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Weekly Message 01.06.2023 Parashat Vayechi

Parashat Vayechi (and he lives) Genesis 47:28 - 50:26

HafTorah Kings I - 2:1-12

Dear friends,

We begin our new secular year with the rebirth of our first Friday of the month evening Shabbat dinners. We will gather tonight at 6:30 pm (an hour earlier than usual) in-person or virtually on Zoom for an abbreviated Shabbat service followed by "home" Shabbat ritual prior to enjoying our dinner. Since the synagogue is our spiritual "home", we will light candles, bless our loved ones, and then recite Kiddush and Hamotzi blessings prior to our meal. If you are on Zoom, please have candles, wine, and challah available so that you can join in virtually. We are fortunate to have Maxine Kaufman, the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Florida's Gulf Coast as our guest this evening as well.

It is most appropriate that our (1st triennial) Torah reading of the week is Chapter 48 in the Book of Genesis (Bereshit), the portion of Vayechi. In our reading, we come to the end of Jacob's long life with the blessing of his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh in Verse 20.

יְשִֽׂמְךָ֣ אֱלֹהִ֔ים כְּאֶפְרַ֖יִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁ֑ה וַיָּ֥שֶׂם אֶת־אֶפְרַ֖יִם לִפְנֵ֥י מְנַשֶּֽׁה׃

May Adonai bless you as Ephraim and Manasseh were blessed

We recite that very blessing for our male children every Friday night and will do so again prior to our dinner tonight. We also bless our female children invoking our matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah as they were blessed. We follow these blessings with the Priestly Blessing.

יְבָרֶכְךָ יְיָ וְיִשְׁמְרֶֽךָ.

יָאֵר יְיָ פָּנָיו אֵלֶֽיךָ וִיחֻנֶּֽךָּ.

יִשָּׂא יְיָ פָּנָיו אֵלֶֽיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

May Adonai bless you and keep you.

May Adonai's light shine upon you, and be gracious to you.

May you feel Adonai's Presence within you always, and may you find peace.

We then enjoy our dinner and conclude with the Birkat (grace after meals) as we continue to enjoy each other's company! And tomorrow morning at 9:30 am, we will gather for worship and study as we complete the Book of Genesis with

!חֲזַק חֲזַק וְנִתְּחַזֵּק

Be strong, be strong, and we will be strong together!

And please mark your calendars for Monday, January 16th at 10:30 am when we will once again participate in the annual Martin Luther King Day march down Pine Hill Road from the Unity Mission Baptist Church to the historic Booker T Washington School where the program sponsored by the African American Club of Pasco (AAC) will take place. As in the past, it will consist of inspirational talks from religious and secular leaders, music, and a dramatical presentation by the students. As in previous years, I will be speaking on our behalf. Last years, MLK Day coincided with Tu B'Shevat, so that was the theme of my presentation. Here is a summary:

Speakers included Ron Becker, Spiritual Leader of the Jewish Community Center of West Pasco and an AAC member. He noted that this year, Dr. King’s birthday coincided with the Jewish holiday Tu BiShvat. Also known as Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot, the holiday that started at dusk on Jan. 16 and ends on Jan. 17 is a celebration of the New Year of Trees, and the importance of a healthy environment.

Many plant trees on this day knowing that they will never see them grow to fruition, Becker said, much like Dr. King’s own planting of a dream that has endured despite his assassination.

We can meet at the Pine Hill Road venue and /or gather at the synagogue at 10 am to carpool to the event. Let's have a large representation from the JCC once again to show our solidarity with our community! I'm looking forward to sharing our Shabbat dinner, the MLK Day event, and many more inspirational, educational, and joyful events with you in the coming year.

!שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם

Happy New Year!

Ron Becker,

Spiritual Leader



JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Shabbat Service, Friday, 1/06/2023

Time: Jan 6, 2023 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA



JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Saturday Service, 1/7/2023, 9:30 am

Time: Jan 7, 2023 09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA


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