The Gates of Transformation
This past Shabbat was a special Shabbat, as I was honored to celebrate and worship with almost 100 friends from Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods across the United States and Canada as we came together for an FJMC Shabbaton on the campus of American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California. This was FJMC’s first major LIVE event in over two years and the joy and ruach were overflowing; as were the glasses of scotch and bourbon.
I found this week’s Torah and Haftorah portions particularly applicable to the weekend’s festivities. We read from the Parashat Tazria in the Book of Leviticus about the laws of ritual purification for mothers following childbirth as well as procedures for identifying, responding to and ritually purifying those infected with Tzara’at, supra-natural plaques and sores of the skin. The common theme was a roadmap for transformation; transformation from the mundane to sublime, transformation from a state of “tamei” (impurity) to “Tahor” (ritual purity).
The Haftorah reading from the Book of Ezekiel discussed the experience of worship in a future time when the holy Temple will be restored. It is written, “When the common people come before the Lord, whoever enters by the north gate shall leave by the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate shall leave by the north gate. They shall not go back through the gate by which they came in, but shall go out by the opposite one.” As the people passed through the one Temple gate and out another, they were changed, cleansed of impurity and transformed. The experience itself elevated them to a higher state of conciseness. Once you walk through the Temple you are not the same person.
Just as the biblical vision of worship in ancient times was a transformative experience; so too was attending the FJMC Shabbaton. Being part of a family of voices singing loud and proud, davening passionately, learning, partying and celebrating being who we are – Jewish men proud to live Jewish Lives – was a transformative experience for each and every person who attended.
The Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs is planning its next biennial Convention to take place at the five star, downtown Philadelphia Marriott from Thursday June 29 through Sunday July 2, 2023, including many pre-convention activities on June 27 and 28, as well as post Convention options. This will be a transformative experience for all that attend. I personally invite each and every one of you to join me and close to four hundred other passionate Jewish Men’s Club and Brotherhood members (and their families) from across the United States, Canada, Latin America and Israel for FJMC Convention 2023.
This Dvar Torah is brought to you by the Florida Region of the FJMC. We serve the needs of Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods across the State of Florida from the Panhandle to Miami. If your Men’s Club or Brotherhood is not yet affiliated with the Federation, then today is the day to join us. Get to know more about the Florida Region of FJMC and our growing statewide network of dynamic Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods on our website www.FloridaRegionFJMC.org and please visit and LIKE our Facebook Group at www.facebook.com/FloridaRegionFJMC.