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Congregation Beth Shalom

Jewish Community in Bozeman, Montana

Rabbi's Weekly Message

Happy Yom Hodu

Parshat: Vayetzei

Dear friends,

In Hebrew, the word hodu has two meanings: turkey and thanks. So, I wish all of you a happy Yom Hodu, a day of turkey, and especially a time to express thankfulness, a core piece of Jewish spiritual practice. For what and to whom will you offer thanks on this secular Yom Hodu?

There are no temple events this Thanksgiving weekend, join us for Jews and Brews today, Monday, at 5:30 at Mountains Walking Brewery. We resume again after Thanksgiving on Friday, December 1, at 7:00 pm as we come together to celebrate Shabbat. Torah study will resume at 9:30 the following morning. The Interfaith Panel meets on December 6 at Noon at the Temple and will discuss the impact of civil religion in America.

Mark your calendars for some wonderful December happenings. First, our own Amber Ikeman will give a free concert here at the Temple, on Sunday, December 10, at 7:00 pm. Then, join us for the grand Chanukah caberet and party on December 15 at 6:00 pm, where the service will consist mostly of acted out Chanukah stories, and we’ll share latkes and gelt after the service.

This week’s Torah portion, Vayetzei, contains the famous story of Jacob’s ladder, where, while on the run after stealing his brother’s birthright, Jacob dreams of a ladder reaching to the heavens with angels running up one side and down the other. Perhaps the angels running down remind us that we cannot control, or even understand, all that descends from the heavens. Perhaps the angels running up remind us that we can lift the hungry through our work at the Food Bank, the homeless through our work at Family Promise. As we express our thankfulness this weekend, let us remember the plight of our people as refugees not so long ago and how that makes us think about current refugees. On that point, I want to give a call out to Amanda Cater and the others who are working on refugee resettlement in Montana and who helped welcome five new families to Missoula this week.

Happy and blessed Yom Hodu,
Rabbi Ed