Introducing a Blog to you

Some of you may wonder what I think about at times.... Others may recall that I have been involved in learning and teaching about issues relating to the Jewish approach to the end of life, death, funerals, mourning, and remembrance.

At this juncture, I want to suggest the blog for the organization known as Kavod v'Nichum - Honor & Comfort. You may think it morbid as a topic, but perhaps you will change your mind as you see what appears in that blog. 

The introductory entry describes a little of what the blog intends to talk about. You can find it HERE

From there, you can scroll through the other entries. The ones posted recently tell about Shmirah - Guarding the Body of a Friend; then a story about Taharah - She is Pure; the thoughts of a woman who is a Funeral Director and head of the Chevrah Kadisha - Isn't it Depressing?; and a post that seemed to resonate even more than it would have at other times in light of the news from Israel, about those Taharot that remain in mind for a long-time Chevrah Kadisha member - These I Remember.  

A new entry appears weekly - perhaps you will be interested in visiting to see what is added. 

I hope that you find these stories and this blog Inspiring - not morbid of depressing. 

Rabbi Joe 


Passover wishes, Thoughts on a tragedy

We are all shocked and saddened by the recent shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom in Overland Park, Kansas. On this eve of Passover, we pray for comfort and healing for all those affected in the greater Kansas City community and beyond. We will keep the families affected by this tragedy in mind at our Seder tables, and in time ahead.

We pray that our country will find the courage and the strength to overcome and eliminate the plague of bigotry and hatred in all its forms, and address the scourge of violence in our society. The acts of a few deranged individuals can sadden us, but will not deter us from working for peace, justice, respect for, and acceptance of all. 

Particularly at this time of Passover we pray that we will all find the means to move from the narrow places which breed bigotry, hatred, and violence, to a way of life in which we are all free of fear and oppression, accepted for who we are, and can find redemption as one of G-d's creations. 

For those celebrating Passover, we wish you and your loved ones a joyous, meaningful, liberating, and redemptive Pesach. For those who celebrate Easter, may your holy season be joyous and uplifting. For those who celebrate other holidays at this time of year, may you have good and joyful holidays. And for those who celebrate none of these, may you have a good and pleasant season.

Passover (Pesach) is the holiday which serves as the Jewish celebration of the liberation of the Hebrews/Israelites/Jews from oppression and slavery, and their Redemption by G-d (as told in the Book of Exodus in the Bible), in order that they be free to worship and serve G-d through the Teachings and Laws of G-d. May all human beings be blessed with this gift. 

B'virkat shalom (with blessings for peace), 

Rabbi Joe Blair

A long life, well lived.... Farewell, Milton

Baruch Dayan Haemet (Blessed is the righteous judge.) 

Tomorrow, Friday the 21st of February, 21 Adar 1, 5774, we will be bidding farewell to Milton Perlman, member of Beth El Congregation from the 1960's. Plans were underway to celebrate Milton's 95th birthday in just a few weeks. Milton had been in declining health for the last few years, but was still sharp as a tack and clear witted, and seemed to be in no pain. He could still read (in both English and French) and discuss what he was reading with vigor and enjoyment. 

The service will be at 11 am at the Congregation (Beth El, 830 Old Furnace Road, Harrisonburg VA 22802), immediately followed by interment at the Beth El Cemetery, with all invited by his family to return to the social hall of the congregation to join in the Seu'dah Havra'ah (meal of condolence). 

Milton wanted a simple ceremony, nothing elaborate, and asked that there be no formal Hesped (eulogy); instead, we ask that you come to the gathering in the social hall and share your memories and stories about Milton with the family. 

Milton asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to either the Harrisonburg/Rockingham Free Clinic or Congregation Beth El in his memory.

May the ONE who comforts comfort all his loved ones and all who mourn, and may his memory be for a blessing.

 Milton Perlman, Zichrono Livrachah; March 19, 1919 to February 18, 2014.