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September 2015


Summer 2015 was a historic and momentous summer: we applauded when the Supreme Court affirmed

Shira M. Zemel

It’s that time of year! The newest class of Eisendrath Legislative Assistants arrived at the RAC two weeks ago, and jumped right into the Washington, D.C.

by Terry Glavin

Against the global scourges of poverty, hunger, war and disease, it would not be quite fair to say that after the unprecedented 15-year global effort undertaken through its Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations is now making a sow’s ear out of a silk purse with the successor strategy that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced.

It’s not that the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals are unworthy, overly ambitious, unreasonable or unrealistic. It’s not just that the grand design for the world order by the year 2030 is an unwieldy hodgepodge of 17 goals, 69 targets and more than 300 indicators replacing the Millennium Declaration’s more elegant and straightforward eight goals, 16 targets and 48 indicators.

The Days of Awe bring us the opportunity and obligation to reflect on the past year and recommit ourselves to improvement for the coming year. We recognize those things we wish we had handled differently, in a more positive or appropriate manner, and we celebrate the opportunity to start again.

This can be true not only for individuals, but also for organizations. School is back in session and our routines change to accommodate this—even those without children are affected by different traffic and shopping rhythms. The WRJ office always seems busier in the fall, whether it is gearing up for the WRJ Assembly (this year November 4-8 in Orlando, FL) in odd-numbered years, or for WRJ District Conventions in even-numbered years. And our sisterhoods typically start significant programming around and immediately following the holidays, such as launching a new Chai Mitzvah or Rosh Chodesh group. We’re all starting over in a sense, and we have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and our organizations for the coming year.

The growing refugee crisis enveloping Europe challenges us as Jews and as human beings deeply pained by the images of desperate individuals and families searching for sanctuary.

Barbara Weinstein

by Susan Pfeffer

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8), which means “When you enter.” In this parashah Moses tells the people of Israel that after they have settled in the land that God gave them, they should bring the first fruits of their orchard to the Holy Temple and declare gratitude for all that God has done for them.

The instructions for bringing the First Fruit say that when the Israelite comes to the sanctuary he should identify himself historically, as in this familiar quote: “A wandering Aramean was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there, few in number; and he became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous” (Deuteronomy 26:5).

B’chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et atzmo k’ilu hu yatza mi-Mitzrayim.  “In every generation, a person must view herself/himself as if s/he had gone out of Egypt” (Pesachim 116b).

By Rabbi David Widzer