The New Shul

Parshat Toldot

In this week’s parashah, Toldot, the Torah challenges us to look with brutal honesty at human nature, particularly the nature of heroes. Though Yaakov is the hero of the story, he is also a deeply flawed human being who steals his brother’s birthright by deception.

But, as clear-eyed as the Torah is about human faults, it is equally uncompromising in its insistence that human beings have the capacity to grow. Yaakov’s story does not end here. Twenty years later, as Yaakov wrestles with an angel, he will gain another blessing. But he will do it openly and honestly, in a fair fight.

Having faith in our ability to grow makes it both possible and necessary to face our own faults with the same honesty that the Torah shows in this week’s parashah. Without that faith in our potential to do better, it would be too painful to look squarely at our shortcomings. With that faith, we have no excuse not to.

On Shabbat we celebrate the grandeur of being human, of being images of God. May our pride  in what we are help us to become still more, so that — like Yaakov — we can bring new blessings into this world.

  • 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.
  • Childcare is available on Shabbat mornings from 10 am to noon. Our learning service for grades 2 to 4 is from 11 to 11:40 am.
  • Join us at The New Shul for Israeli dancing on Wednesday December 7 at 10:30 am, and Wednesday December 14 at 7:30 pm.
  • The New Shul’s Hanukah Coffee House is on Saturday night December 24 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.
  • On Shabbat morning, December 31, we will celebrate the bat mitzvah of Naomi Anbar, daughter of Ariel and Marni Anbar.
  • On New Year’s Day, Sunday 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.
  • Please note that there will be no e-bulletin next week. The bulletin will resume on Thursday December 15.