The New Shul

Parshat Noah/Rosh Hodesh Heshvan

Parshat Noah begins by telling us that Noah was “a righteous man in his generation.” In an ancient midrash cited by Rashi, the rabbis interpreted the words “in his generation” as a kind of disclaimer. Noah was righteous only by the very-low standards of his time. Had he lived in the time of Avraham, he would have been nothing special.

We can take that message as a criticism of Noah. But we can also take it as a back-handed challenge to the rest of us, a reminder that not being Avraham is no excuse. It is easy to say that, since I am not Avraham, nothing much can be expected of me. But Noah was not Avraham either, and, even so, he made all the difference in his generation.

To compare ourselves to Avraham or  other great figures is to let ourselves off the hook too easily. The real question is:  What difference can we make in a world that has no Avraham, but does have us? Our work, as a community of Torah, is to try to discover what God asks of us in our generation.

  • 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, October 5, is sponsored by Cathy and Jordan Benmeir in honor of Cathy’s entrance into the Jewish community.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings. Munchkin MInyan for pre-schoolers and parents meets this Shabbat from 11 to 11:30 am
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • On Sunday and Monday October 20 and 21, The New Shul will host two lectures by Dr. Ruth Satinover Fagen, sponsored by the Women’s Jewish Learning Center. On Sunday at 7:30 pm: “Fear, Sin, Longing and Desire: The Purpose of the Mishkan.” On Monday at 11 am: “Searching for Truthful Judgment: Justice in the Rabbinic Legal System.” The lectures are free and open to all.