The New Shul

Parshat Bo

In this week’s parashah, Bo, God gives us our first mitzvah as we prepare to leave Egypt:  “This month will be for you the beginning of months.”  From now on, we are to begin our calendar from the month of our liberation.

Rabbi Yitzhak Meir of Ger noted that, in nature, there are no beginnings. Natural time is cyclical, without start or end. The moon goes through its phases, then repeats them. There is no first month.

What, then, does it mean to say that Nisan is a new beginning? The answer, according to Rabbi Yitzhak Meir, is that we create beginnings, we make ourselves new, when we reach beyond nature, to the God who transcends natural cycles. How do we do that? Through mitzvah, sacred action. What makes Nisan the beginning of months is that, in Nisan, we accepted our first mitzvah. It is in sacred actions, actions that take us beyond what is merely natural, that we find renewal.

In the life of mitzvah that we build together, may we constantly renew ourselves. May we always make our shul a New Shul.

  • 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, January 24, is sponsored by Ora Kurland and Eric Steinberg.
  • Childcare on Shabbat mornings is available from 10 am to noon. Our learning services this Shabbat are:  from 11 to 11:45 am for preschoolers through grade 2, and from 10:15 to 11:45 for grades 3 to 5.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • The New Shul community’s annual meeting is on Sunday morning January 25 at 10:30 am. All are welcome.
  • 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
  • The New Shul will host the first-ever greater Phoenix “Sermon Slam” on Saturday night February 14 at 7:30 pm. Further information is available here.