From the desk of The Rabbi – Parashat Yitro: Rashi comments that the unity of the tribes of Israel as depicted in the encampment at the base of Mt. Sinai is indicative of an aspiration that the Jews be one people with one heart. In other words, the unity that the Children of Israel experience at the time of the giving of the Torah should not remain a singular event, never to be repeated. While slogans and chants declare us to be one nation, unity has not been achieved since this moment at Mt. Sinai.Differences abound among many groups of Jewish people. Denominationally, we are divided. Even, and maybe especially, among orthodox Jews, schisms that have developed over the years in various communities. On the one hand, we can indeed celebrate unity through diversity, but on the other hand, legitimate differences within Jewish society tend to become open wounds within that fail to heal.
But there is one aspect of Jewish existence that has served the Jewish community well throughout the years that overrides and overcomes differences and divisions. We refer to the acts of Chesed that people perform for each other.
Denominational differences become irrelevant. Chesed knows no denominational demarcation.â€™ All people benefit from these selfless acts, and the community at large prospers as a result. Some may call these acts of Chesed, Tikkun Olam, but the bottom line is that despite differences, we can find some commonality among disparate groups to reflect on the Am Echad, Lev Echad, one nation, one heart that Rashi enunciates at the beginning of Chapter 19 of Shemot, or Exodus.
This coming Sunday, the Ottawa Jewish community will be participating in the Federation sponsored program of Mitzvah Day, a day dedicated to the performance of acts of Chesed and other mitzvoth that benefit our society. The Am Echad, Lev Echad concepts come through very successfully on Mitzvah Day.
In addition, this weekend we will be remembering our beloved rabbi and teacher, Rabbi Yehuda Simes, zt’l, through a special seudah shelishit program on Shabbat and on Sunday afternoon with a roster of speakers paying tribute to Rabbi Simes, who exemplified Torah and Chesed.
Mishna Berurah – 7:30 Tuesday nights
Continuing this week – Shema and Its Blessings
This week’s challenge questions:
1. Can you tell time? When is the end of the third hour of the day?
2. When is the absolute best time to say the Shema in the morning?
Rabbi Yehuda Simes zt”l Sefer Torah
We have been so pleased with the response to Rabbi Yehuda Simes ztâ€l Torah Project and with the responses so far. We wanted to share with you the launch of a dedicated website for friends in the United States to help us reach our goal. https://www.jewcer.org/project/rabbisimestorahproject/We hope you will support this worthy initiative and help us spread the word to all those who knew Rabbi Simes.Please share this link with your family, friends and people who knew Rabbi Simes and who live in the US.
The Rabbi Simes Torah Project is a celebration of the man who positively affected so many lives. His lasting influence on the Ottawa Jewish community and his Congregation is immeasurable. Rabbi Simes loved his family. He loved Judaism. He loved his community and he loved learning.
A Torah scroll dedicated in his memory will honour his love of teaching, learning and commitment to a life of Torah. This Sefer Torah will be housed at Beit Tikvah, the shul Rabbi Simes attended. In recognition of the fact that Rabbi Simes reached the entire community, the Sefer Torah will be made available and brought to other locations for Simchas and sadly, during times of sorrow.
Help us reach our goal. Donations can be made by Interac eTransfer, cheque, credit card, and PayPal or by calling the Shul office at 613-723-1800.
Donations: * General Donations: $18
* Siddurim: Koren/Artscroll $50
* Koren Talmud Bavli: $100
* Wall of Honour/brick: $118
JFS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: JFS is in need of Friendly Visitors for a few clients. All are isolated seniors in need of a little companionship, whether visits at home, over the phone, or going on outings. Some will be replacements for volunteers gone south for the winter. Students welcome. Commitment is for only 1 hour at a time, every week or twice a month. East and West end locations. 613.722.2225, ext.315 to help. ESL teacher needed beginning January 2018. Beginners’ conversational English for Russian-speaking seniors, on Mondays 1:00-2:30pm, at JFS on Carling Ave. Lesson prep, room set-up/clean up, and attendance taking. Occasional replacement for 10:30am-12 class, as well. Conversational Russian an asset, but not required. Call 613.722.2225, ext. 315 to volunteer. Russian-speaking volunteer needed to help plan and organize monthly day trips, cultural activities, picnics, and potlucks for Russian-speaking seniors. To help, please call Gohar at 613.722.2225, ext.425. Drivers urgently needed to transport clients to/from Adult Day Programs, medical appointments, and social programs. All areas of the city needed. 613.722.2225, ext.315.JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES: Parenting in the 21st C: Free 3-Part Parenting Series for Jewish Families NEW! Tuesdays, February 6 to February 20, 6:30 – 8 pm. Is parenting leaving you feeling frustrated? Confused? Worried? Do you wonder about how to set limits? How to manage your teen’s moods, your child’s outbursts? Do you feel disrespected as a parent? Come and meet with other parents as our in-house clinical experts share some knowledge and suggestions on how to feel more confident in parenting. Rabbi Tanger will be in attendance. Pareve refreshments will be served. Sessions are free, child minding available. Contact Quinn at email@example.com. 2255 Carling Ave., Suite 300.
OTTAWA KOSHER FOOD BANK: Looking for empty resealable egg cartons to be used for the OKFB food distributions. Please contact Michelle for further information at 613-728-3501 x 235 or drop them off at the OKFB office.