February 5, 2018 – Rabbi Susan Leider

Kol Shofar is getting a new Torah!  By now, we hope you have heard the news that Sandy Stadtler and Esther Rosha Stadtler have generously donated a new Torah to Congregation Kol Shofar in memory of their parents, Bea & Ozzie Stadtler and Abe & Regina Lenczner, and members of their family who perished in the Holocaust.

Torah is at the very heart of our community and this much needed Torah will make it possible for our ark to be lovingly Torah-filled.  On a practical level, it now means that when we have the occasion when three Torahs are needed in the Beit Knesset for a Shabbat morning service (the upcoming service on March 17  – Shabbat Ha Hodesh is one such example), we will now have these Torahs in the Beit Knesset  and still have a fourth Torah for use in additional services such as the Kol Neshama Minyan or Beit Binah Yom Kehillah services.

The public reading of the Torah is a custom that dates back to the 5th century of the common era, when the scribe Ezra instituted it in the market place.  After the exile to Babylonia, the Jews were returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and perhaps even more importantly, to rebuild Jewish life.  Ezra saw public Torah reading as essential to this task of shaping a people.  To learn more about the historical and spiritual background of this, please see the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies Walking With History Series and Unit 6 that I wrote on the Synagogue and the Sidur.

Today is no different for us (except that we don’t read Torah at Corte Madera Center – yet!).  But the reading of the Torah is the communal high point of our week. We are in the middle of a communal initiative to grow our pool of Torah readers here at Kol Shofar.  We want to make it possible for anyone who can read Torah to do so and want to be sure that everyone knows the steps involved in doing so.

Each week, dedicated volunteers prepare Torah reading and make a commitment to be an integral part of Shabbat services.  These volunteers, along with the rabbis, would love to help inspire you to read Torah on an upcoming Shabbat. Following are some ways we can help:
 

  • Contact Maury Ostroff, our dedicated Torah reading coordinator, has an email list and notifies everyone on it about Torah readings available in upcoming weeks – maury.ostroff@gmail.com
     
  • If you don’t know trope but have learned Torah reading by listening to a recording, we can help – let Maury know and he will work with the rabbis to connect you with the right person to take the next step.
     
  • Adopt a Shabbat. Do it with your family or a team of families or friends.  Reach out to Maury as a group and take a load of Torah reading off his hands!  It is a wonderful mitzvah and a great way to connect with family, friends and to be there for your Kol Shofar community.

Together, we ascend Mount Sinai every week.  But it does take a village and we need you to sustain this critical part of our spiritual life together.  What better way is there to express gratitude to Sandy and Esther for such a gift, than to sign up to read Torah? 

B’shalom,

Rabbis Leider and Levy

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