From the Desk - the Solar Eclipse
Shalom Friends! I hope you're all well. After a short family vacation, I'm back in full force and we have an amazing line up of events leading up to Rosh Hashanah. This evening, we have our annual raffle draw and reception and, next week, we invite you to join us for our last BBQ of what has been a very successful season! On Sunday, we have a very important Beth Ora event. I am proud to be part of a community that regularly hosts events in memory of the Holocaust. As the number of survivors we have decreases, we are committed to honoring the memory of those who perished and showing our honor to those who survived the Holocaust. If you weren't planning to attend on Sunday, please consider doing so. Let's send out a strong message, particularly to our next generation, that remembering the Holocaust is important to us as a community and as individuals. Other things to look out for is our fruit salad making event on September 10th. In our community in London, we initiated the fruit salad making event in which members of the community of all ages come together to make a huge fruit salad which is then distributed to homes and shelters. It was a wonderful way of bringing together the community and, nine years later, it remains an annual event in the synagogue! So, I hope you'll all come out in full force on the morning of September 10th to be part of this special program. If you think you can donate some fruit for the cause or help to deliver fruit to homes and shelters, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also excited for the re-launch of Junior Congregation on September 16th. Other things to look out for include our first night selichot program on which, in addition to the memorial program and selichot prayers, we welcome guest speaker Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger who has a wealth of experience in helping addicts. Rabbi Bresinger will be asking whether we are really capable of change and how we can relate to those who have harmed us. The program will be on the evening of Saturday September 16th. Please see synagogue publicity for further details. Finally, if you have young children, please mark in the morning of Sunday September 17th for our special Pre-Yom Tov kids' craft program which features honey pot decorating, Challah sprinkling, Sukkah decorations and much more! We are delighted to be providing these programs and look forward to many of you joining us. And if you have a friend who is not yet a member of Beth Ora - invite them to come along as well! There’s just one more thing I wanted to draw your attention to. Last week, we started the Member Spotlight feature in our newsletter. Each member spotlight will feature a little interview with a member of Beth Ora about their experience in life and in the community. We hope this will encourage us to find out more about each other and get to know the very special members of our community. Next time you are at a Beth Ora event, try to find someone you don’t know (you may have seen them but may not know their name). Introduce yourself and get to know them because there are so many wonderful people who come here and, when we get to know each other, our lives are all enriched and our community becomes stronger. Wishing you Shabbat Shalom and looking forward to lots of exciting and meaningful occasions, Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami
What's the Deal With...the Solar Eclipse? So, according to what I read somewhere, Montreal was to witness a 60% eclipse. I don't know about anybody else but, when the day came on Monday, I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. Having said that, there was a crazy rainstorm mid-afternoon on Tuesday, during which it seemed like it was the middle of the night so maybe we just experienced it late! This piece might also be a bit on the late side but it is interesting to contemplate, after the fact, the significance of eclipse from a Jewish perspective. I am grateful for an article that Rabbi Gil Student wrote on the topic. He notes the following:
The Rebbe of Chabad explained that we don't say a blessing on a solar eclipse because the Talmud says it is a bad omen.
Other sources explain the Talmudic statement allegorically and understand 'solar eclipse' to refer to the death of the righteous.
Others understand that the Talmud is not referring to solar eclipses at all but, rather, to sunspots.