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Sisterhood Shabbat

05/10/2024 04:55:12 PM


A D'var Torah by Sisterhood Member Michele Jung

Shabbat Shalom! Good Shabbos!  Tonight’s Sisterhood Service has a Barbie theme, so you may be wondering what a plastic doll or the Barbie movie has to do with Sisterhood, Judaism, or this week’s Torah portion.  You may be thinking she is meshugana.  Don’t worry, I don’t know that much Yiddish.

Barbie was created by a Jewish woman, Ruth Handler.  She evolved with society, allowing young girls to dream that they could be anything, from astronaut to zookeeper. The Barbie movie featured many different walks of life; there was President Barbie, Beach Barbie, Doctor Barbie, Lawyer Barbie, Politician Barbie, etc., each with their own personalities, abilities and appearances.  In the movie, when Barbie becomes concerned with her mortality and ensuing imperfections, there is even a Weird Barbie to direct Barbie to find her inner child to help her heal her maladies.  

A familiar biblical story is illustrated in the Barbie movie. Barbie and Ken are depicted living a blissful life in Barbieland until they leave, seeking answers to their mortality and become enlightened, much like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden.  They find that the perfection of Barbieland is not all that perfect.  Without totally ruining the end of the movie, just know that Barbie and Ken return to Barbieland, each with their own self realization.

And that is where we tie into this week’s Torah portion,  PARASHAT KEDOSHIM: YOU SHALL BE HOLY.  (Kadosh = Holy). “Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” is repeated several times in (Levitcus, Chapter 19).  The Ten Commandments set out moral precepts and ritual law yet another time in this chapter.  It is a lot to remember, so it brings to mind the famous HILLEL quote,  “DO NOT DO UNTO OTHERS WHAT IS HATEFUL TO YOU; THAT IS THE ENTIRE TORAH.”  I wonder why we need to have the same words set out for us so many times.

I also have some thoughts regarding why.  Consider, if you will, that the purpose of this Torah portion is to set a framework for self development.  Some 40 years or so ago, many of us migrated from the Eden north of the Mason Dixon Line via the desert of the Jersey Turnpike and I95, others from places more far flung. We arrived as young women,  some of us more mature and experienced too, seeking a Jewish home, where we could have a community, school, friendships, and extended family. Together we worked to foster a friendly and productive Sisterhood to help meet the needs of our Congregation.  When something is needed here, often the women of Ner Shalom rise to the occasion to make it happen, offering their knowledge, experience, elbow grease, and sometimes just their presence.  Our experiences here not only helped develop a healthy Sisterhood, but have also helped us become the women we are today.  One of the best quotes from the movie, “We mothers stand still so our daughters can look back and see how far they have come.”   

By the way, today is the 18th day of counting the Omer, a time of potential for inner growth through reflection and development.  It is a good time to reassess, much like Barbie did, to see if change or improvement can be accomplished.  Each of us has something within us to be a Miriam, Golda Meir, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, just to name a few remarkable Jewish women.  We might even want to heed the sage words given to Barbie by Ruth Handler (played by Rhea Perlman) in the movie; “Humans have only one ending.  Ideas live on forever.”  As we grow and develop individually, we also grow and develop as a group, all for the benefit of our Sisterhood, Congregation, and the community at large.  We just need to reach within to find our G-d given traits and talents.  We don’t even need to leave Prince William County.

Shabbat Shalom




Tue, July 23 2024 17 Tammuz 5784