Upcoming Events: Dates to Remember for August!

 

3  Kabbalat Shabbat

4  Saturday Service

10  Kabbalat Shabbat

11  Saturday Service

14  Temple Board Meeting

15  Breakfast Schmooze

17  Kabbalat Shabbat

18  Saturday Service

24  Kabbalat Shabbat

25  Saturday Service

26  Sunday School Registration

26 Sisterhood Fun Run

29 Hebrew School Starts

31 Kabbalat Shabbat (Last of Summer Schedule)

Sisterhood News!

As summer comes to an end and fall approaches, here are a few reminders about upcoming Sisterhood events.

Our 3rd Annual Fun Run will take place August 26 at 10:00 at the trail behind Drayton Lofts. Sunday School registration will be at 9:30 at the trail prior to the run. Donation is $15 per person and $50 for a family of 4 or more. RSVP by August 12 if you would like a t-shirt. Otherwise, you can RSVP up to August 22.

We are gearing up for the bake sale, which will take place on November 8. We hope that everyone will want to contribute either with donation, baked goods, or other food items that may be your specialty as well as helping with our community baking and setup. All help is appreciated whether or not you are a Sisterhood member.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Cheryl August

The Exile of Tishah B’Av: What Is It We’re Mourning?

Woman's hand on the Western Wall next to notes in a crevice

Exile is one of the preeminent themes of the Torah. From the outset of Genesis, Adam and Eve are exiled from the Garden of Eden. Abraham is called by God to “the land I will show you” but famine forces him to seek refuge in Egypt. Joseph is sold off to Egypt, where, at the end of his life, he makes his family promise, “When God has taken notice of you, carry up my bones from here” (Gen. 50:25). The remainder of the Torah – all of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – charts Israel’s pursuit of a path back home.

Jewish history works in similar cycles of dispersion and return. David and Solomon established a kingdom and a Temple in Jerusalem, but these were demolished in 586 B.C.E. and the survivors of Judah were deported eastward. They longed for Zion by the rivers of Babylon. A generation later, a remnant returned and rebuilt the kingdom and its Temple in Jerusalem. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E., and again the Jews became a people in exile. For centuries, Jews built Diaspora communities even as stragglers returned to the Land, to pray or to die there. The advent of Zionism in the 19th century marked our most dramatic effort since the days of the Bible to return home.

We have known different kinds of exile. There is political exile – distance from our physical home – and there is spiritual exile – distance from our spiritual Source. Zionism sought to put an end to the political state of exile, but spiritual exile continues to be our existential reality everywhere, including in the Land of Israel.

The fast of the 9th of Av – “Tishah B’Av” – is devoted to reflection on what it means to live in exile. The shorthand is that it is the date when both the First and Second Temples were destroyed.

But Tishah B’Av isn’t only about history, just as Passover and Hanukkah are not “only” about history. The genius of the rabbis who shaped Judaism is in the way they spiritualized history and filled it with religious meaning for subsequent generations.

Thus, the events of Tishah B’Av aren’t simply understood as historical calamities. After all, catastrophes have befallen the Jewish people on every day of the calendar year. But they are signposts for a religious condition:

  1. Exile from the homeland
  2. Exile from God
  3. Exile from one another

This is the great secret of Tishah B’Av: The last two are really one. Because in Judaism’s religious humanism (or humanistic religion?), distance from other people necessarily results in distance from God:

Why was the First Temple destroyed?
Because of three things: idolatry, sexual immorality, and bloodshed….
But the Second Temple – when people were occupied with Torah, mitzvot, and gemilut chasadim (acts of lovingkindness) –
Why was it destroyed?
Because of senseless hatred (sinat chinam).
(Talmud, Yoma 9b)

Consider the theological outlook the Talmud is teaching. The First Temple stood at a time of rampant perversion and hypocrisy, so naturally (in the rabbinic mindset) it was lost. But the Second Temple stood during centuries that were recalled for Torah and adherence to mitzvot (commandments). Why would God allow it to be destroyed?

The answer, says the Talmud, is because of rampant hatred that existed among the Jews – even as they were living according to the letter of the Law. Service to God in the Temple was not meant to be performed with hate in their hearts.

The Temple was designed to be a place of intimacy – between God and the People, and between and among the people who gathered there. As people became estranged from one another – when they could no longer see the image of God in the face of the person opposite them – then their worship and the Temple itself became hollow. An institution based on lies and hypocrisies cannot stand. Made as inconsequential as a piece of tissue paper, it is as if God thoughtlessly crumpled it up and tossed it aside – because, spiritually speaking, it was already destroyed. The assault of the Romans was just a final punctuation mark.

The astonishing lesson of the Torah is that only one creation is made “in the image of God” – human beings. To treat other people with contempt or disgust or hate is to treat God’s only image that way. As a result, estrangement from one another and estrangement from God are intertwined.

The Tishah B’Av fast marks a sad reality: this is the world in which we live, each in our own isolated cones with our own preoccupations and nursing our own hurts. This scenario illustrates what it means to live in exile; exile is the metaphysical sense of being alone, and it is our own doing.

If we find it hard to mourn the loss of “The Temple” on Tishah B’Av, no matter; mourn for something else.

Mourn for our distance from God.

Mourn for our distance from each other.

Sisterhood Update for June!

 

Hopefully, this will find every- one drying out from all our rain and maybe enjoying some sunshine.

Sisterhood has a few things planned for the summer. There will be a general meeting on June 21 at 6:00 pm at The Standard restaurant located at Drayton Lofts. This is an important meeting as we have a financial decision to be made regarding our annuity and need to have a quorum for a vote. If you plan to attend, please contact me by email at caaugust@windstream.net, home phone at 828-894-0413, or by cell 828-817-3893 by June 19. Come out for a social evening with other sisterhood members.

We are also having our annual Fun Run on August 26, which is the first day of Sunday School. Please note that registration for Sunday School will take place prior to the run at the site at 9:30 rather than at the Temple. You will find a flyer included in this Temple Topics. We hope to see you there again this year to support Sisterhood.

Also, we are participating in Honey from the Heart again this year. A flyer and order form are included in this Temple Topics. We hope you will again want to send some sweet wishes to family and friends by ordering honey.

Mark November 8 on your calendar, as that is the date for our bake sale. We hope to have another good year of support from everyone in the congregation to make it even more successful than last year. More infor- mation will be coming in future Temple Topics.

Have a good summer Cheryl August