Rabbi Yehoshua Aizenberg
This week's commentary was written by Rabbi Yehoshua Aizenberg, Rabbi Emeritus, Conservative Synagogue of Jamaica Estates, 5766 Honoree for the Rabbinical Assembly Joint Campaign
Two Sabbaths ago, we celebrated Shabbat Shekalim, the first of four special Sabbaths preceding Pesah. This coming Shabbat, Shabbat Zachor, always comes right before the Purim celebration.
Shabbat Zachor takes on its special identity from the extra maftir section that will be read from a second Torah scroll, the concluding verses of the portion Ki Tetzei (Deuteronomy 25:17-19). The text begins with the word zachor (remember) - thus the name of this Shabbat - and it concludes with the admonition "lo tishkach" ("forget this not"). As the eleventh-century Spanish biblical commentator Moshe ben Jacob Ibn Ezra points out, beginning and end work together, and "forget this not" comes to reinforce the call to "remember."
What are all these warnings to remember and not to forget all about? They refer to the narrative in Exodus 17:8-14 when the Amalekites, a tribe of nomads inhabiting the Negev and the Sinai Peninsula, made a surprise rear attack on the famished and exhausted Israelites not long after they fled Egypt. The attack was deemed especially reprehensible since the Amalekites directed their onslaught upon the stragglers, the elderly, and the infirm, without any provocation on the Israelites' part. Forced to fight its first war of survival - which it won - Israel was admonished not only never to forget the Amalekites' treachery, but also to "blot out Amalek's memory... from under Heaven." In the haftarah for this Shabbat, taken from the book of I Samuel (15:2-34), we learn that these words were understood quite literally. Our rabbis instructed us to dwell on these readings most particularly on the Shabbat preceding Purim because Mordechai's lineage was traced to the line of King Saul's father, and just as Saul defeated Amalek and its king, Agag, so Mordechai foiled the plots of Haman "the Agagite" (Esther 2:5, 3:1,10).
What I would like to pursue here is the Torah's repeated emphasis on remembering and memory, stated so emphatically in these verses of Ki Tetzei. As Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi wrote forcefully in his classic Zachor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory, the Hebrew Bible's "injunctions to remember are unconditional, and even when not commanded, remembrance is always pivotal. Altogether the verb zakhar appears in its various declensions... no less than one hundred and sixty-nine times... As Israel is enjoined to remember, so it is adjured not to forget. Both imperatives have resounded with enduring effect among the Jews since biblical times" (5).
The insistent injunction to remember and not to forget, a mitzvah that the Jewish people have so consistently made part of their culture and religious practice, has not necessarily been part of other peoples' weltanschauung. Indeed, some nations are still struggling to find ways and create rituals that will aid in the process of remembering. Take, for example, Argentina, the country of my birth. Thrust into deep political conflict and widespread violence, a military coup shook Argentina in March 1976 - with authoritarian military rule lasting until December 1983. The government, defining itself as leading a "process of national reorganization," implemented a systematic policy of overt and clandestine repression, particularly the infamous "disappearances," using terror as the basic tactic with which to handle the political conflict and wipe out existing opposition. A reliable estimate speaks of 30,000 people "disappeared" in Argentina. Uruguay and Chile are struggling with similar legacies of horror.
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Rabbi Yehoshua Aizenberg, Rabbi Emeritus, Conservative Synagogue of Jamaica Estates, 5766 Honoree for the Rabbinical Assembly Joint Campaign
|May Their Memories Be For a Blessing
2/2/2013 (22 Shevat)
2/4/2013 (24 Shevat)
2/6/2013 (26 Shevat)
2/7/2013 (27 Shevat)
2/11/2013 (1 Adar)
Oscar Kuhn, Arnold Lada
2/12/2013 (2 Adar)
2/15/2013 (5 Adar)
Sylvia Cohen, Henrietta Hamburger
2/16/2013 (6 Adar)
Rose Lovinger Columbus,Gussie Friedman, Jack Gruber
2/18/2013 (8 Adar)
Wesley Brown, Marvin Rosen
2/19/2013 (9 Adar)
Max Silverstein, Sharon Florence Weisberg
2/20/2013 (10 Adar)
Nancy Fischer, Rhea Lazarus, Klara Stark
2/22/2013 (12 Adar)
Theodore Jacob Levine, Betty Margolis, Leah Yudell
2/23/2013 (13 Adar)
Gloria Braverman, Sol Reichberg Taub, Leo Weber
2/24/2013 (14 Adar)
Wolfe Brown, Esther Nusbaum
2/26/2013 (16 Adar)
2/27/2013 (17 Adar)
Ann Doneson, Maurice Katz, Esther Wolok
2/28/2013 (18 Adar)
Alan Breitman, Rose Lifshitz
To make a donation to commemorate a yahrtzeit, please click here. If you are a member of the synagogue and a yahrtzeit for your loved one is not on the list, please contact the synagogue office so the information can be added to our records.
Please contact the synagogue office if you wish to permanently memorialize a loved one by purchasing a yahrtzeit plaque.
B'nai Israel Synagogue
is affiliated with
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
This Shabbat we will celebrate with Leia Serlin and her family as she becomes a bat mitzvah.
Leia is the daughter of Miry and Dan Serlin and sister of Andrew Serlin. She is also the granddaughter of Anaruth and Henri Bernard, Nancy and Howard Serlin, and the great-granddaughter of Leanor and Morry Reizen. We look forward to celebrating with the entire Serlin family.
THERE IS SHUTTLE PARKING THIS SHABBAT, FEBRUARY 23RD, FROM PRINCE OF PEACE.
Shabbat Services: Tetzaveh/Shabbat Zachor
Friday, February 22nd
6 p.m. Services, Chapel
Saturday, February 23rd
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by Miry and Dan Serlin in honor of their daughter, Leia Ahava Serlin becoming a bat mitzvah. Leia is also the sister of Andrew Serlin, and the granddaughter of Anaruth and Henri Bernard and Nancy and Howard Serlin.
Kiddush Lunch is available through the generosity of weekly sponsors. Please e-mail or call Mindy Shuback (248) 752-6046 or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch. You may also make a donation to the synagogue specifically for the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here.
Purim begins this Saturday evening, February 23rd.
Saturday, 7:15 p.m.
Maariv and Megillah reading, sanctuary
Shacharit with megillah reading in the sanctuary. Breakfast at the conclusion of services. Bring your box of pasta to use as a grogger and then we will donate it to Yad Ezra.
Looking for a summer program? United Synagogue Youth (USY) has many opportunities, including USY Israel Pilgrimage, USY on Wheels and much more!
or call: 212-533-7800, ext.1117 to learn more.
Applications for 2013 summer programs received by March 10th are eligible for 1 Grand Prize $1000.00 scholarship and 2 $500.00 prizes to be used toward USY summer programs.
Yahrtzeit Plaque Orders will be placed March 15th.
If you wish to honor the memory of a loved one with a plaque on our Yahrtzeit Board,
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
Supervised Youth Activities, Room 3, lower level
February 16 (special program), February 23
To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
Matzah Factory Public Hours
March 10 and 17, 1-4 p.m., JCC West Bloomfield
USY REGIONAL CONVENTION (9-12 graders) AND SPECIAL 8TH GRADE KINNUS
CAMP TAMARACK, ORTONVILLE
STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION.
with Dr. Mitch Parker
This class is held on Shabbat mornings in the lower level, Room 9.
March 9th, 11 a.m.
March 23rd, 10 a.m.
Monday and Thursday mornings, 7:00 a.m.
Rosh Chodesh mornings, 7:00 a.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, 7:15 a.m.
Monday-Friday evenings, 6 p.m.
Sunday Morning, 8:30 a.m.
Sunday evenings, 5 p.m.
Legal Holidays, 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
|Upcoming Community Events
TKA/BI Joint Opportunities
BOOK CLUB (Adults)
Book Club meets on the third Sunday of every month. All are welcome.
Sunday, March 17th: The Invisible Bridge
by Jullie Orringer (fiction)
Sunday, April 21st: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (memoir)
LEARNING OPPORTUNITY WITH PROFESSOR HOWARD LUPOVITCH: "One Book, Three Traditions- Jewish, Christian and Muslim Views of the Bible."
Wednesday February 27rd, final session, $5.00
Roundtable discussion: The Bible as a Foundation Stone
KNITTING has returned!
Not a knitter? All stitchers are welcome. Bring your needlepoint, crochet hook or cross stitch and join the group. There is no charge to attend.
7 PM at the TKA/BI building.
FUTURE DATES: 3/13, 4/24/ 5/21, 6/10
Just drop-in! No registration required. For more information, e-mail Gail Raben.
SAVE THE DATE, 2013 WALK FOR ISRAEL
Caring Community Information
Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery
The current mishebeirach list will be reset on Sunday, February 24th. If you have a name you would like to keep on the list or add to the list, please e-mail Michael Golob
or call the synagogue: 248-432-2729.
Our caring community reaches out to one another in a variety of ways. We welcome our new members warmly with a special visit and gift. We provide shiva minyan leaders. We call/visit/provide meals for members who are ill or home-bound, bring a home-cooked shiva meal to mourners in our community, and help to drive members who need a ride to synagogue services and events. If you would like to help in any way, please call or e-mail the synagogue.
2 Hanna Berlin
4 Murray Baruch
7 Jeremy Pappas
12 Constance Victor
14 Jeffrey Eisman
14 Rebecca Tron
16 Benjamin Eisman
16 Brian Newhouse
16 Miriam Saperstein
17 Michael Golob
20 Colton Graub
22 Seymour Manello
25 Toby Chudnow
25 Sheila Kurland
25 Sharon Rosen
26 Aaron Orel
If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so it can be added to our records.