Current Newsletter
for the week of:
July 26th, 2017

Sholem aleichem!

Today is the 3rd day of the Hebrew month of Av, 5777.  We are in the period in the Jewish calendar know as "the nine days," the days which culminate in Tisha b'Av, the 9th day of Av, when we mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples and so many other casualties that have befallen our People in the course of history.  Tisha b'Av falls this coming Tuesday.  You can read about it here:

Tishah B'Av

Tishah B'Av
Learn about the history, meaning, observances, and dates of the Jewish holiday of Tishah B'Av.

Shabbat on St Croix this week begins at 6:35 pm.


Note from Rabbi: I'll be traveling for the next couple of weeks, with only intermittent email access, so STXJCC Happenings is taking a break.  You can expect it in your inbox again starting on August 23rd.  I hope you'll miss it!  [*;) winking]
With this week's Torah portion, we begin the fifth and last book of the Torah, Deuteronomy.  The portion (and the Book) is called D'varim.  It encompasses Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22.
As the Book opens, the Israelites stand ready to enter Canaan.  Moses begins to recount the events of Israel's journey from Horeb (Sinai) to the Promised Land.  He also recounts the difficulty he had governing the people.  They had grown too numerous for him to administrate, necessitating the creation of a system of tribal chiefs.  These chiefs were to function as judges,  but if a matter was too difficult for them, Moses would intervene.
Moses continues describing the Israelites' behavior as they approached Canaan.  He relates how he instructed them to take possession of the Land.  The people insisted that spies be sent ahead to see what the land and people were like.  The report, while favorable about the Land itself, still dismayed the people, and they lost faith in God.  God heard their complaint and swore that no one of that generation would live to enter the Promised land.  God was angry at Moses also and decreed that Moses, too, would not enter  Canaan.  Of that generation, only Caleb, who had given an encouraging report of the Land, and Joshua, who was to be the people's next leader, would live to enter Canaan.
Ashamed because of their attitude, the Israelites decided to go up and take the Land.  Despite being warned that God was not with them, they went ahead anyway and suffered a cruel defeat the hands of the Amorites.
Moses continues the retelling of the Israelites' journeys and summarizes the 40 years of wandering.  The narrative continues with the Israelites preparing once again to enter the Promised Land.  This time they successfully engage in battle with Sihon, King of the Amorites, and Og, King of Bashan.  The lands the Israelites captured east of the Jordan were divided between the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.
The portion closes with Moses naming Joshua as his successor.

[Adapted from Teaching Torah: A Treasury of Insights and Activites, by Sorel Goldberg Loeb and Barbara Binder Kadden].


Rabbi Marna Sapsowitz