Congregation B'nai Or

STXJCC Happenings 04/19/2017

*CHANGE OF LOCATION!  Our Yom haShoah/Holocaust Memorial Day observance this Sunday night has been moved to Chris and Ellie's home, very close to Temple.  See below.

Sholem aleichem!
Today is the 23rd day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, 5777.    
Last night was the 8th night of the counting of the omer.  An omer is a measurement of barley.  Like most Jewish holidays, this period of the Jewish year has both agricultural and historical ties.  At this time of year, our ancestors waited apprehensively for their first grain crop to ripen.  Would the rains come --- not too much, not too little --- at the right time?  Would it be a year of plenty, or a year of scarcity?  We begin counting on the second night of Pesach, and count a week of weeks, 7 x 7 = 49 days, until we arrive at the Festival of Shavuot.  Having left Egyptian slavery, we count our way, consciously, intentionally, one day at a time, until we reach Mt. Sinai and receive the Torah.  Passover is our festival of Liberation; Shavuot is our Festival of Revelation.

Shabbat on St Croix this week begins at 6:17 pm.

A summary of this week's Torah portion appears at the end of this email.

B'kitzur (in short), our schedule for the coming weeks:

* Today, 10:00-11:30 am (and every Wednesday) - Rabbi's "office hours" at The Bistro in Gallows Bay.  
* Tonight, 7:00 at the Temple - The People and the Books study group.

* Sunday April 23, 7:00 pm at Chris and Ellie's - Yom haShoah/Holocaust Memorial Day observance.  Details below.
* Wednesday April 26, 6:30 pm at the Temple - STXJCC Board Meeting.  All are welcome!
* Saturday April 29 - Havdalah and Turtle Nesting.  Reservations required -- Now 4  spaces left!  Details below. 
* Sunday evening April 30 - Possible Yom haAtzmaut/Israel Independence Day observance.  Please let Rabbi know if you would come; see below.

This Sunday April 23 4, at 7:00, we will join with our friends from the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship and others in observance of Yom haShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day.  
Please note that this event has been moved to Chris and Ellie's house --- very close to the Temple --- due to lack of necessary screening equipment there.  Please call or text Ellie 340-643-0707 to tell her you're coming and for directions.  As the events of the Shoah recede further into the past, it is incumbent upon us to remember.  We will have a short memorial service, followed by a screening of the film Paper Clips.

This documentary chronicles a rural Tennessee middle school's unique class project: finding a meaningful way to honor Holocaust victims. Brought up in a heavily fundamentalist Christian environment, most of the students had never seen, let alone spoken with, a Jew; nonetheless, the children of Whitwell found a poignant method of honoring the slain. Using individual paper clips to represent each life lost in the Holocaust, the students were inundated with contributions from around the world. 

All are welcome.  Please come, and invite others. 
Saturday night April 29 - Sandy Point Turtle Watch!

If you want to come, let Rabbi know.  We have room for four more people.
From Rabbi: This year is the first time I'll be here on-Island for Yom haAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day. 
It falls this year on Sunday night/ Monday April 30-May 1.  Is there interest in marking this holiday in our Jewish community on that Sunday evening, April 30?  I'm thinking of an adult education program, examining Israel's Declaration of Independence and a wondeful, poignant story by Agnon, "The Fable of the Goat."  
And maybe falafel?
If you're interested, please let me know (just hit "reply") by this Sunday April 23rd, and we'll make it happen!
Even though Passover is over....I've been asked about quinoa at least half a dozen times!  These articles may be of interest.  (You can file them away for next Passover....)
Is Quinoa Kosher for Passover? | My Jewish Learning

Is Quinoa Kosher for Passover? | My Jewish Learning

While quinoa might not yet have the name recognition of traditional Passover favorites like matzah balls, gefilt...
Quinoa Is Kosher For Passover, But Mom May Not Approve

Quinoa Is Kosher For Passover, But Mom May Not Approve

The Orthodox arbiters of kosher inspected quinoa fields in the mountains of Peru and Bolivia. And now for the fi...
After a week out-of-sequence for Passover, we are back to Leviticus.
This week's Torah reading is Sh'mini, Leviticus 9:1-11.47.  
On the eighth day of the ordination ceremonies of the High Priests, Moses directs Aaron to bring certain offerings.  After these sacrifices are made, Moses and Aaron enter the Tent of Meeting.  When they emerge, they bless the people and the Presence of God appears to all.
Nadav and Avihu, Aaron's sons, put fire and incense in their fire pans and offer "alien fire" to God.  A fire comes forth, and both die instantly.  Moses explains to Aaron that his sons' deaths demonstrate specifically the responsibility of priests to do only that which God commands.  Aaron has no response.  Moses calls on Aaron's nephews to remove the bodies, but cautions relatives and the congregation not to mourn for Nadav and Avihu.
God commands Aaron and his remaining sons not to drink intoxicants, for they must be able to carry out their duties of sacrifice and teaching.
Moses tells Aaron and his sons, Elazar and Itamar, where the various offerings are to be eaten.  Then he inquires about the goat of the sin-offering and is told it has been totally consumed by fire.  (It had been commanded that a portion of this offering be eaten by the priests.)  Moses is angry that Aaron and his sons had not eaten their portion, but Aaron responds that it would be unsuitable for the priests to eat the offering in view of the day's events.
God now speaks to Moses and Aaron regarding the laws of kashrut.  The Israelites are permitted to eat any mammal which has a split hoof and chews its cud.  Swine are specifically forbidden.  The Israelites may eat any fish which has both fins and scales.  A list of forbidden birds is given.  Insects are forbidden unless they have a pair of jointed legs with which they can leap.  A description of the laws of ritual defilement regarding animal carcasses is given.  
The portion ends with an affirmation of the special relationship between God and the children of Israel.
[adapted from Teaching Torah: A Treasury of Insights and Activities, by Sorel Goldberg Loeb and Barbara Binder Kadden]  


Rabbi Marna Sapsowitz

(601) 281-8340

St. Croix Jewish Community