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Metzora 5782 ~ April 8, 2022

As many of us begin our preparations for Passover this year, we are acutely aware of the realities in our world today that tug on our heart strings: Ukraine; political challenges in Israel, the United States and in other countries throughout the world; environmental issues; the pandemic/endemic; soaring prices both in the grocery stores and at the gas pump; the global supply chain; labor relations, employment; and the mental health issues that are exasperating attempts of restoring our souls to not the only reality, but to a new norm where we can find peace within our being.

This year on Shabbat HaGadol, the great Sabbath, we read the words of the prophet Malachi (in our Haftorah) which is a promise of redemption. It ends with the heralding of the arrival of Elijah the Prophet who brings hope at a most troubling time and to a people who are filled with delusion and despair. Elijah’s coming heralds the arrival of the Mashiach, the Messiah. In Malachi’s time, the words were a spiritual reawakening and a promise for a building of a third Beit Hamkidash, Holy Temple in Jerusalem. In Modern times, it is the song and prophecy with the hope for the end of all of the traumatic situations that have caused a great deal of distress both in our personal lives and those of our world (some of which I shared with you in the first paragraph). As our commentary in our Etz Hayim Chumash suggests, the Haftorah reading “restores the heart.” Perhaps a wishful thought, or perhaps a prophetic hope for that which ails our world.

On Shabbat morning we will study a most interesting version of the Chad Gadya and how the ending asks an even deeper question beyond simply will this stop with the arrival of the real Messianic Age of peace and understanding amongst people and nations.

At our congregational Seder table, we will add a most beautiful prayer written by my colleague and friend from W. Hartford, Rabbi Ilana Garber, related to Ukraine. It asks us to add to our table this year a Sunflower. You may find that reading in the new Conservative Judaism website, just launched, entitled “Exploring Judaism.” https://exploringjudaism.org

At our first day Festival/Shabbat Passover service, we will explore some of the added questions that the four sons might have asked, which are found in the Haggadah created by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld and Rabbi Joy Levitt that are pertinent to the world that surround us today.

A shoutout to Big Y in Groton and Shoprite in New London for their added Passover sections, beyond an endcap of other supermarkets. Please consider purchasing some of your Passover needs at these two establishments to let them know that we, as a community, appreciate their efforts and those of their suppliers. Needless to say, having visited W. Hartford the other day, we are also grateful to Big Y for their amazing Passover sections, for packaged, freezer, dairy and meat sections; to Crown for its KP counter and its sections of food items (including KP Heinz Ketchup from Israel) and to Costco in New Britain for its small but wonderful section of Shmura Matzah, macaroons, grape juice, deserts, and packaged and prepared refrigerated foods.

A very special thank you, in advance, to Michael Cohen, Judy Engel and Kathleen McFadden for their wisdom in providing a catered Kosher for Passover meal through Zayde’s Market, in Canton, for those who will join us on our second night Passover Seder. An even greater todah rabbah to Michael Cohen for shlepping to Zayde’s in Canton, MA, to transport the meals to Temple Emanu-El for congregants to pick up.

Thank you, also, to Merrill and Melanie (our new co-office manager) and to the volunteers in our office for all of their efforts, and to Dona Casey for her extra efforts in helping us to prepare for Passover.

To Diane Maran who is busily preparing the Torah reading for our Passover morning services, a yashar kocheych.

Finally, as many of us will be busy during the up-and-coming week preparing for Pesach, a reminder that:

1.  We will be holding a “Fast for the First-Born” study session on Friday, April 15th at 8:00 a.m. as part of our morning service.

2. We have made arrangements for the sale of Chametz and request that you make your online or mailed in paper request for that sale by Thursday, April 14th at noon.

3. On Saturday, April 23rd, the last day of Passover, our services will include Yizkor.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Passover preparations,

Rabbi K

Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782