A Word from Our Rabbi for National Day

By Rabbi Alexander Grodensky

18 June 2021 – 8/9 Tammuz 5871, Synagogue of Esch-sur-Alzette
The biblical reading this week from the book of Numbers tells yet another story of a conflict between Moses and the people he leads.

Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, who shared the burden of leadership with her two brothers, dies. Soon after her burial Moses and Aaron are challenged by their people, who complain about the lack of water. People are thirsty, frustrated, and angry. They quarrel against Moses and Aaron saying, “We wish we had died before. Why did you haul this congregation of God out here into this wilderness to die? Why did you take us out of Egypt in the first place, dragging us into his miserable country? No grain, no figs, no grapevines, no pomegranates – and now not even any water!” (Num 20: 2-5).

Moses and Aaron retreat for consultations with God or with their consciences. They come up with a solution. In the end of the story people get water.

It is a déjà-vu. According to the biblical story, 40 years earlier Moses had faced a similar situation: there was no water, people were thirsty, complaining, questioning his ability to lead his people and provide for their basic needs. Back then Moses cried in frustration “What shall I do with this people? Any minute now they’ll kill me!” (Ex 17:4). And now it seems that Moses is expected to solve the problem the same way he had done before, namely, to take the staff and hit the rock. He repeats the solution, he hits the rock, the water flows from the rock and again people have enough to drink. But this time God is disappointed with Moses’ solution. Apparently, Moses had not been attentive enough, because this time God had told him, to take his staff (symbol of authority) and talk to the rock instead of hitting it. Talk. Not hit! But Moses would not listen. Moses makes a mistake, with the consequence that both Moses and Aaron would never enter the Promised Land.

According to the biblical authors it was all right to hit the rock in the first instance, but in the second instance, 40 years later, there is a higher expectation: it is not enough to hit the rock, the physical action is not in the focus, the main concern is the ability to speak, the willingness to explain the leader’s decisions. Not just using the power of authority but trying to convince those whom you lead. Moses was expected to talk instead of hitting the rock. He was expected to frame the experience, explain his actions.

The biblical text is old, but the situation it describes, an archetypical challenge of leadership, is contemporary. We place high expectations on the performance of our leaders. It is very hard to be a good leader. We almost never say thank you, almost always criticize, scrutinize, question. Indeed, this is one of the fundamentals of a democracy – to be able to question the decisions of those who take the responsibility of leadership.

There are several lessons to learn from this story.

Solutions that were right yesterday are not necessarily right or acceptable today or tomorrow. Life is dynamic. Societies are dynamic. Leadership must adapt and be flexible.

And yet, even the best leaders make mistakes. Mistakes and wrong decisions are part of life. Nobody is perfect, not even Moses, who speaks with God face to face. Some mistakes we do by force of habit – maybe this explains Moses’ failure in our story. He used to hit the rock when water was needed and it worked.

We are reminded that words have power. Persuasion, not brutal force is the main tool of legitimate leadership. Especially when we are angry and overwhelmed with the complexity of a situation, we tend to use force – physical or verbal – to get what we want, to get things done and done quickly. Especially in the situation of emergency it seems that there is no time for discussions, or explanations.

Since nobody is perfect, let us be compassionate to others as we are compassionate to ourselves, let us give others the benefit of doubt, for in most cases people make mistakes not because of evil inclinations. As we sometimes behave irrationally, other people can behave irrationally as well. Those who take the great burden of responsibility for the government are not an exception. Criticism is important, but it must be done with dignity and proportion, and with a bit of compassion. Luxembourg, Europe, all the world face an unimaginable challenge with this pandemic. Not all the measures of policy makers were perfectly right, much was criticized, in some cases putting the policy makers under tremendous pressure. And yet, we must be reminded not only about the solidarity among the citizens, but also about the solidarity between the government and the people. Today, on the occasion of the national holiday, we say thank you. Thank you for your service and thank you for your commitment to the burden you voluntarily carry.

On a similar note, I am glad to announce that two members of Liberal Judaism were honored with the Luxembourg state decorations this year:

  • Eleanor Sharpston, the former Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union, was awarded the Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
  • Rabbi Prof. Walter Homolka, Rector of Abraham Geiger College and active supporter of the interfaith dialogue, was elevated into the knighthood of the Order of the Oak Crown.

On behalf of the community, I congratulate the honorees.

And yet, the awareness that humans are not infallible does not negate the fact that decisions have consequences. Only rarely do we get a second chance.

We are called for a life of a delicate balance between the awareness of our imperfection on the one hand and the weight of responsibility for our decisions on the other. It is a challenge, to find serenity to live with this two-sided awareness. Without a light heart and finding excuses, but also not letting guilt hinder us to live on. To be honest to yourself and at the same time to have energy to live on, keep on trying to find the best solutions possible.

The good news is that we are not alone in this struggle. Around us are family, friends, allies. But also, on a more essential level – we are never alone. God is on our side. God loves us unconditionally. God is with us also in our failures. God sees our mistakes, he cannot free us from the responsibility, but he constantly shows a way how to cope, how to make a better decision, navigating us on our life journey and recalculating the route with every turn we make. God works through persuasion and inspires us to do the same. This is what I take from our story. Shabbat Shalom!

Par le rabbin Alexandre Grodensky

18 juin 2021 – 8/9 Tammuz 5871, Synagogue d’Esch-sur-Alzette
La lecture biblique cette semaine du livre des Nombres raconte encore l’histoire d’un énième conflit entre Moïse et le peuple qu’il dirige.

Miriam, la sœur de Moïse et d’Aaron, qui partageait le fardeau de la direction avec ses deux frères, décède. Peu de temps après son enterrement, Moïse et Aaron sont interpellés par leur peuple, qui se plaint du manque d’eau. Les gens sont assoiffés, frustrés et en colère. Ils se rebellent contre Moïse et Aaron en disant : « Nous aurions préféré être morts avant. Pourquoi avez-vous transporté cette congrégation de Dieu ici dans ce désert pour y mourir ? Pourquoi nous avez-vous fait sortir d’Egypte en premier lieu, nous entraînant dans ce misérable pays ? Pas de céréales, pas de figues, pas de vignes, pas de grenades – et maintenant même pas d’eau ! (Num 20 : 2-5).

Moïse et Aaron se retirent pour des consultations avec Dieu ou avec leur conscience. Ils proposent une solution. À la fin de l’histoire, les gens ont de l’eau.

C’est un déjà-vu. Selon l’histoire biblique, 40 ans plus tôt, Moïse avait été confronté à une situation similaire : il n’y avait pas d’eau, les gens avaient soif, se plaignaient, remettant en question sa capacité à diriger son peuple et à subvenir à ses besoins fondamentaux. À l’époque, Moïse s’écria de frustration : « Que dois-je faire de ce peuple ? D’un instant à l’autre, ils vont me tuer ! (Ex 17:4). Et maintenant, il semble que Moïse devrait résoudre le problème de la même manière qu’il l’avait fait auparavant, à savoir, prendre le bâton et frapper le rocher. Il répète la solution, il heurte le rocher, l’eau s’écoule du rocher et à nouveau les gens ont assez à boire. Mais cette fois, Dieu est déçu de la solution de Moïse. Apparemment, Moïse n’avait pas été assez attentif, car cette fois Dieu lui avait dit, de prendre son bâton (symbole d’autorité) et de parler au rocher au lieu de le frapper. Parlez. Pas toucher ! Mais Moïse ne voulait pas écouter. Moïse fait une erreur, avec pour conséquence que Moïse et Aaron n’entreront jamais dans la Terre Promise.

Selon les auteurs bibliques, il était normal de frapper le rocher dans un premier temps, mais dans le second cas, 40 ans plus tard, il y a une attente plus élevée : il ne suffit pas de frapper le rocher, l’action physique n’est pas dans le focus, la principale préoccupation est la capacité de parler, la volonté d’expliquer les décisions du leader. Pas seulement en utilisant le pouvoir de l’autorité, mais en essayant de convaincre ceux que vous dirigez. Moïse était censé parler au lieu de frapper le rocher. On s’attendait à ce qu’il encadre l’expérience, explique ses actes.

Le texte biblique est ancien, mais la situation qu’il décrit, un défi archétypique du leadership, est contemporaine. Nous plaçons des attentes élevées dans la performance de nos dirigeants. Il est très difficile d’être un bon leader. On ne dit presque jamais merci, on critique presque toujours, on scrute, on questionne. En effet, c’est l’un des fondements d’une démocratie – pouvoir remettre en cause les décisions de ceux qui prennent la responsabilité du leadership.

Il y a plusieurs leçons à tirer de cette histoire.

Les solutions qui étaient bonnes hier ne sont pas nécessairement bonnes ou acceptables aujourd’hui ou demain. La vie est dynamique. Les sociétés sont dynamiques. Le leadership doit s’adapter et être flexible.

Et pourtant, même les meilleurs leaders font des erreurs. Les erreurs et les mauvaises décisions font partie de la vie. Personne n’est parfait, pas même Moïse, qui parle avec Dieu face à face. Certaines erreurs que nous commettons par habitude – cela explique peut-être l’échec de Moïse dans notre histoire. Il avait l’habitude de frapper le rocher quand on avait besoin d’eau et ça fonctionnait.

On nous rappelle que les mots ont du pouvoir. La persuasion, et non la force brutale, est le principal outil d’un leadership légitime. Surtout lorsque nous sommes en colère et submergés par la complexité d’une situation, nous avons tendance à utiliser la force – physique ou verbale – pour obtenir ce que nous voulons, pour faire avancer les choses rapidement. Surtout dans la situation d’urgence, il semble qu’il n’y ait pas de temps pour les discussions ou les explications.

Puisque personne n’est parfait, soyons compatissants envers les autres comme nous sommes compatissants envers nous-mêmes, donnons aux autres le bénéfice du doute, car dans la plupart des cas les gens font des erreurs non pas à cause de mauvais penchants. Comme nous nous comportons parfois de manière irrationnelle, d’autres personnes peuvent également se comporter de manière irrationnelle. Ceux qui assument le lourd fardeau de la responsabilité du gouvernement ne font pas exception à la règle. La critique est importante, mais elle doit être faite avec dignité et proportion, et avec un peu de compassion. Le Luxembourg, l’Europe, le monde entier sont confrontés à un défi inimaginable avec cette pandémie. Toutes les mesures des décideurs politiques n’étaient pas parfaitement justes, beaucoup ont été critiquées, mettant dans certains cas les décideurs politiques sous une pression énorme. Et pourtant, il faut rappeler non seulement la solidarité entre les citoyens, mais aussi la solidarité entre le gouvernement et le peuple. Aujourd’hui, à l’occasion de la fête nationale, nous vous disons merci. Merci pour votre service et merci pour votre engagement envers le fardeau que vous portez volontairement.

Dans le même ordre d’idées, je suis heureux d’annoncer que deux membres du judaïsme libéral ont été honorés des décorations de l’État luxembourgeois cette année :

  • Eleanor Sharpston, ancienne avocate générale à la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne, a été décorée du Grand Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg
  • Le rabbin Prof. Walter Homolka, recteur du Collège Abraham Geiger et partisan actif du dialogue interreligieux, a été élevé au rang de chevalier de l’Ordre de la Couronne de Chêne.

Au nom de la communauté, je félicite les lauréats.

Et pourtant, la conscience que les humains ne sont pas infaillibles ne nie pas le fait que les décisions ont des conséquences. Nous n’avons que rarement une seconde chance.

Nous sommes appelés à une vie d’un équilibre délicat entre la conscience de notre imperfection d’une part et le poids de la responsabilité de nos décisions d’autre part. C’est un défi, de trouver la sérénité de vivre avec cette conscience à deux faces. Sans le cœur léger et trouver des excuses, mais aussi ne pas laisser la culpabilité nous empêcher de vivre. Pour être honnête avec vous-même et en même temps pour avoir de l’énergie pour vivre, continuez à essayer de trouver les meilleures solutions possibles.

La bonne nouvelle est que nous ne sommes pas seuls dans cette lutte. Autour de nous se trouvent la famille, les amis, les alliés. Mais aussi, à un niveau plus essentiel – nous ne sommes jamais seuls. Dieu est de notre côté. Dieu nous aime inconditionnellement. Dieu est avec nous aussi dans nos échecs. Dieu voit nos erreurs, il ne peut pas nous libérer de cette responsabilité, mais il montre constamment un moyen de faire face, comment prendre une meilleure décision, nous guidant sur le chemin de notre vie et recalculant l’itinéraire à chaque tournant que nous faisons. Dieu agit par la persuasion et nous inspire à faire de même. C’est ce que je retiens de notre histoire. Chabbat Chalom !

This Week in Our Community

Monday-Friday 10:00-10:30 (zoom)
Weekday Morning Prayer

Friday, 25 June, 18:30-20:30 (zoom)
18:30-19:00 Community Talk
Kabbalat Shabbat

Saturday, 26 June, 10:30-12:00 (zoom)
Shabbat Morning Service

Torah Weekly Portion
Numbers 22:2−25:9
Balak, the king of Moab, persuades the prophet Balaam to curse the Israelites so that he can defeat them and drive them out of the region. However, Balaam blesses the Children of Israel instead and prophesies that Israel’s enemies will be defeated. (22:2-24:25)
God punishes the Israelites with a plague for consorting with the Moabite women and their god. The plague is stayed after Pinchas kills an Israelite man and his Midianite woman. (25:1-9)

Commentary: https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/balak

Haftarah: Micah 5:6-6:8

This Week in Our Community

Monday-Friday 10:00-10:30 (zoom)
Weekday Morning Prayer

Wednesday, 16 June, 19:00-21:00 (zoom)
Basics of Hebrew (19:00-19:30)
Introduction to Judaism course

Friday, 18 June, 18:30-20:30 (zoom)
Kabbalat Shabbat – National Holiday Service
with Cantor Aviv Weinberg

Saturday, 19 June, 10:30-12:00 (zoom)
Torah Brunch

Torah Weekly Portion
Chukat – The Ritual Law
Numbers 19:1−22:1

The laws of the red heifer to purify a person who has had contact with a corpse are given. (19:1-22)
The people arrive at the wilderness of Zin. Miriam dies and is buried there. (20:1)
The people complain that they have no water. Moses strikes the rock to get water for them. God tells Moses and Aaron they will not enter the Land of Israel. (20:2-13)
The king of Edom refuses to let the Children of Israel pass through his land. After Aaron’s priestly garments are given to his son Eleazer, Aaron dies. (20:14-29)
After they are punished for complaining about the lack of bread and water, the Israelites repent and are victorious in battle against the Amorites and the people of Bashan, whose lands they capture. (21:4-22:1)

Commentary: https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/chukat
Haftarah: Judges 11:1-33

This Week in Our Community

Monday-Friday 10:00-10:30 (zoom)
Weekday Morning Prayer

Friday, 11 June, 18:30-20:30
Community talk: 18:30-19:00
Kabbalat Shabbat

Saturday, 12 June, 10:30-12:00
Shabbat Morning Service

Torah Weekly Portion
Numbers 16:1−18:32
Korach and his followers, Dathan and Abiram, lead a rebellion against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. God punishes the rebels by burying them and their families alive. Once again, God brings a plague on the people. (16:1-17:15)
The chief of each tribe deposits his staff inside the Tent of Meeting. Aaron’s staff brings forth sprouts, produces blossoms, and bears almonds. (17:16-26)
The Kohanim and Levites are established and assigned the responsibility of managing the donations to the Sanctuary. All of the firstborn offerings shall go to the priests and all the tithes are designated for the Levites in return for the services they perform. (18:1-32)

Commentary: https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/korach
Haftarah: I Samuel 11:14-12:22

This Week in Our Community – Updated!

Monday-Friday 10:00-10:30 (zoom)
Weekday Morning Prayer

Wednesday, 2 June, 19:00-21:00 (zoom)
Basics of Hebrew: 19:00-19:30
Introduction to Judaism course

Friday, 4 June, 19:00 (external zoom)
A True European Shabbat

Saturday, 5 June, 10:30-12:30 (zoom)
Community Talk and Torah Brunch: Jewish views on surrogacy

Sunday, 6 June, 17:30
Annual General Meeting
Assemblée Générale

Dear Friends,
Experience an exciting and different virtual Shabbat service led by aspiring prayer leaders from all over Europe – from Sweden and Finland in the North to Portugal and Italy in the South!

Luxembourg is represented by Eleanor Sharpston!

The EUPJ’s new Baalei Tefillah program has enabled more than 30 students to acquire lay-leadership skills in a year-long course led by Rabbi Nathan Alfred, Head of International Development and Community Building at WUPJ. 

The service will take place in Hebrew and English. Come and enjoy the variety of accents, get a taste of the different styles, and meet fellow EUPJ members!

Contact us to register for the event. Registration is mandatory to attend.


 Our Annual General Meeting is taking place on 6 June 2021!
Agenda for the AGM:

1) Our rabbi will be on a partial sabbatical leave from September 2021 until the end of March 2022. Just as we are told to let our land lay fallow in order to rest the land after six years of growth, we understand that a valued rabbi too should have the chance to revitalise after six years of harvesting his creative fruits. During his partial sabbatical leave our rabbi will be available for several hours a week, lead services and teach on one Shabbat a month. In the rest of the time our rabbi plans to study and further his doctoral research, as well as spend quality time with his family.

2) I would therefore like to call upon all members who are ready to help lead services to get in touch with us. During the rabbi’s absence we will have visiting rabbis for holidays and on special occasions, but the usual Shabbat service will be led by me and other volunteers.

3) Finally, while the current Committee has been elected for two years, if anyone would like to be more active in the everyday management of our community, we can always use more hands!

I send you all my very best wishes of health and a speedy return to a sense of “normality”.


Torah Weekly Portion
Sh’lach L’cha – Send [Notables to Scout the Land]
Numbers 13:1−15:41
Moses sends twelve spies to the Land of Israel to report on the inhabitants and the country. Despite the positive report of Joshua and Caleb, the people are frightened. (13:1–14:10)
God threatens to wipe out the Children of Israel but relents when Moses intercedes on their behalf. To punish the people, God announces that all those who left Egypt would not enter the Land of Israel except for Joshua and Caleb. (14:11–45)
Moses instructs the Israelites regarding setting aside challah, the observance of the Sabbath, how to treat strangers, and the laws of tzitzit. (15:1–41)

Commentary: https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/shlach-lcha
Haftarah: Joshua 2:1-24

This Week in Our Community

Monday-Friday 10:00-10:30 (zoom)
Weekday Morning Prayer

Friday, 28 May, 18:30-20:30 (zoom)
Community talk: 18:30-19:00
Kabbalat Shabbat

Saturday, 29 May, 10:30-12:00 (zoom)
Torah Brunch

Torah Weekly Portion
B’haalot’cha – When You Raise [the Lamps]
Numbers 8:1-12:16
God speaks to Moses, describing the menorah for the Tent of Meeting. The Levites are appointed to serve as assistants under Aaron and his sons. (8:1-26)
Those who are unable to celebrate Passover during Nisan are given a time in the month of Sivan to observe a “second Passover.” (9:1-14)
A cloud by day and fire by night show God’s Presence over the Tabernacle. When the cloud lifts from the Tabernacle, the people leave Sinai, setting out on their journey, tribe by tribe. (9:15-10:36)
The Israelites complain about the lack of meat, and Moses becomes frustrated. God tells him to appoint a council of elders. God provides the people with meat and then strikes them with a very severe plague. (11:1-34)
Miriam and Aaron talk about the “Cushite woman” whom Moses has married. In addition, they complain that God speaks not only through Moses but also through them. Miriam is struck with leprosy, and Moses begs God to heal her. After her recovery, the people resume their journey. (12:1-16)

Commentary: https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bhaalotcha
Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7

This Week in Our Community


Sunday, 16 May, 19:00-20:00 (zoom)
Shavuot Evening Service

Followed by Tikkun Leil Shavuot – Shavout Leaning Night

English Programme:
20:15-21:00 Rabbi Barbara Borts: Food and Drink in Yiddish Song
Rabbi Dr Barbara Borts has worked in synagogues in the UK, Europe, and North America. Now, she spends her time going to Yiddish reading circles, walking her 2 rough collies, and working to finish up her learning in preparation for ordination as a chazzan

21:15-22:00 Ilana Bet-El: Responsibility and Privacy
Social media, mass communication and disinformation are the essence of our times. Remaining a private individual yet being part of cyber life is becoming increasingly difficult. This problem is unique not only because the digisphere is new but because the very idea of privacy is very modern: before the options of mass cheap lighting and heat, some 200 years ago, collective living was a necessity. We also see this reality in the many tales of the Bible, but more significantly, the idea of God is dependent on an almighty that sees right into each of us individuals. So why do we care about privacy and how do we reconcile ourselves to these different strands and remain responsible to ourselves and society? Ilana Bet-El is a senior strategic advisor, an historian and a writer. A former senior official in the UN, she holds a PhD in history and sociology. 

22:15-23:00 Ruth Friedman: The Revelation of Our Lives
This experiential session is about ongoing Revelation and what it can mean in our own lives. We also explore how our (human physical) body can support us to experience this revelation. Ruth Friedman is a Certified Professional Coach and Focusing Guide, and she supports her clients to gain new insights based on their own bodily awareness.  She is originally from London and lives in Belgium since 2004.

23:30-00:15 Yisrael Abir Mitra: United and Divided by the Torah?
Yisrael Abir Mitra is completing his PhD in Hebrew Bible at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and is currently on a Jewish Studies programme at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem.

00:20-1:00 Student rabbi Brian Doyle-Du Breuil: Queering Boaz?
An exploration of gender stereotypes in reading the book of Ruth through a Queer lens. Brian Doyle-Du Breuil is a final year student rabbi at Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam, Germany. He holds a PhD in Hebrew Bible and enjoys exploring alternative strategies for reading the Bible.

French Programme:
20:30 Dr Gérard Haddad, La Violence dans la Torah.
21:30 Les rabbins François Garaï et Gabriel Farhi en dialogue : LA Torah ou NOTRE Torah
22:30 Etudiant Rabbin Iris Ferreira,  Voyage de la Torah au Talmud (nous partirons de l’épisode de la révélation des dix paroles dans la Parachah Yitro, Exode chapitres 19 et 20)
23:30 Rabbin Marc Neiger, La Torah est-elle vraiment un don ?  La révélation du Sinaï est présentée comme un don, mais les Israélites ont-il vraiment eut le choix d’accepter la Torah, en étaient-ils dignes ?

German Programme:
Further details: https://www.jlg.ch/aktuell (Jüdische Libeale Gemeinde Zürich)
20:30 – 21:15 Machla bat Zelofchad und ihre Schwestern
21:15 – 22:00 Jüdisches Leben in zwei Deutschlands
22:15 – 22:30 Warum Milchigs an Schawuot?
22:30 – 23:15 Das Ende des Exils – eine Befreiung?
23:15 – 0:00 Jüdische Befreiungslieder
0:00 – 0:15 Musings. Gedichtlesung
0:15 – 1:00 Cherut al Haluchot, Charut al Haluchot

Monday, 17 May, 10:00-10:40 (zoom)
Shavuot Morning Service

Friday, 21 May, 18:30-20:30 (zoom)
Community talk: 18:30-19:00
Kabbalat Shabbat

Torah Weekly Portion
Naso – Take a Census
Numbers 4:21-7:89
A census of the Gershonites, Merarites, and Koathites between the ages of thirty and fifty is conducted and their duties in the Tabernacle are detailed. (4:21-49)
God speaks to Moses concerning what to do with ritually unclean people, repentant individuals, and those who are suspected of adultery. (5:1-31)
The obligations of a nazirite vow are explained. They include abstaining from alcohol and not cutting one’s hair. (6:1-21)
God tells Moses how to teach Aaron and his sons the Priestly Blessing. (6:22-27)
Moses consecrates the Sanctuary, and the tribal chieftains bring offerings. Moses then speaks with God inside the Tent of Meeting. (7:1-89)

Commentary: https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/naso

Haftarah: Judges 13:2-25 or Judges 16:4-21 or Psalm 67

This Week in Our Community

Monday-Friday 10:00-10:30 (zoom)
Weekday Morning Prayer

Friday, 14 May, 18:30-20:30 (zoom)
Community talk: 18:30-19:00
Kabbalat Shabbat

Sunday, 16 May, 19:00-20:30 (zoom)
Shavuot Evening Service & Learning

Torah Weekly Portion
B’midbar – In the Wilderness
Numbers 1:1-4:20
God commands Moses to take a census of all the Israelite males over the age of twenty. (1:1-46)
The duties of the Levites, who are not included in the census, are detailed. (1:47-51)
Each tribe is assigned specific places in the camp around the Tabernacle. (1:52-2:34)
The sons of Levi are counted and their responsibilities are set forth. (3:1-3:39)
A census of the firstborn males is taken and a special redemption tax is levied on them. (3:40-51)
God instructs Moses and Aaron regarding the responsibilities of Aaron and his sons, and the duties assigned to the Kohathites. (4:1-20)

Commentary: https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bmidbar

Haftarah: Hosea 2:1-22

This Week in Our Community

Monday-Friday 10:00-10:30 (zoom)
Weekday Morning Prayer

Wednesday, 5 May, 19:00-21:00 (zoom)
Introduction to Judaism course
Basics of Hebrew: 19:00-19:30

Friday, 7 May, 18:30-20:30 (zoom)
Community talk: 18:30-19:00
Kabbalat Shabbat – Europe Day Shabbat
Guest Speaker: Rabbi Dr. Elisa Klapheck

Saturday, 8 May, 10:30-11:30 (zoom)
Shabbat Morning Service

Torah Weekly Portion
B’har – B’chukotai
On Mount [Sinai] – My Laws
Leviticus 25:1-27:34
God instructs Moses to tell the Israelites that in every seventh year, the land shall observe a Sabbath of complete rest: Fields should not be sown and vines should not be pruned. (25:1-7)
After forty-nine years, a jubilee year is to be celebrated when all the land that had been sold during that time should be returned to its original owners and slaves are to be freed. (25:8-55)
God instructs Moses to tell the Israelites not to make idols, to keep the sabbath, and to venerate the sanctuary of the Eternal. (26:1-2)
God promises blessings to the Children of Israel if they follow the law and warns about the curses that will befall the people if they do not observe God’s commandments. (26:1-46)
Gifts made to the Sanctuary whether by conditional vows or by unconditional acts of pious gratitude are discussed. (27:1-34)

Commentary: https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bhar-bchukotai

Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14

This Week in Our Community

Monday-Friday 10:00-10:30 (zoom)
Weekday Morning Prayer

Friday, 30 April, 18:30-20:30 (zoom)
Community talk: 18:30-19:00
Kabbalat Shabbat

Saturday, 1 May, 10:30-12:30 (zoom)
Torah Brunch

Torah Weekly Portion
Emor – Speak
Leviticus 21:1-24:23
Laws regulating the lives and sacrifices of the priests are presented. (21:1-22:33)
The set times of the Jewish calendar are named and described: the Sabbath, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Pilgrimage Festivals of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. (23:1-44)
God commands the Israelites to bring clear olive oil for lighting the sanctuary menorah. The ingredients and placement of the displayed loaves of sanctuary bread are explained. (24:1-9)
Laws dealing with profanity, murder, and the maiming of others are outlined. (24:10-23)

Commentary: https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/emor
Haftarah: Ezekiel 44:15-31