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Sunday, March 19, 2023

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In 1658, fifteen Jewish families emigrated from South America to (what was to become) the United States. These families were of Sephardic lineage and settled together in Newport, Rhode Island, where they established a Jewish congregation. For many years they held weekly prayer services in private homes.

When the need arose for a Jewish cemetery, the community purchased a piece of land on Wednesday, February 28, 1677.

This was the very first piece of land in the colonies which was owned by a Jewish congregation. In this cemetery are buried many of the early members of this congregation, and it is still maintained by the Jewish community.

For more about the Newport Jewish community, see entry for the 8th of Elul.

The History of Jewish Newport, Rhode Island
Judah Touro: Philanthropist Par Excellence

Viewing the dire lack of formal Jewish education provided to Jewish girls in her native Poland, Sarah Schenirer founded the first Bais Yaakov girls’ school in Krakow in 1917. Despite some initial opposition, the Bais Yaakov school network quickly expanded throughout Poland and beyond. Today, there are hundreds of Bais Yaakov schools worldwide, attended by tens of thousands of students.

Links: The Importance of Jewish Education for Girls; The Woman in Lubavitch

Daily Thought

They translate it as “sacrifice” or “offering,” but the Hebrew word korban means none of these. Korban means to get close to G-d.

How does a warm-blooded creature built of meat and bones get close to G-d?

G-d is beyond heaven and earth. We are stuck firmly at the ground floor. A wild beast kicks and screams inside us, forever running us off the path of reason and throwing us back to the ground.

So the Torah says: Take that animal of yours. Make it your korban to G-d.

Work with that animal. Teach it. Tame it. Bring it to do good things—with its heart, its guts, with all its earthiness. Let it have even just a sip of Torah’s divine wisdom.

No aroma is more pleasing to G-d than such a korban, than a human beast roasted and spiced with the divine. With such a korban, all of G-d's creatures rise higher, and as they rise, a burst of divine light is released into your world.

A light, says the Zohar, beyond any light even the highest of heavens could contain.

There is no greater closeness to G‑d than one small act of the divine performed by your beast inside.