Newsletter Issue # 43 – August 15, 2012

Pro-Israel education and advocacy group StandWithUs launched a new program aimed at training teenagers from around the United States to become leaders on their future college campuses. Founded in 2001, StandWithUs has been working with high school students and the new StandWithUs-MZ Teens Internship Program will break new ground by taking an individualized approach.

Jewish-American gymnast Aly Raisman expressed her support by doing a moment of silence at the Olympics for the Israelis killed at the 1972 Munich Games. Raisman the fact it was on the 40th anniversary is special, and winning the gold today means a lot to her.

Student rabbis have been going around and visiting San Antonio Jewish homes and, inspecting their mezuzahs a ritual item posted on doorways and offering to upgrade them for free. Jews take part in the mezuzah custom as a way to make visible their religious identity, while also inviting divine protection.

The Hebrew month of Av contains a lot of contradictions and competing emotions. After focusing on destruction and needless hatred, the Jewish heart turns to comfort and the possibility of future redemption. We tend to focus on the possibility of a better world with the concept of needless love, that is expressed through random acts of kindness.

After posting a photo with Matisyahu backstage at his recent Detroit concert, the questions began. People wanted to know if he was wearing a kippah (yarmulke) or tzitzit (ritual fringes), if he was eating kosher, and if I asked him if he was still frum (religious). For the record, he still keeps kosher and mostly eats vegan.

In an act of intentional irony we read in synagogue during a reading of the Torah part of Alan Segal’s book Sinning in the Hebrew Bible: How The Worst Stories Speak for Its Truth. Alan’s book is filled with erudition and common sense. That is why we admire Segal’s past works and we valued him as a friend.

It is customary to wish a new couple that they merit to build a bayit ne’eman b’yisrael, a faithful home in Israel. What does a faithful home mean?  This means implanting a foundation firmly in the ground so that the house doesn’t fall over. This means creating an atmosphere of strength, commitment, and will. Emunah is expressed by being loyal to the inner laws of Torah.

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