Hanukkah Party 1Friday night services this week at 7:00 p.m

Sunday school class December 2! We can’t wait to see our BERS. Lots of Hanukkah fun and learning! Rachael is coming to play Hanukkah songs with the children, and we will be making Hanukkiot!

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message:
This week’s parshah, Vayyeshev, picks up the story of the sons of Ya’akov/Yisrael, in particular Yoseph and Yehudah. We know the story of Yoseph of course-the boy with the “technicolor dreamcoat” who is sold into slavery in Egypt. But this parshah is also the story of Yehudah, one of his brothers who sold him into slavery (or not-the text of the Torah is somewhat unclear). Why these two brothers, out of the twelve? Obviously, Yoseph would save his entire family (and the nation of Egypt) from starvation. However, it is perhaps more significant from the Torah’s point of view that these two would be the ancestors of the two dominant tribes of Israel-Ephraim and Yehudah. Indeed, Yehudah would eventually be the ancestor of King David, and of the Messiah. The story of these two brothers would become the story of our People. Shabbat Shalom.
Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Shabbat candle lighting times are at 5:12 p.m.
We want to encourage our community to seek support in each other during this time of grief and pain. In particular, synagogues around the country are encouraging their congregants to make a special effort to attend services this week, in an act of solidarity and strength. Congregation Beth El will be having Friday night services this week at 7:00 pm and we hope you can join us.
This week’s parshah, Vayyeshev, picks up the story of the sons of Ya’akov/Yisrael, in particular Yoseph and Yehudah. We know the story of Yoseph of course-the boy with the “technicolor dreamcoat” who is sold into slavery in Egypt. But this parshah is also the story of Yehudah, one of his brothers who sold him into slavery (or not-the text of the Torah is somewhat unclear). Why these two brothers, out of the twelve? Obviously, Yoseph would save his entire family (and the nation of Egypt) from starvation. However, it is perhaps more significant from the Torah’s point of view that these two would be the ancestors of the two dominant tribes of Israel-Ephraim and Yehudah. Indeed, Yehudah would eventually be the ancestor of King David, and of the Messiah. The story of these two brothers would become the story of our People. Shabbat Shalom.
This week’s parshah, Vayyeshev, picks up the story of the sons of Ya’akov/Yisrael, in particular Yoseph and Yehudah. We know the story of Yoseph of course-the boy with the “technicolor dreamcoat” who is sold into slavery in Egypt. But this parshah is also the story of Yehudah, one of his brothers who sold him into slavery (or not-the text of the Torah is somewhat unclear). Why these two brothers, out of the twelve? Obviously, Yoseph would save his entire family (and the nation of Egypt) from starvation. However, it is perhaps more significant from the Torah’s point of view that these two would be the ancestors of the two dominant tribes of Israel-Ephraim and Yehudah. Indeed, Yehudah would eventually be the ancestor of King David, and of the Messiah. The story of these two brothers would become the story of our People. Shabbat Shalom.

SAVE THE DATE: the Hanukkah bash of the year. We’ve been waiting patiently all year. And finally…… ONLY ONE WEEK AWAY
Sunday December 9th at 5 p.m. at Beth El. Live music from KLEZ AUSTIN, latkes, food, our famous Israeli sufganiot, more live music, fun and games for the whole family, plus the candles burnin’ on our menorahs. We can’t wait for the fun to begin. Free and open to the community. See you there.

NEXT SISTERHOOD EVENT:

DECEMBER SISTERHOOD EVENT: December 16 at 1 pm – Burekas with ANAT Inbar @ CBE! Don’t miss one of Anat’s famous cooking classes! Essentials Oils mini class in addition. Two for one! You can’t miss this fun afternoon!

Family Reunions and Beyond – My Jewish Learning.

Isn’t Jacob’s peace with Esau as important as Joseph’s reconciliation with his brothers? BY HANAN SCHLESINGER

The Book of Genesis is nothing if not a story of dysfunctional families.
Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Hagar, Sarah and Abraham, Isaac and Rebecca, Leah and Rachel: again and again we read of strife and acrimony, miscommunication, jealousy, even fratricide.
We shall focus here on two of these unfortunate cases.
1.Esau and Jacob are locked in struggle literally from before birth. The climax of their tragic relationship is when, at his mother’s urging, Jacob deceives his blind father and steals the blessing intended for his sibling Esau. Esau vows to kill his brother.
2. Jacob favors one son over all the other 12. Spoiled Josephhas illusions of grandeur that he cannot keep to himself. His brothers come to hate him; they ultimately try to kill him. Leaving Joseph for dead, they lie through their teeth as they present to their father “evidence” that a wild animal has devoured him.
This is not however the whole story. These two conflicts end up turning out very differently from the way they began.
As the Book of Genesis nears its end, Jacob and his sons are reunited with Joseph and we see Joseph’s brothers expressing true remorse. He forgives them. Peace and harmony are restored. We learn that our forefathers were not perfect. Their greatness lies in their ability to recognize their sins, to repent and to make amends. Like all of us they are broken, but they know — and they teach us — how to put the pieces back together again.
Earlier, in Parashat Vayishlach, Jacob and Esau are reunited after two decades. Forgetting his past enmity towards his sibling, Esau runs towards his brother Jacob, falls upon his neck, embraces and kisses him, and they both weep tears of joy. Jacob offers lavish presents to his brother, explaining that they represent the blessing that he had stolen from his brother and that he is now returning. He asks to be accepted in forgiveness. A beautiful verse reveals Jacob’s inner thoughts as he says to himself, “If I request atonement with this gift, perhaps he will forgive me.” And indeed Esau accepts both the gift and his brother’s penitence.
Our ancient interpretive tradition (known as Midrash ) lauds the reconciliation and unity of Joseph and his brothers, yet it by and large ignores and even denies the wrong done by Jacob to Esau and the repentance and reconciliation that transpire in the relationship between these two brothers. Why?
The answer is clear: Joseph and his brothers is a story of “all in the family,” while Jacob and Esau is a tale of us and them. Joseph and his brothers make up the tribes of Israel. Unity is our desideratum. But while Jacob is our patriarch, Esau is by all accounts outside of the Jewish covenant, a different family and ultimately a different nation. He is the father of the Edomites, but he is not our father.
Furthermore, in later Jewish thought Esau represents the Roman Empire and Christendom and by extension, the whole non-Jewish world. These associations were created at times of conflict and cruel persecution, of anti-Semitism. They were founded on a forced, adversarial reading of the text that was suggested by reality as experienced by our forefathers.
Until this very day many of us still refuse to let go. Too many traditional Jews — and I am talking primarily about religious Jews in Israel where I live — won’t let go of their enmity towards Esau and won’t let the relationship between Jews and gentiles move towards understanding and reconciliation.
There is something in our collective Jewish psychology that is preventing the healing of past wounds. As a nation we have been traumatized. Almost 2,000 years of anti-Semitism have left their mark on us. Our wounds are still raw and painful. We say at the Passover seder that “in every generation they come to destroy us,” and we yet cannot find it in ourselves to accept that today this is not necessarily always the case.
We unconsciously read our fears back into the Bible, which then ends up confirming them. We refuse to let ourselves see reality change, and we certainly will not take proactive steps to change reality, because we believe the text says it cannot and will not change. As hard as it may be to admit, we suffer from a culture of victimhood that prevents us from understanding the other as he really is today and from taking responsibility to improve our situation.
Vicious cycles are not vicious for nothing. It is extremely difficult to break out of them. What is needed is a two-pronged approach of opening our eyes to see a different reality, and at the same time opening our foundational texts and rereading them to see the inspiring reconciliation of erstwhile enemies that they depict.
Reality can change; perception can change. And so can the meaning of the text. And a change in perception and a change in interpretation will help encourage us to make practical changes that will shape a better future for the Jewish people and for all those who come in contact with us.