Mitzvah of the Month

December 2018

Hanukah – Increase the Light

Think & Discuss:

What does it mean to you to be described as “light”?

What mistakes and brokenness pieces would you like to remove from your identity?

What feeling do you get watching India Arie sing this song?

Hanukah commands us to bring light into the darkest month of the year.  What is the spiritual message of lighting candles in the darkness?

Jewish Text:

Or chadash al tziyon ta’ir, vnizkeh khulanu m’heirah l’oro. Baruch atah Adonai, yotzeir ham’orot.

Shine a new light on Zion and may we all soon be worthy of its light.
Blessed are You Adonai, the creator of light.

November 2018

Shabbat Silence

Think & Discuss:

How do we talk without speaking? How do we hear without listening?

What does it mean to bow and pray to neon gods?

Why is silence valuable?

How can Shabbat be a time to connect face to face with family and friends?

What are some times you find it important to put down technology and connect with people?

Jewish Text:

Lcha dodi likrat kalah, pnei Shabbat n’kablah

Come my beloved to meet the bride, let us welcome the presence of Shabbat.

(From the Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat service)

October 2018

Jewish Pride

Think & Discuss:

What Jewish symbols do you see in this video?

Do you wear Jewish symbols – Star of David, Mezuzah, Hebrew names jewelry?

Why or why not?

Are there situations where you wouldn’t feel comfortable saying you’re Jewish?

Are there aspects of being Jewish of which you are not proud?

Is there a difference between the terms Jew, Israelite and Hebrew? Which one do you most identify with and why?

Jewish Text:

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha’olam, she’asani Yisrael.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, who created me as a Jew (Israelite).

September 2018

Making Peace

Think & Discuss:

What does it mean to be a “living sanctuary”?

What does love prepare us for?

What are some places you feel holiness?

How can we bring holiness out of the sanctuary and into our daily interactions?

How is making peace – oseh shalom – related to being a “living sanctuary”?

Jewish Text:

Oseh shalom bimromav hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu v’al kol Yisrael v’imru Am. God who makes peace in the heavens will make peace amongst us and all of Israel. We say, Amen.

(From the prayerbook)

August 2018

Looking for ways to do good = Mitzvot

Think & Discuss:

What motivated the man in the video to do good? Can you do good without expecting thanks or acknowledgement? What are some small things that make a difference in your life? Why is it tempting to take small things for granted?

Jewish Text:

Lo alecha hamlacha ligmor, v’lo atah ben chorin l’hibatel mimena. You are not expected to complete the task but neither are you free to avoid it. Rabbi Tarfon, Pirkei Avot 2:21