Shabbat Bulletin for

the Temple Sholom Community

1 February 2024 ~ 22 Shvat 5784

Parashat Yitro

Shalom, chaveirim - hello, friends - 

Staying with the theme of the graphic from last week, here is Moses (aka Charlton Heston) with the 15 (smash - OY!) TEN Commandments (thank you, Mel Brooks). Note: the font used here is "paleo-Hebrew" (pre-6th century BCE) and was the "font" of Hebrew before the style of Hebrew we know today, "Jewish Square Script" (5th century BCE onward).

With this week's Torah reading we discover the Israelites standing at the base of Mt. Sinai. With lightning and thunder and the sound of the shofar, Cecile B. DeMille's "cast of thousands" had nothing on our people's telling of the moment of revelation. Actually, it is the very telling and interpretations of our ancestors which made for such cinematic success!!

The very heart of the Torah portion is the listing of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. On the one hand, these ten laws are but ten of the 613 mitzvot (commandments) of our Torah. And yet given their delivery and stature many presume them to be the most important. The rabbis of old state that you should treat a light mitzvah as a heavy one because you don't know the outcome of any particular mitzvah... in other words: they all matter and can have an impact! (Pirkei Avot 2:1)

Reading through the mitzvot of this week's parasha are a time to reflect and consider: What and where are my Jewish decisions? What and where are the mitzvot (commandments) a part of my determination in how I am living my life? While some mitzvot are accomplished by steering AWAY from certain actions (i.e., murder, adultery) there are other mitzvot which are accomplished by DOING certain actions (i.e., celebrating Shabbat, honoring parents, keeping kashrut).

Judaism is experienced through intention, thoughtfulness, and desire. At Sinai, we embraced the covenant saying, "We will do and we will hear/understand," which reminds us - these many, many generations later - that Judaism is in the experiential and through the doing; thus, we can come to learn and make sure our sacred covenant and heritage are lived and passed down.

This Shabbat ... maybe you will take time to enjoy watching the classic film "The Ten Commandments" or maybe you'll enjoy some quiet time reflecting on the Torah reading or you'll join us at temple for Kabbalat Shabbat or Torah Study. Regardless, we have moved in this last week from redemption in leaving Egypt to the revelation of Torah at Sinai instructing us that with our freedom comes great responsibility and structure. May our pursuit of learning and living help nourish our souls and our people.

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Mark Cohn



GOLDA'S BALCONY, SATURDAY, February 3rd at 7pm. Dinner Theatre at the JCC in Sherman! Golda’s Balcony featuring Dandy Barrett as Golda Meir.

FREE SPEECH AND ITS LIMITS, SUNDAY, February 4th at 1pm. Former ACLU president and First Amendment expert Nadine Strossen will discuss her new book, Free Speech: What Everyone Needs to Know®, with best-selling author and TV legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Recommended Resources from the Rabbi's Desk(top) for the weekend ...

Constant and important updates, podcasts, blogs, and articles from Times of Israel, Tablet Magazine, and Sapir Journal.


"What if the real war in Israel hasn't even started?" by Matti Friedman in The Free Press.

"The DEI Dilemma," by David Bernstein of the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values, in The Jewish Journal.

"Amid a housing crunch, religious groups unlock land to build homes," by Stacy Freed in The New York Times.


"Israel at War: The Hague, Victory or Defeat?" from Rabbi Donniel Hartman & Yossi Klein Halevi of the Shalom Hartman Institute on For Heaven's Sake.

"Lunch & Learn" with Rabbi Mark Cohn

NOON - 1:00 PM

Bring a friend! Bring lunch if you want (dairy only - no meat)!

Our exploration of Jewish Priorities, (edited by David Hazony) continues!!


February 6, 14*, 20


February 6, Shaul Magid's essay: "Why Exile Matters: How to Rebuild Diaspora Culture Without Using Israel as a Crutch."

February 14, Hen Mazzig's essay: "An End to Ashkenormativity: Let's put bagels and lox behind us."

February 20, Izabella Tabarovsky's essay: "How to beat the New Antisemitism: It's Not about Human Rights. It's about Soviet Propoganda."



Services & Study

Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday Evenings 6:30PM


February 2, 16


February 9, 23


Shabbat Morning Torah Study - 9:30am


February 3, 10, 17, 24