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August 17, 2006 - Image 44

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-08-17

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To Life!




Sharing God's
Gifts With All


Shabbat Reeh:
Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17;
Isaiah 54:11-55:5.


n this week's Torah
Torah-true joy is not pos-
portion, Moshe
sible for anyone as long
continues his final
as there are those who
address to the Jewish peo-
lack the means to rejoice.
ple in the last weeks before
Celebrating before God is
his death and the begin-
not simply selfishly enjoy-
ning of their conquest of
ing what God has granted
the Promised Land.
us, but sharing God's
He discusses free will,
gifts with all (especially
idolatry, the central loca-
those without) just as God
tion for sacrifices (eventu-
shares His bounty with
Rabbi Eliezer
ally it will be the Temple in
us. Real joy is bringing
Jerusalem), false prophets,
and sharing with those
Special to the
apostasy, kosher and non-
otherwise have no
Jewish News
kosher species, tithes,
the sabbatical year, the poor, slavery,
Furthermore, in our Torah portion
firstborns and, finally, the pilgrimage
that seems to deal primarily with sac-
rifices and ritual matters relating to
Several of these topics include
serving God, it is particularly striking
verses that bid the Jew to celebrate
how caring for the needs of the poor,
and rejoice. We are told to rejoice on
the slaves and the needy is mixed in
the festivals (Deuteronomy 16:14),
throughout the portion. It is as if the
Torah is
teaching us
that real ser-
vice to God
must also
include our
when we eat the second tithe (14:26)
service and care for our fellow man.
and when we eat the festival sacrifices This message, emphasized so much by
(16:11). Likewise, when first-born ani- the prophets, is clearly the message of
mals and the tithes (12:18) or the sac- our Torah portion, too. How wonder-
rifices or offerings (T'ruma) (12:12)
ful it would be if we but heard and
are enjoyed by the appropriate people,
heeded such a message.
the Torah commands them to rejoice
Eliezer Cohen is rabbi of Congregation Or
and celebrate God's beneficence.
Chadash of Oak Park-Huntington Woods.
What is striking is that in every
one of these verses (as well as in
Deuteronomy 26:11 regarding the
first-fruits) — the verses in the Torah
that mandate a joyous celebration —
Why should the Torah make
the rejoicing is not limited to the indi-
our rejoicing dependent
vidual involved. The Torah requires
upon the bringing of joy to
that the joy of the occasion be shared
the needy? Why should the
with one's family as well as with those
individual's joy always be
who are disadvantaged. Over and over
connected to his family?
again we are commanded to celebrate
In what other ways does
— not only ourselves but also with
Parsha Reeh deal with
our children, the slaves, the poor
the needy (particularly
Levite, the orphan, the widow and
Deuteronomy 25:1-18)?
even "the alien."
The Torah makes it clear that real

Real joy is sharing with the needy
who otherwise have no joy.


August 17 • 2006

JOIN interns Rachel Kay, Jeana Beneson and Carly Wine climb the

rock wall during a tour of Friendship Circle's Life Town program.

Priceless Intangibles

Summer interns find a different value
at local Jewish agencies.

Reisa Shanaman

Special to the Jewish News


n business, the bottom line has to
do with revenue, and making as
much of it as possible. Through
the Metro Detroit-based Jeanette
and Oscar Cook Jewish Occupational
Intern Program (JOIN) I, along with
13 other Jewish, undergraduate stu-
dents, learned about a different bot-
tom line, one in which "revenue" is
intangible, priceless and absolutely
Our summer experience renewed in
each of us a sense of Jewish identity
and pride. From visiting Hebrew Free
Loan and learning that a Jew is never
to charge interest to another Jew, to
the emphasis put on the respect and
dignity of every human being, regard-
less of age, ability or race, we are truly
a people of compassion and empathy.
The people I met through this
internship will never truly know the
effects they had on me. Van rides and
dinner visits within my own agency
allowed opportunities for me to get to
know our staff. We spoke freely of big-
otry and hate, family and the impor-
tance of education.
My fellow interns and I were
involved in open discussions about
inter-dating and the Torah; dialogues
in which no one felt belittled or
attacked for their opinions. We met
with influential people in the Jewish

community who welcomed us with
open arms (and often refreshments)!
People who, down the line, will prove
to be valuable contacts and meaning-
ful mentors.
From visiting the Holocaust
Memorial Center to speaking with
representatives from the Jewish
News, Jewish Family Service, the
Jewish Community Center, the Jewish
Federation and other Jewish commu-
nal agencies, we became well-versed
in the resources and programs avail-
able within the community. Volunteer
options and involvement in the Jewish
Literacy Coalition gave us opportuni-
ties to try our hand at working with
a population other than those within
our own respective agencies.
With the current turmoil in Israel
a constant on all of our minds, it is
imperative that we, as the future lead-
ers of the Jewish community, continue
to contribute our efforts, energy,
talents and time. The JOIN program
has equipped us with the knowledge,
the power and, most importantly, the
drive to be active members of the
Jewish community in order to ensure
that our brothers and sisters in need
will always have caring agencies to
which they may turn for support.
JOIN is administered by JVS. During
its 26 years, more than 300 college
students have participated. Today,
some of these former interns are lead-
ers at our communal agencies and

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