This weekend the FJMC's Sefer Haftarah will be at the Tiferet Bet Israel Men's Club, Blue Bell, PA.

This week's Unraveller is sponsored by the Men's Club of Temple Beth Sholom, Cherry Hill, NJ.

The haftarah portion for Emor in the FJMC Sefer Haftarah scroll, the travelling haftarah scroll that visits a different synagogue each week and contains all of the haftarot, was sponsored by the Forest Hills Jewish Center, Forest Hills, NY, and Beth Hillel, Wilmette, IL.

FJMC New England Region
Hebrew Word Initiative


Each week, a set of 5 words are chosen by volunteers from the parsha ha'shavoa.

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Editorial Board
Rabbi Wayne Allen
Rabbi Leonard S. Berkowitz
Rabbi Paul Drazen
Dr Rela Mintz Geffen
Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi
Rabbi Stephan Parnes

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David Goldis
Bob Watts

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Conservative/Masorti Men at the Crossroads: Responding to a Changing World
July 24-28, 2013. Boston, Massachusetts.


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It's only $41.14 to join and the money raised goes to the FJMC Tefillin Fund, which has raised over $25,000.
Membership is for 2 years, from convention to convention and includes exclusive limited edition gift items along with attendance at the Kiddush Club Oneg Shabbat on Friday night, July 26, 2013.
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April 26, 2013

Parashat Emor

Ezekiel 44:15-31

Soon after my wife and I got married, she declared that we would be a no shoes in the house family. Shoes must be removed immediately upon walking in the door. I admit that, if she is not home, I have been known to break this rule (please don’t tell her). But it has made me more aware of what I step in over the course of my day (not only metaphorically).

Our shoe rule has also helped me look at the arcane laws of purity and impurity we find in our Haftarah reading in a new way. Our tradition is very concerned about holiness, especially for kohanim (priests). The prophet Ezekiel expresses this concern in in this week’s Haftarah not only for kohanim, but for the rest of the Israelites as well.

In the context of a list of instructions meant to maintain a status of holiness for the kohanim, Ezekiel says, “When they [kohanim] go out to the outer court — where the people are — they shall remove the vestments in which they minister and shall deposit them in the sacred chambers…lest they make the people holy by contact with their vestments.” Rashi believes that Ezekiel is worried that the kohanim’s pure clothing could become contaminated by the impure clothing of the people. So he institutes a type of reverse "shoe rule" – take your holy clothes off upon leaving the sanctuary lest they touch something unholy and become impure. Who needs more laundry?

While this makes sense, the 12th century Spanish commentator Rabbi David Kimchi (Radak) offers a different opinion. At first glance it seems to not make any sense, but that’s what makes it interesting. He says that the concern here is about the transfer of the holiness of the priest’s clothing to the people. What could be wrong with spreading holiness around? Couldn't we all use a little more holy love? Of course, but here we find a deeper lesson. Holiness is not something that can be achieved by proxy – we can’t just touch something or someone and suddenly be holy. Rather we attain holiness through our actions, by connecting with our tradition and treating others with compassion and respect. When Ezekiel instructs the kohamin to change before they go outside of the sanctuary, he is also telling the people that there is no shortcut to living a holy life – a life of purpose and meaning. This is something we strive to achieve, in our workplace and in our homes. Even if it means taking our shoes off at the door.

This week's Haftarah commentary was written by Rabbi Micah Peltz of Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill, NJ. Rabbi Peltz grew up in Minneapolis. He holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan, and also studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was ordained in May 2007 at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he also received a Masters in Jewish Education from the William Davidson School of Education.

The International Executive and the members of the FJMC,
the Editorial Board of the Unraveller,
and all of our over 4,000 subscribers
are pleased to congratulate our editor,

Dr. Rela Mintz Geffen
The winner of the 2013 ASSJ Berman Service Award.
The Mandell L. Berman Service Award is given occasionally by the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry to a civic or business leader or an academic for a career of distinguished commitment to the social scientific study of Jews through service and/or financial support of such research.
Named for a great philanthropist and supporter of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry and various other research entities, the Berman Service Award recognizes the work of leaders in many sectors of the Jewish community whose efforts have advanced the social scientific study of Jewry.
Previous Winners:
2012: Professor Arnold Dashefsky
2011: Edward and Irene Kaplan

Mazal Tov, Rela!

Recognizing our Maasim Tovim
Doer of Good Deeds Honorees

David Edwards

David Edwards is a member of the Tree of Life/Or L'Simcha Congregation in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA. Dave was born in Durham, NC, graduated from Duke as a chemistry major and received a PhD in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He met his future wife, Mary Dawn, in Chapel Hill, where she was a medical student, and he followed her to Pittsburgh, where she did an internship and residency at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and Dave arrived one year later as a Post-doctoral fellow in Biochemistry. They were married in 1972 and following his two year postdoctoral fellowship, Dave joined the faculty in the Psychopharmacology Program in the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Pittsburgh and later served on the faculties of the Schools of Dental Medicine and Pharmacy, until his retirement in 2011 as Professor Emeritus. They have two wonderful daughters, Miranda ("Ziggy") and Rachel and one grandson, Jude.

Dave has been an active member of his shul and of its award-winning men's club, known for its Sunday morning brunches with about 30 speakers per year. He was the club president from 2000 Đ 2002 and then served as President of the Tri-State region of the FJMC from 2007-2009, during which the first Tri-State-KIO-Michigan retreat was held. He also created the Hazak newsletter for the region. Dave has been involved in many FJMC activities, including international conventions (this is his sixth, all accompanied by Mary Dawn), the FJMC Mission to Israel in 2006, and several LDI's. He was editor of the Advantage newsletter 2009-2011 and is currently co-chair of Youth Activities and has served on the Registration Committee for this Convention.  

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Leadership - Innovation - Community
New Publications
Intermarriage: Concepts & Strategies for Families and Synagogue Leaders
Provides family members and community leaders with the needed understanding to effectively work with intermarrieds or potential intermarrieds.
Understanding the Haftarot:
An Everyperson's Guide

Understand how the haftarot were organized, why they might have been selected and suggests reasons for finding meaning and value.

Yad Shel Chai
The Yad Shel Chai program was created by an FJMC club in Jacksonville, FL. The program is designed to provide an incentive for Torah readers to get a personalized Yad with their Hebrew name. The cost is $85 per Yad, plus $15 shipping and handling (regardless of how many you order). If you have any questions, please email YadShelChai@fjmc.org.

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