Shabbat Shalom: Being and Becoming a Nation

Sep 15, 2022 | Article

Shabbat Shalom: Being and Becoming a Nation

Sep 15, 2022

I read this week that the World Health Organization believes that with continued diligence, we may soon be in a post-COVID era. Let’s pray that is the case. And while I know several people who have been sick of late – they should all be well – it does feel like we are in a period of reemergence. This week felt as much. On Sunday, Jewish Family Service of Colorado celebrated their amazing work in the Boulder community. On Tuesday night JEWISHcolorado enjoyed a wonderful program on Israeli culture and cuisine. On Wednesday night at BMH-BJ we held another situational awareness training for members of our community. Yesterday morning, Denver Jewish Day School celebrated donors who have made five-year commitments to support the ongoing work of the school. And last night, many gathered to view the film, “Upheaval”, and learned the important lessons of courage and leadership by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. And this says nothing of the many classes that have been gathering throughout Colorado in preparation for the High Holidays. Beyond the Covid dynamics, I am further struck by all this vibrant activity when reading our Torah portion.

In chapter 27, verse 9 we read: And Moses and the priests, the Levites spoke to all Israel, saying: Pay attention and listen, Israel. Today you have become a nation to God your Lord. Today, you have become a nation. What follows is the edict to obey prescribed commandments and statutes. And yet so much of our Torah reveals only the roots of today’s practices and commitments. The connective fibers from what is prescribed in Torah to what is enlivened today exist as being and becoming.

And so, it is among all these activities and efforts that I am particularly moved by another of this week’s events. As our reading continues from this week to next, we learn of the concept of the Ingathering of the Exiles, first stated in Deuteronomy 30:3-5. In our own era, the modern State of Israel serves as the means and destination for gathering exiles – often an effort to rescue a historically dispersed Jewish community seeking refuge. On Wednesday, JEWISHcolorado – and all of you who support our collective work – had the great honor of partnering with the Jewish Agency for Israel in gathering the exiled as it brought 209 Ethiopian Jews home to Israel. Millenia old precepts manifest yet again today. May they all find comfort in their new and ancient home.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Jay Strear

President & CEO

Please email Jay Strear at with comments or questions.