Volume III Kislev/Tevet 5780 / December 2019 No. 20
Israel on My Mind
For many Jewish communities in the United States, Israel is the third rail of subjects. Many people are passionate about their opinions and their opinions are deeply personal to them. Others feel detached from Israel, but keep being told that they should care. Some support Israel no matter what, and some feel very conflicted because they want to support Israel, but are deeply troubled by many of the actions of its government. There are also many different issues that might be troubling to different members of Jewish communities. Some of the dilemmas in Israel seem impossible to resolve, which can lead to a sense of despair to observers in this country. Many Jewish communities don’t talk about Israel much at all, in order to avoid rancor and hurt feelings in the community. This year, we are going to spend some of our time engaging in discussion about Israel. I believe we will be able to do so in a helpful and productive way, not a divisive way.
I am thinking about Israel for three reasons this month.
First, this month we have planned an amazing Shabbaton about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. A Shabbaton is an extended learning opportunity that is spread out over a Shabbat. Ours will be the Shabbat of December 13 and 14. There will be learning sessions on Friday evening before services (with dinner), Shabbat morning before services (with breakfast), and after services—lunch first and then learning. The Shabbaton will conclude at 3:30 in the afternoon on Saturday.
Congregant Sophia McGee, who is the director of CERRU, the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding at Queens College, and who is a professor who is an expert in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, is one of our two scholars. If you were able to attend her Sisterhood lecture in December of 2017, you know how able she is to explain the complexity of Israel. She is a dynamic speaker and a great pleasure to learn from.
The second scholar is no less stellar. Sophia has arranged for Dr. Shahar Sadeh to join us. Dr. Sadeh has participated in the peace process in Israel. She will teach us about the environment in Israel and the role it plays in the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
You don’t have to attend all the sessions, but that is the way to get the most out of the Shabbaton. We are asking for a donation of $25 for the whole Shabbaton, but it is also possible to come for just the dinner, breakfast, or lunch sessions and donate accordingly. I strongly encourage attending as much of this as you can—it’s a great opportunity. Many thanks to Candi Friedman, who took the initiative to make this happen, and to Sophia, who is providing the learning.
The second reason I’m thinking about Israel is because I’m going there! I will be leaving on December 21 and returning home on January 20. For the first week of the trip I’ll be with my husband Mike, our daughter Shoshi, and my dad. We’ll spend Hanukkah with our daughter Hannalina, who has been in Israel attending a gap year program since August. It will be so good to see her! We’re planning trips to the Dead Sea and Masada, Caesarea, and some of the wonderful museums of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Mike, Shoshi, and my dad will go home at the end of December, and I’ll stay while Hannalina finishes her program. I plan to visit friends and do some more exploring.
From January 13 to 19 Rabbi Pinsky and I will participate in a professional development trip as part of Qushiyot, a fellowship we’re participating in this year designed to enhance Israel education. I am particularly excited about this part of the trip because I have never been on a professional learning trip like this before.
Please note that while I’m away, Rabbi Pinsky will be available for any emergency needs in the congregation, and for the week when she is also in Israel, we will arrange for rabbinic coverage by colleagues in Brooklyn.
The third reason I’m thinking about Israel is because of Hanukkah itself. While it is a minor festival on the Jewish calendar, it is also very Israel-based. Other holidays are situated in other places: Passover is in Egypt; Purim is in Persia; Shavuot is in the wilderness, as is Sukkot; and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are in the world at large and in our souls. Hanukkah, though, is a post-biblical holiday that happens in the Land of Israel—a civil war and a war against an imperial power, in which the Maccabee rebels were triumphant. During the last couple of centuries BCE, the Jews ruled their land, and it was the last time they did so until 1948.
Jews and fellow travelers with Jews are God-wrestlers. In our community, we wrestle with worship and prayer, we wrestle with how to manage our building, we wrestle with how to relate to Israel. For each of us, we are conflicted to different degrees about different parts of our Judaism. The engagement in the complexity, the desire to find a relationship with the many and varied aspects of Judaism, matters. Let us be compassionate and listen openly to one another, knowing that all of us are looking for answers that are always elusive. Thank God for our amazing community, in which we can explore together.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
Rabbi Heidi Hoover
voice of truth
Every year we look forward to December for the celebration of Hanukkah. It's a busy, festive month when we gather with family and friends and give gifts to all. However, during this month I ask you not to forget to give to yourself spiritually and socially by coming to Temple for Shabbat services and activities.
We begin the month on Friday, December 6 with a potluck Shabbat dinner sponsored by our Brotherhood. Brotherhood will then lead a Shabbat service using the old Union Prayer book to give us a glimpse into Reform Judaism’s past.
The next day, Saturday, December 7, Aidan Miller and Tobias Dicker will be called to the bima for their bar mitzvahs. Please attend to support their special achievement.
The busy weekend ends on Sunday, December 8 at 4 pm with the one-man show Jews, God and History (Not Necessarily in that Order). Join us for this hilarious and thought-provoking show written and performed by Michael Takiff. To get a taste of the show, view the trailer at https://www.michaeltakiff.com.
The following Shabbat, December 13 and 14, we will host a Shabbaton focusing on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The sessions will be led by congregant Sophia McGee and Dr. Shahar Sadeh. I encourage you to attend for insight into this difficult situation.
Finally, join your Temple family on Friday, December 20 for a Latkes and Potluck Dinner followed by our Hanukkah Shabbat Service.
We will continue our tradition of lighting our menorahs on the bima (don’t forget to bring your menorah and candles) and our wonderful choir will sing a number of Hanukkah songs, some of which you may not have heard before. Let’s make it a very special evening with a great turnout.
I look forward to seeing you at Temple, and wish you and your families a very Happy Hanukkah!
IN THE BEGINNING: I was born in Dover, New Hampshire, a small town in Southeastern NH. I grew up in a very Jewishly connected family; at different times, each of my parents were presidents of our synagogue.
AND THEN: I’ve lived a ton of places: a kibbutz in Israel; Oakland, California; and, St. Louis Missouri. We’ve called Brooklyn home for the last 15 years.
MAKING A LIVING: I’m a social worker by training, with a focus on community development and organizational management. I’ve worked in the Jewish community for much of my professional career. It’s been a fascinating journey, and I’ve learned so much about organizations I never knew existed growing up in my tiny Jewish community.
I’m currently CEO of Amplifier, an organization that works to ignite, strengthen, and inform giving inspired by Jewish values. We believe everyone can make positive, powerful change through giving – regardless of income level – and have a particular focus on giving circles and other collaborative giving opportunities.
THE 'FROWNS': I’ve been married for 20 years to Jeremy Brown. He’s a professional musician and much, much cooler than I am. We’ve got two great kids: Abe, 16, who celebrated his bar mitzvah and was confirmed at B’ShERT, and Rose, 12. We hope you will all join us for Rose’s bat mitzvah in April! Since Jeremy’s last name is Brown and mine is Fisher, our friends affectionately call us “The Frowns.”
MY JEWISH IDENTITY: I consider myself a “post-denominational” Jew. I love Judaism and worshiping in lots of different kinds of synagogues. I don’t feel particularly connected to any denomination. Our kids have grown up at Young Judaea camps, and one thing I like about Young Judaea is that it is pluralistic – with kids ranging from secular to observant.
My favorite Jewish celebration is definitely Shabbat, which is great because it comes every week. We’ve got a bunch of Frown family Shabbat rituals, including unplugging from our devices, eating dinner together, and playing board games on Friday nights.
WHY I LOVE B'ShERT: We came to B’ShERT about eight years ago. We were members of another synagogue but looking for a change, in part because we were unhappy with the religious school at our then synagogue. One Shabbat morning while “shul shopping”, we showed up to services. My kids were a little loud, and when I shushed them, the woman sitting in front of me turned around, said to me, “oh don’t worry, we’re not that kind of synagogue”. We pretty much never left.
I now try hard to be that “don’t worry” community member, and often go over to visitors with babies and young kids to make sure they know that they are welcome.
I’m pretty sure Madelon Jonas and I invented calling (then Temple Beth Emeth) “Temple Come As You Are.” I love the diversity of the community. I love that all kinds of people can find a home here, from kosher keeping people like me, to secular people, to people newly exploring Judaism.
I believe our community not only represents but embraces what American Judaism is becoming – ethnically and racially diverse, multi-generational, relevant, and fun.
I hope that we will be able to hold onto that essence as we grow and change. My commitment to that ideal is why I joined the Board of Directors.
My absolutely favorite thing about B’ShERT, though, is Rabbi Heidi, who is an incredible community builder and teacher. Because Rabbi Heidi is so focused on us – her community - we sometimes forget what a leader we have in our midst. But since I work in the Jewish community, I get to meet others who know and admire her professionally and am always proud to call myself her congregant.
Photo courtesy of Liz Fisher
Liz Fisher, Jeremy Brown and their family.
Photo by Robin Bass
Brotherhood would like to thank all the men who have joined Brotherhood and enabled us to provide needed goods and services to our temple. Your loyalty and ideas are greatly appreciated. All men of our congregation are welcome to join.
Please keep these important dates in mind:
On Sunday December 1, at 9 am, in the Community Room, we'll be holding a Brotherhood chat and nosh. After eating our delicious breakfast, parts will be given out for the Brotherhood Shabbat on Friday, December 6. If you would like a part, please try to attend the meeting, or let Sam Silverman or Joel Moss know that you were unable to attend the meeting but would like to participate in the service. We will also be discussing plans for the Brotherhood Indoor Picnic on January 5. Your ideas are greatly needed.
On Friday, December 6, at 7 pm, in the Banquet Hall, Brotherhood invites all our Temple members to a Potluck Dinner. Brotherhood will supply kosher chicken, kugel and salad. Thank you so much, Ruth Bile, for helping us with this You may bring any side dishes or desserts you wish to share with the congregation.
Immediately following the meal, at approximately 8 pm, Brotherhood invites everyone to the annual Brotherhood Shabbat using the Union Prayer Book. It would really be nice if we could have a huge turnout at this event in support of your Temple Brotherhood Affiliate.
On Sunday, January 5, at 3 pm, in the Banquet Hall, you are invited to the Brotherhood Indoor picnic and Game Day. Please look for our upcoming flyer for more information about this event. Once again, we are counting on support from our entire congregation in making this a huge success.
Enjoy Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and stay warm and healthy this winter.
Joel Moss and Brotherhood of B'ShERT
December 3 is #GivingTuesday — Remember B'ShERT!
As you sit down at your Thanksgiving table with family and friends, we ask that you express the thanks for the richness in your lives by donating to the temple through #GivingTuesday on December 3. The last time we participated, we raised over $2300 for the Accessibility fund.
You can support B’ShERT using one-click fundraising via our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BShERTBrooklyn/?ref=bookmarks). If you want to set up your own fundraiser for Temple, just visit http://bit.ly/fb-bshert and get started.
You can also send a few cents to Temple every time you buy something from Amazon. Amazon Smile provides a bit of cash based on purchases, but you have to be at the smile.amazon.com site and choose B'ShERT as your benefit target. It's easy to do: Just head over to smile.amazon.com and select Beth Shalom v'Emeth Reform Temple as your charity of choice. (You can jump directly to our page via this link: http://bit.ly/support-bshert).
Pam Glantzman, Fundraising Committee
News From B'ShERT Brotherhood
Getting ready for the Women Cook event
News from the Membership Committee
Membership is pleased to welcome four new members families to our temple:
• Richard Miller
• Amyt Eckstein and Meilan Chiu and their children Emmalina and Jacob
• Craig and Amelia D'Entrone and their children Asha and Luca
• Jordan Goldberg and Dorothy Evans.
May their association be long and fruitful!
The Membership Committee would also like to thank our committee members and friends of our committee who assisted us in making our Women Cook Jewish Ethnic Food Festival on Sunday, November 3 a great success. Kol haKavod to Karin and Jamie Orenstein (a million thanks to you for allowing us to use your house for the whole day to cook all the dishes needed), Pam Glantzman, Mady Kaye, Tamara Kerner, Joanie and Bill Schaffer as well as Alice Hyatt, Sondra Berkman, Angel deJesus and Vital Jean for all that you did.
It was a pleasure hosting the 70 people who attended this event and we hope that you all had an enjoyable time.
Thank you for all who participated in the three Chat 'n Nosh events and the no-RSVP BBQ we held so far. Unfortunately, our fourth event scheduled for October 27 had to be postponed due to a scheduling conflict. Stand by for a new date for this event and for possibly dates for additional Chat N' Noshes at the home of Rabbi Heidi Hoover and Mike Rose.
Our committee will meet on Tuesday, December 17 at 7:30 pm at the home of Melissa Scott to discuss ways to recruit new members while retaining and integrating the members we already have. We welcome new committee members and fresh ideas. Feel free to contact Melissa Scott or Ellyn Rothstein with your questions, concerns and comments.
Melissa Scott and Ellyn Rothstein
Co-Chairs, Membership Committee
Frema Schneier at Women Cook
(Photos by Ellyn Rothstein)
Report from the Social Action Committee
Semi-Annual Congregational Meeting
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 7:15 pm
The agenda will include reports on the state of the Temple and the recent activities of committees and affiliates. Time will also be allotted for questions and suggestions.
Please make every effort to attend.
Thanks to all who have brought in toys for our Hanukkah Toy Drive which runs through December 13. Please bring new, unwrapped toys (no guns, no stuffed animals, no very large items) to the Temple. This toy drive benefits children at the Maimonides Cancer Center Pediatric Department.
The annual Interfaith Walking Tour was held on November 11 at Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center with 28 people attending. Thanks to the Rangers who led this outing.
The annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service was held on Sunday, November 24 at Our Lady of Refuge Church with a wonderful turnout from B’ShERT, East Midwood Jewish Center, the Turkish Cultural Center and OLRC.
The Social Action Committee is investigating various projects for the next few months and will keep you informed via email as things progress.
Susan Sysler and Laurie Bassi
Co-Chairs Social Action Committee
Our November brunch and lecture was a great success. Many thanks to congregant Rob Friedman (standing at left in the photo with Ron Schweiger and Sara Meyer West) for leading a lively and informative discussion on the subject of antiques.
Please join us on Saturday, December 7 at 9:30 AM for our third brunch and lecture of the season. Our speaker will be New York Times bestselling novelist Lauren Belfer. Her most recent novel, AND AFTER THE FIRE, received the inaugural Book Club Award of the 2016 National Jewish Book Awards.
On Sunday, December 15 women are invited to join us for our Brunch/Hanukkah concert. Brunch (women only) starts at 11:30 am at Three Star Restaurant on Ave. U; it is followed by a 3 pm concert at Kingsborough (open to all). Concert $30; brunch $21. RSVP for the brunch through Nov. 30; limited concert tickets still available. Checks payable to Women of B’ShERT.
We wish everyone a very happy Chanukah.
Charlotte Russell, Mona Goldberg, Sara Meyer West
Women of B'ShERT, a Sisterhood Organization
News from Women of B'ShERT
Photo by Alan Zarrow
The B'ShERT Evening Book Group meets at 7 pm.generally on the first Wednesday of each month throughout the year at a congregant's home. All are welcome to join this friendly community of book lovers!
The roster of books for the next several months is listed below. If you are interested in attending, call the Temple office for location information.
December 11* Amor Towles, Rules of Civility
January 8* Kristin Hannah, The Winter Garden
February 5 B.A. Shapiro, The Art Forger
March 4 Laurel Corona, The Mapmaker's Daughter
April 1 Jonathan Sacks, The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning
*Normally the group meets on the first Wednesday, but in December we'll meet on the second Wednesday to avoid a conflict with the congregational meeting. Similarly, in January, we'll meet on the second Wednesday in order not to meet on New Year's Day.
We look forward to having you join us!
B'ShERT Evening Book Group
Love to Read? Check Out B'ShERT's Evening Book Group
Upgrading your laptop computer? Donate the old one to Temple! We will wipe it of all your info and use it for our Religious School students & teachers, or resell it to help fund our programs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Report from the Jewish Cultural Committee
Harry Bialor's opera on the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was performed on October 27 at Yeshiva of Flatbush High School. We attended and were drawn into this historical account through the beautiful music and poignant acting, which took us from contemporary Israel back to that brave and dark time.
On November 16 and 17, we again joined with Union Temple for a great trip (pictured). We traveled to Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts, where we saw Governor Bradford's own handwritten Hebrew exercises and translations.
We learned from Bob Newhouser, of Union Temple, who led our merry band, that the Separatists (Pilgrims), when in Holland, are said to have studied with rabbis and at one point worshiped in a synagogue, that they were very interested in the Hebrew Bible and called their church a "meeting house" similar to Jewish terminology, and that they identified with the Jews fleeing Egypt, considering King James as "pharoah." It was really a fascinating place.
We continued to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, where we saw a lot of wonderful art, including some Judaica, such as Havdalah spice boxes shaped like actual city towers, like the one from Prague, and modern works, such as a silver memorial candle with a tear like torn clothes worn during shiva.
In addition, we visited Temple Israel, a 1,300-family synagogue, where we admired the sanctuary and spoke at length with the cantor and social action professional. Temple life in such a big entity is certainly quite different. We also enjoyed meals in Quincy and in Brookline, which are both charming towns.
So what's coming up? On Sunday, December 1 at 11 am, we will meet at Temple to discuss Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad, in which Twain describes his journey in the Holy Land in 1867. Following the discussion, we will go to the New York Historical Society at 170 Central Park West for brunch and a viewing of the exhibit Mark Twain and the Holy Land. The entrance fee to the Society is $22 per adult. There is a reduced charge for seniors.
The following Sunday, (December 8) we are partnering with the Fundraising Committee for the presentation of the one-person play Jews, God, and History, which promises to be interesting.
We also have plans for January. On Saturday, January 4, after services, we will have our interactive program Jews Across The Pond, with the Munster Jewish Community of Cork. Ireland, appearing by Skype. And on Sunday, January 19, we will see Soul to Soul, which is a concert performed annually at the Museum of Jewish Heritage at Battery Park, featuring Jewish and African American music in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. Please join us at these events. Let me or Helene Smith know if you plan to participate.
There are many many other things going on in December. I know that you know about the Hanukkah concert at Kingsborough Community College and the Shir Chadash Hanukkah concert at the Flatbush Jewish Center, both scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, December 15.
Also taking place on that date (but from 11 am to 2 pm), for the price of $62, there is a walking tour of the Bukharian Jewish community in Queens, which includes a trip to its museum, a visit to a synagogue, lunch, and a musical performance.
Yiddish New York, a festival of workshops, performances, lectures, and films, takes place from December 21 through December 26 at the 14th Street Y and the Town and Village Synagogue in Manhattan, and it sounds very exciting.
The Center for Jewish History on West 16th Street in Manhattan has events ranging from a concert of Yemenite music on Thursday, December 5 at 7:30 pm, a lecture on Jews of the Wild West on Monday, December 9 at 6:30 pm, a Hanukkah concert on Sunday, December 22 at 3 pm and, on Monday, December 23 at 7 pm, a program on Jewish beliefs relating to Christmas, followed by kosher Chinese food! There are many other activities at the Center for Jewish History. Check the website to learn about them and to see the cost of the events I have mentioned).
Wishing you all a very happy Hanukkah and hoping that you take advantage of some of these great opportunities to experience Jewish culture.
Jewish Cultural Committee
Photo by Bob Newhouser
Photos by Alan Zarrow
• Almac Hardware
• Ayurvedic Plate
• Betty's Brooklyn Bistro
• Boulevard-Riverside Chapels
• Cortelyou Market, Key Food
• Douglas Elliman Real Estate
• Flatbush Development Corp.
• Flatbush Food Coop
• Gilbane Building Company
• Greenfield Pharmacy
• J & L Landscaping, Inc.
• Dr. Ellis Lutwak (Dentist)
• Mirage Diner
• Monmouth Financial Services
• NewKirk Plaza Liquors
• Oasis Diner
• Parkway Pharmacy
• Quality Custom Builders
• San Remo Pizzeria Inc.
• Sherman’s Flatbush Memorial Chapel
• Sole's Playtime
• Sylvia French Cleaners
• Terrace Bagels
• Urbano's Electrical Corp
• Weinstein Memorial Chapel
• Woodworks Construction Co.
These are the businesses that supported our temple by buying an ad or donating an auction prize for our Gala Luncheon this past June. As we approach the gift-giving season, please consider supporting these businesses or otherwise doing business with them.
The Gala Luncheon Committee
Help Support Businesses that Support B'ShERT
Phyllis Schweiger, Faye Guskin & Ron Schweiger sift through the sub-basement.
Volunteers Unearth Decades of 'Stuff' in B'ShERT Clean-Up
Bonnie Greenbaum sorts through a small sampling of the treasures.
The B'ShERT community recently celebrated the bar mitzvahs of Charlie Lenaghan (l.) and Evan Froelich (below). Kol haKavod to Charlie and Evan and mazel tov to their proud families!
(photos by Ellyn Rothstein)
More Glad Tidings from the B'ShERT Community...
Jan Lisa Huttner
Heidi Louise Yudelowitz
...and a Happy Anniversary to Adrienne Knoll & Ken Brown!
Have a simcha to share? Want to give us a glimpse of your exciting vacation or anything else that's special in your life? We'll publish it in the Voice of Truth! Send your news/photos to email@example.com.
Happy Birthday, December Babies!
ARZA Report: Reform Judaism in Israel
We all have a tremendous opportunity to influence and impact what happens in Israel and all we need to do is simply VOTE!
The 35th WCZ (World Zionist Congress) is scheduled to meet in Jerusalem on October 22 and 23, 2020. In preparation for this event, elections for delegations to the Congress will be held from January 22 through March 11, 2020.
We need every progressive Jew to be loud and to be counted.
Requirements to vote are:
• You must be 18 years of age or older (by June 30, 2020);
• You self-identify as Jewish;
• You agree to the Jerusalem Program, the official platform of the WZO and the Zionist Movement;
• You agree to pay a $7.50 processing fee.
• The Jerusalem Program is the platform of the World Zionist Organization. It does not favor any specific organizational or political platform. It does not encourage Settlement activity across the Green line and simply tries to espouse the central principles of Zionism today.
We are asking all those who vote to simply acknowledge that this is the platform of the World Zionist Organization.
All voting will be done online and will be accessible by computers and mobile devices. It will be a simple process and will take only a few minutes.
For people who do not have access to a computer or need assistance with using one, ARZA committee members will be available at Temple on the following dates and times to help with the process:
• Wednesday, January 22 before and after the Board of Trustees meeting;
• Saturday, January 25 before and after Shabbat services;
• Saturday, February 8 before and after Shabbat services;
• Friday, February 14 before and after Erev Shabbat services.
Another way to show your support for progressive Judaism in Israel is by becoming a member of ARZA.
In the near future, you will receive a letter requesting your membership.
I urge you to complete the membership form at the bottom of the letter and return it to the Temple office along with a check made out to B’ShERT. Of the $50 in annual dues, $2 will stay at the Temple for Israel-related programming and the balance will be sent directly to ARZA.
To stay informed and up to date with all that's happening in Israel and ARZA, please go to www.arza.org and/or www.urj.org.
The ARZA committee wishes you all a happy and healthy holiday season.
ARZA Committee Chair
December 6 - 7 4: 10 pm Vayeitzei Genesis 28:10−32:3
December 13- 14 4:11 pm Vayishlach Genesis 32:4−36:43
December 20 - 21 4:13 pm Vayeishev Genesis 37:1–40:23
December 27 - 28 4:17 pm Mikeitz Genesis 41:1−44:17
Candle Lightings & Torah Portion Calendar — December 2019
Exploring the People of Jerusalem (Part 3 of 4)
Sat., 1/4: Connecting Across the Pond, 2:30 pm
Sun., 1/5: Caring Chesed Committee, 10:30 am
Sun., 1/5: Brotherhood Indoor Picnic, 3 pm
Fri., 1/10: Potluck, 7 pm
Sat., 1/11: Dancing With Daniel, 7:30 pm
Wed., 1/15: Executive Board Meeting, 7 pm
Wed., 1/22: Board of Trustees Meeting, 7 pm
Looking Ahead to January 2020
In May , the ARZA committee participated in Erev Shabbat Services in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day). Some committee members presented short bios on ancient and modern people of Jerusalem. The following bio of Huldah was presented by Ellyn Rothstein.
In keeping with the theme of tonight’s mini sermons, colorful figures from Jerusalem, the prophet Huldah would never come to mind. And if I told you that her name means weasel, would that say trusted prophet?
Now, why her parents would give their daughter a name which means weasel no one can say. But if they did, it would not have referred to her as being a dishonest person but one who was a fierce fighter, and, like a scholar, a burrowing animal seeking out and examining pieces of knowledge to nourish the heart and the mind.
Huldah was well known in the small world of the Jerusalem elite as a woman of authority who interpreted the word of God and was believed. And along with Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail and Esther, all were enumerated by the rabbis to be prophets. She lived in the time of the reign of King Josiah from 649-609 BC. These were different and difficult times in the reign of a King, as the person who ascended to the throne was an eight-year-old boy who inherited the crown from his father who was murdered by palace servants for turning to idolatry.
Huldah and her husband, among others, cared for and tutored the young king and were determined to teach him values to prevent him from turning to the ways of his father. And they succeeded.
One note about Huldah worth mentioning is that she never had direct access to the men of power or to the people she preached to. Her husband, Shallum, who was the keeper of the King’s wardrobe and who saw the king daily, led the way for his wife to gain access and Jeremiah, Huldah’s relative, allowed her to have a school for women in Jerusalem. What makes Huldah different from other prophets were the circumstances that suited the men of power. A priest came upon a hidden scroll believed to be a section of the book of Deuteronomy, and gave it to the king’s scribe to read to the king.
The scroll was open to a page where God warns the Jewish people of the terrible consequences of neglecting Torah and mitzvot, leading to destruction and exile. The king was shaken and what did he do? The king addressed Huldah and not Jeremiah because he believed that women are more easily stirred to pity than men, and would be more likely to intercede with God on his behalf than Jeremiah would be.
Huldah did not deviate from the harshness of the ultimate prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem stated in this scroll because the people had forsaken God and worshiped other gods. But she also delivered a nechemta, words of consolation, to the king who, with the help of the high priest, Hilkiah did their best to clean up the land of idolatry and filled the nation with a spirit of repentance and holiness.
For these deeds, Huldah said these words that God said to her: "Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before me, I will gather you onto your fathers, and you will go to your grave in peace, your eyes shall not see all the misfortune I will bring upon this place.”
Whether her prophecy came true is an open question, but her prophecies and influence as one of the seven prophets of our Jewish nation have remained an everlasting inheritance of our people.
You Are Invited to Join
THE HANNAH SENESH SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA, INC.
The Hannah Senesh Society honors the memory of one of the greatest heroines in modern Jewish history during World War II.
Contact: Harry Bialor, President (718) 375-8669
JESSICA SCHULMAN • TECHNOLOGY RESOURCE SPECIALIST
COMPUTER SERVICES & GRAPHICS ARTS SERVICES
718 338-2043 • fax 718 377-7919
B'ShERT's Caring Chesed Committee: We're Here to Help
Volunteers are needed to make phone calls and/or visits to those who are ill or have suffered a loss. It is especially important to keep in touch with those who are grieving after the initial mourning period. If you know that someone is in need of a visit or a call, please contact one of our co-chairs.
We are always looking for new members and would appreciate any ideas to make the committee more effective.
"It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it…" Pirke Avot
Gene Guskin (917) 533-6231
Ruth Bile (646) 732-2650
Frema Schneier (917) 459-0904
Debbie Belsky (718) 252-8030
B'ShERT Caring Chesed Committee
Wolf's Appliance Repair
Prompt, Friendly Service in Brooklyn
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Call us! 718 998 3238
Ken Brown Photography
The best for Your Mitzvah! (or any other event, personal or professional)
Longtime established pro; temple member; references available. firstname.lastname@example.org • 718-670-3256.
Maxine Feldman Teaches…
Piano, Voice, Guitar, Sight-Singing
Ms. Feldman has 35 years of experience teaching all ages. She has served on the music faculties of NYU, Brooklyn College, The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and Hebrew Union College. She has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, the United Nations, at PTBAS and now at the new consolidated congregation!
For further information please call Maxine at 718-421-3740