Torah, Avodah & Gemilut Hasadim
EB is truly a hub of Torah study. Rabbi Meyers offers a series of classes both on Shabbat and during the week for a variety of ages and tastes. Torah study is the process of penetrating G-d's intellect by delving into the rich, nuanced sources of our tradition.
Here is a brief list of our ongoing classes:
Maimonedes' Mishne Torah - every Shabbat morning at 8 am in the library. What a way to start our Shabbat morning! Currently, we are learning Hilchot Melachim of the Rambam - the laws of appointing a King
Fundamentals of Judaism - every Shabbat right after the Kiddush. Fill yourself with some tasty EB- prepared delicacies and then join us in the Midrash for 20 minutes of intense examination of some of the most hot button topics of our generation!
Perasha Insights - every Shabbat afternoon one hour before Mincha in the EB social hall. A text-based shiur on the perasha that encourages discussion and a free exchange of ideas.
Kidzseudah - Kids from 1st grade on up join the Meyers at home for an enjoyable third seudah, mixed with inspiring Divrei Torah and a fast-paced Q and A about the Perasha or the upcoming holiday.
Nuts and Bolts of Gemara - Sunday mornings from 8:50-9:30 in the EB library. This lively weekly session introduces you to the basic structure and logic of Talmudic discourse. Currently, we are learning the sixth chapter of Masechet Berachot.
Chumash and Commentaries (in Ivrit) - for Hebrew speakers and wanna-be's, at 8 pm Monday evenings. The goal of this class is to analyze and dissect the challenging passages of our Biblical text, with an eye to understanding how the commentaries arrive at their conclusions on the meaning of the narrative.
Gemara for Middle School Boys - Yeshiva prep in a dynamic atmosphere of Talmudic give-and-take every Sunday evening. Currently learning the third chapter of Bava Kamma
Pirkei Avot - in Memory of Kelly Zhulka, brother of congregant Rita Sikavi. Check newsletter for day and time of this monthly class
The rabbi is also currently learning with individuals in local coffee shops and even on Skype! Contact him at
Check our most recent newsletter for this week's Shabbat Minha time
Our weekly Tefilah schedule is:
Shahrit (Morning Tefilah)
Mondays and Thursdays: 6:50 am
Tuesdays , Wednesdays and Fridays: 7 am
Shabbat 8:25 am
Sundays: 8 am
Minha - Sephardic Minha at the Seattle Kollel @ 12:45 pm daily for the winter months
Arvit @ EB nightly @ 7:00 pm for the winter months
Hazzan Emeritus Isaac Azose's reflections on the liturgy of Ezra Bessaroth
When I became hazzan of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth in March of 1966, I was replacing someone who had been the hazzan for almost half a century, Reverend David J. Behar. Since I had spent my early life at Sephardic Bikur Holim, whose pioneers came from Turkey, my knowledge of hazzanut was limited to what I had been able to learn there. I had to learn the Rhodesli liturgy from scratch, but it wasn’t as difficult a task as I thought it would be, except for the liturgy of the Yamim Noraim, the High Holidays. The differences between the High Holiday Rhodes and Turkish liturgy are radical, and it wasn’t until my third year as hazzan before I felt that I had made enough progress to feel comfortable with what I was doing. Reverend Behar cautioned me to do my best to preserve the unique Rhodes customs and traditions, which I felt I have done. Many people feel that custom and tradition remain static over hundreds of years. We all would like to feel that we have preserved the tunes, the customs and traditions as they were brought to this country. That is true to a great extent, but there are times when a new tune is added here or there, and I feel that it is a good thing, just as long as the old tunes are not dropped and are still being used.
At times, our memories of what used to be done at Ezra Bessaroth may conflict, depending on the individual. That is why I spent several years in putting together Zehut Yosef, the Daily and Sabbath siddur of the Seattle Sephardic Community. Using a system made up primarily of ‘R’s’ and ‘T’s’, it documents the specific areas of the siddur that are peculiar to either the Rhodes or Turkish ‘nusakh’ or custom. The same was done with Zihron Rahel, the Festivals prayer book. In this fashion, one can say with certainty that he or she is following the tradition that was brought from Rhodes or Turkey.
When Avraham's servant Eliezer set out to find a wife for his master's son, Yitzhak, he sought out a woman who excelled in her acts of kindness, in her גמילות חסדים/Gemilut Hasadim. Since then, acts of lovingkindness have become central to Jewish life. Community Service, to Seattle's Jewish community, the broader Seattle community - and to the State of Israel, has become more and more - a focus of EB's colorful programming calendar. Here are just some of our recent and upcoming Community Service programs:
- Special Fundraising Campaign for Victims of Hurricane Sandy (Fall 2012)
- Special Fundraising Campaign for the IDF for Rosh Hashana 5773
- EB Contingent at the annual "StandWithUs" speaker and fundraiser; EB contribution (Fall 2012)
- Rabbi Meyers speaks at pro-Israel rally in downtown Seattle during Operation Pillar of Defense (Winter 2012)
- Rabbi to be keynote speaker at Seattle Jewish Free Loan Society Luncheon, February 3rd, 2013
- We are in the midst of arranging to have a drop-off bin on EB premises to support the work of Big Brothers and Sisters of Seattle
- Life Gets Better: The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Older: - A seminar by Wendy Lustbader at the Summit in downtown Seattle. Ezra Bessaroth was one of the community sponsors of this event, geared towards the senior citizens of Seattle's Jewish community.
- EB raised $2000 to purchase Sukkot for IDF soldiers in the field in the fall of 2011
- Rabbi Meyers as a delegate at the AIPAC Conference in Washington in March, 2012. The rabbi joined a group of fellow Washingtonians to lobby Congressman Rick Larsen on Capitol Hill, urging him to support legislation that would place strict sanctions against the dictatorial and anti-Semitic regime presently ruling Iran. AIPAC-related activism continued with a lecture by Gil Hoffman, senior political correspondent of the Jerusalem Post, on Shabbat April 28th @ EB. On May 1st, Rabbi Meyers is part of the host committee in Seward Park for the talk of Congressman Adam Smith. Congressman Smith has a long standing relationship with Washington State’s Jewish community and regularly seeks our views on a range of international issues.
- Jewish Family Services' "Community and Caring Luncheon", May 16th at the Westin Seattle Hotel: EB has sponsored a table, contributing $1500 to this essential community institution.