Rabbi's Blog Parashat Shmini
Friday, April 17, 2015 29 Nisan
Tonight, the 29th of the month of Nisan, represents an interesting point in modern Jewish history. Two days ago, the 27th of the month of Nisan, was Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date was selected by the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) on April 12, 1951. Although the date was established by the Israeli government it has become a day commemorated by Jewish communities and individuals worldwide. Next Wednesday is Yom Hazikaron, the Memorial Day for those who lost their lives in the struggle that led to the establishment of the State of Israel and for all military personnel who were killed while in active duty in Israel’s armed forces. The next day, Thursday, is Yom Ha’atzmaoot, the day that commemorates the establishment of the State of Israel, in May 1948.
Here at KHN, at least in the time that I’ve been here as rabbi, we’ve been remiss in more fully acknowledging these days. After the incredible push of getting ready for Pesach, unfortunately, these two days often fall off of our radar. That is as much a result, perhaps, of our exhaustion from the Passover holiday, as it is our ambivalence toward the days themselves. For Yom HaShoah, how do we, how can we, adequately mark this day? Lighting six yartzeit candles, reciting some poems and prayers, and chanting El Male Rachamim and then the Mourners’ Kaddish seems so insufficient, in the shadow of the reality of what happened. I did—at the last minute—attempt to create a simple service here on Wednesday night. No one showed up, and I sat here in the sanctuary alone, reflecting, remembering. That was no one’s fault but my own, for not having made it more of a priority, for not letting people know that it was, is, important for us to come together, somehow, as a community, and mark this day.
Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaoot are more problematic. In our congregation, as we all know too well, we have such a divergence of views and attitudes toward the modern State of Israel. As the Jewish world has learned more, over the last decade or so, about how the modern country came to be, more and more people have felt uncomfortable celebrating it—knowing--just as in the Passover Seder when we spill drops of wine when reciting the 10 plagues—that others had to suffer in order for Jews to live freely, in a safe place, free from attack by those who would destroy them, us, simply because they—we--were Jews. What is known to Israelis and Jews around the world as Yom Ha’atzmaoot, is known to Palestinians and others as the Nakbah—the Catastrophe, or the cataclysm. Even those of us who are grateful for the existence of Israel may feel that our cups are a little less full of joy, because others had to suffer along the way so that Jews could at last live freely and without fear of oppression. We may feel not only uncomfortable but also anguish and heartbreak that now others, Palestinians, are living without their full freedom and civil rights. There is nothing traitorous about acknowledging this discomfort, this anguish, this heartbreak.
This and the remainder of this D'var is found in Rabbi's blog section here
Kol HaNeshamah— West Seattle's Progressive Synagogue Community
Kol HaNeshamah is an intimate congregation with a warm approach to tradition. Shabbat is the cornerstone of our community. We meet twice a month on the first and third Friday and Saturday to worship at Alki UCC, near Alki Beach in West Seattle.
Ours is a progressive synagogue rejoicing in Torah, Avodah (Worship/Prayer), Tzedek and Tikkun (Justice and Healing) but specializing in K'hillah (Community). We attract members from all around Seattle who believe a synagogue is a place to experience the joys of Judaism. We deeply believe in inclusivity. We are young, old, families, singles, single parents, interfaith, straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered.
Our Rabbi, with support from an ensemble of lay-leaders, conducts Friday night services in a welcoming musical environment. Services are followed by a community dairy and kosher fish potluck. Saturday mornings begin with study for both adults and children, followed by a Torah service for all.
Kol Haneshamah offers a Hebrew school for children and an educational program for adults along with festive celebrations of Jewish holidays. We are also involved in Tikkun Olam activities, including support of the West Seattle Foodbank and Habitat for Humanity.
No dues or tickets are required for any of our services. If you are interested in membership, go to the membership page for details. Kol HaNeshamah is a member of the Union for Reform Judaism.
- First and third Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. followed by a community potluck.
- Shabbat morning following first and third Friday evening service, adult and child education at 9:30 a.m. followed by Torah service at 10:30 a.m.
- High Holy Day services and other special celebrations are held. Contact the synagogue for details.
To join our KHN electronic mailing list email firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line type, " Please add me to your emailing list" and in the body of the email please include your full name.
Come Join Us
Shabbat evening Service and Pot Luck Friday, May 1st
Phil Bereano will be presenting "Stretching our Thinking About Cuba" and we shall be blessing our graduating students
Tot Shabbat at 6:15 pm
Shabbat Service at 7:00 pm
Potluck following service: Please bring vegetarian or dairy/fish (no shellfish) dish to feed eight and absolutely no nuts, thank you!
At Alki UCC, 6115 SW Hinds St, Seattle, WA 98116
Shabbat Morning Services and Kiddush Luncheon Saturday, May 2nd
Adult B'nai Mitzvah of Jackie Bellows, Fredda Jaffe, Nikole Hecklinger, Jerry Hoffmeister and Karen Weisser
9:30 am Torah Study
9:30 am Out of the Box!
10:45 am Shabbat Morning Service
At Alki UCC, 6115 SW Hinds St, Seattle, WA 98116
Rabbi Zari Weiss
Greetings from Rabbi Zari Weiss
Shalom! I’m delighted that you’ve found your way to our website. Let me tell you a little bit about myself, and why I love our synagogue community. I have been blessed to be the rabbi and spiritual leader of Kol HaNeshamah since July 2010. Although I served two congregations previously, I took a break from congregational life and explored different ways of being a rabbi. I studied, served, and taught something called Spiritual Direction or Spiritual Companioning, which is about being a companion to another person on their spiritual journey, which is the journey of life! I created a non-profit organization, the purpose of which was to do organizing around issues of justice here in the Seattle Jewish community. And I served part-time and on an interim basis at a number of congregations in the area. I always knew that I wanted to return to congregational life, but was waiting until I found the right place, as I have at last, here at Kol HaNeshamah. It is a great community, made up of lovely, thoughtful, insightful and creative people who are committed to cultivating meaningful Jewish lives and exploring and expanding what it means to be Jewish, and a Jewish community, in the 21st Century. We welcome you to come and celebrate Shabbat with us, or attend a class or workshop, or share a Shabbat dinner in one of our member’s homes. We hope that you might find that KHN is your spiritual and religious home as well, and will become a part of us. If you’d like to talk with me further, please don’t hesitate to contact me by phone at (206) 935-2366 or email at email@example.com. I look forward to meeting you sometime soon!
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Rabbi Zari Weiss
Sheila Abrahams, Executive Director
Cynthia Barrientos, School Administrator