Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Ain – March 23, 2018

Shabbat Shalom! In this Torah portion, Tzav, God continues to describe the different laws of sacrifices. A distinction is made between sin offerings, burnt offerings, and homage offerings, with each following its own process. God then commands the priests to make another offering that ordains themselves in their positions.
Thought Question: This weekend is the March for our Lives, the March in support of gun safety, inspired by the tragic events in Parkland, Florida. As we think about sacrifices in our parasha, we must ask, what is sacrificed for freedoms that have been a part of our country? Is sacrificing our children’s safety worth the price of holding onto the ability to access assault rifles? How do we measure which sacrifice is harder to give up?
Earlier this week, this note was sent to our SPS High School students with the following message:
As news came out this morning [written Tuesday] of another school shooting I wanted to reach out to you-the parents and high school students at Sutton Place Synagogue, on behalf of myself, Lesley Goldenberg, and Amanda Phillips to let you know that you, our students and families, are on our minds. Often people talk about high school students as “future leaders” but it is clear that teens today are not just leaders for the future but for the present. The voice and role that teens are playing in our country, in response to Gun Safety in particular, is both inspiring and yet, sad that it is necessary.

As you know the March For Our Lives is taking place this coming Shabbat. If you choose to march I wanted to let you know that METNY USY (our local region of United Synagogue Youth) has arranged for a group to march. They will be meeting at 9:30 am at the Southwest corner of 75th Street and Central Park West.
Additionally, my sermon during shabbat services this Saturday will focus on this topic, and then, following kiddush, I will walk to meet the march. If any teens and families want to join please meet at the synagogue by 12:15 to walk over together. If you think you are going to meet me at the synagogue, please let me know.

In Judaism, there are two messages that we want to leave you with. First, the concept of Pikuah Nefesh, the Saving of a Life, is of the utmost important. How we speak out and up for the safety of our communities will demonstrate how future generations will judge us. Second, in the Talmud, a rabbinic text from the 6th century, Rabbi Hanina taught: “I have learned much from my teachers, and from my colleagues more than from my teachers, but I have learned the most from my students.” (Babylonian Talmud, Taanit 7a). Each of you and teens like you all over the country are our students. Thank you for your voice, for your leadership and for your strength.
I share this with all of you because it is important that we speak up and support our student’s voices. What is taking place in our school right now is horrifying. When we as parents, grandparents, and friends, send our children to school, we do so with the expectation that they will be safe and secure. May this be the force for change that we all need.
PASSOVER IS COMING FAST! CLICK HERE for resources about how to celebrate Passover at home and with your SPS community.
We invite the congregation to join us for the Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv service on Friday, May 4th, 2018, followed by a reception to honor Lesley Goldenberg’s tenure as the Jackson Religious School Director. Lesley has served in this role for the past 13 years, and we will gather to wish her well as she begins a new chapter in her home town of St. Louis, MO this coming summer.
We hope you can all join us in celebrating Lesley!  If you have a student that is currently in elementary, middle school, or high school, please make sure you are able to come that night as we will encourage our kids to lead parts of the service. Let me know if you will be in attendance.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Ain