The Joseph story – sometimes described as a novella – covers thirteen chapters in the book Genesis and spans no fewer than four Parashot. Many will have been exposed to the Joseph story from Torah, yet most, I suspect, will know him best from recent stage and screen portrayals – not to mention his reception in the world of art down through the centuries.
The IJC community entered into the Days of Awe on the eve of Rosh Hashanah – prepared in part by the introspection of the month of Elul – ready to explore our relationships with the divine, with the people around us, with the living creatures that populate our planet and our planet itself. We made our newyear resolutions for 5779, hoping for balance and harmony in all we do, readying ourselves to forgive and be forgiven, and renewed our commitment to what is important to us.
This is a moment of transitions for the IJC community. We are saying goodbye to some IJC members who are moving on after their time with us. We wish them well on the next steps of their journeys.
On a personal level, my service as rabbi of the IJC has also come to an end after three years with the IJC. I have learned much from so many of you. It has been a pleasure to share in the community’s joys and an honor to be of support through times of pain and sorrow.
At Torah Breakfast on Shabbat Lech Lecha, some dedicated members of the IJC community gathered around coffee and croissants and turned their attention to just one single sentence in the parashah, in Genesis/Bereishit 12, 10 – "Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land."
In about a month we will be celebrating Shavuot, the holiday marking the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Among other things, what is noteworthy is that it is not celebrated as the holiday of the receiving of the Torah, although we have a midrash - a rabbinic explanatory story saying that the soul of every person who would ever be or become Jewish was present at Sinai and received the Torah.
Brian Doyle is a familiar and welcoming face to all IJC members. He has been a key member of our Religious Affairs Committee since 2011 and on the Board from 2015-18. Brian has led services both at IJC and at Ohel Yachdav in Leuven where he lives with his partner Peter and children Julie 10, and Thibault, 13. Brian is now studying to become a Rabbi and is officially IJC’s Rabbinical Intern as of September 1. Brian talked to newsletter editor Diana Kanter about his journey to Judaism and to the IJC.