The New Shul

Yom Hashoah/Parshat Aharei Mot

This week’s parashah, Aharei Mot, teaches about the service of the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest, on Yom Kippur. God warns Aaron and his sons not to enter the Holy of Holies except on that one day, and except with extraordinary preparation, because “in a cloud I appear [above the ark].”

Rabbi Meir Shapira of Lublin understood those words not as a warning but as a promise. He interpreted them to mean that, even when the sky is at its cloudiest, God can still appear to us. Even when the world is at its darkest, God can still be found.

Today, the 27th of Nisan, is Yom Hashoah, the day on which we commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. One of the most important ways in which we honor them is by recalling that so many of them refused to surrender their humanity even under the most dehumanizing circumstances. Only a small number had the means to resist physically, but a much greater number resisted spiritually. They did so by holding onto their dignity and compassion as images of God even as they lost control of everything else. They refused to let the darkness around them extinguish the sacred spark within them. Their example illustrates what Rabbi Meir Shapira taught:  that God’s presence can be visible even in the darkest cloud.

May we remember all the victims of the Holocaust with love and reverence.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat services are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. The kiddush-lunch this Shabbat, May 7, is sponsored by Gil Holland and Chevi Rimler in honor of their upcoming wedding. The desserts are sponsored by Selma Strier in honor of her daughter Adele and her friend Joy Vaiano.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Learning services for children this Shabbat are from 11 to 11:30 am.for toddlers and preschoolers, from 11 to 11:45 am for grades 1 to 3, and from 10:15 to 11:30 am for grades 4 to 5.
  • Minyanim 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 June 11. Join us for ourTikkun Leil Shavuot, our all night study-vigil, from 9:30 pm until Sunday morning at dawn.