THE JEWISH ROYALS
In a month and a half, we will celebrate Chanukah. It is the story of a small group of Jewish believers, willing to fight the largest army of the day. They weren't the strongest. They weren't the richest. They weren't the most numerous. But they had spirit. As we learn in Zechariah 6:4 (and made more memorable by Debbie Friendman), "not by might nor by power, but by spirit alone..." This is the story of the founding of the State of Israel. It is the Jewish story. With heart, all things are possible.
In Judaism, the classic definition is, "You can be a Jew on a deserted island. But you can't be Jewish." For that, it takes community. We are a disparate group of individuals in our congregation and in our community. But we are one - as the old UJA campaign urged! While we are a small group, when we band together, there is so much we can accomplish. We contributed over THREE TONS of food to Harvesters and over 100 BAGS of groceries to our JFS Food Pantry. That is what a community can accomplish!
I had a conversation with a woman in the congregation who hadn't been to services in about 4 months, due to illness. After coming to Erev Shabbat services, she said - with tears in her eyes - "It's good to be home. Sitting here tonight, I knew I was safe. I knew I was loved. I knew that I belong." Isn't that what B'nai Jehudah is supposed to be...and what we strive to be? A place to call home. A place where we can be the best (Jewish) souls we can be.
The Royals did not win the World Series. However, they are winners nonetheless. They displayed great spirit. They taught us about community. And they valued home.
THE REV IS ARRIVING!
Within a day, Rabbi Samuel Mayerberg and the leadership of the congregation reached out to the church and offered B'nai Jehudah's building as a temporary sanctuary. The church accepted and worshiped in our building for almost a year.
What had been a cordial relationship developed into family. For the last 75 years, that relationship has blossomed and grown even stronger, especially between the senior minister and rabbi of each congregation.
To commemorate that 75th anniversary event, Rev. Hill and I are having a "pulpit exchange." Rev. Hill will be our guest speaker at services on Friday evening, October 24 (Bisseleh Nosh - 5:30 pm; Service - 6 pm) and I will be their guest preacher on Sunday morning, October 26 (10:45 am in their sanctuary (4601 Main St., Kansas City, MO, 64112). Rev. Hill will preach on: "The Burning Bush In Front of You." And my sermon is entitled, "And You Shall Be A Blessing."
OF ROYALS, RELATIONSHIPS, AND ISRAEL
However, what has been equally amazing is what the Royals have done for Kansas City. Everyone seems to have Royal fever. People are talk about baseball, the incredible plays, extra innings. People are dressed in Royal blue. Folks are coming together around the Royals.
As I said during Rosh Hashanah services, "It's the relationship, stupid!" And the Royals are doing that for Kansas City...building a mutual relationship and pride around baseball.
And just like the Royals, Israel has been ignored by too many of us for too long. It's there. It's in the news. But we focus on traveling to Colorado or the Caribbean or instead of Israel...just as many go to Chiefs games and have Chiefs spirit...and forget the Royals.
For an even more memorable experience, join me in Israel June 25-July 7 (tentative) and discover why Israel is so important to everything we call "Jewish." I look forward to seeing you October 14 - 7 pm or getting an email telling me you are interested in the trip.
Dear Khaled Meshaal and Hamas,As-salamu alaykum. Peace be to you.I have been pained listening to and seeing the anguish being experienced in Gaza. My heart breaks as stories and images emerge of children and innocent bystanders are injured and killed, as personal possessions and homes are destroyed in the battle that is raging in Gaza.I write because I pray for your people. I pray that they not know war and terror and missiles that decimate their homes and lives. I write because your people's anguish is almost unbearable to hear and to see.I write because - with humility and love - I know how your people's suffering can end immediately. Sometimes when we are in the midst of turmoil and racked with pain, it is not easy to see solutions. And so, I write to perhaps help lift your eyes open to see a solution.
That's it. If, upon reading this tomorrow, you were to call on your soldiers and citizens to cease sending rockets westward, into Israel, I can (almost) guarantee the Israeli response. There will be a ceasefire. And your people - the people I hear and see cry and lament the terror they are currently experiencing - will immediately know physical safety for themselves, their loved ones, and their homes.Would I like you to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate political entity, even a legitimate Jewish expression of an eternal yearning to return to Zion? Of course.
I could spill oceans of ink defending Israel's right to defend it's citizenry from rockets being rained down upon innocent populations, explaining how no country in the world would tolerate even a dozen rockets, let alone hundreds, falling within its borders. I could reflect on my own fear, as I experienced three Code Red sirens two weeks ago, each giving me 90 seconds to seek shelter...and the relief I felt when I heard the "thud" of the Iron Dome missiles destroying your rockets in mid-air. I could marvel how the "pain of the Gazans inflicted by Israel" has world attention, yet it seems nary a word is raised as Arabs destroy Arabs in Syria and Iraq at the same time. While every life is sacred, I could wonder why tens of thousands of Syrian and Iraqi deaths are less important than the 300 Gazans who have died in the last two weeks. And I could write a treatise on the right of the Jewish people to live free of fear in a homeland, claimed by them to be such for over 4,000 years. Oh yes, I could also offer a lesson on anti-Semitism and how it continues - even in this conflict - to raise its hoary head. Yes, I could share all that with you.
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03.27.2017 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
03.27.2017 5:45 pm - 6:15 pm
03.28.2017 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
03.28.2017 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
03.28.2017 5:45 pm - 6:15 pm
The Temple, Congregation B'nai Jehudah 12320 Nall Avenue Overland Park, KS 66209 Phone: 913-663-4050 Fax: 913-906-9544