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Friday, January 27, 2017 / 29 Tevet 5777

January 27, 2017

 
Friday, January 27, 2017 / 29 Tevet 5777
 

FIVE IN ONE



Over the years, Day School education has been served by 5 different organizations, which each attended to the denomination with which they were aligned. The AviChai Foundation challenged them to find a way to coalesce into one, more efficient organization for the entire day school world. So two years ago these organizations gathered to discuss what would happen if they took the best of what each of their organizations had to offer, pooled their talents and expertise, and maximized their capacity.  The result is

PRIZMAH-- whose mission is to provide Jewish day schools with tools to foster educational excellence, financial vitality and community support.

Last week, CAJE's Day School Market welcomed Paul Bernstein, CEO, and Kathy Manning, Board Chair of Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools, which launched this past summer. During their visit, Paul and Kathy had the chance to meet with Heads of School, CAJE and Federation professionals, members of the CAJE Board, the Federation-CAJE Day School Committee, and day school boards.   They were also able to visit several Miami Jewish day schools where they were impressed with the level of professionalism and the excellence of the programming.

CAJE-Miami looks forward to collaborating with Prizmah  https://prizmah.org/ to strengthen our Jewish Day Schools!

WSVN INTERVIEWS
SOUTH FLORIDA'S OLDEST SURVIVOR


This past Sunday WSVN news station came to our Leo Martin March of the Living pre-March educational session at CAJE/Federation in order to interview 96-year old Julius Eisenstein, who is South Florida's oldest Holocaust survivor and a participant in this year's (as well as last year's) March.
In the interview, Julius expresses the need to educate youth about the Holocaust so that it never happens again and for them to understand that hatred of others is something we all need to guard against.

The group of students he addressed is part of CAJE's Leo Martin March of the Living, which this year is the second largest March delegation from the United States and one of the largest in the world.
Marissa Weiner, a March student, said this is a way to grow closer to her family's history: "To connect to my history and heritage and better understand Judaism from a historical perspective."
Another student wanted to know what kept Julius going through the dark reality of losing his family. "When you are down, there's only one way to go, and that's up," said Eisenstein, adding: "You don't know how good you have it here. You should appreciate every minute being an American citizen."
Julius, along with four other survivors, will be (G!D Willing) marching alongside our 138 teen participants in Poland and Israel this April.
What gives survivors the strength to return to the traumatic site of the death camps, cemeteries and places in Poland they endured? The incredible impact they make on our teens through telling their stories, conveying the lessons they've learned and voicing their charge to fight hatred and support the Jewish State of Israel.
 CLICK HERE to view the 2 minute interview.

 Words of Wisdom 
 
by Rabbi Efrat Zarren-Zohar
  
  
This week's Parasha, Va'eira, was written by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University of Los Angeles, California.(http://ziegler.aju.edu/default.aspx?id=5312)
 

 
 
LIBERATION PROCEEDS IN STAGES

One of the characteristics of youth is impatience. While older adults are tempered by the realities of human passivity and inertia, young people agitate for immediate change and progress. Unwilling to concede that society moves very slowly, unable to accept human suffering and callousness, our colleges remain centers of agitation and protest as young people attempt to translate their dreams of a redeemed humanity into a living reality.
 
That same impatience must have struck young Moses as well. Watching his people suffer under the strains of Egyptian slavery must have been a tortuous agony. We know that Moses, in his youth, was so passionate about his people and justice, that he did not hesitate to intervene to redress grievances and to assist the weak and the needy. Like so many moderns, Moses must have often despaired of divine assistance. After all, the Jews had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years, and there was no sign of the Egyptian dynasty relenting at all.
 
In the midst of this youthful zeal, Moses encounters God, the Ancient Holy One. In the process of liberating the Jewish people, God also teaches a lesson in persistence. Liberation comes in stages, not all at once. Permanent change in human nature requires time, patience and determination. Cosmetic alterations may come easily, but permanent and significant growth emerge over a long period, and only with great effort.
 
In today's Torah portion, God tells the Jewish people, "I am the Lord, I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and through extraordinary chastisements. And I will take you to be My people and I will be your God." (Shemot/ Exodus 6: 6-8)
 
These four verses of liberation, "I will free you . . . I will deliver you . . . I will redeem you . . . I will take you" became the single paradigmatic emblem of Jewish redemption. According to Midrash Sh'mot Rabbah, "The Sages ordained four cups to be drunk on the eve of Pesach to correspond with these four expressions, in order to fulfill the verse, 'I raise the cup of deliverance and invoke the name of the Lord (Psalm 116: 13)."
 
Thus, each cup of wine at the Seder represents a different aspect of the process of liberation. According to the Ramban (13th Century Spain), each aspect of deliverance marks an advance toward the goal of complete freedom.
 
Thus, the first step, "I will free you," refers to the cessation of external bondage. The sine qua non for any human freedom is that external oppression cease. The absence of outside pressure is not in itself freedom.

The next step, "I will deliver you," refers to leaving the sovereignty and control of the former oppressors. Remaining under their influence, even if no longer under their servitude, precludes true liberation.
 
The third stage of freedom, "I will redeem you," involves a reorientation of values. It is through the mighty acts which accomplished the exodus from Egypt, the signs and wonders, that the Israelites came to understand that human pomp and pretension were unable to provide ultimate meaning and value. The temptations of Egyptian society were, in the final analysis, mere glitter and distraction from what made life ultimately significant.
 
The moment of redemption was that time when Israel realized that ultimate worth -- the goal of the religious endeavor -- came in serving something ultimate, rather than furthering any human conceit.
 
The fourth stage of freedom, "I will take you to be My people," refers, according to the Bekhor Shor (12th Century, France), to the meeting of God and Israel at Mount Sinai. Ultimately, freedom is much, much more than the absence of external restraint. Freedom is the ability to assume responsibility for one's own life and for one's community as well. We are most free, most fully human, when we help ourselves and others to live up to our best potential as caring human beings and as serious Jews.
 
Thus, the freedom of Torah -- the only true freedom that Jews can enjoy -- is a call to responsibility, toward spiritual adulthood. By assuming responsibility for the 'mitzvot,' by taking our place in the unbroken chain of Jewish observance, tradition and transmission, we renew the ancient process of liberation which our ancestors experienced in Egypt. When each of us proceeds through the stages of liberation, we exchange the modern-day Pharaoh of materialism and the contemporary idolatry of the self with the purifying service of the Holy Blessed One and acts of love toward our fellow human beings. The process begins anew today. It calls to you.
 
Shabbat Shalom.
 

 


 

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