Volume 4 Number 17 – May 1, 2021 – 19 Iyar 5781
Best Wishes, Laura!
Sisterhood wishes a Happy Retirement to Laura Krueger, Shul Business Manager.
We thank Laura for her valuable service to NHBZ and for all her gracious help with Sisterhood’s activities during the past seven years.
Thank You and Best Wishes, Laura!
We will miss you.
Book Club News
On Monday, April 26, the Sisterhood Book Club reviewed the “The Last Kings of Shanghai” by Jonathan Kaufman. Linda Shore led an informative discussion of two eminent Jewish families from Iraq – the Sassoons and the Kadoories – their choices, and the consequential roles they played in the history of China, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
The next Book Club meeting is Monday, June 28. The book is: “People of the Book” by Geraldine Brook. The discussion facilitator will be Linda Luks. For more information call Terri Schnitzer
Parshas Emor: Can You Wait?
There is an interesting agricultural mitzvah called orlah – that when we plant a tree, we are prohibited to eat its fruit for the first 3 years. Once this time has passed, we are free to enjoy the fruit and thank G-d for the blessings He has given us. A mystical explanation of this mitzvah provides an insight into one of the foundations of personal & spiritual growth. The very first failing of the very first human beings was the desire for instant gratification. The first transgression recorded in the Torah is when Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit. Although this story is famous, what is not so well known is that the fruit of the forbidden tree was not intended to be eternally prohibited. Adam and Eve were created on Friday afternoon. They were instructed not to eat the fruit for only three hours, until Shabbat. Once Friday night had arrived, the fruit would have been theirs to enjoy. They lacked the self-control to delay that pleasure.
The 3 years that we wait before eating fruit of any tree is a reminder of the 3 hours that Adam and Eve did not wait to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
The delicacies of the world were given to us to enjoy. But self-control and discipline remind us that there is more to life than just eating delicious fruit. Creating boundaries around our indulgences helps create a focus and consciousness that there is a bigger picture. Enjoying life’s blessings is just a small part of an existence also filled with meaning, values and a higher purpose. Greed, lack of control, the need for instant gratification and hedonism are destructive, and create empty lives and purposeless existence. The delicious fruit trees are G-d’s gift to us. But the commandment to wait three years before enjoying them is an even greater gift, the gift of discipline and self-control.
-adapted from Rabbi Michoel Gourarie, www.chabad.org
Sharsheret Changes Lives Through Support
Sharsheret improves the lives of Jewish women and families living with or at increased genetic risk for breast or ovarian cancer through personalized support and saves lives through educational outreach. All programs are free, confidential, highly individualized, and equally accessible throughout the country.
NHBZ Sisterhood supports Sharsheret
For more information contact:
Sharsheret Supports STL
Together, Sharsheret Supports STL and the national Sharsheret organization provide the following support to the St. Louis Community:
- Local monthly breast and ovarian cancer support group: for women newly diagnosed, in active treatment, or post-treatment. Facilitated by a licensed Clinical Social Worker. Currently meeting via zoom.
- Peer Connection: Connects women diagnosed or at high risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer one-on-one with others who share similar diagnoses and experiences. Connections can be made anywhere in the country. Great way to remain anonymous yet not be alone.
- Busy Box: Educational material for parents to help guide their children through the cancer journey. Includes games and activities to occupy your children.
- Best Face Forward includes financial subsidies for non-medical needs (i.e. wigs)
- Family Focus provides support resources for family and caregivers.
- Customized survivorship kits for breast and ovarian cancer patients including a healthy eating kosher cookbook.
- Cultural competency programs (45-minute webinars) tailored to Health Care Professionals, Rabbinical Council, or Mikvah Attendants.
- And more. . .
Nobody should ever travel a cancer journey alone and Sharsheret can help break a feeling of isolation.
This is the final part in a series of four that describes this important resource… For information on Sharsheret Supports STL, including the free support and educational resources contact:
Debbi Braunstein, Program Supervisor,
Sharsheret Supports STL: 314-442-3266
Remember to Count the Omer …and to Make These Days Count
The Torah commands that from the second night of Passover until the day before the holiday of Shavuot, we, the Jewish people, engage in the unique mitzvah of Sefirat HaOmer (counting of the Omer) for seven complete weeks – 49 days. At the end of this time we celebrate Shavuot, which means “weeks.”
Why do we count these days? We learn several reasons. The foremost is that the count demonstrates our thrill for the impending occasion of receiving the Torah, celebrated on Shavuot. Just as a child often counts the days until the end of school or an upcoming family vacation, we count the days to show our excitement at again receiving the Torah (as we do in fact receive the Torah in a renewed sense every year).
We also learn that this period is meant to spiritually prepare and refine ourselves. When the Jewish people were in Egypt nearly 3,400 years ago, they had assimilated many of the immoral ways of the Egyptian people. The Jews had sunk to an unprecedented level of spiritual defilement and were on the brink of destruction. At the last possible moment, the children of Israel were miraculously redeemed. They underwent a spiritual rebirth and quickly ascended to the holiest collective state they had ever reached. They were so holy, in fact, that they were compared to angels when they stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah.
The commandments of the Torah are not meant merely as our history, but instead represent on ongoing life lesson for every Jew. We view the Torah as freshly received every day of our lives, and approach it and its commandments with appropriate vigor. So too must we digest the lesson of the counting of the Omer. It is specifically during this time that we strive to grow and mature in our spiritual state. The Torah does not allow us to become satisfied with our current level of spirituality. Instead it tells us to set high goals for ourselves, and then methodically strive to reach that goal.
The growth that occurs during this time is akin to a marathon. We pace ourselves and seek to improve day by day until we reach the day that we again receive the Torah. In this process, we look deep within ourselves and work on all of our negative attributes. If we are challenged in the realm of acts of kindness, we go out of our way to do more charitable works. If we are lacking in the area of justice, we hold ourselves to the highest possible standards and are exacting and demanding in our personal behavior and habits. And so it goes for all of our traits.
-adapted from Yeruchem Eilfort (www.chabad.org)
For information or to join Sisterhood, call the NHBZ office at 314-991-2100, ext. 3, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Never compromise your ideals.
Never give in to defeat or despair.
Never stop journeying merely because the way is long and hard.
It always is.
– Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Z”LVezot Ha’Bracha (5774) – Staying Young