Rabbi's Letter

February 21, 2018
6 Adar 5778
Dear Friends,

This coming Shabbat is Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat of Memory. So what exactly are we meant to remember? Well a clue can be found in the fact that Shabbat Zachor comes the Shabbat just before Purim. On Purim we are remembering the dangerous story of Haman and the victorious bravery of Queen Esther, but on Shabbat Zachor it's about Amalek, the first evil tyrant, dead set on our people’s destruction. Amalek is the Alpha prototype for the worst kind of enemy, therefore, in the rabbinic mind, he is also Haman and Hitler and every other evil man who sought to destroy our people somewhere along the long and winding road of history. 
Shabbat Zachor calls us to remember that we must never forget what Amalek did to our people. And it comes just before Purim to remind us that though life is filled with danger, we must, none the less, strive to celebrate the gift of existence even in the face of the chaos that seems to rule our world.

 Rabbi Joshua Davidson wrote of Purim,
The truth is that most of us live with a sense of foreboding about the future, we could very easily succumb to our anxiety. But Purim admonishes us not to. On the contrary, it says, even in the face of danger and fear we should celebrate the miracle of deliverance that allows us to survive another day. It commands us to lift the glass, or even a few. We are permitted to forget from time to time just how challenging our lives can be. Still, on a communal level, the holiday does sound an alarm we can’t ignore. Haman’s xenophobia is alive and well today. (the belief that those who are different are not as deserving of basic human dignities or rights)
Xenophobia is alive and well in the twenty first century. The more frightened we become about the worlds instability, the more intolerance rears its ugly head.
  Ours is the task to stamp it out wherever it remains.

Here’s the catch, how do you remember abuse without letting it harden your heart? How do you remember the darkness and still be inspired to pursue the light? Not easy questions but important ones. It is so relevant when you consider what is happening with our precious children in this country today who have so many fears of violence and destruction when they go to their schools, but still have to find ways to be alive and to be happy. It is a very fine line to walk, balancing between the darkest parts of humanity while striving for the brightest.

So what should we remember this coming Shabbat Zachor, lets try to remember that life will always have its darkness. Let’s assure our children and each other that we are loyal to the love that we have for one another. No matter how hard life may be, we will always be here and strong for one another. When you are up, help those who are low and when you are low let your heart reach for the comfort that your B’nai Israel family has to offer. And then, put on your best Purim costume and come and celebrate!!!! 
This Shabbat Zachor is also the joyous occasion of Debbie Smith's Bat Mitzvah, 21st century style. This promises to be meaningful beyond words. You don’t want to miss it. Shabbat Zachor, February 24 th , 2018. This will be something wonderful to remember!
MAY 11-12-13 (2 nights)
Cost: $84 per night for a double room
$104 per night for a single
All meals included
Please contact Jane Birnbach to sign up: 910-612-0891

Don’t wait, the rooms are going fast. Join in for the fun, the spiritual nourishment and the beauty of a Shabbat at the beach. We fuss big time over our Moms with a special brunch and gifts for Mother’s Day. You will be home by 2PM on Sunday in time for evening Mother’s Day celebrations.
It looks like we are almost there.

October 11 th - 21 st 2018.

It's time to register. Please remember that if the trip does not go you will receive your entire deposit back. Please go to IsrealMaven.com and find our tour which is posted and please register . As soon as we have 15 people committed we will have another meeting and start looking at fights.

Please send me an email when you have registered. I know that, Eichenholz, Grotsky and Buddy E. have already registered. Now’s the time to step up, we’ve got to start packing;)
I walked into the Synagogue today to the DELICIOUS smells of the Hamantashan baking in the kitchen. YUMMMY! Enjoy the pictures below of both, the Guest chefs who made Shabbat dinner for us all last Shabbat as well as the wonderful group of Hamantashan bakers this morning. We are sure getting mileage out of our new beautiful kitchen.
Please participate in our Shalach Manot gift giving . Nothing is sweeter than eating homemade Hamantashan made by your friends. Join this act of kindness, we all need to feel this good. $36. gets your name added to our HAG SAMEACH Purim card from all who join in to be given to each of our congregation’s families.
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.
This year the Jewish Film Festival is expanding its reach with a new ART dimension. How fabulous is that?

I want you to hold the date of April 23 rd when we will be having a B’nai Israel Night Out of ART and FILM. We will meet at 5PM at the Art in Bloom Gallery downtown to see a beautiful Art show with wine, cheese and music, and then at 6:30 we will head together over to Thalian Hall for that evenings Jewish Film Festival. Please RSVP to Kate in the office. Its going to be wonderful evening of Art and Film and all are welcome.
A week from tomorrow is Purim. This year I have woven the story of Queen Esther to the timeless tunes of the Beatles. Here's a few of the songs that you may choose from to come up to the bima and karaoke the song with your friends. The One Room Shul House already has dibs on HELP!

Take a look at the list and call me if you want one of the songs. Ill wait to hear from you!

1)    What you’re doing to me
2)    Ticket to ride
3)    I’ve just seen a face
4)    I'll get you
5)    We can work it out
6)    I should have known better
7)    Yesterday
8)    Nowhere man
9)    Come together
11) Run for your life
12) Tell me why you cry
13) Tell me what you see
14) Let it be
15) The word
My Memory Library

By Sarah Blackstone

Imagine if I was given one moment,
just a single slice of my past.
I could hold it close forever,
and that moment would always last.
I'd put the moment in a safe,
within my hearts abode.
I could open it when I wanted,
and only I would know the code.
I could choose a time of laughing,
a time of happiness and fun.
I could choose a time that tried me,
through everything I've done.
I sat and thought about what moment,
would always make me smile.
One that would always push me,
to walk that extra mile.
If I'm feeling sad and low,
if I'm struggling with what to do.
I can go and open my little safe,
and watch my moment through.
There are moments I can think of,
that would lift my spirits everytime.
The moments when you picked me up,
when the road was hard to climb.
For me to only pick one moment,
to cherish, save and keep,
Is proving really difficult,
as I've gathered up a heap!
I've dug deep inside my heart,
found the safe and looked inside,
there was room for lots of moments,
in fact hundreds if I tried.
I'm building my own little library,
embedded in my heart,
for all the moments spent with you,
before you had to part.
I can open it up whenever I like,
pick a moment and watch it through,
My little library acts as a promise,
That I will never ever forget you.

I wanted to share with you something I learned this week when studying about the brain and how memory works. They now have scientific evidence to show that when emotions are involved, memories dig in deeper into the brain. Emotion seems to be the coating that fortifies a memory. The key is to learn how to take the good memories with the not so good ones. Let life marinate in the texture of your emotions, it's so much better to live that way.

See you all this coming Shabbat at Debbie’s Bat Mitzvah. 
Please enjoy some pictures I took this past week of some of our Bnai Israel congregants. I love to capture these faces of such beloved congregants.

Joan and Fred Feinstein and Steve and Martha Stein.
באהבה ושלום

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