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beth david men's club

Hello, I am Lenny Samet, the Men’s Club president for the coming year, I have a goal to revive the Men’s Club and hopefully make it better. However, I need your help to accomplish this goal. We will need your participation. If you attend some events and help on just one event, we can have a great year, and I am sure you will be glad you did just a little.

I have been given a list of activities that the Men’s Club has had in the past. This is a great list, and some of these items are important to all of Beth David members like the Mother’s Day Breakfast. However, I want input from you as to what you want the Men’s Club to do and be. Please help me, but it is YOUR Men’s Club.

Once a month Sunday Morning Bagel Breakfast to discuss events.

Kosher Cookout

Organize greeters for the High Holidays.
Set up chairs and Machzors for High Holidays.
In the past we would set up the sukkah between the Holidays. The new sukkah should take two to three people to set up. Look for updates to volunteer.
Return chairs and books back to the racks and shelves. • Possible opportunity to take down the sukkah.

Veteran's Day display and host the kiddush luncheon. Some years we have found a speaker.
Help the Synagogue with the Chanukkah celebration. One year we brought in Sumo wrestling.

Men’s Club Shabbat and National Tefillin Wrap Day. Historicaly the second weekend in February or AKA: Superbowl weekend. We may add a Super Bowl viewing event.

Fast of First Born - we provided bagels, cream cheese and OJ.

Yom HaShoah candles fundraiser. We already have the candles. This year we’ll need to prepare in April.
Mother's Day Brunch - This takes months of planning. The entire Synagogue wants this back.
Mitzvah Day Breakfast with Temple Emanuel Brotherhood - This year it will be back at the Synagogue. Ken Cherry is our go to guy for this event.

In the past, we would host the Israeli Scouts. It’s been a while since we have done that. Suggestions are welcome for new event.
Father’s Day event, possibly with Temple Emanuel Brotherhood. They have asked about a softball game or maybe a pickleball tourney, but definitely a family event. We can continue to discuss.

Put these events on your calendar, so we can plan on a big year. I will be in contact to ask what events you want in addition to these. Or if you are opposed to any of these, please let me know.

men's club shabbat d'var torah by drew grim


Our family today “homesteads” on 15 acres. I use that word because we grow mostly for ourselves to make sure our family has amazing and nourishing food. 

We have raised just about every farm animal you can imagine but we regularly cycle through them depending on our needs and that of our land. 

Currently, we have 4 cows on our property: 1 that I milk each morning and another future dairy cow on the way.  We have 5 chickens for eggs. A herding dog and 2 livestock guardian dogs. 

Not too long ago we had a herd of Jacob sheep. The legend has it that the breed dates back to when Jacob had the spotted sheep in the Torah. So of course, I had to have that breed. 

Off the homestead we also have a herd of 20 beef cows on 40 acres that we raise and butcher for meat for other people.  

The idea of farming has always been to find a deeper connection to creation and the creator. To find a way to be connected to our food and community has become an equally important goal. 

This morning when I woke up, I had coffee that’s roasted by Christopher here in Greensboro. It’s comes from a farm in Costa Rica that is overseen by Wilman. The milk I used came from Liesel, our dairy cow.  

The flour for the bread I ate came from Lindley mills right down the road and then was fermented by the amazing lacey into sourdough.  

The peanut butter on the bread came from organic peanuts grown in Georgia and then made into peanut butter by Jamie and her team.  

For the most part almost every meal our family eats is like this.  

99% of the ingredients are connected to our community. And we know the names of the people that make it.  

Sadly, this all happens outside of the Jewish community. The next closets Jewish farm I know is in Asheville. Not too far. But to put it into perspective I know over 30 small farmers in our immediate area. 

In a Facebook group I'm in called “Jewish farmers” a group of 1,300 people worldwide. I recently asked.  

“Why are there so few Jewish farmers?” 

The answers began to roll in and it’s been fascinating to read.  

The number 1 most mentioned reason was lack of community. The belief generally was if they had a farm then they wouldn't be able to have a Jewish community too. 

The second was the proximity to cities. Very similar but more observant Jews wanted to be within walking distance to a shul. 

Third was historical factors. Over the years of being expelled from various countries and being in diaspora our people began to tend toward trades that were more mobile.  

The main reason in Jewish farmers minds that we don't have more farmers is the very reason we don't have more farmers. There’s no community! But why? 

I think food is important.  

I think being connected to a community that grows food is very important 

I think having people inside our community that grow food is even more important. 

Our promise is milk and honey, but we have nobody making it in our community! 

My journey started into farming really in an effort to understand the torah more.  

It came like any good Jewish idea in the form of a question! 

What would it look like to grow plants and animals mentioned in the Torah and when the Torah said to grow them? 

What would it look like to raise a lamb and then kill it in its first year and then roast it whole and eat it with friends on Pesach? 

What would it look like to grow a grape vine? 

To leave a corner of the field for the poor? 

All of these agriculture commandments can be read as “if” statements but for me I was reading them as I should have a field of grain so I could leave a corner.  

I should have a grape vine so I can thank Hashem for it. 

In this week's Torah portion at the very moment in the Torah when we pause to establish the Israelites as a society. Before we go to Sinai or after depending on who you ask 

We set up judges, and we set up laws regarding human interactions, we also receive a large number of agricultural laws. 

We are reminded: “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.” 

How do we make sure to be kind to the stranger? 

How do we remember we were strangers? 

The Torah says We Shmita! 

The Torah the follows with: “Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield;  but in the seventh you shall let it rest and lie fallow.  Let the needy among your people eat of it, and what they leave let the wild beasts eat. You shall do the same with your vineyards and your olive groves.” 

Ask most Torah commentators and they will tell you. This is just a law for the land. 

At face value, most people just skim over it.  

Saying It's for farmers. It's for people in the land. 

But recently Jewish farmers worldwide have begun to practice this on the land where they are, outside of Israel.  

I would like to suggest this is the heart of Jewish ethics and we have an opportunity by exploring how we can add shmita to our lives. 

Farmers and others in the Shmita year sectioned off small pieces of land to let go wild, they borrowed land from others to be able to participate or they let their whole farm rest. 

Non farmers also found ways to bring food to the hungry and also help the “strangers in the land” 

Our family in 2021 when the world was not at its best and grocery store shelves were questionable found ourselves at the dawn of Shmita. With a choice to try it or not. 

Common sense told us to double the size of our gardens. It seemed more practical to store up our harvests.  

But on the other hand, it seemed like it wasn't a coincidence that the Shmita year fell on a year that we really needed to release.  

So, we went for it. We released control of our food and our land and let things go wild. 

This was a huge deal for people that really like to farm. 

What came along that year was amazing! 

  • We received donations like a literal barn full of pumpkins. 

  • People asked us regularly to tend their gardens and keep the extra produce. 

  • We wet for walks in the woods and learned more about wild foraging 

We found that by not having a garden and plants to tend we had time to build community and help where we were needed. 

In a year when having food was a concern, we found plenty.  

Our release was much needed and our refocus was clear.  

Hashem provides.  

That was just our first Shmita, but the lessons were great, and the next time will be even better.  

I'm sure you're wondering how you could participate in Shmita. The great news is you have a few years to consider this. 

Rashi says that this is the only mitzvah connected with mt Sinai. He then comments on a famous phrase: What has the matter of the Sabbatical Year to do with Mount Sinai? 

I see a few ideas to consider on why Shmita is so important.  

  • Its Releasing control of your land or how you feed yourself 

  • It’s Feeding the hungry, from the abundance you have 

  • And it’s Feeding the wild animals 

For one year, every seven years what if our focus was just one of these? 

All of these ideas ask us to consider food and land, and what it means in Jewish life. 

How do we increase that awareness and connection?  

I have found for our family that there is so much to learn, so much to experience right now by applying the agricultural laws to “our land.” 

Mostly I have found a connection with the creator in a new way. One of witnessing the birth of a lamb or the death the same animal. The divine can be experienced in both. 

I fear that some laws have been made that actually separate us from this experience.   To raise an animal and then to slaughter it to feed your family is a sacred act. A holy act but we have been asked to pass that to someone else to not participate and that I have greatly struggled with. 

It also means that there is a lack of fresh nourishing food.  

It for sure means there is a lack of food grown here in our community for our community.  

I don't know what the solution is but I do know as a community we can find a way. 

I don't  think every Jew should be a farmer but maybe a little over zealously I admit I think every Jew should be connected to their food and to the soil. 

Almost all of our blessings, all of our promises are related to the soil in the agricultural world. While a large portion of my heart is in Israel and remains there. Can we also find a connection to the creator here through these Mitzvot? 

Maybe the reason why there is not a community of Jewish farmers for Jewish farmers is because we haven't prioritized our food. We haven't looked at it as medicine, as nourishment, we haven't viewed the act of eating as a sacred act. 

When you consider that hashem spends a large part of the Torah on agriculture rules and then another part on kosher and how to eat, all the way down to washing your hands.  

I think one of the reasons that we are people of the soil, people based on food with ethics around food, is so we can nourish whatever land we are in. We are a light on the hill that has a nourishing connection to the creator.  

Should we look at food and farming as a sacred act? How do we help develop Jewish farmers? How do we develop our stores, so nobody is hungry? 

My encouragement to you is to plant a fig tree to sit under. 

 Put some herbs in a pot on your porch.  

Connect with the soil, find a connection to our ancestors in the soil, in the ancient holy act of growing food.  

Find food that's grown near you or grow just a little food for yourself.  

Before you know it, you’ll be planting an extra patch for the hungry.  

Then what would happen if we all had a little extra for the hungry? 

Mon, June 24 2024 18 Sivan 5784