Tikvat Israel Congregation

A Conservative Synagogue in Rockville, MD

God’s Blessing: Atid Learning Center Weekly Update 5/25/18

Shalom Families,

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

Last Sunday class is June 3rd, parents, please join us at 11 am for a closing assembly. 

(K-2 will have their own closing assembly with parents 10:30-11 am)

Torah Talk:

To be Blessed by God
By:  Jan Katzew 

This week we reach a crescendo in the Torah’s symphony of blessings. Moving rhythmically from three to five to seven words and from the physical to the ethical to the spiritual domains, these blessings offer a promise and a hope. They promise divine providence, and they hope that we realize and appreciate the source of our blessings. People do not bless one another. Rabbis and cantors do not bless babies, or Benei/Benot Mitzvah, or marry couples. It only appears to be so. All we can do for and with one another is to invoke God’s blessing.

The Birkat Kohanim:

May God bless you and keep you;
May God shine upon you and show compassion to you;
May God lift the Divine Countenance and give peace to you

appends the following words, “And they shall place My name upon the Children of Israel, and I will bless them.” (Bemidbar (Numbers) 6:27)

This verse reminds us, the Children of Israel, then and now, that God is the source of all blessings. It is also a reminder to anyone who assumes a priestly function. We are only the sacred vehicles, the means to a divine end, the instruments to call upon a power that resides not within us but beyond us.

Believing that God is the source of all blessings is not the same as behaving as though God is the source of all blessings. In order to act upon this belief, we need to exhibit a profound sense of humility in taking credit for all that is good in our lives. We need to be conscious that we do not deserve everything that is ours. We need to realize that we are not in full control of our destiny. We need to realize that only God can bless.

Instead of entitlements, Judaism begins with blessings. Instead of rights, Judaism begins with responsibilities. In this spirit, each of us can learn about the character of our lives as Jews by counting our blessings and considering our responsibilities. This Shabbat, as we invoke blessings that are as timely as they are timeless, whether sitting in our homes, or walking by the way, or lying down, or getting up, let us believe and let us behave as though God has blessed us.

1. What or whom do you consider to be your greatest blessings?
2. How do you express appreciation for them?

According to the rabbinic imagination, even God prays. “May it be My will that My mercy conquers My anger and dominates My attributes, that I behave compassionately towards My children, and that I go above and beyond the call of duty in relation to them.” (Babylonian Talmud, Berachot 7a)

May this divine prayer be our own as well, as we seek to relate to ourselves, one another, and God.

Upcoming Events

  • Sunday, May 27 – No Class, Memorial Day Weekend
  • Saturday, June 2- Junior Congregation, 10:30 am
  • Saturday, June 2- Kehilat Kids, 11:00 am 
  • Sunday, June 3 – Closing Day, Atid LC, 10:30 K-2 Parents Invited, 11:00 All Parents Invited- Closing Assembly

Community Announcements: 

  1. Drag Queen Havdalah  – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/drag-queen-havdalah-tickets-46161794169  Saturday, June 16- 5:30pm- Temple Shalom- Family Friendly!
  2. Capital Camps 30th Anniversary Celebration – June 17th – Celebrate & Elevate Capital Camps & Retreat Center with our 30th anniversary special event on June 17, 2018, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm at Capital Camps & Retreat Center, 12750 Buchanan Trail East, Waynesboro, PA. This full day of fun is for EVERYONE: campers, parents, alumni, grandparents, prospective camp families, and community members. Join us for an adventure on our challenge courses, cool off in the pool and lake, create some arts & crafts, play sports and games, take a tour of our facilities, join a song session and enjoy a Father’s Day BBQ lunch. End your amazing day with a campfire sing-a-long and desserts of s’mores and banana boats. Visit www.capitalcamps.org/30 for more information, including business sponsorship opportunities. Advance registration is required.
  3. Capital Camps – Prospective Camper Tours – Experience the Magic of CampExperience the magic of camp in action with a summer tour. During your visit, check out the inside of a bunk, our mud challenge course, and our outstanding aquatics facility. Then, enjoy a meal in our spacious dining hall with enthusiastic campers and staff members.  Don’t forget to bring a friend.  Sunday tours: July 1, 8, 15, 29 and August 5, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm.  Visit www.capitalcamps.org for more information and to RSVP.

Shabbat shalom,
Luisa Moss, Director of Education and Youth Programming