The New Shul

Parshat Bo

This week’s parashah, Bo, tells the story of the final plagues in Egypt, including the plague of darkness. The Torah tells us that the darkness was so extreme that “a person could not see his brother. . . and no one could get up from where he was.”

Rabbi Yitzhak Meir of Ger interpreted those words not just as a description of how dark it was in Egypt, but as an explanation of what made it so dark in the first place. What makes the world a dark place? It is our failure to empathize with those around us, to see our brothers and our sisters. Moreover, when we fail to see the humanity of those around us, we cannot get up from where we are. We lose the ability to learn and grow.

In other words, our growth as individuals is not a solitary activity. We grow — we get up from where we are — by recognizing the image of God in those around us. We find our true selves in our commitment to others.

May the community of mitzvah that we build together help us all to rise higher.

  • 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, February 4, is sponsored by Fay and Aubrey Palestrant in honor of their children and grandchildren. The cakes are sponsored by Shelly and Arnie Silverman in honor of Michael and Sharon Klausners’ 55th wedding anniversary.
  • 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.
  • 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 this Sunday February 5 at 10:30 am. All are welcome. The meeting is followed by a blood drive. Please contact us to sign up for an appointment to donate blood on Sunday afternoon.
  • Limmud AZ, our valley-wide day of Jewish learning, is on Sunday February 12 at ASU. For more information, see
  • Join us for two upcoming lectures at The New Shul, sponsored by Valley Beit Midrash. On Thursday February 9 at 7 pm, Dr Michael Fishbane will speak on “The Trial of Jeremiah and the Trial of Socrates: Two Types of Integrity.” On Monday February 13 at 7 pm, Dr. Daniel Matt will speak on “God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony Between Science and Spirituality.” To register, visit the VBM website.
  • 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.