October 10, 2018
What would you do if God told you something bad was going to happen, but had chosen you and your family to escape the impending disaster? Would you count yourself lucky, start gathering your family and your belongings, and head to safety? Or would you at least offer some objection, some protest, some argument that might invite God to call off the disaster?
We have two biblical figures who face this same situation. The first is Noah (after whom this week's Torah portion is named). When told of God's plan to reverse creation and turn existence back into a watery primordial nothingness, Noah heads to the biblical version of Home Depot for supplies and starts building himself an ark. He never questions God's decree, or, for that matter, questions why he of all humans on earth has been chosen for survival.
The other person who faces the same situation is Abraham. Told by God that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be destroyed, Abraham challenges God to act justly, and negotiates an agreement that if even ten decent people can be found in the cities, God will avert the destruction for the sake of that righteous minority.
While it is an academic anachronism to call Abraham "the first Jew" (after all, it's hard to be a "Jew" when there is no Torah yet given, no Jewish holidays to observe, and no Jewish rituals), we still point to Abraham as the one from whom what we will later call the Jewish people will emerge. He is symbolically, at least, "the first Jew."
So why not Noah, who lived ten generations earlier? Why wasn't he "the first Jew?"
Because Judaism originates not with compliance but with defiance: the word "Yisrael" from which we eventually get "Jew" which means "to wrestle/argue/engage/struggle with God."
Unlike Noah, who was happy to settle for his singular salvation, Abraham reminds us that "we are all in this together." And that, perhaps even more than his precocious insight that there is only one God, makes Abraham, rather than Noah, worthy of being "the first Jew."
Cantor Harrison and I welcome you to join us for our Kabbalat Shabbat service at 6:30 pm this Friday evening. On Saturday morning, I will be leading Torah study at 9:00 am, and our Spice Up Your Judaism conversation begins at 10:30 am, led by Scott Kushner.
Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Richard Hirsh

If you wish to have a Mi Shebeirach said during our Shabbat services, please let us know by noon each Friday so we can give the names to the rabbis.
In This Message
Leonard Olinsky
ather of David Olinsky
Friday, October 12
6:30 pm Kabbalat Shabbat Service (Chapel)
Join us for pre-service refreshments starting at 6:00 pm.   

Saturday, October 13  
9:00 am Torah Study, led by Rabbi Hirsh (Chapel)
10:30 am Spice Up Your Judaism, led by Scott Kushner (Social Hall)
Sunday, October 14
10:00 am Music Committee Meeting (Boardroom)
1:00 pm Neil Simon: From Brighton Beach to Broadway (Social Hall)

Monday, October 15   
7:00 pm Women's Connection Pomegranate Guild Craft Event (Room 18)  
7:30 pm Social Action Committee Meeting (Boardroom)  
Wednesday, October 17 
10:30 am Adult Education: Reform Judaism  led by Rabbi Frenkel (Chapel)
Friday, October 19   
5:30 pm Tot Family Dinner (Oneg Room)
6:15 pm Tot Shabbat Service (Sanctuary)
8:00 pm Erev Shabbat Service (Chapel; webcast
Please click on each event name for more information or to register for that event.    
Participate at any level that is comfortable for you. No contribution is too small or to big. Click here to contribute online.

Fine Art Auction
Saturday, October 20, 7:00 pm

Sunday, October 21, 9:30 am

Tuesday, October 23, 7:00 pm

Dine to Donate: Panera Bread (The Promenade, Marlton)
Wednesday, October 24, 4:00-8:00 pm

Sunday, October 28, 4:00 pm  
Monday, October 29, 12:00 noon

M'kor Marketplace: 2018 Gift Gala & Holiday Bazaar
Sunday, November 18, 9:00 am - 2:30 pm
Vendors wanted! Member Vendor discount available!
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Michelle Bross
Executive Director
Congregation M'kor Shalom
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