Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Terumah.

Shavua tov – a (slightly belated) good week to you!

This week we’re reading the Torah portion known as Terumah (“The offering” or The gift”) in the book of Shemot (Exodus.)

return-to-shabbatIf you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, some links follow:

Terumah

And here’s the URJ’s compilation of commentaries on this week’s Torah portion: Terumah | Reform Judaism.

This coming Shabbat morning, February 21, services will be led by Rabbi Rachel. (As they were last Shabbat also; apologies for the incorrect information — Rabbi Lori won’t be joining us until later in the year.) Join us for Shabbat davenen (prayer) followed by Torah study — or, if we don’t quite make a minyan, we’ll do the Torah study during the service.

Many thanks to our shamashim, the members who host our Shabbat services each week. If you would like to join that group, please contact Pattie Lipman.

We hope to see you soon at CBI!

D’var Torah for Mishpatim: the angry ox and the Chapel Hill shootings

Here’s the brief d’var Torah which Rabbi Rachel offered at CBI yesterday morning. (Cross-posted to Velveteen Rabbi.)


raging-bull-attacking-charging-woodcut-illustration-angry-facing-front-snorting-done-retro-style-32193042In this week’s Torah portion we receive a wealth of ethical commandments.

For instance: When an ox gores someone to death, kill the ox, but don’t punish its owner. But, if the ox has been in the habit of goring, and its owner knows that but fails to guard it, and it gores someone to death — then punish its owner, because the person who had responsibility failed to act.

I’ve read this verse many times before. But this year I couldn’t help reading it through the lens of the news story I’ve been following this week.

This week in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a man entered the apartment of two neighbors and shot the couple and the woman’s younger sister in the head, execution-style. He later turned himself in and claimed that he killed them over a parking dispute.

The three young people who were murdered were Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, aged 23, 21, and 19.Deah and Yusor were newlyweds, married in December. They were dentistry students who donated their dental expertise to the local homeless community, taught kids about dental hygiene at the local library in their spare time, and raised money and dental supplies to take to Turkey so they could help Syrian regufees. Razan was a college kid, a student of architecture and environmental design. All three of them were pillars of their community. Deah, Yusor, and Razan  were Muslim.

This act would be atrocious no matter who the victims were. But it is extra-heartbreaking to me because they were so young, and so idealistic, and so full of life.

The man who killed them was a known anti-theist — not merely an atheist, but someone who loathed religion. He had posted nasty anti-Muslim language on Facebook. He had harassed these victims before. The young married woman had told her father, “He hates us because of who we are.”

What he did was beastly. And when I read the verses about the ox who gores someone to death, I think of this man who killed three innocent souls for reasons I cannot begin to fathom.

And then I wonder: who is responsible for the behavior of the ox? In the Torah, the answer is clear: its owner, if that owner had any suspicion that the ox would behave in such a way.

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Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Mishpatim.

Shavua tov – a good week to you!

This week we’re reading the Torah portion known as Mishpatim in the book of Shemot (Exodus.)

return-to-shabbatIf you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, some links follow:

And here’s the URJ’s compilation of commentaries on this week’s Torah portion: Mishpatim | Reform Judaism.

This coming Shabbat morning, February 7, services will be led by Rabbi Lori Shaller, visiting once again from Martha’s Vineyard. Join us for Shabbat davenen (prayer) followed by Torah study — or, if we don’t quite make a minyan, we’ll do the Torah study during the service. Come and congratulate Rabbi Lori on her ordination last month!

Many thanks to our shamashim, the members who host our Shabbat services each week. If you would like to join that group, please contact Pattie Lipman.

We hope to see you soon at CBI!

The Mad Hatter Invites You… To Celebrate Purim!

Don’t be late, don’t be late
for this very important date!

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The Mad Hatter invites you
to a Purim “tea party”
Wednesday, March 4 at CBI
pizza at 5:30; the celebration proper begins at 6

  • explore the topsy-turvy Wonderland of our building!
  • play flamingo croquet!
  • enjoy the childrens’ costume parade!
  • savor our Alice In Wonderland-themed Purim Spiel!
  • hear some of the megillah read aloud!
  • play a variety of games (for all ages!)
  • enjoy a tasty beverage in celebration!
  • all are welcome to bring hamentaschen or other desserts to share — AND/OR contributions to our savory nosh buffet, which will be Middle Eastern / Persian themed (think: cheeses, olives, grape leaves, hummus and pita, etc)

Please RSVP to the synagogue office by February 25! Let us know:

1) How many are in your party
2) Whether you want to partake in pizza at 5:30
3) What you’re bringing to the sweet-and-savory buffet. (If everyone’s bringing hummus, we’ll get in touch to try to diversify our offerings.)

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Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Yitro.

Shavua tov – a good week to you!

This week we’re reading the Torah portion known as Yitro (Jethro) in the book of Shemot (Exodus.)

return-to-shabbatIf you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, some links follow:

And here’s the URJ’s compilation of commentaries on this week’s Torah portion: Yitro | Reform Judaism.

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This coming Shabbat morning, February 7, services will be led by Rabbi Rachel — followed by our special Tu BiShvat seder, celebrating the New Year of the Trees with stories, poems, songs, learning about the four seasons and four worlds, and eating symbolic tree fruits and nuts in celebration. This year our seder will also feature Jewish environmental teachings and stories relating to the shmita (Sabbatical) year from Maggid David Arfa. RSVP to the office by Wednesday, please!

Many thanks to our shamashim, the members who host our Shabbat services each week. If you would like to join that group, please contact Pattie Lipman.

We hope to see you soon at CBI!

Join us on Feb. 7 for a Tu BiShvat Seder & Shabbat Potluck Feast!


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Join us for a potluck lunch (bring a vegetarian/dairy dish) and a seder honoring Tu BiShvat, the New Year of the Trees. 

The seder will include special teachings about the shmita (Sabbatical) year from environmental educator Maggid David Arfa, interwoven with material from Rabbi Rachel’s Tu BiShvat haggadah for adults.  


Saturday,  February 7 at 11am
(after morning services)
Please RSVP to office by Feb. 4.

53 Lois Street, North Adams | 413-553-5830 | http://www.cbiweb.org

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Beshalach

Shavua tov – a good week to you!

This week we’re reading the Torah portion known as Beshalach in the book of Shemot (Exodus.)

return-to-shabbatIf you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, some links follow:

And here’s the URJ’s compilation of commentaries on this week’s Torah portion: B’shalach | Reform Judaism.

This coming Shabbat morning, January 24, services will be led by Rabbi Pam Wax at 9:30am with Torah study to follow around 11ish, as usual.

Many thanks to our shamashim, the members who host our Shabbat services each week. If you would like to join that group, please contact Pattie Lipman.

We hope to see you soon at CBI!