The New Shul

Parshat B’shalah/Tu B’Sh’vat

In this week’s parashah, B’shalah, the children of Israel flee from Egypt, only to be pursued by Pharoah, who catches up with them at the Sea of Reeds. Only after Moshe calls out to God for help are the Egyptians finally defeated.

The Ba’al Shem Tov understood the story to mean that we cannot escape our problems by running away from them. When we flee from our deepest challenges, those challenges just follow us, because they are part of us. The only way to defeat the stubborn Pharoahs in our lives — the ones that live within us — is to draw on sources of strength and wisdom greater than our own.

Shabbat can help with that. When we enter Shabbat, we are not fleeing from our weekday challenges, imagining that they will no longer be there when Shabbat is over. Shabbat is not an escape. Rather, it is a source of insight, wisdom, and revitalization, which gives us the strength and the tools to confront our challenges more productively when we return to our weekday lives.

On this Shabbat, and every Shabbat, may we draw strength from God and from each other, so that we can defeat the Pharoahs that we carry within us.

  • 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 11, is sponsored by Dale and Alan Singer.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Our learning service for grades K 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.
  • Limmud AZ, our valley-wide day of Jewish learning, is on Sunday February 12 at ASU. For more information, see
  • On Monday February 13 at 7 pm, The New Shul will host a lecture by Dr. Daniel Matt on“God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony Between Science and Spirituality.” The lecture is sponsored by Valley Beit Midrash. 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.