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Shabbat Hol Hamoed Sukkot – September 21, 2013

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Candle lighting time for Friday, September 20, 2013, 6:51 p.m.

Shabbat Hol Hamoed Sukkot

17 Tishrei, 5774 / September 21, 2013
Exodus 33:12-34:26
Humash Etz Hayim, page 538
Maftir: Numbers 29:17-22, page 935
Haftarah: Ezekiel 38:18-39:16, page 1259

1.   (33:12-23) Moses intercedes on behalf of the people after the sin of the Golden Calf. He asks God for reassurance, which God gives him. Moses asks, “Show me, please, Your glory,” but God refuses, “For no man may see me and live,” but promises to reveal His “back” to Moses.

2.   (34:1-9) God commands Moses to make the second set of tablets. He then ascends Mt. Sinai again, and God reveals His nature in the form of the “13 attributes.”

3.   (34:10-26) God renews His covenant with the people of Israel, with some elements of how to preserve the covenant, including the absolute prohibition of idolatry.


The Sukkah: A Structure of Meaning
By Rabbi Pressman

This is from a talk that Professor Arnold Eisen gave in the sukkah at the Jewish Theological Seminary soon after he assumed the position of Chancellor. Prior to that he had been on the faculty of Stanford University.

When you are living as a Jew in Palo Alto, even more than when you are living in Israel (which is where I had been immediately before Palo Alto, or on the Upper West Side, where I had lived six years before Israel), you understand the crucial importance of building a Jewish time and space for yourself and of decorating that Jewish time and space with the symbols of your tradition. Because if you don’t build it for yourself, it’s not going to be there. And it’s all the more meaningful to you because you and your family have done it together and you’re entertaining your friends, many of whom, Jewish and non-Jewish, have never before been inside a sukkah, and this is part of your holiday.

Now, a scholar of modern Judaism knows that the number–one challenge facing us all as Jews is that, unlike the premodern periods (where we lived mostly in tight neighborhoods—sometimes in ghettos—where we always knew from birth to the grave who we were, we were Jews and generally had no choice to be otherwise), in the modern world, thank goodness, we have the choice about what to be. We are moving for the first time really as full citizens of a larger gentile time and space. I’m not mourning the loss of the ghetto or the loss of the shtetl where Jewish options were constricted and Jews were generally very poor. I’m celebrating the blessings and the openness of the United States of America and the best of the modern world, more generally, and certainly the State of Israel. I’m celebrating this openness to the world, but it makes for a greater need than we ever had before to create Jewish times and spaces so we can remember and remind each other and pass on to the next generation who we are and what makes us distinctive.

And I love the fact about the sukkah that it’s not legal unless it’s open. Part of the sides has to be open, and the roof has to have a certain amount of openness. It can’t be closed off, and it can’t be permanent. It’s got to be a temporary dwelling. You build it knowing you’re going to take it down and move on to something else. All of the symbols of the sukkah, all the things that we know best from experience and not from books, all the things we learned from sitting as we are sitting right now inside a sukkah—these are the lessons that we need to learn as modern Jews. How we are going to create communities—communities of such togetherness, of such fellowship and such beauty that Jews want to be part of them, choose to be part of them, want to spend a significant portion of their lives sitting inside a literal and figurative Jewish sukkah? They’ll do that only if the meanings that we provide them for being in this community (not just meanings and words, but meanings and emotions, meanings of love, and meanings of profound depth) if these meanings are so rich that they are hungry for more. They will want to experience, as it were, that sukkah again and again. They will want to come back for the blessing of sitting inside the sukkah of Jewish communities of meaning.


Candle Fundraiser

Mitzvah a Month

Trip to Israel with Rabbi Ohriner

Minyan – Sunday 9:30 am & Monday – Thursday 7:00 p.m.


Sunday, September 22: Pizza and Prizes Party – 12:30 – 1:00 p.m.

Monday, September 23: Does God Exist? It’s Not a True-False Question. It’s Multiple Choice! – 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Monday, September 23: Career Havurah – 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 24: General Board Meeting – 7:45 p.m.

Monday, September 30: Daytime Adult Hebrew Classes

Sunday, October 6: Hazak Presents: The “Art” of Travel & Family Photography – 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 6: Women’s Z’havah at CBD – 10:15 a.m.

Tuesday, October 8: Conversations in Jewish Learning – 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.


Saturday, September 21: Singles Sukkarama – for 40 -70 – 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, October 13: A Retrospective on Jewish Entertainers – 10:30 a.m.