The New Shul

Parshat Sh’mot

This week’s parashah, Sh’mot, begins to tell the story of our liberation from Egypt.  How does the process of liberation begin?  After the death of the Pharoah who enslaved us, we cry out to God, and God hears our cry.  Immediately afterwards, God calls to Moshe at the burning bush and sends him back to Egypt to redeem us.

Why does it take so long for us to cry out? — and why does God not help us until we do?

Perhaps, until the death of Pharoah, we did not cry out because we knew no god to cry out to except Pharoah himself.  We were enslaved not only on the outside but on the inside as well, in that we could not even imagine being free.  Pharoah’s power was the only power that we knew.   But Pharoah’s death enables us — if only for a moment — to envision a different reality.  It makes it possible for us to dream.  Then, and only then, can God begin to help us.

Liberation always begins on the inside, with an act of imagination.  That is what Martin Luther King, whose birth we celebrate this weekend, taught us as well.  To free ourselves from the status quo, we must begin by daring to have a dream.  May Shabbat, our weekly foretaste of redemption, challenge us to envision a better world, and inspire us to work together to create that world.

  • 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 morning, Jan. 14, we will celebrate the bar mitzvah of Avery Polster, son of Jeremy and Virginie Polster. The kiddush is sponsored by the Polster family.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am. \
  • On Monday Jan. 16 (Martin Luther King Day), The New Shul community will serve meals to the hungry at St. Vincent de Paul’s Jackson St. dining room. Please let us know if you can help.
  • Saturday night Jan.21 is the second in our series of Israeli film nights. The film is Beaufort (2007) by Yosef Cedar. Screening and discussion begins at 7:30 pm.
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community is on Sunday Jan. 22 at 10:30 am.
  • Join us for two guest lectures at The New Shul:  On Tuesday Jan. 31 at 7:00 pm, Dr. Wendy Zierler of Hebrew Union College: “And Rachel Stole the Idols:  The Emergence of Modern Jewish Women’s Writing.”  On Tuesday Feb. 7 at 7:30 pm, Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom in L.A:  “A Curriculum of Wonder:  The Genius of Abraham Joshua Heschel.” Both lectures are co-sponsored by the Valley Beit Midrash and the Women’s Jewish Learning Center, and are free and open to all.
  • Join us at The New Shul on the afternoon of Shabbat Shirah (The Shabbat of Song), Feb. 4 at 6 pm for Seudah Shlisheet, the third Shabbat meal. Yisroel Juskowicz, a singer/song-writer from New York City, will lead us in song over the meal. After havdalah at 7 pm, he will perform his music.  The concert is free and open to all.
  • On Shabbat morning Feb. 11, and on Shabbat afternoon after kiddush, Dr. Joel Gereboff, the Chair of Religious Studies at ASU, will be our guest teacher.
  • Please remember to RSVP for our 10th Anniversary celebration on Sunday Feb. 26 at 6 pm at the Hilton Scottsdale. Rabbi David Wolpe will be the keynote speaker. The cost is $54 per person. You can get further information here.