For A Life
Shabbat Behar-Bechukotai: Leviticus
25:1-27:34; Jeremiah 16:19-17:14.
We now are at a crossroads. We are
he words of this week's Torah
heading into Numbers, the Book of
portion are difficult to hear.
BaMidbar, or "into the wilderness."
We are told that we face
In the wilderness, we will encoun-
again the choices to ally ourselves
ter hostile nations; we will be faced
with our Jewish people and to follow
with tough physical conditions; our
God's ways. If we follow the com-
resolve, Moses' leadership,
mandments, we will be
and our ability to be cohe-
blessed; if we stray from
sive will be tested.
the commandments, we
God will be leading us
will be cursed.
through the wilderness.
The blessings and the
But, we are like children
curses rain down, and
at the intersection. We are
they are quite a deluge. We
immature and impulsive.
can be blessed in only five
God is like our parent, con-
ways, but we can be cursed
cerned that we will hurt
in 32 ways. Oy!
ourselves. And so, like a
The God that gives us
parent in a dangerous set-
these directives is a not the
Specia I to the
ting, God knows this is not
kind, loving God that we
the time for a long, ratio-
try to reach in moments of
spirituality. This is a judg-
Instead, we hear the barrage of
mental God, the God who insists on
bad things that can happen to us if
we don't stick together, if we don't
How have we gotten to this junc-
remember to be holy, if we forget the
authority of God.
Part of the answer lies in who we
Later, God can be more kind, more
were as a Jewish people at this point.
gentle, the still, small voice. Here, we
Part of the answer is in the celestial
need God's overbearing nature.
realm, in the hands of the Eternal.
The good news is that we do grow
Our Torah portion is at the very
up. We did as a people, and we do as
end of the book of Leviticus, which
in itself is a compendium of a huge
variety of Jewish laws related to holi-
Keren Alpert is a rabbinic associate at
ness. We learned how to be holy in
Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Township.
our daily life, through our business
practices, our treatment of strangers
and our compassion for those who
How do we retain holiness and
have physical challenges.
time in our lives? How can
The variety of laws in
we create holy space and holy
touched on many aspects of how we
time so that we can still hear the
conduct ourselves as a society, by
voice of G-d? What are the bless-
taking care of the most marginalized
ings that we receive by remaining
and retaining a sense of the sacred,
connected to our Judaism?
represented by holy people, holy
places and holy times.
Daniel Gross will
be joining the staff
of Adat Shalom
Farmington Hills in
July as the congrega-
tion's new cantor.
Gross grew up in St. Louis, Mo. In
1998, he graduated cum laude with
a bachelor of arts in music from the
University of Pennsylvania. At the
Manhattan School of Music he earned a
master of music degree in 2000, followed
by an artistic diploma degree from the
Milliard School in New York in 2004.
In May, Gross will graduate with
a diploma of chazzan and mas-
ter of sacred music from the H.L.
Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish
Theological Seminary, New York.
He and his wife, Lauren, have 3-year-
old son, Maxim.
TEMPLE BETH EL
Invites The Community To Join Us In
Observance of Memorial Day
Participating In The Service Will Be The
Jewish War Veterans Of Michigan
MONDAY, MAY 25 - 10:30 A.M.
Temple Beth El, 7400 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI
For the past 58 years, Temple Beth El has held a Memorial Day service
at Beth El Memorial Park. This will be the first year that we will depart
from this tradition and welcome those wishing to honor their war dead
in a special service at Temple Beth El with participation by the
Jewish War Veterans of Michigan.
Beth El Memorial Park
28120 Six Mile Road, Livonia, MI
Will Be Open For Those Wishing To Visit From 9 am to 5 pm.
2itijaai jlrjut ,y,92 DIA91),LALL awill
Complete kitchen and bathroom remodeling as well as furniture
design and installations including granite, wood and other materials.
Lois Haron Allied Member ASID 248.851.6989
May 14 2009