The New Shul


In the second of this week’s two parshiyot, M’tzora, the Torah tells us about homes that required ritual purification because of certain molds or funguses growing in their walls. A person who saw such a home was to go to a priest and say “it appears to me like a plague in the house.”

The rabbis of the Mishnah, in interpreting that passage, gave great weight to the word “like.” They taught that a person should never declare that what he saw is definitely a plague, even if he is a scholar and knows for sure that it is. Instead he should say that it is “like” a plague (Negaim 12:5). In other words, it is a mitzvah to withhold judgment on a person’s home, and all the more so on a person’s self. In Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perahya taught that, when we judge another person, we should always tip the balance in that person’s favor.

Part of what it means to be a sacred community is to give each other the benefit of the doubt, to strive to see the best in one another’s homes, and one another’s selves. By seeing the best, we draw out the best. We bring more holiness into God’s world.

  • 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. This Shabbat, April 29, we will celebrate the (2nd) bar mitzvah of Bernie Fleischer. The kiddush-lunch is sponsored by Bernie and Sandy Fleischer.
  • 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.
  • Join us for Israeli dance workshops at The New Shul on Wednesday May 3 at 10:30 am, and on Wednesday May 10 at 7:30 pm.
  • On Monday night May 8 at 7 pm, The New Shul will host a lecture by Rabbi Yehudah Gilad on “The Ten Commandments : The Nexus Between Religion and Ethics.” The lecture is co-sponsored by Valley Beit Midrash.
  • Join us for Friday night dinner at The New Shul on May 19 after the 6 pm service. The cost is $18 per adult, and $9 per child/teen under 18 (no charge for children under 5). To make your reservation, please send in your payment by Friday May 12.
  • Shavuot begins on Tuesday night May 30. Join us for our all night Tikkun Leil Shavuot beginning at 9 pm. Our topic this year will be “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself: The Golden Rule Through Many Lenses.” We will conclude with morning prayers at dawn on Wednesday. Our service for the second day of Shavuot, Thursday June 1, will begin at 9 am, and will include Yizkor, the memorial prayer.