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Shabbat Message from Rabbi Aft

04/10/2015 10:04:34 AM


Dear Friends,


Remembering....what a powerful force in our lives.  As I mourn the loss of my aunt, my mind and heart have been flooded with memories about my mom, her sister, and their side of the family.   One of the interesting aspects of the Hebrew language is that the word for "history" is "historiah" which is an adaptation of the English word.  However there is a word for "remember" in Hebrew which is "zachor."  The important role that memory plays in our lives provides opportunities to learn from the past, recall pleasant moments, and hopefully provide comfort to us when we suffer a loss.


Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" talks about the fact that it is not death that people fear.  We fear never having lived.  Sometimes in the midst of grief, I know that I have forgotten about the life of my loved one and only focused on the last years that may not have been so pleasant for the loved one.  This week, I spoke to a group called OLLI through the efforts of Velma Berkey and we began our session with the Debbie Friedman version of the Mishebarach, our prayer for healing.  As this predominantly non Jewish group listened to the words, I could tell that they were moved by the words which we may take for granted.  "Give me the courage to make my life a blessing."  


Saturday at approximately 11:30am (plus or minus), we will have a short Yizkor or Memorial service.  There are four times a year, in addition to the anniversary or yahrzeit of a loved one, when we have the opportunity to remember our loved ones and the blessings of their lives. On the last day of Passover (7th day in the Reform movement and 8th day in the more traditional Jewish world), Shemini Atzeret which is the final day of the Sukkot celebration in the fall, Shavuot which we will celebrate on Sunday, May 24, and of course on Yom Kippur we add this service to our liturgy.  At the beginning of the year on our most solemn day, we celebrate the blessings of our loved ones by remembering them.  On Sukkot where we build a Sukkah to remind us of the precariousness of life and think about our ancestors wandering in the wilderness, we remember them.  At the conclusion of Passover when we have told the story of our people at the beginning of the Festival, we remember them.  On Shavuot, when we celebrate the receiving of the 10 Commandments and think about what our loved ones have taught us, we remember them.


I hope you will join us for Yizkor on Saturday morning to remember the people who are precious to you and who have helped make you the person that you are.


Finally, tomorrow night I will be speaking about what scares us and how we deal with our fears.  Can we imagine what it would have been like to be at the Red Sea being chased down by the Egyptians and whether we would have overcome our fears to enter the water?  Please join us for our annual Shabbat and Pesach service where the choir leads us in Passover melodies and song.


May the final days of Pesach be a time which inspires us to make our lives a blessing and to remember the blessings of the lives which have touched ours.


Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Bruce Aft

Daily Omer Meditation

It is customary to count the omer at this time of the year.   

1.According to the Torah (Lev. 23:15), we are obligated to count the days from Passover to Shavuot. This period is known as the Counting of the Omer. An omer is a unit of measure. On the second day of Passover, in the days of the Temple, an omer of barley was cut down and brought to the Temple as an offering.  

2.In Siddur Hadash, the prayer one recites is on p. 732-ff, and please go to the web site listed below for meaningful meditations.

Daily Omer Meditation -

3.In case you have lost track, please note that Thursday was the fifth day of the counting of the Omer.

Congregation Adat Reyim


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