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RABBI'S COMMENTARY

Haftorah of Behar

(Jeremiah 32:6-27)

by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

            I am Jeremiah, Prophet of the One True God, the God of Israel and the entire Universe. Some scholars consider me gloomy and pessimistic; they call my prophetic declarations “jeremiads.” In my lifetime, I beheld war and suffering in my Holy Land, as the young Babylonian Empire set out to conquer Assyria. Assyria was the ruling nation of the moment. Their army had kidnapped the ten northernmost tribes of Judah and carried them off beyond the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, where they vanished from history.

            The situation got only worse when Egypt, under Pharaoh Necho, sent an expeditionary force to attack Babylonia. The only way for Egypt to attack Babylonia was by crossing our embattled kingdom of Judah. We Jews were caught between the hammer and the anvil. Many Judahites died in the war. It crossed my mind that God wished to eliminate our nation from under the heavens, but He told me, “This is not to be: Judah will endure.”

           

            I never wanted to be a prophet; as a kohen, I was content to serve God in the Holy Temple. Still, when God summons us, we cannot resist or refuse. As a result, my life was tragic. Though I strove to maintain an optimistic view of Jewish survival, I was aghast when our foolish King Jehoiakim joined forces with weak Egypt, rebelling against mighty Babylonia. In retaliation, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia captured Jerusalem and destroyed the First Temple in 586 BCE. Babylonian troops carried us refugees off to Babylonia. It was a mainstay of Babylonian foreign policy that a deported people would never rebel. He was right.

            My own fate is obscure: a legend states that I was forcibly carried down to Egypt, and there executed. Was this a fitting end for a prophet of God? I cannot say: for most of my life, I was a good and faithful servant. Alas, we do not all receive the reward we think we deserve. For myself, I am content.

            In the face of all this conflict and anguish, I tried to give hope to my people by writing a letter from Jerusalem to the Jewish leaders in Babylonia. I urged them to “Build houses and dwell in them...plant gardens...marry and raise up families—never let your numbers diminish. Seek the peace of Babylonia; you will not be in agonizing exile forever. Pray to the Lord for peace among the nations, for the peace will benefit you, as well. And never give up hope of a Return to Zion.”

            Remember me, My People Judah! I was not a poet like Isaiah, nor a mystical innovator like Ezekiel. Nonetheless, I did the best I could. Spring forth, Nation of Judah, from the dust of my bosom!

Spring has just begun, and we are facing the difficult moments our world is having.  As we are feeling the sadness and the pain of our brothers and sisters, I wanted to share with you some words of hope.  Hope is the only thing we should not lose.
A thing to think, a thing to hope!
You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep Spring from coming.
Pablo Neruda
 
No matter how long the Winter, Spring is sure to follow.
English Proverb


             Shabbat Shalom
             Cantor Smolarz

MEET OUR CLERGY

OUR RABBI - David Hartley Mark

WATCH RABBI MARK , To Life, L'Chaim #217 - Rabbi David Mark (You Tube)

Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Rabbi David Hartley Mark was born in New York City, and grew up on the Lower East Side, that legendary Jewish immigrant neighborhood, attending Hebrew Day School. He was first from his school, the East Side Torah Center, to attend Yeshiva University High School for Boys—Manhattan. David attended Yeshiva University, where he attained a BA in English Literature, a BS in Bible and Jewish Education, and a Hebrew Teacher’s Diploma (HTD). He spent his third year of college at Bar Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel, where he developed a fluency in Hebrew, and toured around the country. He has also attained a Certificate in Advanced Jewish School Administration from the Hebrew College in Brookline, MA.

David attended the City University of New York Graduate Center, where he earned an MA degree from Queens College, as well as an M.Phil. degree, majoring in 17th Century English, specializing in the work of John Milton, as well as the Romantic Poets. A year teaching Hebrew School in a Reform temple in Brooklyn convinced him of his great love of Judaism, and he began attending the Academy for Jewish Religion, Yonkers, NY, where he was ordained a rabbi in 1980.

 

He met Anbeth, who was hired as temple secretary the same day he was hired to teach. They were married in 1978. They have two grown children, Tyler and Jordan, as well as a grandson, Aidan.

 

Rabbi Mark served pulpits in Warren, NJ, Fayetteville, NC, and Portsmouth, NH, in which last pulpit he spent 22 years, a record for that state. Seeking warmer climes, as well as closer family members, he and Anbeth took the pulpit of Temple Sholom in 2009. He also fulfilled a lifetime dream of teaching English at Keiser University in Ft. Lauderdale.  

 

OUR CANTOR - Javier Smolarz

Cantor Javier Smolarz

Cantor Smolarz comes to us originally from Argentina and via Congregations in various U.S. localities, joining Temple Sholom in September of 2018, where he has been wholeheartedly embraced by the Congregation.  His strong beautiful singing voice is coupled with a great sense of presence and decorum, but with a warm welcoming demeanor - all of which enhances our morning minyans and shabbat and holiday services.

 

 

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Your connection to the Jewish faith
is a vital part of who you are, and your family.

At Temple Sholom, congregants join together to celebrate our faith in a warm, comfortable and supportive environment, where all are welcome.

    We are a modern, egalitarian congregation, and encourage full participation by women in synagogue life, as well as offer full access to Jewish worship and religious experience for all of our members. At the same time, we cherish our Jewish traditions, and work to preserve them as a precious legacy for ourselves and our children.

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Our Czech Torah - Holocaust Memorial Scroll

The Torah was shipped in 1989 following a request from Malcolm Black who was the President at that time. The Torah is about 200 years old and comes from Mlada Boleslav, a town in the Czech Republic.

Fri, May 20 2022 19 Iyyar 5782