Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

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(A bit of Torah study from Rabbi Feingold) Nitzavim Each week on Shabbat in the synagogue, the weekly Torah portion (parasha) is paired with a reading from the Prophets (Nevi’im) section of the Bible.  During the 7 weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah, we read from the unnamed  prophet who lived during the Babylonian Exile and who provided words of comfort to the exiled Jews that they would return to Israel.  This prophet’s words are included in the Book of Isaiah.  This week we read the last of these 7 messages of hope and consolation, from Chapter 61 of Isaiah.  The message is fitting as we approach the New Year:  “They shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of God.”(Isaiah 61: 12) In our coming together as a Jewish community on Rosh Hashanah 5777, may we help to bring God’s holiness and redemption to the world. L’shanah Tovah Tikateyvu.

Ki Tavo - In this week’s parasha, speaking and listening take center stage in what is expected of the People of Israel once they enter the Land of Israel.   Moses tells them that when they harvest the first fruits of their planting: “Va’anita, v’amarta lifnai Adonai Eloheicha,” “You will answer and speak out before God.” (Deut 26:5) Later, Moses adds: “Haskeit u’shma Yisrael,” "Pay attention and hearken Israel, on this day you have become a people to the Eternal, your God. Follow all of God’s commandments. (26:17) Speak out and hearken: It was good advice at the return to settlement in the Land of Israel in our epic Torah story. It is good advice for us now in this time of political turmoil in America. And its advice that reaches beyond the campaign to our own lives and relationships as well. I will elaborate on this message in my sermon at Shabbat services at 7:30pm tomorrow night.

This week’s parasha (Torah portion) contains a commandment against cross-dressing: “A woman must not put on a man’s apparel, nor shall a man wear woman’s clothing;….” (Deut. 22:5) This act, which is considered “abhorrent” in the Torah, is part of a larger set of laws that have to do with improper mixing of categories. In ancient society, those who cross-dressed may have been thought to be seeking out improper sexual relations or trying to deceive others about their true identity. But, today cross-dressing is most often by transgender or gender non-conforming individuals, seeking to not be defined by what society deems a certain gender should wear. At Beth Hillel, we are just beginning to grapple with how we can be more inclusive of gender non-conforming folks who are part of our community. Our Reform Movement adopted a far-reaching resolution on this topic almost a year ago at the biennial URJ convention. In the coming months, you will have an opportunity to learn about and discuss this topic through a Jewish lens—beginning on Yom Kippur and at other times as well. Please join in this important conversation.

MAY FOOD OF THE MONTH:Canned or Dried Beans

June   Powdered Milk 

 

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Thursday, May 25, CUSH Annual Celebration Banquet

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