Rabbi Susan Leider’s Blog

Rosh Hashanah 2016 – 5777

On Rosh Hashanah, we reflect on our lives. We repair our relationships. We re-focus on what’s important. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Surrounded by community, friends and family, we are so blessed to share this sacred space; to have arrived at this moment together.

And yet we know how much the world needs repair: a burgeoning and wrenching refugee crisis, a contentious and polarizing presidential election, crumbling international economies, the list goes on.

Yet, we are here. And I am inspired to look around this room and see you today, a part of the community called the extended Jewish family.

Mishpuhah, we say. Family goes beyond blood relationship. It’s something much deeper that binds us to each other.

Mishpuhah. . .it reminds me of the story of a middle-aged father from Marin, who calls his son, Jake, in N.Y. and says: “Your mom and I can’t stand each other, we’re getting a divorce. Don’t be shocked when I move out.” Dad hangs up. Jake calls his sister in Florida and tells her the news. She immediately calls her father, “Dad, Dad, please, don’t do anything, until Jake and I get there. We’ll be there for the holidays.” Dad says, “OK,” hangs up, calls out to his wife, “Marilyn, don’t worry, we’re all set. The kids are coming for Rosh Hashanah.”

Yes, I know, it’s not easy being Jewish.

When I look out and see more than 800 of you, on a Monday, I’m moved by the sense of commitment and, yes, the sacrifice you made, to be here and celebrate together.

Many local school districts are open today. Families counting a student or a teacher, took school off. If you work part-time and could arrange your schedule, you did. If you work full-time, it was probably trickier. It often means extra work before or playing catch up after the holiday. Or for those who are retired, you may remember taking vacation days for the High Holy Days – sometimes it is just easier that way.

It’s not always easy being Jewish, even in Marin. After all, we are still small in numbers. Some of us are comfortable with our Jewishness and our culture. But, let’s face it, we don’t live in N.Y. or Florida, or even L.A. where being Jewish seems much more part of the culture. We pretty much out ourselves as Jews during this time of the year, to make it to shul, especially on a weekday.

In fact, many people ask me, “Rabbi, you moved from LA. What’s the difference between Jewish life in LA and Marin? Do you miss it? I think what they’re really asking me is, “You are so Jewish, Rabbi – are you doing ok here?”

The short answer, of course, is I love it here. I love my Jewish community in Marin and I’m grateful for the warmth and Yiddishkeit we share. I wouldn’t trade Marin for all the bagels in Brooklyn, or kosher tamales in L.A.

But recently, someone asked me one of those New York/L.A./Marin questions that really made me think.

“What about Shabbat, Rabbi? Friday nights? How are Friday nights different here from L.A.?”

Interesting. They didn’t ask, “What about the High Holy Days?” They asked about Shabbat. Why?

For thousands of years, Jews have taken a break on Shabbat from the give and take of daily life. We separate from the everyday. We create a space that is holy.

And today, this holy, yet joyous day of Rosh Hashanah, reminds us of the rest of our lives, when it is NOT Rosh Hashanah. It asks us:

Do we carve out time that is holy, that’s meaningful, that’s distinct from all the other things we do more often?

Do we safeguard ourselves, our families and our friends, from letting life simply pass us by?

Do we enjoy each moment with those we love, feeling gratitude for what we have?’

Do we slow down? How do we slow down?

In an age of unprecedented freedom, the answer is Shabbat. Judaism offers three ways to help us do this:

The first is to stop, literally to stop. The Hebrew word “Shabbat” comes from the verb תובשל meaning “to stop.”

On Friday afternoons, we battle the traffic, we navigate kids’ extracurricular activities and get home. We pick up our phones. We grab something to eat. The day is gone. How do we actually stop?

Jewish rituals like lighting candles, Shabbat dinner, are meant to help us stop. The Friday night prayer service, Kabbalat Shabbat, means to “receive Shabbat.” We can’t transition from weekday madness and stop on a dime to feel Shabbes. So the rabbis gave us this musical and meditative foyer, to release the events of the week. We come together in community, soothed by the chanting of psalms and spirited singing.

Stopping is different from recreation. Recreation means to re-create– it’s the hobbies and activities we love. But recreation is also busy-ness. Stopping means renewal because we cease to create, cease to master our surroundings. Torah says at the end of creation, “God stopped – תבש- and was renewed – שפניו. It’s the Hebrew word שפנ– meaning “soul”. We are literally re- “souled,” when we stop. We get the soul back that we lost touch with during the week. On Shabbat, we get an additional soul, a neshamah yetirah, that comes into our body. Even God the creator stopped and so should we.

Shabbat, or stopping, is a tool for perpetual self-renewal.

Most Jewish holidays are described like this: They came, they tried to kill us, we defeated them, let’s eat. Eating is clearly a big part of being Jewish. But Shabbat dinner is different. It’s about being grateful for creation, releasing the work-a-day tensions and being with those we love. It is deeply universal and deeply personal at the same time. This second tool is Shabbat dinner.

My teacher Joel Grishaver taught me about Shabbat dinner: Be together with family and friends. Stop and sanctify time. “Be” and don’t do. “Be” and don’t do. Shabbat dinner doesn’t have to be elaborate or place a burden on the family. Yes, we want to honor Shabbat with beautiful food and dishes, but if that is our sole focus, we miss the point. The important thing is to do it. Or as another teacher of mine said, “Do the right thing, vs. doing things right.” “Do the right thing, vs. doing things right.” Do Shabbes dinner -worry later if you did things “right.” There is plenty of time to learn more about Shabbat, after you do it more often.

One thing we learn over and over is to be grateful. Gratitude – Jewish tradition says: whoever eats without saying a blessing is like someone who robs from the God. The Torah say: when we have eaten our fill, we bless God. Many of us gather for Shabbat dinners most weeks or on occasion. But if we eat without a blessing before, and without thanking God after, we let life pass us by. We are, in the language of the Hasidic tradition, spiritually asleep. The Jewish mystics say that blessing before and after we eat, brings tikkun olam, the repair of the world.

Stop. Eat together. Bless – three tools to ensure that our Friday nights are a break from a busy week.

Despite families being spread out, and all kinds of challenges, Shabbat IS happening around Marin. In some homes there are white tablecloths, beautiful china, the finest wine, home-baked hallah, matzah balls, and guests in the double digits. That’s great, but sometimes we Jews can be so judgmental.

We feel others fail or we feel we fail if the hallah is from Trader Joe’s. Or dinner is take-out pizza and Kiddush in a paper cup. What if it is dinner for two or three instead of the masses? If Torah is shared, if laughter is heard, if hugs and kisses abound, Shabbat IS in the air. Each of us can plan, anticipate and yes, juggle to make Shabbat happen.

And for those who want to learn more, I offer you a gift: a beautiful book about Shabbat book entitled, “A Day Apart.” There are one hundred copies in the lobby, please take one. If we run out, please email me after the holiday to get yours.  Invite me over on a Friday night that we don’t have services here. I want to celebrate Shabbat with you.

On other Friday nights, we gather as a community for services, either here, or for the sweet monthly service at Drake Terrace in San Rafael.

The great theologian, Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote a simple and magnificent book entitled, “The Sabbath.”

I close with his words:

A great pianist was once asked by an ardent admirer: “How do you handle the notes as well as you do?” The artist answered:

“The notes I handle no better than many pianists, but the pauses between the notes – ah! That is where the art resides.”

In great living as in great music, the art may be in the pauses. Surely one of the enduring contributions which Judaism made to the art of living was Shabbat, “the pause between the notes.”

I wish you a Shana Tovah filled with fifty-two Shabbes pauses that enrich and refresh you, sustain and nurture you, and most of all, remind you what life is really all about. Shanah Tovah.

July 26, 2016

On July 23, Rabbi Leider shared an Israel sermon by Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom.  Click here to read it:

March 15, 2013,  Honoring the memory of those we love

In Judaism, we value life.  The value permeates halakhah, Jewish legal tradition and it percolates through everything we do.   The preservation of life is a mitzvah of the highest order so much so that פקוח נפש  – pikuah nefesh or the value of saving a life supersedes observing Shabbat.
The love affair between Jews and medicine is no accident – many surmise that this value of pikuah nefesh has been a major influence on Jews becoming doctors.  In entering into this holy work, those in the healthcare profession strive to realize the rabbinic adage:  to save a life is to save the world.  To live a life is to be given the opportunity to be of service to others and to leave the world better than we found it.
Yet we know that life is finite.  Despite our best efforts at pikuah nefesh, we also acknowledge that our bodies pass from this world.  When our loved ones die, we carry this deep respect for life and for their good deeds into the realm of keeping their memory alive.  Honoring the memory of a loved one by observing a yahrzeit, (the anniversary of the date of death) is a millennia-old Jewish tradition.  Jewish communities since the Middle Ages have engaged in structured spiritual practice to actualize the mitzvah of remembering the dead.
Yahrzeit is the Yiddish word for the anniversary of the date of death that is determined by the Jewish calendar.  If you are in doubt about the exact Jewish calendar date for a loved one, please contact a Kol Shofar rabbi and we can help identify the yahrzeit date that corresponds to the secular date.
We encourage you to engage in the customs we observe in the Kol Shofar community:
Yahrzeit Candle – light a yahrzeit candle at sunset that burns for 24 hours.  In the Jewish calendar, a “day” begins at sunset.  For example, for a yahrzeit date of the 27th of the month of Iyyar, corresponding to Tues. May 7, 2013, then a yahrzeit candle would be lit at sunset on Mon. May 6.  Although there is no blessing for this lighting, we may reflect and share memories at this time.  The phrase “May his/her memory be a blessing” (For men: “Zichrono livrakhah”, for women: “Zichrona livrakhah”) is commonly shared.  Lighting one candle per household is the common custom.
Saying Kaddish – Join a minyan in our community to recite Kaddish d’Rabbanan and Mourners’ Kaddish in memory of your loved one.  Come to the service closest to the date or at Shabbat services the week before.   Family members are encouraged to join the person observing the yahrzeit at these services.  At Kol Shofar, our daily minyan meets on Tuesday at 7:15 a.m. and on Thursday at 7 a.m.
El Malei Rahamim (God Filled with Compassion) – is a special prayer recited at funerals.  At Kol Shofar, it is also recited on the occasion of a yahrzeit by the prayer leader during Tuesday or Thursday morning minyan.  Observe this mitzvah by coming to minyan on  the Tuesday or Thursday before the yahrzeit.   When you arrive, let the prayer leader know that you are observing a yahrzeit and you will be offered an aliyah to the Torah and this prayer will be recited. It is also a time to briefly share a memory of your loved one with the community.
Yizkor (Memorial) services are held at the synagogue on the eighth day of Passover, the second day of Shavuot, Shmini Atzeret, and on Yom Kippur.
Tzedakah – Tradition teaches us that when we do good deeds and give tzedakah in the memory of loved ones, we continue to elevate their souls.
Consider sponsoring a Shabbat Kiddush lunch in memory of your loved one or sponsor a light breakfast following Thursday morning minyan.   Please contact the Kol Shofar office for more information.

At Kol Shofar, those who are observing a yahrzeit and have notified the synagogue  in advance, have their names and the names of their loved ones read out loud at Shabbat morning services.   These names have customarily been read on the Shabbat morning which corresponds directly to the yahrzeit date or falls after the yahrzeit date.   However, based on the Talmudic principle of זריזין מקדימים למצות  – z’rizin makdimim l’mitzvot –  that we promptly anticipate the performance of a mitzvah, it seems fitting that we transition to reading the weekly list of names on the Shabbat on or prior to the yahrzeit.   We also hope that announcing yahrzeits in advance will encourage us to participate as fully as possible in daily minyan on Tuesday or Thursday mornings during the week of the actual yahrzeit. In the month ahead,  I plan to teach more about the traditional  texts and values that support our moving in this direction.
We will make this switch in the public reading of these names on Shabbat April 13.  On that Shabbat morning, we will read the names from the previous week and the upcoming week.  From April 20 onward, we will begin the read the list of names for the upcoming week.
Kol Shofar is committed to the value of supporting each other as we honor our loved ones who have passed from this world to the next.   We encourage you to embrace these traditions with a full heart in loving community as we help the memory of your loved ones live on in the world.

B’shalom,
Rabbi Leider

February 6, 2013,  Purim

In many Jewish communities, Purim is viewed as “the children’s holiday.”  With costume parading, and noshing hamantaschen, it is easy to see why this holiday could be embraced as a children’s paradigm while overlooking how this holiday speaks  to all of us.   The mitzvot (commandments) associated with Purim are meaningful and engaging to everyone in their Jewish journeys.
There are four primary mitzvot associated with Purim:
1.    מגילה  – Megillah – the reading of the book of Esther.  Megillah, meaning “scroll,” here refers specifically to the book of Esther, found in the Jewish Bible.  We listen twice to a public reading of the scroll in its entirety, once during the evening service, once in the morning service.
2.    משתה  – Mishteh – party .  We are commanded to celebrate.   Costumes and role-playing contribute to the sense of frivolity, along with food and drink.  The Talmud states that one should become intoxicated on Purim until he or she is no longer able to distinguish between the villain of our story, “cursed be Haman,” and the hero of our story, “blessed be Mordechai. ”
3.    משלוח מנות  – sending gifts of food.  Tradition holds that we give at least two different ready-to-eat food items to at least one person
4.    מתנות לאביונים  – gifts to the poor.   Tradition holds that we give a gift of tzedakah face-to-face to at least two individuals without their requesting it.
Here at Congregation Kol Shofar, our tradition of the Purim Spiel helps to ensure that members of all ages are involved in our Purim celebration.  Our spiel incorporates the telling of the story of Esther in a fun-filled “musical” style.  Thank you to Tracy Rice and her extraordinary cast of musicians and actors.  We are so looking forward to celebrating with you!  Please see the listing at the end of this post for a list of the complete cast.
In past years, the spiel has sometimes taken place on a day other than Purim.  Scheduling and collaborating with community partners were significant considerations and will continue to be so in the years to come.   However, this year’s spiel will take place on Purim.
At Kol Shofar, we are committed to the idea of ritual inclusiveness.  One way to actualize this is by offering  two different types of Megillah readings.  Here is a brief description of each reading and its purpose in our community:
1)     Abbreviated Community Megillah Reading, 6:45 p.m. – This reading, as part of the brief evening service, will precede the Purim Spiel this year.  Megillah excerpts have been selected which highlight the telling of the story.  By abbreviating the reading in this way, it makes it possible for more to participate in a number of ways.  Two of our readers this year, Ron Brown, and Jeff Halbrecht will be reading Megillat Esther for the first time.  The different musical trope for this book is challenging and having members of our congregation learn this and share it with the community is made easier by the shortened format.   Also the shortened format makes it possible for youth across the community to engage in “shtick” (a technical Yiddish term for silly fun) in between the excerpts of the Megillah.   Beit Binah/Tichon and Brandeis Hillel Day School (BHDS) students will be sharing their own “shtick.”   Thank you to Jonathan Emanuel and Tracy Rice for working with our Beit Binah/Tichon kids and to Geraldine Barr for working with BHDS kids to prepare.

2)    Full Megillah Reading, 9:00 p.m. – Following the Purim Spiel, there will be a full reading of the Megillah as part of the brief evening service in the Beit Midrash.  Thank you to Rabbi Chai for coordinating this and to our readers:  Eli Welber, Susan Schneider, Matt Mercurio, Ron Brown, Gail Dorph and Alona Rafael.  The full reading of the Megillah will also be a part of the Purim morning service at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, February 24.  And the fun will continue at Purim Palooza at the JCC (can we link this) as we continue to celebrate.

This year we have ample opportunity to observe the four mitzvot of Purim and I hope you will join me in embracing this holiday in all of its craziness, fun and topsy-turviness  too.

See you on Purim,
Rabbi Leider

January 30, 2013,  Jewish Camp for Life: Adults, Kids and Grandkids

When I was growing up, I enjoyed many different summer experiences.  Our family vacations often included wonderful destinations, cross-country trips and family time, but a lasting bond to “my summer camp” was not a part of my childhood.
Fast forward to my twenties and I found myself working as a program associate at the Orange County Bureau of Jewish Education.  As part of this multi-faceted role, I was immersed in Jewish overnight camp.  Planning and carrying out teen and adult Shabbatonim (overnight Jewish weekend camp experiences) filled my days.  These Shabbatonim helped me “download” a series of intense Jewish camp experiences that helped to fill in the childhood gaps.
Fast forward to my thirties and I found myself employed as a Judaica teacher at Camp Ramah of California in Ojai. PLEASE LINK THIS TO www.ramah.org.    Having just completed my first year of rabbinical school, I felt that spending time at Ramah would help me prepare well to become a rabbi.  With my oldest child Jessie enrolled in camp, I lived with my two other children, Sarah and Talia in staff housing.  During the day, Sarah and Talia would go to the Gan (early childhood center) and I would teach campers of all ages.  My husband Jeff would join us at camp for Shabbat and then head back home for each work week.  As an adult, I again found myself playing “catch-up” as I absorbed the incredible Ramah experience during summer of 2001.  And my family was blessed to spend multiple Passovers there as well as I ran the Passover Institute at Camp Ramah LINK THIS PLEASE – http://www.ramah.org/pr_passover.shtml   for several years while I was completing rabbinical school.
Jeff, (who also didn’t grow up going to an overnight Jewish camp), and I often reflect on what an incredible gift we were able to give our children through their Ramah experience. With the exception of one summer, we have had at least one daughter, if not all three at Camp Ramah for the last twelve years.  This year, as Sarah takes her place as a staffer in Amitzim, the special needs division of the camp, and Talia participates in Machon, the 10th grade division, we once again will feel the embrace, the familiarity and the warmth of Camp Ramah.
As an adult, I truly learned that Jewish camp IS for life.  Even those of us who didn’t grow up going to Jewish camp, can loop back and capture some of this experience as an adult. Those of us with children or grandchildren can make this a priority and send them to camp.   And each of us, even if we don’t have children, can help make a Jewish camp experience possible for someone else’s child.  And the Jewish camp experiences for adults and families are possible too.

THE EFFICACY OF THE JEWISH CAMP EXPERIENCE
Camp Works:  The Long-term Impact of Jewish Overnight Camp (2011)
Click here for a link to research “provides systematic and quantitative evidence that summers at Jewish camp create adults who are committed to the Jewish community and engaged in Jewish practice.
The influence of summer camp on the ways in which adult Jews choose to engage with the community and the degree to which they associate with other Jews can be felt long after the last sunset of the summer. The impact is striking, especially when compared to their peers who did not spend their summer months at Jewish camp.”
The study notes that:
Camp attendance increases the likelihood of adult participation and identification in every one of these areas. As adults, campers are:
• 30% more likely to donate to a Jewish charity;
• 37% more likely to light Shabbat candles;
• 45% more likely to attend synagogue monthly or more; and
• 55% more likely to be very emotionally attached to Israel.

CAMP INFO SESSION AT KOL SHOFAR ON FEBRUARY 13
Here at Kol Shofar, we want to connect kids and adults to an overnight Jewish camp experience. To that end, Director of Congregational Education Jonathan Emanuel is hosting a Camp Information Session for our community on Wednesday, February 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. The following camps will have college student camp alumni and/or representatives present to speak to parents and kids:
Camp Ramah of CA, Ojai, CA – www.ramah.org
Camp Tawonga, Yosemite, CA – www.tawonga.org
B’chol Lashon, Petaluma, CA – http://www.bechollashon.org/camp/

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Please note that Congregation Kol Shofar will work in partnership with Camp Ramah of California to provide significant financial assistance to families who would like to send a child to Camp Ramah for the first time this summer. Please contact me at sleider@kolshofar.org to inquire about these generous incentives.

A UNIQUE INTERNATIONAL CAMP EXPERIENCE FOR 11TH AND 12TH GRADERS
During the past year, I had the privilege of visiting the Jewish community in Budapest, Hungary and learned about another amazing camp – Szarvas, Click here. Szarvas is a unique English-speaking camp serving children from all over Eastern Europe many of whom are without any Jewish home or synagogue experience and camp is their primary way to build their Jewish identity. Szarvas Fellows are American kids going into 11th and 12th grades. There are three sessions: #1 July 4-19, #2 July18 – August 2, and #3 August 1-16. Applications are due February 14th and available at http://www.szarvas.org/flyers/. Contact Rabbi Seth Braunstein, director of the Fellowship program, at info@szarvas.org if you have any questions or if you want to ask for an application extension.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADULTS
Fri. 4/12 – 4/15 – Open Door Retreat – http://www.opendoorretreats.org. This is an opportunity for married couples in their 20s and 30s with a spouse who has recently converted to Judaism to join with others at Ramah California – Program cost is $200 per couple per retreat, and includes kosher meals, snacks, lodging and program – generous fee assistance is available – please email me at sleider@kolshofar.org if you are interested in attending
Fri. May 10-12 – Kol Shofar Shabbaton –
Brandeis Collegiate Institute for Adults age 18-26 –

Together we can bring the joy and the magic of Jewish overnight camp to the Kol Shofar community. Please do not hesitate to be in touch if you want to talk “camp” with me – it would be my pleasure to bring you, a child or a grandchild closer to this experience.

B’shalom,
Rabbi Susan Leider

January 23, 2013,  Sandy Hook Elementary School

Forty-two days. Six weeks. This is the time that has elapsed since twenty-six lives were lost forever to violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on Friday, December 14, 2012. Even though we know the answer, we ask, “How could this have happened?” Our nation mourns this loss and the community of Newtown bears the unbearable. Without choice, they navigate the unthinkable.
The cry for justice in the face of this massacre rocked our nation. Commissions have been formed and action plans assembled to reduce gun violence in our communities. We must find a way to put an end to this. President Obama reminded us all on December 16, “The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean that we can’t steadily reduce the violence and prevent the very worst violence.” As our country rallied around this effort in the first days following these murders, many of us signed a petition or took other action to attempt to actualize the intent to prevent violence.
On the forty-second day, this senseless and violent tragedy could unintentionally slip into the catalogue of other senseless and violent tragedies that have become of part of the narrative of our communities. But the obligation is even more urgent now as we must renew our commitment to take action. We have the power to do this.
We must be like Avraham. Just as Avraham engaged God with his passionate pleading to save the innocent in Sodom and Gomorrah, we must persuade, advocate and influence. We as citizens have more power than we realize.
The answer to following question may surprise you. What percentage of Congressional staff states that constituent correspondence “influence” undecided members of Congress? 88% of the staff who work day in and day out with the lawmakers of this country tell us that we can make a difference. Avraham is our model for being a nudge, (a technical Yiddish term for someone who doesn’t give up), for getting in the faces of our leaders and not going away.
Rabbi Chai urged us to sign the Jewish Council for Public Affairs petition (LINK THIS PLEASE). I have also signed the Clergy Against Bullets (please link this too so they can see it.) petition. I urge you to join me in advocacy by taking the following steps:
1. Let the White House hear from you:
Click here
2. Contact your member of Congress:
Click here
If you are a resident of one of these cities, Mill Valley, Novato and Sausalito, please contact your mayor.  If you are a resident of Tiburon or San Rafael, please contact your mayor and  thank him or her  for the expression of public support.
As residents of Marin, we must make our voices heard well beyond our own community.  Let us resist a false sense of security that it could never happen here.  Let us continue to advocate and agitate for justice in our nation as our voices cry out in the words of Psalm 82, “How long will you pervert justice?”  But the psalm exhorts us, “Rescue the weak and the needy.”   May we be like Avraham and seize a role in to save lives.  The time is now.
B’shalom,
Rabbi Leider

July 11, 2012 •  21 Tammuz 5772
כא תמוז תשע”ב

Dear Congregation Kol Shofar Family:
I am profoundly aware of our commitment to social justice in the world.  The Talmud tells us, לתקן את העולם    – “l’taken et ha olam – to repair the world.”  We know that we cannot do this alone.  Holy partnerships are essential to the task at hand and I proudly share with you about one such partnership that will place Kol Shofar at the forefront of these efforts. During this past year, the American Jewish World Service (www.ajws.org) accepted my application to join a pluralistic group of thirty rabbis from across North America on a mission to Ghana.

(http://ajws.org/what_we_do/service_and_travel_opportunities/delegation_programs/yrd.html).

Participating in such a mission demonstrates our community’s commitment to live out the core values that we hold. The purpose of this mission is to witness the challenges facing people in the developing world and the passion that drives grassroots change. This mission will allow me to work alongside human rights organizations and to further our congregation’s learning about global justice from the perspective of Jewish tradition. This mission will shape how I learn and teach Torah and I will be a part of a growing community of rabbis engaged in building Jewish communities with a commitment to social justice.

I invite you to join me in discussion as I prepare for this mission. There will be multiple portals in which the broader Kol Shofar community can learn about and benefit from this rabbinic mission which will happen August 5 – August 16, 2012.

  • On Friday, July 20 from 6:30 – 8:15 p.m. at Belvedere Park. Please join me for Shabbat services, a picnic dinner, a spirited discussion about social justice at Kol Shofar and in the global community.
  • Read Rabbi Zoe Klein’s moving piece about the power of her AJWS mission at

http://blogs.ajws.org/blog/2011/08/19/when-night-ends-and-dawn-arrives-reflections-on-ghana/

  • I will be including . . High holidays. .

In the months to follow, there will be additional opportunities for us to bring the energy, learning and inspiration from the mission into our synagogue.

I look forward to having this conversation with you as we seek to deepen Kol Shofar’s commitment to a more just world. May the remainder of your week be filled with blessing .

כל טוב – Kol tuv – All good,

Rabbi Leider