Letters from Leah
Dear Beit Sefer Families,
In a session with educators at the URJ Biennial last week (a huge convention of Reform Jews including all types of professionals and members,) the presenter suggested that Judaism needs to be meaningful, relevant and distinctive to us and our students. One example of a distinctively Jewish spin on a universal concept that he mentioned was Tzedakah. The Jewish concept of Tzedakah is slightly different from that of “charity.” His point was that Tzedakah is a mitzvah, and that we as Jews feel that giving and doing Tzedakah is an imperative, not a choice.
Tzedakah derives from the word “tzedek” which means “justice.” There is a phrase in the Torah (not this week’s portion) “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof.” “Justice, Justice, you shall pursue.” When we give or do Tzedakah, we are pursuing Justice. We are working to balance and create a more just world by giving and doing what we can.
For those of you who are not celebrating with family and friends on Christmas, please join me, my family, and some other TBI families to do what we can to bring balance to a unjust world This is a great opportunity to introduce our children to doing mitzvot, and giving of ourselves to help others. The Pomona Valley Christian Center, needs volunteers for packing, delivering, and serving the Christmas Meals. Here are the details in case you can join us:
Date: Wednesday, December 25th, 2013
Time: 07:00 AM – 01:00 PM
Location: Pomona Valley Christian Center
Address: 1006 South Garey Ave, Pomona, CA 91766 (intersection of Garey & 10th St.)
Parking: Garey Ave & 10th St
This coming week’s Torah portion has two of my favorite women of the Torah: Shifrah and Puah. They were two midwives who defied Pharaoh’s order to throw the Israelite babies into the Nile. When I read and think about this portion, and the humble way in which these women continued to risk their lives to deliver Israelite babies, I always wonder how far I would go to stand for justice. Luckily Pomona’s not that far, and I don’t have to risk my life to deliver food. But, I think I will be using these women as inspiration when I face the challenge of getting my family out the door on a vacation morning!