9/27/2018

Shabbat Hol Hamoed Sukot and Simhat Torah

Candles - Friday, September 28th @ 6:22pm
Havdalah - September 29th @ 7:16pm

Shmini Atzeret
Candles - Sunday, October 30th @ 6:18pm

Monday, October 1st
Morning Service @ 9:30am
Evening Hakafot with Park East

Simhat Torah
Tuesday, October 2nd
Morning Service @ 9:30am

The Hatanim are:
Leon Pesach
Jonathan Aghravi
Ryan Elazari

Communal Luncheon Tuesday @ 12pm
(For reservations call Tony Zand.)


On the Shabbat of Sucot we read the Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), attributed to Solomon. It seems on the surface to be very cynical. Nothing seems to be worth anything, neither money, nor pleasure, not even wisdom. Yet he says there is a time for everything. For war and peace, to love, to hate, to build, to destroy. What does he mean?

His message is that there is no single secret to happiness or success. Each person has to find his or her own route. Everything has its place. But if one thinks anything in itself is the answer, one will only be disappointed. The challenge in life is to learn to cope. To fulfill one’s potential and to find a balance. To enjoy what one can of life when one has the opportunity (so long as it is legal), but to realize that without a spiritual perspective one will always be missing something.

It’s worth reading in translation, if not in Hebrew. It’s short, full of wisdom and quotations you may be familiar with, like: “There’s nothing new under the sun.” And that was written over 2,000 years ago!


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You Are Invited to my Weekly Classes

I invite you to join me for a weekly class after services and kiddush in the shul every Saturday afternoon at 12:30pm. The current topic is Rambam (Maimonides) on Tefillah (prayer).

You are also invited to my weekly "What the Bible Says and What It Doesn't" class at the JCC on Amsterdam and West 75th St every Monday from 1:30pm - 3:00pm.


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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.

9/20/2018

Shabbat Ha'azinu

Candles - Friday, September 21st @ 6:34pm
Havdalah - September 22nd @ 7:28pm
Kiddush this week sponsored by Jonathan Zamir,
to celebrate the arrival of Lilah

Sucot - Monday and Tuesday
Morning services will start at 9:30am
Kiddush in the Sucah

Ha’azinu is all poetry. Moses has delivered some long speeches in prose about the Nation of Israel. Describing their constitution and values and warning them of the dangers of assimilation and trying to emulate other nations and other cultures, of abandoning Judaism as many of us always have. Only a remnant remains faithful. Whey then does he feel the need to repeat it all in admittedly beautiful poetry?

Prose states thing clearly and usually simply. It is not open to multiple meanings even though it is open to interpretation. Just as the American Constitution is interpreted by Originalists who want to understand what the words meant originally. As opposed to the evolutionists who want to understand how they should mean now. But they can all agree on what the words actually are.

Usually when you want someone to do something you tell them in prose. Poetry is different. It uses words very differently. It either rhymes or repeats words with a rhythm or scansion. It is easier to remember. And in ancient times before printing presses, most people leant traditions through songs and oral communication. The beauty of poetry is that most people bring their own imagination to understanding the message.

We know that people are different. Some like reading. Some like singing. Some like painting. People experience and describe their worlds differently and are inspired in different ways.

That was why Moses felt the need to convey his message both in prose and in poetry so that we might receive the message, each one of us, according to our temperaments and preferences.


You Are Invited to my Weekly Classes

I invite you to join me for a weekly class after services and kiddush in the shul every Saturday afternoon at 12:30pm. The current topic is Rambam (Maimonides) on Tefillah (prayer).

You are also invited to my weekly "What the Bible Says and What It Doesn't" class at the JCC on Amsterdam and West 75th St every Monday from 1:30pm - 3:00pm.


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.

9/13/2018

Shabbat Vayeyleh, Shabbat Shuvah

Candles - Friday, September 14 @ 6:45pm
Havdalah - September 15 @ 15 @ 7:40pm

Yom Kipur
Fast begins Tuesday, September 18 @ 6:40pm
Kol Nidrei 6:45pm
Yom Kipur Torah reading - Wednesday @ 10:30am
Neilah 6:00pm
Fast ends 7:33pm

The Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur is called Shabbat Shuva. Normally translated “the Shabbat of repentance.” But in fact, it does not really mean that. Repentance is when you have done something bad which you regret. The word Shuvameans rather to return. And return means something else. You can return from somewhere without necessarily having done any act that is wrong or without having committed a sin at all.

According to most authorities, there is no explicit command in the Torah to repent. Though Ramban (Nachmanides) did, in fact, say there was. The Torah initially uses the words Shav, Tashuvsimply to mean to return to the dust or home. Later in the Book of Devarim the words are used to describe Israelites returning to God and God returning to Israel after they turned their backs on him.

We may never have been close to God. We may never have lived religious lives. We nowadays call someone who becomes religious a Baal Teshuva. This does not necessarily mean that he or she has returned to something, because they may never have had it. Rather that they have found something new.

It means raising one’s game to reach a higher, more conscious, more spiritual level. So, when the Torah talks about God returning to Israel, it is not as if God has behaved badly or was irreligious. Just that there was no relationship and now God is open to it. We have an opportunity to explore the possibility of having one or of upping our game to make it more intense and meaningful. It means in other words, to establish or enhance a relationship.


You Are Invited to my Weekly Classes

I invite you to join me for a weekly class after services and kiddush in the shul every Saturday afternoon at 12:30pm. The current topic is Rambam (Maimonides) on Tefillah (prayer).

You are also invited to my weekly "What the Bible Says and What It Doesn't" class at the JCC on Amsterdam and West 75th St every Monday from 1:30pm - 3:00pm.


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.

9/06/2018

Shabbat Nitzavim & Rosh Hashana

Candles - September 7th @ 6:58pm
Havdalah - September 8th @ 7:52pm

Erev Rosh Hashana
Sunday, September 9th
Candles @ 6:55pm
Evening service @ 7:00pm

1st Day of Rosh Hashana
Monday, September 10th
Shacharit 9:30am
Torah @ 10:45am
Shofar @ 11:30am
Musaf @ 11:30am
Sermon @ 12:15pm
Evening service @ 7:00pm

2nd Day of Rosh Hashana
Tuesday, September 11th
Shacharit @ 9:30am
Torah @ 10:45am
Shofar @ 11:30am
Musaf @ 11:30am
Sermon @ 12:15pm
Festival ends @ 7:47pm

This week’s reading from the Torah, Nitzavim, is yet another last will and testament of Moses before he dies. In it he gathers everyone together to reiterate the covenant, the contract, between God and the Jewish people. That it is a voluntary contract, and it is really up to us to decide if we wish to accept it or not. Which sounds strange given all the terrible things that he says will happen to us if we reject or abandon the Torah, which is what connects us specifically, as Jews, to God. But in fact, this is no more than a parent warning children that if they make the wrong decisions in life, there will be severe consequences.

What I have always found remarkable is that Moses specifically addresses everyone, in this massive public assembly. Male, female, old, young, even babies. Those born Jewish and those who decide to join. How can children have any idea of what they are expected to commit to?

I suggest it implies that subconsciously children could have been aware of such a significant event. Parents bringing their children to this great event in itself would have an impact on children. That, after all, has been the secret of our survival--our ability (or inability) to pass on to our children what matters to us. That was the test of how important something was to the parents. Children soon work out what matters to their parents and how much. This has an important impact on them. Not the only one of course; society is very strong and seductive. But even an attachment that is weak and lies dormant can always revive.