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There are so many beautiful teachings to be gleaned from Passover, and the one I’m currently most inspired by is about the afikomen. Now, I know that not everyone’s favorite dessert is a crumbly piece of matzah wrapped in a napkin, hidden in a couch cushion, and retrieved by the fingers of little kids. Nonetheless, the afikomen represents something deeper.
When we break the middle piece of matzah for the afikomen, it's like breaking a glass at a wedding; we acknowledge the brokenness in ourselves, our people, our world, and those who are still not free today. In a world where many present only the highlights of their lives on social media, mental illness is stigmatized, and expressing authentic emotion is not always socially acceptable, the afikomen teaches us to accept the darker parts of ourselves and of others. We don’t have to keep it together all the time. We are striving for wholeness, not perfection; broken pieces are part of what make us whole human beings.
We hide the broken piece of matzah, the way we sometimes hide the broken pieces of our hearts. The children - perhaps more open-hearted and judgment-free than adults - are the ones who search for it. We cannot complete the seder until the afikomen is found - until the broken piece is accepted and celebrated. It’s supposed to be the last taste we have in our mouths, reminding us that life isn’t always sweet, sometimes we need to sit with discomfort, and we still have work to do in the world to make freedom a reality for all. Perhaps our personal freedom work this Pesach is to release the judgment or criticism that keeps us captive, and offer compassion for the brokenness in ourselves and our loved ones.
On April 20th, we come together as a big Beth Shalom family for our Community Passover Seder. The venue is downtown (14 S. Tracy - there will be a sign on the door) so please allow a little extra time for parking; the parking garage a block north is a good option. Doors open at 4:30 so you have time to park, get settled in, and schmooze a bit. The seder will begin at 5:00. Bring extra cash if you're opting for Richard Wolff's dry Israeli wine over the sweet stuff, provided at no extra cost.
If you need a place to go for the first night of Passover, let me know and I'll connect you with someone who's hosting a seder.
A sneak peek of our next big event: our Jewish Film Festival Kickoff / Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration on May 1st featuring acclaimed local author/speaker Mark Sullivan, author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky, with award-winning short film The Driver is Red. Mark your calendar!
Amber Ikeman, Director of Music and Community Engagement
(406) 556-0528 x202
What a winter! While not much changes weather-wise in March, just saying the word “March” makes it seem like we are a little closer to Spring (and Purim!). We have a jam-packed weekend of events March 8-10, so I hope you are able to join us for some or all of them. As you may have noticed, a beautiful new Ark is gracing our sanctuary. The Ark is named after the Ark of the Covenant, which held the stone tablets of the Covenant that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai over 3,000 years ago. It is a significant event to receive a new Ark, so during our March 8th Shabbat service, you will hear a few words from members of our congregation about the Ark, and Rabbi Lotker will offer a special blessing to dedicate the Ark to Congregation Beth Shalom. Please join us for an extra special Shabbat Shalom. Thank you.
Congregation Beth Shalom
Please see calendar for full list.
Congregation Beth Shalom is a place where affiliates of all ages come together to be a learning and spiritual community who joyfully pray together and celebrate Jewish history and tradition. We cultivate in our affiliates a lifelong connection to Judaism through the lens of the Reform and Renewal movements.