14/15 May 2021, 3/4 Sivan 5781

Rabbi Rebecca writes:

What a week this has been for us all, watching the violence and devastation and terror unfold in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. I am sharing part of the message from our friend Rabbi Ofek Meir in Haifa, which I received yesterday.

The last few days have brought deep challenges upon us. We are dealing with the many conflicts, and voices of racism, harassment and violence.

The role of education in our eyes is to remind students and communities of our shared destiny, and the power and beauty of living together.

We in Haifa know how to live together in our schools and in the city’s neighbourhoods. This should be remembered even now as the flames increase. Soon the flames will be forgotten and we will all remain, to continue our lives together. (See his full message here).

U’fros aleinu sukkat shlomecha, cover us with the shelter of Your peace, Dean sings these words for us every Friday night and it takes on new resonance and hope this week. In light of the grim and frightening situation in Israel and Palestine, which we know will have long ranging repercussions for us all as well as those caught up there, I’d like to share with you two events that you may wish to join enabling conversation and understanding:

Just before our fantastic and long awaited Beit Midrash 7.30pm tonight with Dr Agnes Kaposi and Richard Greene. At 7pm there is an opportunity as LJ communities to join our Israeli sister movement, IMPJ, for a special briefing for international supporters at 7pm. The program will include briefings by Yair Lootsteen (chair of IMPJ) and Anna Kislanski (Acting Director General) on how the IMPJ is dealing with the situation on the ground and in their congregations and short briefings by congregational leaders from most impacted areas. Please register in advance for this meeting by clicking here.

Saturday 15th May 8-9.15pm: Eilu v’Eilu: Havdalah and Discussion

Join Liberal & Reform Rabbis for an open space to hear one another and hold on to what is sacred after this terrible week of events in Israel & Palestine followed by a special Havdalah ceremony. “These and these are the words of the Living God” We will follow in this teaching and study all perspectives with humility.The session will include prayer, text study, and guidance from Rabbis at this divisive moment. Click here to register.

I’m so looking forward to SHAVUOT this year, our last opportunity for a purely online shared event with several other LJ communities and rabbis. I love this festival that asks us to consider fidelity and choice in our Jewish life. I get to interview Professor Judith Plaskow, [possibly the person who most influenced my decision to be a Rabbi.] And I’ll be teaching the Book of Ruth at Rabbis at Midnight on Sunday night Is Ruth an Agent of Change?

All this is congregational life marking Jewish moments of time and space. I wish a hearty Mazal Tov to our reconfirmed Deputies for the Board; Stanley Volk and Janet Tresman after our EGM election. We look forward to your renewed representation.

I’m delighted to be back and missed you all. I hope to see you over this busy weekend.

Shabbat Shalom and a Chag Shavuot Sameach.