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Home What's Going On What's Going On - February 2010
What's Going On - February 2010 PDF Print E-mail

A Message from the Family Corner

Thank you to all who have helped with the Shabbat dinners.  This month will prove to be just as enjoyable.  If you would like to have your child utilize the childcare during services, please make sure to check them in and out.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Meredith Ryan at 960-0698.

Shalom,
Meredith Ryan


Corpus Christi CommunityReligious School

In anticipation of Tu B’Shevat, which falls on January 30th this year, students gathered under the Dr. Ben Groner pergola on Sunday morning, January 24th.  Rabbi Roseman gave us a tour of the biblical garden.  We are hoping the plants will survive the freezing weather we had earlier.  After returning to their classrooms, students made bird feeders and played Tu B’Shevat games celebrating the birthday of the trees.  Look for pictures in this bulletin.

Stefani Rozen, senior assistant director of Greene Family Camp and a former student of our religious school, will visit on Sunday, February 31st, to tell our students about this summer’s camp.  Brochures with camp dates and other information are on the table just inside the door.

Hopefully, all parents of religious school students received an email from me about the Corpus Christi Ice Rays game on Saturday, February 20th.  Gregg Silverman has generously offered tickets to our students and their families.  Contact me by Sunday, February 7th,  if you’re able to attend.

We will not have Sunday School on February 14th.  Following school on Sunday, February 28th, everyone is encouraged to attend the JCC Purim carnival.  Details will follow.                                                                       

            Shalom!
            Susan



The new Sisterhood Cookbook is officially underway!!!

We are in need of volunteers and co-chairs for a variety of committees, and everyone who wishes to volunteer for any committee should email or call Barbara Schwamb ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 992-4085)  or Rona Train ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) to join the team!!

Current list of the committees and the chairpersons for each:

Appetizers:  Judy Itkin, Dolly Oshman, Sandra Oshman, co-chairs 

Breads:  Rona Train, Barb Schwamb, co-chairs 

Soups, Cheese & Egg Dishes:  Suzy Hilliard, Elisa Cox, co-chairs 

Meat, Poultry & Fish:  Meredith Ryan, co-chairs 

Salads:  Laura Smith Noe, Robin Adams, co-chairs 

Vegetables:  Elisa Cox, chair

Jewish Foods:  Judy Itkin, chair

International Foods:  Meredith Ryan, chair

Deserts:  Amy Krams, chair

Food Fest Favorites:

Publishing:  Natalie Honigbaum, chair

Sponsor Solicitation:  Toby Shor will co-chair (We are hoping to find several sponsors for the book and the various chapters in it!)


PURIM IS HERE – WELL, ALMOST

The festival of Purim begins on Saturday night, February 27 and continues through the next day.  Purim, as most of us know, is the celebration of the deliverance of the Jews of Shushan (Persia) from the sinister plot of Haman and his henchmen.  According to the book of Esther, Haman schemed to murder the Jews in order to confiscate their wealth.  However, because he could not assert this motivation openly, especially to King Ahashuerus, he told the ruler that the Jews were flaunting the laws of the kingdom and, presumably, were therefore both disloyal themselves and a model of treasonous behavior for others.  This rationale was obviously a fraudulent excuse for Haman’s real purpose, but it was enough to secure assent from the not-very-bright king.

             Esther, the beautiful Jewish heroine of the story, replaces Vashti as the queen and learns of the plot.  She is initially afraid to appear before the King, since he has not invited her to come forward.  But her uncle, Mordecai, persuades her to enter the royal banquet chamber.  Esther invites Ahashuerus and Haman to a sumptuous dinner.  During the dinner, Ahashuerus must go out into the garden to relieve himself.  Haman seizes the opportunity to persuade Esther not to unmask his nefarious doings.  But, on the way across the room, he trips and falls on top of the reclining queen.  Just at that moment, Ahashuerus returns and sees his prime minister in a compromising position.  Haman is arrested, not for the reason that he ought to be, but for making a sexual advance toward the queen.  He and his sons are executed, Mordecai is promoted to high station, and everything turns out well for the Jews of Shushan.

             The book of Esther is a controversial book.  It purports to have been written during the Babylonian Exile, but is probably several centuries later, a story written during the Persian period (fourth or even third century, BCE).  After the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, the new rabbinical leadership of the Jewish community gathered at Yavneh (near Tel Aviv) and tried to decide what books would be in the canon (approved list) of Scripture.  Esther was one of the problematic books, mostly because there is no mention of God or prayer or religion in the book and because of its rather bawdy passages.  Their conclusion was, however, that Esther belonged in the Bible because a salvation of a Jewish community, such as is described in the book, could not have occurred unless it had been part of God’s plan.

WE SHALL CELEBRATE PURIM WITH THE READING OF THE MEGILLAH ON FRIDAY,

FEBRUARY 26 AT 6:00 PM SERVICES.

 

COME IN COSTUME

COME PREPARED TO DROWN OUT HAMAN

COME TO CELEBRATE AND HAVE FUN, SING AND REJOICE

THEN STAY AND JOIN TOGETHER FOR A FESTIVE FAMILY DINNER


RABBI ROSEMAN IN THE COMMUNITY

 On Wednesday, February 17, Rabbi Roseman will be the guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Trinity Encores, a group of residents at Trinity Towers.  He will speak about Purim and the biblical book of Esther.

 On Friday night, February 19, Rabbi Roseman will be the guest speaker at Temple Beth El in Fort Worth as part of there invited preacher series.  He will talk on the topic “Why Jews Succeeded in America.”


THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY
Rabbi Kenneth D. Roseman, Ph.D.

    It is no secret, of course, that Israel has gotten some bad press recently.  Some of this we always expect, particularly from Israel’s Arab neighbors.  Israel sometimes does something questionable, and then it should be legitimately held to account.  But what would be remarkable is if its neighbors had anything good to say about the Jewish state.  Televised images from the conflict in Gaza and the subsequent Goldstone report, Israel’s security fence and alleged mistreatment of Palestinians have undermined the State’s standing in world opinion.  This is hardly news.  It’s the kind of perspective we can read on the editorial pages of many newspapers on a regular basis, that our kids hear all the time on college campuses and that is common currency, especially in certain elitist intellectual circles.

    So, it’s nice to know that there is another side to the story, even if that side is rarely told in the journals that delight in attacking Israel, in UN debates and in demonstrations on college quadrangles.  The side to which I refer is Israel’s long history of providing aid to other countries when they are in desperate need.

    Israel’s efforts began in 1958 with the establishment of MASHAV, the Center for International Cooperation.  Foreign Minister Golda Meir made made her first visit that year to Africa.   She was appalled by conditions she witnessed and arranged MASHAV’s first outreach to the extraordinarily dry and impoverished countries of sub-Saharan Africa.  Very quietly – because, after all, most of these are Moslem countries  and the PR fall-out would have been destructive if it became known that they were accepting help from Israel or Jews  – Israeli agricultural technicians went into Mali and Niger and Chad and other places to teach the people how to use drip irrigation and how to maximize their food production.

    By the 1970s, Israel had extended its humanitarian agenda by opening its borders to refugees from Vietnam, Bosnia and Kosovo, and this at the same time that the nation was resettling hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia.

    The principles at work are biblical.  Deuteronomy (15:7) tells us: “If there be among you a needy man, one of your brethren, within any of your gates, in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand from your needy brother.”  And Leviticus (19:16) commands that “you shall not stand by idly while your neighbor bleeds.”  In this day and age, when communication capabilities have made our world one very small community, it is easy enough to think of every human being on the face of the planet as, in some way, a brother or a sister, as a neighbor.

    Since MASHAV began, fifty-two years ago, Israel has extended its hand of helpfulness and support to over 140 countries.  When disaster strikes, Israel has been among the first to respond.  By 1997, MASHAV decided that the needs were sufficiently acute that it established a specialized unit to coordinate and provide medical help on the international scene.  In Israel’s “Eye Treatment Camps,” opthamologists provide medical care and train indigenous professionals.  These programs include training in epidemiology and emergency and disaster medicine and a course in Advanced Trauma Care.  In the year 2000, Israel conducted such programs in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the Dominican Republic, Latvia, Uzbekistan and China.  No big publicity; no taking of credit.  Israel did this simply because it can, and it’s the right thing to do.  In the same year, 2000, projects included upgrading the Trauma Center at Al-Amal Hospital in the Gaza Strip (Did Hamas or the PLO or their friends ever breathe a word of this?), the construction of a cancer center in Mauritania, an ICU unit in Kharkov (Ukraine) and medical facilities in Turkey following a disastrous earthquake there.  All of the staff and equipment was donated by Israel.

Just a week ago, only 48 hours after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Israel had assembled and sent airborne two 747s loaded with military and civilian medical personnel, including 120 doctors and nurses, rescue teams, search dogs and equipment and supplies for establishing a sophisticated field hospital capable to treating 500 patients daily.  The hospital even included an MRI machine and the satellite capability of consulting with specialists all over the world to assure the best medical treatment possible.  By Friday afternoon last week, the hospital was up and running, the only facility in Haiti offering advanced treatment for the seriously wounded.  A reporter from CNN was amazed that Israel was able to send a complete, modern hospital halfway around the world, while the United States, which lies only a few hundred miles away, had yet to put its mission in place.

    The sad aspect of this heroic story is that Israel was able to mobilize so quickly because its people have had much experience – too much experience – in addressing emergencies.  The rapid response skills displayed in Haiti have been honed through years of rescuing critically wounded victims of suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism.

    Among other Israelis responding to the Haitian crisis is a team of Israeli Orthodox Jews from ZAKA, an organization founded during the first wave of suicide bombings to collect the scattered body parts of victims in order to bury them in conformity with traditional Jewish religious law.  ZAKA’s team arrived so rapidly that its workers were in position to rescue the living, which they do with incredible speed and skill.

    They arrived in Haiti on Friday afternoon, just before the Sabbath.  At once, they were dispatched to a collapsed school building, where they pulled eight students from the rubble.  They worked straight through the Shabbat – because Jewish law mandates that the saving of human lives takes precedence over even the most serious ritual obligations.  They paused only briefly to welcome Shabbat with wine and bread, an experience they reportedly shared with rescue workers from Egypt and Qatar.

     Israel is often accused of using “disproportionate force” to protect its citizens.  When you hear that kind of statement, I hope you will also be ready to respond with evidence of “disproportionate goodness.”  Israel is a small country; its population is about 7.5 million people, less than one-third the number of people who live in Texas, and Israel certainly has its own financial stringencies and needs.  Yet, as a responsible citizen of the world community and as a bearer of a strong and long religious tradition of caring and helping the needy, regardless of who they are, Israel has a remarkable record of helping whenever and wherever help is needed.  I hope you will share this information with others; they need to hear the other side of the story.

 

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