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Congregation Beth Shalom

Jewish Community in Bozeman, Montana

Rabbi's Weekly Message

April 17, 2017 Counting the Omer

Parshat: Passover

Dear friends,

What a wonderful community seder, with more than 100 in attendance. It was so cozy doing it at the Temple, and we owe an amazing debt of gratitude to the Aig family, who did all the work, especially Dennis, Hannah, and Leah.  Amazing!

We all know that Passover is about freedom. But that’s only half the story. Passover is connected to Shavuot, where we celebrate receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai, by 50 days, where each night a short blessing is said, called counting the omer. The process is about the great anticipation about getting the Torah, much as when we wait to have the Torah passed to us on a Saturday morning service. And most important is the lesson that the freedom of Passover is not freedom to party in the desert, but is freedom to serve G!d through living a Torah driven life. In this way, freedom and responsibility are integrally linked in Jewish theology.

In Bozeman, we celebrate Shavuot on the evening of June 3 by teaching one another about some aspect of Judaism, from the cultural, to the unusual, to the religious. There are room for 8 presenters of 15 minute presentations each. If you would like to be a presenter, please e-mail me.

But there’s plenty happening before Shavuot. Tonight, on April 17, Jews and Brews meet at MAP Brewery at 5:30 p.m. This Friday evening, April 21, we will gather at 6 p.m. for Shabbat service. Instead of a sermon, there will be an EliTalk (Jewish Tedtalk) and a discussion about it. Then, we will learn more about interesting unexplored aspects of Passover at Torah study on Saturday, April 15, at 9:30, with coffee, matzah and great conversation.

And mark your calendar for “What Really Happened in Whitefish”, a program to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday, April 23, at 4:00, at the Temple, and featuring Rabbi Allen & Ina Secher who were targeted by neo-Nazis, as well as Rachel Rivas from the Montana Human Rights Network, with music by Amber Ikeman. Finally, mark your calendar for Amber’s amazing concert featuring songs about Jewish mothers on Saturday, April 29, at 7:00 pm.

Lots will be happening as we begin our journey to Sinai this year, counting the omer as we go.

Blessings for a great week,
Rabbi Ed