March 13th, 2020
Shabbat Times: 
Candle Lighting
No services


  Forecast: 55

Birthdays and Anniversaries 
Sus an Davis
Helene Rabin
Joni Rosen
Avielle Jivotovsky
Richard Fasman
Brooke Leon
Nili & Alvin Cohen
Beth & Howard Schefflan

Realistically, We Don't Have Any Other Option
Exercising prudence and extreme caution, and out of concern for the well-being of each and every one of our members, all Synagogue activities (Shabbat services, Daily Minyanim, Adult Education classes, 'On the Road with the Rabbi') are suspended until further notice. 
The Rabbi is available to mark all congregational yahrzeiten with members individually. Please contact him by phone or by email for yahrzeiten and for any matters that are on your mind. Modifying a common phrase: "If you need something, say something"; we will try to assist you because that's what Shuls do.

While the Office is closed physically, it is open remotely and we welcome your calls and emails.

We hope that by next Shabbat we will have live streaming capability up and running.

We hope that the entire congregation remains healthy and virus-free, and we pray for those who are stricken, for their families and for all who attend to them.
I am sure that you have heard that the best way to make sure your hands are washed sufficiently is to sing "Happy Birthday" through twice. You might also want to try this:                                        
The CDC has many resources that are available to all of us to help us through this crisis. You can find it here:
For me, this is their best advice: " Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member." I remain available to you, to try to help you through.
Our emails are below:

2020 Census... I got mine in the mail today! And tomorrow night I will either fill it out and return it, or go online to respond.
I encourage you to do the same-and if I can help you with your mail-in form, or the online response, do not hesitate to reach out to me. kas

Torah Reading 523, 880   Haftarah 1287
Final Instructions for the Desert Sanctuary - Additional funds for the construction of the Sanctuary were to be collected in connection with a census of the male Israelite population above the age of twenty: a silver half-shekel was to be contributed by all. Instructions for the fashioning of a washbasin for the priests' use, and for the compounding of oil and incense (to be used in association with the sacrifices) completed the detailed list of the Sanctuary's structure and contents. Betzalel and Oholiav are to supervise the entire construction project.
The Golden Calf - While Moses remains on Mount Sinai the people below clamor for a tangible representation of God, and Aaron accedes to their demand, fashioning a Golden Calf. God informs Moses of the sinful proceedings taking place at the foot of the mountain and threatens to wipe out the entire nation. Moses pleads successfully that the people be spared, and then descends to restore order. However, as Moses approaches the camp, he is so enraged by the sight and sounds of the revelry that he smashes the tablets of the law that he has brought from God. Moses melts the Golden Calf, grinds its remains into a powder which he pours into a stream, and forces all the people to drink from it. Three thousand ringleaders are slain. The people express their remorse.
The Second Set of Tablets - God bids Moses to ascend Mount Sinai once again, where he is given a second set of the "Ten Commandments." Moses received a personal revelation from God in which God imparts to Moses the attributes of mercy, kindness and truth by which He guides the Israelites. Moses returns to the camp after forty days, his face shining with a divine glow. From now on Moses will wear a veil to conceal his features, removing it only when he enters the Sanctuary and comes into God's presence.
From the second scroll we read the Laws of the PARAH ADUMAH (Red Cow), which deal with ritual purification. In Temple times, all those who made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover and wished to partake of the Paschal Lamb, had to be in a state of ritual purity. Reading this passage (the ashes of the cow were used in the purification procedure) within the month preceding Passover served as a reminder to all who were not ritually fit to take the necessary steps if they wished to participate, as Passover was rapidly approaching.

PURIM 2020


All services suspended for the time being
In lieu of Shabbat services this week, I am pleased to call your attention to this op-ed peice which appeared in the NYT. It was my intention to read and discuss it at tomorrow's S'uda Sh'lishit:
Queen Esther, a Hero for Our Time. A paradox of Jewish fragility and heroism. By Meir Soloveichik   
A perplexing paradox lies at the heart of Purim, the holiday celebrated this week by Jews around the world. No day is more associated with Jewish joy; yet rightly understood the scriptural source of our celebration - the biblical book of Esther - proclaims a terrifying teaching.
Let us briefly review the plot. The Persian king Ahasuerus - the character in the Bible most akin to Henry VIII - is overcome by drunken rage and rids himself of his wife. In a contest eerily akin to reality shows today, he conducts a search for a new queen, ultimately choosing a beautiful Jewish woman named Esther, who is advised by her cousin Mordecai not to disclose her religious identity. Haman, the high-ranking minister to Ahasuerus, convinces the king to decree a genocide of the Jews. Urged into action by her cousin, Esther plays on the king's paranoia, engaging in court intrigue to turn him against Haman, who is hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. At Esther's initiative, and with Ahasuerus' encouragement, Jews across the empire wage war against Haman's allies, and Mordecai is given the political position once held by Haman. The central ritual of Purim is the reading of this biblical book aloud in synagogue as a celebration of Jewish salvation and the defeat of anti-Semitism.
Yet as the final words are read, and joyous song erupts in the sanctuary, the careful reader realizes that the security of Persian Jewry, and of Mordecai and Esther, is anything other than assured, and that even the swift nature of Haman's fall is a reflection of terrifying political instability. In such a society, with such an unbalanced and capricious king, could not another Haman easily arise?
The disquieting conclusion of Esther's tale was eloquently described by my great-uncle, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik. "If a prime minister who just yesterday enjoyed the full confidence and trust of the king was suddenly convicted and executed," he reflected, "then who is wise and clairvoyant enough to assure us that the same unreasonable, absurd, neurotic change of mood and mind will not repeat itself?" The Purim tale reminds us that a government, and the society it oversees, can turn against its most vulnerable in a matter of moments. This is why, he argued, Esther's story is no triumphal tale; on the contrary, it is "the book of the vulnerability of man in general and specifically of the vulnerability of the Jew."
That it was Rabbi Soloveitchik who understood this isn't a coincidence. As a young man in the 1920s, he had traveled from Eastern Europe to study philosophy in the University of Berlin. The city was then a center of Jewish intellectual and cultural achievement; Rabbi Soloveitchik would have met coreligionists who saw themselves as both German and Jewish, who had served the kaiser in the First World War and were patriotically committed to their country's future. They would have spoken of the Enlightenment, and progress, and religious acceptance in their society. Then that very same society embraced a Haman-figure, and the lives Jews knew in Europe disappeared forever. Small wonder, then, that a rabbi who escaped this inferno would recognize the frightening implications of Jewish vulnerability inherent in Esther's tale.
Why, then, is Purim marked as a holiday? If the conclusion of Esther is more nerve-racking than is often thought, what is the source of our joy? The answer, in part, is that it is this very vulnerability that makes Jewish heroism possible, and that is why, on Purim, we focus on the woman that gave this biblical book her name: it is Esther whom we celebrate. Precisely because of the constancy of Jewish vulnerability, we glorify Esther's initiative, courage, and wisdom to inculcate these same virtues in our posterity.
Here we must understand how different the Book of Esther is from every other book in the Hebrew Bible. In this tale no mention is made of the divine; the Jews inhabit a world devoid of revelation. Whereas in every other scriptural tale political engagements are under prophetic instruction, in the Persian court God gives no guidance to the Jews facing a terrible danger. Esther, Rabbi Soloveitchik wrote, faced an unprecedented question: "How can the Jew triumph over his adversaries and enemies if God has stopped speaking to him, if the cryptic messages he receives remain unintelligible and incomprehensible?"
In this sense, Esther is the first biblical figure, male or female, to engage in statesmanship. Previous heroes - Moses and Elijah, Samuel and Deborah - are prophets who are guided and guarded by the Divine, but Esther operates on instinct, reflecting a mastery of realpolitik. As Isaiah Berlin wrote in his essay "On Political Judgment," great leaders practice affairs of state not as a science but an art; they are, more akin to orchestra conductors than chemists. Facing a crisis, they "grasp the unique combination of characteristics that constitute this particular situation - this and no other." Esther is the first scriptural figure to embody this description, emerging as a woman for all seasons, a hero celebrated year after year.
Purim thus marks the fragility of Jewish security, but also the possibility of heroism in the face of this vulnerability. It is therefore a holiday for our time. Around the world, and especially in a Europe that should know better, anti-Semitism has made itself manifest once again. As Esther's example is celebrated, and Jews gather in synagogue to study her terrifying tale, we are reminded why, in the face of hate, we remain vigilant - and why we continue to joyously celebrate all the same.
Meir Soloveichik, the rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel in New York, is the director of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University.

This Week's Yahrzeit Observances
We hope that our weekly listing of yahrzeit observances will serve 2 purposes:
1)     To remind those who have the yahrzeit for a second time, much closer to the date of the actual observance
2)     To alert friends and acquaintances that someone they know is observing a yahrzeit. We hope that you will show them your support by joining them at our minyanim, and helping to assure that Kaddish can be recited with a minyan 
Faye Salmon will be observing yahrzeit for her father-in-law,  Eugene Salmon on Friday evening, March 13th
Hilde Straus will be observing yahrzeit for her mother-in-law, Jenny Straus on Friday evening, March 13th
Reggie Feuerstein will be observing yahrzeit for her husband, Herbert Feuerstein on Saturday evening, March 14th
Robert Feuerstein will be observing yahrzeit for his father, Herbert Feuerstein on Saturday evening, March 14th
Lisa Maier will be observing yahrzeit for her father, Herbert Feuerstein on Saturday evening, March 14th
Gloria Singer will be observing yahrzeit for her brother, William Pickholz on Saturday evening, March 14th
Laurie Singer will be observing yahrzeit for her uncle, William Pickholz on Saturday evening, March 14th
Richard Rosenberg will be observing yahrzeit for his father, Jerry Rosenberg on Monday evening, March 16th
Evelyn Baer will be observing yahrzeit for her father, Willy Baer on Wednesday evening, March 18th
Doryne Davis will be observing yahrzeit for her mother, Maxine Gerstein on Wednesday evening, March 18th
Nancy Green will be observing yahrzeit for her mother, Felicia Gross Levitt on Wednesday evening, March 18th
Martha Shemin will be observing yahrzeit for her grandmother, Bella Glass on Thursday evening, March 19th

Important/Interesting Reads 
We have been doing elbow bumps, knocking right ankles (for those who can balance), hand-to-heart, bowing to one another...

In the Time of Coronavirus, Spock's Jewish-Vulcan Gesture is the Right Way to Greet 
 Jews in communities around the globe show more genetic similarities with each other than they do with their non-Jewish neighbors, except in India and Ethiopia                                  

In the New Daf Yomi Cycle, Daily Talmud Study is Reaching New Populations   
I Didn't Think Judaism Had Space for People With Chronic Illness. Boy Was I Wrong
 I found radical acceptance in a community I feared I'd always be excluded from    

Report: Iranian Agents Killed Ron Arad in Lebanon    
Bibi Is No Houdini                                                                                                                                                                 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a political magician who has run out of tricks-and his stubbornness is stopping the Israeli right from winning convincingly and governing the country.

The Joint Arab List in Israel's Knesset

 BDS / Anti-Semitism / anti-Zionism

Iran / Syria / Hezbollah      
UN Issues Indictment of Iran's Human Rights Violations  
New U.S. State Department Report Blasts Iran for Anti-Semitism                                              
Senior Hizbullah Officials Test Positive for Coronavirus                                                

The Palestinians
Palestinian Islamists Disrupt Attempts at Truce in Gaza 
Israel Advances Plans for Palestinian Road to Bypass E-1 Area in West Bank                                                
Saudi Arabia Puts Hamas Activists on Trial for Supporting Terrorism                                                        

Pop Culture        

Julian Edelman Says He is Studying for His Bar Mitzvah Ceremony    
I emphasize that it's Division III, still...
The 'Men in Black' and 'Addams Family' Director, Barry Sonnenfeld,Wrote an Extremely Jewy Memoir                                                                                                              


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