As the fires burn…

Hi Everyone,

I’m sorry for the extremely late blog post. Things have been busy at the temple with everyday tasks, and worry for those effected by the fires. I know that many of our kids are feeling immense sadness and are grieving the loss of our beloved Camp Newman facility. I wanted to repost the prayer that Newman posted when all of this began. These words are beautiful. I challenge you to read them slowly and think about what they mean to you. Fire is a theme in our lives as Jews. Fire has defined many moments in our history and will define this moment as well. I am confident that we will reach the other side of this crisis, stronger, more unified and with a greater sense of purpose than when we entered.

By Rabbi Paul Kipnes (Calabasas, CA)

Our God and God of our fathers and mothers,
As the flames burn, wreaking havoc upon our forests, our homes,
our fire fighters, our sense of security,
We turn to You for comfort and support.
Help us to differentiate between flames of destruction
and light that shows us Your way.

We know that flames can destroy.
A people decimated once, twice and more,
Having passed through infernos set by humans filled with hate, we remember the destructive abilities of these flames.
Keep us far from apocalyptic thoughts,
for we know that You ask us to care for this world,
an awesome responsibility.

We also know that we can seek You in the flames.
We recall Your Loving Hand, guiding us in our infancy:
In a burning bush, You spoke to Moses, sending him to lead our people out of slavery,
In a pillar of fire, You led our people through the wilderness to the Promised Land,
With black fire on white fire, You wrote the Torah, our guide for living in this world.
Through Your light, we found our way.

Be with us now, these smoke and fire-filled days.
Draw us close to those harmed by these flames, hearing their cries, responding to their needs.
Lead us to support those who fight the fires, who care for the displaced, who bring healing to those suffering.
Though our attention spans seem so short, may we be slow to forget those in danger.
And please bring cooling wind and rain from the heavenly realms to Northern California.

And may we all embrace at least one lesson spoken aloud by so many who – facing the flames – rushed to pack up their valuables:

That memories of love and of time spent with family and friends are priceless, holy and sacred.
This can never be taken away.
As we rush to meet the challenge of living in this
imperfect world of ours,
May we slow down enough to cherish those who are truly valuable – kadosh/holy – to us.

Baruch Ata Adonai, Hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol.
Blessed are You, O God, who differentiates between the truly valuable and everything else.

The fires are still burning. The danger is still there. We must continue to pray for the safety of everyone in harms way and especially for those who are fighting to stop the spread of these damaging flames.

I know that many of us feel very helpless right now, watching the news and posts on social media. Temple Or Rishon is in contact with the Jewish communities in Napa and Sonoma Counties and are finding out the best possible ways to help them right now. Many of their members have experienced total losses. There are individuals with immediate needs that must be met. If you are in a position to help financially, the current request is for gift cards to Target in $25 increments. Email me or call the temple office for more information.

As far as Camp Newman is concerned, we will be celebrating Shabbat this Friday at 6:45pm with songs, stories and memories of Camp. Camp Newman will need our spirit and energy in the coming months as they formulate their plans for the future. I know that our community will definitely be involved as the new chapter of Camp begins.

On a different note: We are working hard to get people connected and creating a strong Jewish community in our little corner of the Sacramento Valley. If you are free this Sunday, please stay after drop off and help us with the Sukkah take down. Additonally, we are having the first of our Congregational Conversations at 10:30am, sharing ideas for the future of TOR. As parents of our children, we need your input! Please join us!

++++++++++ Announcements ++++++++

Tonight – Thursday, October 12th – No Hebrew Tutorials. All tutorials begin again next week.

Friday, October 13th at 10am – Gan K’tan

Friday, October 13th at 6:45pm – Shabbat Services celebrating Camp Newman

Sunday, October 15th

  • 9am – Religious School
  • 9am – Sukkah take down – please stay and help us take down the sukkah!
  • 10:30am – Congregational Conversation in TOR sanctuary – Please join us and share your ideas for the future of Temple Or Rishon!

Wednesday, October 18th – Hebrew Tutorials and 7th Grade Bar/Bat Mitzvah Class

Thursday, October 19th – Hebrew Tutorials

PreK-Kinder Parents: Due to the unpredictable air quality, we are moving our field trip to October 22nd. Please plan on the 22nd to join your student on a field trip to the Folsom Animal Sanctuary. Watch for a specific email. 

++++++++ Religious School Updates ++++++++

I’m going to skip my updates this week. Please be assured that your kids are doing a lot here every Sunday. I see them playing games to learn Hebrew, engaging in meaningful discussions about Jewish Values, singing songs with Carol, and participating fully in our tefillah. If you ever have the time, stay and peek in at a class!