The New Shul

Parshat Sh’mot

This week’s parashah, Sh’mot, tells the story of our enslavement in Egypt and the beginning of our liberation. The parashah opens by recounting the names of the children of Israel who had gone down to Egypt many years before.

According to the Ba’al Shem Tov, the recounting of those names hints at how God will ultimately redeem us. Slaves are anonymous. They have no identity of their own. God will awaken us from our enslavement by reminding us who we really are. God will free us from our degradation by giving us back our names.

As members of a sacred community, we do the same thing for each other. The challenges of everyday life — not to mention the extraordinary challenges that we face at times of crisis — tend to erode our deepest sense of self. They make us forget that we are images of God. When that happens, it is as if we too are in Egypt.

When we see a person who seems lost in that way, it is our mitzvah to restore that person’s dignity. A smile, a word of encouragement, an extended hand, can be profoundly redemptive. They have the power to remind that person of who or she really is. In that sense, we all have the potential to be redeemers.

  • 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.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Our learning service for grades 1 to 4 is from 11 to 11:40 am. This Shabbat morning, January 21, PJ Library will join us in our children’s service.
  • 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.
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community is on Sunday February 5 at 10:30 am. All are welcome. Our blood drive is that same afternoon. Please contact us to sign up for an appointment to donate blood.
  • Limmud AZ, our valley-wide day of Jewish learning, is on Sunday February 12 at ASU. For more information, see
  • On Presidents’ Day, Monday February 20, 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.