The Sisterhood Scoop – January 4th, 2020

Volume 3 Number 1 – January 4, 2020 – 7 Teves 5780

Sisterhood Board Meeting

Tuesday, Jan. 14, 5:30-7:00pm

The first Sisterhood Board meeting of 2020 will take place Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 5:30 pm in the lower level classroom.

For ALL members, there is no better time to get involved than NOW – at the beginning of our calendar year. Consider joining one of our standing committees:

  • Membership
  • Education
  • Program Planning
  • Fundraising

Among our ongoing activities are the Annual Fashion Show, Movie Nights, Book Club, the Membership tea, Passport to Israel program, and much more! Join us!

For more info: contact Teree Farbstein

Positive Criticism and What It Means to Be a Jew

on Parshas Vayigash by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

This parashah is perhaps the most emotional parashah in the Torah. After 22 years of separation, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and declares, “I am Joseph – is my father still alive?” These words were the most devastating admonishment that Joseph could have given to his brothers. Instead of berating them for having sold him into bondage, he simply said, “I am Joseph,” implying, “My dreams, which you attributed to delusions of grandeur, were fulfilled; G-d did make me king, and He did send you to bow down before me.” But nowhere does Joseph actually utter those words. The declaration, “I am Joseph,” was sufficient. He allows his brothers to infer the rest and his question, “Is my father [rather than our father] still alive?” cuts to the core of the issue, for it suggests that they had not conducted themselves as sons should…but Joseph does not introduce himself with these words. Rather, with his terse “Is my father still alive?” he invites his brothers to judge themselves. From this we learn that admonishment is most effective when used as a mirror and that it can never be accomplished through painful jokes, shouting, cynical remarks, or name-calling. Such tactics can only result in secondary problems that lead to further resentment and alienation.

When Joseph embraces his brother Benjamin, he falls on his neck and weeps profusely, and Benjamin, in turn, does the same. The Gemara explains that Joseph was crying over the Holy Temples that would be destroyed in the land allotted to Benjamin, and Benjamin was crying over the Tabernacle that would be destroyed in the portion allotted to Joseph. The message that the Torah imparts is that, tragically, they foresaw that the very same acrimony that led to the splintering of the House of Jacob would continue to divide our people and lead to the destruction of the Temples. Joseph and Benjamin cried for each other’s pain, teaching us that the only remedy to this plague of hatred is for us to learn to empathize with one another, to feel each other’s pain, and reach out with chesed – exemplifying kindness and love.

NEVER GIVE UP In this parashah we discover some of the ways through which the name “Jew” defines us as a people. When the sons of Jacob are confronted by the irrational accusations of the viceroy of Egypt (Joseph), and realize that the life of their younger brother Benjamin is at risk, then Judah (whose name connotes “Jew”) rises like a lion and does battle for his brother. As desperate and as hopeless as the situation appears to be, Judah – a man of complete faith – does not give up. Similarly, we, his descendants, have never given up.

The obstacles that Judah confronts are many. The Egyptian viceroy (Joseph) pretends that he doesn’t speak or understand Hebrew. An interpreter acts as an intermediary, and the evidence weighs heavily against Benjamin. Nevertheless, speaking Hebrew from his heart, Judah cites Jewish sensitivity. One may ask what Judah could possibly have hoped to accomplish by speaking in Hebrew and referring to Jewish values to this supposed Egyptian, Joseph. But we see that this is the legacy of Judah: If we speak in the name of G-d, if we uphold our Torah, and are prepared to put our lives on the line for the sake of our brethren, there will be no barrier that we cannot overcome.

We, the Jewish people, have survived the centuries with the Torah as our guide. Our emunah (faith) has sustained us. We have never lost hope. So, if we feel overwhelmed by life’s struggles, we must remember that we are Jews – descended from the family of Judah. Let us connect with our Torah, with our faith, and G-d will surely come to our aid. Let us remember that the name Judah also means “to give thanks and praise to G-d.” Ultimately, that is probably the most compelling definition of us as a Jewish people: In times of joy as well as in times of adversity, we give thanks to our Creator; we never give up, knowing that He will always protect us.

– adapted from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis at www.aish.com

New Date for NHBZ Book Club!

The author herself will Skype with us at our next book club meeting on the new date for NHBZ Book Club Mon., Jan. 13, 7:15-8:45 pm at the home of Vivian Zarkowsky.

The book is “Jerusalem Maiden” by Talia Carner, a saga, a history, and a dramatic and hopeful love story that also moves through the exciting art world of early 20th century Paris and modern day Israel.

For more info or to RSVP contact Terri Schnitzer or Vivian Zarkowsky.

Looking ahead to 2020, the Book Club will discuss “Inheritance,”by Dani Shapiro at the February 24th meeting.

All women welcome!

For information or to join Sisterhood, call the NHBZ office at 314-991-2100, ext. 3, or email: sisterhood@nhbz.org