CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 11

(Continued from page 1)

FROM THE PRESIDENT Jonathan A. Stein
• A tour of the art section of the renewed Israel
Museum. I also visited the exhibit on Chasidic
life. There, I learned about a ceremony to
exorcise the yetzer hara, (“the evil inclination”),
a second evening of Simchat Torah called
“Second Hakafot,” and the use of 248 stripes
on clothes to symbolize the number of positive
mitzvot in the Torah.
We were privileged to meet with many different
people and hear updates on a variety of
subjects including:
• A woman who was in charge of coordinating
the “trauma” counseling offered to the
estimated 50,000 adults and children in the
south who will suffer from PTSD as a result
of the constant rocket-fire that became an
all-too-familiar part of their lives. She told
us that the caregivers suffered from
“compassion fatigue” and needed their
own support system.
• An IDF officer who taught us the theory of their
army’s “Ethics on the Battlefield.” He pointed
out that soldiers carry packs ranging from 50
to 150 pounds, that there is an eight-second

window in most situations during which critical
decisions must be made, and that there is
anywhere from fifteen seconds to one minute
to carry out most difficult tasks.
We experienced the warmth and spirit of the
Reform congregation in Modiin and celebrated
Kabbalat Shabbat with them before we ate
dinner with our guide and educator Uri Feinberg
and his family. We stood on the northern border
of the Gaza Strip at Moshav Netiv HaAsarah
with another tour educator named Raz; he
talked to us about his hopes and fears, and we
all weeded his tomato plants for thirty minutes
or so. We gazed over the barbed-wire fence
from Kibbutz Kfar Aza onto Gaza’s eastern side.
There were no military personnel of any kind, no
shooting, and no movement in the areas that
we visited. All was calm and quiet except for a
yellow Israel surveillance balloon with cameras
hanging up against a blue sky.
Israel late last fall, soon after the cease-fire
with Hamas, felt like a country with a sense of
renewed confidence without the swagger that

has sometimes characterized her approach to
the outside world. The military operation in the
Gaza Strip was a success no matter the claims
Hamas may put forth. So far, the main objective
of the operation—to achieve a cessation of
rocket-fire out of the Gaza Strip into southern
Israel—has held. That is a step in the right
direction.
As always it was wonderful to just be there and
to reconnect with the land, with our brothers
and sisters, with our heritage and language,
and yes, food! Thank you for the opportunity to
once again encounter Israel and to experience
her offerings of spiritual depth and rejuvenation.
I cry every time we sing HaTikvah, and this trip
was no exception. I cry in gratitude for the great
goodness bestowed upon my people in Eretz
Yisrael and for all those who have suffered and
died handing Israel to me and my generation.
Israel is a miracle in our own day. I hope you feel
the same way.
~Jonathan A. Stein

VOICES OF TORAH (Continued from page 5)

T’rumah
(Stephen Wylen)
You shall make the planks for the Tabernacle of
acacia wood, upright (Exodus 26:15).
And where, indeed, would the Israelites have
found the wood to make planks when they
were in the middle of the desert? The Torah
says, “the planks,” not just “planks.” This refers
to the planks that Father Jacob made long
ago. He said to himself, “Someday my children
will build a Tabernacle for the service of God,

and they will need wooden planks for that
service. I will make them the planks, and they
will be available when needed.” The planks
made by Father Jacob were preserved by the
Israelites in Egypt. They brought them out with
them in the Exodus. When the planks were
needed, they were ready. (Sefer HaAggadah,
from Tanchuma, T’rumah)
Like Father Jacob, we also want future

generations to carry on with Judaism. Father
Jacob needed acacia wood to make his
planks. For those who follow us to fulfill their
mission, they will need our help. They will
need to find the materials for the continuation
of Judaism ready at hand for them to use as
needed. What “planks” are you making so that
the future generations will have what they need
Jewishly? What resources are you applying for
the foundations of Judaism?

T’tzaveh
(David Novak)
On Shabbat Zachor, the sabbath of memory
immediately preceding Purim, we read: Blot
out Amalek’s memory but remember him: do
not forget (Deuteronomy 25:19). We recall
how Amalek preyed on the weakest people in
the back of the multitude of Israelites moving
slowly from Egypt to the Promised Land, how
they took advantage of the elderly, the weak,
the slow.
Often the Torah is read as a history, yet we
know that historicity, as we understand it today,

was not necessarily the agenda of the biblical
author(s).They meant the texts to be read with
historical lenses, irrespective of whether or not
there is or was historical proof that an event
actually happened. This raises an important
question for us: Do these accounts that we
read time and again need to be historically
factual to be meaningful, or is it more important
that their repeated tellings allow us to glean
from them wisdom to shape our actions?
The Exodus is a case in point. We are told
11

to remember what it was like to be slaves
in Egypt, that we have in our very DNA the
experience of oppression. This intimate
knowledge is expected to guide us to treat
fairly the widow, the orphan, the stranger.
So, too, with Amalek. Being commanded to
remember the mortal enemy of the Jewish
people—immediately before Purim—reminds
us that evil always lurks close by; it is part of
the human condition. We cannot let it paralyze
us. We must be moved and we must move.



CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013

CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 1
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 2
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 3
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 4
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 5
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 6
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 7
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 8
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 9
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 10
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 11
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 12
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