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Bazman Hazeh

“In These Times”

Iyar - Sivan/Sivan - Tammuz 5776

VOL. 49 NOS. 9/10

JUNE / JULY 2016

Aliza Goland, Executive Director Marcy Goldberg, Director of Education Donna Becker, ECC Director

Peggy Frank, President, Board of Directors Alan Greenbaum, Rabbi Emeritus

Andrew Straus, Rabbi David Shukiar, Cantor

From the Rabbi’s Desk The Significance of Shavuot

must care for our animals; as free people we must care for our employees; as free people we must care for the environment. As free people we must celebrate Shabbat, giving ourselves and our families and our employees a day to rest, a day to remember that we are not just worker bees, but rather we are human beings who belong to ourselves, our family, our community and to God. The Torah is clear: “Freedom is not free.” Freedom means being part

“Rabbi, we Jews could survive without Passover, but we could not survive without Shavuot, ” a member of the TAE Seniors group said to me last week. It took me a few minutes to think about what he had just said, and then I realized how right he was. Passover as we know is all about freedom and celebrating our exodus from Egypt. Shavuot , which is celebrated 50 days later, is the

holiday on which we celebrate the giving of the Ten Commandments and the Torah at Mt. Sinai. How is it that law could be more important than freedom, I wondered? And then I realized it is what Judaism has always taught us. Freedom must be connected to law. Freedom without law is anarchy, and law without freedom is tyranny. Our Rabbis always understood that the two must be closely connected to each other. This is one of the explanations for why we count the Omer, each day announcing how many days it is since we left Egypt, how many days left until we reach Mt. Sinai. But Shavuot represents more than just law. The Ten Commandments and Torah teach us who we are as a people and why we are

of a community that is committed to caring for each other and protecting all members of that community, for “you were slaves in Egypt, therefore do not oppress the widow, the orphan or the stranger.” Shavuot ultimately is more important than Passover, for at Shavuot we are reminded why we are free, we celebrate our becoming a nation, our standing at Sinai receiving Torah which has been our guide, our blueprint for living ever since. This year Shavuot will be celebrated beginning Saturday evening, June 11th. Please see page 10 for details.

free people. The Torah reminds us that “freedom is not free.” Most people define freedom as the ability to do what you want. That is not the Jewish understanding of freedom. Freedom comes with responsibilities and obligations. Our tradition is clear: that as Jews, as free people we have responsibilities and obligations ( mitzvot ) to those in our community, society and God. Torah reminds us over and over again that as free people we must care for the widow, the orphan and the stranger; as free people we

l’Shalom,

Rabbi Andrew Straus

Honoring Aliza Goland, see page 6

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