This weeks E-blast

Join with us at a hosted potluck dinner by Barbara Ansel this Friday evening, June 7 at 6:00 pm. Please bring a salad or side to share. A lay lead service will follow.

This Shabbat, we begin reading the Book of Numbers, Parashat B’midbar (“In the Wilderness.”  It opens with great promise. Our setting is the wilderness of Sinai. It evokes broad universalism and deep spirituality. The Midrash tells us that the wilderness is free to all, so too is Torah. And only those who open themselves up like a wilderness can access its wisdom. Verse one is the setting in Sinai; verse two is God’s command to Moses to take a census. However, the counting is very exclusive: women, children and those not able to bear arms are not counted. Not only is the census exclusive, but it is hierarchical. Priests and Levite’s hold different positions. Tribes are positioned in the camp based on their status, or that of their ancestors. It’s a structure so that everyone knows his place.

But, there is a tragic irony here as well. None of the people in this census, except for Joshua and Caleb will make it to the Promised Land. By the time of the next census in Numbers 26, all but those two will be dead. What do we learn from these opening verses?   1) People count. We may not like who is and who is not counted, but the fact remains we have lists and lists of names, even though – or maybe because – this generation will die in the desert. Their individuality is noted and honored. 2) God is at the center. This may be challenging to us but it is everywhere in the text. 3) Humility is essential. This is a corollary of the other two. If people count, and different people have different roles, we all need each other. And if God is at the center, it is not all about us.


The festival of Shavuot, which begins at sundown on Sunday, June 9, celebrates
the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and encourages us to embrace the Torah’s
teachings (with “all night” study) and be inspired by the wisdom Jewish tradition
has to offer. Shavuot is the Hebrew word for “weeks” and the holiday occurs seven
weeks after Passover. Shavuot, like many other Jewish holidays began as an
ancient agricultural festival that marked the end of the spring barley harvest and
the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. It was also a pilgrimage festival during
which Israelites brought crop offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, it is
the celebration of Torah and education. It is on Shavuot that the Book of Ruth is
read. It’s is also presumed to be the day that King David was born and died and he
was Ruth’s descendent. Ruth’s conversion to Judaism and acts of loving kindness
is a major theme of the Torah.

First Torah and Hike of the year will be Tuesday, June 18.  As we did last year, meet at the overflow parking lot at the Temple at 9:15 am.  Our first hike will be at the Regional Park.

Following the hike, we will adjourn for Brunch/Lunch at Spindleshanks.  For those who do not wish to hike, but do want to join us for Torah, plan to be at Spindleshanks by 11:15 am.

Mike Frank will be Torah Discussion leader; Rabbi Evon is going to be in Israel for this initial hike.

PLEASE!  Reply ALL so that we all know who and how many there will be.  Steve at Spindleshanks has requested a “heads up” so that he can prepare for our group.

YES!  Dogs are welcome and they are allowed at Spindleshanks for outdoor dining.


We warmly welcome our new student rabbi, Chayva Lehrman who will serve in this capacity in 2019-2020 at NTHC and Temple Bat Yam. She is a third year student who has just returned from her UJA-HUC Year in Israel. Like Avi Fine, Chayva is pursuing both rabbinical ordination and a masters in Jewish nonprofit management.

Chayva was raised at Congregation Beth Am of Los Altos Hills, California and received her Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Linguistics at Wellesley College in 2011. After a brief career in politics and international development in Washington, D.C., she redirected to follow her heart and strengths and applied to Rabbinical school. Before starting her studies, Chayva spend 6 months hiking the Appalachian Trail and cycling the Camino de Santiago. She engages deeply within the Jewish community. Chayva invites the congregation to reach out to her at the following email address:


Friday, June 7, Chavurah Shabbat Services & Potluck Hosted by Barbara Ansel
Friday, June 14, 6:00 pm Joint Service with Temple Bat Yam at Spooner Lake with send off for Rabbi Yakar’s Israel Trip
Friday, June 21 To be announced
Friday, June 28 To be announced
Friday, July 5, 6:00pm Chavurah Shabbat Services and Potluck

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