All-nighters, Cheesecake, and Eternal Life

This is the end and this is the beginning. The second letter of the Hebrew “Aleph Bet,” rather than the first, begins the Torah. “In the beginning,” “Bereshit,” is what begins the creation of the world. We learn that Torah does not have a beginning nor an end but instead is continuous, which is reinforced every Simchat Torah when we roll the Torah from the last parsha back to Bereshit.

We pray that well after we are gone, we will, like the Torah, always continue and never cease to exist through the beats of our rich tradition. For Merkaz, this endlessness is palpably felt and experienced. We have an extraordinary Jewth group. The Jewth group had an overnight at my house this past weekend. They had a blast making and eating pizza. They play and pray well together. They swam and played sports and we celebrated Havdallah. During this service, we said goodbye to Shabbat and welcomed another week. The Jewth groupers love one another’s company so much that they stayed up until 6:00 a.m.! (and I love them so much that I didn’t break the 6th commandment!).

In addition to being committed to staying up all night, each of these students is truly committed to his/her Jewish practice, to one another and to our strong vibrant Jewish (community) k’hila, Congregation Merkaz Ha-Iyr.

Here, we see that these students who could have called it quits after they became B’nai Mitzvah (plural of Bar/Bat Mitzvah) have remained an integral part of Merkaz. They attend religious and Hebrew school—Limud every Sunday and teach the younger students Hebrew. And they were part of the amazing Shabbat youth service that was run by our oldest students in our Limud program.

Our Merkaz children are our legacy and enable us to continue to turn and turn Torah. Many Jews kiss the Torah and sing and dance with it, as the Torah is carried around, during the (processional) hakafah. Here, we are celebrating those who came before us, ourselves and those who will follow after we are long gone.

All of our Jewish youth inspire us to discover different ways to reflect and to relate to our Jewish teachings and traditions. These youth continue to challenge us to apply our ancient teachings in this century of science, technology and advancement, making us all relevant forever and ever— l’olam vah’ed.

You are warmly invited to our Merkaz Shabbat & Shavuot observance on Saturday, May 23, from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. It will be a celebration of our receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.

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