Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rabbi Min on Talmud Torah

Study Wisdom - Basic Jewish Value #9:  The mission statement of Jewish Family Service of New Mexico reads: “Guided by Jewish values, we offer targeted social services that help preserve and improve the quality of life for New Mexicans.” What are these Jewish values? How do they help guide the day-to-day work that we do at JFS? When new employees join the staff of JFS, they are introduced to eighteen of these basic Jewish values.

This is the final edition of Basic Jewish Values.
JFSNM has eliminated the Jewish Community Chaplaincy Program.

Jews are sometimes referred to as "People of the Book," at first in association with THE Book (the Bible) and, following that, a long tradition of study, learning, reading and emphasizing the importance of education.

In the publishing world, I've heard this expression: "JBB", meaning "Jews Buy Books"! But how does that relate to the more universal value of study, especially in the context of the work of Jewish Family Service of New Mexico?

In Jewish tradition, 'study' is not primarily about academic, intellectual, and abstract learning, but about the practical issues of how to live a good, productive and compassionate life as a member of society. The kind of study this Jewish value emphasizes includes learning about the needs of the society, the imbalances that exist in economic opportunity, political access or civil rights.

Through programs like Food Pantry and Holocaust Survivor Support, JFS specifically addresses the real needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

The value of 'studying wisdom' includes learning about inequities, gaining knowledge about opportunities to address the most essential hardships faced by members of our community, and, most importantly, to ACT based on that knowledge.

As you learn about community needs in this era of shrinking support, please consider acting on the wisdom you gain by giving a generous donation to those JFS programs which touch your heart.

And speaking of Talmud Torah .... you can Explore the Talmud at 6:00 pm every Thursday at Congregation Nahalat Shalom via a Skype session with Rabbi Judith Z Abrams, the founder and director of Maqom: A School for Adult Talmud Study.

Rabbi Abrams, you may recall, was the star of our Community Selichot Service. Her latest book is The Other Talmud: The Yerushalmi: Unlocking the Secrets of The Talmud of Israel for Judaism Today.

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