Their momentous meeting lasted but a few hours, with an agreement to talk again in two weeks.
There are far too many of these "opinions" to address them in a meaningful way in this short message. However, the message I do wish to share is simple...and one that (I hope) many can embrace: talking is very good!
Think about what we teach our children: Use your words. Don't hold things inside. Share what you really feel and want.
And while it is much easier to help 5-year-olds negotiate a playground argument, we know that our advice to them is the same that we - ourselves - need to hear. In so many situations - with spouses, with parents, with co-workers, with friends and family - we fail because we simply do not talk. We don't sit face-to-face and iron out the difficulties that exist between us.
The same is true with the Israelis and Palestinians. We know (or hope) that as long as we are sitting and talking, no one is shooting missiles or killing one another. Talking means that there is a chance that some good can emerge, that the two parties can find - not necessarily common ground, but - a common need that will lead them to accept positions all parties can support.
The struggle for security in the Middle East has been decades in the making. Talking to resolve those struggles will take time...Secretary Kerry mentioned nine months. Is it coincidental that nine months is the time for a newborn's gestation? Is it coincidental that nine months from now is Pesach, the time of liberation and freedom?
I don't know. And we don't know how long the parties will talk. But for now, let's us say Shehecheyanu that they are - in fact - willing to talk. That is the beginning of any solution.
Life is good! Life is good!
Answer #1: For me, "the good life" means the following: Watching my kids grow up into productive adults who contribute in so many positive ways. They are good, kind, and compassionate people who treat other with kindness and respect. My son volunteers many times and not to be recognized but because it is the "right thing to do." They both have spouses who are incredible people. They both are working in the fields that they have expertise.
Answer #2: I thank God every day for my good life. We have put all our energy, our efforts, our time, our savings, and most of all our love into raising 2 wonderful, hard working, philanthropic, loving children who have made us so proud of their choices. We were fortunate to have great parents and grandparents and our children have brought back all their pieces to us. Bless you God for all our gifts.
Answer #3: The good life to me is having a caring family whose accomplishments I can be very proud and having a very fulfilling and successful career.
Answer #4: The good life: Passing wisdom to your children.
Answer #5: Having a sense of purpose. I don't think you have to have the answers just a sense of direction - knowing you are contributing to a good greater than oneself which creates a connection/responsibility to and for others which means that your focus is not on just yourself. Perhaps that means your life is good when you don't feel the need to focus on just yourself because you are able to see a bigger picture than that. The good life isn't just about having enough. The story of King Midas illustrates that money alone won't do it. Perhaps the good life is just a matter of perspective.
See a pattern? Family. Purpose. Giving.
A pretty good summary of the "good life." Finally, a few folks wrote, who are in the midst of family struggles - illnesses, transitions, discord. Each understood that the "good life" was all about time spent with those we love the most, making their lives as rich and meaningful as possible.
August is just around the corner....and then the High Holidays. Make these waning days of summer the "good life" for you and those around.
A few years ago, a friend gave me a birthday present: a hat with an important message on it: Life is good! When I asked my friend about the gift, he (being a fellow clergy person) quoted Deuteronomy 8 to me, suggesting that when one has it "all," then life is good.
This week's Torah portion, called Ekev, happens to include that section of Deuteronomy. The Torah defines the "good life" in relation to agriculture - that which was most essential for physical and emotional well-being so many generations ago. In Deuteronomy 8, Moses shares with the people what their lives might look like, when they enter Israel. Moses describes it as "a good land - a land with flowing streams, and underground springs gushing out in valley and mountain. It is a land of wheat, barley, grapes, figs and pomegranates - a land of oil-olives and honey. It is a land where you will not eat rationed bread, and you will not lack anything...When you eat and are satisfied, you must therefore bless God your Lord for the good land..."
So...I asked myself: Why was this the definition of the "good life?"
In ancient days, it was a plentiful crop, abundant water, a place and a time where all our nutritional needs were met. Why was this the good life then? Consider the previous 40 years. The Children of Israel spent it wandering in the desert. They spent many of those years complaining about the food...or lack thereof. So, for them, the "good life" was having what they craved the most.
So...I asked myself: What is the definition of the "good life" today?
I wasn't sure...so I asked some colleagues. And here is what they said:
I liked their answers. And realized just how complicated a question it was. And yet, at the same time, the answers could be incredibly simple and clear.
I challenge you to ask yourself the questions: "What is the "good life" for me? What would make me satisfied so that I would want to bless God?"
If you would be willing to share your responses with me (CLICK HERE to do so) I may print some in next week's message.
What is the "good life"? At the moment I saw a double rainbow this week, I felt life was pretty good, that the world - for that moment - was in harmony:
What about you? What's your definition?
The judicial system has ruled. George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin, based - to a large extent - on Florida's "Stand Your Ground" legislation. Zimmerman felt that his life was endangered. A jury determined there was not enough evidence to the contrary.
At the same time, another Florida citizen, Marissa Alexander, received 20 years in prison for shooting a gun indoors, in the direction of her estranged husband, against whom a restraining order for domestic violence had been issued. She, too, invoked the "Stand Your Ground" law, fearful that her husband was about to harm her physically, as he had done in the past. However, in this case, the judge determined the claim was not justified. She was given a mandatory 20-year prison term.
I am not here to judge either George Zimmerman or Marissa Alexander.
Rather, it is to speak about race in America. A friend once asked me: "When you wake up in the morning, what do you see in the mirror?" I answered, "Me." He said, "You are so fortunate! When I look in the mirror, I see a black man, because that is how the world sees me." After a difficult conversation about race, religion, and identity, I came to understand. Many African-Americans see themselves just as Jews were forced to saw themselves during many times of anti-Semitic oppression, as the "other."
The George Zimmerman/Marissa Alexander trials teach us that race continues to weigh heavily as a yoke on this country. We continue to suffer the ills of slavery and servitude that marked more than a century of our country's life. And remember, it has only been 50 years since laws were enacted to make it illegal to discriminate against blacks and others.
Two weeks ago, we observed the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, a place where thousands died over (among other issues) the question of slavery. Racial prejudice has been a painful thorn in the crown of liberty for this country. It is time we acknowledge it. It is time we confront it. It is time we eliminate it.
I have no solutions to offer. I just know that a white man is free and a black woman is serving 20 years in prison. Their actions were different. He killed a black teen. She shot a gun in the air to scare a black man. There is something wrong. Whether we are liberal or conservative, in favor or against "Stand Your Ground," Jews know what it means to become the "other," to be viewed/reacted to/treated as different than those in power. Those who survived the Nazi reign of terror understand. When do we?
Rachael Klein, Rabbinic Intern
Tisha B'Av, the 9th (tishah) of the Hebrew month of Av, is a holiday that commemorates the destruction of both the First and Second Temples, and it is often recognized through the recitation of the Book of Lamentations, in addition to a sunset-to-sunset fast.
Most notably, this holiday is not always familiar to the average Reform Sunday School attendee. Do you know what happens when you Google: Tisha B'Av? Well, it turns out, you have to go to the fourth page of your Google search before there is a website sponsored by the Reform Movement.
On that website (reformjudaism.org), you will find a very well written, four paragraph explanation about the holiday, and links to blog posts about Tisha B'Av, but that is all. On other websites, like aish.com, ou.org, and chabad.org, their webpage's are full of a substantial number of articles, information, and insight into the holiday Tisha B'Av. So why does the Reform Movement take such a removed stance, and why do other movements pay such great attention to the holiday?
The Orthodox Movement and its Hasidic branches place such an emphasis on Tisha B'Av, because they are mourning the destruction of a place that allowed them to perform so many mitzvot. Nearly half of the mitzvot commanded in the Torah can only be accomplished with the rebuilding of the Temple. To the Orthodox, the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Jewish people has put those so deeply attached to the Temple in a profound mourning, a mourning that will only end when "Moshiah" (the Messiah) comes and allows for the rebuilding of the Temple.
The Reform Movement's seemingly removed stance stems from Reform Judaism's disassociation from Temple life, as well as concern for the Messiah. The rebuilding of the Temple is not the Reform Movement's top priority, rather the movement focuses on the fact that suffering is still occurring today, and so Tisha B'Av is a time to reflect on the suffering that is happening around the world. With Rosh Hashanah arriving just seven weeks after Tisha B'Av, it is a time to reflect on how the world has acted, as we transition into a time where we must reflect on how we have acted over the past year.
As a movement, we may not be concerned with the rebuilding of the Temple, but we are concerned with the continual building of a better world. So on Tisha B'Av, we have the opportunity to mourn events that have been destructive to the world, and we can take the weeks following Tisha B'Av to determine how we will try to promote a repaired world for the coming new year.
P.S. (by APN) If you have ever traveled to Rome and gone to the Colosseum, you may have also viewed The Arch of Titus (picture above). What is the connection between Tisha B'Av and an ancient Roman arch? The arch was built to celebrate the exploits of Titus, which included destroying the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 CE, on the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av - yes, Tisha B'Av. The carvings on the arch depict the spoils of the Temple (including the golden menorah) taken to Rome, along with Jewish captives.
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04.27.2017 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Endowment Committee Meeting
04.27.2017 5:45 pm - 6:15 pm
6:00 pm 04.27.2017 - 10:00 pm 04.30.2017
Confirmation NY Trip
04.27.2017 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
04.28.2017 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
The Temple, Congregation B'nai Jehudah 12320 Nall Avenue Overland Park, KS 66209 Phone: 913-663-4050 Fax: 913-906-9544