Rabbi's Letter

January 3, 2018
16 Tevet 5778
Dear Friends,

It looks like winter has arrived. Who would believe that I would have to cancel our first Lunch and Learn class due to a winter weather advisory? Our class will be held on Wednesday the 10 th with the hopes that the winter storm will have passed us by.

Please be careful out there!
Last Shabbat we concluded the first book for the Torah Bereshit and this coming Shabbat we bring the Book of Exodus.

I want to share with you what Rabbi Brad Artson writes about the Book of Exodus.

 He writes,
The second book of the Bible, the Book of Exodus, tells us one of the foundational stories of Western civilization. It is a shocker! The story tells of an obscure small group of people who are described by the Hebrew term to'evah -- abomination. Those people are so abominable that the Egyptians will not even sit at a table with them; they will not eat with them; they force them to live in a different neighborhood so they do not have to deal with them. And they oppress them, ruthlessly and harshly

 And the Torah announces that the force that created the cosmos, the force that established the world from and for love, that force cannot abide pharaohs. That force will rise up on behalf of the oppressed, on behalf of the rejected and despised and that force will set them free.

 We Jews know that as our core story. Every year we recall that we, each of us, were slaves in a land that viewed us as outsiders, and that we were visited by the very forces that make the universe what it is: forces of liberation and freedom and wholeness. And that we were brought out of that narrow land into a place where we were free to finally be ourselves.

This is the Book of Exodus and every year we pass by and remember the past or we chance a look and recognize the present. When will the human race wake up and realize that we are all just different shades, different shapes, different manifestations of the same one family of humankind? When?
Thank you so much to Sandy and Seth Robbins for hosting our Meet and Greet at Brunswick Forrest this coming Sunday . Please let your friends know that B’nai Israel congregation will be on hand to share all of the wonderful Jewish life unfolding at our congregation. All are welcome. RSVP to Sandy Robbins carolinasand1211@gmail.com or 919-539-3490
It is an honor for me to have been invited to speak on the 16 th of January to the Cape Fear Men’s Club High Nooners.

Our CFMC Larry Schramm High Nooners program for January will be held on Tuesday, January 16th at the Bluewater Grill in Wrightsville Beach . Our speaker will be Rabbi Julie Kozlow, Rabbi of the B'nai Israel Synagogue, on Chestnut Street. Rabbi Kozlow, in the brief period she has been in Wilmington, has established herself as an insightful and inspirational leader throughout the community.

Registration and menu selection begins at 11:30 AM, our speaker will begin speaking at Noon, and lunch should be served around 12:45 PM. 

The cost is now $16, no checks or credit cards can be accepted. Exact change is appreciated. If you can't bring exact change, please be sure to at least have a $1.00 bill, to help speed up registration.

Please advise Stan Weinrich ( stanweinrich@yahoo.com ) no later than Sunday, January 14th if you plan to attend.
Even though we have had to postpone our Lunch and Learn series for a week due to the weather, we none the less have our first meeting set for the Spiritual Roots class . Our first class will be at Rabbi Julie’s home on Thursday the 11 th of January at 6:30 PM . If you had contacted me about joining the class then you are in. If you wanted to but didn’t, have no fear, I am sure that I will teach the class again in the near future and you can catch it next time around.

Please say the name of Clyde Chester Parsons, out loud, and let the sound of his name resonate in your heart. Clyde was a gentleman, 52 years old and homeless who froze to death this past Sunday in Charleston. Yes, he may have had addiction problems, yes, he may have made a hundred bad decisions, yes, he may have lived a lost life , but nothing matters except that he couldn’t find a way to come in from the cold and be safe on a freezing cold night in December. That is a tragedy for all of us, because, truth be told, it could be all of us. How can we make our world less treacherous for those who fall between the cracks? Let’s care enough to look for those answers.
As we enter together this coming Shabbat, the book of Exodus, let’s expand our vision to see how many ways we humans become imprisoned and how difficult it is to free oneself. The story of our people is the story of life. It doesn’t matter whether it was 3000 years ago or here today. Life is hard and we need each other to help pave the way towards our spiritual freedom and the redemption of the world.
                                       Shemah listen,
God calls…….
Many blessings to all and may this New year of 2018 lead you on paths of goodness so that the world will become brighter by your touch.

באהבה ושלום

Shabbat Shalom to all!
הרב אלישבע בת דוד ודבורה
Rabbi Julie Kozlow