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Weekly Message 02.18.2022 Parashat Ki Tisa

Parashat Ki Tisa - (when you take) Exodus 30:11 - 34:35

HafTorah Kings I 18:20 -39

Dear friends,

As we begin President's Day weekend, it is time to reflect on the meaning of this relatively new holiday on us as Americans and as Jews.

I have spoken often about George Washington's and Abraham Lincoln's relationships with the Jewish community and how critical their dedication to secularism was to our future as loyal American citizens. However, as we reflect on all of our past president's this Shabbat weekend, there are other instances of presidential solidarity with the Jewish community that we can consider. As a student of the Great Society of the 1960s, I have focused my attention particularly on President Lyndon Johnson, a Southerner who believed in equality for all and secularism at a time when it was not popular in his region. It turns out, that he had a special relationship with the Jewish community of Texas, his home state. As a younger Congressman, the constituents of his district included many minorities including Jews, African Americans, Mexicans, and immigrants who spoke Spanish, Yiddish, Czech and German. He was particularly close with the congregants of Congregation Agudas Achim in Austin and had many friends there. No president has been as intimately involved with a Jewish community as Johnson. When it came time to move the Torah scrolls from the old building to the new one, he lent the synagogue his convertable to carry the Torahs in the public parade. Sadly, he was scheduled to deliver an oration on the dedication of their new building on the day after President Kennedy was assassinated. Instead, he was sworn in as the new president and whisked off to Washington, DC. while the shocked congregation prayed for his safety and wisdom to rescue the nation from this desperate time. However, Johnson did not forget his obligation to Agudas Achim and made that visit for the newly scheduled dedication on December 28th 1963, just one month later. There are other examples of presidential solidarity with the Jewish people. So, as we gather to pray and study this Shabbat weekend, let's think about our presidents and our role as Jews and Americans.

Our Torah portion this Shabbat is Ki Tissa. We read the final third of the sedrah where Moses ascends the mountain for the second time to receive the tablets emblazoned with the Ten Commandments. We learn how Hashem is slow to anger and quick to forgive

יְהֹוָ֣ה ׀ יְהֹוָ֔ה אֵ֥ל רַח֖וּם וְחַנּ֑וּן אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם

וְרַב־חֶ֥סֶד וֶאֱמֶֽת׃

:נֹצֵ֥ר חֶ֙סֶד֙ לָאֲלָפִ֔ים נֹשֵׂ֥א עָוֺ֛ן וָפֶ֖שַׁע וְחַטָּאָ֑ה וְנַקֵּה֙ לֹ֣א יְנַקֶּ֔ה פֹּקֵ֣ד ׀ עֲוֺ֣ן אָב֗וֹת

extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.

We read these prophetic words this Shabbat morning and repeat them on every fast day and prior to reading the Torah on all festival days. We learn that it is possible to "change our ways" from the time of the Golden Calf to this day.

Please join me tonight at 7:30 pm and tomorrow at 9:30 am in -person or on zoom as we continue to daven and study on this President's Day Shabbat.

Ron Becker,

Spiritual Leader



JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Shabbat Service

Time: Feb 18, 2022 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Topic: Saturday Service

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