The New Shul

Parshat Va-ethanah/Shabbat Nahamu

The Shabbat after Tisha B’Av is called Shabbat Nahamu,the Shabbat of Consolation. It takes its name from the beginning of the haftarah, “‘Console, console my people,’ says your God.” With those words, the prophet Isaiah reassured the Jewish people during their exile from Jerusalem that God had not forgotten them.

Rabbi Barukh of Medzibozh taught that the essence of Isaiah’s message was in the words “My people.” It was simply in knowing that we were still God’s people, that our relationship with God had not been broken, that we found consolation for all that we had suffered.

Often, when we struggle in our lives, we cry out for an explanation. We want to know “Why me?” But even if we knew the answer, what comfort would it bring? Rabbi Barukh reminds us that, in times of darkness, what we need most is to know that we are not alone. The purpose of religious life, at the deepest level, is not to explain but to connect — to bind us to each other and enable us, together, to experience God’s closeness. In that way, it brings consolation to us all.

  • 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, August 1, is sponsored by The New Shul community.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • Join us for Friday night dinner at The New Shul on August 28, after the 6 pm service. The cost is $18 per adult, and $9 per child under 18 (no charge for children under 5). Please send in your payment by Friday August 21 to make your reservation (if you wish to pay online, you can do so here).
  • Information on The New Shul’s services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.