From the Desk - Shavuot
Welcome to Our New Members
We are delighted to welcome Judy and Harvey Cherow to Congregation Beth Ora! We look forward to many wonderful times together and are sure you will be very happy in our community.
Last week, we enjoyed a wonderful Kehillah Shabbat at Beth Ora, celebrating the second Bar Mitzvah of four of our members. In addition to the celebration, our service was very participative with members of the community leading the prayers at the beginning and end of the service and reading the Prayer for the State of Israel and the announcements. The service concluded with a Yom Yerushalayim quiz for the children, followed by a delicious celebratory Kiddush. There was a wonderful turnout!
Thoughts on the Week in Israel
This has been a remarkable and tumultuous week for the State of Israel. On Monday, America opened their embassy in Jerusalem. The holiness of Jerusalem, the love for it that Jews have felt for centuries, the history of Jewish experience in the city and the miraculous return leave us in no doubt of where our capital is. These facets of our experience and outlook are far more meaningful to us than any decision made by the Trump administration. Nevertheless, Judaism believes that the experience of Jewish history carries a lesson for all humanity and it does bring me some joy to see the most powerful nation in the world realize the profound and irrevocable connection between the Jewish People and the holy city. Particularly moving for me were Nikki Haley’s concluding words in her address to the UN Security Council: “From humble and desperate beginnings a proud people have realized the prophet Isaiah’s vision of a light unto the nations.”
Sadly, the opening of the Jerusalem Embassy was not the only reason for Israel’s prominence in this week’s media reports. As our brothers and sisters put themselves at risk to protect our people from those seeking to murder Jews, we pray that they shall remain unhurt and successful in protecting our people.
At the same time, our love for our people must never compromise our humanity. It is a tragedy when we think that becoming more of a Jew means becoming less of a human being. I am deeply saddened, sometimes sickened, by the animosity and unfairness exhibited by politicians and journalists toward Israel. At the same time, we mourn the loss of innocent life and our ultimate yearning is that all of humanity will live in peace. The vision of peace is one of the many gifts that Judaism has given to the world. While we pray for the safety of our people and protest against unfair criticism, we must never allow ourselves to speak disparagingly or disrespectfully about anyone, based on their ethnicity.
May Hashem protect us from those who seek to destroy us and those who slander us. May he protect our precious brothers and sisters who defend our people and may we live to see the fulfilment of the prophet’s vision of peace.
We are so excited for the forthcoming festival of Shavuot which we celebrate from Saturday evening until Monday evening. For details on Beth Ora’s Shavuot program, please see here. I particularly encourage you to come along to Beth Ora on Sunday morning when the kids will meet Moses on the Mountain himself (!) and we will all have the opportunity to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments.
For the candle lighting procedure for Shavuot, please click here.
We look forward to another beautiful Yom Tov together.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,
Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf
Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami