A Progressive Jewish Congregation in Portland, Oregon
Shir Tikvah Office: 503-473-8227

PESAKH 5776

Congregational Seder – a coordinated potluck
April 23rd – Doors open at 5:30 pm
German-American Society

This event is currently full. Contact the office at 503.473.8227 to be inquire about the status of the wait list.

 

Sefirat HaOmer / Counting the Omer
An Invitation to Mindfulness and Personal Growth
From Tivona Reith and Shir Tikvah

Starting the night of Saturday, April 23!
More Details HERE

LGBTQ STUDY SEDER

April 24th @ 5:00 pm – downstairs in the Beit Midrash
With Rabbi Ariel and Aaron Raz Link

Leviticus forbids us from pretending that a man who has sex with men is “a woman.” Queer lives aren’t mimics of heterosexual ones. So given that the customs of mitzrayim are forbidden, what kind of life, family, community can queer people create in the wilderness? How do we celebrate leaving the only culture of home we know, which has treated us badly, without either envy or hatred for the people who live there? How do we reconcile ourselves to celebrate a victory won only after a terrible plague?

 

CONVERSION CONVERSATION

April 27th @ 6:30 pm – downstairs in the Beit Midrash with Rabbi Ariel
Pesakh is the foundational story of Jewish identity. Did you convert to Judaism? Come and share the story of the development of your Jewish identity. Open to all who have converted, no matter how long ago, and also open to those in the process of studying for conversion right now. Please RSVP here to let us know you are coming.

DUNK THE BEAR

April 30th @ 7:00 pm – downstairs in the Beit Midrash
By the end of Passover, most of us are sick of matzah and lusting after some of that good grain action – barley and wheat.  Join us for Dunk the Bear – an obscure Eastern in which a morsel of Passover food is dunked in beer to signal a joyous end to the holiday. In our case, the barley will be come in the form of beer by Leikam Brewing and the wheat will be pizza. Have a dunk, a drink and a bite with us.

 

Shir Tikvah’s Annual pre-Pesakh Hametz sale

One of the ways that we enter the season of Pesakh is to do our spring cleaning, especially of the kitchen!

Every year, a designated non-Jew buys the hametz of any Shir Tikvah member who sends Rabbi Ariel the list of items the day before Seder. You store it somewhere (a taped-up kitchen cabinet, a box in the garage or basement, etc) and as of the sale it is no longer yours. At the end of Pesakh you’ll get an email confirming that it has been re-bought and belongs to you again.

This year, Rabbi Ariel will sell our congregation’s hametz to our intrepid Office Manager, Amelia Schroth.

Here’s how you can participate in this congregational minhag:

  1. Make a list of all foods that you will be selling. It is a long-standing minhag to literally sell your hametz to a non-Jew for the duration of the holiday – halakhically, it’s not yours even though it’s in your house. That way you obey the mitzvah and avoid wasting food at the same time.
  2. Email Rabbi Ariel in the Shir Tikvah office at rabbi@shirtikvahpdx.orgby Thursday April 21 at noon with your list of the foods you want to sell and therefore not have in your legal possession during Pesakh.
  3. Rabbi Ariel will sell them to Amelia, who will buy them from her on that day.


…and more food for thought:

OKAY all you Jews (and the people who love them): as you are making your pile of the foods which include the Five Prohibited Grains, all those foods that you will banish – to the garage, the basement, or to a cabinet in your kitchen that will be taped shut for the holiday – consider how this process can be both a mitzvah both traditionally relevant and cutting-edge 21st century cool.

AND if you are gluten-free and looking for a way to make Pesakh spiritually significant, consider what “spring cleaning” might also mean. The relevant Torah passage goes like this:

You shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first to the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. (Exodus 12.15)

Even if you never have grains in the house, all Jews must find a significant, meaningful way to participate in this mitzvah. The purpose of the mitzvah is to establish Jewish identity and belonging – it’s called Hag haMatzot, The Festival of Matzah, after all. Those who don’t care enough, who don’t bother, are cutting themselves off from their people, its history, its purpose, and its embrace. Cleaning out the old when the new is barely in is a way of simplifying your life until you can see what really matters, and what you actually need. If you aren’t eating bread anyway the rest of the year, don’t let that detail get in the way of your joining your people in this Festival of Matzah.

It’s a mitzvah – The practice of refraining from eating hametz, “leavening”, is a commanded act without practical meaning. It is completely spiritual. For our ancestors, the idea of cleaning out the old wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats was a real leap of faith, since the new wheat was only beginning to be harvested. It was their way of expressing trust, and faith, that the sun would continue to rise, and the earth would bring forth its abundance. For us moderns, the practice is most meaningful when we fulfill the commandment “in every generation, each of us must see ourselves as if we literally had come forth out of Egypt.” Refraining from hametz for a week might just open us up a bit more to the life-saving quality of empathy that graces us.

The best mitzvah benefits others – As you focus on clearing the spiritual hametz out of your life, you are also literally cleaning the hametz out of your home. Make a list of the things that will keep, that you will seal off from your home but not give or throw away. Consider giving anything appropriate (unopened, not in a glass container, etc) to the nearest Food Bank collection site. And decide what else in your dwelling place (clutter, clothes, so much could be donated) needs to go!

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