The New Shul

Weekly D'var Torah

Parshat Nitzavim, the first of this week’s two parshiyot, is always read on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah. In it, Moshe addresses the entire community of Israel as they reaffirm their covenant with God. Moshe says to them: “You are standing here today, all of you, before YHWH your God: the heads of your tribes, your elders, your officials . . . and the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to water-drawer.”  Moshe notes that everyone is present, from the highest to the lowest. But at a deeper level, Moshe is erasing the distinction between high and low. When we stand before God, hierarchies fall away. All of us bring something irreplaceable, and hence essential to the moment.

The awareness that each of us is a unique image of God, and that therefore we are diminished when any one of us is missing, is at the heart of what it means to be a spiritual community. As a community of prayer, we know that each of our voices is irreplaceable, because each one resonates in a different way. As a community of learning, we know that each one’s insights counts, because no one else could have expressed that insight in exactly the same way. As a community of kindness, we know that each one’s actions make a difference, because each of us has the capacity to help in a unique way.

As we come together on Rosh Hashanah, and each week during the year, may we re-experience the true meaning of community.

  • Shabbat services at The New Shul are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. This Shabbat, September 16, the kiddush-lunch is sponsored by Martin and Denise Fried.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Our learning service for children is from 11 to 11:45 am.
  • S’lihot is this Saturday night, September 16. Please note the change in time. At 8 pm, join us for a screening and discussion of the film “Is That You?” by Dani Menkin. The program will be followed by the S’lihot service at 10 pm.
  • Rosh Hashanah begins on Wednesday evening September 20. Our Erev Rosh Hashanah service is at 6 pm. Services for the first and second days of Rosh Hashanah, Thursday and Friday September 21 and 22, are from 8:15 am to approximately 1 pm, and are followed by a kiddush-lunch open to all.
  • Please note that there will be no e-bulletin next week because of the holiday.