This weekend the FJMC's Sefer Haftarah will be at Temple Beth Shalom, Livingston, NJ.
Next week it will be at Highland Park Conservative Temple-Congregation Anshe Emeth, Highland Park, NJ.

This week's Unraveller is sponsored by the Temple Beth Shalom Men's Club, Livingston, NJ.

The haftarah portion for Korach 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 B'nai Tzedek, Potomac, MD and the special haftarah for Rosh Chodesh was sponsored by the Northern New Jersey Region of the FJMC.

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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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June 7, 2013

Parshat Korach
Rosh Chodesh Tamuz

Isaiah 66:1-24

I remember looking at the walls of Jerusalem for the very first time. My family had just arrived in time for Shabbat (our flight had been delayed; what else is new?) to Jerusalem on our very first trip to Israel, and we were absolutely ecstatic to find "the kotel." We quickly rushed up to our hotel rooms, and a couple of moments later were off to explore the streets of a previously unknown city.

Yet it was when we stared at the walls of the city from in front of the windmill in the Yemin Moshe neighborhood, that we were completely awe-struck. The walls in front of us seemed to span for miles; how would we decide together which one was the famous Western wall? Not particularly familiar with how ancient cities were built, we of course would only later discover that the kotel itself - a remnant of the walls built by King Herod - was only a relatively small section inside of the walled city. The walls themselves that we were staring at were also the relatively new city walls of the City of Jerusalem that had been built by the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century.

Nonetheless, it was staring at these walls that I first fell in love with the City of Jerusalem, and I suspect that I am not the only one. The walled city of Jerusalem has for generations inspired legends and beautiful poetry that acclaim the city's greatness. In the ancient world, walls meant everything to a city. A city with walls was a proud city that could protect its citizens from foreign invaders. City walls, which would keep its population safe, could also nurture a close-knit community on the inside.

And it is these same sentiments - safety and community - that the Prophet Isaiah uses to address the Jewish people in this week's Haftarah. Our Etz Hayim Chumash reminds us that our Haftarah this Shabbat situates itself in an important moment in Jewish history: Isaiah, speaking to the Jewish community in exile, has just been given the proclamation by King Cyrus of Persia the Jewish community may return to Jerusalem and rebuild its Temple. And in turn, our Haftarah this morning is really an appeal by the Prophet to the Jewish community in Babylonia to return to Jerusalem. Isaiah first begins by encouraging the Israelites to remember God's promise to protect the Jewish people, and the mutual history the two have shared together in the past. However, he then seeks to inspire pathos by using vivid imagery of the communal rejoicing that will take place once the exiles have returned to Jerusalem. "Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, All you who love her! Join in her jubilation, All you who mourned over her...," says the Prophet, reassuring the people of God's love, joy, and restoration of the Temple. The Haftarah then concludes by a reassurance of divine protection for the returning exiles, and a promise to restore the Children of Israel to its former greatness.

Each time that I read this Haftarah, I am reminded of my own family's experience, and the potential that every Jew has to rejoice with Jerusalem when he or she glances upon the city for the very first time. Of course, my family would even eventually find the Kotel. But upon arriving, what really took our breath away - were these same sentiments - the safety, and the sense of the community - that we felt when we first arrived in Jerusalem and glanced at its awesome walls for the very first time.

This week's Haftarah commentary was written by Rabbi Daniel Dorsch, Assistant Rabbi at Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston, NJ since July 2010, after receiving his rabbinical ordination and M.A. in Synagogue School Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. While in rabbinical school, Rabbi Dorsch worked as an Assistant Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Middletown, NY, and as the Education Coordinator for the Ivry Prozdor Hebrew High School at JTS. Rabbi Dorsch currently is a board member of MERCAZ-USA.



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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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