Parashat Shelach Lecha and The Catcher was a Spy

Yoga Class THIS Sunday at 10 am – June 30 at Beth El. FREE and open to all – led by Rachel!

Song filled and joyful services! Tonight @ 7PM! Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message. This week we read Parshat Sh’lah L’kha-which tells the story of the spies who were sent to scout the Land of Israel, and the condemnation of the People of Israel to wander in the desert for forty years. The parshah though closes with a completely different subject-the commandment to wear tzitzith, the ritual fringes on the corners of the tallith. The commandment of course is for the fringe to include a royal blue (t’cheleth) thread. This royal blue dye was derived from a marine snail, a species of murex, but is indistinguishable from indigo to the naked eye. Since unscrupulous dealers were passing off indigo as the more expensive murex dye, the Sages decreed that the blue thread was optional. The murex dye has recently been rediscovered (and can be distinguished from indigo by chemical analysis), but t’cheleth threads in tzitzith are still uncommon. The color is now most recognizable in the blue star and stripes of the flag of the State of Israel. Shabbat Shalom.Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-MosheShabbat candle lighting at 8:19 p.m.

Our next Chai Mitzvah adult class is Thursday July 25 at 7PM at Beth El. Please join us. Come learn about the Jewish perspective on Leadership. The class is free and open to all and you will leave inspired! Scott and Shereen are amazing Leaders of this program! Our Next Sisterhood Book Club Selection is The Catcher was a Spy! A fascinating book & Movie! Tuesday August 27 at 7 PM Location at Doris’s home.Parashat Hashavua with Rabbi Peter Tarlow: The name of this week’s parashah is “Shalach” or “Shalach l’chah. You will find it in the Book of Numbers 13:1-15:41. This section is an example of how difficult it is to translate the Hebrew text into a foreign language. The non-Hebrew reader will miss the irony of this section. The word following “shalach/send forth” is the dative “l’chah” meaning approximately “for your own sake”. To the non-Hebrew reader this use of the dative case may seem superfluous but the Hebrew reader will immediately connect this section to the section in Genesis called “Lech l’chah” In Lech l’chah (Go forth and get out of there for your own sake) G-d sends Abraham into the land of Canaan with the words “Lech l’chah” now in the current parashah G’d tells Moses to “send them (the spies) out into the land for your own sake”. Despite their linguistic similarities there are, however, great differences between the two statements. In Abraham’s case, he owns the challenge, and seeks to fulfill the mission. In the case of the spies, ten of them flee from the challenge. Lech l’chah is about trust, the basis of the relationship between G-d and His people. This week’s parashah Shalach l’chah is about seeing only part of the story and living a life of negativity. It reminds us that facts are the basis of reality and not feel-good policies that in the end do more harm than good. The text illustrates this point in the majority report (given by ten of the spies). They state (13:33): “Vanhi v’eiyneynu k’Chanavim v’chen hayiny b’eineyhem”. The Hebrew once again is hard to translate into western languages, but we might render it as “we made ourselves (we chose to see ourselves) as grasshoppers (insignificant pests) and they saw us in the same way. Here pessimism abounds. Police is to be made on the basis of feelings rather than facts. Perhaps the text is stating: do not assume, G-d has demonstrated numerous reasons for you to trust Him, but once again, there is a return to negativity and the “sky is falling” mentality. How directly is this week’s parashah speaking to us today? How many of us assume the worst, and live in a world of doomsday? Shalach l’chah then is more than a command given by G-d to Moses, it is also a question and a challenge. The Hebrew is stating: send yourself out, dare to explore, and remember that negative thoughts often result in negative actions. Perhaps the difference between Abaham’s Lech l’chah and the spies’ Shalach l’chah is that Abraham was a man who trusted G-d; the spies on the other hand, were pessimists who chose to react rather than act. Are you a person who trusts G-d or is a slave to fear?

Parashat Behar – weekend services

Services tonight at 7 PM. Services this Shabbat morning starting at 9 a.m. with Psukei De Zimra, followed by the Torah service at 9:45, children’s story time with Morah Shereen’ and a lovely sit down lunch or bagels, lox , lentil soup and salads. We would LOVE to see you! As always, everyone is welcome at Beth El. You will be greeted with a warm smile!

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message:

This week’s parshah, B’har, contains one of the most famous quotes from early US history-the verse on the Liberty Bell. “Proclaim liberty throughout the land and unto the inhabitants thereof.” וקראתם דרור בארץ לכל ישביה
This verse was taken as an endorsement of American independence from Britain, but the verse originally referred to the proclamation of the Yovel, the Jubilee Year that came every fifty years. During the Yovel, land returned to its original owners, debts were cancelled and indentured servants were freed. The Yovel is an important reminder to us-liberty is not a one time event, but must be constantly renewed. A just society must always look to the liberty of all people at all times, and the playing field must be constantly leveled. In this way we can live up to the high standard which our Torah sets for us. Shabbat Shalom.

Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Candle lighting at 8:06 PM

Wonderful FREE Yoga this Sunday May 27 at 10 AM with Yoga Instructor and Beth El member Rachel. Please join us for an hour of Yoga for all abilities, which will include a short, but uplifting Jewish meditation component by Hazzan Ben-Moshe. Thank you to Rachel and Tzahi.

Free and open to all – all levels and abilities, members and non-members. Wear comfortable clothes and bring a mat or towel.

Parashat Kedoshim and Sylvia’s Bat Mitzvah

Services Friday night at 7 PM.

Shabbat morning services are this Saturday May 11, and we will be celebrating Sylvia Wilke’s bat mitzvah. We wish Min Rice and her family a hearty mazal tov. Please plan to join us. Yosef will be doing the Haftarah. There will be a yummy dairy kidush right after, smoked salmon and the works, generously sponsored by Sylvia and her family.

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message:

This week’s parshah is K’doshim-which states “You shall be holy people (k’doshim) for I, HaShem, am Holy”. The book of Vayyikra, Leviticus, is of course full of laws concerning rituals, purity and impurity, and proper diet. But the focus of this parshah specifically dealing with holiness is ethical behavior. Fairness in our interpersonal relationships figures heavily, as well as making sure that we hold ourselves and our society to the highest standards. The Sages teach that we are to act like the Holy One. And how are we to do so? By clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, comforting mourners. Acts of hessed, loving kindness, are the ways in which we make ourselves holy, much more so than any rituals we might perform. May we always be a k’hillah k’doshah, a holy community, bringing out the best from ourselves and from each other. Shabbat Shalom.

Candle lighting at 7:57 PM


This story that I’m about to write has been told to me by a very dear friend. I don’t wish to take complete credit for it, but it has been changed and took some turns in composing it.

It was a nice bright and sunny day in June that Bunny and Paul got married. It had taken many months of planning and finally the day had come. It was a very large wedding which numbered approximately 200 people. You could just feel the love in the air. It was one of the most delightful weddings that had taken place in Boston in some time. After the wedding, the numerous gifts were gathered up and taken to the new apartment. After a three-day honeymoon, the new couple was off to work. I need to share with you that all the gifts were opened but one and listed on a piece of paper who to send thank you notes to and what they sent. Now, let’s talk about the gift that was not opened. It was a very special gift. All we know is that it came from Paul’s aunt. There was a note on it that said to be opened upon your first argument/disagreement. As time went on, there were two different moves, three children and, need I tell you what else happens in that time. That time consisted of seven years. Yes, the gift was still unopened. It had a special place in the kitchen cabinet on top. I am sure there was some slight bumps in the road along the way, but for the most part it was a fairly smooth marriage. As the kids grew and their life was settling down, they thought many times about the gift. They would see the aunt every now and then and tell her that the gift has yet to be opened. It’s been so long the aunt forgot all about the gift or what was in it, but she never said anything about it. Well, today they decided they were going to open the gift. Not because of it’s original instructions, but they wanted to open the gift while the aunt was still alive and their curiosity was going really wild by now. The ribbon was carefully undone and the pretty paper, which now was showing some wear, taken off. The gift was opened. After all these years of guessing what could be in there, they had no idea what it could be. There was a set of toasting goblets and two little envelopes. One envelope had Bunny’s name on it. Inside it said go get some real nice bath salts and take a nice bath and have a glass of wine with it. There was also a $20 wrapped around the note. Paul’s envelope said go get Bunny a bouquet of flowers and some chocolate covered strawberries. It’s funny how a little box held a family together all these years. As I said the road was not smooth all the way, but every time there was a bump, they both remembered the gift on the shelf and they didn’t want to open it because that would indicate that they were defeated. The gift on the shelf kind of bonded them together. They then placed the three children in the station wagon and headed to the aunt’s house. They wanted to personally thank her for the best wedding gift anyone could receive. It’s funny how with age comes wisdom as I said before. Wisdom doesn’t come with a 20 year old.

L dor V dor, Grandpa Abe

May 11 Bat Mitzvah celebration of Sylvia Wilke

May 16 Chai Mitzvah Class at 7 PM

May 19 BERS Graduation Day & Congregational Picnic

June 25 Sisterhood Book Night at Gail Ellenbogen’s home at 7 PM

Look for more information about summer yoga series with Rachel at Beth El! More details to follow.

No Sunday school this weekend, but PLEASE give your Moms a huge hug and make her day super special. Enjoy a photo of Morah Meital and our wonderful children and Ms Carol! Huge thank you to Ms. Carol for coming to sing Israeli songs with our yeladim!

In the Sands of Sinai

Services tonight @ 7PM! We’ll light candles together just before services.

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message.

This week is Parshat Sh’mini as well as Shabbat Parah, one of the four special Shabbatot that lead up to Passover. The parshah and the maftir both deal with death-the death of Aharon’s elder sons, Nadav and Avihu in the parshah, and the ritual of the Red Heifer in the special reading. The purpose of the maftir reading is to prepare us for Pesah-in ancient times, we would have been required to be in a state of purity in order to partake of the Paschal sacrifice. To participate in the ritual without the proper preparation was a grave offense-perhaps as grave as the offense of Nadav and Avihu in offering an unauthorized incense offering. The Temple no longer stands, the sacrifices are no longer offered nor are the laws of purity in force. Nonetheless, we should prepare ourselves for Pesah-not only physically by cleaning our homes, but also spiritually by cleaning out that which is stale in our lives, coming to the Season of Our Liberation refreshed and light. Shabbat Shalom.

March 31 – 12:30 PM Whole Wheat Challah Baking Class – learn to make the softest, most delicious whole wheat challah and learn about the Jewish blessing of Eshet Chayil. With Iris Kohn-Wiener

April 7th – Men’s Club BBQ @ Beth El @ 3:30 PM

April 14 – Beth El Passover cleaning day at 12 noon. “All hands on deck” – “many hands make light work”…you get the message! PLEASE come out and lend a hand as we clean the shul for Passover.

April 20 – Beth El Annual Second Night Seder – RSVP ASAP to to reserve your spot.

Wednesday May 1- 7 PM at Beth El – Author Yitzhak Brooks – Israeli soldier and physician. See below. 
Sunday school is this Sunday at 10, followed by a whole wheat challah making class and Eshet Chayil Study! Please join us.

Coomunity News! Come to IGNITE at the J! April 14.!

Sofia’s Bat Mitzvah

Friday Night Live! Tonight @ 7PM! 
Shabbat Morning Services this Shabbat at 9 AM. Please join us as we celebrate Sofia’s Bat Mitzvah. Mazel tov to her family, Yosef, Claudia, Vania and Nathan. There will be a delicious meat kidush immediately following services, sponsored generously by Sofia’s family. “Shabbat Shul Storytime” with Morah Shereen for the children during services.

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message.

The end of this week’s parshah, Tzav, details the ordination ceremony for Aharon and his sons as Kohanim, priests. Moshe offers his last sacrifice as his brother takes over that role, and the trope, the cantillation note over the word “vayish’hat”, “and he slaughtered” is sharsheret, a long, drawn-out tone that is used only four times in the Torah, and always indicates hesitation. Moshe is sad that he has to give the sacerdotal function away. Transfer of power is not easy. In the Megillah which we just read on Purim, the king takes his signet ring from Haman and gives it to Mordechai, signifying the transfer of power as prime minister. In the Megillah, Haman has to die in order for Mordechai to take his place. The Torah describes an orderly transfer of power. May all people everywhere be blessed to live under a system which transfers power not through assassination or violent revolution, but through democracy. All of the human family deserve this. Shabbat Shalom.
Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe 
Shabbat candle lighting at 7:26 p.m.

Thank you to all who helped make our Purim Party so much fun and so very meaningful.

From the teens who organized the children’s arts and crafts stations, to the Hazzan for a great Megilla reading, to the wonderful families that attended.

As Yosef mentioned, without you guys, we are just a building.

With you all, we are a community/kehilla!

A few photos of our Beth El campout last weekend. Save the date for the fall campout in November 23-25.

Please Join Us: Wednesday May 1
Internationally acclaimed Guest Speaker Itzhak Brook. Beth El at 7 PM. All are invited!

You’re Invited: Second Night Seder at Beth El.
Please send your RSVP’s to
It fills fast – but there’s always room for you!