Soldiers and Stamps
At Touro Synagogue
also on facebook
It was a busy week.
On Friday evening, October 19, I attended a community dinner at Young Israel of Sharon. At the dinner were fifteen Israeli army reservists. They were visiting for a week of intensive group therapy with two psychologists, 40 hours. The visit was sponsored by the local Jewish community and was part of the Peace of Mind program https://metiv.org/peace-of-mind/ for soldiers who were on the front line, in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West bank. The program is designed to help soldiers to talk about things that most soldiers don’t discuss.
Rabbi Noah Chesis introduced the group. He referred to the parsha, which said that before the flood, “Noah was righteous man.” After the flood Noah planted grapes, made wine, and became אִ֣ישׁ הָֽאֲדָמָ֑ה…a man of the earth. Noah underwent a lot of stress. He had seen almost all leaving creatures killed. We all handle stress in different ways, ways that we are not always aware of. If, Rabbi Chesis said, there had been a Peace of Mind program, Noah might have avoided becoming a man of the earth.
Rabbi Chesis knows Rabbi Mandel. They are in the same cohort for continuing education at Yeshiva University.
On Shabbat at Touro Synagogue, we had the usual panoply of locals and visitors. Rabbi Marc Mandel told us the Noah was a complex individual. Was he good or bad? A little bit of both. That’s why, he said, that we read the Tanach and Shakespeare, “Because they both portray people as complex individuals.”
On Tuesday, October 16, I attended the Hanukkah Stamp dedication in Newport. It was a good day for Touro synagogue, and for the United States Postal Service. Actually for two postal services! Israel used the same design!
The stamp was based on a paper cut by Tamara Fishman. I met her and the post office employee who was given the task of finding an artist. I was very curious to learn how an artist gets a job and how the post office chooses a venue. Watch the video at https://youtu.be/37G5zY2cZNI to find out.
One visitor had some souvenirs from Touro. They probably came from the library of Rabbi Kirshblum. However, there is more than one rabbi with that last name. A book about Touro Synagogue is with the complements of B. C. Friedman, President of the Society of Friends of Touro Synagogue, dated 1951!
Shabbat Shalom from Jewish Newport!