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Weekly Message 02.07.2020

Dear friends,

We kick off another big Shabbat Weekend with tonight's monthly community Shabbat dinner.

We gather at the JCC at 6:30 pm for a short service, then have a delicious meal with friends, fellow congregants, and guests. This month's theme is the wonderful celebration of Tu B'Shevat, a joyous holiday occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. It is also called "Rosh HaShanah La'Ilanot", literally "New Year of the Trees." The day is celebrated as an ecological awareness day, and trees are planted in celebration. At our dinner, we will eat some or all of the seven species mentioned in the Torah: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.

This Shabbat is referred to as Shabbat Shira, literally the Shabbat of Song, to commemorate the Hebrew Nation's singing Sirat HaYam, the Song of the Sea after experiencing the miracle of the splitting of the waters to complete the initial escape from slavery and rescue the children of Israel from the Egyptian army. We will sing that song during our Torah reading. To add to the joy of this special Shabbat, we will be celebrating the Aufruf of Stephanie Goldberg and her fiance Esteban who will be married at our JCC on the night of February 15th, the first marriage at our synagogue in recent memory and a great cause for celebration. Stephanie will receive an aliyah (Torah honor) as we sing the Song of the Sea and then receive a special blessing.

On Sunday, our adult education continues with the study of the 613 mitzvot. We are now discussing and dissecting those commandments that deal with judicial matters. We are all learning a great deal about the origin of these mitzvot and how they apply (or don't apply) to today's world and we encourage all to join us at 11 am. The class is followed at 12 noon with the adult beginning Hebrew class. All are invited and encouraged to attend regardless of whether you have been to the previous sessions.

Shabbat Shalom!

Ron Becker

Spiritual Leader

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