Shabbat Greetings from Stuart Skolnick – July 5, 2013

Stuart SkolnickTarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, Irvington, White Plains. Philadelphia, Valley Forge, Yorktown. All place names that say something to us. And so begins part of our torah reading this Shabbat.  As parashat Mas’ei opens, Moses recites the names of forty two locations at which the Israelites stopped during their forty years of wandering in the dessert leading from Egypt to the edge of the Promised Land. As with the list of names above, it was not necessary to say anything more than the name of the place. That was enough to stir the memories of the Israelites who heard this list. The names of our local towns mean something to our congregants who live there. The names of places important to our shared American history also have meaning for us especially at this season when we celebrate Independence Day.  The Declaration in Philadelphia led to a hard winter at Valley Forge followed by eventual victory announced at Yorktown. But just reading the place names is enough to tell the story. Similarly, when your family next gathers around the dinner table, mention some place names that they will all recognize. They might be the names of a place where you all spent a vacation. “Remember_________?” – you can fill in the blank. Suddenly, everyone will have a story to tell or a memory to share. These are things that make us a community whether it be a family unit, the TBA family, or the Jewish or American people. Since this weekend really starts the summer and vacation time, I hope that you will all have the chance to take a break from your routines, travel to a different location for a change of scenery (even if it’s close by), and create some new memories. Travel safely and bring back your new perspectives so we all can share them together.

Shabbat Shalom!

Author: Melissa