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The month of Elul is traditionally a time to review ones deeds and spiritual progress over the past year and preparing for the upcoming “Days of Awe” of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. It is the time for teshuva (return to God) prayer, charity and increase love for humanity. A time for self improvement and coming closer to God.
The Slihot Prayers During the last week of Elul
The days leading to Rosh Hashana the Silihot
Prayers are a series of penitential prayers and liturgy. They are recited to help boost the atmosphere of self-improvement.
Rosh Hashana After spending morally and spiritually preparing its time to express the new you. Rosh Hashana is about beginning the New Year in the right frame of mind. On this day we declare who we will be by action and speech for the coming year.
The Shofar It sound is simple and plain, a cry from the heart. It strikes the innermost chords of the soul.
This year the first day of Rosh Hashana is on Shabbat and the shofar will not be heard. On the second day one hundred sounds are blown from the shofar.
Festive Meals We symbolically ask God for a sweet New Year by eating slice apples dipped in honey, the head of a fish to symbolize our desire to be ahead during the year – move forward and pomegranate are eaten to symbolize our year to be full of Mitzvah and good deeds.
Tashlich Is a prayer that is done at a body of water to symbolically cast away our sins. If you are unable to do it on Rosh Hashana you can do it on the last day of Sukkot.
Now is the time to find the spiritual connection inside, not inside a physical structure, but inside ourselves. The community will connect with the help of technology. But we must also find the way to create our own spiritual connection. Perhaps we can make the environment in our personal home help ignite the spirit. For some candles, artwork and religious symbols could help decorate the environment, and feel like a personal sanctuary. For some it might be the presence of family or friends in the same room, or even over a computer screen. Many will want to take a quiet time before or after the recorded services, contemplating the previous year and the next year, meditating on the hopes, dreams, expectations and potential surprises the world offers. We take time to remember the blessings and the challenges, while trying to feel blessed by both especially this year. We are truly challenged to make our home our sanctuary. Let us see Hashem before our eyes, in our home and in our hearts. Starting from such holy hearts, holy homes and holy minds, together we will make it a very sweet New Year.
This year will be like no other NEW YEAR. Nobody can underestimate the impact that the Coronavirus pandemic will have as we observe the High Holidays this year. This current situation with COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges to almost every aspect of our lives, and the way we worship is no exception. It has become necessary to envision this year’s High Holiday services differently. Usually we are excited to embrace each other in a full room, singing and praying together, wishing each other a Happy New Year. Keeping all our members safe and healthy has become a bigger priority.
Even though our community will not be able to worship together, physically, we have been working hard to make sure that The Cuban Hebrew Congregation members and our broader Jewish community can have a meaningful worship experience this year. Rabbi Stephen Texon will lead services of Slichot, Rosh Hashana, Kol Nidre , Yom Kippur and Simchat Torah. The services will be prerecorded. You will be able to click on to each service. High Holiday books will be made available upon request for you to use at home. You will be able to check out the prayer book and return it after the High Holidays.
We have begun to work on our Yiskor Book. (In loving memory of our dearly departed) We are counting on your participation as you have in the past. All forms and payments must be sent in by September 6, 2020 to secure that your names will be published.
Countless times, calamities either initiated by people or nature, has turned our world upside down. And we continue to survive and thrive. And we do this due in large part, to community members coming together to support each other. Sometimes horrible catastrophes have led to new ways to improve the world.
Perhaps the isolation we experience due to the Coronovirus can lead us to new ways to reach out and connect with each other. Part of the Torah reading on Yom Kippur states “I set before you, life and death, blessing and curse… Choose life! (Deut 30:19) In the midst of our most difficult times, may we discover some blessings, especially this year!
Women’s League President
How Tu B’Av , “The Jewish Valentine Day”, can prepare us for Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur love is described as : love that starts from a place of deep honesty and vulnerability. Yom Kippur love says I’m giving you access to my fears, my hopes, to me. I will let you see the best and also the worst of me. I will let you see my soul – and I want to see yours. Show me your scars – I promise not to run. And so the question for us – the question of these days of consolation – is how do we get that sort of love? How do we create it, cultivate it and offer it?
The days leading up to Tish B’Av are meant to be days of vulnerability, of uncertainty, of tension and of anxiety. Our tradition teaches, it takes a while to move out of that space, we do not wake up the next day suddenly feeling grounded and ready to move forward. Tu B’Av is the day we are ready to move forward, that we are ready to begin healing, that we are ready to begin growing. Maybe we are also ready to love. And that is how we inch toward Yom Kippur love. If Tish B’Av breaks us down, communally, perhaps Tu B’Av begins to raise us up. We need both the shattering and the rebuilding, to be able to stand both broken and whole com Yom Kippur.
Tu B’Av is not meant to be transformative, but it is meant to be preparatory. And if we can figure out how to love our neighbor, our God and the stranger, perhaps we will be ready to love more deeply our spouse, our parents, our children and ourselves. Perhaps, if we can look at the world – or someone in it – with ahavat chinam tomorrow, then we might be ready weeks from now, to stand before our neighbor, our God and ourselves, ready for Yom Kippur love.
There were over 2000 Jews in colonial America and many took part in the Revolutionary War.
A Jew in a waistcoat, knee breeches, holding a shotgun. Many adult Jewish males took part of the Revolutionary War from fighting to financing. A few were royalist, but most American Jews supported the fight for independence.
SOUTHERN JEWRY – Francis Salvador: Legendary Southern Patriot
In 1774 Salvador arrived from England, He was elected the first Provincial Congress in Charleston in 1774, making him the first professed American Jew to hold such a high position. The following year when South Carolina republic was established, he signed and stamped the new currency. A volunteer militiaman, participating in an expedition against Indians and Tories, he was the first Jew to die for his country. He was killed early in the war on August 1, 1776.
THE JEWS COMPANY – 1780
Captain Richard Lushington, a Jew from Charleston, South Carolina formed what was known as “the Jews Company” which included 28 Jews comprising about half his men.
MORDECHAI SHEFTALL and PHILIP MINIS
Sheftall, a merchant and son of a Jewish colonist, chaired the committee in Savannah, Georgia enforcing the decisions of the American Patriots against British interests in 1775. Sheftall was appointed Deputy Commissary General for federal troops in Georgia and South Carolina. Late in the year Savannah’s defenses are overrun by the British troops, many American soldiers escaped by swimming across the Savannah River. British troops captured Sheftall with his teenage son, Levi. Philip Minis, a member of Georgia patriot committee and Levi Sheftall were guides to French and American forces in their attempt to recapture Savannah from the British. In 1782 the Jewish Community in Philadelphia, with an increase population of Jews from other cities, under Shaftell leadership built its first permanent synagogue and Haymen Salomon, a financier of the revolution, was a major financial contributor.
THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WAR CHEST: Haym Salomon
Hayman Salomon. A Polish born Jew who came to New York in 1772 was largely responsible for us beating the Brits. He acted as a secret agent in British occupied New York City. His financial skills helped rescue the Continental government. He acted as a supplier to American troops and a paymaster general to French forces assisting the patriots. Salomon loan gelt at nominal rates to members of the Continental Congress.
Colonel Isaac Franks known as George Washington’s right hand man. On November 1, 1793 Franks provided his home to the future first President when on his way to the third Continental Congress the yellow fever epidemic hit. They remain friends for years. Frank was the first Jew to have his portrait painted by Gilbert Stuart. Franks sister Rachael married Haym Salomon.
David Salisbury Franks A relative of Isaac had a checkered but colorful career. In 1780 when Benedict Arnold turned his coat by tipping off the British of the American surrender of the fort at West Point, his aide was David Franks. This was not mazel. He along with Arnold was arrested. He was acquitted, but outraged and requested an additional court inquiry to clear his name. Franks was promoted and given 400 acres of land, He became a diplomatic courier carrying documents to Benjamin Franklin in Paris and John Jay in Madrid. In 1784 he was appointed vice council in Marseilles, France, becoming the first Jew to serve in a U.S. diplomatic post.
WE WON, LET’S EAT
In a great parade in Philadelphia in 1788 to honor Pennsylvania ratification of the U.S. Constitute. The Cantor of the synagogue marched arm and arm with two clergymen. At the public feast that accompanied the celebration there was a table with only kosher foods.
A PRESIDENT IS SWORN IN !
When George Washington was elected the first President of the newly formed republic of the United States, his 1789 inauguration was held at Federal Hall on Wall Street in Manhattan. Jewish leader Gershom Mendes Seixas the Cantor of New York Jewish congregation, was one of 14 religious leaders who attended the ceremonies.
And so, the United States of America owes a great debt to the Jews. On this July 4th , may we celebrate the debt that’s been paid… and those still to pay to insure the independence of our Jewish nation, Israel.
For your family and the world
It is traditional to light a minimum of two candles for Shabbat. The pair of Shabbat candles is one of the most iconic images. Many reasons are given for the number two. It is said that candles are special, holding a purpose one candle alone cannot. Some say it represents the two instances of the 10 commandments of keeping Shabbat given in the Torah. “Zachoir (remember) the Sabbath,” and “Shamor (keep) the Sabbath.” There are those that hold that the number two underlines the two major themes of Shabbat; creation and revelation.
However, Many household have a tradition of lighting more candles, often one for each member of the family, to honor the memory of those who have passed on and for many creative reasons.
We ask you to light a candle for the coronavirus pandemic. To wish a speedy recovery to all those affected by the illness, to pray for comfort for those who have lost loves ones and for Hashem to bring this pandemic to an end.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with commandments, and commanded us to light Shabbat candles.
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melek ha’olam asher kid’shanu b’ mitzvotav I’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.
Let’s continue to bring in the Shabbat light into our home, into our lives and into the world.
On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, on Yom Hashoah, we remember the victims of the greatest crime against man-kind – the young, the old, the innocent, the million and a half children, starved, shot, given lethal injections, gassed, burned and turned to ash, because they were deemed guilty of a crime of being different – a JEW.
We remember what happens when hate takes hold of the human heart and turns it to stone; what happens with victims cry for help and there is no one listening; what happens when humanity fails to recognize that those who are not in our image are none the less in God’s image.
We remember and pay tribute to the survivors, who bore witness to what happened, and to the victims, so that robbed of their lives, they would not be robbed also of their deaths. We remember and give thanks for the righteous of nations who saved lives, often at risk of their own, teaching us how in the darkest night we can light a candle of hope.
“WE SHALL NEVER FORGET“
On Tom Hashoah, we call on You, Almighty God, to help us hear Your voice that says in every generation:
Do not murder. Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor. Do not oppress the stranger. We know that while we do not have the ability to change the past, we can change the future. We know while we cannot bring the dead back to life, we can ensure their memories live on and that their deaths were not in vain. And on this Yom Hashoah, we commit ourselves to one simple act – Yizkor, Remember. May the souls of the victims be bound in bond of everlasting life AMEN
This Shabbat, March 21, 2020 will be the first time in the 71 year history of the State of Israel which will not have transportation, theater, sports, restaurants, and malls open on the holy Shabbat everything will be closed.
Whats the first topic of this week Parashat? Moshe assembles all of Israel and talks to them about keeping Shabbat. This Shabbat is not only special in Israel but ALL over the world.
Take a moment this Shabbat to pray or meditate for healing. With our ever abiding faith in G-d, who is our healer, we pray that we, as well as our fellow Americans and the people of the world will conquer the coronavirus disease.
Tonight at candle lighting all Jews around the world are called to their gardens, porches,windows and balcony's to sing Lecha Dodi and Shalom Alechem.
Becky Kobrowski Cohen
Women's League President
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc.
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc. 1700 Michigan Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139 US
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