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Marty’s Shabbat Message – April 21, 2017

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),

Another week is quickly coming to an end. It is time to take a deep breath and reflect on how we did and what we will do to make next week even better. Let us turn to our Torah, the precious road map of the Jewish people, to guide us and to give us meaning.

This week’s Torah portion is Shemini, in the Book of Leviticus, the third of the five books of Moses: God commands the laws of Kashrut and specifies the animal species that one may and may not eat. There is also a reference to ritual laws of purity including the purifying power of the Mikvah (a body of water with specific criteria). The essence of the portion is for the Jewish people to differentiate between the pure and the impure.

As Executive Director, it is my desire to try to relate the weekly Torah portion each week to the realities of our Jewish community and the work of our Jewish Federation.

Today, I was privileged to teach the final class of a 4-part series to the Pardes eighth graders-38 in all. Over the past month, we examined the American-Jewish Experience, focusing on the wave of Jewish immigration in the late 19th and early-to-mid 20th century. We talked about the changing “Avoda,” the work and focus of the Jewish community. We examined anti-Semitism, including the recent wave we experienced here in the Valley. Lastly, we discussed how Federation allocates the dollars it receives from the community.

It was priceless when one girl’s face lit up with surprise and awe as she exclaimed, “I had no idea Federation allocates money to Pardes.” There is nothing I can think of that could be more satisfying, important and purifying than the gift I was given to work with these fine, young representatives of our Jewish future.

Shabbat Shalom everybody.

Marty Haberer
Executive Director