Erev Shabbat Shalom,
Though I suppose it could be said about many weeks of the year, I really think this is one of the most important 8 day periods on our calendar. Beginning with Yom HaShoah and ending with Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzma’ut, we observe and then celebrate the lowest and highest points of Jewish history, both of which took place within the last century. We do so with rituals and prayers and ideas that are still in formation. No one would say the observance of these commemorations and holidays are fully-formed. No one would say that they are adequately observed, given the immensity of the events that they mark. But they are here to stay and we have to do our part to take a moment, or many moments, during these days to recognize the gravity of these holy days.
Our Yom HaShoah commemoration was very special this year. In addition to our procession of Survivors, we had a pre-program dinner during which they were carefully seated among our teenage students. They could ask questions and begin a dialogue. We know this is the last generation of students that will have this opportunity, and it is critical that we create that connection today so the stories can continue to be told well into the future by those who heard them first-hand. For another account, you can see this week’s Jewish Journal, which has many Yom HaShoah related stories, including one in which Yaffa Englander’s reflections on meeting someone who was rescued by Oskar Schindler are published. You should also be able to see the story here.
Tomorrow we will have a previously scheduled Learner’s Service at 10 am, including some of the morning liturgy but focusing on the service for taking out and reading the Torah. We will review the mechanics of having an Aliyah, carrying, lifting, and tying the Torah, and some of the vocabulary and background of this ‘center-piece’ of every Shabbat and holiday service. All are welcome. Next week we will have our regular service and all the Torah readings are spoken for (thank you) except for these two, so if you are interested please let me know: #1 13:55-59, and #4 14:9-12 (Chapters are in the book of Leviticus.)
I didn’t fully write out my d’var Torah for the 8th day of Passover, so there is no ‘what I meant to say’ last week. Instead please find this link (thank you to Rabbi Goldberg for ‘tweeting’ it this week) – a story I found very moving about a memory of growing up among Holocaust survivors. It should open by clicking here: The Holiest Generation
Rabbi David Englander
We will be hosting a livestream of an important conversation about Israel, hosted at and by JTS, on Tuesday April 21 at 7:30 pm. Come out and watch it with your community. If you can’t, you can see it live at http://learn.jtsa.edu/live