Rabbi's Letter

March 1, 2018
14 Adar 5778
Dear Friends,

What a wonderful blessing it was to celebrate Debbie Smith’s Bat Mitzvah this past Shabbat. The sights of her with her children, her friends, Jerry smiling ear to ear, her perfect Haftorah, her insightful sermon, and her shining soul, all came together to afford each of us a powerful experience of tradition, family, friends and God. The very ingredients of a meaningful life. Mazel Tov Debbie, we are all so proud of your amazing accomplishment.

I took these pictures a few days before the Bat Mitzvah, enjoy!
Purim Purim Purim!

As I started my sermon last Shabbat, Purim, it’s a TOUGH one. The Orthodox world and the rest of the Jewish world fight with each other. The secular Judaism’s have turned Purim into a child’s game, Halloween with a Jewish theme. While the Orthodox, in their seriousness, celebrate a holiday of revenge and violence. Which is worse? I have to say as I shared in my sermon, I don’t accept either of these meanings as the essence of Purim. I shared a story that tells the story of what Purim means to me and what I feel compelled to share with you. I share it with you now.

During the Purim feast, The Rabbi suddenly stopped the festivities and said, “Saddle the horses and get the carriages, it is time to blot out Amalek.”
Her students were petrified. “What could the master mean?” Being obedient disciples, they got in their carriages and followed their rebbe. They rode into town to a local inn where the Polish peasants were engaged in their own drunken bash. The rebbe and her disciples entered the inn. When the peasants saw them, they stopped dancing. The music stopped. Everyone circled around the rebbe and the Jews as they walked to the center of the dance floor. The room was silent. The rebbe looked at one of the peasants and put out her hand with her palm to the ceiling. Silence. The peasants looked at one another. Suddenly one of them stepped forward and took the rebbe’s hand. They slowly started dancing. The musicians began playing. In a matter of minutes, all the Jews and peasants were joyously dancing with one another. That’s how we blot out Amalek today!

The future will be made by the audacity we possess to believe in something other than vengeance and anger.

So why do I make such a big and joyous event out of Purim? Precisely to change it up from a celebration of revenge to a celebration of hope. Instead of exacting revenge on our enemies, lets go into the middle of the room and sing and dance and release our fears and our angers. Let’s choose to have faith in the power of forgiveness and love even when our memories cloud the path to our hearts. The true revenge is that we survived and did not become hardened by the past, no matter how devastating. If we could survive as kind and loving people, what in the world isn’t possible by that brilliant light.

I am so happy to introduce to you our newest congregant, Ivan Schlager. Ivan’s father was a Rabbi in South Carolina and so he felt right at home the Friday evening services that he showed up at B’nai Israel. Ivan lives in Savannah Georgia but comes to Wilmington weekly to see Lana his fiancé, who lives here. Ivan hopes that his work will eventually allow him to move to Wilmington but for now he commutes. Ivan and Lana are two of the loveliest people. They share a very calming and gentle spirit. We are so happy to welcome them into our congregational family. We look forward to seeing your faces around Shul often.
Please mark your calendar for March 4 th at 12:30 for the unveiling of both, Janet Evenson and Bob Margolis. Roselle Margolis will be sponsoring a light luncheon at the Synagogue following the service, all are invited.
Please mark your calendars for the Auf Ruf of Harrison and Elizabeth. You don’t want to miss this! March 10 th  at Shabbat service.
I am overjoyed to share with you the newest member of B'nai Israel Congregation,  Ethan Chase Leinwand  was born on March 1st at 4:09 AM. He and his Mom are both doing well. He weighs in at 5 LB 15 ounces and is healthy all around. His brother Adam is busy checking him out and Mom and Dad are feeling blessed that he has arrived and is safe.

We cant wait to meet Ethan and watch as his life unfolds.

Mazel Tov to the entire Leinwand family!

We are so happy for you.

Welcome to the world Ethan Chase Leinand, we've been waiting for you!

Children under B’nai Mitzvah age- $18
Members $36
Non-Members $40

Looking for sponsors for the flowers, matzah and wine for our Seder . If anyone is interested in one of these please contact Rabbi Julie immediately. Thank you!
Our Spiritual Roots class will be meeting on March 1 st at 6:30 PM at the Rabbis home and our Lunch and Learn will be meeting on March 7 th at Noon . Make sure to RSVP for the Lunch and Learn .
I am very excited to announce our own B’nai Israel’s Men’s Club Shabbat on March 17 th . Please join us as the Men of B’nai Israel host our Shabbat services and a kiddish luncheon to follow. It promises to be a wonderful Shabbat.
Rabbi’s Purim, not so funny Rap

Haman, your hatred rings through the ages
You fill our story with violent pages
Always on your knees begging for power
Nothing means anything to you except for your honor

Your only goal, to bask in your own glory
No one and nothing else matters except your story

You use everyone to serves your needs
Your only litmus test is your own filthy greed

The weak among us find courage in the fight back,
They know not the dead end, of that train wreck

it is ever so easy to return the violent indifference
But the bullet shot will only rickashay in this instance

You seep your sour into the psyche of our soul
Always taking from the spirit as your intended goal

Being hated confuses the mind and drains the spirit of imagination
Leaving us wandering aimlessly with no destination

So some will drink and bury their wisdom
screaming for vengeance and pounding on Haman

But drinking and vengeance never did a lick of good
Hatred brings more hatred from the steps where it stood

it only turns the world back towards the ignorance of dark
with never a chance for a higher calling from the heart

Enough of beauty contests and little girls given over to kings
no this is not our story, at least not from me.

How can we be freed from those memories that tear us asunder?
How do we again, return to a state of wonder?

Of what life could possibly be
A world where all are imagined as free

How do we rise above and bring love into this equation?
How do we cultivate our own maturation?

This is no call for simplistic ignorance,
Shutting our eyes cannot replicate innocence

No, instead, how do we fight the will to hurt back?
How do we pull more from our souls than the hunger of the pack?

The boundaries of vengeance create a little world indeed
Follow the thread to the real source of your need

It’s a hunger for meaning wide and expanding
A closet of hatred is not worth your standing

Haman, what a legacy you leave behind
We will not do the same, I have come to remind

Our legacy is the fight to freedom
No ghetto to hold us inside of your treason

We say no, there will be no blotting out of your memory of hate
That is not how God’s spirit relates

Instead we will be what you never were
Your anger in time will become a blur
We will be humans of integrity, authentic and true
We will carry on the the legacy of what it means to be a Jew

So on Purim, we dance and we let it all go
It is mixed with tears for the suffering long ago

Yet we will stand together committed to the right
But it is with weapons of goodness alone that we fight.

Purim comes to teach the most valuable wise
Vengeance is violence and it repeats the ties

Break that tie, undo it to good
God will do what God should

But you and I have to break that cycle of hate
That’s no longer a sentiment that’s allowed in this gate.

Hag Sameach
Rabbi Kozlow

Dr. Reuben Silver has been readmitted to the hospital. Please reach out to him. Your loving actions will go a very long way.
When I visited him in the hospital today he was ready for Purim! Check out those Purim beads!
באהבה ושלום

Shabbat Shalom to all!
הרב אלישבע בת דוד ודבורה
Rabbi Julie Kozlow
(910) 762-1117 ~ B'nai Israel phone