It has been a lovely first couple of months here at the Temple. It has been a pleasure to get
to know all of you, and to be welcomed so warmly.
We welcomed winter this year with Channukah, a holiday of joy and light amidst the darkening
days. We learn in the Talmud that there is a debate between two major Sages, Hillel and Shammai,
about how to light the 8 candles. Shammai teaches that we should light 8 on the first day, and
one less each day afterwards, and Hillel says that we should light one on the first day, and
one more each day afterwards. The reason Hillel says that we add one candle each day, (and
this is why I think this is the practice we do) is that Channukah is about increasing holiness,
joy, and light. Celebrating Hannukah and lighting the Hanukkah candles is an opportunity to
bring more holiness, more joy, and more light into our lives and into the world. During the
darkest time of the year, as the days are growing shorter and colder, we need to increase light
and joy in our lives more than ever.
And we do not only increase holiness and joy and light in the world through lighting candles,
but also by being candles. The Sefat Emet teaches that human beings were created to light up
the world. Through our actions, through how we treat ourselves and each other and the work we
do to repair the world, we can bring light into a world that sometimes feels dark.
Although Hannukah is over, may its light endure in our lives and in the world through the
B’Shalom (In peace),
Mimi Micner, Rabbinic Intern
Note that, in January, Mimi will be leading the Saturday morning service on 12 January,
will be leading the Sunday morning service on 20 January and she will stay after the
service for bagels, coffee and shmoozing, and will again lead the increasingly popular
Erev Shabbat family night service (followed by pot-luck refresments) on 25 January.
A Bit of Israel - Tiberias and the Kinneret
The holy city of Tiberias lies on the
western shore of the Sea of Galilee, more commonly known in
Israel as the Kinneret. It is the lowest fresh water lake on earth,
some 700 feet below sea level. In addition to their importance to Jews,
Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee
are important to Christians since they play a major role in the life of
The Kinneret is approximately 33 miles
in circumference, about 13 miles long, and 8 miles wide. The lake has a maximum depth of
approximately 141 feet. Some claim that the name Kinneret comes
from the Hebrew word for harp (kinor), which is its approximate shape.
The approximately 20,000 residents of Tiberias
are overwhelmingly Jewish, with a large percentage being orthodox Jews.
The orthodox and secular segments of the population get along well.
From Tiberias’s Old City and the
promenade, there is a central boardwalk that stretches up to the downtown are, which
is a lively commercial center, with varied restaurants, cafes, pubs, ice cream parlors
and souvenir shops.
On the lake side of the boardwalk is Tiberias’s
famed fish market. The fishing industry is highly developed and dozens of fishing boats
head onto the lake every morning, returning later in the day with fresh fish for sale
at the fish market.
Both the Kinneret area and
Tiberias itself are important to both Christiansand
Jews. Herod Antipas founded the city in 17-22 B.C.E., naming it after
his patron, the Roman Emperor Tiberius. In the 2nd through 10th centuries,
Tiberias was the largest Jewish city in the
Galilee, the Jewish people's political and religious
hub, as well as the center of Jewish spiritual creativity.
A few years after its establishment, around 30 B.C.E.,
Jesus Christ moved his base of activities to the northern shores of the
Kinneret, where several well-known miracles were reported
to have taken place, including walking on the waters of the lake. As Christianity
took hold, many churches were built in Tiberias and in its
Alongside the Christian holy sites in and near
Tiberias, there are the burial sites of Jewish sages,
making it one of Israel's holy cities. Pilgrims flock to the tombs of
Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Yochanan Ben-Zakai, Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess,
and the tomb of the great philosopher and sage Maimonides.
Shown below are pictures from Tiberias
and the Kinneret