Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
Can we really be heading into the very last Shabbat of August? That means that Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year 5781 is less than three weeks away! And, what a year 5780 has been.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that besides the pandemic, the tears in our social fabric, the v shaped goings-on with the stock market, the job losses and the effects on the economy, as well as a critical upcoming Presidential election, that earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates became the third Arab country to make peace with Israel (Jordan and Egypt being the other two). The agreement was a diplomatic fete, but it was also made possible because of the unique Arab identity that allowed it to flourish. One has to wonder what makes this country different from others in the region and what life is like for the 3,000 Jews who live there. Like so many of us, I sincerely hope and pray that other Arab countries in the region follow suit in what is an unprecedented opportunity to change the dynamics in Israel’s “neighborhood.”
In our own neighborhood here in the Valley, PJ Library in Phoenix knows that this year’s High Holidays will look different for families. So they created a Rosh Hashanah in a Bag for PJ Families, which was generously funded by a Federation donor. While parents are on Zoom in services, kids can stay busy and learn about Rosh Hashanah. Included in the kit are games, activities, snacks and crafts. Pick up locations are the Martin Pear JCC, Temple Emanuel, Temple Beth Shalom in the West Valley and Beth El Congregation; and they will be ready for pick up on September 15. Already 300 people have registered! Register for your bag at: vosjcc.org/pjbag.
This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tetzei, (When You Go Forth) in the book of Deuteronomy, the fifth and final Book of Moses. In this portion are the powerful words “remember what Amalek did to you on the road, on your way out of Egypt.” For some reason, those words of Z’chor, remember, have been etched powerfully into my soul. And while we are commanded to remember, we are also commanded to forgive. It is that combination of remembering and forgiving that will lead to more and deepening peace agreements with Israel’s Arab neighbors. And in our own lives, as we all struggle to make it through these uncertain and unprecedented times, we must remember and learn from what we are going through. So that we can “pivot,” as PJ Library has done with its holiday programming. When we let go of anger and frustration, we can then get to the next new and wonderful places in our lives.
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom.
Light candles on Friday at 6:39pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday at 7:34pm.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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