We celebrated Simchat Torah on Wednesday evening. The Torah was unwrapped, filling our sanctuary and creating an incredibly holy circle of space. After finishing the Book of Deuteronomy and starting the Book of Genesis, we rolled the Torah to the beginning, placed it in the ark and redressed all of our scrolls in their regular, yearly Torah covers. The holidays that mark a new Jewish year have come to a close. Jewish life calms down a bit as we work our way into 5774. But, it does not stop!!!
On Yom Kippur, I urged us all to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our Holocaust Torah’s “second chance” by connecting deeply with the ancient stories contained on her parchment (my sermon can be found here: http://goo.gl/vk6x34). In light of the success of the Elul Challenge which got many of us watching our words before the High Holidays, I am now issuing the “Torah Challenge”. Between now and Shavuot in early June (Shavuot is the holiday that marks the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai), I want as many of us as possible to read the entire Torah (Five Books of Moses) in English. To help us accomplish this, I will be offering “The Rabbi’s Book Club” – a Torah Study class that will meet the second Tuesday of every month (beginning October 8) at 7:00PM. The Book Club is specifically designed for those who have never read or studied Torah before. I know you are up to this challenge. Given that everyone has difficult schedules, each Book Club will be recorded and available to members who miss a class.
If you are willing to take the Torah Challenge and join us at the Book Club, I ask that you read the first half of the Book of Genesis – up to and including Genesis 28:9. You can purchase an English copy of the Torah here: http://goo.gl/CT0Inb. You can also download the first six sections (Parashat Bereshit being the first) of Genesis here: http://www.hebcal.com/sedrot/. If you have any questions please let me know.
I look forward to learning with many of you! And remember, this Shabbat we start reading Genesis from the beginning, so join us at services where we will be reading and discussing Torah on a regular basis.