Last year around this time, William and I were chatting on our way home from Lehrhaus as we are wont to do. In Lehrhaus we learn from the texts of our tradition, the sage rabbis and scholars who came before us, our engaging teacher, Mr. Rosenberg, and from each other. It was 9 January 2018 and we were talking about the year ahead and what makes us happy. I had one of those special parenting moments that are precious and too rare.
The future of Judaism is secure! We started off the new year strong with William Gorstein being called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah on 6 October. All of us who know William know he is Mr. Personality—thoughtful, funny, generous, kind and always so stylish. It was wonderful to see him lead the service where all of these traits were evident as he led us in davening and shared an impressive d’var on B’reishit.
It’s the return that’s the hardest. A friend of mine recently came back from a trip to Europe. After being back for four days, he told me he was finally able to sleep through the night and feels more acclimated to the Central time zone again. I have been back and forth to Europe several times and can transition to wherever I go really well. But it’s the return that is hard for me.
It's August, and you know what that means. School is right around the corner! Squeeze in the picnics, the swimming pools, the fishing, camp, camping, and camp outs.
9 August, Israeli dancing at 7:30pm at our synagogue
17 August, Shabbat in the park with us at Devonshire Park next to our synagogue at 4422 Greenwood St, in Skokie at 7pm.
22 September, Back to school! Register now.
We have sprouts! So many that I have transplanted our parsley to a new pot. The lovely planting project during religious school on Tu B’shevat has resulted in parsley sprouts growing for Pesach. They grow a little more every day. I can’t help thinking as I watch them grow, that they are a metaphor for us, who also take weeks to get ready for Pesach.
Purim is upon us, so that means things are a bit mixed up and not everything is what it seems. So what else is new? I’ve noticed that it’s not just me who has been lamenting these topsy-turvy times in which we live. Are our times really unique or, now that we are the adults, is this just our turn? Both are true.
Ah, the famous saying of parents. Time really does fly. Religious school starts in a month. Public school for my children begins in 10 days. It’s hard to believe that we are already in mid-August. We were talking about this today at the beach with our friends. What, pray tell, do you like about religious school, I asked. Darling Dalia chimed in immediately, I like studying big questions with good friends.
There are many things I love about Judaism. One of them is the premium Jews place on education. The Talmud states it is a parent’s responsibility to see that children are raised and educated in Judaism. I’ve drawn on a lot of resources to live up to my responsibility.
Saturday was a fun and productive day in our Bet, Gimmel and Dalet class. First, we discussed this week’s Parsha from Exodus titled Va’eira. Rabbi Weill discussed the story of Pharaoh, and the turmoil Jews experienced in Egypt. No matter how bitter their lives were, the Parsha still teaches us an important moral, the importance of being grateful for the things we have.
Each week brings challenges: professional, personal, financial. You may feel besieged by others. You may feel your old patterns (the bad ones) returning. You may feel nervous or confused.
And then that awesome exit sign appears: "Shabbos: Next Right". Or perhaps, "Shabbos: Tomorrow Night!"
Yes, the week may weary us, but Shabbat surely refreshes us. Please join us tomorrow evening, 7 pm, for Koleinu, our musical Shabbat evening service with guitars, djembe, and, of course, koleinu, " our voice".
This year is the 75th anniversary of the Kindertransport, the nine month effort to bring Jewish children from Europe to England, to safety. That humanitarian project began shortly after Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass."