Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Looking Backward: Looking forward

This last week has not been an easy one.  Beginning with the terrorist explosion in a Tel Aviv cafe and then the horrific tragedy of Orlando.  It is hard to heap more words on those that have been spoken already.  From the URJ to Lakeside Congregation we have spoken out about Orlando and gun control in the United States.  Last week I got a text from a friend who was worried about sending her daughter to Israel for the summer after the Cafe bombing.  I told her not to worry, that all Israel trips for youth, synagogues or any tourists are very carefully controlled.  True they may alter an itinerary after a security alert but I have never felt safer when living and visiting in Israel.

After the tragedy in Orlando what do we do?  Can we warn our children to alter their behavior in going to clubs?  Israel was in solidarity with Orlando and many buildings in Tel Aviv showed their rainbow colors.

Yes we can protest gun violence and in fact there is a protest this Friday:

What: Demonstration at assault weapons manufacturer

Date: Friday, June 17, 2016

Time: 12 noon until 1:00 pm

Where: DS Arms, 27996 W. Industrial Avenue, Lake Barrington, IL

Contact: Lee Goodman 847-559-9525

In response to the the recent mass-shooting in Orlando, Florida, Peaceful Communities will hold a demonstration at a company that manufactures assault rifles and sells them to the public.

“Companies are making money manufacturing assault weapons and selling them to the public. These companies and the entire gun industry should be held accountable for the damage that their products cause,” said Lee Goodman, organizer of Peaceful Communities. “The gun industry has escaped liability for the shootings, whether mass-shootings like the recent one in Orlando or the daily shootings all across America. It is time that industry started acted responsibly.”

The demonstration is the ninth in a campaign called the Merchants of Death Protest Tour, which will continue to visit gun industry locations throughout the summer.

Peaceful Communities is a volunteer organization working for the reduction of violence.
We can write and call our representatives, we can say prayers for the families who are still hurting from the aftermath of this attack.  This is looking backward.

Planning Limudim 2015
Looking forward I will be at OSRUI tomorrow to participate in Staff training, Shavuah Hachanah, (week of preparation).  I am working in Kibbutz Hatzofim this summer, an Ohel (tent) eidah (unit) and I can't wait.  When I come up for the day I get to meet all of the madrichim (counselors) I will be working with in a few weeks and help them prepare for a wonderful summer.  

Sometimes we do an art project together to remember how it feels to be 9 years old and away at camp; other times we study some Torah and see what Jewish values we find together.  I see these staff members as the future.  They will be able to outlaw assault rifles, they will be able to make this world better than how we are leaving it.  They have hope and when I work with them I have hope too.

I need to get ready for tomorrow and pick up some good snacks, including a Gluten Free option and I know that I will be inspired by my tzvet, (staff) tomorrow.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Shavuot, Confirmation and Cheesecake

Next Motzei Shabbat,(Saturday night) and Sunday is the holiday of Shavuot.  On Sunday morning June 12, 10:30am at Lakeside Congregation we will be confirming our 10th grade students. If you have never attended this t'filah I highly encourage you to come and celebrate with us.  Besides thoughtful d'vrei Torah on the theme of Beyond Words by all of our students we have a light kiddush lunch which is highlighted by the favorite desserts of all of the confirmands.

I am sure we will have cheesecake as it is a custom to eat milk products on Shavuot.  (Some derive the practice directly from scripture, saying we eat dairy to symbolize the “land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8) promised to the Israelites, or that “milk and honey are under your tongue” (Song of Songs 4:11). These passages, along with “The precepts of the Lord are… sweeter than honey” (Psalm 19:9-11) also indicate we should eat honey, which is customary in some communities. From My Jewish learning)
Shavuot is sometimes a lost holiday.  As it is this year we are celebrating after we have finished our Religious School year.  We are not in school when we celebrate and not yet at camp.  Our students and families don't realize that it is on par with Sukkot and Pesach as one of the Pilgrimage holidays.

Shavuot has several designations in the Bible. Shavuot means in Hebrew: weeks.  As we know here at Lakeside this refers to the counting of the Omer for 7 weeks between Pesach and Shavuot. The Book of Exodus 23:16 designates it as “Hag HaKatzir” — the Festival of the Harvest — which identifies the holiday with an agricultural season. The Book of Numbers 28:26 designates it as “Hag HaBikkurim” –the Festival of the First Fruits, which specified the time on which the custom was to offer first fruits. When I studied for the year in Israel I spent Shavuot on Kibbutz and actually saw the first fruits brought out on a tractor including all of the babies born in the last year.  It is a festive fun holiday.