August 2014, From the Rabbi

By Rabbi Erica Burech

Shalom Merkaz Community-K’hilat Merkaz,

I have been working on creating the scheduling for Merkaz’s first Junior & Senior Youth group. You can create Merkaz history if you come up with an incredible name for this group. It would be great if it could be an (Hebrew) Ivrit name. These events will take place on Sundays during Limud. The first hour the youth group participants have the opportunity to assist younger students in learning the (Hebrew) Ivrit letters and how to read Ivrit.

Merkaz youth will get to plan and implement a Shabbat (service) t’fillah, a retreat program for our congregation and programs regarding our (holidays) chagim for younger students. When an older group teaches a younger group it gives us the opportunity to observe the mitzvah of passing the Torah teachings from (one generation unto the next generation) l’dor v’dor.

Merkaz youth participants will hear speakers from organizations such as Not My Kid: http://notmykid.org During these sessions they will learn from actual young people who have had to overcome very serious obstacles in his/her lives. They will understand how to avoid cyber bullying, how to establish personal boundaries in order to experience healthy relationships and the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

The sessions will also include purely fun activities. It’s amazing how much our students love being together. Yes, I admit my goal is to officiate a Merkaz wedding! Students will also participate in a plethora of projects to fix the world-tikkun olam & acts of loving kindness-g’milut chasadim. These are (things) d’varim that we must always seize the opportunity to do.

On Sunday, October 26, our youth group will hear from the volunteer coordinator from Crisis Nursery. She will discuss all of the important work that this incredible organization does for children whose parents are unable to care for them. www.crisisnurseryphx.org – Following this presentation, the students will go to Target to purchase clothes, diapers, school supplies and various items on the wish list.

We are asking congregants to please give money or target gift cards to support this endeavor. I will be sure to remind everyone as it gets closer. My goal is to make certain that we have plenty of opportunities to help as many people as we possibly can this year.

I look forward to seeing you during our monthly Friday evening services and our Saturday morning services as well. In addition, the first day of Limud is on Sunday, September 7. Adult education sessions will begin on Sunday, October 26, from 10:15AM until 11:15AM.

L’Shalom, Rabbi Erica

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.” —George Bernard Shaw

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