This week’s Parasha begins the Book of Exodus, but Shemot really means “names” as the Parasha begins by telling us the names of the 70 who descended into Egypt. Our names mean a lot to us. Our tradition tells us that one of the reasons the Israelites were redeemed from slavery was in the merit of their keeping their Hebrew names. Kabbalists teach that parents receive a glimmer of divine inspiration when they give their child a Jewish name, Our Hebrew names are our traditional links from generation to generation. Each name and each person is valuable and important. This stands in stark contrast to the Nazis (yemach shemam), who reduced every Jew to a number or even less. It was much easier to destroy a person when they are not a person. It is a crazy coincidence that tonight Adat Shalom hosts Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, world renowned scholar on the Holocaust speaking on her new book, “The Eichmann Trial,” discussing its significance for us 50 years later. Eichmann understood well the importance of dehumanizing as part of the Nazi Plan–an interesting similarity to the plan of Pharaoh in this week’s Parasha.
Treasure your Hebrew name. Make sure you know its meaning and that you, your children (maybe grandchildren) know and understand theirs and their namesakes.
Tomorrow morning, January 14, 2012 we are privileged to learn with Ruth Bergman. The opportunity will be provided in the Shiffman Chapel at 10:00 a.m. Yoga will be in the Youth Lounge. How wonderful is it that there is something for everyone at Adat Shalom? I have to pinch myself sometimes at what a great Jewish home we have here. Check out the whole weekend at http://www.adatshalom.org/.
P.S. Saturday could also be a fun evening or “date night” at Adat Shalom for you with a “Cantor’s Cabaret: A Night of Yiddish Music.” It may be sold out by now (or RSVP’d out) because it is a free cabaret night for our members (small charge for non-members), but you can call the Synagogue office and find out (248) 851-5100. It did not occur to me until now that Friday night we will be talking about a man who sought to destroy the Yiddish culture that we will be celebrating Saturday night. They almost succeeded and some say that in some regard they did. It is our responsibility to keep that Yiddish tradition alive.