Religious : : Religious Committee Report

As 2024 commenced in January we began reading a new book in the Torah at weekly Shabbos services. We moved from Book One of the Torah, B’reishet (Genesis) to Book Two, Sh’mot (Exodus).

Genesis sets the foundation for the Jewish people. It begins with G-d creating the Heaven and the Earth and then tells us about our Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We then turn to Exodus where in the first four chapters in January we were introduced to Moses, harsh times experienced by the Israelites at the hand of Pharaoh and leaving Egypt for the 40 years of wandering in the Sinai Desert.

The narrative changes in February. While previously we have learned about historical events, we now focus specifically on The Torah itself including how G-d gave it to the Jewish People, how it physically is to be transported in The Taber- nacle and the laws it contains. We begin with the introduction of The Ten Commandments in the parshah section “Yitro.” The following week we read “Mishpatim.” In this section we learn practical laws for how Jews are to conduct themselves in daily interactions with others. The concluding February Torah readings, “T’rumah” and “T’tzavveh” de- scribe in great detail the building of the Ark of the Covenant which will contain the two stone tablets on which G-d has inscribed The Ten Commandments and The Tabernacle, the portable shrine which will house the Ark and be the physical center of religious services as the Israelites spend the next 40 years in the Sinai Desert as they travel from Egypt to Ca- naan, The Promised Land.

These readings are extremely interesting and meaningful. We most cordially invite you to join us on Saturday mornings this month to hear Cantor Josef Chazan beautifully chant these Torah passages.

A brief reminder: it is not necessary to speak, read or understand Hebrew to enjoy our services. Each pair of pages in our prayer books contains both a Hebrew version and accompanying English translation. Also, the Rabbi’s sermon is in English and often makes us smile, laugh, and/or think.

Happy February,

Sandy Shapiro & Arnold Miller