Every summer, Jews worldwide commemorate the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem with a three-week period of introspection that culminates in Tisha b’Av, a national day of mourning.
During this period, Project Shoresh sponsored a series of three programs designed to engage and inspire members of the Rhode Island Jewish community.
Rabbi Tzvi Gluckin, author of four books and director of a Jewish think tank in Boston, spoke about “Good Times Bad Times” during the first program, held on July 23 at the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center, in Providence.
With his dynamic and interactive style, Gluckin challenged the audience to view all of their experiences with the attitude of gam zu l’tova, which means “this too is for the best.” He explained that although it may not be readily apparent, everything that we experience is – ultimately – for the best.
One of the rabbi’s many examples involved the tough coach of a football team. Throughout the season, the players hated him as he drove them each day. But at the end of the season, as they celebrated becoming the new champions, they hugged the man who recognized their weaknesses and pushed them to overcome them and perfect their game.
The guest speaker on July 29 was Chana Silver, a crisis intervention counselor from Jerusalem. She spoke to women from all over Rhode Island about “Inner Strengths You Didn’t Know You Had.” Silver discussed a basic difference in the way men and women think, with the caveat that there are many exceptions. She said that men tend to follow factual, analytical thought processes, while women are more likely to observe and deduce; in fact, they seem to excel at deduction.
Silver cited several instances in the Torah where women demonstrated this power of binah. For example, they refused to despair of Moses’ return from Mount Sinai, and consequently refused to donate their gold jewelry for the building of the golden calf. However, they eagerly presented their jewels when donations were sought for the building of the tabernacle. Silver’s presentation illustrated the equal, distinct and complementary roles of men and women in Judaism.
The third program in the Project Shoresh series, held on Aug. 5, was a multigenerational event for mothers and daughters. Miriam Karp combined a cake-decorating activity with information about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and lessons on how to rebuild it.
To learn more about Project Shoresh and its programs to encourage and help Jews connect to their Judaism, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
RUCHAMA SZENDRO lives in Providence.