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Passing the Torch

 

By David Mark

 

            The flaming desert sun beat down on the runaway lamb. The lamb was thirsty and panting; its tongue lolled from its mouth. The sun’s rays beat down on rock and earth, until all shimmered in the heat. The little beast could no longer bleat; its long legs wobbled as its comical eyes turned right-left-right, looking for water, any spot of water. There was no cloud in the sky: everywhere was the uninterrupted cerulean.

            It was hot enough to kill.

            High above, a hawk circled, lazily riding the updrafts, taking its time. On the ground, a flock of buzzard vultures flapped their obscene wings.

            A light breeze blew, stirring the loose goatskin sides of the black tents. No man or woman dared walk in the rows between. It was the heat of the day.

            In the center of the camp, a brazen altar stood; hot coals made incense-smoke, drifting over the camp. As the hunter-bird flew high above, a tent-door parted and an old man squinted in the light. Bent over, holding before him a shepherd’s crook which he used partly as a cane, partly tapping like a blindman’s guide, the man crept slowly past the altar, to a short basin into which he dipped his hands.

            Three times, alternately, the elder splashed the sun-heated liquid over his hands, some over face and beard, dried it on his sleeve. He moved slowly towards a tent whose sides were hung in purple, blue, and red cloths, gripped the stick in arthritic hands, bent carefully to his knees, and then lay on the ground, spread-eagled.

            As he lay, his face against the desert floor, he felt his pulse beating in the side of his skull: MO-ses MO-ses MO-ses…. He remembered his dream of the night before.

He had stood in Pharaoh’s palace, a young man, an Egyptian prince again. He looked down at his arms in the dream; they were well-muscled; he felt their strength. Before him was the great statue of Horus, the hawk-god, seated on a giant throne: it bore the head of the hunter-bird, but the body of a man. As he watched, a beam of light fell upon the great statue from a window in the roof above: the Light of God. Great cracks formed in the statue, and—slowly, slowly it crumbled to dust.

He heard the Voice, the same Voice that had forced him to return to Egypt, all those years ago:

            “Moses—Moses—your time is done. You will die, and I My Self will bury you.”

            And he heard himself asking,

            “But who will lead this people, Lord?”

            And the Voice said,’

            “It is Joshua, your disciple, whom I have chosen. Joshua, My warrior, My chieftain, My prophet, will lead them.”

            And Moses wept, as he remembered the dream, as he lay on the desert ground. He, who had spoken before Pharaoh, lord of Upper and Lower Egypt, both! He, who had warned of the plagues! He, who had split the Reed Sea waters….

            “Lord Moses—get up!”

            A foul taste in his mouth; a dizziness in his head. He felt a rough hand on his cheek, patting him, gently, but persistently:

            “Lord Moses!”

            He opened his eyes: there, before him, stood his best pupil, his disciple: Joshua, son of Nun; and, behind him, his own two sons, Gershom and Elazar.

            “Joshua?” asked Moses, as the echoes of his Hawk-dream faded into his ancient mind, “And who are these two—young men?” Which was not true; Joshua was in his mid-sixties, as were both Gershom and Elazar.

            “These men are your sons, My Rabbi,” smiled Joshua, “and they have come home, because they forgive you. Calev ben-Yefuneh died in battle yesterday, in a skirmish with the Amorites. Had they not come to join us, I would be without help.”

            “Then all is for the good, Joshua,” said Moses, understanding at last.

            “And now, you can pass on, Father,” whispered Gershom. Elazar nodded.

 

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.

 

 

Lecture Series
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Shabbat Services April 3, 2020
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WORSHIP WITH US

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.

Visit us and let us make you feel at home.

 

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.

Thu, September 23 2021 17 Tishrei 5782