As we enter the month of Elul, we begin the internal process known as “Cheshbon Nefesh,”
which invites us to reflect on who we were over the last year and contemplate who we will
be in the year to come. While this experience can be marred with painful apologies and
difficult self-realizations, the Jewish calendar allows for a healthy period of repentance
where we examine our soul, character, and personal relationships.
Every day in Elul, the shofar is blasted to awaken our hearts and minds. As we reflect on
our relationship with friends, family, co-workers, I encourage us to “take stalk” of our
personal relationship with the congregation. Perhaps you are a proud High Holiday attendee,
loyal minyan member, or occasional Shabbat visitor? Regardless of previous attendance,
involvement, or commitment, 5780 is quickly approaching and so is another opportunity to
reconnect with your friends and family at Tifereth Israel. We are in the process of
launching many exciting fall programs, but we need your help, and more importantly,
our input. Wanna learn how to read Hebrew, interested in Israeli politics, or the Talmud’s
salacious attitudes towards sex? Let us know!
We had an extremely positive and engaging Open House on Sunday, Aug. 18th, and I’m proud
to announce our next event major event. In conjunction with the start of our first Hebrew
school session, the new and improved Brotherhood will be hosting its first bagel brunch and
Patriot’s game at the synagogue on Sunday, September 15th. The brunch will start at 11am
and the Patriot’s game follows at 1pm.
Lastly, I circle back to the High Holidays. Please, remember to secure your seats for
High Holiday services. Rosh Hashanah begins before sundown on Sunday, Sept. 29, and ends
after nightfall on Tuesday, October 1st. Yom Kippur begins before sundown on Tuesday,
October 8, and ends after nightfall on Wednesday, October 9.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me for any issue, idea, or need.
David Joslin, Rabbinic Intern; firstname.lastname@example.org
A Bit of Israel - Gazelles in the Middle of Jerusalem
Located in the center of Jerusalem is an area in which gazelles wander
around freely. The place is called the Gazelle Valley. As can be seen in the picture,
the gazelles often approach people who are walking through the area.
Gazelle Valley is named for a herd of about 36 gazelles that live
in this area, bounded by urban development. Real estate developers sought building rights in
the area, but the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and local activists
fought to preserve the natural surroundings. After lengthy court battles, the Jerusalem
Municipality turned the area into a public park and nature reserve. The nature reserve is
located at the edge of the Givat Mordechai neighborhood, opposite the busy Patt
The nature reserve has five natural and manmade ponds, walking trails
and bicycle paths, two flowing streams, bird and rodent watching stations, an arbor, a manmade
island accessed via wooden bridges, and signs describing its many plant and animal
A visitor center with a “green roof” offers binoculars, mats and deck
chairs on loan, and visitors can sign up for guided group nature tours.
All this is the result of a battle by local residents, with the help
of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) and other environmentalists, to
keep the green valley out of the hands of high-rise developers. Ten years ago, the city pledged
to infuse about $6 million to upgrade the park for the public without endangering the gazelles
for which it is famed and named. Additional funding has followed. Environmentalism, as well as
the always ongoing unearthing and preservation of antiquities, is high on the list of Israel’s
One advantage of being located in a busy part of Jerusalem is that
several bus lines pass near Gazelle Valley. There is also a parking lot next to a children’s
play area leading to the park. Strategically placed stone water fountains throughout the park
assure that nobody will go thirsty.