Rabbi's Letter

January 10, 2018
23 Tevet 5778
Dear Friends,

Now that the snow has passed, thank God, it is time to get to the business of learning. We had to cancel our lunch and learn last week due to the weather but this week we are well on track to begin our two Adult Education classes for the season.

Jewish learning is understood as much more than just the acquisition of knowledge. Just as the Shemah prayer is seen as our way of talking to God and declaring our allegiance, learning Torah, in all of it’s many forms, is the way that God speaks to us. And if this beautiful imagery, isn’t enough, then consider this, learning Torah is understood by our tradition as a way of praying. We are praying when we recite our liturgical prayers, we also are praying when we gather to learn. Learning, the yearning to know God

I am looking forward to begin both of our classes, Lunch and Learn , we will be searching for the threads of the ethical imperative in Torah and our In search of our Jewish Spiritual roots class. Talking food, the Lunch and Learn stars Nikki Zelden and Noa Alper who will be making us delectable meals every time we meet. I heard that the recent snowstorm inspired our first meal that will have a delicious matza ball soup on the menu!!!! How lucky are we? Thank you Nikki and Noa!!
They asked Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev: why does every tractate of the Talmud begin on the second page? He replied: However much we learn, we should always remember that we have not even reached to the first page.

The love of Torah learning, 
Mazel tov to Meghan and Jeffrey Beecher who welcomed their beautiful little girl, Sienna, in the middle of the 2018 snow storm. Mom and baby are at home and doing well. I was able to give baby Sienna her very first blessing in the hospital when she was only a day old. It doesn’t get better than this for a Rabbi.
I look forward to bestowing Sienna’s Hebrew name on her in the weeks to come. She is precious! Mazel Tov Beechers!
Many thanks to Sandy and Seth Robbins who helped to organize our first Brunswick Forrest Meet and Greet. We met 16 new friends and shared with them all of the wonderful things happening at B’nai Israel. I was so proud that our entire Executive committee was on hand along with Diane Gerberg representing our BI Sisterhood. The sense of community that we brought spoke volumes to all who were interested in our synagogue. I feel so blessed that we have such a hard working, utterly loyal and passionately committed and close knit leadership team. I hope that we will be welcoming some of the people we met as new members they couldn’t have been nicer. Thanks again Sandy and Seth.
Henry David Thoreau once wrote,

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down and commence living on it’s hint…what I begin by reading, I must finish by acting.
The One Room Shul House had a great day at school last week and I was so happy that Noa snapped these pictures of Kyla and Dominique receiving an Aliyah to the Torah. What a sweet moment.
I felt very honored this year to have been asked to speak at the Wilmington Women’s Rally on January 20 th. And although I desperately wanted the chance to participate in such a noble cause, I had to decline because it is on Shabbat.

Why it isn’t on a Sunday is a question that many of us are asking, and we have been asking publically, still the rally remains on Shabbat. The truth for me is that Shabbat is sacred time and every week I honor it by stepping out of the madness of the world and I allow my soul to rejuvenate for the work that life demands and the passion that God expects.

It is Shabbat that keeps me spiritually strong to fight for the world that God has charged us to create, a world perfected and all that it can be. As torn as I was, I knew that this Rabbi could not leave Shabbat even for this.

When I called to decline the invitation I was deeply touched when Ellie Kline, one of the organizers, asked me if I would consider writing something and have someone else read it on my behalf. How touched was I? A strong and resounding YES was my answer. I have asked Jane Birnbach to share my words and she has graciously agreed.

I am so proud with my life to be able to pray with my feet, inspire with my words, fight for justice with my prayers and stand for my values. I am also deeply comforted to know that my words will be shared with others while I am reviving my soul for the long haul.

In light of the Woman’s March, here is a bisel Torah for the learning,

On the very first page of the Torah we are told, on the sixth day, that God created humanity, male and female, God created them, in the image of God, were they created. (Genesis 1:27) And utterly contrary to the story of Adam and Eve, the first story of humanity’s creation speaks of partnership, NOT hierarchy. Men and women are the same family, the very same creation. We share the same heart beat, we breath in the same God given breath. We need each other. This rally is not about women alone, it is about a dignified humanity. We desperately need each other and we desperately need a commitment to a humanity where all are valued in the same just light. The goal is a unified humanity, honoring each other as equal and valuable in the sight of both God and society.
Mark your calendars ,

Shabbat Friday the 12 th is a Pre-neg at 5:30 with services to follow at 6:30.

The children will be in the sanctuary on the 20 th for TGIS , Thank God it’s Shabbat,

And on Shabbat Shira January 26 th at 8PM is the Sisterhood Shabbat and it is bound to be a beautiful and musical evening. Don’t miss it!

And I will also be speaking 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.
A man and a woman went to visit the Rabbi to ask advice about how to educate their child who was twelve years old. The Rabbi answered them: You have come to me twelve years late. A human being is like a tree. If you make a scratch on the branch of the tree, you effect only the branch. But if you make even a minuscule scratch on a seed, it effects the growth of the entire tree.
One of the greatest joys of settling into my new office is the close access I now have to my books. They are, to me, like friends. They have pages turned down, highlighted wisdom, seeds that have fed my mind, my soul and my spirit. We gave the students of the One Room Shul House their first books this week to begin their own personal Jewish libraries. Hold onto your favorite books, they seem to be disappearing.

Search for wisdom, it hungers to be discovered.

I am thrilled to be able to start teaching again this week.
My prayer for you this week is that you feed your hunger to learn. Open the boundaries that make you think you know enough, break down those walls and learn more and more and more. We never even get to the first page.
באהבה ושלום

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