As the wonderful holiday of Hanukkah is fast approaching, we begin the celebration on this Shabbat weekend. We have our normal Shabbat services Friday at 7:30 pm and Saturday at 9:30 am. To help us prepare for a fuller understanding of Hanukkah we will begin reading excerpts from the Book of Maccabees. Our Torah portion this week is Vayetze, the story of Jacob and his dreams, travels, and family. And the corresponding Haftorah will be from the writings of the prophet Hosea.
After services and our Kiddush luncheon on Saturday, we will gather at the Sunset Landing Marina at 5115 Sunset Blvd in Port Richey, just a short ride south of the synagogue off of Route 19. We will meet there at 2 pm and decorate our Hanukkah vessel with our unique, one-and-only "Mensch on the Bench" and all the lights and the trimmings that go with him. Then Captain Jeff and his crew will launch the boat down the Cotee River for the annual holiday boat parade. Those of us not traveling on the boat will gather at my house at 6822 Grand Boulevard in New Port Richey to watch the gala procession and cheer on our very special Hanukkah boat as it passes by on the way to Sims Park and then again on its way back to the marina. The procession starts at 6:30 pm and should reach my house about 20 minutes later.
All are welcome to my house for the big event. Parking will be tight (I can fit 5 cars in my driveway and will ask my neighbor to let us use his as well), so please come early, anytime after 5 pm and carpool if you are able. Also, the nights are getting chilly, so please bundle up. My house will be open throughout the evening for eating and warming up purposes. There is some seating across from my house and I have some chairs I can bring outside, but if you have folding chairs, I would suggest bringing them along. Also, bringing snacks and drink is optional, but if you do, please bring dairy and pareve food only!
To help me prepare, please let me know if you are coming via e-mail email@example.com. I hope we will have a big crowd to cheer on Jeff and crew as they pass by in their fully lit up vessel playing familiar Hanukkah tunes!
On Sunday, we gather again at 11 am to continue our study of the Mitzvot and at 12 noon for Eileen's adult Hebrew reading class. Please feel free to attend even if you have missed earlier sessions. We'll catch you up and we're sure that you will find the discussions enlightening.
Finally, I would like to thank the entire community for coming together to help a congregant and family observe Shiva after the loss of a parent/grandparent. It is so comforting to know that our loving synagogue family stands together in support of all in good times and bad, happy times and sad.
See you in shul and on the river!
Ron Becker, Spiritual Leader