November 10, 2017 ♦ 21 Cheshvan 5778

Aidan Hutzler will Bar Mitzvah next Shabbat and is participating in a Mitzvah Project for JAFCO. The mission of JAFCO is to care for abused and neglected children and those with developmental disabilities in the Jewish community.  The goal of JAFCO is to provide a normal childhood for these children. Aidan is collecting monies to help acquire needed sports equipment, new basketball nets and make repairs to the basketball court at the JAFCO Village. Any additional monies raised will be used to help JAFCO’s needs incurred during Hurricane Irma.  Should you wish to support this project you can donate by clicking this link.  Thank you.

Keeping the Congregation Strong—I feel like I'm on a constant hunt for hope these days. I have to be for every time I look at my phone or open my laptop, I’m overwhelmed by stories of violence, disrespect for life, greed, and selfishness. It feels like everyone is dispirited and disheartened. And that is dangerous. It fools us into believing there’s nothing we can do, or that our efforts won’t make a difference. Once we abandon hope, we lose each other. 
    We don’t have to face the world alone.  I find hope when we come together in community, at Temple Sholom.  When we sing familiar prayers, bless one another, to mourn, and to strategize life.  All we need is hope and for that, we have each other.  
    In these times when so much seems difficult, help us remember that we are not alone. Help keep our congregation strong and remind us that kindness, generosity and trust are antidotes to fear. Help us remember that our hope and our power grow when we are faithful to our deepest commitments and to each other. Visit us now, more than ever.  May we rise up to do the work of Love again and again. Attend services—minyan, make time to say hello.  

     We’re glad you’re here—To be a Jew, is to give thanks; how we view the world affects how we act in the world.

Chayay Sarah: The Life of Keturah, Abraham’s Concubine
by Rabbi David Hartley Mark

    “Abraham took another wife [after Sarah’s death], whose name was Keturah. She bore him [six sons]. Abraham willed all that he owned to Isaac; but to [his] sons by concubines, Abraham gave gifts while he was still living, and he sent them away from his son Isaac eastward, to the Land of the East.” Gen. 25:1-6 (adapted)

    When the Great Sheikh rode into our humble Bedouin camp, I was helping my sisters and mother make wheatcakes—rounds of lumpy flour which I always found flat and tasteless, but they were the main sustenance for us desert-dwellers. I remember staring at the majesty of the Great Sheikh—well-oiled beard down to his belly, a keffiyeh with a great diamond gleaming from its center, and a huge bronze scimitar which could cut a melon, or a man, in half.

    He rode by, eyes to front, and did not appear to see me. He must have, though, for, not two moments later, my youngest sister, Roi, came running up to our work area, there in the hot sun, and, tugging at my flour-stained sleeve, cried out, “Elder Sister Ketty, Papa wants you.”

    “Can’t it wait, Roi?” I asked, smiling at her—she was always my favorite, “I’m just finishing this batch of wheat cakes. Tell him I’ll be there in three minutes.”

    My beautiful baby sister pursed her lips—really, she looked just our mother, Ishtar keep her soul!—and replied, “No, Ketty. Papa said, NOW!”

    I smiled again, shrugged, rose, and walked toward our family tent, dusting the flour off my clothes the best I could. I heard murmurings inside, and the clink of coins—men’s business, of course. We women were useful only to bear their children, cook their meals, and suffer an occasional beating.

    “Ah, Keturah, my darling, my precious one!” Papa’s deep voice boomed through the tent, and I wondered why no one else was there. “Sheikh Abraham ibn Terach is here to meet and marry you.”

    The Great Sheikh sat off to one side, one hand on his sword, the other near a plate of dried figs that he was brushing the remains of, off his long, gray-white beard.

    Marry Sheikh Abraham? A voice went through my head. Look how old he is—why, he could be my father, or grandfather, perhaps! I began to tremble. Papa did not, or pretended to not, notice. He rose quickly, crossed to me in two long steps, and yanked my right arm, the better to show my charms off to the Sheikh. I stumbled behind him—he was that eager for the Old Man’s gold. Meanwhile, my mind was going, This is wrong, so wrong! I cannot marry this tribal elder—why, Uribaal, my boyfriend since childhood, plighted his troth to me, just—just—

    “See my daughter’s beauty, combined with strength!” Papa intoned, “She will bear you many sons, since the passing of your beloved—what was her name?”

“Sarah. Her name was Sarah,” frowned the Great Sheikh, speaking for the first time—and not to me; more to himself.

    It all happened so quickly after that—Aunty Yirah dragged the tribe’s veil, hijab, and wedding-dress out of her storage-bags, and my sisters draped me in it, though I was dazed, frightened, and curious all at once. Our Tribal Shaman stood before us, moaned out the appropriate prayers to Ishtar and Baal, and I became Abraham’s wife. We left my home-camp and family forever, and he took me to his tent.

    I will not describe the long nights, lying beside my husband and listening to his old man’s snorings. Nor the pain I endured, in both the conception and the birthing of my six boys—Old Abraham was hardly tender; more clumsy. As the years went by, the servants told me about his late wife’s Sarah, and her infertility; surely, I believed, my six tall, strong sons would testify to both the prolific nature of their mother, and to their deserving at least a portion of their father’s will; but alas, this was not to be. As a concubine merely, I was secondary to my lord and master’s dead wife—though she was still alive, to Abraham: many a long night I would lie next to him, and hear him calling to her in his sleep: “Are you there, Sarah my love? Do you remember when I sold you to Abimelech? Ha! We fooled him, didn’t we….”

    Selling a wife to a king, and to a pharaoh? How sordid—how unseemly! Still, I did not dare protest to Abraham—he was a quick one with a bullwhip, and I saw him belabor a stubborn donkey more than once….

    Yet the question nagged at my heart and brain: why were my six sons not worthy of being called Children of Abraham? I saw his favorite, that skinny little drip Isaac, and wondered why their God had chosen him, rather than my big, strapping boys….

    Until the day HE entered our little camp: Ishmael, riding a white charger, and armed with sword, buckler, and bow: a true warrior. He smiled at me—perfect white teeth in a face tanned by the desert sun, and swung off his horse in one skillful movement. I approached him, and bowed down to the ground:

    “Rise, Wife of Abraham,” Ishmael laughed, “or, should I say, Mama?”

    We both laughed, then, and entered one of the auxiliary tents, there to talk—and he answered many of my questions.

    “Do not press Abraham for your boys’ inheritance,” Ishmael cautioned me, his finger on my lips, “for the Great Sheikh—I cannot bring myself to call him ‘Father’ after how he treated my poor mother and me. He will gift your sons before he dies, like a king gives bounty to his serfs.”

    “Not serfs, but sons!” I replied, my eyes blazing.

    “I understand and sympathize,” said Ishmael, laying a hand on my arm—and I shivered at his touch, “but there is no help for a concubine, my dearest Keturah. Blame the man, and the God Who commands him.”

    And now, Abraham is dead. Ishmael and I rode off together, long before that happened. And, true to his word, Abraham gave gifts—small ones—to my six sons. What can I do? At least, I have my Ishmael, my dear one….


Refuah Shlemah to Ed Shukin, Joan Marcus, Herb Smith, Sanford Brody, Jeffrey Stern, and Bob and Carol Dickman.
Cemetery  Pre-planning is one of the most important ways you can protect your family. Making choices ahead of time can help spare your loved ones from having to make difficult decisions during a period of great stress and grief. Contact the Temple office (954) 954-6410 and allow Temple Sholom to help you get prepared. Temple Sholom and Forest Lawn North Mt. Hebron proudly offers a limited number of cemetery sites that are available at discounted prices to members, family and friends.  We are here for you and your loved ones in your time of need. Contact the office at (954) 942-6410 for more information.  

Friday, November 10

         7:45 pm      Shabbat Service

Saturday, November 11

                               Haftorah:  Cantor Hesh

         9:30 am      Morning Services

       12:30 pm      Discussion w/Rabbi

Sunday, November 12

               5 pm      Celebration Gala!

Monday, November 13

         8:45 am      Morning Minyan

       10:00 am      “In My Shoes” w/Durant

Wednesday, November 15

         8:45 am       Morning Minyan

                               Talmud w/Cantor Hesh

        7:00 pm       Discussion  w/Rabbi Mark

Thursday, November 16

        8:45 am       Morning Minyan