D’var Torah for October 25, 2019

This week we will be reading from Parashat Beresheet, the first Torah portion of the year. Beresheet is all about new beginnings. With that in mind, we are beginning the year with important and significant events here and in our community.
The first is our Scholar-in-Residence weekend with Rabbi Amy Scheinerman. Rabbi Scheinerman comes to us from the greater Baltimore area where she serves as the hospice rabbi in Howard County. She is also a brilliant scholar and a teacher. Rabbi Scheinerman is engaging, entertaining. She is also the author of two recent releases, The Talmud of Relationships Volumes One and Two.
One of the reasons why we are bringing Rabbi Scheinerman in is because of our commitment to continue expanding our adult learning experiences. Aside from our weekly offerings of Torah Topics (on Thursdays) and Taste of Torah (on Shabbat morning), we offer monthly classes, films, and lectures.
So, if you are looking for a good time to begin or continue your life long Jewish learning goals, please join us at one, two or all of the events this weekend with Rabbi Scheinerman. All of them are free, except the dinner tonight which is $10/person. Please let us know if you are coming for the dinner, otherwise we hope to see you at the following events where Rabbi Scheinerman will be speaking: Shabbat Evening services at 7:30pm, Taste of Torah Saturday morning at 9:00am, Shabbat morning services at 10:30am, Saturday afternoon at 4:00pm for a wine and cheese reception with a discussion on Women’s Voices in Tradition and/or Sunday morning at 9:00am with a breakfast and presentation on Kibub Av v’Aim and the Sandwich Generation.
In addition, many of you have expressed concern over issues related to my Yom Kippur sermon on topics including antisemitism, the Ultra-Orthodox, and Rockland County. To this end, I would like to let you know about an upcoming event with an organization I am involved with, The Rockland Clergy for Social Justice (RCSJ). This organization predates my time in Rockland. It was created to fight for justice for the East Ramapo School District.
On Monday night October 28th at 6:30pm, the RCSJ will be holding a meeting entitled: The East Ramapo Crisis: Five Years Later (after the unfulfilled Greenberg Report). It will be taking place at Rockland Community College in the Technology Center Ellipse. We are expecting a number of state legislators to attend, and we would like you to join the RCSJ in encouraging our representatives to vote on the East Ramapo Legislation.
The meeting will likely be the best shot we have to encourage the passing of East Ramapo legislation this coming session in Albany. Last June, the Assembly approved a bill for a monitor with veto power for the Hempstead school district, (Greenberg\’s recommendation for East Ramapo in 2015), unfortunately the Senate refused to allow a vote.
Even though the High Holy Days are all done, we very much have a tremendous amount going on at our congregation. It is part of our commitment to lifelong learning and being a force for positive change in our community. And what better ways to start our 5780 than with opportunities for new beginnings.
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Benjamin Sharff