Dear Members and Friends of The Shalom Center, Reb Arthur turns 83 in October. According to Jewish tradition, one achieves a full life at 70. So an Eastern European custom grew up that life “starts over” at 70. At 83 it's time to become once more a Bat or Bar Mitzvah!
I’m thrilled to announce that at the Mincha late-afternoon service on Saturday October 29, Arthur will be called to the Torah at Congregation Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia.
This time, for Reb Arthur, it will be a far more meaningful transition than it was the first time around. (He says the first time it was a boilerplate event. He was taught to chant—by rote, not really by "heart" —but not to think. And for sure not to question.)
As a grown-up, he will have the chance to lift up his thoughts and questions about Judaism, about other spiritual and religious paths, and about what they could mean to the world we live in.
The Torah portion that afternoon will be about the Flood, the Ark, and the Rainbow -- a story of eco-disaster and action to heal the future.
The photo above is Arthur at 13, with his younger brother Howard. In the photo below you can also see a remarkably appropriate photo of Reb Arthur nowadays, aboard "Noah's Ark" at the People's Climate March. (The Ark evoked our covenant to save all species from the ravages of climate chaos.)
The celebration afterwards on October 29, following Havdalah as Shabbat ends, will include a buffet supper, story-telling,, music, and dancing.
It will be a fundraiser for The Shalom Center (no other presents, please!) We hope you can join us. Details will follow this spring.
Please feel free to forward this letter to any of your friends who would enjoy this celebration. And do mark the day into your calendar!
With blessings of joy and perseverance,
Arlene Goldbard, President of The Shalom Center