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The American Cancer Society needs drivers! Amy Dzisenu, a representative of the King County branch, notes that getting to and from cancer treatments is one of the toughest challenges that cancer patients face. If you are interested in doing some wonderful Gemilut Hasadim work, you can call the Society at 1 800 227 2345 to get involved.
Here's the link to see the trailer:
Join Ezra Bessaroth and a number of great community institutions for "Body and Soul". Body and Soul – The State of the Jewish Nation presents a comprehensive examination of the broad and deep connections between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel. World-renowned historians, archaeologists, political scientists, religious leaders, and international law and media experts trace the evocative evolution of the relationship between the Jewish People and their homeland that is over 3,000 years old.
"Jewish identity is born in a journey to the Land of Israel", declares Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Kingdom. That journey moves through the First and Second Temple periods and the Middle Ages, then to modernity, where the development of political Zionism catalyzed the blossoming of a new Jewish spirit. That renewal of Jewish spirit resulted in the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty in the Land, an event that Harvard University Professor Ruth Wisse declares "a miracle of truly Biblical proportions."
This powerful documentary, produced and directed by award-winning Gloria Z. Greenfield, conveys eloquent messages of determination, focus, and calls to action.
Registration is free and donations are always accepted. Register by clicking here:Â http://www.eventbrite.com/e/seattle-premiere-body-and-soul-the-state-of-the-jewish-nation-tickets-14405512275?aff=efbnen
Our sense of appreciation for the Jewish people has grown exponentially over the past month. The pure gevura, spiritual might, of the citizens of the State of Israel, the IDF soldiers, the bereaved families, is truly something to behold!
Both from a halachic and common sense perspective, it is clear that Israel had not only a right, but an obligation to defend its citizens from the cruel Hamas attacks and horrific plans. It is now well-known that Hamas was planning on releasing 200 terrorists to carry out a massacre of soldiers and civilians on Rosh Hashana, G-d forbid! A former colleague of mine, Ariel Kahane, broke that story on Maariv...
I found it particularly troubling how both American and British journalists pressed Israeli officials on the morality of IDF conduct during the height of the war. Naftali Bennett, among others, asked his interviewer how she would respond were she to be faced with a similar threat.
In a matter of weeks, the United States has been thrust into a parallel situation in its conflict with ISIS. President Obama spoke very articulately last night on the sheer moral necessity for America to act.
It is imperative that we, as a Jewish community, continue to unequivocally support the State of Israel. Sunday's "Standing Together" Solidarity Rally, coordinated by Keith at the Jewish Federation, is also co-sponsored by EB, along with a host of other important Jewish institutions. I implore you to attend the rally and show your support for Eretz Yisrael, Medinat Yisrael, and Am Yisrael.
I am delighted that EB is taking a lead and participating in the wide array of community programming as Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut approach. Programming kicks off on Shabbat after a NYHS-sponsored Kiddush @ Ezra Bessaroth on Shabbat day, May 3rd.
Following Musaf, NYHS Head of School Rabbi Bernie Fox will be delivering a class for a review and discussion of Rabbi Soleveitchik's seminal essay, The Voice of My Beloved Calls. In the course of his discussion, Rabbi Fox will deal with questions like: "What is the impact and meaning of the State of Israel? How have Diaspora communities been affected by the creation of the State of Israel? How might Jewish life been different had history taken an alternative course?"
Shabbat Afternoon @ 6:20 pm, I will lead a session on the question: "Was the Jewish State Born in Sin?" We will be looking at Torah sources that have been used to advance an anti-Zionist perspective and offer possible responses to those claims....
Women are invited to join the Midrasha - Seattle Torah Institute for Women for a special class on "The daughters of Tzelafchad & the Love of Eretz Yisrael, Sunday, May 4th at 10am. Followed at 11am by a class on the topic: "Is there a Halachic Obligation to make Aliyah?". To be held at the home of Rachel Sassoon 5505 S. Upland Road in Seward Park.
The next day, at Minyan Ohr Chadash - Monday May 5th, there’s a Yom HaZikaron memorial for Israel’s fallen soldiers followed by a festive Arvit service for Yom HaAzmaut. Mincha promptly @ 7:30 pm ~ The program begins @ 7:45 pm
On Tuesday May 6th EB will be joining the Shaharit @ SBH at 6:50am. This will be followed by Hallel for Yom HaAzmaut and light breakfast.
Then on Tuesday evening, join us for a community celebration of the miracle that is Israel. The festivities commence on Tuesday, May 6th at 5:30 pm with the Seattle premiere of "The Miracle of Israel", an exciting film that explores the amazing facts and incredible events that led to the rebirth of the Jewish state. This will be followed by a delicious dinner and an exciting program full of music and surprises. Registration is on the EB website or by calling Susan at 722 5500 - $15/person
Members and newcomers to EB joined the Jewish Family Service today for its first “Families Fight Hunger” program. We packed dry goods: beans, rice, oatmeal, planted parsley to be used in a few months as “Karpas” in Passover gift baskets, and did “fight-hunger”-related arts and crafts…Looking forward to a continued partnership with JFS! For more information on JFS programming, visit http://www.jfsseattle.org/
A full-service congregation, Ezra Bessaroth is proud to announce that it will be hosting the AFC and NFC championship games this Sunday, starting at 12 noon. We have rented a large, 65" TV for your viewing pleasure. Popcorn, pretzels, drinks, and chips available throughout the day. The entire community is invited. Only $5 to join us for both games! You can pay online at our website by clicking here and selecting "Seahawks" under "select campaign". Look forward to seeing you!
My wife Miriam reminded me that the first birthday gift she bought me after we were married was the set of Yabiah Omer by Rav Ovadia ZT"L. He was truly a halachic genius and a "Gadol Hador"!
EB and SBH are proud to be co-sponsoring a special joint program, starting with Tefilah at SBH this coming Sunday morning at 8 am. As the poster indicates, this will be followed by words of Torah from the Rabbanim of the Sephardic community, a light breakfast, and three concurrent mini-shiurim on the life and work of Rav Ovadia.
Please join us and pay tribute to the life of this great Talmid Haham!
We are all looking forward to a fantastic Simhat Torah at Ezra Bessaroth!
This year, we are going to put into place a few additions/changes that will both engage all those who join us, and will ensure adherence to Halacha.
First, a note about a practice that is common in many synagogues, but that is on very shaky halachic footing, if any: that's drinking alchoholic beverages in the sanctuary during Simhat Torah services and Hakafot.
This is an issue for two reasons: there is a halacha that one may not eat or drink in a synagogue sanctuary, with the exception of the ritual consumption of wine for Kiddush and Birkat Milah etc. But the consumption of whiskey and other such drinks in the actual sanctuary is an (unwitting) affront to the Kedushat Bet HaKnesset/sanctity of the synagogue as a place of prayer.
Secondly, many people are accustomed to partake of these drinks without having said Kiddush first. Due to the extended dancing, people get thirsty and are anxious to quench their thirst. Once the Hag has come in, halacha proscribes partaking of any food or drink prior to saying/hearing Kiddush. The shot glasses of hard liquor, even if consumed outside of the sanctuary, are not appropriate for Kiddush at night, and Kiddush at night involves more than a beracha on your drink.
In addition, through the generosity of Ralph C. each year, we have terrific apples; those, too, should be consumed only after Kiddush.
In order to make this Kiddush B'makom Seuda, there will be mezonot in two locations: outside the men's sanctuary exit and in the foyer outside of the women's sanctuary door. One must eat a kezayit of mezonot to fulfill the obligation of "Makom Seuda"/the place of the "meal". This would be, say, three medium-sized whole grain crackers, etc.
In addition, women are welcome to dance in the foyer outside of the women's section during the Hakafot in the main sanctuary. Any women interested in helping with the "Ruach"/spirit, should contact me Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday day to coordinate our efforts.
Between the third and fourth hakafa, I will be offering a 10-15 mini-shiur for women in the Midrash.
Simhat Torah morning, the Meyers clan is sponsoring the (now) annual ice cream sundae Kiddush in the foyer. Be sure to avail yourselves of cookies/waffle cones to fulfil the obligation to eat mezonot for the Kiddush "seuda" during the day as well.
Below is a PDF copy of the teshuva/responsum on which the nighttime Simhat Torah Kiddush arrangement is based. - Mo'adim LeSimcha!
A number of women throughout the Greater Seattle Jewish community have already received a Paperless Post invite to the upcoming Sept. 1st shiur entitled "Rosh Hashana: Coming Home". The organizers of the new program - to be unveiled on Sept. 1st - want to let all the women of the community know that they are all invited to attend, and can RSVP to the email address on the attached invite. (We had a limited number of email addresses and therefore could not send an invitation to everyone!
HOW I BECAME A MOHEL
By Hazzan Yogev Nuna
Since the time of our forefather Abraham, the act of circumcision has served as the physical symbol of the covenant between Hashem and the Jewish people. The honor of playing an integral part in the entering of a newborn child into the covenant of Abraham has always held great appeal to me. Several years ago a good friend from my Yeshiva days in Bnei Brak had told me of his father, Rav Yehuda Giat, who trained mohelim, shochtim (kosher butchers) and sofrim (scribes). Little did I know back then that I would one day become one of his father's students.
Rabbi Giat is a master teacher who is sought out by students from around the world. He is a man constantly on the move, traveling as far as Argentina and Brazil to train students. A certificate of being a qualified mohel by Rabbi Giat is accepted and recognized by Jewish religious authorities worldwide as a superb endorsement of skill and expertise.
As the less demanding summer months approached this year, the opportunity arose that would make my dream a reality. The synagogue leadership endorsed this endeavor and a group of kind and generous individuals offered to lead tefila and read sefer in my absence. My long ago connection to his son undoubtedly played a role in Rabbi Giat's willingness to accommodate my short training window.
I left for Israel in early June, looking forward to the intensive course of study I would soon be undertaking. Upon my arrival on a Sunday I contacted Rabbi Giat to find out when I could begin. Rabbi Giat informed me that he was currently in Russia training students but would be back late Tuesday evening. The 65 year old Rabbi told me to be at his house at 9:30am Wednesday morning to begin my studies. I knew that Rabbi Giat held himself to a grueling schedule that would sideline a man half his age, usually rising for prayers before sunrise and working and teaching until 11pm each night. Nevertheless his willingness to start my training so soon after his lengthy journey caught me by surprise.
But there I was at Rav Giat's home at 9:30 am Wednesday morning. Not one for small talk, my teacher proclaimed "you will perform your first mila at 2:00pm, if all goes well you will perform your second at 4:00pm." My jaw barely had time to drop before the Rabbi began to prepare me for my debut. We dove into the laws of circumcision, how to perform the procedure, how to use the utensils, how to treat the wound and how to follow up.
Just as promised at 2:00 pm I was performing my first mila. it looked to me like I had performed the task well but the final arbiter would be my teacher, he looked up at me and said, "Your next mila will be at 4:00 pm", I had indeed done well. I was later asked if I was nervous and the truth is I had no time to be nervous. Although my first mila was on a Jewish child, my second would be on a Muslim baby. Muslims also perform circumcision on their children and it turns out, at least in Israel, they prefer having it performed by a Jewish mohel over a co-religionist or a physician. Again the Rabbi told me I had done "very well".
And so it went for each day I was there, a nonstop schedule of performing circumcisions with intensive classes and training in between. I recall one occasion while on our way to Tel Aviv to perform a circumcision that Rabbi Giat stopped at a farm. Rabbi Giat was training several of his students in shechita at the farm and asked for my assistance. I was told to hold the wings of a plump and feisty turkey while the butcher completed his task. I am told that a turkey cannot fly, but this feisty fowl did all he could to dispel that stereotype. His huge wings flailed, tossing me to and fro as I struggled to keep the bird still while trying to maintain my dignity. Even though Rabbi Giat is a man of few words, his look of displeasure informed me that at least for now I should stick with circumcisions and Hazzanut.
There is no specific timeframe for the length of the course of study, you are done when Rav Giat says you are done. I was aware that some prepare for as long as six weeks before being awarded their certificate of completion. I had been studying and practicing from morning to night for three weeks when Rabbi Giat announced that I was ready. I was presented with my Certificate as a qualified mohel signed and presented to me by Rav Giat.
One of our community's prior mohels is Rabbi Salomon Cohen-Scali, our synagogue's esteemed former Rabbi. Rabbi Cohen-Scali happened to be in Seattle last week to perform a wedding. We chatted about our mutual profession and I mentioned that I had been trained and certified by the famed Rabbi Giat. Rabbi Cohen-Scali's mouth spread into a wide smile as he exclaimed that some thirty years earlier he too had received his own training and certification from none other than Rabbi Yehuda Giat!
I was planning on seeing the film for the first time tomorrow, but - as is probably appropriate as the one running the program - I decided to preview the film, Hitler's Children. I'm not going to write a review, but just want to express my feelings that this is a very important film, one that had to be made; one reviewer even noted that it's surprising that it had not been made until now! The German children, grandchildren, and nieces of Hitler's henchmen speak eloquently and defiantly; overall, the film (1hr 23 minutes) offers a fresh glimpse not only into their lives, but into the lives of German teenagers and young adults who experience their respective stories. Seating is limited to about 75 people tomorrow at 6:15, and it's "First contact, first served!". I can be reached at
This Shabbat, we will be having an extended "Fundamentals" class on the topic of drafting Yeshiva students into the IDF - perhaps the "hot topic" in Israeli society today. Below are links to various articles that I will be referring to in the class. Please read them before the class and come prepared to discuss. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Rabbi Meyers has set up special track within the Discretionary Fund to assist the various individuals who come to Seattle from Israel collecting tzedaka for themselves or for charitable institutions. EB members are asked to estimate the amount of Tzedaka they give each year to these causes and submit an equivalent sum to Rabbi Meyers, who is now solely responsible for disbursing these funds. In turn, Meshulachim have been kindly asked not to directly solicit EB members either at Kahal or by coming to their homes. Please give generously to ensure that this new system is a success! Be sure to designate on the check that the donation is for the "Meshulachim Fund"