Dear TEE Community,

The opening chapters of Genesis contain perhaps the most profound and revolutionary insight in human thought: the simple yet endlessly perplexing concept that human beings are created in the image of God. Valuing every human life as sacred and equal is an aspiration that, three thousand years later, we have yet to achieve. I never cease to be amazed that our ancestors understood this even as they, like we, struggled to make it a reality. This sense of amazement, as well as gratitude for the wisdom of our tradition, is why I never tire of studying the weekly Torah portion.

This Shabbat, Jews throughout the world will start a new cycle of Torah reading and here at Temple Emanu-El we will begin a new, expanded program of Torah study. Over the past five years our Saturday morning Chevre Torah (Yiddish for “Torah fellowship”) has enjoyed many interesting and lively discussions.. Each year, we come back to the text with new experiences and ideas that change the way it speaks to us.

The Torah is at the center of our Jewish tradition, but it is just one of three sections of the Hebrew Bible. If we study only the Torah portion, we will never have the chance to familiarize ourselves with the prophetic teachings at the heart of our progressive Judaism or learn the stories of figures such as David and Solomon. For that reason, the Chevre Torah group has decided to change our Saturday morning schedule. Beginning this week, Oct. 17, we will focus on highlights from the Prophets or Writings from 9:30 – 10:30 am, followed by an hour of our regular Torah discussion from 10:30 – 11:30 am.

If you have thought about joining our Saturday conversations, I hope this will be an opportunity for you to drop in for one or more sessions to see what you think. Our discussions are informal and require no previous knowledge or preparation. Please join us!

Rabbi Drorah Setel