The New Shul

Parshat Yitro

In this week’s parashah, Moshe’s father in law Yitro leaves his home in Midyan to join the people of Israel after they have escaped from Egypt. The Torah tells us: “Yitro. . . heard all that God had done for Moshe and his people Israel. . .”

Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk asked why the Torah singled out Yitro as the one who heard the news, when it had previously told us “All the nations heard and were afraid.”

The Kotzker answered that, while all the others heard and were afraid, Yitro was different in that he had the courage to confront the source of his fear, to seek out the new reality that had shaken up his worldview. Instead of shrugging off the reports of a liberating God that he had never heard of, Yitro went to seek that God out.

Usually, when new realities challenge our assumptions about the world, we try to avoid dealing with them. We try to make them fit what we already know, or what we think we know. But it is only by confronting new realities and allowing them to change us, as Yitro did, that we can grow.

The same is true of Jewish learning. If we wish to grow from Torah, we must let it shake us up to some extent and challenge our assumptions. Only then do we, like Yitro, truly hear.

  • 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, January 18, is sponsored by Fran Richter and Sandra Harris.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings. Munchkin Minyan for pre-schoolers meets from 11 to 11:30 am this Shabbat. Beyond Bim Bom for grades 2 to 5 meets from 10:15 to 11:30 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • On Martin Luther King Day, Monday January 20, 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 Friday night dinner at The New Shul on January 24 immediately after the 6 pm service. The cost is $18 per adult and $9 per child/teen under 18 (no charge for kids under 5). Visitors from the Shabbat Luck program will be joining us. Please send in your payment to reserve your place by Monday January 20.
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community is on Sunday morning, February 2 at 10:30 am. All are welcome.
  • Join us at The New Shul on Saturday night February 8 at 7:30 pm for Havdalah and a Game Night. Please email Barry Zorman for further information.