|October 26, 2012 / 10 Heshvan, 5773
Isaiah 40:27 - 41:16
Ohr L’Goyim - A Light Unto Nations
This week's Haftorah revolves around the issue of Am Yisrael as God’s “Chosen People" while those who bless us are blessed but those who curse us are cursed.
This message is troublesome to many Jews. “How can God choose one group over another?” they ask. But delving deeper we see a reciprocal relationship of choosing—one where we choose to enter in relationship with God, and God enters in relationship with us. In that choosing, we move forward with the mission of our people and our purpose. After all, there is nothing in our tradition that says Judaism is the only pathway to the God. The Jews were chosen to bring the light of Torah into the world becoming a “light unto nations.” However, other traditions have been chosen for other great contributions that define their mission. For instance, most of the Jews I know could learn a thing or two about prayer from our Christian brothers and sisters. And though we are the people who brought Torah to the world, Evangelical Christianity has taken it out into the world far beyond anything the Jews have ever done. Buddhists have taught us the holiness of quiet contemplation; Hindus and Sufis have reminded us that God is not simply “out there” in the heavens, but God is also “right here” in our bodies and we can connect to the sacred through yoga or other forms of movement.
With that said, if we are going to fulfill our mission as God’s chosen people in shining the light of Torah (God’s teachings) and Ruakh (God’s spirit) into this world, we need to stop being embarrassed, apologetic or tentative in regards to our mission. Rather, we need to be more like Abraham and Sara who, in this week’s Torah portion, make the journey of Lech-Lecha moving forward unabashedly, knowing they have been chosen by God to bring Torah and Ruakh into the world. In the process they illuminate their lives, the lives of their family and community as well as inspiring countless of others, as the text states: “the souls they had made along the way” (Genesis 12:5).
This is what we were chosen to do - to illuminate a darkened world through the light of Torah and the radiance of Ruakh. It’s time to reclaim Ruakh in our Jewish communities, in our synagogues and in our lives. It’s time to share that Ruakh whole heartedly and unreservedly. It’s time to fulfill our duty and be a light unto nations once again.
This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi Baruch HaLevi. Rabbi HaLevi is co-author of the new book:
"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!