Join Rabbi Yossi liebowitz and company for our Friday night live Kabbalat Shabbat November 6th 6 p.m.
The problem with believing in angels!
“Truth is stranger than fiction” is a widely used observation first made famous by the poet Byron in his work Don Juan (1823) and later cited by writers from Mark Twain to novelist Margaret Echard. (Before I wake 1943).
In an age in which truth is under attack as fake news and in which unsubstantiated conspiracy theories abound, it becomes more and more difficult to trust the great tales that come our way. Over the years I have made it a habit of reviewing Holocaust stories, many of which are miraculous and life inspiring. Included among them are tales about husbands and wives, cousins and friends, often assumed by one another to be deceased who decades later find each other. For decades Israeli newspapers and radio shows would send out calls and notices by one survivor after another in search of lost loved ones. On this you tube is one such moving tale about two reunited cousins which made it to the evening news; Click Here To Link
A college friend of mine was born in a Displaced Persons camp with his fraternal twin brother after his surviving parents were reunited. He told me of another friend, who came to Israel as a young boy after the Holocaust as an orphan, convinced that his parents were deceased. So he thought! One day, as his friend was walking the streets of Tel Aviv in 1965 he saw an elderly couple walking hand in hand, his parents who likewise thought that their little son was dead. One cannot adequately describe the depth of emotion as the parents and child were reunited. As Jews we are not immune to the tragedy of lost parents, children and friends. Our Holocaust legacy has sadly found parallel in the current accounts of Mexican children separated from their parents. We Jews feel kinship with so many who have suffered. Below is the tale of Clara Brown which I share in anticipation of next year’s Black History month. We are well advised to celebrate that history along with the heritage of others. It is a bittersweet tale which confirms once more that “truth is stranger than fiction!”
Rabbi Yossi J. Liebowitz D.D.
Clara Brown (c. 1800 –October, 1885) was a kind-hearted, generous woman whose determination led her on a life-long quest to be reunited with her daughter. Born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia in 1803, her earliest memory was of being sold on the auction block. She grew up in Logan County, Kentucky, married at age 18, and had four children. At age 36 her master, Ambrose Smith, died and her family was sold off to settle his estate. Despite her continued enslavement, Clara Brown vowed to search for her ten-year-old daughter, Eliza Jane. For twenty years Clara worked for George Brown raising her new master’s children instead of her own.
In 1856 she was freed upon Master Brown’s death allowing her, at age 53, to set out to find her daughter. Three years of searching in Kentucky, Missouri, and Kansas proved fruitless. Clara thought that perhaps Eliza Jane had joined the multitude of people that had gone to Pikes Peak hoping to find gold. Thus Clara’s search took her 700 miles west to the Colorado Territory gold fields. She had secured a job as a cook on a wagon train in exchange for the free transportation of her laundry pots.
Her wagon train arrived in Cherry Creek, which was comprised of the rival twin cities of Denver and Auraria. There she set up a laundry business to serve the miners. After six months Clara left Denver and set up business in Mountain City (later Central City). Brown invested her earnings in real estate and acquired a small fortune. She became known in the community as “Aunt Clara” as she provided food, shelter, and nursing care to the townspeople.
When the Civil War ended in 1865 Clara Brown returned east, first to Logan County, Kentucky and then, Sumner County, Tennessee in search of her daughter Eliza Jane. Brown offered her $10,000 in savings and earnings as a reward for news of her daughter. When her search proved unsuccessful Brown returned to Gilpin County, Colorado, bringing with her impoverished freed people she had befriended. In 1879, at the age of 76, Brown traveled to Kansas as an official representative of Colorado’s Governor Frederick Walker Pitkin who had offered to assist thousands of destitute “Exodusters” to relocate in Colorado. Clara Brown’s continual search for her daughter, her support for local churches and charities, and her financial assistance to young women who were educated at Oberlin College in Ohio eliminated most of her wealth.
In February 1882, however, when Brown was almost 80 years old, she received news that her daughter, Eliza Jane had been located in Iowa. In 1884 79-year-old Brown traveled to Iowa to reunite with her 56-year-old daughter. The same year Brown became the first woman member of the Colorado Pioneer Association which also provided a stipend for her lifetime of good works. Clara Brown died in Denver, Colorado in 1885. Slightly over a century later Brown was inducted into the Colorado Woman’s Hall of Fame in 1989.
Join Rabbi Yossi and others for our Friday Night live Kabbalat service October 16 6:00 p.m.
Richard Feynman and new beginnings and Genesis – Braysheet
As I was raised in a Yiddish speaking home, I was blessed with various colorful expressions, most of which were a little bit R-rated. This one was not! Mitn derinin! It roughly translate as “In the middle of it all!” As in you finally settle down for dinner after a long day and Mitn derinin! The phone rings and it is a long-lost cousin who just so happens to be in the neighborhood and wants to come over a visit. Or, you have just paid all your bills for the month. You breathe a sigh of relief and Mitn derinin! The car breaks down. This expression was always followed by another expression, “I need this like a lochen cup that is to say like “a hole in my head!”
At this time of writing, Yom Kippur is just a mere six days away. I am mindful of all the efforts that have been made to make possible our services, albeit remotely. Mauro (and if you will forgive a filial boast) my son Avi have been techno wizards, allowing us to do the best we can with what are incredibly difficult times of the pandemic. I also wish to acknowledge Dr. Mark Packer, Sharon, and our President who were Johnny on the Spot showing up and supporting these liturgical efforts. A big shout out does go to Lynn Strait and Nancy Rosenberg who served tirelessly as readers. (Not to forget our Shofar sounder Dr. Britanisky!) A last note goes out to Jan, our office administrator who in addition to putting up with Rabbinical gyrations and improvisations made possible the mailings, emails, and more. There are others, board members, flower providers that warrant acknowledgement and thanks. I list only a few for fear of neglecting one or more.
Mitn derinin! No sooner does Yom Kippur draw to a close, we are bid to start preparing for Sukkot. What a crazy calendar! Yet from a spiritual point of view, the Yamim Noraim, the High Holy Days require the balance that is Sukkot, a holiday characterized by a certain degree of melancholy coupled with gratitude for what we have. We move from the harsh imperative to repent to a degree of acceptance of our human condition. (Ecclesiastes – Kohelet tempered our existential need to change with a mood-altering view that “all is vanity, like a breath,” which fades away.
One other yin to yang of these holidays is of course the fact that we deny sustenance on Yom Kippur but indulge on Sukkot, a holiday of abundance. (I look forward to your being with us on October 9th for our Sukkot Simchat Torah Drive in dinner and celebration. See page 7) This balance is quite needed in these unbalanced times. I once took a quiz in which a young man was a crossing a bridge. He noticed a sign that forbade anyone weighing more than a hundred and fifty pounds. He weighed a fairly light one hundred and forty pounds. He was on a mission to bring to the King three valuable jewels, each of which weighed five pounds each. Oy! What did he do? He crossed bridge juggling the three jewels so that at no time he held more than two of the jewels.
I pray and hope that all of you will find balance in the days ahead, given all the challenges we face. May it be so that our heritage which has stood the test of time will bring you a sense of purpose and peace in the days ahead, health and happiness to as well!
Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz, D.D.
Erev Rosh Hashanah: Friday, September 18, 2020, 7:30 pm Traditional Musaf
Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Morning: Saturday, September 19, 10:00 am Traditional Musaf follows
1:00 Story Time & Family Service with Religious School-FB Live 2:00 Zoom session discussion with Rabbi Liebowitz, How can we
find Rosh Hashanah renewal at a time of fear? (Look for the link to be sent via email.)
*Rosh Hashanah Day 2: Sunday, September 20, 2020, 10:00 am
“If a person uses broken vessels, it is considered an embarrassment. But God seeks out broken vessels for his use, as it says, ‘God is the healer of shattered hearts.’ Vayikra Rabba 7:2
We live in a broken time; lives have been taken, jobs have been lost, and faith in our institutions has waned.
At times I think the last of these broken realities is perhaps the harshest of all. As a well-known saying goes: “Man
can live 40 days without food, three days without water, eight minutes without air, but only one second without hope.” The great psychologist and Survivor of the Shoah, Victor Frankel, reflected as much in his landmark book Man’s Search for Meaning: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances—to choose one’s own way.” And what was that way? The way was to maintain a sense of hope, and from that would spring our yearning for life and its meaning. Meaning can be found through giving something back to the world, altering our attitudes. Many of his thoughts found expression in his practice of Logotherapy.
Some practical suggestions were articulated by the writer Arlin Cuncic. She urges that we apply these efforts our daily lives:
• Create something for creating something (e.g., art) gives you a sense of purpose.
• Develop relationships. The supportive nature of spending time with others will help you to develop more of a sense of meaning in your life. (more difficult in this Zoom world)
Our people have from time immemorial been practiced in looking for hope. No mistake that the National Anthem of Israel and of all Israel is Hatikva – The Hope. I pray we will all find hope in the New Year – the time of renewal, a time of anticipation for a better world, a world that God dreamed of us creating from the beginning of time. May the words of the Psalmist resonate in each and every heart! And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. (Psalm 39:7)
L’Shana Tova Tikateivu!
May you be written for goodness in the coming year 5781!
Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz D.D.
September 2020 Service Schedule
See page 7 for High Holiday service dates and times.
Until further notice, services will be at 6:00 via Facebook Live on the Congregation B’nai Israel Facebook page. If you cannot make the “live” service, it will be available to watch any time at your conven- ience. This is the link to the Temple’s Facebook Page
Simply go to the page at 6:00 and click on the live video to view. Saturday morning Torah studies will be held via Skype at 10:00 am
Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur Eve: Sunday, September 27, 2020, 7:30 pm
Yom Kippur Morning: Monday, September 28, 2020, 10:00 am Traditional Musaf
2:00 Zoom session discussion with Rabbi Liebowitz, Who by Fire-Who by Water? Do we still believe in the idea of Reward and Punishment? (Look for the link to be sent out via email.)
Yom Kippur Afternoon: Monday, September 28, 2020,
3:30 Story Time & Family Service Via Zoom
4:00 pm Torah Service
4:30 pm Afternoon Martyrology 5:15 pm Yizkor
6:00 pm Neilah