The FJMC Sefer Haftarah is at Congregation Or Hadash, Atlanta, GA.
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The portion for Shemot 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 Temple Emeth, Chestnut Hill, MA.

FJMC Factoid: FJMC sent 20 mezuzot and several sets of tefillin to Bet-El in Madrid. We also obtained Spanish text books from Argentina to help them develop a curriculum for the school they wish to open. It will be the only talmud torah in Madrid.

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Hebrew Word Initiative

"they teemed"
Each week, a set of 5 words are chosen by volunteers from the parsha ha'shavoa.

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January 13, 2012 / 18 Tevet, 5772
Isaiah 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23

The Isaiah Apocalypse is a term used to describe a series of oracles of doom that form the basis of chapters 24-27. These chapters represent the beginning of many judgments against Ephraim in the North and Jerusalem in the South; however, within these judgments is also a promise of national renewal. The Haftarah is connected to the Torah reading in at least two ways. The opening sentence of our Haftarah refers to both Jacob and Israel and the produce, representing the physical wealth, that they are capable of growing/receiving. This parallels chapter one of Exodus that explains that the Israelites were fertile and prolific; they multiplied and increased greatly so that the land was filled with them. Chapter1:8

The Haftarah also seems to imply that a new Exodus will occur that will unite our people from Egypt to Assyria, all those who have learned to accept the Lord: And on that day, the Lord will beat out (the peoples) like grain from the channel of the Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt and you shall be picked up one by one, O children of Israel. Just as Moses asked Pharaoh to let our people worship God in the wilderness; Isaiah preaches that those who come to understand God's work as it is revealed through the wonders of creation will experience an inner awakening and they will worship God on his holy mountain in Jerusalem.

The Haftarah also introduces us to an educational process for learning to live with God. The Talmud asks: How would you feel if you had a daughter and she was walking down the street and looking at her from the roof of the second floor was a man who found her extremely attractive. While he was looking at her he leaned a bit too far forward and fell off the roof and landed on top of your daughter. And wouldn't you know it your daughter became pregnant! Wouldn't that be wrong! How could God allow something like that to have occurred? Shouldn't you pray to God that this shouldn't have been allowed to happen? And then the Talmud concludes by saying, Don't pray to God to request that the natural order of things be changed.

The Talmud tells us if we want a relationship with God we shouldn't do it just at those times when we need God to intervene. Instead we need to teach people from the time they are very young to walk with God, to have and hold in their hearts. Listen to the words of Isaiah: To whom shall he give instruction? To whom shall he expound a message? To those newly weaned from milk.

How do you teach people to grow up living with God? By speaking to them about God when they are children. And how do you do it? A little here, and a little there, with a murmur here and a murmur there. And slowly but surely they will march, that is to say, they will progress. A mutter here and a mutter there, murmur upon murmur, here a little and there a little and slowly and certainly God's presence will grow with your child.

Isaiah reaches out to us and explains that creating a better world, engaging people in a return (a new exodus) to God, is an educational process in which we need to become engaged.

This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director of the FJMC and author of
"Building A Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish" Jewish Lights Publishing.

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:
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!

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