Thursday, March 10, 2016

Do you know what the Torah Portion is for this week?

Well, if you don't it's Pikudai, the last parasha from Exodus.   meaning "records of".  

These are the records of the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle of the Pact, which were drawn up at Moses' bidding--the work of the Levites under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest. - Exodus 38:21

In the near future at Lakeside we will be releasing commentary on the weekly Parasha, Torah portion.  We will be working on form and content but if you are ever  wondering either what the Torah portion is or what it is about here are a few of my favorite links to start you on your studies.  

My favorite video link which explains the Torah portion with an animated video is G-DCAST.COM Every week they have a 3-4 minute cartoon which give you a great overview of the parasha.
Whenever you google the name of the Torah portion the first sites to come up are usually very Orthodox sites.  If you want a more intellectual site from a Reform point of view I encourage you to check out the Union for Reform Judaism's site for Torah Study.  This site has many d'vrei Torah (Plural of d'var Torah, also known is a talk on topics relating to a section (parashah) of the Torah).  Here is the summary of this week’s Torah portion from the URJ site:

A statistical summary of the materials used for the Tabernacle and an account of producing the priestly vestments are recorded. Moses blesses the Israelites for the work they did. (38:21-39:42)

Upon God's instruction, Moses sets up the Mishkan and the priests are anointed and consecrated. (40:1-33)

A description is given of a cloud that covers the Mishkan by day and a fire that burns by night, indicating God's Presence therein. (40:33-38)

I help our students at Lakeside write their D’vrei Torah when they become B’nai Mitzvah.  I can always find an interesting topic in every pararsha for our students.  Some portions are easier to understand especially those in Genesis where there is an easier story line to follow. I help our students to find something they are passionate about in their portion and then tell us why their portion is still relevant in today’s world.  I hope we will open a dialogue as we begin our Lakeside Torah commentary.  Watch for it soon.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

My Dad is a veterinarian and this Sunday, 3-6, there will be a dog at T'filot

My Dad, Dr. Michaels
Yes and he just retired this year.  Whenever I tell people I meet that my Dad is a veterinarian they always get a smile on their face. They ask me what animals I had growing up, assuming we had a zoo in the back yard.  Growing up we did not have a menagerie at the house but we did have dogs, hamsters and when I was young a cat.  I worked for my Dad through High School and enjoyed working at the Fox Valley Animal Hospital.  I even thought about being a veterinarian until I found out it required quite a bit of science and math. In fact, my Dad's profession is why we moved to Crystal Lake, Illinois in 1960.  Let me just say not only was there not a synagogue near by but neither could we buy bagels, lox or anything remotely Jewish; but that's a story for another blog. 

Although my family does not have a dog (if you have not heard the story about when Lital prayed for a puppy after the Amidah you have not been to enough T'filah that I lead) we do have a cat, Tapuz (Hebrew for orange).  I also realize that many of my students love their pets and over the years I have seen many B'nai Mitzvah students who create Mitzvah projects having to do with their pets or shelter pets.

My favorite projects are when my students participate in therapy dog training or visits with their dogs.  This Sunday at Lakeside we are fortunate to have Julie Fixler and her dog Billy coming to visit us during our T'filah/Assembly time (10-10:30am)to talk about all the different ways in which therapy dogs can help out.  Want a preview?  Check out this video with Julie and Billy.  We will learn how we can be good community members when it comes to therapy dogs, people with disabilities and making a difference with our behavior.