David’s Corner – August 31, 2021

Netzavim (Deut. 29:9 - 30:20)

The parasha represents a shift in tone on the part of HaShem.  In the last parasha, Ki Tavo, the approach is one of tough love.  It discusses blessings and curses, with a heavy emphasis on the latter.

Netzavim begins with the whole community entering officially into the covenant with HaShem.  It is a high moment, yet it is fret with peril. 

HaShem warns the Israelites that they must not think themselves immune to the sanctions has has described earlier.  HaShem will never forgive that behavior. (29:19)

So far, the tone has still been harsh. But then, in Chapter 30, there is a change. The Israelites are told that even when things are at their worst, if the people return to HaShem, HaShem will “restore your fortunes and take you back in love.” (30:3)

It is useful to remember that HaShem is speaking not to the generation that left Egypt.  They are already doomed.  Rather, HaShem is speaking primarily to that generation’s sons and daughters.  They are the ones who will enter the promised land.

And so a different tone may be necessary.   Perhaps it is because HaShem realizes that younger people don’t respond so well to being ordered around.  Or perhaps HaShem wants this generation to be responsible for themselves and act as mature adults. Remember that there will be no Moses to guide them now.  HaShem will no longer be traveling in a cloud.

How to make this generation feel responsible for their lives becomes the central issue.  The answer is not easy, but it is simple. HaShem reminds the young Israelites that they have the capacity to choose. They can choose to behave a certain way and that way leads to disaster.  Or they can choose the way of HaShem and that leads to prosperity and contentment.  HaShem urges his people to choose life.  (30:19)


Passover 2022


Passover 2022

It was a major success.
Forty eight people attended – 30 non-members and 18 members.   
Food was fantastic and a lot of it. Everyone raved about the food and the evening.  The room looked really, really nice (white tablecloths with a blue one over and white napkins), service great—the gentleman  in charge was always going around making sure everyone was happy. Hector was there the whole night and he couldn’t have done more for us.  He asked if he could keep one of the Hagaddahs and would Maureen Davis sign and date it for him. She did gladly!

David Rosett our service leader led us out of the land of bondage to enjoy matzah, charoses and chopped liver!


David’s Corner- April 12, 2021

Tazria-Metzorah (Leviticus 12:1 - 15:33)

In this double portion of Tazria-Metzorah concerning impurity, the priest has a most important role. It is he who must discern if various skin eruptions on a person’s clothing or flesh warrant that person being made to separate him or herself from the community until the eruption has disappeared.

It would be easy to see this as merely a medical precaution. That is, preventing others from catching this disease would seem paramount. Remember, however, that as long as the person is deemed impure, he is not allowed to come into HaShem’s presence, a great privilege. Being denied that privilege probably caused a great deal of suffering.

While modern commentators and most medieval commentators viewed the eruption on clothing as a natural phenomenon, according to a commentator in Aitz Chayim (p,658), Maimonides and Ramban saw it as supernatural, and something that could only occur in the Land of Israel.

Why Israel? Because of a sensitivity to immorality in the land. Impure clothing would indicate that the wearer was immoral and anyone who witnessed this would know it. Further, dumped as it were, outside the camp, separated from friends and family for at least 8 days, imagine the sense of desperation experienced by the sufferer until he/she was readmitted as “pure.”

Imagine the sense of relief when readmission did occur. Imagine being all too happy to follow whatever sacrifice ritual was prescribed. Imagine, finally, being able to come back into HaShem’s presence, rejoining the community, accepted as “pure.”

Questions for discussion: Is there a connection here with the current pandemic? How? What was your honest reaction when you first heard that someone you knew in the community had caught the virus? Was there a feeling you had that at the very least they had done something wrong and so morally they were due to be unapproved of?


David’s Corner – March 15, 2021

Va-Yikra. (Leviticus 1:1- 5:26)

“It is a burnt offering, a gift, of pleasing odor to the Lord.” (Lev. 1:13)

I have always found this verse quite weird.  Does HaShem really like the smell of burnt meat?  

Maimonides thought not. He believed HaShem did not necessarily appreciate animal sacrifice, or else people might assume they were feeding HaShem.  Moreover, today hardly any liberal Jew would want a return to animal sacrifice.  The practice is seen as cruel to animals, and smacks of superstition.

So why bother to read the exhaustive instructions for such sacrifice today?  Is it purely a matter of historical interest, a way to sit back and say, “Boy are we lucky we don’t sacrifice animals any more”?

If so, that tone of self-congratulation may be out of place.  It is not as if  trying to be close to HaShem has disappeared.  We may no longer expect that HaShem is thrilled to consume the smell of our barbecue,  but we hope HaShem will listen to our prayers.   

The connection through the centuries has been the spirit of offering.  As Debi Buckland once put it, “Imagine you have been invited to a birthday party.  Do you bring the absolute cheapest present you pull out of a drawer or do you consider what the celebrant might enjoy?  Do you present the gift in a department store bag or do you meticulously wrap the gift?”  

The sacrifices mentioned in the Book of Leviticus reflect the later choices rather than the former.  The very best, unblemished animals are reserved for sacrifice.  The process of a sacrifice and the intention behind it (expiation, elevation, for example) is laid out in careful detail.   

In reading Leviticus we can ask ourselves what we are really offering, our intention behind the offering, and whether we are really offering the best of ourselves. 

Questions for discussion:  What sorts of offerings can we make today that maintain the spirit of offering we read about in Leviticus?

torah study

Torah Study

“Talkin’ Torah Together!” 
Led by Mel Goldberg
The weekly Torah portion is the starting point for FASCINATING discussions. No preparation is necessary, and no Torah knowledge is required. 
The leader summarizes the portion and from there EVERYBODY has something to say! What makes a cubit relevant? How does the part about Hebrews wandering in the desert give you a Midnight insight into your own life? Does it matter if the Biblical stories are true or not? Is your COVID isolation part of what the Torah covers? 
Join in the Saturday discussion and laugh, argue, share from the heart, and feel connected to Judaism and LCJC in your own personal way. 

To join us on Zoom:
Date: Saturday, February 27, 10 am CST


Meeting Room

728 4233 5826




David’s Corner – February 1, 2021

Yitro (Exodus 18:1 - 20:23)

Why does Jethro have a full chapter devoted to him when the big story of the parasha is the giving of the ten commandments?  Perhaps the story of Jethro is not so small.   There are really at least five reasons Jethro demonstrates that he is the ideal father-in-law.  

First, while Moses is away in Egypt, Jethro takes care of Moses’s wife, Zipporah (Jethro’s daughter) as well her two sons, Gershom and Eliezer.  True, one would expect Jethro to assume this responsibility, but there is no guarantee that the headache of rivalries won’t once again rear its head.  Yet when, after the exodus, Jethro brings Moses’s family to him, there isn’t a hint of discord between the brothers nor between their mother and them.

Second, though Jethro has himself lived comfortably in the region, he has tolerated Moses naming his first son, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land,” and his second son, “The God of my father was my help, and He delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.”  

Third, though he is a priest in another religion, that of Midian, Jethro is very tolerant and supportive of Moses’s faith in HaShem.  He insists that Moses tell him the complete story of the Exodus in detail. Then Jethro makes a burnt offering to HaShem which he shares with Aaron and other elders of Israel.

Fourth, Jethro offers just the right piece of advice in just the right way.  Jethro has known Moses intimately for many years, and Moses trusts him.  So after observing how Moses tends to adjudicate all by himself, Jethro advises him to delegate lesser matters to others, and to concentrate on the big stuff.  Moses listens and follows through on Jethro’s advice.  How essential this is, because Moses must concentrate on much in preparation for the giving of the law!

Fifth, and finally, Jethro quietly takes his leave.  He has fulfilled his role, and now, generously, he leaves Moses and his family to their destiny, while Jethro returns to his own land.  It’s hard to find a more modest servant in the Torah.   

Questions for Discussion:  Have you ever had someone like Jethro in your life?  How did he/she influence your life?


David’s Corner – January 18, 2021

Bo (Exodus 10:1 -13:16)

The pharaoh knows it is time to let go, but he still won’t.  HaShem, we are told, has hardened his heart.

And look at what that has cost him after 10 plagues.  Not only has it caused the death of his first born, but the first born of all his people and their animals.  It has cost him Egypt itself.

Yet after that 10th plague, he says he is going to finally let the Hebrew slaves go.  He has at last admitted defeat.  But has he?  Not really.  He boards his war chariot and leads his army to overtake the Israelites at the sea of reeds.

There, after the Israelites have walked through a divided sea to arrive on dry land, the Pharaoh’s splendid army is drowned. 

With all of Egypt truly in ruins, why don’t Moses and the Israelites direct their attention to finding further ways to punish the tyrant Pharaoh for his excessive behavior?

Part of an answer might be that HaShem is well aware of the Israelites’ shortcomings.  Later he will call them a stiff-necked people.  They are hardly in a position to judge others as regards stubbornness and ego.

Also, however, after much celebratory partying, HaShem knows that the Israelites will awaken from their hangover and face a new challenge.  They must become a people, ready to enter their promised land, and have many trials and adventures ahead of them.

Questions for discussion:  Why does HaShem harden the Pharaoh’s heart?   What, if anything, do the Israelites learn about having a hardened heart? 

greenberg cropped

Interim Presidents Message-November 2020

Susana Greenberg

In November the weather usually gets cooler Lakeside and US citizens start thinking about Thanksgiving. 

This November US citizens are thinking about the election and are praying mightily for a new president. 

This November our celebrating Thanksgiving will be quite different as everything has been different for the last eight months. This December celebrating a joyous Chanukah party will be very different. 

We are all very tired.  Many of us have compassion fatigue and/or COVID fatigue. An abrupt change in our lifestyle has been forced on us to stay alive, stay well. 

But the constant has been our Jewish Community. Yes, we have had to adapt to using zoom for all our get togethers. It’s a pain in the tusch, but it is the best healthy solution.
We continue with Friday and Saturday services; we continue celebrating holidays on zoom. We have learned to bake challah. Would we have done this 

BCE (before COVID era)? Would we have started a book club? Would we have started a telephone tree to check in with our members? Would we have had the opportunity to attend so many other High Holy Day Services globally BCE?

The Board still meets monthly and keeps the candle burning to ensure our shul is safe, our members are safe and thinking of ways to keep everyone connected in this disconnected time.  If you have ideas or needs not being met, please let us know. 

Send an email to LCJCAC@gmail.com   Let us hear your voice. 

We all look forward to the time when Michael and Maureen will be returning Lakeside. 


The Treasurer’s Two Cents

It has been wonderful to see many of you as you renew your membership for 2020 – 2021.  To date, 48 of you have renewed, we are still waiting for about 24 more of you.  As you know, we need all of you to keep an active, fulfilling Jewish community, which is available to all of us at any time during the year.  Betty Shiffman, our membership chair, will be contacting you to please renew your membership. 

Thanks to all of you, the Congregation is doing reasonably well so far this year.   We should have adequate funds to add the required 5% of dues to each the Cemetery and Shibko fund at year end.  In addition, we will have a reasonable cash reserve going into 2021. We continue to have maintenance, utilities, and salary expenses even though we can’t have functions at the synagogue just yet.  We are all longing to be able to return to in-person services, events and activities.

As always, I am here to serve you.  Please contact me with any questions and I will do my best to respond.  

Robin Hayden, Treasurer