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President's Message: Lech Lecha

Dear friends,

This week's Parsha, Lech Lecha, introduces us to our forefather, Avraham, and his journey of discovery. Avraham is told to leave his father's house, his country, to go to the land that Hashem will show him. It is curious that Avraham is told to move away, but is not told where, exactly, to go.  

In his commentary on the Parsha, Rabbi Lam explains that by not giving a destination, Avraham is forced to focus on the journey. The importance of the journey is a theme that is repeated in so many aspects of our relationship with Hashem. When we pray, the goal is not to get to the end first, but to have a more meaningful experience. 

The learning of all of the Talmud in Daf Yomi takes 7-1/2 years. Secular culture has picked up similar themes, telling people to slow down and smell the roses. We can miss so many things in a single-minded quest to achieve a goal. We don't see the obstacles in the road that mess us up, or the detours that can enhance our experience. Getting to one's goal faster is often the wrong way to go. The complete text is here. 
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This week, we have the pleasure of hosting a Shabbaton with Rabbi Shais Taub. Rabbi Taub will be speaking at the dinner Friday night (“The Romantic Story of Existence”), Shabbat morning at 11:30 (“Avraham Avinu and the Internet Echo Chamber”) and Shabbat afternoon at 5:20 (“Memory, Consciousness and the Afterlife”). Please make every effort to attend. 

Next week, the Shabbos Project comes to B’nai Avraham! Special kiddushes and speakers are in store. Details to follow.

Our second Israel lecture is coming up on Sunday, Nov. 13 at noon. We’ll hear Michael Bassin live from Israel. He’s an Israeli businessman speaking about his life spent studying and working openly as a Jew in several Arab countries, and as a combat Arabic translator with the IDF. It promises to be a very interesting discussion. It’s free but please reserve here ​​​​​​​and tell us if you’re coming in person on watching remotely. A light Israeli lunch will be served at 11:30.

In additions to these events, we have a new weekly series that began this past week, led by Rabbi Yankel Raskin on Halacha on Mondays at 8:15. The class is open to all. No prior knowledge is needed.

A survey about the mechitzah placement should be coming out this week to members. The purpose is to get a sense everyone’s preference regarding the orientation of the room. All comments will be reviewed by the Ritual Committee and reported to the Board. The minutes of the previous Board meeting will also be going out to members next week.

The Board is still in the process of finalizing a Board slate for the upcoming election. The date for the meeting and election, the Board slate and the voting protocols will be sent out as soon as the process is completed. There is still time to offer names for consideration to me or to any Officer or Board member.

Wishing you all a peaceful and meaningful Shabbat Shalom,

Steven Inker

Tue, December 5 2023 22 Kislev 5784