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The portion for Va-era 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 Aliyah, Needham, MA, in honor of Shmuel ben David HaCohen.

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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January 20, 2012 / 25 Tevet, 5772
Ezekiel 27:25-29:21

The haftara Va-ayra repeats the prophesy of the 10 Plagues begun in the Torah reading and further includes a prophesy that the Egyptians themselves would be scattered among the nations. Ezekiel goes further and tells the nation of the future of Egypt, it’s conquests to come and it’s descent into desolation. The haftarah goes, in this instance, far beyond the events of the Torah reading.

The Unraveller
I’m not a rabbi. I’ve described myself in the past as a serial volunteer, and as the co-founder and publisher of The Unraveller, I am also ultimately responsible for how this publication survives and prospers. Along with editors Bob Watts and David Goldis, we want to go beyond our regular commentary and ask for your help.

Without you, we can’t continue to provide this valuable weekly resource. We know of a number of groups that use the Unraveller in their discussion groups after the daily minyan or on Shabbat and we’re proud that the Unraveller reaches nearly 1400 subscribers each week. That’s pretty good, but the numbers can be higher. If each of our subscribers could forward a copy to a friend and each friend would sign up, we’d be well on our way to the numbers we’d like to see. If you’re just getting this for the first time, sign up to get it next week. We offer free home delivery, and you’ll be enlightened and educated each week by our large roster of writers. Signing up is easy, just visit this page: http://www.fjmc-consultants.org/seferhaftarah-sign-up.html

We’d also like to ask you to consider being a sponsor of the Unraveller. During our first year, every issue had a sponsor. We know that times are tough, but there is some indication that things are getting better and we could really use a sponsor or two (or more . . ) Sponsoring can be done on-line for either $118 for one issue or 2 issues for $180. Visit this page for secure, online sponsoring: https://fjmc.org/index.php?option=com_dtdonate&task=authorizenetonce&Itemid=264

Rabbis, Cantors, Educators & Educated:
Is your point of view important? Would you like a forum that reaches 1400 people around the world? Would you like to step outside of the regular sermon format and reach a group of readers who are ready to be challenged with new ideas? Can you write 500 words about a haftarah? Would you like to contribute a video commentary? We’ve done that too, and are always looking for unique ways to reach our audience.

We’ll help you do it. We have a world-class editorial board, with Rabbi Wayne Allen, Rabbi Leonard S. Berkowitz, Rabbi Paul Drazen, Dr Rela Geffen, Chazzan Alberto Mizrachi, Rabbi Stephan Parnes and our editor in chief, Rabbi Charles Simon. They will work with you to get your voice heard around the world. If you’d like to submit a piece, contact Rabbi Simon first, he arranges our schedule. We do have a bit of a lead time at this point, but do talk to Rabbi Charles Simon for a firm date.

In closing, I’d like to mention something I have been thinking about all week. We’re currently reading Torah from the Book of Shmot or Names. We normally attribute the title to the first part of last week’s chapter as all the names of those who came down to Egypt are listed. But something troubles me about Shmot.

This is the chapter where we are introduced to Moshe, yet we’re told that when he is born, it’s to a “certain man from the tribe of Levi” and “a certain woman.” No names are given. Their baby has a brit - how else would Pharo’s daughter know that he was Jewish? - and yet we’re not told his name until he’s been weened by his own mother and brought back to Pharo’s daughter Batya to be raised. He would have been 2 or 3 years old by that point, yet we only know his name as given by Batya.

Fast forward nearly 80 years, and here’s Moshe tending sheep in the desert when he comes upon the burning bush. God talks to Moshe, tells him that he’s to go back to Egypt and lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. What does Moshe do? He asks God’s for his name as a proof that God is “I am what I am.”

The whole book is called Names, and it seems to me that the names it’s about are not those first 70 names, but these last 4 names. Am I wrong? Let’s talk about it.

This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Stan Greenspan, FJMC Vice President and Unraveller Publisher

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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