The New Shul

Parshat Re’eh/Rosh Hodesh Elul

In this week’s parashah, Re’eh, Moshe declares to the people:  “See, I place before you today a blessing and a curse. . . ” The grammar of the Hebrew makes it possible to understand the sentence in a different way:  “See, I place before you a today of blessing and [a today] of curse.”

Rabbi Hanokh of Alexandrov chose to read the sentence in that way in order to make a point. There are two different ways of focusing on today. There is a today-ness of blessing and a today-ness of curse. Living for today can mean making each day count because we know that it could be our last, keeping our deepest priorities contantly in mind. That is the today-ness that fills our life with meaning. On the other hand, living for today can mean living heedlessly and selfishly, without thinking of a better future. That is the today-ness that empties life of meaning, that leaves us bitter and alone.

This weekend we begin the new month of Elul, the month of reflection and repentence that ushers in the new year. May the month of Elul move us, in the way we focus on each day, to make our lives a blessing.

  • 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. The kiddush this Shabbat is sponsored by Howard and Alice Fierstein, and co-sponsored by Michael and Shaindel Ross in honor of their 5th wedding anniversary.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Children’s services this Shabbat are: Munchkin MInyan for ages 2 to 4 from 11:00 to 11:30 am, Beyond Bim Bom I for grades K to 1 from 10:15 to 11:00 am, and Beyond Bim Bom II for grades 2 to 3 from 10:15 to 11:00 am.
  • Join us at 12:45 pm this Shabbat, August 18, after kiddush for the first class in our series: Jewish Prayer: Finding Our Way.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • On Monday September 3, Labor 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.
  • Join us for S’lihot on Saturday night September 8. We will begin at 9 pm with a screening and discussion of the film The Human Resources Manager by Eran Riklis (2010) as a text on teshuvah. The S’lihot service follows at about 11:30 pm.
  • Erev Rosh Hashanah is Sunday evening Sept. 16. You can find complete information on The New Shul’s services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur here.