Rabbi's Letter

February 7, 2018
22 Shevat 5778
Dear Friends,

As I sat with one of our beautiful young couples, whom I have the honor and joy of preparing for their upcoming wedding, I shared with them the few hard and true secrets we know about how to build a long and fulfilling marriage together. And with the secular Hallmark holiday of Valentines on the horizon, I thought that I would share with you some of the most real advice I know to be true, for the care and nourishment of love.
This is of course is where love begins. There is a part of the mystery of life that has at its core the lifelong quest to know thyself. Despite what the movies tell us, no one can complete you except you AND yes, you do have to say you are sorry! Love and care of ones being, one’s soul, one’s journey through life is where true love begins. Yes, those with parents who know how to love and share that love, have an advantage in the love game, yet ultimately, one still must learn from within and that is no easy task. In many ways we are born into the default of self loathing and a sense of unworthiness and coming to terms with that default and learning to cultivate a love within, a patience, a loyalty and a staunch decision to stand by ones truth, to seek enlightenment for the spirit and to celebrate one’s own existence, until one learns these difficult lessons, one will not be able to truly love another.

So here are some treasured pieces of love advice,

1)     When you awake every morning, pause and look over at your loved one. Stop for a moment and say to God, “Thank you God for allowing me this joy, this ability to share my life with such a precious soul. Thank you for giving me love in my life, I am so grateful and lucky.” Say it every day.
2)    Give the little things often! Life is lived in the details, no gesture of kindness, no words of encouragement, no moments of notice go unseen. If you give mightily of the little things, the big things will follow.
3)    Several times a day, make your love into a pattern of notice so that every single day, you will be sure to live it. Notes, calls, an unexpected cup of coffee together. Make the growth and vibrancy of your relationship a priority. It will not happen on its own.
4)    Do good work in the world together so that you cement the manifestation of your love beyond your own borders. This will keep the flames of respect, admiration and attraction alive.

I say forgo the kitschyness of Valentines day and leave that banality to Hallmark. I say find the love that you hold in your heart and soul and craft a way to manifest it into this world. Share your meal with those who are alone, buy a card for a soul who has no one to buy a card for them. Offer your heart where it is needed and make love grow in this world, and if you are in a relationship with another then do this good loving work together. Your reward is love, now share it because nothing that is horded will last through the winds of time! Love can only grow with it’s seeds being sown.
Please join us this Friday evening, February 9 th , for our monthly Pre-neg when we will be remembering Beryl Bloch, a beloved congregant who passed away a few months back unexpectedly. He was such a fine man and we miss him. Please join us Friday evening as we remember the man that he was. See you at 5:30, with service at 6:30.
On this Shabbat, Saturday morning the 10 th , we will have a special guest in the sanctuary to speak. Our beloved Martha Stein is going to share with us her experience during this last year since having had a stroke one year ago. Her story is inspiring and her readiness to share with us, touching. Don’t miss such a special occasion.
On February 16 th we are thrilled to be celebrating the beautiful new kitchen made possible by the B’nai Israel Sisterhood, Mark Alper and Bucky Stein, all of whom, by their acts of extreme generosity have made our beautiful new kitchen a reality. We are so fortunate to all who planned, saved, donated and built a kitchen that we can be proud of and one that will feed the stomachs and souls of our congregation for many years to come. Please RSVP for your dinner reservations. The service begins at 6:30 with dinner to follow being prepared by our president Barry Weiss and his team of Sous chefs.
I sure hope that you have all marked your calendars for our fabulous yearly Purim bash. Wednesday February 28 th at 6PM .

This year we will dance and sing to the Story of Queen Esther alongside hand picked tunes of the Beatles.

Purim reminds us in many ways that life itself is a masquerade and only by putting on the masks can we become aware of the masks themselves. Perhaps if we disguise ourselves a bit we will have the chance to see what is really hiding inside. Find the perfect costume, it’s a seriously fun evening.

There are three commandments that accompany Purim,
1)    Give Shalach manot, g ift bags to your friends
2)    Give donations to the poor, Matanot La'evyonim  ( in return for your own good fortune)
3)    Hear the words of the Megillah read aloud and BE HAPPY !

Thank you to Rena Goldwasser, our Hamantashan Queen, who has, again, signed on to oversee and direct our Shalach Manot community mitzvah campaign. Rena is still in need of a few more bakers, so please give her a call and help us make the most delicious Hamantashan in the kingdom of B’nai Israel.

Our own Sisterhood has donated the ingredients this year which is a wonderful and kind gesture, Thank you!

Please purchase a Shalach Manot to be given to each of our fellow congregation’s families. Your donation of $36, insures that your name and good wishes accompany the gift to your fellow congregants. This is such a sweet gesture of community love and celebration. Don’t be left out of this great mitzvah!
I am quite honored to have been asked to share my experience of the International Medical Mission to Puerto Rico, that I went on this past October, at the Sisterhood gathering this Sunday at 4PM . I hope to see you there!
In our Lunch and Learn class today, “In search of the Ethical seeds of Judaism,” we came across a word that most didn’t know, the word is PROBITY.
 Probity is the quality of having strong moral principles; honesty and decency.
It’s synonyms are integrity, honesty, uprightness, decency, morality, rectitude, virtue, trustworthiness, truthfulness and honor.

What an amazing word, it captures all that God hopes that we will become.
Probity used in a sentence:

 “ Probity  is stamped on her features as profoundly as it breathes in her actions.”

The dream is that one day all of these values will be as ubiquitous as air. We can do a lot to drive life to that end and what else could possibly be the goal of religion?

When justice burns within us like a flaming fire, when love evokes willing sacrifice from us, when to the last full measure of selfless devotion, we demonstrate our belief in the ultimate triumph of truth and righteousness, then Your goodness enters our lives and we can begin to change the world; and then You live within our hearts, and we though righteousness behold Your presence.
                                                                                Gates of Prayer
May blessings surround you and may you know how lucky we all are to be a part of such a loving community. Thank you God!
באהבה ושלום

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