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Rabbi Heilman’s Message of the Week 4/3/19

Shalom chaverim (Friends),

Spring plays its usual pranks on us (I don’t think people actually invented April Fools’ Day, it’s all Nature laughing at us!). At this time of year, we go back and forth from spring to winter, and back again. And yet, time marches on and some things are unstoppable. Things like children growing up and becoming young adults. Every culture has its coming of age rituals; in Judaism, of course, it is the bar or bat mitzvah. This Shabbat we are fortunate to celebrate a joint b’nai mitzvah (the plural of the event, in modern Hebrew). Caroline Goren and her cousin from Colorado, Mason Scanlon, will be called up to the Torah as young adults this Shabbat. It will be, with God’s help, a joyous event for the families as well as for the entire congregation. It’s always so moving to see these young adults taking their place in the Jewish community, accepting the responsibilities and privileges that come along with belonging to an ancient people and civilization. Services Friday evening will begin at 7:30, and in my sermon I will speak about “Why Torah?”. Shabbat services will take place Saturday morning at 9:30 AM. There will be no other temple events this weekend, but we WILL have a regular temple weekend NEXT Shabbat, April 12-14, including adult ed on Saturday, and Religious School (our annual Model Seder) on Sunday.

I look forward to seeing you soon,

Rabbi Boaz Heilman

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Shalom chaverim (friends),

This weekend we will be celebrating Purim at TBI. At services on Friday

evening, instead of the usual Torah reading, I will retell the story of Esther.

My sermon, however, will focus on the weekly Torah portion (Tzav, Leviticus

6:1–8:36), as I relate some of its messages to current events. The holiday of

Purim has many traditions and commandments associated with it, including

reading the Scroll of Esther, wearing costumes (I plan to wear a costume to

services), rejoicing, sharing gifts of food with neighbors and friends (called in

Hebrew mishlo’ach manot) and giving tzedakah to the poor.

Adult Ed on Saturday will be at noon. Following a dairy pot luck meal, I will

talk about “Israel and the Making Of The Modern Middle East.” A miracle of

no less significance than the one that took place in Persia more than 2000

years ago, the history of the creation of modern Israel is complex and involves

a cast of thousands if not millions. It’s a story that sometimes gets lost in the

midst of the blood and smoke of war and terrorism. Hopefully my talk will

shed some light on the global events that led to the establishment of the State

of Israel in 1948.

Sunday at Religious School I will once again fulfill the commandment of

telling the story of Purim. Lunch will follow our RS session. Students as well

as adults are encouraged to come in costume.

I look forward to seeing you this weekend.


Rabbi Heilman


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Celebrating Survival: Purim and Passover – March 8th, 2019 Sermon

Celebrating Survival: Purim and Passover
By Rabbi Boaz D. Heilman
Shabbat Pekudei, March 8, 2019

As we enter the spring months, we also set out on a journey of Jewish holidays rich with historical and spiritual meaning. Last month, in the midst of some of the coldest temperatures of the year, we celebrated the holiday of Tu Bishvat—The New Year of the Trees—a reminder that even though spring may seem a long way off, it really is on its way. One of the lessons of Tu Bishvat is that our actions and behavior have bearing on the world around us. We can make deserts bloom, or we can make forests disappear, and rivers run dry. Both are in our power. The choice is ours.

Purim and Passover carry this idea onward, but now applied not to the world at large, the world around us; but rather to us, ourselves: Us as Jews, members of one of the oldest, most luminous and vibrant civilizations still extant today, the Jewish People.

The message of our spring holidays is that we can either let ourselves fade and disappear, or we can reaffirm our identity, and go on turning into reality the visions and purposes entrusted to us more than three thousand years ago.

It’s always been up to us: To be—or disappear. Keep on reading!