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Shabbat and Candle Lighting
for Friday, January 4, 2019 / 28 Tevet 5779


Light Shabbat candles at 5:15 p.m .
 
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Dear Co ngregation Kehillah and Friends,
Rabbi Sharfman
     
Our  parasha  this week is  Va'era  in which the first seven plagues afflict Egypt in response to the hardening of   Pharaoh's heart. The term 'plagues' is a later rabbinic description; the Torah text uses the words "signs" ( otot ),   "marvels" ( moftim ) and "wonders" ( niflaot ). 
  
The opening verse is curious: God spoke to Moses and said to him, "I am Adonai. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and   to Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not make Myself known to them by my [real] name Y-H-V-H." 
  
What difference does it make by which Name the Holy One is known, and why does the text use the connecting word   'and' between each of the patriarchs' names, rather than just say "God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"? The Baal   Shem Tov (founder of Chasidut/Chassidism) explained that Abraham's understanding of God was different from   Isaac's knowledge of God, or Jacob's, teaching us that God reveals Godself differently to each one of us. We each   come to know God through our own personal encounters, in our own way. Rabbi Zev Wolf of Zitomer offered a similar   teaching, suggesting that The Holy One chooses to reveal to each of us through a different Name, and we are   charged with the task of discovering and exploring this unique expression; if we can't seem to find God, it's because   we're seeking God through a Name other than the one that is meant for us. 
  
The first step out of emotional and spiritual 'slavery' is to be able to know the Name revealed to us individually --   who or what God is in our lives -- and by extension, know well our own. 
  
Please see the article below about how being involved in your synagogue can lead to better health (and make your   Rabbi happy). 
 
 
A   kavannah for candle lighting for   Shabbat Va'era 
 
Please God, let me come to know You, let me know Your ways, let me feel Your presence in my life and please, Holy One, answer my prayers favorably.

Looking forward to sharing Kabbalat Shabbat with you next Friday night, January 11, and the Bat Mitzvah of Alexandra Abrams on Shabbat morning. 

I hope you'll be with us for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day March, on Monday, January 21. Please click here for all the details. 
 
Shabbat Shalom!
 
Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman 
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Study links synagogue affiliation to better health

Regular synagogue attendance may make you healthier, a study of four large American Jewish urban communities by Baylor
 University's Institute for Studies of Religion indicates.
 
"Adults who affiliate with a Jewish religious denomination and attend synagogue report significantly better health than secular or nonpracticing Jews," Jeff Levin, director of the institute's Program on Religion and Population Health...
 
"People with a strong sense of religious identity and who participate in their faith seem to do better, on average, than people without an active spiritual life," added Levin, a professor of epidemiology and population health, who conducted the study.
 
The study, based on data collected throughout the 2000s as part of Jewish community surveys from Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and New York, was published in January's Journal of Religion and Health.
 
"While there have been hundreds of studies of physical and mental health among Christians and members of other faiths, Jewish studies have been limited mostly to Israelis and to smaller clinical samples in the U.S. or the United Kingdom," Levin said.
 
The results were consistent across denominations. Whether Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist or Reform, affiliated Jews reported better health than secular, nonaffiliated Jews. Likewise, Jews who attended synagogue, whether regularly or less frequently, reported better health than those who never went.

To continue reading, click here.

Congregation Kehillah
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