April 20, 2023
29 Nisan 5783

This Week

Friday, April 21, 2023
1 Iyyar 5783
Shabbat Evening Worship at 6:45 pm

Service Leader: Rabbi Lisa Goldstein
Musical Accompaniment: Rabbi Lisa Goldstein

Join us here on Zoom
or on 

Edward Chevalier - April 23
April Singer - April 27

Of Blessed Memory

Claus Speicher - father of Marga Speicher

Sunday, April 23, 2023
2 Iyyar 5783

Kesher 9:30 am - 12:00 pm 
Torah Reading
Tazria-Metzora: Leviticus 12:1-15:33

Shalom Friends, 

After two years of near total isolation, three years of diligently wearing masks, getting our vaccines and boosters for those who can, worrying about every cough, fever, and sore throat, not to mention the annual recounting of the plagues at our recent Passover Seders, we’ve pretty much had it with plagues, am I right? Well, I’m sorry to say but that, indeed, is the focus of this week’s double Torah portion, Tazria-Metzora. The parasha opens with the rituals of purification for a woman after childbirth, and continues with the methods for diagnosing and treating a variety of skin diseases, including tzara-at (a leprous affection). The rituals include those for curing humans and purifying clothing and dwellings. It describes male impurities and female impurities. You can read Tazria-Metzora here.
It's challenging to understand how these ancient rituals can be meaningful or relevant in in our lives today. The commentators mostly sought to reinterpret and understand these rituals in metaphorical ways to teach us lessons about how to live our lives. But if you read the text carefully, you’ll note something interesting. In the Torah we read:

“The owner of the house shall come and tell the priest, saying,
‘something like a plague has appeared upon my house.’” (Lev. 14:35)
Rashi explains that even the wisest sage, who clearly knows what this plague is supposed to look like, still should never say “a plague has appeared upon my house,” rather, “something like a plague” in their house. And if you can’t say it about your own house, all the more so you can’t say it about a neighbor or friend’s house. From here we learn that no one should be too quick to point fingers or jump to conclusions.

Then there is the cleaning procedure – when one sees something “like a plague” and reports it, they have to take everything out of their house before the priest comes in, but the house is assumed to be clean until proven impure. And if it is shown to be impure, the house is closed up for seven days. And then if the plague is shown to persist deep into the wall, you remove only those stones which have been specifically affected by the plague. There is a clear message here. You don’t destroy the entire house just because there is something wrong with it. Instead, you treat only that part which is affected.

The process to fix the issue is outlined in detail. First, you notice a problem. You let it sit for a while and you consult with experts. If you arrive at the conclusion that this problem is real, you go to the root of the specific problem and you fix it. Once you fix it, you reevaluate to see if that solution is viable and if it actually fixed the problem.  The constant re-evaluation and consideration help us to discern at each step along the way if we are making the right choices.

And we’re not just talking about a literal plague. We could be talking about any problem that we’ve noticed within our “home.” So how can we create checks and balances for ourselves and our communities so we continue to make sure we are serving our own and our communal needs? And if we do find an issue, how do we make sure to find a solution that solves the specific problem without tearing our whole house down to fix it?
Our community may have “something like a problem.” I’m not sure, and I want to do a proper “inspection” by consulting with our experts. Who are these experts? YOU are.
Congregation Shalom is governed by the whole of our membership. Our vehicle for governance is the Town Hall Meeting. This was decided by our founding members when we formed our congregation two years ago. Yet attendance at our Town Hall meetings has decreased precipitously. While participation in special events, such as our Hanukkah party and Passover Seder, has been excellent, attendance at services is inconsistent; some weeks we have 15-20 people in person, plus another 6-10 people who join on Zoom. Other weeks we have five people in person and another 3-6 on Zoom. Why is this? Are you feeling connected and engaged? And if not, what should/could we be doing better or differently?
There are some who have expressed concern and, rather than helping to fix the problem from within, choose not to get involved. There are some who believe we should step back and do less, rather than trying to do more to meet the needs of our community. Maybe these people are correct, but I’m not so sure. I want to consult our experts.
To that end, your Executive Committee will be reaching out to all of our members by phone. They will have specific questions to guide the conversation, AND will be prepared to listen to any and all feedback you wish to share. I ask that you please answer the call when it comes. And if you are interested/willing to help make calls, please let me know!
In ancient times, tzara’at – physical ailments that appeared unclean and therefore rendered people “impure” – were terrifying, particularly because they let to exclusion and isolation. In our time, such problems don’t need to be terrifying. Instead, they can be the impetus for positive change that can support and enrich our community. In this way, we turn “plague” into blessing.
Kein y’hi ratzon – May this be God’s will…and ours!

Shabbat shalom,
Rabbi Lisa Goldstein
To add or remove a name to/from our Mi Shebeirach (Prayer for Healing) list, visit our website at

If you or a loved one is in the hospital or ill at home and would appreciate a call or a visit, please let Rabbi Lisa know.
Email:     or call: (210) 474-6082
Sponsor an Oneg Shabbat!
Do you have a birthday or anniversary coming up in our family? Sponsor an Oneg Shabbat to celebrate your simcha (joyous occasion)! Your donation of $36 helps to cover the cost of wine, baked and paper goods, and soft drinks. If you prefer, bake or purchase brownies, cookies, or cake to donate. If you bring a large batch, we can store them in the freezer for a later date. Please let Sondra Singer know if you can bake.

We are Grateful to...

...our donors for supporting Congregation Shalom

Send a check to
Congregation Shalom
San Antonio, TX 78270
P.O. Box 700187

or use the link below to donate by credit card

Donate with PayPal or Credit Card
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We can now accept payments and donations through Zelle with no fees to either you or to Congregation Shalom! You can find us by scanning the QR code in this box or by searching Congregation Shalom of San Antonio at
Invoices for the third quarter of our fiscal year have been emailed. Paying your Membership Commitment promptly helps our congregation operate in the black. Please do not delay; send in your Q3 Commitment today!
 Congregation Shalom of San Antonio 
PO Box 700187
San Antonio, TX 78270

Congregation Shalom phone number:
(210) 474-6082
Invite a Friend to Join Congregation Shalom
NOW is always the perfect time to become a member of Congregation Shalom! Invite your friends to our joyful and friendly Shabbat services and extend a warm invitation to join our congregation.
Congregation Shalom Membership Applications
If you or someone you know would like to become a member of Congregation Shalom, please contact Rabbi Lisa at or (210) 474-6082 for an application or visit our website.

If you see or experience an act of antisemitism, report it:

Report to ADL (Anti-Defamation League)
Report to JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council of Jewish Federation of San Antonio)

Yalla 75
Yom Ha'atzmaut Celebration
Sunday, April 30, 12 - 3 pm

Join the Jewish Federation of San Antonio, your friends and family for a community-wide event! Free admission, plus food-for-purchase options.
Congregation Shalom will have a booth at this event, making paper mosaics. If you can volunteer for a shift, please email Rabbi Lisa.

Questions? Contact Director of Israel and Family Programming,
Sammi Mazuz, at

Tradition says all Americans should remember and honor those who died in service to the Nation.  The members of Jewish War Veterans Post 753 asks you to pause wherever you are and observe a moment of silence to honor all deceased military veterans on

Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 2023 at 3 p.m.  

To further honor Jewish military veterans, members of Post 753 will be placing an American flag on the grave of Jewish veterans buried in the Agudas Achim, Beth El, Temple Chai/Congregation Shalom and Rodfei Sholom cemeteries for Memorial Day.  The Post provides the flags (see schedule below).  If you want to volunteer, please contact Herschel Sheiness to let him know your name, contact information, how many will be coming and if you have a preference of cemeteries.  His e-mail address is

Flag placing schedule, weather permitting: 
Friday, May 26, 10:00 a.m.  Rodfei Sholom
Sunday, May 28: 
9:00 a.m. – Temple Beth El Memorial Park
10:30 a.m. – Agudas Achim Memorial Garden
(Temple Chai/Congregation Shalom is covered)


In addition to the schedule above, we need several volunteers for both the old Agudas Achim and Beth El cemeteries. As these two cemeteries are across the street from each other at the corner of Palmetto and Crockett Streets, the same volunteers will be asked to do both.  If no one volunteers, then, regretfully, flags will not be placed on the graves of the 82 Jewish veterans buried there.  Date and time will be worked out with the volunteers.

If you have any questions or to volunteer, please e-mail me at

San Antonio Food Bank

Our neighbors will soon feel the loss of SNAP Emergency Allotments, which expire at the end of this month. This cut will dramatically reduce monthly food budgets for families already facing hunger. Your San Antonio Food Bank is gearing up their inventory and their staff for a tidal wave of demand for food assistance as these SNAP Emergency Allotments expire. 
Many families turn to the Food Bank for nourishment. The Food Bank needs your help to feed our neighbors in need today.
Every $1 you give provides 7 meals to neighbors in need.
If you do, or if you know someone who does, please reach out to the Hebrew Free Loan Association of San Antonio. Donations are also very welcome! 
Please click HERE for more information.


Would YOU like to make someone smile? To sign up to become a Challah Helper
and deliver Shabbat goodies to older adults in the community,
contact Sandra at, or visit

Jewish Family Service (JFS) has been providing affordable mental health counseling, group therapy, case management, and senior services to the greater San Antonio community and beyond since 1973.

Services are available to all, regardless of age, race, faith, sexual orientation, or economic status.

JFS is able to offer services through the generous support of individual contributors, the The Jewish Federation of San AntonioMethodist Healthcare Ministries, the H.E. Butt Foundation, the San Antonio Area Foundation, and other private funders.

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Congregation Shalom of San Antonio · P.O. Box 700187 · San Antonio, TX 78270 · USA

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