An Important Invitation from Rabbi Donsky and Kathy Weiner DiBiase

Hevre,

With Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur slowly slipping into past and Sukkot and Simhat Torah rapidly approaching, we are preparing for the “rest” of the year ahead – especially our programs for Lifelong Learning for adults.  Below is a letter from past president and recent winner of our prestigious Morris Goldstein award, Kathy Weiner DiBiase that I urge everyone to read and please consider her message, whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle – whatever your place in your family.  

From Moses at Mt Sinai, to the Sages of the Talmud to the incredible brilliance Moses Maimonides in Spain and Egypt in the 12th century to the great rabbis throughout all the movements of Judaism today the true and enduring reason for our continued existence as a people is our faith in God and our devotion to Torah learning in all its manifestations.

May our festive days of Sukkot and Simhat Torah be joyous and enlightening,

With much love and warmth,

Rabbi Art Donsky

Dear Ohav Shalom Member,

I don’t know about you, but I do know that in my life, there have been a handful of life changing experiences; getting married, having children and Melton!

Melton was a two year course in Jewish studies that I took through the Agency for Jewish Learning. Now, there is a new Melton curriculum designed for parents that less time intensive, and focuses on applying Jewish values in our families: Foundations of Jewish Family Living. As you can imagine, I was very excited to hear that beginning this October, Rabbi Donsky will be teaching Foundations at Ohav Shalom! This will be a ten week course meeting on Tuesday evenings beginning October 16.

I can’t even begin to tell you how enriching my Melton experience was for me.  Each week I would come home ready to share my new thoughts and ideas with my family, which was great.  But as I learned to look at the world more through a Jewish lens, I so wished I had learned what I learned earlier in life…it would have made a difference in the way I parented, in how I approached my marriage and even how I interacted with my parents.

This Jewish lens was like a pair of eyeglasses for me.   I felt that I could see the world more clearly.   Ideas and convictions that I held became even more meaningful when I realized how much they truly were based on Jewish teachings and values.

I have to tell you that my now grown kids are doing great, despite my laments about my late educational experience!  I’m sure your kids will too!  I just wish I had been able to bring the beauty of Judaism into their lives in more meaningful ways every day they were with me.  The insights I gained truly changed my life in such positive and meaningful ways.

I would have incorporated on a more regular basis the Jewish perspective into topics such as how and why we forgive people, the need to protect the environment, why we don’t gossip and I would have even changed some of the ways we celebrated the holidays.  Some of the amazing discussions that I remember having were about loving your neighbor as yourself, stealing from another, why to feed your pet before yourself and when and how you pay somebody who works for you.  These were everyday topics that I still reflect on and use today.

So when I heard about the Foundations of Jewish Family Living course I offered to write this letter to encourage our families at Ohav to engage in this program.  

No matter what your age, I don’t think you could find a better way to spend some of your time…I truly believe you will reap the benefits for years to come.  

All my best,

Kathy Weiner DiBiase
Member and Past President of Temple Ohav Shalom

2 responses to “An Important Invitation from Rabbi Donsky and Kathy Weiner DiBiase”

  1. Listen to Barb and Kathy! I too took the 2 year Melton course and found it enormously helpful and informative. Judaism “clicked” for me as I learned about Jewish tradition, history, ethics, including the perspectives of different Jewish traditions. I was also gratified to learn that many of us, regardless of our religious backgrounds, had many of the same questions. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.

  2. I agree with Kathy. I, too, took the 2 yr full Melton course, all 4 segments. (I got hooked after the first one.) The texts are clearly written and fun debate with classmates. The course helps one to define his or her spirituality. In my case, I learned enough to convert from a Presbyterian to a Reform Jew. But that doesnt need to be the case for everyone. In addition to benefitting my life in every way Kathy suggests, I enjoyed the added benefit of being able to meaningfully converse with my Jewish in-laws and friends about holidays and customs. And finally, I am able to discuss with my children what they are learning in religious school (my whole original purpose for taking it in first place). For us Judaism is now a family responsibility versus just Dad’s responsibility. ;-) Try it, you will like it. ;-)

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