The New Shul

Parshat Miketz/Shabbat Hanukah

In the second blessing over the Hanukah lights, we thank God for performing “miracles for our ancestors . . . at this time [baz’man hazeh] “ — meaning, at this time of year. The S’fat Emet interpreted the phrase “at this time” differently, to mean that the miracle of Hanukah still takes place today.

In what sense does that miracle still occur? The story of the oil that lasted for eight days is a story of the partnership between the divine and the human. The Macabees reached upward– they lit the lamp, even though they knew that they did not have enough oil to keep it burning. God responded by reaching downward, by keeping the flame alive. The miracle was that we and God met each other half way.

Every mitzvah is like that. Every act of worship. every act of kindness, brings a little bit of God into the world. But it does so only because, like the Macabees, we dare to take a risk, to reach beyond ourselves. It is in that sense that the miracle of Hanukah still takes place in our time. The story repeats itself in every sacred deed that we perform.

  • 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-lunch this Shabbat, December 20, is sponsored by Len and Susan Cedars.
  • Childcare on Shabbat mornings is available from 10 am to noon. Our learning services this Shabat are: for pre-K through grade 2 from 11 to 11:45 am, for grades 3 to 5 from 10:15 to 11:30 am.
  • The New Shul’s annual Hanukah Coffee House is on Saturday night December 20 at 7:30 pm. Join us for lots of live music and other entertainment by our own local talent. The cost is $5 per adult at the door
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • On New Year’s Day, Thursday January 1, 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.
  • On the Sunday of Martin Luther King Day Weekend, January 18, The New Shul will host the first day of a two-day Mussar retreat, co-sponsored by the Valley Beit Midrash. On Monday January 19, the retreat will continue at Temple Chai. Further information is available here.
  • Registration is now open for LimmudAZ, a community-wide day of Jewish learning on Sunday February 8, from 8:30 am to 5 pm. 45 presenters, from our community and from around the country, will teach on topics from “Jews and Chocolate” to“Shakespeare’s Shylock” to “Jewish Mysticism Made Simple”to “The Bible and Bruce (Springsteen).” Further information is available at