The FJMC's Sefer Haftarah is at Adath Israel Synagogue, Columbus, OH.

Next week it will be at Congregation Agudas Achim, Columbus, Ohio.

This week's Unraveller is not yet sponsored.

This week's portion 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 Sinai Temple, Los Angeles.

FJMC New England Region
Hebrew Word Initiative

He embraced

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

Did you know that the FJMC offers individual Haftarah parshiyot suitable for framing? Click here for the PDF

Use this link when shopping at
All purchases via our Amazon links provide critical support to the FJMC, at no additional cost to you!

Visit the FJMC website for upcoming events!
Editorial Board
Rabbi Wayne Allen
Rabbi Leonard S. Berkowitz
Rabbi Paul Drazen
Dr Rela Mintz Geffen
Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi
Rabbi Stephan Parnes

Newsletter Chairmen
David Goldis
Bob Watts

Interested in other Masorti weekly newsletters and commentaries? Click here

Looking for an Unraveller?
Sign up here for free home delivery!
Click here to unsubscribe.

Registration opens
December 15!

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

Yellow Candles

Yellow Candles
FJMC Yom Hashoah Yellow Candles website
Order now, early bird discounts in effect








It's time for Build-A-Pair
The best way to teach about tefillin!

HeneniThe "Build a Pair" Program is a comprehensive and fun learning program to introduce 5th, 6th or 7th graders to the joy and mitzvah of Tefillin in Jewish life. Multiple components interplay to explore the religious significance, the construction of, and the practice of "laying" Tefillin. A comprehensive education program with videos helps the religious school teach students the meaning of Tefillin in Jewish life and practice. Students practice writing their Hebrew/Jewish names and the SHEMA (first line) to insert into pre-made wooden Tefillin boxes. Students decorate the boxes in any creative way they wish, allowing for personal expression. Students either compete or cooperate in writing a "wRAP" song to sing at a Big Event. The Big Event can be the World Wide Wrap (WWW), sponsored by the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (FJMC), held annually on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. The WWW program is designed to introduce and re-introduce Jewish men [and women] to the significance of "laying" Tefillin. The "Build a Pair" student program attracts the parents to see their children in their model Tefillin sing the "wRap" songs, allowing two generations (or more!) to join in the mitzvah together, and to let the students' sing their "wRAP" song for an appreciative audience.

World Wide Wrap is Sunday, February 3, 2013
The Bar Mitzvah Wrap!


December 28, 2012

Haftarah for Parashat Va-Y'hi
I Kings 2:1-12

Following our Patriarch Jacob’s dying words to his sons in the parashah, our short haftarah(the third shortest one of the year) presents the last utterances of the great King David to his son Solomon.

The contrasts between these two final testaments are jarring. Jacob speaks to all of his sons about their personal characters, and he uses that analysis to indicate how their descendents will fare in the future. David, on the other hand, confides in just one of his more than a dozen sons – Solomon – and his subject is the actions and attitudes that Solomon must adopt in the here and now in order to preserve the family dynasty. The Patriarch’s dying vision encompasses our entire people, all of the proverbial Children of Israel, and the millennia that lie before them; King David’s approaching death prompts him to focus solely on his successor and the continuity of the kingdom immediately at hand.

And even David's fatherly advice contains two contrasting strains. On the one hand he exhorts Solomon to take the high road, to "Keep the charge of the L-rd your G-d, walking in His ways and following His laws, His commandments… as recorded in the Torah of Moses…" (I Kings 2:3), echoing Moses' constant refrain in the Book of Deuteronomy (e.g., 4:40; 6:3; 7:11, 12; 8:6; 11:1, 8, 32, among others). But on the other hand David deals in ugly realpolitik, in the confident leadership the 18-year-old Solomon must display as he establishes his authority, including ridding himself of the bloody commander-in-chief Yoav and the insulting Shimei while honoring the sons of Barzillai, the friend who stood with David in his hour of need. Punish your enemies ruthlessly, David proclaims, but always reward your friends. Vito Corleone would not have acted any differently!

On the surface, then, David's deathbed declaration seems so contradictory – Moses on the one hand, the Godfather on the other. But in truth the two contrasting strains are one. For, in the final analysis, David is teaching that Solomon's tenure on the throne is dependent both on G-d's favor and on pragmatic political considerations. Further, while David is instructing Solomon on the realities connected with maintaining power, he is also reminding him of the reason for maintaining that power. This is not a lesson in power for its own sake. It is a lesson in the uses of that power: one becomes king in order to promote G-d's agenda.

The king whose public career began with fury over a giant's insults directed at G-d and G-d's people concludes his life with a soliloquy of adherence to G-d's Word. The monarch who understood the need to dispatch that giant through violence also understands the requirement to obey G-d's teachings. Solomon needs to know that following G-d's commands is central and primary, but that, in the real world he inhabits, defending G-d's people and G-d's Will sometimes requires getting hands dirty and even bloody.

Our Israeli cousins know how difficult it is to balance the two.

This week's Haftarah commentary was written by Rabbi Joel Schwab. Rabbi Schwab has served as the religious leader of Temple Sinai in Middletown, NY for 28 years. He co-founded and served as the first chair of the Jewish Family Service of Orange County and is on the Board of the Jewish Federation of Orange County. He was the first rabbi to serve as the president of the Middletown Interfaith Council, has remained active on the council and is now the chair of the Interfaith Clergy Group. He has been on the Board of the only homeless shelter in Orange County for over 20 years and is the Board president. He is a member of the Human Rights Commission of Orange County by appointment of the County Executive. As the senior rabbi in the county, Rabbi Schwab is the convening chair of the county Klei Kodesh, the organization of rabbis and cantors in the area. Rabbi Schwab also serves as the Jewish chaplain at the Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center.

Recognizing our Maasim Tovim
Doer of Good Deeds Honorees

Phil Schulz
Connecticut Valley

Phil Schulz joined the Men's Club of Beth El Temple of West Hartford, CT in 1999. He served the chapter in a variety of offices before serving as Co-President from 2002-2005. During his term as co-president, the Men's Club continued longstanding programs such as holding a monthly breakfast speaker series, assisting Hebrew School students in the decoration of the Succah, and preparing food for the annual Purim Carnival. Under Phil's leadership, the Men's Club re-affiliated with Connecticut Valley Region FJMC, adopted the World Wide Wrap Tefillin Program and reinstituted the Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle Program, the proceeds from which were donated to the Temple's Camp Ramah Scholarship Fund.
During Phil's tenure as chapter Co-President, the Men's Club worked collaboratively with other arms of the Temple by co-sponsoring an Israeli Art Show & Sale with the Sisterhood and assisting the USY with a car wash fundraiser, the profits from which were donated to cancer research. In addition, Phil, together with a dedicated group of Men's Club board members, instituted a Distinguished Service Award Banquet to recognize the significant contributions of exemplary men and women congregants who devoted many years of service to the Temple and the Jewish community of Greater Hartford. This dinner, which has become a signature event at Beth El Temple, is now in its 9th year. While serving his chapter as Co-President, Phil was an active member of the Temple's board of directors. In 2005, Phil was selected by his Men's Club to be honored as its Keeper of the Flame at Connecticut Valley Region FJMC's Keeper of the Flame Luncheon.
In the years following his term as chapter Co-President, Phil remained active in chapter affairs serving as a Vice President and FJMC Liaison and as a member of the Chapter's Constitution and By-Laws Committee. Phil also . . .  

To continue reading this article, click here.


New Publications

Leadership - Innovation - Community
Understanding the Haftarot:
An Everyperson's Guide

In this stimulating and unusual book Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director of FJMC, provides the reader with the context to understand how the haftarot were organized, why they might have been selected and suggests reasons for finding meaning and value.
You can purchase it a number of ways.
Intermarriage: Concepts & Strategies for Families and Synagogue Leaders
If family members and community leaders wish to become engaged in the process of Keruv they often need to ask, "Does Keruv have an ideology and theology? And if so what is it?" Then they need to learn how to respond to intermarriage from the perspective of both gender and religion. This publication reflects the most current thinking about intermarriage to date and attempts to provide family members and community leaders with the needed understanding to effectively work with intermarrieds or potential intermarrieds.
You can purchase it a number of ways:

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. Help create a synagogue culture where young people or your Men's Club members who regularly read Torah at Shabbat and minyan services can be recognized for their accomplishments. The program encourages Torah Study, helps increase the number of Torah readers, and provides significant long term benefits to the participant and congregation for minimal cost.

The beautiful silver-plated "fjmc" baubles to create a connection to your club. The silver plated beaded Yad can be personalized with the reader's name. It is 22.5cm long (8 7/8")

The Yad Shel Chai program is extremely simple to implement and manage. Work with your Rabbi and School Administrator to encourage teenagers to read Torah. Work with the Ritual Director to implement for the kids and adults alike. You can easily track the portions read and plan your rewards.

The original program envisions that when a student approaches 18 readings, the organizers order a Yad via the order form on the Yad Shel Chai page. 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.

Help the Unraveller begin our 4th year!
Sponsor the Unraveller now!
Contact FJMC Sponsorship Chairman Tom Sudow
for details and to reserve your week!

LEADERSHIP                              -                              INNOVATION                              -                              COMMUNITY
FJMC, 475 RIVERSIDE DR, NY, NY, 10115 (212) 749-8100 Unsubscribe from the Unraveller here       |       Subscribe to the Unraveller here
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! http://twitter.com/unravellerfjmc This e-mail letter is hosted and distributed by INTERACTIVEPAGES, Toronto