Parshot Nitzvim/Vayelech


In these parshot, Moses wraps up all he has to say to the Israelites. When he is done speaking, he will take leave of them and die. He says: “Please remember all I have instructed you to do, so that you will lead happy and fulfilled lives.”

As Labor Day approaches (Sept. 2), we think of all the people who work hard to feed their families. Jews have always been very involved in helping those in need. They have established labor unions; they have fought for fair wages; they have led movements to improve factory conditions. This is what Moses is talking about. There is an expression in Hebrew: “Kol Yisrael arevim zeh lazeh” (all of Israel is responsible for each other). That is good. But it is even better when Jews prove that they feel a responsibility toward the rest of humanity and the world.

Achrei Mot and Kedoshim


Two parshot are read on this Shabbat: Achrei Mot and Kedoshim. The second portion begins with God telling the Israelites: Kedoshim — You shall be holy, for I am holy. What does this mean? It means acting with love and respect to ourselves, to other people and to the world. This week, we remember the Earth when we celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Go to Balboa Park on April 21 for the Whole Earth Fest (after you’ve visited the Israeli Independence Day Festival) and check out all the booths, crafts and activities.