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Flowers on the Bima - Pesach

on Thu, 04/17/2014 - 16:02

The seven canes that hold up this wonderful container, donated by Hauvat Nashim, and used in the Women’s Service must be formed quickly while hot and liquid and attached to the container quickly as the Israelites had to leave the land of Israel quickly. 
The miniature door in the center of the arrangement is surrounded by seven red roses as the marking on the lintel and the doorposts of the house so that the angel can Pass Over.  The angel might be seen in the lights curved above illuminated for Friday Night Lights!


Shabbat Chol HaMoed Pessach

on Thu, 04/17/2014 - 16:01

Dear Friends,

The Sabbath occurs within Passover and is called Shabbat Chol HaMoed Pessach.  On the three Pilgrimage Festivals of Judaism, Passover (Pessach), Weeks (Shavuot) and Booths (Sukkot) we break from the normal weekly Torah portions which follow with regular order.  In its place we study a special portion that is tied to the holy day.  At the end of the reading from Exodus 34:21-26 we find the three Pilgrimage Festivals listed.
The corresponding prophetic reading, the Haftarah, come from Ezekiel.

Acharei Mot

on Thu, 04/10/2014 - 16:36

Dear Friends,

Most Sabbaths are called the name of the Torah portion associated with it.  This week we read from Acharei Mot.  There are a few Sabbaths were the name of the Sabbath is based on a special reading associated with that Shabbat and its relationship to a holy day.  This week the name also associated with the Shabbat is called Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Sabbath.  It is the Sabbath immediately prior to Passover.  The name comes from the prophet Malachai who wrote, “Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Eternal.”


on Thu, 04/03/2014 - 17:33

Dear Friends,

Similar to last week’s Torah portion, the portion for this Shabbat, called M’tzora, deals almost exclusively with personal purity and disease. This is as understood from the perspective of the time and place in which it was authored.  It was assumed that similar to an infection disease, growths and distortions, especially visually appearing on the skin, would desecrate and make impure the objects used in the sacrificial worship service.  The priests, or Kohanim, functioned like doctors responsible to determine if a person was pure or not.

Flowers on the Bima - Metzora

on Wed, 04/02/2014 - 18:53

Three elements of Parsha Metzora are addressed in the Flowers on the Bima this week.  
The discussion of purification rituals involving water is seen in the blue containers.
The instructions of analyzing the home to remove only the bricks that are unclean rather than tear down the whole house is represented by the glass bricks.
Finally the problem of tzara’at or skin disease widely understood as gossip is represented by the yellow protea flower.


on Fri, 03/28/2014 - 01:26

Dear Friends,

Tazria, the Torah portion for this Shabbat and the one for the next week, are two portions Bar or Bat Mitzvah students have trouble relating to because they discuss rather difficult questions of ritual purity.  Most students who are in the process of discovering so many changes in their bodies as puberty emerges, are embarrassed about monthly menstruation and acne.  The Torah portion does not discuss pimples per se, but it does speak of unusual growths on the skin.
What I attempt to share with our students is the concern our ancestors had for purity.

Flowers on the Bima - Tazria

on Wed, 03/26/2014 - 02:12

The Jewish calendar is based on the moon with 354.4 days a year without a leap year Passover would occur eleven days earlier each year. The Leap Year, Adar II, is added every three years in order to keep Passover in the Spring. We are nearing the end of this Leap Year. In honor of the moon, the phases of the moon are represented in this week’s Flowers on the Bima.  The full moon, in the luminous globe and the new moon, totally dark and invisible, as the space in the vessels. The turtle dove is mentioned in this parsha as an offering to God relevant now as a symbol of peace.


on Thu, 03/20/2014 - 21:49

Dear Friends,

Within the Torah portion for this Shabbat, Sh’mini, are found the basic laws of Jewish dietary restrictions.  During rabbinic times this became the foundation of what we call Kosher.  The rabbis of the Talmud added many laws dealing with how animals were to be slaughtered, foods prepared, and the separation of meat and milk. In the Torah portion for this week we learn that mammals must have both divided hoofs and chew their cud in the digestive process, fish must be free swimming having both fins and scales, and fowl must be grain feeding.
Many scholars argue that the laws

Flowers on the Bima - Shemini

on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 18:09

Three parts to the Parsha Shemini are seen in this untraditional traditional Japanese Flower arrangement known as Ikebana.  The highest stems are about offerings to God and is known as Shin in the structure of the Japanese Ikebana, it is made untraditional by the added lights for Friday Night Lights. The second part of the Parsha is the narrative story of the two sons of Aaron struck dead for bringing foreign fire to the alter, these sons are represented by the Tai-saki- two flowers in the center.

Flowers on the Bima - Purim

on Sat, 03/15/2014 - 21:01