By Sharon Wisch-Ray
There is nothing more gratifying than hearing from a TJP reader, that an article they read made a difference for them. When I bumped into Sheri Allen recently, she shared with me that she will be traveling to Israel for the first time this fall with Rabbi Debra Robbins from Temple Emanu-El. Allen learned about the trip from the July 4 TJP article about the delegation Robbins will lead to join others in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Women of the Wall. In December 1988, a multi-denominational group of about 70 women approached the Western Wall with a Torah scroll to conduct a women’s prayer service. Many women, and men on the other side of the mechitzah (barrier separating men and women), began to scream, curse and even threaten the group. Since then, Women of the Wall has been working to pray together, while wearing tallit and bringing a Torah to the women’s section. The women have prayed at the Western Wall once a month for the past 25 years. We look forward to a report from Sheri about her trip.
Selichot and Scholar in Residence Programs
There will be two simultaneous programs next weekend for Selichot services. At 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, Rabbi Andrew Bloom will present “How to Secure Your Person and Your Soul.” Selichot services will follow immediately after.
Also at 8 p.m., on Aug. 31, at Congregation Beth Shalom in Arlington, Rabbi Shira Lander will present, “The Direction of Prayer — Toward Jerusalem?: A Text Study.” The program will be followed by a brief reception and Selichot service.
The Selichot program is the finale of a three-part scholar in residence weekend at all three of Tarrant County’s Reform synagogues. Lander will begin at Beth-El Congregation at 8 p.m. Friday evening Shabbat services, when she will speak on, “The Mechanics of Prayer,” followed by an Oneg Shabbat. At the 10 a.m. Shabbat morning service, Lander will be the guest of Congregation Beth Israel 6100 Pleasant Run Road in Colleyville. There she will speak on “The Development of Prayer: A Text Study.”
Lander is the Anna Smith Fine senior lecturer and advisor in Jewish Studies at Rice University. She earned her doctorate in Judaism and Christianity in Late Antiquity from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002, and holds a masters degree and rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Her most recent publications include a commentary on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians for Oxford University Press’s Jewish Annotated New Testament. Her current book project explores how Christians, Jews and practitioners of traditional Roman religion of fourth- and fifth-century north Africa used shrines and houses of worship to compete for religious authority, and produced narratives of vandalism and violence to create new self-understandings. Before moving to Texas, she taught at the University of Maryland, St. Mary’s Seminary and University, Johns Hopkins University and the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Modern Orthodox High School. Lander was also the inaugural Jewish scholar on the staff of the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore. She is married to Dr. David Portnoy, head of school of Yavneh Academy in Dallas, and they have two grown sons.
Beth Israel Blood Drive
It is not too late to participate in Congregation Beth Israel’s blood drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25. Walk-ins are welcome, but those with appointments will be taken first. Please have a good meal and drink plenty of fluids before your donation. To register, visit https://ww2.greatpartners.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/40223.