The New Shul


This Shabbat, we will finish reading the book of Vayikra(Leviticus). The book ends by teaching the laws of arakhin, appraisals of the gifts that were dedicated to the priests. One of those laws begins: “If a person dedicates his house to be sacred to YHWH. . .”

Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk understood the words “to be sacred to YHWH” to refer not to the house, but to the owner. The Torah’s point, according to the Kotzker, is that a person who dedicates his home to God rises up in holiness. Our lives are holy to the extent that our homes, the structures that we build around ourselves, are holy. We discover the image of God in ourselves by sanctifying our surroundings.

There can be many such “homes,” sacred structures that nourish the spark of holiness within us. They include the families that we create, the circles of friends that we choose, the spiritual communities in which we worship and learn. All of them are  “homes,” whose holiness enables us to find the holiness within ourselves. May our shul always be one such home for all of us.

  • 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 is sponsored by Alan Stoff in honor of his 70th birthday.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • Minyanim at The New Shul during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, Monday evenings at 7 pm, Wednesday mornings at 7 am, and Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.
  • Shavuot begins on Saturday night May 23. Join us at The New Shul for our Tikkun Leil Shavuot (all-night study and discussion) beginning at 9 pm. We will end with morning prayers at sunrise. The theme this year is: “Romance and Revelation: Interpreting the Book of Ruth.” The Tikkun is co-sponsored by Valley Beit Midrash and by Temple Chai. For further information, please call or email.