11/12 August 2023, 25 Av 5783

In a world of depressing and disheartening news, I wanted to draw your attention to the hope expressed by York Liberal Community in their appointing of their first rabbi. To see a thriving and vibrant Jewish community in York, a place that has historically seen such famous hatred and prejudice, is a very good thing. 1190 saw the mass death of 150 Jews in a situation not unlike that at Masada in the first century. This story offers a subversive sequel (more of that over the HHDs) of how good can follow. Rabbi Elisheva Salamo is an American skilled Progressive Rabbi and we are delighted to welcome her into our ranks. In these quieter days of summer, I like being more aware of these good news stories happening right in our own lives. It’s not often a smallish Liberal community gets written about in a broadsheet.

This week’s portion is Re’eh which literally means to see, or to notice. The first verse reminds us, ‘look you have blessings and curses in front of you.’ Torah links it to commandments and whether to keep them. Reading Deuteronomy now, I understand that these choices are always with us – and noticing the difference is a constant challenge.

רְאֵ֗ה אָֽנֹכִ֛י נֹתֵ֥ן לִפְנֵיכֶ֖ם הַיּ֑וֹם בְּרָכָ֖ה וּקְלָלָֽה:
Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse.

Wishing you a good Shabbat and the ability to distinguish what is in our lives.