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Congregation Beth Shalom

Jewish Community in Bozeman, Montana

Rabbi's Weekly Message

Franke Wilmer Offers D’var Torah This Friday

Parshat: Matot-Masei

Dear friends,

This week’s Torah portion, Matot-Maei, brings the Book of Bamidbar (Numbers) to a close. The portion begins by naming the forty-two stops or stages along the path that the Israelites had journeyed since leaving Egypt. The Chasidic master, the Ba’al Shem Tov, reminds us that “whatever happened to the people as a whole will happen to each individual. All the forty-two journeys of the children of Israel will occur to each person between the time he is born and the time he dies.”

Life is a long interesting journey. The Torah comes to remind us that every journey takes place in stages and each stage carries its own distinct blessing to be unwrapped and savored, its own messages to be learned and digested. As each stage of a journey comes to an end, we move on, initiating a new adventure. At each stage of the journey, we are challenged to stop for a moment and become aware of our own transformation.

At Beth Shalom, we travel with one another on our life journeys, and we share and celebrate our life journeys. We do that in both formal and informal ways, religious ways and secular ways, from bar mitzvah to beer club.

For the more secular, begin with tonight, Monday, July 17, at 5:30 pm, as we gather for the popular Beth Shalom Beer Club at the MAP Brewing Company.

I’m especially looking forward to this coming Friday, July 21, when Franke Wilmer will offer the d’var Torah at our evening service, reflecting on her recent time and travel in Israel. Torah study will round out our shabbat the following morning, on July 22, at 9:30 am, with the usual great discussions, coffee, bagels, and friendship.

The third annual Jewish Film Festival resumes next week on Wednesday, July 26, at 7:00 pm at the Procrastinator Theater on MSU campus, with the showing of Denial, where acclaimed writer and historian Deborah Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel. Finally, with summer now here, it’s time to sign up to sell apple pie a la mode at the Beth Shalom booth at the annual Sweet Pea festival. Volunteers are needed August 3-6.  Please sign up here.

Blessings for a great week, in both the religious and secular worlds,
Rabbi Ed