This weekend the FJMC's Sefer Haftarah will be at the Tree of Life - Or L’Simcha Congregation, Pittsburgh, PA.
Next week it will be at Congregation Beth Shalom, Clearwater, FL.
This week's Unraveller is sponsored by North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, in honor of Rob Freeman, our Man of the Year!
The regular portion for Mishpatim 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 Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Elkins Park, PA.
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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Conservative/Masorti Men at the Crossroads: Responding to a Changing World
July 24-28, 2013. Boston, Massachusetts.
Join the FJMC Convention at Fenway Park for the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays!
We have reserved only 100 seats at sold-out Fenway for our Tuesday evening pre-convention program. You must register for convention to get one of these tickets, and they are going fast!!!
--LESS THAN 30 TICKETS LEFT!--
Be sure to include the Red Sox when you register for Convention!
Options and details for Tuesday night are explained on registration page. Register early for the best choices!
Don't forget to include the International Kiddush Club when you register for the FJMC Convention
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.IKC Shirts are available, contact the IKC for details. firstname.lastname@example.org
New styles available!
February 8, 2013
Haftarah Shabbat Shekalim
2 Kings 11:17 - 12:17 (Ashkenazim begin at 12:1)
The haftarah for this Shabbat is called Shekalim, the first of four special haftarot that occur leading up to Pesach. While this haftarah is always read just prior to (or on) Rosh Hodesh Adar, the month in which Purim is found, its connection is to Pesach, which will occur in just 6 short weeks!
The half shekel tax is first mention in the maftir portion that is read this Shabbat, Exodus 30:11-16. There it instructs every male Israelite 20 years or older to pay this tax, as "the rich shall not pay more, and the poor shall not pay less than half a shekel..." (Ex. 30:15). The money was to go for the building of the mishkan, or tabernacle in the dessert. Later, after the Beit Ha-Mikdash (Temple) was built in Jerusalem, this became an annual gift that had to be paid before the first of Nisan. According to the Talmud (Mishnah Shekalim 1.1) the announcement of the deadline for making the gift was made earlier (before the first of Adar) so that the people could fulfill their obligations on time. The money collected could thus help repair the grounds of the Beit Ha-Mikdash and provide communal funds for the sacrifices leading up to Pesach.
The haftarah begins with the reign of the youngest king in the history of the monarchy, seven-year-old Jehoash. The previous ruler of Judah, Queen Athalia, had murdered all of her own grandchildren (!), fearing that they would depose her. One grandchild, Jehoash, had been saved by the priest (cohen) Jehoiada, and when Athalia was indeed killed in a rebellion, Jehoash was put on the throne. Undoubtedly influenced by Jehoiada and the other cohanim in his early years, Jehoash establishes, as we read in this haftarah, a system of keeping the Beit Ha-Mikdash in repair while at the same time allowing for the cohanim to continue their work and flourish.
The text relates to us the difficulty, even in ancient times, in finding enough money for the upkeep of religious institutions. Jehoash at first instructs the cohanim to take the money from gifts to the Beit Ha-Mikdash and to use it to repair the building. After a while, though, this does not appear to be working, so he sets up a chest near the altar. The money could be placed in the chest, and when the chest was full the money would be given to the various workers who would then proceed with the necessary work. The cohanim, however, would keep the funds for the guilt and sin offerings, thus enabling them to continue their work properly.
After the destruction of the Beit Ha-Mikdash and the cessation of the collection of funds for its upkeep, the haftarah of Shekalim continues to remind us of our responsibilities to support the institutions that make up Jewish communal life. The haftarah also teaches us about the difficulty of doing so, not just for us, but even for our ancestors a few thousand years ago! Nevertheless, just as our ancient institutions continued to function because the community ultimately fulfilled its responsibilities, we take comfort that in our day too people will continue to support those religious institutions, such as the synagogue, which are so vital to our survival as a people today.
This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi Steve Kane, Congregation Sons of Israel, Briarcliff Manor, NY.
Recognizing our Maasim Tovim
Doer of Good Deeds Honorees
Evan Rumack, DDS
Evan Rumack lives in Arlington Heights, IL. He is the proud husband of Merle for 43 years and has three children, two sons-in-law and four grandchildren. Be sure not to ask him about those grandkids; you may never get away. After attending Northwestern University, he went to the University of Illinois College of Dentistry and then returned to Northwestern for his specialty training in endodontics. He has served as president of the Illinois Association of Endodontists.
Evan has been a member of Congregation Beth Judea in Long Grove, IL since 1976. He served on the board of directors for 25 years except for stints as facilities and membership vice-presidents. He has also served as the adult education chair. Evan was a member of the rabbi search committee to find the successor for Beth Judea's retiring rabbi of 30 years. Currently, Evan co-chairs the Hesed and Bikkur Cholim committees and is a member of the Rabbi's advisory council. He is also taking classes to learn to read Torah and hopes to make his "debut" before convention.
In addition to being a past president of both Beth Judea's Men's Club and the Midwest Region of FJMC, Evan has been active in FJMC since attending his first convention in 1997. He has chaired a convention health fair, the Torch Award program and the Ma'asim Tovim awards. He served as the women's program chair for the Chicago convention in 2007 and as the convention manager in 2009 in Philadelphia.