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Meeka’s Mocha on Hiatus

Meeka’s Mocha is taking a brief hiatus until Monday August 10th!



CoronaVirusBeGone! #12 6/10/2020
El Na Refa Na La (Numbers: 12:13)
God, Please, Heal HerGod Please Heal Us
This week, I am choosing to write and sing about Healing. One line from this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Be’Ha’alotcha , inspired me to do so. “Why?” one may ask, and my answer is that I cannot think of a better topic to discuss this week other than Moses’s profound shouting onto God thousands of years ago, begging for his beloved sister Miriam to be cured of the skin disease she became afflicted with: “ El Na Refa Na La God, Please, heal her!”
Also, since this Friday we are having our annual Rafes Awards ceremony, instead of my weekly Dvar Torah, we will all celebrate one of our outstanding members for her many years of volunteering at TBT, in ceremonial speeches that will uplift our souls for Shabbat (more details to come, so please stay tuned).
Be’ha’alotcha describes the journey of the exhausted Israelites, through harsh and unforgiving conditions of the Sinai dessert. It describes the physically and emotionally drained group of people, facing challenges that would deteriorate and break any human’s trust, as well as mental and physical stability. We are told of constant bitterness, complaints, and unrest among our ancient People, which resulted in rebellion, followed by a deadly plague.
This chain of events eventually drove siblings Aaron and Miriam to challenge, in public, their brother Moses’s leadership. Miriam, who spoke out loud, was punished for the slandering of her brother Moses: a sudden skin-scale type of disease, in Hebrew called Tzara’at צרעת, appeared on her skin, and she was forced into exile from the rest of camp.
Upon his sister becoming gravely ill, Moses reacted quickly without hesitation; he prayed fiercely on her behalf, begging God to grant Miriam healing and save her from death. Five words is all that Moses was able to utter: El Na Refa Na La. God heard Moses’s cry and healed Miriam after she was sent for 7 days in isolation outside the camp, in harsh desert conditions of quarantine.
Life, sometimes, throws unpredictable curveballs our way, which can appear to be simply too hard for us to handle. These challenging days our own aggravation can drive us to make ourselves sick in a desert-like environment of isolation. El na, refa na la. Simple, yet raw and clear, this prayer of healing reminds us that sometimes we can simply stop what we are doing and pray to God for healing, just like we do every Friday evening during our Mi She’Berach list and song. This is called “letting go and letting God.” And, I believe that God does hear us.
I have decided to record myself and share with you today four different melodies by different contemporary composers: prayers for healing that you don’t need to wait for shabbat to access. You can always tap into and sing/pray along, or simply just listen while having your own “private conversation with God.”
1) El Na Re’fa Na LaNumbers 12:13. Melody: Cantor Jeff Klepper El Na Refa Na La. God, Please, heal her Click here to watch and listen
2) Mi SheberachMelody: by Debbie Friedman Mi shebeirach avoteinu, m’kor habracha l’imoteinuMay the source of strength, who blessed the ones before usHelp us find the courage, to make our lives a blessing,And let us say, Amen.Mi shebeirach imoteinu, m’kor habracha l’avoteinuBless those in need of healing, with r’fu-ah sh’lei’mah:The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit,And let us say: Amen. Click here to watch and listen

3) Mi Sh’Berach (A Song of Healing)Words and music by Cantor Lisa Levine Mi she’berach avoteinu, Avraham, Yitzhak, ve’Yaakov.Mi she’berach imoteinu, Sarah, Rivkah, Leah, Ve’Rachel.May the One who blessed our Mothers,May the One who blessed our Fathers, Hear our Prayer and bless us as well. Bless us with the power of Your healing,Bless us with the power of Your hope.May our hearts be filled with understanding,And strengthened by the power of Your love. Click here to watch and listen
4) Heal Us NowBased on Numbers 12:13, Psalm 28:9, 85:10, 118:25 and 145:18Music and English by Leon Sher Re’fa’ei’nu Adonai ve’ne’ra’fe, Ho’shi’ei’nu ve’ni’va’she’ahEl ka’rov le’chol ko’r’av, Ach ka’rov liy’re’av, yish’o We pray for healing of the body, we pray for healing of the soulFor strength of flesh and mind and spirit, we pray to once again be whole El Na Refa Na, oh please, heal us nowRe’fu’at ha’ne’fesh, u’re’fuat ha’guf, Re’fua sh’le’maHeal us now Ho’shia et amecha, u’varech et na’cha’la’te’cha, u’re’em ve’nas’em ad ha’olamMi she’berach a’vo’tei’nu, mi she’be’rach I’mo’teinu, a’na Adonai ho’shi’a na. We pray for healing of our people, we pray for healing of the landAnd peace for every race and nation, every child every woman every man. Click here to watch and listen

Wishing everyone health, health, health! L’echayim (to life!) and Zei Gezunt (be healthy, in Yiddish) 
Please be in touch!
With love,
Rabbi Meeka

CVBG Videos 20200609


CoronaVirus Be Gone#11

Rabbi Dresner Historic Library Lecture Series

Rabbi Dresner will deliver talks inspired by
his extensive library, now housed at TBT
The subject Rabbi selected for the first lecture is,
“Transition from Sephardic Leaders to Ashkenasi Leadership”
Tuesday June 9th
1:00-3:00 pm
Join the Zoom discussion by clicking on this link.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Coronavirus Be Gone!

As our country faces the Coronavirus pandemic, our Jewish traditions provide many techniques and disciplines to help us deal with the crisis. In this weekly chat from self-quarantine, I would like to discuss some ways we can cope, and in doing so find comfort and hope. For despite being forced to separate, we can still find ways to come together as a community.

April 14, 2020

Acts of loving kindness in our community: Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah
One good deed Leads to another/Pirkei Avot  

For so many of us, the world seems scary and frankly, turned upside-down right now. We are all glued to our various screens these days with an urgency most of us have never experienced in our lifetimes. Most of the time, I’m sure most of us are watching and listening in the hope of hearing good news. The blessed news that, “At Last! The curve is flat! We are Free!” I know that’s what I’m personally longing to hear.

Of course many of us are also finding creative ways to fight boredom and dark feelings, with “weapons” like arts and crafts, sharing humor with friends and family on social media, organizing communal singing from people’s balconies, tying white ribbons on our mailboxes, raising our flags, and a million other ways to distract and express solidarity with our families, friends, neighbors, and worldwide human family. All to defeat this invisible little monster of a virus that believes itself to be a, “king.” (You do know “corona” is Spanish for “crown,” right?)

So what I want to focus on this week is one positive aspect, one ray of light in the midst of all of this meshugas. Something that proves our human spirit can, and will win out over this microscopic wannabe ruler. All we have to do is set aside our worry and angst long enough to look around us. What you will see are the countless acts of heroism, goodness, and kindness that are taking place around the world to try and keep us safe.

From the grocery store cashiers and stock clerks working to keep us fed; to the EMTs, nurses, and doctors, working to keep us uninfected, and to save those who are infected; to the city, county, state, and federal public servants who are working to keep the lights, heat, and all the other trappings of civilization operational;  and to scientists in all corners and every remote location of the world, urgently working 24/7 to discover the weakness of this novel virus, and to find the Covid-19 cure that will keep us safe in the years to come after this pandemic ends. 

Many people, likely some of your friends and neighbors, are choosing to combat negative feelings by keeping busy doing acts of loving kindness whenever and wherever they can. My hope is that it will inspire YOU to do something too. It was our beloved, forever angelic Mr. Rogers who said,

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

These are the people in our community, in every community, whom I’d like to highlight today. The helpers and those who care for the helpers themselves. People have been self-organizing to help those in need and we have our own group here in Wayne who grew a small two-mom idea into something else entirely. Our own member Randi London wrote the following:

“What started out as a simple request from a nurse for cookies for her staff has turned into a community wide effort that has raised more than $50,000 in three weeks and fed well over 1,000 front line workers. They are called FLAG, which stands for Front Line Appreciation Group.… Thanks to the entire Wayne community for their support in feeding Front Line workers….it has become a nationwide effort to feed front line health care workers, while also keeping local restaurants in business…. Last weekend, 80 care packages were delivered to front line medical workers from Wayne, including flowers, free meal certificates, candy, and much more.”

Watch this heartwarming video about a frontline worker who just received a care package and a unique “thank you” message:

And our own teenager, Noah Sandler, produced the heartwarming, uplifting YouTube video below to bring forth and capture the amazing wave of “good deeds” and acts of loving kindness in our community. This video is so inspiring because it demonstrates how we can all come together to simply engage in different acts to “create good,” even when we are down, confined, and unable to live our lives the ways in which we are accustomed. As you probably tell, I was so touched by this video, and I hope you will be too:

Please join us this Friday for our Shabbat service, as usual at 7:30 pm, when Randi London will share more details about the good deeds in our community.

I believe that Mitzvah Gorerert Mitzvah—one good deed will bring another good deed (Mishnah Pirkei Avot 4:2)—thus the more we hear testimonials and watch these inspiring videos, the more we will be inspired and hopefully motivated to combat our own fears through the acts of “doing and giving.” 

Wishing everyone health, health, health! L’echayim and Zei Gezunt!
With love,
Rabbi Meeka

April 7, 2020

Press ▶️ in the panel below to play Rabbi’s video…

How is this night different from all other nights this year?

Postponed – Gotthelf Lecture