The New Shul

Parshat Ki Tetzei

This week’s parashah, Ki Tetzei, teaches: “If you see your neighbor’s ox [shor] . . . gone astray, do not ignore it. You must return it to its owner.”

The Hebrew letters that spell “shor [ox]” also form the root of a rare word that means “see” or “envision.” The S’fat Emet interpreted the word “shor” in that way. He understood the Torah to be teaching us that, if our neighbor has lost perspective and cannot see clearly, we must help to restore our neighbor’s lost perspective.

At times of crisis, we all need that kind of help. When we are struggling in our lives, our world contracts and we find it hard to see beyond our immediate challenges. We need the love and support of those around us to expand our vision and remind us that we are not alone.

We need that help at other times as well. Life in general has a way of clouding our vision, distorting our priorities, and making us forget what matters most. In the course of keeping up with all our ordinary tasks, we naturally get more and more caught up in small things and forget the big ones.

The days leading up to Rosh Hashanah are a time to get refocused. But for that, we need each other. More than anything else, it is the presence of those around us — our family and community — that reminds us what our true priorities should be. It is their love and support that clarify our vision.

That is why it is so important that we we be present for each other on the Days of Awe, that we stand together in community. Our presence, in itself, can help to bring clarity to those around us.

Together, during the coming days, may we find the renewal that we seek.

  • 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 service is followed by a kiddush-lunch, open to all.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • 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.
  • Fall classes have started, but it’s not too late to join them. Our new men’s group meets on Sunday evenings at 7 pm at a private home (contact us for the location). Our class on the teachings of the early Hasidic masters meets on Monday evenings at 7:30 pm at the shul. Our adult Hebrew class meets on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm at the shul. Please see our website for a full  schedule of adult classes.
  • On Labor Day, Monday September 4, 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.
  • On Wednesday September 6 at 7:15 pm, The New Shul will host a panel discussion: “”Do We Always Have to Forgive?” On the following evening, Thursday September 7 at 7 pm, we will host a lecture by Rabbi Mike Uram: “Next Generation Judaism: How College Students and Hillel Can Help Reinvent Jewish Organizations.”  Rabbi Uram is the director of the University of Pennsylvania Hillel. Both events are co-sponsored by Valley Beit Midrash.
  • On the night of S’lihot, Saturday September 16, join us at 9 pm for a screening and discussion of the film “Is That You?” by Dani Menin. The program will be followed by the S’lihot service.