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President's Message 4.21.22

Dear friends,

While it’s still Pesach, I’m going to share a brief insight about the holiday. (I’m giving credit to my brother who shared it with me but any errors in this are entirely on me.) 
If you’ve noticed, the first day of Pesach is always the same day as Tishah B’Av. On the surface, the holidays could not be more different: one teaches us about the miracle of the Exodus from Egypt, while the other has us remember the destruction of both Temples. What is the uniting factor?  We have to go back to the origins. 
We are taught that the destruction of the Temple was ultimately caused by Sinat Chinam, "groundless hatred." Jew hating Jew. If we trace back the path of how the Jewish people got to Egypt, we eventually get to the story of Joseph and his brothers. Sinat Chinam caused Joseph to find himself in Egypt after being thrown in the pit, and Joseph’s rise to power eventually brought Jacob and his family to Egypt. Sinat Chinam is the cause of so much of our misfortune, and our continuing exile. May we be able to identify it in our own lives and thereby conquer it and bring about a brighter future for all. 
• • • 

Speaking about bright futures, the Seudat Moshiach is this Shabbat after Minchah, at 7:25 pm. All are welcome and it’s free but please RSVP to ​​​​​
Right after the Chag, the board will pick up again on plans for the Annual Dinner and the items it started tackling last month: the Ritual Committee, kiddushes, safety and security, job descriptions and the hiring of staff to help with the running of the building and programming.  
We have also been thinking of some guest speakers and I’m still pushing for a Rosh Chodesh BBQ event. We’ll see what we can get off the ground and will alert everyone when things are finalized. 
Keep an eye out for the 2022 dues invoices, which will finally be sent out next week, and please pay them promptly.

Daily Shacharit Minyan attendees: on Rosh Chodesh and Chol Chamoed, please be present and ready to start right at 7:45 am. On days with a Torah reading + Hallel the service is longer than usual and needs to be concluded before people walk into their offices. Your efforts on this front are much appreciated.
Continued thanks to everyone who has given me ideas and input. All ideas and constructive criticism are welcome. You can email or text or WhatsApp me or 917-620-8762.

Wishing everyone a Chag kasher v’sameach and Good Shabbos,

Steven Inker

Rabbi Raskin video: The Final Redemption, Moshiach's Meal

Bnai Avraham will end Pesach on a high note. Everyone is invited to join the shul's annual Meal of Moshiach — this Saturday, April 23, at 7 pm, in the shul's kiddush room. [Archived video.]

President's message: Erev Pesach

Dear friends,

Since we're all busy cleaning and cooking and cleaning some more, here’s a very brief idea about Passover. 

In the Torah, the holiday is always referred to as Chag haMatzot. Rabbi Chaim Volozhiner explains it this way: the letters in the words matzot and mitzvot are the same. Thinking about the rewards we can earn by doing more mitzvot, while noble, misses the point of the holiday. Focusing on the “Passover," how G-d "passed over" and spared us, refocuses us on the gifts that G-d has given to us. We need to be grateful and appreciate what we have, not just  focus on the rewards we can earn. 

Being grateful sums up Passover. We are grateful to have Seders both days in shul, organized and led by the Rabbi and Shternie. We will have our two minyanim as well, for both the first days and the last days. There is no other pressing news to report so I just want to wish everyone a Chag Kasher v’Sameach.

Steven Inker

President's message Metzora 4.8.22

Dear friends,

Parshat Metzora continues with the rules of tzara'at and Lashon Harah, but I was very happy to see that Rabbi Sacks is beginning to concentrate on the positives in Metzora. We often learn that the Torah only delivers punishments, diseases and the like after it has provided a cure or a remedy.  

We have already learned about Lashon HaRah and now we can turn to Lashon Hatov. Rabbi Sacks equates Lashon Hatov with praise, but differentiates between praising efforts and praising gifts. Gifts are innate - their presence is passive. Effort is more praiseworthy because work is required.

We learn in Mishna Avot to "raise up many disciples." Rabbi Sacks argues that accumulating disciples is easy: it doesn't take much to make followers, who are uncritical devotees. It is much harder to praise your followers' efforts to become creative intellects in their own right. According to Hillel in the same Mishna, “he who does not increase his knowledge loses it." Praising efforts to learn, grow and think, not simply to passively accept, is the lesson for all relationships, both for the teacher and the student. A little praise goes a long way. (The complete dvar torah  is here.)

• • • 

In terms of praiseworthy acts, my personal thanks and gratitude this week go to Margie Golden, for her very generous sponsorship of the air purifier that was installed this week in the kiddush room. A gift that benefits us all, and allows us to enjoy the new chandeliers in the kiddush room with increased comfort and security.

Pesach is just around the corner. There are still seats available at the Sedarim in the Shul, led by Rabbi and Shternie Raskin, but please make reservations as soon as possible to ensure your spot. All of the Passover links are on the shul website:

All who are available to make the weekday minyanim, please attend at 7:45 am for Shacharit and 8 pm for Maariv. Many depend on the minyan to say Kaddish, and appreciate the opportunity to daven with a minyan, especially after the long period when we could not convene in person. Your participation is important; thanks.

I look forward to seeing all of you in Shul on Shabbat and next week for Pesach, and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Shabbat Shalom and a Chag Kasher V'Sameach.

Steven Inker

Fri, July 1 2022 2 Tammuz 5782