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We buried the Sefarim, holy books. Burying the Shaimos is an annual tradition at the shul. We do it just in case anybody didn't have to show up to a funeral. We want them to feel a sense of loss and guilt. It reminds them about how bad they already messed up since the High Holidays. So, the rabbi takes Sefarim that none of the congregants understand, and none of the congregants have used, and has a burial ceremony. The rabbi's eulogy is always meaningful, when he talks of the next generation, saying 'you and your children,' letting the congregants know that they have killed Judaism for all Jewish future 'and that is why we are burying the Sefarim. Because you killed them.' And then he points at Bernie.
The rabbi also made the point that people shouldn't use the shul as a dumping ground for their books. One time, I think it was the Simelsteins, brought a set of Gemaras and a collection of Mother Goose books and dropped them. Just left them at the shul, in the hallway.
There were so many good books. They should’ve had a Sefarim take what you want night. Some real valuable old stuff was being thrown out. Frank jumped into the grave to grab some of the Gemaras. I believe he took as many as the old books as he can, and started an Ebay business.
The shul was packed this Shabbat, with congregants who didn't want to kill the Torah a second time. The problem is that the rabbi buried most of the Chumashim.
How the pages of the Sefarim are not clean, when nobody has ever used them, is a mystery in our shul.
The youth group advisors were visiting. I think we have more advisors showing up to events than high school kids. The idea of the youth group in the shul is that the youth meet. The advisors need it more than our kids. They're already 19. They have to get married. After 22, it's harder to meet somebody in the community. People start questioning what's wrong with them. If you were to see Nathan and Sima, you would understand. They're the new single members of the shul.
We have just had a New Year’s resolution meeting for the whole congregation, where the rabbi made it a point to note everybody’s sins in the congregation.
Bernie thought the meeting was best used to bring out a more tenacious congregational feel. 'Resolute' was the word. So, Bernie and Fran became determined to argue for everything they felt the congregation should do. They fought. However, the congregation still voted.
Bernie’s idea of the new revolving bima (cantor’s platform) did not pass. The cantor still prays to the East. It was a hard hit to Bernie, as he already got shot down last year for his idea of a revolving congregation. The rabbi was very much in favor of having new members every week. He was also in favor of kicking a member out every week.
The rabbi insisted we pray to the East, and the congregation went back to the conversation about Michael and how embarrassing it was for the community that his voice cracked when he read the Torah. The fact that it was his Bar Mitzvah was not discussed. Nobody should be forced to have to sing publicly when they are on the cusp of puberty.
No resolutions were made at the meeting, and every congregant is still allowed to eat chocolate and cake.
Rabbi Mendelchem’s Drasha
Shalom My Congregants,
We are now beginning the New Year of the reading of the Torah, as we just began the New Year itself, and Michael just began to go through a voice change, which is making it very hard on everybody in the congregation….
How do we make this a good start?
(Bereishit 1:1) 'In the beginning, H' created the heavens and earth.'
What have you done? Since the year began, have you accomplished anything? Gd created the whole earth already. Animals... Mrs. Hortman has already started eating chocolate… You made a resolution to not eat chocolate… I told you it wasn’t the Gregorian New Year’s Day… I don’t know Greg. I just know that nobody hear has done anything close to creating heavens and earth… You didn’t even plant the tomato tree you said you would…
What do you have to show for your days? You don’t even show up for services... 62 years and you created nothing... H' created the earth in a day. The still life is not that impressive... Gd created the fruit and you drew it...
We are embarking on the New Year and you said 'I will,' 'I will not.' No idea what you were resoluting. It seems that Michal said 'I will not,' and that was it. Many statements of resolution that were unqualified...
H' said ;let there be light' and there was light. You said 'let there be weight loss' and there was... You took off nothing. This congregation put on 80 pounds last year… Yes, it is a big deal, Bernie. 80lbs is a lot…
There was definitely chocolate. How do you feel about that Mrs. Slonadowskwitz?... I said, ‘Let there be a decent Kiddush’ and there was not...
You say stuff and you never do it. H’ created light because He said so. You cannot create a decent watermelon basket. The watermelon carving is horrendous…
We emulate H', as we are 'created in Gd's image.' But how? You do something. You get off your tuchus… Maybe don't learn from H's actions. We have enough congregants who like to complain and nothing gets done. H' said it and He willed it. You all just sit on your recliners at home and complain about the rabbi... Because you are lazy… You won't create. You say stuff and don't follow up...
You work on your voice Michael. It cracks… Say you will work on it… You’ll have Hatarat Nedarim next year. We already need it. Less than a month into the year and you already broke your vows… So don’t make the vows, just do stuff. Plant the tomatoes already… You’ve been saying it for five years…
Give the chocolate away on Halloween... Don't say you will, just do it... You were taking candy out of kids buckets last year... I even saw you taking from the children's Simchat Torah bags. Were you throwing the wrappers on the floor?...
There was 'Tohu Vavohu' which translates to nothing. Kind of like our Minyin last week… There was nothing. I ask you all, my congregants, who have accomplished nothing with what little you have and to emulate your creator. Do something. Create something... Don’t say it. Just do it. You say stuff and walla, nothing happens… The quilt is pathetic. Don’t create that. Art is not for this congregation. Create goodness, like a decent brisket… Use what H’ gave you… Create a decent dish. Create a fruit basket that doesn’t look like a shark took a huge bite out of a watermelon…
If H’ wanted to create an amazing fruit basket, made out of watermelon, He would have… He knows they always look messed up. That’s why he created the watermelon and didn’t cut it… Learn how to carve… Better yet, just say it and don’t do anything… When you do stuff, it makes everything bad. That is the lesson.
Even though it is not the message of this Dvar Torah, to do, but rather to say and then it gets done. We do not support domestic abuse… Husbands and wives should both help around the house…
After creating the land and vegetation (Bereishit 1:12) Gd sees it 'And it was good.' And the same with the sun and moon and stars… have you done anything remotely decent with yourselves over the past few weeks?... Your Etrog wasn’t even that good… It was a bad batch this year. Sorry. But it was meaningful. The heart of our people needs a boost... We need to do something about the teenagers. They scare people and make nasty faces...
Your year just started. It is a chance to do good… The kids need help in this shul… Look at them. They are all walking in shorts this week… They killed their pants diving for candy on Simchat Torah… That is not good… Nobody here knows how to hem…
I just wish I could say 'good,' but I look at this quilt... I see how heavy Marty got... I know it's the holidays. So, resolute something else... like 'I will get new pants that fit.'
(Bereishit 1:31) ‘H’ sees all that He did and it was very good’… I asked for a decent kiddush. Didn't even get that… I didn’t ask for a very good Kiddish. Just decent…
You cannot even create a way to take-off weight…
The holidays are done, B"H. That is good… For me. I need a break from you people. I need to rest…
Not just that, He created the land, animals, vegetation… I am sure He created the stars too… He created you and me. (Bereishit 2:1-3) H’ finished all the creations by the seventh day, ‘and he rested on the seventh day from all of his work… and He blessed the seventh day and made it holy…’ I can’t bless you, because you don’t let me rest. I can’t get any sleep in this place. The Chazin goes on with his notes. Then I have to answer your questions during Kiddish…
What have you done since we started this year? What have you created?
Let's create something now. Let's hear it. 'I resolute'... I resolute that... Resoluting to take out the trash is good. No more throwing candy wrappers on the floor... The kids on Simchat Torah. We had a three year old running around, taking two bites and dropping the lolly... Is she old enough to chew? I think she was teething on lollys. Here is proof... You see the marks on the side of the lolly? And the carpet stuck to the back side?
I resolute to learn. Not just to sell the Sefarim on Ebay... I heard you when you jumped into the Shaimos, Frank. 'I am going to make a bundle on Ebay'...
Have you even created a new diet? No... You are still eating, even after you resoluted... You haven't learned any Sefarim either.
He created the heaven and earth!!! You can't even make a decent split pea soup... You put croutons in it... Creating a business is a thing. Why H' made no money off the creation is still baffling...
Rivka’s Thoughts On Rabbi Mendelchem’s Sermon
The rabbi seemed to figure out the lolly case. He did tell us later that week that he studied forensics.
The maintenance staff is still picking up candy wrappers off the floor. The Gusher wrappers clogged up the vacuum. Since Simchat Torah, kids are not allowed back into the shul until they sign a waiver that they will not drop every candy wrapper. The four year olds get to trace their signature.
Mr. Heinwitz is an excellent candyman. The board was wrong for making him cleanup after the kids. He's 85 and bending everywhere. The shul almost got sued with his last candy debacle.
Collectors items became a big thing in the congregation. Now the congregants are collecting and trading old Jewish Sefarim. They had a baseball card show last year that didn't pan out. All the cards were basketball, football and hockey cards. Not one baseball card. The crowd was calling it a bait and switch, and they were happy. Nobody wanted baseball cards.
Now the shul is being used as a Goodwill drop off center, and then being used for an Ebay shipping hub.
Frank was making a killing on the Sefarim he grabbed out of the grave. Michael and Shana noticed how well that was going, so they dug up the Shaimos too. They were digging up everything they could. When they realized it was not a Shaimos plot, Mr. Tobokman's grave should've been reseeded. They should've known that the Seforim don't get stones, as they have been killed too many times by the congregants at our shul. It's hard to figure out their date of death or hallway drop-off.
It would be nice if they got more boxes when they throw the books into the hallway. Some of the boxes are overflowing. The youth had a Jenga event, trying to pull out Sefarim from a crate.
The youth group, NJP (National Jewish Pride- which people still think is a right-wing underground movement or LGBTQ support group) has taken control of the Ebay sales. The kids are wearing a lot of new swag, but the youth group is still running a huge deficit for the shul. The advisors are also rolling into the shul parking lot with souped up cars.
As Bereishit is about new beginnings and creation, the shul purchased 150 of the same Chumashim they buried. I don't know why new beginnings was a theme. Everytime we start a new project we get a quilt.
The shul needs money. The new fundraising campaign is they’re starting to charge for parking. Got the idea from the hospital.
Somebody opened a lot across the street for Shabbat parking, when they saw how much money is to be had by Jews who want to look religious when driving on Shabbat. With the parking and Ebay, they're raking in a killing.
The shul cut a deal with them.
Flippy tab cards are still lacking. We need more flippy tabs. Otherwise, the shul will never make the money. Even with the parking, the tab gets flipped for 6 or 18 dollars, then they leave that in their car, till they leave the parking lot and hand it to the usher. This stops people from coming into the shul and walking up to the Bima to ask the rabbi to validate on Shabbat.
Michael has been having it hard recently. His voice cracked again. He could not respond to the rabbi’s point, as his voice would have cracked. I don’t think the rabbi should be getting down on him for that. Nonetheless, his voice is really annoying and everybody wants him to stop singing the ‘Eitz Chayim Hee.’
Mrs. Slonadowskwitz has a thyroid issue. She bothers the doctors every week. She gave birth two months ago. I have no idea where her kids are. We have lost many doctors in this congregation, as they are sick of getting bothered at Kiddish. They want the insurance money, and they can’t bill on Shabbat. Their secretaries don’t come to shul.
I am still trying to figure out why all New Year’s resolutions in Gregorian come down to not eating chocolate. The point that H’ could have created a watermelon basket really spoke to everybody.
I asked the rabbi why he didn’t bring up Israeli creations and the new Start Up nation thing, but the watermelon was a big winner with the congregation. Even so, Bernie did not like the point. At least he said he didn't like what the rabbi was saying.
I am proud of my rabbi though. He made it a real sermon by calling out the congregation on not showing up for the weekday services.
Husbands helping around the house should have been brought up at the meeting. The joke about ‘who sliced the brisket’ had everybody laughing at last year's third annual board meeting.
The rabbi had to host an impromptu vow nullification ceremony after this sermon, as he found that everybody in the congregation was a liar. Somebody suggested to wait till next Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, as the congregants were lying about annulling their vows too.
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The Falafel of Etan
Israelis are very possessive of their falafel. Even when they have a shop, they don't like to share it… That's Etan. Standing over them while they eat. Making sure they don't run away with his falafel.