|November 2, 2012 / 17 Heshvan, 5773
II Kings 4:1 - 4:37
Radical Hospitality: Time To Throw Open The Flaps of Our Tent
In this Haftarah the prophet Elisha has two separate encounters with two different women. The first woman, an Israelite is in need of Elisha’s help, while the second woman, a gentile— a Shunemite, offers Elisha help.
And it was that day that Elisha went as far as Shunem, and there was a prominent woman who prevailed upon him to eat a meal; and it was, whenever he would pass, he would stop there to eat a meal (41:8).
Elisha, so touched by her hospitality, said to his servant:
"Call this Shunemitess;" and he called her, and she stood before him. And he said to him, "Please say to her, 'Behold you have busied yourself on our account with all this trouble. What is there to do for you? (41:12-13)
This story teaches us two crucial and timely lessons. The first is what Dr. Ron Wolfson has termed, “Radical Hospitality.” This woman, like Abraham and Sara in the corresponding parsha, reach out unquestioningly and with enthusiastic care and concern to a complete stranger.
Can we, in our personal lives as well as our Jewish communal lives, boast that we have done or are committed to doing the same? The vast majority of our Jewish communities, institutions and synagogues are in dire need of a Radical Hospitality audit and would do well to take note from this righteous Shunemite woman or from Abraham and Sara, the worlds first synagogue greeters (at CSH called “Synaguides”).
Secondly, Elisha asks how he can repay this woman for her kindness. We Jews today need to ask the same question of the Righteous Gentiles in our midst. Truth be told intermarriage is not the biggest problem we have ever faced — the Non-Jews love us so much they want to have our children and in most cases are willing to raise their children as Jews. Yeah, we’ve faced bigger “problems” than that. And today there are millions of Evangelical Christians who continue to offer unwavering support to Eretz Yisrael (at a time when many Jews are not identifying as zionists). Not to mention the countless decent, kind and supportive gentiles whom we call neighbors, colleagues and friends (far closer to us than our Ultra-orthodox brethren in Borough Park) who are deserving not only of our gratitude but new labels as well. The term “non-Jew” simply no longer fits.
No, they are not Jewish but they are raising their kids as Jews. No, they are not Jewish but many are paying for Jewish Day school educations, o Jewish summer camp costs or synagogue dues to foster their child’s Jewish identity. They may not be Jewish but they are not NON-Jews to be sure.
It’s time to reach out to them. It’s time to say thank you to them. It’s time for new labels, language and attitudes in regards to them. It’s time to reiterate the words of Elisha, “What is there to do for you?"
This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi Baruch HaLevi. Rabbi HaLevi is co-author of the new book:
"Revolution of the Jewish Spirit:How to Revive Ruakh in Your Spiritual Life, Transform Your Synagogue & Inspire Your Jewish Community"[Paperback & Kindle] Rabbi Baruch HaLevi and Ellen Frankel, Jewish Lights Publishing (September 30, 2012)
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:
|It's time for Build-A-Pair
The best way to teach about tefillin!
The "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!
|Help the Unraveller begin our 4th year!|Sponsor the Unraveller now!
Contact FJMC Sponsorship Chairman Tom Sudow
for details and to reserve your week!