Jewish mysticism continues to inspire spiritual seekers.
It is part of the corpus of the Jewish mystical tradition known as Kabbalah. Zohar is now one of the better known works of Kabbalistic literature. Though difficult to understand, due to the dense and obscure cosmological system the text inhabits, even the translation, the Zohar invites those willing to explore it into a fantastical universe filled with spiritual contemplation and insight.
According to tradition Jewish belief, the Zohar was revealed by God to Moses at Sinai, and passed down orally until it was written down in the second century by Rabbi Shimon bat Yohai. Some major themes in the Zohar include the nature of God and the cosmos, the creation of the world, the relationship of God to the world through sefirot (attributes of God) the nature of evil and sin, the revelation of the Torah, the commandments, holidays, prayers, ritual of the ancient Temple, the experience of exile and much more.
The 10 sefirot are expressions of God’s being, they are part of God and also represents the modes through which God relates to the world, These 10 aspects of God also serve as a template for human spiritual experience. The sefirots are:
Keter (Crown) Hokhmah (Wisdom) Binah (Understanding) Hesed (Mercy) Din (Justice) Tiferet (Beauty) Nezah (Eternity) Hod (Glory) Yesod (Foundation) Malkhut (Royalty)
As in previous works in Kabbalah, letters, numbers and words in the Zohar are considered to be powerful entities, indeed the very building blocks of Creation. The power of language includes both divine speech, that creates and continues to recreate the world each day, and humane speech which can influence both this world and the divine realm through prayer and contemplation.
The Zohar has influence Jews and non-Jews alike. The Zohar was embraced by certain Christian scholars who saw parallels in its cosmological system to aspect of Christian theology. The development of Hasidism, which distilled Kabbalistic ideas into psychological concepts that could be applied to religious life, was another way in which the Zohar influence was felt.
And today, with new translation and scholarship making the Zohar accessible to more and more readers, the text has found a new life among spiritual seekers.
Dear Members and Friends,
We are welcoming the New Year, Rosh Hashana with great hope in our hearts that this past year 5780/2020 that brought so much pain and despair will soon leave us and we pray and hope for a better year ahead in 5781/2021.
This year of anguish was a test for all of us, it forced us to slow down and examine our lives, our relationships with family and friends and the routine of our daily lives which were turned upside down. We have learned what is most important in our lives and how much family really matters. Things we have taken for granted we no longer do and we think long and hard how we affect others by our actions especially if we are careless and inconsiderate.
More than ever this year the High Holidays are special, it is a time of faith, prayer and of reflection for our community. Under different circumstances, this year we are praying apart but are united by our traditions including praying for redemption from even the smallest of sins we might have committed this past year. Our Rabbi Stephen Texon has taken a lot of care to prepare and provide us with videotaped services so we can pray in unison with him and our community. We thank him for his efforts and time in this endeavor. We thank our volunteers and office staff for their devotion and efforts during the hardship of this year.
With all of the above, the trials and tribulations we have endured this past year the loss of family, illnesses and change of life style which through no fault of our own has befallen us, we must always remain hopeful for better days ahead. Once the Holy Days are behind us it is a new beginning for all us and a clean slate. Let’s put our hearts and minds into becoming better “nishomas”, better souls to one another and to our community.
We thank the community for the unbelievable support and for remembering their relatives at this time, family is everything. The response to our Yizkor Book has been incredible. We will always remember our family and friends and how they filled and enriched our lives. We also thank everyone for their support of our beautiful synagogue which G-d willing when the virus is over will be back in all its beauty and alive with prayer and celebration. Your support is indispensible to our success spiritually and financially. We appreciate that you believe and honor our heritage.
Recently we received great news from Eretz Israel regarding establishing relations with Arab nations. We pray that this positive direction continues and will pray for it as we enter this New Year 5781/2021. We are encouraged by the news and hope this will tamper some of the anti-Semitism we have been experiencing in greater proportions throughout the world. “Hope spring eternal”.
With a hopeful heart and with gratitude to all of our community, I wish everyone a Happy New Year, a happy Rosh Hashana, and easy fast during Yom Kippur. Let’s all unite in prayer even if apart for blessings, a better world and for Peace. Like the songs says “what the world needs now is Love, sweet Love…”. May G-d bless all, our country and Eretz Israel.
Shana Tovah U’metukah
Ketivah V’Chatima Tovah – A good inscription in the Book of Life
A Gut Gebentsht Yohr
President, Cuban Hebrew Congregation
Temple Beth Shmuel
Gay Pride or LGBT Pride is the promotion of self-affirmation, dignity, equality and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as a social group. Pride is opposed to shame and social stigma.
HISTORY OF PRIDE MONTH
In New York on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which resulted in bar patrons, staff and neighborhood residents rioting. Among many leaders of the riot were black, Trans, bisexual, gay men and women. This lasted 6 days, the message was clear, protesters demanded the establishment of places where LGBT and people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear or arrest.
Pride Month is largely credited as being started by bisexual activist Brenda Howard, known as “The Mother of Pride.” Brenda organized Gay Pride Week, this eventually morphed into what we know now as the New York City Pride March. Today the biggest International Gay Pride Parade is in Telaviv, Israel. Miami Beach is the host to the world known Gay Parade with weeklong activities.
The famous rainbow flag came about when gay politician, Harvey Milk asked a talented designer friend, Gilbert Baker, to design an all-encompassing symbol to take to the San Francisco Pride March in 1978. This flag is used today universally as a welcome sign.
Bill Clinton was the first US President to officially recognize Pride Month in 1999 and 2000. Then, from 2009-2016 Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month.
In getting ready to re- open for Shabbat services we have complied with City of Miami Beach ordinance, Miami Dade County Emergency Order 23-20, Faith Base Task Force and CDC. We will be opened Saturday, May 30, 2020 for Shavuot.
• Implement procedure to ensure all participants remain 6 feet apart
• Facial covering MUST be worn by congregants or they may NOT enter building.
• Provide alcohol base hand sanitizer.
• Provide disinfected wipes
• Provide gloves
• Sanitize bathrooms
• There will be NO hugs, kiss, shaking hands or moving around during services.
• Participants must reserve in advance by phone or email in order to attend. This will allow us to limit the number of attendees.
We will start with 10-12 people. If you have not reserved you will not be let in. We will not open to the Public at this time.
• Comply with 50% occupancy restriction as we move forward
• Refrain from gathering before and after services including food service.
• There will be NO sit down Kiddush time. The Women’s League has prepared Kiddush To Go bags.
• There will be NO touching of the Torah except for the Rabbi while conducting service.
• Aliyots will be given and done by standing up directly from your seat.
No one will approach the bima except for the Rabbi.
• All prayer books used during services will be placed in the back table to be sanitized.
• After services Tallits and Kippot are to be dropped in a green box to be sanitized.
• No challah bread will be offered. A symbolic blessing will be said
• For the wine, disposable mini cups will be used. After drinking they are to be disposed in a no touch waste bin.
• There will be an orderly entrance and exit of service.
Doors will open at a certain time and they will close at a certain time. Doors will NOT open once services have started.
If anyone has symptoms of fever, cough, sniffles or weakness they should not leave their home to attend services. They will be asked to leave. The Rabbi will follow up with them at a later time.
As the President of Cuban Hebrew Congregation I must comment on the recent headlines and articles that were circulated among many Jewish publications regarding the state and future of Cuban Hebrew Congregation.
A reporter who seems to be quite negative in her view of our Congregation called our Rabbi out of the blue and showed up on our doorstep on a Saturday while we were conducting our Shabbat services. She showed up late but sat for the remainder of the services, she also took part in our kiddush following services. At the end of services she was quite insistent and "pushy" about an interview right there and then and proceeded to turn on her recording device which she manipulated on and off at will. My protestations of it being Shabbat and she can come during the week fell on deaf ears. She claimed this is the only opportunity she had available as she was leaving town and was expected someplace else. By the way she never interviewed the Rabbi which we thought was her purpose for contacting him in the first place.
Little did we know and now after publishing her infamous headlines that her intentions were less than honorable. I requested that she send us the article prior to publication which she did not do and which we find unprofessional and untrustworthy. This conduct on her part should have been an indication that she was not upfront about her purpose for coming to our Temple and she meant to do us harm.
Let me assure our friends and Jewish community that the headlines of our "struggling" and "future in jeopardy" and of our “premature demise” are greatly exaggerated and unfounded. It is true that at one time under different leadership we were suffering but NOT NOW. The truth is that our Congregation is doing better than ever. Under this current Administration and Board of Directors we are moving forward and finally are starting to see the "light at the end of the tunnel".
After doing many improvements to the Temple and together with our new exclusive world renowned Chef and Kosher Caterer Shaike LLC, Venue2020 we are proud to say that we are again booking weddings, bar mitzvahs, conferences, tours, concerts and other major events with maximum participation and success. Not everything is about membership numbers or if our congregation has still many elderly congregants. They are people also and deserve respect and not the condescending and dismissive attitude exhibited in the article.
The NEW Cuban Hebrew Congregation is moving in a new direction and expanding our horizons. We are focusing on becoming a Learning Center and we have much interest developing in this direction. Our facilities are perfect for it.
I want to reassure our friends and members that the "State of the Union" of our beloved Congregation is in great shape. Our finances are finally solid and our future looks bright. The finances of our Temple were never discussed with this reporter so where she got this information must be from parties who do not believe in our Congregation.
Let me further assure everyone that Cuban Hebrew Congregation is NOT FOR SALE now or in the near future. If that ever becomes something the Board of Directors wants to entertain we will let our community know.
All the rumors and innuendos as a result of the headlines and this article are just plain “Lashon Hara”. It is propagating unpleasant and harmful facts which is forbidden and a serious sin in the Jewish tradition. Please think before you speak and if you have any questions related to the article or our status, feel free to call the Temple office at 305-534-7213 but do not speculate on what is going on. You can speak with myself, Becky or any Board Member.
Join us for Shabbat Services and our Kiddush, we promise you will enjoy it.
Have a Blessed Shabbat. Shabbat Shalom,
With much love, Your President
Cuban Hebrew Congregation has just acquired 10 cemetery lots in the beautiful Mount Sinai Cemetery located at 1125 N.W. 137th St. [Opa-Locka Boulevard], Miami, FL 33168.
These lots will not be available for long.
If you would like to purchase a cemetery lot please contact Becky Cohen @ 305-534-7213
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc.
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc. 1700 Michigan Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139 US
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