Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
This week we experienced one of the saddest days on the Jewish calendar. Did you know that both the first and second temple were both destroyed on Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av on the Jewish calendar, 656 years apart to the day? But even as some in our community fasted in observance of this tragic day in Jewish history, we also remember there is much to be grateful for.
This week, 12 women, including lead staff person Kim Subrin, returned from the Jewish Woman’s Renaissance Program MOMentum trip to Israel. This trip was funded in part by the Federation and the Valley of the Sun JCC. The comments from the mission participants are inspiring and deepen my resolve to develop the next great Jewish leaders for this community. Here is what participant Julie Marks shared just the other day: “As I put on my sneakers to go work out at The J, I see that I still have the dirt from Masada on them. I was going to clean them off but decided to keep the dirt on them. I will step through the doors of the JCC with my dirt from Masada and think about the strength and survival of the Jewish people 2000 years later. I look forward to helping build an even stronger community with all of you.”
This week’s Torah portion is Va’etchanan (And I pleaded) in the book of Deuteronomy. In it, we see a repeat of both the Ten Commandments and the verses of the Shema (Hear O Israel). The return of our 12 representatives from the Jewish Renaissance mission reminds us of our connection to the Ten Commandments, to the message of the Shema (and thou shalt love the Lord thy G-d), to the tragic moments of our history such as the destruction of both of our Temples in Jerusalem, of Masada and of the incredible gift and responsibility we have to be a light unto ourselves, our children, our community and upon all the nations.