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Rabbi's Shabbat Message and Schedule

In this week's Torah portion, we begin the book of Deuteronomy, the final book of the Torah. The entire book of Deuteronomy takes place at the very end of the 40 years of wandering in the Wilderness. Moses knows that he will not enter the Promised Land, and so, camped on the east side of the Jordan River, he delivers these final speeches to prepare the Israelites (and us) for the future without him. So much to say... How does he begin? "The Eternal our God spoke to us at Horeb: You have stayed long enough at this mountain..." (Deut. 1:6). Moses begins by telling the Israelites their own history, the story of their travels from the time they left Mount Sinai. ("Horeb" is another name for Sinai.) In fact, a large part of Deuteronomy is Moses's retelling of events we have already read earlier in the Torah. We could ask: Didn't the Israelites already know these stories? This wasn't ancient history—why does Moses use his last opportunity to speak to the Israelites to remind them of things they or their parents lived through themselves? From this our Jewish people learned profound wisdom—the power of retelling. It may be because I've led a few funerals and shivas this week, but I'm especially moved by Moses here, telling the Israelites their own story. They need to hear it. They will learn and remember new things. We do this all the time, not only at the end of life. There is something transformative about sharing stories and memories; it builds our sense of identity and deepens our relationships to those with whom we share our lives. These quarantine days are great days for storytelling. Catch-up phone calls with loved ones are a perfect opportunity for savoring stories that are well-remembered and well-loved. We've heard them before, but the repetition is part of the point. I wish all of you and your loved ones a healthy and peaceful Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Noah



Tisha B'Av Ritual and Reflection

Check your email (Subject: Rabbi's Shabbat Message and Links) for how to join in

Tisha B'Av has never fit easily with Reform Judaism. What do we do with a day of fasting and mourning for the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews—when we reject the idea of the Temple being rebuilt someday and we believe that Jewish life in Diaspora, especially here in America, is a blessing, not a curse?

But Tisha B'Av is also a day to experience collective loss and grief—and this year in particular, we have those in abundance

Join us on Wednesday night to hear the beautiful, mournful chanting of Lamentations—the Bible's book of loss. And we will spend some time in study and reflection on some of the losses we have experienced and continue to experience as a community as a result of the pandemic.

And of course, we will not leave Tisha B'Av in grief, but try to nurture together the seed of hope.


Shabbat Zoom Links

Friday, 7/24, 6:00pm

Shabbat Blessings and Shabbat Service

Check your email (Subject: Rabbi's Shabbat Message and Links) for how to join in

Saturday, 7/25, 9:00am

Shabbat Morning Torah Study

Check your email (Subject: Rabbi's Shabbat Message and Links) for how to join in

Torah Portion: Devarim

Study Section: Deuteronomy 1:1-2:1

Saturday, 7/25, 7:30pm

Havdallah — Blessings for the End of Shabbat

Check your email (Subject: Rabbi's Shabbat Message and Links) for how to join in

We have been streaming our Havdallah Zoom live on Kol Dorot Facebook, and many of you have joined us there! Whether you're watching in real time or checking out the video later, leave a comment to let us know you saw us!


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