Jerusalem! Our Spiritual Shield
Our “Code of Jewish Laws”, known as the שולחן ערוך in Hebrew, states the following upon waking up in the morning: “It’s proper to be mindful of the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash-בית המקדש-in Jerusalem,” Chapter 1, 3rd paragraph. Monday night, July 31st-August 1st, תשעה באב, Jews worldwide will be observing and mourning the destruction of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem over 2,500 years ago. The בית המקדש is the soul and heart of the Jewish People. By mourning, fasting, and reciting the moving Lamentations, we remind ourselves of our national broken heart. But by observing and mourning over our tragic loss, will in the future experience the joy of her rebuilding (Talmud Bavli, Taanit 30b). We, as a Jewish People, never forget Jerusalem. Our longing and strong faith for the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash is affirmed 3 times a day in our daily prayers. It is the reason that our hopes for a peaceful future is never dimmed. It protects and strengthens our mental and emotional feelings in overcoming our adverse experiences. It is our “תקוה- hope” that the day of Shalom shall reign in our world.
In the same mindset we are reminded to respect and pray for the safety of our police and law enforcement personnel. They are the ones who provide us with order in our daily lives. Each one is a partner with G-d to insure a civilized order in our midst. And when one is tragically killed, we mourn his/her loss. We mourn the fact that our respect for law and order is not complete, and fraugt with continuous danger for all of society.
As we pray for the day when the Beit Hamikdash will be rebuilt, for the reign of Shalom-שלום, keep in mind our officers for their safety peace as well.
Let us make every effort to promote goodwill amongst ourselves. May we merit to see the glorious day in our time to witness the building of the Beit Hamikdash and Shalom.
Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz
Rockwood Park Jewish Center
National Conference of Shomrim Societies
Festival of Freedom
On Monday April 10th, we will begin the celebration of Passover,the festival that proclaims freedom and unity. It also identifies the Jewish people with their ancestors who ended their bondage in Egypt.For eight days we eat Matzah, unleaven bread. This is in memory of our ancestors hurried exit from Egypt.The Bible tells of the plagues that G-d brought down upon Pharaoh and his people in order to persuade him to let the Israelites go free.
The telling of the Exodus story remains the main theme, that permeates throughout the Passover Seder that is celebrated on the first two nights of Passover.
We use a book that narrates the story of Passover called the “Haggadah”.We fulfill the scriptural commandment to teach our children about the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt, as described in the book of Exodus.The word Seder means “order”of the various rituals that involves traditional songs and stories and the use of symbolic foods.The Seder includes a festive meal.In addition to being one of the most celebrated holidays it is considered an integral aspect of the Jewish faith and identity.Unlike other public holiday observances that are traditionally held in the synagogue,the Seder is usually held in the home. Passover is undoubtedly the festival that requires the strictest ritual observance. Not only refraining from eating bread or any unleavened products for eight days,but ridding our houses beforehand of all food not suitable for eating on Passover.
On behalf of my dear family we wish all our members and your families a Passover filled with joy and happiness.
Chaplain Alan Edwards