Welcome to Temple Emanu El. We are a reform congregation conveniently located to encompass the Jewish community in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland. Our doors are open to you and your family. Please come join us for Shabbat services, for learning opportunities, for fun and spirituality. We are a family centered congregation and strive to provide opportunities for members of all ages and interests to be meaningfully engaged.
At Temple Emanu El, we believe that learning is life-long. We know that our children are our future, but we also know that our parents and grandparents may want to gain knowledge and insight as well. Our religious school is outstanding with a child-centered approach and an active, participatory learning environment that has been recognized nationally. Our students are active in youth group, activities, camp and family retreats. Our pre-school is a warm and nurturing environment for our little ones. And for the adult learner, we have much to offer. Whether you love to cook, have a passion for music, are an avid reader or enjoy Torah discussion, we have a spot for you.
We strive to be your Jewish home away from home. Come visit us and find out more.
Judy Uram, President
Bereshit 5775 (2014)
Isaiah 42:5-43:10 or Isaiah 42:5-21
People love “Just So” stories, etiological sagas that attempt to explain creation with easy to understand tales of how we got to be as we are and where, depending on our actions, we might be headed. For example, Rudyard Kipling’s rhinoceros got his unattractive skin not so much because of divine punishment but more as the logical consequence of the reasonable revenge taken by the “Parsee Man” in response to the rhino’s devouring of the man’s cake. It is not a bad story as far as it goes, but it is of limited utility in a world that is far more mysterious than Kipling’s rendition for childhood consumption of what may have been an earlier Arabic literary tradition.
The Torah also addresses origin questions but in a way that reflects the complexity of creation, the intricacy of the creatures in it (both human and beast), and the consequences of our being, at the same time, both clever and naked.
The interconnectedness of being clever or smart and being naked or vulnerable is evidenced by the dual meaning of the word arum (ערום) introduced in this parashah and continuing throughout the Tanach. In adjacent verses we are told, first, that Adam and Eve were, “both of them naked” (arumim) but they were not “ashamed or embarrassed,” and then that the Nahash (maybe a serpent) was “the most clever (arum) of all the animals of the field.” (2:25 & 3:1).
A very flexible word, arum, can refer to our intellectual abilities. For example: “Fools inherit folly but the smart (arumim) are crowned with knowledge.” (Proverbs 14:18) or “A prudent person (arum) sees evil and hides from it, a fool transgresses and is punished.” (ibid 27:12). Arum can also indicate lowly and embarrassing status. “…as my servant Isaiah walked naked (arum)… so shall the King of Assyria lead away Egyptian captives and Kushite exiles, young and old, naked (arum) and barefoot...” (Isaiah 20:3-4). The implications of being arum may be dependent on location. The Talmud suggests that in the Diaspora, seeing yourself ‘arum’ in a dream means that you are without sin but in Israel, the same dream means that you are devoid of any credit for mitzvot. (Berachot 57a).
As we know, encouraged in their gustatory experimentation by the clever Nahash, the woman and man come to realize their vulnerability and, embarrassed, they hide from God or at least they try a cover-up with fig leaves. Knowing full well that humanity’s “eyes had been opened,” God challenged them asking: “How did you come to know that you are smart?” And then they were really embarrassed – because they knew that, having achieved the ability to know right from wrong, they would be held accountable for both their actions and inaction.
If they managed their world and governed their lives correctly, then they could stand proud and erect and maybe someday re-inherit the garden from whence they came. If they were arum in the wrong way, they could end up slithering on the ground and eating dirt. It was now in their hands. But, because Adam and Eve had come to an awareness of their powers and their vulnerabilities, God quickly clothed them in “or” (עור) – a skin and, eventually, robed their descendants in ‘ohr’ – (אור) the Light of Torah.
And it was just so, that woman and man achieved the benefits of discernment, the burdens of responsibility and the assistance of their Creator.
This message has been distributed nationally by the Jewish Federations of North America.
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Sunday, November 23 ~ Lou Clay Memorial Blood Drive ~ 9:00 am - 1:30 pm
Stop in the social hall to donate blood. Please make sure to have a good meal and plenty of fluids before donating. Click here to make an appointment.
Friday, December 5 ~ Friday Night Chavurah ~ 6:15 pm
Join us for services at 6:15 and then stay for dinner. We will be providing a meat meal with a vegetarian option available upon request. There is not cost for dinner, but donations are welcome to the Friday Night Chavurah Fund. Please bring a nut-free dessert to share. RSVP with your family count by December 2 to Judi Roseman at 216/454-1216.
Saturday, December 6 ~ Hands on Holidays ~ 4:30 pm
Friday, December 19 ~ Chanukah Jubilee Service and Dinner ~ 6:15 pm
Thursday, December 25 ~ Volunteer Opportunities ~ 1:00 - 4:30 pm