Rabbi's Message
February 2019
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As part of the efforts of the leadership of the congregation and myself to provide a variety of opportunities for learning, I am offering seminars on different topics each month, usually on the third Saturday, after Torah study.

You do not have to attend the earlier session to join in these sessions. Please also feel free to invite friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to learn with you and our community.

In January, our Tu B’shvat Seder kicked off this series and this month o f February  we’ll look at the origin and meaning of customs around death and mourning. 

Do you know the origin of the black ribbon worn by mourners? Why we say Kaddish for 11 months for parents? What the Kaddish is really about, or how our mourning helps the journey of the soul of our loved ones? When do we light yahrzeit candles and what about all the steps from passing on to being laid to rest?

While our Western culture often shies away from dealing with death and dying (and dying is the very last thing I want to do!), I believe the cycle of mourning in Judaism is one of the very best innovations in the tradition and something we can all benefit from studying.

As Rabbi Eliezer taught his students, contemplating our mortality helps us live more fully. “Turn your life around one day before you die,” he taught his students. One of them wisely asked, “how are we supposed to know the day of our death and therefore the day before that?” 

The Rav was waiting for just that question when he replied, “Exactly! Every day might be your last so make the most of it.”

In March , we’ll take a closer look at Purim before the holiday. 

I n April , we’ll meet on the first Saturday to prepare for Passover, with our Community hosting its annual Seder on the second night of Pesach. .. ...... Watch for future details .

In May, I   have the blessing of attending my son Sam's graduation from university on the third Saturday so we’ll meet on May 25th and learn about Shavuot.

In the  fall , we’ll begin a  three part “Taste of   Judaism ”  series , which will be a great introduction or re-introduction to the basics of our tradition.

I look forward to sharing more of our amazing world of Jewish thought and practice with you. 

Please feel free to suggest other topics you would like to learn about! 

With every good wish, l’shalom,

Rabbi David
(530] 477-0992 ncjcc@outlook.com