Current Newsletter
for the week of:
February 7th, 2018

  ​Sholem Aleichem!

Today is the 22nd day of the Hebrew month of Sh'vat, 5778. 
Shabbat on St Croix this week begins at 5:59 pm.
A summary of this week's Torah portion is found below.
From Rabbi Marna:
I'm excited to be (finally!) back on-Island!  What a lovely (and BIG!) Shabbos Tish we had at the Temple Friday night!  More to come!  See below for planned STXJCC events:
B'kitzur (in short), our schedule for the coming weeks:
* Today, Wednesday February 7, 10:00-11:30 am at The Bistro in Gallows Bay - Rabbi's "office hours."  Drop by and say "Shalom!"  
* Friday February 9, 5:30 pm, Angry Nates - Shabbat Comes to Jump-Up!  Details below.
As in past years, we will have a short evening service, and I will provide a light supper afterwards.  If you can let me know you plan to be there (and haven't already), it will help me to know there will be (1) enough people for a minyan; and (2) enough food to feed all who come!  Thank you.

Shabbat comes to Jump-Up!
It's a tradition!
We have a 5:30 dinner reservation at Angry Nate's (thanks, Laura!).  We will welcome Shabbat on the Boardwalk with candles, Shalom Aleichem, wine, and challah.  Even if you haven't reserved a place, please stroll by at 5:45 and join us in welcoming Shabbat.  (If you want to join us for dinner, maybe the restaurant will be able to make room for you!)

The Reconstructionist Movement (Rabbi Marjorie and I are both graduates of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College) is "rebranding."  You can read about it herE
Why the Reconstructionist movement is rebranding
Why the Reconstructionist movement is rebranding
By Deborah Waxman
PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — “I don’t know any Jews who go to temple.” The line is from a remarkably poignant scene in t...
and here:
What’s in a name? Reconstructionist Judaism is finding out.
What’s in a name? Reconstructionist Judaism is finding out.
By Andrew Silow-Carroll
NEW YORK (JTA) — Reconstructionist Judaism has often been treated as the stepchild of the major Jewish denominat...
This week's Torah portion is Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18.  

Moses sets before the Israelites the following groups of laws:

1. The rules concerning slaves: The Israelites are permitted to own slaves, but they must always bear the slaves' dignity in mind.  Hebrew slaves are to be freed after six years of service, or immediately if their owner willfully injures them.  A slave who does not wish to leave a master shall have an ear pierced and remain a slave for life.

2. Certain crimes are punishable by death.  Among these are murder, kidnapping, and insulting one's parents.

3. The laws detailing the responsibilities incurred by the owner of an ox: The owner of an ox which is known to have previously injured or killed another person or animal is to be punished along with the ox.  The owner of an ox which causes death or injury just once does not incur punishment, although the ox must be stoned or sold in restitution for its actions.

4. Rules and penalties for theft and lending.

5. Certain laws pertaining to the Israelites being a holy people.  Among these are not to curse God and to dedicate to God firstborn sons and cattle and the first fruits of a tree, not to eat flesh torn by wild beasts, and not to boil a baby goat in its mother's milk. [This last becomes the basis for the separation between meat and dairy products which is part of the kosher laws.]

6. Every seven years, the land is to lie fallow or rest.  The seventh day shall be a day of rest.

7. The observance of the three festivals --- the feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover), the Feast of the Harvest (Shavuot), and the Feast of the Ingathering (Sukkot) --- is prescribed. 

This parsha also includes the oft-misunderstood principle of just restitution for damages, lex talionis [which is Latin, not Hebrew!   ]: "an eye for an eye," etc.  The Israelites' slavery in Egypt is recalled to remind them not to mistreat strangers, widows, and orphans in their midst.

God tells Moses that an angel will lead the Israelites through the desert to Canaan, and promises to destroy all the peoples whose paths they will cross, so that they will not be tempted to worship the gods of other nations.

Moses repeats all the rules to the people, and then writes them all down.  Offerings are made to seal the covenant with God and the people accept the law saying, "All that the Eternal has commanded we will do."  

The mountain is covered by the Presence of God for six days.  On the seventh day, God calls Moses to ascend, and Moses goes up the mountain and remains there for forty days and nights.   

[adapted from Teaching Torah: A Treasury of Insights and Activities, by Sorel Goldberg Loeb and Barbara Binder Kadden]





Rabbi Marna Sapsowitz