Leg circles look deceptively simple, but really emphasize the use of the abdominals for stability. Roll-ups are a wonderful full body stretch. Open-leg rocker is a humbling test of flexibility, core strength, and coordination. What teachings from Pilates do you incorporate into your daily life? Pilates teaches that results will come with patience, persistence, and determination.
And that makes me the same as everyone else…sometimes the teacher, sometimes the student. Get to Know Hope What brought you to Pilates? A chronic injury and a background in dance. Physical training, injury prevention, rehabilitation and movement. Truly such a gift. All the teachings. Pilates and yoga has brought me to a better understanding on how my body functions holistically. Get to Know Jaimee What brought you to Yoga? I had a very stressful job, and my friend who had taken yoga in college convinced me to go with them to try it. I did my hr training with Ananda Bhakti Hatha YTT and have done additional training in restorative yoga, chair yoga, the Roll Model Method of myofascial release, trauma informed teaching, and some therapeutic techniques.
My favorite classes to teach are restorative with reiki and singing bowls, gentle yoga with myofascial release, chair yoga, body positive yoga, water yoga, and yoga for beginners. I really struggled to find yoga that was accessible to me as a larger bodied person. After being turned away by multiple places, I finally found some workshops, and ultimately a teacher Julie Brown who were welcoming and helped empower me to teach other bodies like mine. Most people who take my classes leave feeling grounded, relaxed, and stretched out. You can expect multiple options for poses, unique pose choices, and maybe even some laughter!
My favorite yoga-related thing to do is to roll around on the floor with the Coregeous ball. My body has never felt better than when I discovered myofascial release. Yoga has absolutely saved my life. I did not have a relationship with my body prior to learning yoga, and gaining that is the greatest gift I could ever have been given. I try to return to my breath, ground myself, and pay attention to my body as much as possible. I've been through a lot in my life, including losing a partner to cancer, navigating life in a large body, developing diabetes, working through sciatic pain, plantar fasciitis, bone spurs in my back, having a partial mastectomy, and getting myself out of abusive relationships.
I strive to find the balance between my personal boundaries and loving-kindness, which I believe yoga helps us to navigate. Yoga has a special way of bringing calm and quiet to the mind and body. Somehow, in the course of the training and facing down my fear of public speaking , I found I loved to teach! Through folklore, yoga concepts, guided imagery and gentle Hatha Yoga stretches, I hope to give students time to give their minds andbodies a break from everyday life. I am just happy to be practicing! I love the moments when just the right muscles connect. I love that practicing breathing exercises gives me another tool to use when challenged.
And I love practicing what it feels like to be calm and quiet. What Yoga teachings do you incorporate into your daily life? Yoga has taught me to slow down and really really listen to myself and others. Listening gives me the opportunity to recognize the light in myself and the light in the people, places and things around me.
I have some physical challenges and limitations. Through my Yoga practice, I have learned to be more accepting and appreciative of what I am capable of. Additionally, I think my personal insecurities have allowed me to be more open and sensitive to what challenges my students may be experiencing when they take my classes.
Marcia Sachs - Yoga What brought you to Yoga? I took my first yoga class in NYC back in the early '80s. My boyfriend at the time took me to a weekly class he was going to in a church basement. It was pretty much instant love. I actually taught my 1st class at the New Age Center around I had been attending weekly classes there for about 2 years and the instructor was going to be on vacation for several weeks.
She basically 'assigned' me to teach while she was gone. Classical Hatha Yoga based on the Sivananada sequence. No music, lots of breathing, holding asanas and long savasana. Headstand Sirsasana and Shoulderstand Sarvangasana. I love inversions and how they make me feel. I will meditate every morning even if only for a few minutes. I also try to be mindful throughout the day as well as send loving energy out into the world. As I get older I find I have a deepening sense of impermanence and adjusting to how our physical selves change.
Get to Know Nora What brought you to Yoga? I was introduced to yoga at the age years old to a yoga class with my sister. The physical and mental benefits allowed to me relax and get a good work out to relieve stress. The health benefits that yoga offers and the stress relief it offers is a blessing, and it is an honor to be able to teach others that practice.
Yoga has the ability to quiet our minds and bring us down from the fast paced lifestyle. I can teach students to move through poses asanas with mindful breath and a focused mind. My favorite yoga pose would have to be half pigeon because it opens up the hips and legs, especially after sitting for most of the day. I incorporate mindfulness and breath in my everyday life.
Often times we are faced with situations that are not easy and finding a way to react calmly to difficult times is an ever evolving skill. Life has handed me challenges to balance personal growth while earning both my Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education. Life changes and people come and go, but it is important to take yoga off the mat and embrace all that life has to offer.
Get to Know Orva What brought you to Yoga? In or bought book on yoga and learned from it. A yoga teacher suggested I should consider teaching at a time of unexpected career change. I like to emphasize learning details of correct form and also in customizing each class for physical activities or issues that are affecting students. Janu sirsasana, a side bend variation that stretches the entire body or shoulderstand.
Hard to choose just one. In I was hospitalized I with sepsis. Several years were spent building strength to even climb up a flight of stairs without needing to lay down to rest for several hours. I teach my students that no matter where you start, little by little, you can gain strength and make changes. Get to Know Rachel What brought you to Yoga? I found yoga at a difficult point in my life - everything had been shaken up due to a sudden and unexpected medical issue. I needed something easy on the joints so I tried yoga and was immediately taken by the practice.
I did my hour teacher training at Cleveland Yoga and have since done additional trainings with Kathryn Budig and Baron Baptiste, as well as various anatomy intensives with Gina Schatz. I went into teacher training with no intention of teaching, I simply wanted to learn more about the practice. My first time teaching I fell in love with it and have enjoyed ever since.
Fun, class is always fun! I love to challenge students in whatever way they may need it that day — but enjoying the process is always part of the experience! Inversions of any kind! I love love love to be upside down. Get to Know Renee What brought you to Yoga? Oddly enough, a feeling came to me during a hectic part of my life and I thought "I should teach yoga. I am a classically trained Sivananda teacher, studying at various ashrams within the organization.
Once I completed my initial training, I was in awe of what I had just learned and wanted to share it with as many people as possible. Yoga is accessible for everyone - adapt, adjust, accommodate. Clear and concise instructions to allow students to experience quiet and stillness through a notably meditative and inward-focused class. Sirsasana - the headstand. Though personally difficult to practice at first, I've found this to be the most calming asana. The relaxing benefits are felt instantly and there are many fun variations to practice as well.
Through yoga, I'm very aware of my thoughts and mind. I try my best in each moment to become present and at ease in any situation. Yes, try is the important word! Throughout my practice and studies, I'm learning to accept myself and overcome the need to fit neatly into a box of what others deem "normal. I found myself practicing yoga times a week. I enrolled in a teacher training course to learn more about yogic practice. My class tends to have a slower yin pace, staying in postures for multiple rounds of breath. They say whatever pose is most uncomfortable is the one your body needs the most, so I try to listen to my body and challenge myself during asana practice.
Get to Know Stephani What brought you to Yoga? I was looking for a way to better manage my own anxiety and started diving into yoga many years ago. Sivananda Bahamas Feb Yoga teacher training. I became certified as a health coach and learned about the mind-body connection. Teaching yoga is another way I can serve others. A series of poses to help with relaxation and connecting with their true self in a supportive environment. Headstand - this is a challenge for me and I am always working on improving my strength and posture. It is also my favorite to teach because when you are guided coming up is so much easier.
People can make progress so quickly. All of them. My counseling experience, health coach training, and the yoga principals all align with my personal values and philosophy on health and happiness. I strive for a proper diet, exercise, relaxation, and keeping a positive mind. I've recently started meditating regularly and it has lead to a much clearer mind. When I was a senior in college I had the first pick of classes and was finally able to get into yoga.
I took my h certification with Bhumi. I have since studied functional anatomy with Gina Schatz and studied trauma-sensitive yoga at Yoga on High. My style is typically vinyasa with a focus on form and stability, noticing sensations in a pose and regulating and listening to breath.
I also chant in most every class -- the repetition of ancient Sanskrit mantra is another way to vibrate our way to health and deep levels of awareness. At first it was a love for fitness and gymnastics and supporting an individual's growth through the physical. Then my body and mind broke due to an illness. Now I'm coming back to how we weave the growth of our physical and emotional and mental selves together through breath, asana, meditation, chanting and ayurvedic science. Mountain brings me back to self and ignites the flow of earth energy into my body.
Lying down twist supports my nervous system and release in my tight hips. Side plank reminds me of my physical and emotional strength. Right now it's regulation of my breath and santosha, the practice of contentment, as I am going through a life transition. This looks like checking in with myself at various points in the day to notice if my breath is free flowing and if I'm grateful. During the wanderings of the Israelites after the Exodus from Egypt, Moses exercised judicial power over the people Exod.
After the conquest of the Promised Land and its division among the various tribes, judges were appointed in every settlement Deut. The beit din rabbinic term for a Jewish court of law was essentially a creation of the Second Temple period. Its establishment is attributed to Ezra, who decreed that local courts were to sit on Mondays and Thursdays in all populated centers Bava Kama 82a , with a supreme court Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. Types of Jewish Courts There were three levels of courts in Temple times. The highest court in Israel was the Great Sanhedrin, which was composed of 71 judges who sat in the Temple in Jerusalem.
This corresponded to the 70 elders and officers who assisted Moses in dispensing justice during biblical times Num. In addition to being the sole venue for adjudicating such crimes as an entire town that had turned toward idol worship Sanh. Judges of the Great Sanhedrin were required to affirm the death penalty of persons convicted of specific crimes such as being false witnesses or rebellious sons, or of enticing others to commit idolatry before they could be executed.
However, by far the most important role of the Great Sanhedrin was its development and interpretation of the Oral law, which became the binding authority on all Jews. Any violation of its edicts was liable to the death penalty Deut. Communities with more than people had a Lesser Sanhedrin, which was composed of 23 judges Sanh. In smaller villages, a court of three judges to ensure a majority was appointed to decide minor cases civil law and to remit the important ones to the superior court. They also had jurisdiction in matters of divorce, conversion, absolution from vows, and the power to condemn to a period of involuntary servitude a person convicted of theft who did not have sufficient funds to repay the victim Exod.
We are grateful to Ellie Klein for leading the yoga and Julie Tonti for leading the songs as we co-sponsor this special evening with Gesher Jewish Day School. See you at 6pm no guarantees that this baseball pitcher will do yoga Last Sunday was the 17th of Tammuz, which is the day on which we commemorate the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem during the second Temple Period. During these three weeks, which lead up to Tisha B'Av, the Ninth Day of the month of Av, which commemorates the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem and other tragic events, there are a number of customs that we practice.
Please note the link below to learn more about these three weeks. We sometimes feel that the challenges of living are overwhelming. In the midst of these three weeks, I want to briefly discuss the current movie about Mr. I encourage you to see this important documentary. Rogers' gentle spirit and his hopeful outlook on life. In the movie one learns more about his motivation for doing this children's show and its impact on generations of children, young people, and adults. You will always find people who are helping. But for children play is serious learning.
Play is really the work of childhood. Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people. As I reflect on these quotes, I hope that each of us can find a way to be a helper and realize that each of us is special and has a unique gift to give to others.
In a world where many are discouraged, I hope we can be beacons of light and hope. He also taught us, that it doesn't matter what we have, but how we use it. It's our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family and our hopes are that somehow there can be a miraculous recovery for the people who are trapped. We are grateful for the efforts of the rescuers and hope they remain safe in their work. May G-d comfort their families, friends, and loved ones at this tragic time.
On a different note, you may have noted a couple of articles that I have written in the past two Quarterly Kol publications. I have written about Reconstructing Judaism and what that means for Adat Reyim. Last Wednesday night, we had an adult education session where we looked at what reconstructing Judaism means to us. When I came to the congregation 27 years ago, Adat Reyim defined itself as progressive conservative. We maintained ourselves as a liberal conservative congregation, which was open to having members who were not Jewish when they were in committed relationships to Jewish people or other special circumstances.
We also had religious school for older students two days a week, instead of three days a week and didn't meet the minimum requirement for a synagogue to be affiliated with the Conservative movement in Judaism. We currently allow the non-Jewish member to vote on congregational issues, which is not allowed in the Conservative movement. Our discussion focused on what the best way would be to define ourselves today. Recognizing that recent research and demographic studies locally and nationally, have shown that the rate of affiliation with synagogues is low, we need to "brand" ourselves in a way that will encourage people to want to join us.
If we are creating a meaningful spiritual and educational community, we need to think about what this spirituality means to us. Some of the responses included being with a community on Shabbat and sharing our lives together, sharing our culture and learning about our roots, feeling closer to G-d, thinking about the big questions in life, having experiences that transcend our other commitments, and acting in a way for which I do not need to apologize. I hope that you will think about this issue and share your thoughts with me.
Summer time and our preparation for the High Holidays might give us opportunities to think about this significant issue.
- Fringe Space Tales - All of Amanda Loves Stories, in One Place;
- Rabbi Aft's Blog.
- Manual Yoga? No! Shmoga!: The Lazy Mans Guide to Inner Peace.
- American Trypanosomiasis: Chagas Disease One Hundred Years of Research (Elsevier Insights).
- An Iowa College in the Liberal Arts Tradition.
- PDF Fall Girl.
Finally, in an attempt to provide various spiritual experiences at Adat Reyim, please note that tonight there will be two Shabbat Chavurot meeting in people's homes in addition to services at 8pm at the synagogue. Friday night, July 6, please join us for our special potluck and yoga Shabbat. Please check next week's Chai Lites and watch for a flyer for more information. We also have a special family service with ice cream on July 13 please note the earlier time , a service in which the choir will be participating on July 20 and I will continue our discussion about reconstructing Judaism, and on July 27, Shir Reyim will participate in our service and Glenn Siegel, one of our religious school teachers will be speaking.
Shabbat morning services are at am and why don't you join us for Torah study at am? Summertime might give us the opportunity to spend time nourishing our spirit. As we celebrate July 4 this week, please be safe, and remember that despite our flaws and the current divisiveness in America, we should celebrate our democracy and the best that America can be. If you filled out the interest form than you have been invited to a community members home. If you did not fill out the interest form than please note that there will be regular Erev Shabbat services at Congregation Adat Reyim.
I remarked that perhaps in our world today, we are bombarded with so much information, that it is not possible to process all the information that comes our way. In the midst of all this news, I want to discuss one current issue and one ancient text from our tradition. Many years ago when I was being treated for prostate cancer, one of my greatest sources of support was a Marymount student who I had taught in a religion class.
She has spent a lot of time in Saudi Arabia and we spoke about similarities and differences between Judaism and Islam. She and I had heated debates about Israeli political issues and as we agreed to disagree, we grew to respect each other's faith and our commitment to our religions.
I have been back in touch with her and hope I will hear from her as we both watch the evolution of our respective societies to become more open and inclusive. I hope that our world will be cognizant of the importance of meeting the challenges of human rights, wherever we believe that these rights are being compromised. The ancient text is found in this week's Torah portion where we read about the ritual of the red heifer. We know this portion because it contains the passage where Moses hits the rock instead of speaking to it which is what G-d had asked and water comes forth.
G-d tells Moses he will not enter the Promised Land because he didn't follow G-d's directions and sent the message that it was Moses, not G-d, who had caused the water to emerge from the rock. When confronting the death of a loved one we just returned from visiting the cemetery on the first anniversary of Sue's Mom's passing, and I am observing the 20th anniversary of my Dad's death and the 17th anniversary of my Mom's death , we are often so sad, hurt, and vulnerable, that we are not at our best.
I believe that this ritual is described in the midst of this portion to remind us that it is difficult to face every day life and that we need to find ways to lessen the sadness in our lives at these moments when we confront the death of a loved one and perhaps even purify us from the defilement of that sadness. I also believe as is expressed in many commentaries, that one of the most important components of this ritual is the ash that remains.
We are taught that we should have two pieces of paper in our pockets: one says that for our sake the world was created, and the other, that we are but dust and ashes. In performing the ritual of the red heifer, our ancestors may have been reminding themselves about the brief time we have in this world to make a difference so that we can be more than dust and ashes. I hope that each of us will have the passion of Moses who I believe was so distraught over the death of his siblings, that he unintentionally violated G-d's direction.
May we turn our passion into finding meaningful ways to fill our lives with actions that will improve our world. There are so many things happening in our world that can overwhelm us Each of us needs to search our souls for our personal response to the crisis on the U. As I mentioned at minyan last night, I feel compelled to speak as a Jewish person who is greatly concerned about the current situation of immigration on our nation's southern border. I am haunted by memories of seven trips to Auschwitz when I used to coordinate the March of the Living for this area reminder: this is a trip to Poland for teenagers to visit concentration camps and then to Israel to commemorate Israel's Memorial Day and Israel's Independence Day.
I stood at spots where families were separated and Dr. Mengele, a doctor who did horrible experiments to people, would stand at a train platform and point to the left and to the right. Adult males, and older children would sometimes go one way, and women and children would go another way.
Those who were disabled or sick would go one way. Bottom line In one of my most poignant memories, a Holocaust survivor stood at the spot where she had last seen her mother, because of the separation and subsequent death of her mother. As she melted in emotion, we tried to support her. Another memory is when a survivor shrieked because she saw a picture of her mother being separated from her at the gate of Birkenau.
Still another memory Now I am NOT suggesting that any of these folks at our border are being murdered there. As I write this, the situation is very fluid but there seems to be no resolution to the separation of families that has already occurred. Immigration is a complicated issue and I don't claim to have the answers to an immensely challenging political issue. However, I cannot accept the separation of families and urge those who feel strongly to remember the Biblical injunction to not stand idly by the blood of our neighbors Leviticus , which can be understood to encourage us to do something when we see people being mistreated.
Finally, please scroll down for information about an emergency rally on Friday, which is mentioned below the statement. We strongly condemn the forcible separation of families who are seeking a better life for their children as they flee violence and unrest.
It is inhumane and cruel to separate children from their parents. These actions can damage these children psychologically and deeply affect the emotional well-being of their parents as well. This policy and the consequent practices it requires are fundamentally un-American. If we are to live up to our nation's values, we must never forget that as a nation of immigrants we have a moral imperative to welcome other immigrants and to treat them with respect and kindness.
While this is not the first instance we have failed to live up to those values, it is certainly among the cruelest. We reject the inflammatory and divisive rhetoric being used to justify the policy, which is clearly intended to generate groundless fear of immigrants and refugees. The Torah instructs us that "You shall not wrong or oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. We must always remember that immigrants and refugees should be treated with compassion and dignity. We join a wide range of Jewish and other faith communities from all across the political and theological spectrum in calling on the administration to reunite these families and end this policy immediately.
The JCRC focuses on government relations, Israel advocacy, inter-group relations, and social justice. Most of those children have ended up in child detention facilities that are often overcrowded and grossly inadequate to meet the emotional and safety needs of the detained children. Some parents have even been deported while their children remain in the United States. What Mitzvah will you do today in honor of this annual occurrence on June 13????
As I complete my 27th year at Adat Reyim, I realize that we are not a perfect congregation. Recently, a member with great emotion in their voice, spoke with love about what a difference members of the congregation have made in helping their loved one to recover from being ill. I was recently going through some old notes that I had received and realize that there are literally hundreds of letters from people who have been touched by ways in which members of the congregation, staff people, and I have made a difference in their lives. I hope that as we begin a summer discussion about what reconstructing Judaism means, we can keep the dream alive into the next generation.
Building a community of friends is something sacred and can be a beacon of hope and support for many in our Northern VA. Jewish community. Please come to our sessions throughout the summer about reconstructing Judaism so that we can hear your voice and be sure that the dream stays alive. I did not have time to make reference to the following link, which is from a Moment Magazine article about the Messiah. I hope you will take time to read these various perspectives. In each series, the CAPS were behind and had to come back to win.
Living our dreams, reaching our goals, and making a difference aren't without setbacks. But if we keep trying, we can come back from being down and in some way accomplish what we have set out to do. You will also note below what I read to the West Springfield High School graduates at their recent baccalaureate service in honor of their state championship baseball team. You have seen this before. Shabbat Shalom and Happy Father's Day.
Please join us at services tonight as Allan Cate shares his experiences in Morocco this past year. Rabbi Bruce Aft. Click on link below. This is your first game, son. I hope you win. I hope you win for your sake not mine. Like the whole world is yours. But it passes, this feeling.
And what you learn is life. The whole thing is played in an afternoon. The happiness of life. The miseries. The joys. You might be a hero or you might be absolutely nothing. Too much depends on chance. On how the ball bounces. Just as I said. Because every game is life. And life is a game. A serious one. Dead serious. You do your best. You take what comes. You take what comes and you run with it.
Winning is fun. But winning is not the point. Wanting to win is the point. Not giving up is the point.
Never letting up is the point. Never letting anyone down is the point. Play to win. But lose like a champion. What counts is trying. I remember how very special it was to share the White Sox World Series victory with members of our family and how much I wish I could have shared it with my Dad.
I also remember the final moment I had with my Mom, who had dementia, was a sports memory from her childhood. What a wonderful reminder to share meaningful moments with those we love. Secondly, as you may be aware by now, we wish Rabbi Jennifer Weiner good luck in her new endeavors. We are grateful for the love she shared with our students and their families and hope that she, Jeff, and her family enjoy good health and much success. Thirdly, last Friday we had our pre school closing event and had a chance to wish Heather Glick well as she came back to visit.
In a priceless moment as I blessed our pre-K graduates, they all ran over and hugged Heather. The love and caring she showed to our students and their families during her tenure with us has energized our pre school as it continues to grow and impact upon many families with young children.
Yashir koach to both of our educators for their dedication to Adat Reyim. We are excited to welcome Adina and her family to our community of friends. We are looking forward to exciting times for our students and their families as our educational programs continue to grow and make a difference! Finally, last Shabbat Sue and I completed the year of mourning for her Mom and continue to remember the wonderful memories we shared with her.
We will be visiting her grave to pay our respects later in June and look forward to special time with Sue's brother and sister and their families over the summer as we continue to honor her memory. Once again, thanks to all of you who have reached out to Sue and me during this challenging year of mourning. Her Mom's memory certainly continues to be a blessing. We went to our first musical event together after the year of mourning, to see Camelot and next week I will share why I believe that we can learn a great deal from Camelot about what Congregation Adat Reyim can mean to all of us.
I continue to be inspired by what a difference it makes when people in the hospital know that someone cares about them. Visiting the hospital is not an easy thing to do. When I visit, I sometimes flash back to personal family visits and this brings back difficult memories. However, the support that folks feel when I visit almost always leaves me feeling rewarded. There are a number of members of our community who are either in the hospital, doing rehab, are in hospice, are at home, or soon will be facing surgery. Our thoughts and prayers are with each of them and we hope that as Debbie Friedman wrote in her prayer of healing, that each of them will have the courage to make their lives a blessing and will enjoy a complete recovery.
If you would like to be part of the Adat Reyim caring committee, please let the chairpeople of our caring committee Ann Ungar and Joan Mizrahi know. They are planning a get together in early July for those who are interested. The Jewish Social Service Agency has printed a short prayer book with the following prayer written by Rabbi Naomi Levy see below that has inspired a number of people and I hope you find it as meaningful as I do. Finally, for those who follow the National Spelling Bee competition, the winning word, "koinonia" although it is used to describe a Christian spiritual community, captures what it means to build a spiritual community of friends.
May our participation in our Adat Reyim continue to make a difference in our lives. Could you imagine us being called Congregation Koinonia?????source site
63 Best Peace images in | Best quotes, Best quotes ever, Daily qoutes
I feel so lost. I can't seem to escape the dark cloud that is hanging over me today. Help me, God. Give me strength to combat despair and fear. Show me how to put my pain into perspective. Teach me to have faith in the new day that is coming. Thank you, God, for today's blessings, for tomorrow's hope, and for Your abiding love. Teach me always to believe in my power to return to life, to hope, and to You, God, no matter what pains I have endured, no matter how far I have strayed from You.
Give me the strength to resurrect my weary spirit. Revive me, God, so I can embrace life once more in joy, in passion, in peace. When I feel tainted, God, remind me that I am holy. When I feel weak, teach me that I am strong. When I am shattered, assure me that I can heal. When I am weary, renew my spirit. When I am lost, show me that you are near. May God heal you, body and soul.
May your pain cease, May your strength increase, May your fears be released, May blessings, love and joy surround you. Although it was at a school close to where our grandchildren go to school, it was not their school and our family and those we know are safe. There is additional security at their school as I write this. Our prayers are with those families whose children were wounded.
This is not the article in which to discuss what this means, but please voice your feelings to those who can make a difference and make them aware that this personally affected someone you know. Once again we are personally grateful. Our annual custom is to go to the special Memorial Day concert, which is held on Sunday night on the National Mall. Each year different folks are remembered who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. To those who are reading this who have lost someone in the service of our country, we hope that you will find meaning in their heroism.
May their memories remind us as it says at the Korean Memorial in DC, that "freedom is not free. I hope that many of you will join with Arnie Daxe at Dulles airport for this special opportunity. For more information, please contact either the office, Arnie, or myself. I am sure that by now, most of us know that Philip Roth died this week. One of his many quotes from his book "The Anatomy Lesson" is "Pain is like a baby crying. What it wants it can't name.
The deaths due to gun violence, the victimization of women whether at MSU, Olympians, USC, Hollywood, and so many other places, are just a few examples of the pain that people are feeling. What do we want to do with our pain? The pain continues to cry out in our hearts and souls and yet what can we do to alleviate our pain? Randi asked him what we can do to have an impact in our world and create more love than hostility, more good feelings, than bad, and how can we improve our world.
I have paraphrased her question. Senator Kaine's message was to get involved in grass roots organizations and find the cause, which energizes us, and do something about it. He remarked that there are all kinds of groups with which people can become involved and urged us to find one and act on our desires to improve our world. On this Memorial Day weekend when we remember the commitment of so many to keep us free, let us free ourselves from our frustration and feelings of powerlessness, and pick a cause to which to devote our time.
Finally, after services tomorrow, I will be driving to a teen retreat at the new home of Peggy and Aryeh Ephrath near Roanoke. We are grateful for all she has done to rejuvenate our teen program. We wish her good health and much happiness in their new home. Saturday May 19th, pm Back Classrooms Adat Reyim follows the tradition of hosting a study session on the eve of Shavuot.
It is called 'Tikkun Lel Shavuot'. On Shavuot, we received the Torah and pledged to observe its commandments. But when we were expelled from the Land of Israel and roamed the world as the Diaspora under foreign rulers, Torah law frequently clashed with local law. The rabbis of the Talmud instituted the principle that the law of the land has priority. But what does it mean in practice? No preparation is necessary and you can leave anytime you need.
There will be plenty of coffee and munchies. Please bring a kosher dairy item to share. It is always special when a member of the staff celebrates a simcha and we hope that Karley and her family continue to find meaning in their involvement in Jewish life. Second, we wish Gershon Price and his family mazel tov on the occasion of his becoming confirmed on Saturday night.
As our teen program continues to grow, we also congratulate Vanessa Altman, as she becomes the second graduate of the rejuvenated teen program, Am Echad. Jason Katz was the first graduate last year! Confirmation and the graduation will occur at our Shavuot program, which begins tomorrow night at 7pm. This celebration is open to the entire congregation! We also wish all our high school and college graduates mazel tov on the occasions of their various graduations and hope that many of you will come to celebrate tomorrow night.
We also will be saying good-bye to Peggy Ephrath who will be moving out of the area. Our teenagers have been blessed to be inspired by her devotion and dedication to them as she has initiated our Am Echad Teen Program. She and her husband, Aryeh, will be moving out of the area and we wish them good health and happiness in their new home.
The teens will be having a retreat with Peggy in her new home near Roanoke next weekend. As we celebrate Shavuot, there are so many special components to this major Jewish Festival. Shavuot is one of three pilgrimage festivals along with Pesach and Sukkot. Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai and the completion of the spring harvest.
The major theme of Shavuot is revelation. Our sages debate what really happened at Mt. Was the scene of the giving of the 10 Commandments as it is portrayed in the movie, The 10 Commandments with Charlton Heston? Was there thunder and lightening? Was it one moment in time that has had eternal impact on the world of faith? I choose to believe that revelation is an ongoing phenomenon and that each day we have the potential to learn new things and discover new meanings in our sacred texts and in our life experiences.
Each day provides us with new meaning and gives us opportunities for growth. I also believe that one of the themes of Shavuot is remembrance. We will recite Yizkor prayers on Sunday morning as part of our Shavuot services. As Sue and I complete the year of formal mourning for her Mom, Yizkor gives us a chance to think about all the wonderful moments we shared with her. As we remember her, we know that death is painful for those who loved the deceased.
However there are also special memories that transcend the grief and give us new revelations into the sacredness of life. Sue's Mom talked about how blessed she was to be surrounded by a wonderful family and as celebrated Mother's Day with our children and grandchildren, it was a wonderful reminder of how blessed we are. My hope is that those of you who have lost someone will join us for this springtime opportunity to remember our loved ones and will have new revelations about special moments you shared with them. Yizkor begins at approximately on Sunday morning.
Services will be followed by lunch! Please note that as part of our Shavuot program tomorrow night, Dr. Maurice Mizrahi will lead our annual Shavuot study session Tikkun Leyl Shavuot about the law of the land being the law and what that means to us as Jews. The study session begins at pm. Her life reminds us that we all choose Judaism and what it will mean to us. Finally, please note the following prayer, which was compiled by Danny Siegel. May its words inspire all of us.
May the space between each letter of the scrolls Bring warmth and comfort to your soul. May the syllables draw holiness from your heart, And may this holiness be gentle and soothing To the world. May your study be passionate, And meanings bear more meanings Until Life itself arrays itself to you As a dazzling wedding feast. And may your conversation, Even of the commonplace, Be a blessing to all who listen to your words And see the Torah glowing on your face. As the American Embassy opened in Jerusalem, there are reasons to rejoice and with the loss of life, reasons to be sad. Israel was declared a state on May 14, and yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of that event.
As we all know, issues in the Middle East are complex. I urge you to read a variety of reports about the opening of the Embassy, as we are all aware there is a diversity of opinion in our congregation, in the larger Jewish community, and throughout the world. As a rabbi and as a Jewish person, I hope for peace and pray for peace in Jerusalem. There are various perspectives about whether the outbreak of violence is in response to the opening of the Embassy or whether it is to protest the declaration of the State of Israel 70 years ago. As I mentioned when the decision was made to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, I do not have access to all the information to which those who make these decisions have access.
I do know of the spiritual importance of Jerusalem to Jewish people throughout the generations and any of us who have visited the Kotel Western Wall recognize the powerful emotions we have experienced there and the strong sentiment that the move of the Embassy elicits. Naomi Shemer wrote all but the final verse before the Six Day War in and then added the final verse when she heard Israeli soldiers singing her song when the Israeli soldiers reunited Jerusalem in the midst of the Six Day War.
It is both mournful and hopeful and my prayer is that in the coming days, there will be peace and wholeness among all who call Jerusalem home. First of all, we wish mazel tov to all our students and their families who tonight at services at pm please note earlier time are being consecrated. As they participate in this ceremony at which the students mark the sweetness of Jewish learning and formally receive their siddurim, prayer books we are excited to be able to celebrate this special event in their lives. The students have all made covers for their prayer books and heard a story about a young man who finds his grandmother's prayer book, which has a list of all the major life cycle events in his family's life.
The prayer book can be more than a list of prayers We hope this will be one of many sacred moments in each of their lives. Secondly, next Saturday night and Sunday is Shavuot and on Saturday night we will celebrate confirmation and the first graduation ceremony for Am Echad, our rejuvenated teen program.
Please see the flyer accompanying this article and join us for this special Festival, which celebrates the Giving of the Torah at Mt. Also, please join us on Sunday morning for services, Yizkor, and a Festival Luncheon. Thirdly, soon you will receive a flyer about a special innovation to our Shabbat worship and celebration. On Friday, June 29, there will be several simultaneous Shabbat dinners and services occurring both at Adat Reyim and in people's homes.
We want you to be part of a group with which you might have more in common and in this way, celebrate a meaningful connection to other congregants and Shabbat. This will be called a Chavurah Shabbat, with smaller friendship groups called Chavurot Fellowship or Friendship Groups based upon the word Chaver, or friend. Sunday and Monday are the final days of religious school and I want to personally thank all our teachers and madrichim for their dedication to Adat Reyim.
I also want to thank Rabbi Jennifer Weiner for her devoted service to our congregation for the past four years. We all wish her well in her future endeavors, including her graduate program in Jewish education. Rabbi Weiner, may you and your family continue to be healthy and safe and go from strength to strength in all you do. If your Mother is alive, enjoy every moment with her. If you only have memories of your Mother, may they be sweet ones, filled with love.
It is a day of celebration, which you can learn more about by clicking the link at the conclusion of this article. The plague ended on the 33rd day of the Omer, and therefore gives us an opportunity to celebrate. Unfortunately, in the world in which we live, we are afflicted by the plague of disrespect. Whether it is in political discourse or whether at the recent White House correspondence dinner, or whether it is in simple conversations among friends and family, I think we are living in a time in which there is a lack of respect.
It is interesting that Akiva who had immense respect for his wife, Rachel who encouraged him to study at the age of 40, was not able to instill respect into his students. I wish I knew what we could do to create a more respectful world, but I believe that it is up to each one of us to examine our own tendencies to be harsh, judgmental, and think about what we can do to break the plague.
On a totally different note, I want to share three anecdotes, which I hope will inspire you to realize the power we have to help others. I visit this congregation a couple of times a year in order to help them since they are small and can't afford a full time rabbi. It is a community service which I find to be rewarding and is greatly appreciated. The young man who became Bar Mitzvah, wanted to memorialize the victims of the shooting in Parkland, Florida.
He discovered that one of the victims played the trombone, which the Bar Mitzvah also plays. He wrapped his trombone in a tallit and honored Alex in his Bar Mitzvah speech. This was such a personal remembrance that it was a very emotional moment as we recalled one life that was snuffed out in this horrible tragedy. The second and third anecdotes occurred at King David cemetery recently when I was presiding at a funeral. As the casket was being lowered and before the straps were removed, the two staff from the cemetery who were lowering the casket, paused for a moment as they paid their respects to the deceased.
I was very touched that these two individuals took a moment to bow their heads and pause before finishing their work.
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Speaking very candidly, I asked the cemetery representative whether this was intentional and he didn't know whether they pause anyway, but would tell them what an impression they had made. The third anecdote occurred as I was driving out of the cemetery and saw an elderly gentleman standing by the grave of a loved one. He looked so very sad and I slowed the car and waved at him so he knew he wasn't alone. He looked up, nodded, and we went our separate way. Simple acts of kindness that show our respect for the lives of other human beings can be very meaningful and don't require a lot of effort.
If only, Rabbi Akiva's students had been more respectful of each other and the diversity of their beliefs, who knows how the custom of counting the Omer and celebrating Lag B'Omer might have changed. Who knows what a simple act of respect which we perform can change our world? My Jewish Learning. This week's Torah portion contains the Holiness code. Most people are familiar with one of the verses, which teaches that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. This is the verse from which the Golden Rule is derived that reminds us to do unto others, as we would like them to do unto us.
The Jewish understanding of this verse is according to Rabbi Hillel who explained that what is hateful to you, do not do to others My personal belief is based upon a teaching from rabbinical school where we learned that the Hebrew word for love, which is used in the verse to love your neighbor as your self, "ahav" is a word that can be defined as covenantal loyalty. What is our covenantal loyalty to our neighbor? We are all citizens of our world and I believe that each of us needs to work together to create a just society. I wonder if anyone ever is curious as to what my private prayer is at the conclusion of the Amidah.
I ask for creative ideas to be a better partner with G-d in the creation of a more peaceful, just world. I am sometimes overwhelmed by the daunting challenge of righting the wrongs in our world. There is so much to do and so little time in which to do it. And yet There is a story of a person who is seeking aid from the Temple Administrator in Biblical times. The administrator indicates to the needy individual that there are no more funds in the community treasury to help her. She walks away, sadly, and whispers that she and her family will not have food for dinner.
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The administrator calls her back and says that he personally will help her from his own funds. Many of you will recognize this story since when I have told it at Shabbat Under the Stars in previous years, I have suggested that when we think there is nothing left that we think we can do, that we can always do a little bit more. I hope that as we contemplate our own love of our neighbors that we will try to do one more thing to help demonstrate our loyalty to our fellow citizens, many of who are less fortunate than we are. On this good deeds weekend, I hope we will take a few minutes from our busy schedules and do something which can help others, and in doing so, show our gratitude for our blessings.
Many people know the story about how Miriam is afflicted with leprosy when she gossips about her brother, Moses. As recently as this morning, there is a news item about the fraternity, Theta Tau at Syracuse University and their video, which is filled with derogatory comments about minorities. The fraternity has issued an apology for what they did some think it was meant to be a satire , but the challenges of lashon hara negative speech are still with us.
How many of us in an attempt to be funny, use inappropriate speech? How many of us gossip about others? How many of us are eager to learn negative things about people who are celebrities or leaders in our community? How many of us say hurtful things without having the full knowledge of the context in which something has been said or done? We talk about distracted driving when we use our cell phones while we are in the car. I think we should be thinking about distracted living, which plagues our lives when we say negative things about each other.
I hope that this week's Torah reading and the following letter see below will focus our lives on positivity and looking for good in each other. I am sharing the following note from Jenna Bush to her "Ganny. I often quote the words from the song, "Guantanamera" which state, " a little brook on a mountain, the cooling spray of a fountain, arouse in me an emotion, more than the vast boundless ocean She also reminds us of the power of kind words to build bridges of love and understanding.
May her words and the words we use help us overcome the leprosy of our hearts and souls and remind us to not afflict each other with negativity and hatred, but to heal each other with love and positive comments. You were our family's rock, the glue that held us together. I hope you know in your final days how many people prayed for you, how many people told me they loved you.
It was like that my whole life - people stopped me everywhere - in airports, on the street and declared their love for you. It always felt good. We didn't mind sharing you with the world. Treat everyone equally, don't look down on anyone, use your voices for good, read all the great books oh, how I will miss sharing books with you!
I will never forget when Barbara and I as 7-year-olds snuck to the bowling alley and ordered presidential peanut butter sandwiches. We couldn't wait for someone to deliver what was sure to be the fanciest sandwich of our lives when you opened the door, scolding us, telling us under no circumstances could we order food in the White House again, this was not a hotel.
You taught us humility and grace. You and Gampy embodied unconditional love. At our wedding Henry and I asked you to read because we so hoped we could emulate your love story. Your love letters will be passed down to my girls so they know what true devotion looks like.