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Weekly Message 05.27.2022 Parashat Bechukotai

Parashat Bechukotai (by my decree) - Leviticus 23:3 - 27:34

HafTorah - Jeremiah 16:19 - 17:14

Dear friends,

As the grandfather of a young boy who has just completed the 4th grade, I am sending you my weekly message with a heavy heart and thoughts of those who lost their 4th graders and two of their teachers in yet another senseless killing, to those in Buffalo, NY victimized by baseless hatred, and to all that are affected by violence in our midst.

This Shabbat, we read the last portion of the Book of Leviticus, Baha'alotecha, which contains blessings and curses followed by the prophet Jeremiah's warnings. We can choose either one through our behavior and the way we respond to evil. Please join me in person or on zoom tonight at 7:30 pm and tomorrow morning at 9:30 am to pray and study this incredibly timely theme as we struggle to understand what is happening in the world surrounding us just as we are anticipating the festival of Shavuot when we celebrate the Torah which provides us the mitzvot to guide our lives.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ron Becker,

Spiritual Leader

Below are the words of Rabbi Eric Rossin, of Congregation Neve Shalom in Metuchen, NJ where we have been members for many years:

As a rabbi, a member of the Jewish people and a human being, the senseless loss of any life is devastating. As a parent, the heartbreak of learning about the loss of a child’s life is inexpressible. The reality of the magnitude of yesterday’s tragedy in Texas in which 19 children and 2 adults were killed is unimaginable.

This week’s Torah portion includes a list of blessings and curses. Blessings if we rise to God’s covenantal call and curses if we do not. One of the curses is that enemies will pursue us and that we will “stumble over our brothers [and sisters]” as we flee.

It is hard to read this verse without envisioning the panicked scene described in the news, with parents breaking the windows of the classrooms so that their children could rush out of the school away from the gunfire and towards their hope for safety.

The ancient rabbis who produced the Talmud and the Midrash associate this verse with another vision. They cite to this passage when they teach that kol Yisrael arevim zeh b’zeh, every member of our community is responsible for one another. In the context of yesterday’s news, this teaches us that being part of a sacred community means that even in the most harrowing of circumstances, we are obligated to take responsibility for the wellbeing and safety of those around us.

It is profoundly unnerving to once again offer thoughts and prayers to those who are in mourning from this attack after the progression of senseless mass casualty events that have taken place over the past many years and which have only intensified over the past two weeks.

Instead, I find myself asking what does it mean in a moment like this to take responsibility for the safety of the entirety of our community? Can we change the debate in this country from one of individual rights to an acknowledgement of our obligation to do whatever we need to do to live up to our obligation to provide for each other’s safety?

Now is the time for us to give expression to our shock, our sadness and our disbelief by seeking out concrete ways to build a country in which caring for wellbeing of others is our highest priority.

Lt us aspire to live in a society in which each of us takes responsibility for the welfare of the other.

In sadness and resolve,

Rabbi Rosin



JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom Meeting

RoomTopic: Shabbat Service

Time: May 27, 2022, 07:30 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

Time: May 28, 2022, 09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 497 903 0958

Passcode: 5QdVaA


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