of-the-art building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan for Sephardic Jewish families. She also founded The Propel Network, whose focus is to benefit Jewish women seeking to join the work force.

Today, Rebecca sits on the Board of Directors for all four organizations, and believes her personal and business experience can serve best to benefit the needs of all New Yorkers.

Rebecca is also the mother of six wonderful children, and she is also a grandmother. She and her husband of 34 years live on Manhattan's Upper East Side, and enjoy attending Shabbat services with Rabbi Rosen.

* * *

Join Me @ jeremyrosen.com.

I invite you to join me at my website: www.jeremyrosen.com. This site will combine my weekly blog with other commentary and writings. It is also the easiest way to get in touch with me.

If you would like to subscribe to automatically receive my blog, please go to the website and fill out the "Subscribe To My List" form on the right side of the homepage.

10/19/2017

Shabbat Noah

Shabbat Rosh Hodesh Heshvan
Candles - October 20th @ 5:48pm
Havdalah - October 21st @ 6:41pm

Mazal Tov to Nico Moinian and Alexa Hakim on their wedding!

Two birds figure prominently in this week’s reading, the dove and the raven. One kosher and one not. One a symbol of peace, the other of evil and magic. One white the other black. One feeds on grain, the other on flesh.

In the story of Noah’s flood the ark finally comes to rest on the 17th day of the 7th month. It takes time for the water to drop further and on the 10th day of the 10th month he sends out a raven and the raven does not return. Leaving aside the symbolism of the numbers, the raven immediately found flesh to land on and eat. He did not need the ark anymore. Noah then sent the dove out and the dove returned because, there was nothing yet for the dove to eat. Noah waited another seven days. This time the dove returned with an olive leaf in its bill. A good sign but not enough to feed on. That was why the dove returned. Noah waited another seven days and sent out the dove again. This time it did not return.

The dove with an olive leaf has become the symbol of peace in cultures influenced by the Biblical story. How ironic that even the Disunited Nations has adopted it as its symbol. Though they seem to think it was an Olive branch (which has now entered the English language) rather than a leaf. Question. Were Adam and Eve covered with branches or leaves?

We project on to animals our own thoughts and interpretations. Dove good, raven bad. In truth their habits, in terms of caring for their mates, their young, competition for partners and nesting sites are pretty similar despite their different diets. If anything, ravens are cleverer both as mimics and in creativity. They can mimic humans too. Both served Noah. And from this we learn that animals, birds, all creatures, have skills we can make use of and should be valued.

But we humans are so self-centred that we think only of what serves us and in imposing our superstitions, preconceptions and cultural icons, our world on theirs. Noah’s flood is a story that reminds us of natural catastrophes but it should also remind us of man-made ones too.

* * * *

PS: After years of reluctance, I’ve decided to experiment with a pilot “conversation” podcast. The format will be for a moderator to present topics or questions to me and I will discuss them while engaging in a conversation with a moderator and/or guests and then we will post and distribute them.

I have been fortunate in that Michael Deutsch has been instrumental in helping me with my site altogether. And has offered to help gather the topics and questions for this pilot. He’s currently taking suggestions. If you have anything you would like to ask or have discuss, please send him an email to michael(at)4thbin.com. Your input goes only to him and he will withhold names. So don’t be shy.

10/10/2017

Last Days of Sucot & Simhat Torah

Timetable Sucot 2017 & Simhat Torah

We are delighted to have as our “Bridegrooms” Hatanim on Simhat Torah:
Richard Warshak Hatan Nearim
Daniel Danesh Hatan Torah
Mousa Noorani Hatan Bereishit

Please join us on Friday morning, October 13th, to celebrate and have fun.
If you would like to stay for a sit-down lunch, please confirm with Tony Zand.

Shmini Atzeret & Simhat Torah
Wednesday, October 11th - Candles @ 6:01pm

Thursday, October 12th - Candles @ 6:55pm
Evening of Simhat Torah together with Park East:

Friday, 13th October - Simhat Torah service @ 9:30am
Reading the Torah followed by dancing @ 10:30am

Candles @ 5:58pm

Shabbat Bereishit Saturday, October 14th
Havdalah @ 6:52pm

10/03/2017

Sucot 2017

First Days of Sucot 2017
Wednesday, October 4th - Candles @ 6:13 pm
Thursday, October 5th - Service @ 9:30 am

The Eshaghian family will be celebrating Mr. Moussa Eshaghian’s Birthday on 1st day of Sucot, October 5th, 2017. The family will be sponsoring the Kiddush in his honor and are delighted to invite the community to join them.

The Talmud gives three reasons for the commandment to build a Sucah on the festival of Sucot.

The first is that future generations would know and be reminded that in our distant past we were refugees in the desert without proper homes and the Almighty shepherded us through those difficult times into our homeland. History.

The second is protection from the sun. We live in a world of contrasts, nature can nurture and benefit and it can destroy. We need to take steps to protect ourselves. To understand the natural world and care for it and for ourselves. Nature.

The third is the temporariness of life. Its transience. It can be gone or destroyed in a flash. And that is why we need to appreciate the gift of life. It is not permanent or guaranteed. Life.

All three of these require the presence of God. And they are relevant to each one of us. But we will focus on what presents the most urgent challenge to our immediate lives as Jews and citizens.

Join Me @ jeremyrosen.com
I invite you to join me at my website: www.jeremyrosen.com. This site will combine my weekly blog with other commentary and writings. It is also the easiest way to get in touch with me.

If you would like to subscribe to automatically receive my blog, please go to the website and fill out the "Subscribe To My List" form on the right side of the homepage.