June 7, 2018
This coming weekend we will be celebrating the festival of Shavuot ,”the Festival of Weeks”. This holiday celebrates the completion of the seven weeks of the counting of the Omer between Passover and Shavuot.This festival has long been identified with the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai by G-d to Moses.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks past Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, interprets this to mean that G-d was saying: “I’ll protect you but I need you to do your share.I will help you but you will have to help me help you”. The Bible has a name for this kind of partnership.It is called covenant, meaning that both parties pledge themselves to one another, each agreeing to keep their side of the commitment.
Shavuot is also a celebration of the wheat harvest and the ripening of the first fruits. Since Shavuot is an ancient pilgrimage holiday, it is not surprising that its ritual focuses on the community. Nonetheless there are a number of customs associated with personal practice.Chief among them, is the eating of dairy products on this festival.Although the reasons for this custom are not completely clear, it has become tradition to eat milk and cheese products as part of the celebration of Shavuot.
On behalf of my dear family, we wish all our members and your loved one a hearty Chag Sameach.
The Saddest Days in the Jewish Calendar
July 20, 2019
Starting July 20th and concluding August 11th, Jews throughout the world will be observing the Three Weeks. These are 21 of the saddest days in the Jewish calendar. These days begin with the Fast Day of the 17th of Tammuz, when the protective walls surrounding the Holy Temple in Jerusalem were breached, and culminated with the burning and destruction of the בית המקדש, first Temple by the Babylonians(present day Iraq), and 490 years later, the Second Temple by the Romans. These tragic events led to our continuous exile, torment, persecutions; even today, despite Israel’s miraculous rebirth in 1948. During these days Jews refrain from entertainment, weddings, and other joyful events. We recall the countless innocent lives brutally lost and misery the survivors endured. However these tragedies were forewarned by the prophets of Israel for centuries not to abandon the teachings of our forefathers and NOT subscribing to influences that would undermine the moral and ethical bonds described in our Torah and the Oral Law.
Our generation should think and wonder why are we fortunate to have a better life and Israel as a free nation. Each Jew must be familiar with our fundamental spiritual material and principals by studying portions of the voluminous writings of our spiritual leaders on a daily basis. In addition, we have a responsibility to study our past in order to avoid future national disasters. But foremost, attending and supporting our local synagogues.
During these 21 days each of us should commit oneself to follow and strengthen the path of טוב – Tov (goodness) -(17) to realize the privilege of being part of unique humanitarian achievements.
In conclusion, studying and practicing out faith properly will allow us to be blessed with peace-שלום, and thriving as a Jewish people.
May we have the privilege of celebrating the re-building of our Holy Temple-
שֶׁיִבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִקְדָּש
Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz
National shomrim Chaplain