The New Shul

Parshat Bo

In this week’s parashah, Bo, God assigns us our first mitzvah as we prepare to leave Egypt:  “This month will be for you the beginning of months.” From now on, we are to begin our calendar from Nisan, the month of our liberation.

Rabbi Yitzhak Meir of Ger noted that, in nature, there are no beginnings. Natural time is cyclical, without start or end. The moon goes through its phases, then repeats them. There is no first month.

What, then, did God mean by telling us that Nisan would be our first month?  According to Rabbi Yitzhak Meir, God meant to teach us a lesson about the power of mitzvah, of sacred obligation. We create beginnings — we make ourselves new — when we transcend the circularity of nature by doing what is not natural, when we commit ourselves to a higher cause. What made Nisan new is that, in that month, we left Egypt to perform a higher kind of service than service to Pharoah. Instead of work that leads in circles, we chose work that takes us –and the world – forward.

Through the life of mitzvah that we build together, may we always keep The New Shul new.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat services 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 1, will be sponsored by Sharon and Michael Klausner in honor of their 58th wedding anniversary, and by Philip and Jane Paress in honor of Philip’s 73rd birthday.
  • Childcare is available on Shabbat mornings from 10 am to noon.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm.
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community will be on Sunday morning February 2. Breakfast will be at 10 am, and the meeting will follow at 10:30. All are welcome.
  • Limmud AZ, our community-wide day of Jewish learning, is on Sunday February 9 at ASU. For more information or to register, visit
  • Join us at The New Shul on Monday February 10 at 7 pm for a lecture by Dr. Pamela Nadell of American University: American Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today.The lecture is sponsored by the Women’s Jewish Learning Center. It is free of charge, and open to all.
  • On Shabbat morning February 15, Leah Hadas Targovnik Jacobs will be called to the Torah as a bat mitzvah.