Messages from Rabbi Russo

June 3, 2016 - 26 Iyar

Shabbat Shalom
June 3 - 26 Iyar
In Parashat Bechukotai, God outlines the covenant and the communal responsibility.  In 26:37, the Torah teaches us that "each man will stumble on his brother."  Rashi (12th century, France) understands this to mean that when people are running away from an enemy, they may stumble upon one another.  A midrash takes another approach.  Sifra understands this as "It does not [mean to] say, 'a man will [literally] stumble on his brother,' rather, 'a man will stumble on his brother's sin.'  This teaches that all Jews are guarantors for one another."  This is a beautiful sentiment that we share responsibility of one another and together we can perform mitzvot.  It is on this note that I want to address two ways that we can come together as a community.  
1 - When someone has a major life event or notable moment, we can help mark it with Max Smith cards.  The cards are only $5 and you can open an account with Joanne Schoen at  She will mail Max Smith cards to your friends and families that can serve as get well cards, condolence cards, or Mazal Tov cards.  Anything from a piano recital to a graduation to a note of appreciation can make a big difference.  It is nice when the community feels recognized and it helps the synagogue.  
2 - Another initiative we are starting is a keruv committee to look at how we do outreach and if we are as welcoming as we would like to be.  Please let me know if you would like to join this task force as we explore our outreach and inclusion in our shul.
Shabbat Shalom.