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Yom Chamishi, 29 Iyyar 5777
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During my May visit to Shir Ami, we will be reading from Parshat Behar-Bechukotai. It is actually a double Torah portion. There are too many Torah portions to fit into a single year so sometimes we end up reading two in one week. This is what is happening during my May visit.

Behar-Bechukotai gives us directions for proper rest, both for people and for land. God tells Moses that a sabbath of rest for the land should occur every seven years. Additionally, a jubilee year should occur every fifty years. This is when all shall be released from indebtedness and bondage. In Leviticus 25 God tells Moses, “Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When you enter the land that I assign to you, the land shall observe a sabbath of God. Six years you may sow your field and six years you may prune your vineyard and gather in the yield but in the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath of complete rest, a sabbath of God...That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, neither shall you reap the aftergrowth or harvest the untrimmed vines, for it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you.”

To me, this is an important Torah portion to be reading as the end of the 2016-2017 academic year closes. After a jam-packed year, I bet we all need some rest! We are moving away from a stream of weekly Religious and Hebrew school, holidays, services and study sessions and moving towards a summer during which we can hopefully take things slower than usual. Often towards the middle of the summer I start to feel guilty. While taking things slower, I begin to fear that I am not doing enough to better myself or the world around me. I start to feel empty when my time is not filled with assignments, programs, or pulpit preparation. Perhaps some of you have felt the same during your own rare moments of

rest. Behar-Bechukotai is important because, in my mind, it validates the need for rest that we all have. It tells us that while work is necessary most of the time, rest is also crucial and perhaps even holy. We all need moments of rest in order to perform at our peak.

My hope for all of you is that you remember the value of rest in the upcoming summer. In the time that you would normally spend rushing to Hebrew school or sprinting to be on time to services but that you now have free, please do whatever replenishes you. Fill that time with family, with your passions, or with anything that lets your mind relax. If you start to feel guilty, just remember that the Torah tell us that this is sometimes okay!

Because May 19-21 will be my last visit to Shir Ami, I also want to use this bulletin article to thank each and every one of you for welcoming me into the Shir Ami community this year. When I first arrived in August, I have to admit that I was nervous. Even though I had heard about the warmth of Shir Ami and past student rabbis assured me that I would come to love it, I was anxious about being able to serve your community in the way that you needed. Since August, I have learned that everyone was right! Thank you for being warm and nurturing to me. I have appreciated your feedback and will be a stronger rabbi one day because of it. I have grown because of the opportunities you presented for me to “step outside the box.”Thank you for letting me into your lives and allowing me to be there for you when you needed it. Even though I will not be a student rabbi at Shir Ami next year, I will always feel invested in your community. Please feel free to reach out to me if you ever need. Thank you for everything!

Rabbi Liora 
Rabbi.Liora@CongShirAmi.org

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Summer Services at Congregation Shir Ami

 Joins us this summer for our summer services.

June 2nd  7:30pm  Shavout Diana Zankowsky
June 16th  7:30pm   Cantorial Soloist Jessica Leash
July 14th 7:30pm   Barbara-Ann Lewis &
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July 28th 7:30pm   Jan Dombrower Chimpky &
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