JANUARY 2020 NEWSLETTER
TEVET / SHEVAT 5780
TODAH RABBAH...thank you to
- Kim Fish for her ''Dine and Opine'' presentation on December 6, sharing ''Jewish highlights'' of her recent trip to Germany
- Doug Klang for providing a delicious Middle Eastern meal for our December ''Dine and Opine''
- Aaron Leventhal for his presentation about a possible upcoming Israeli Tour
NEW ADDRESS FOR...
Morrey and Renae Shifman: 3717 Orders Rd #332, Grove City 43123
THANK YOU FROM...
Dear Board and Congregation - Thank you for the lovely Chanukah card and generous gift in appreciation of my service leadership. It is my honor, privilege and pleasure to serve as your cantor. Wishing you all a delightful Chanukah.
Todah Rabbah, Cantor Lauren Bandman
THANK YOU FROM...
Season's Eatings! May your Hanukkah be rich with the flavors of tradition and love. Thanks for all you do for us.
- Kathy and Jim Leonard
THANK YOU FROM...
I want to thank the members of Temple Sholom for their gracious Hannukah gift. I continue to feel honored to serve as your Rabbi and am very proud to be a part of Springfield’s thriving Jewish community. As we prayed only a couple of months ago on Rosh Hashanah – may this (secular) new year be one of health, happiness, and personal growth for all of us.
- Rabbi Cary Kozberg
THANK YOU FROM...
Thank you so much for your many kindnesses and your generous holiday gift this year. It has always been my pleasure to be a part of your community and to share your friendships.
- Diane Smith
~ RABBI'S CORNER ~
LOST IN TRANSLATION?
One of the fast days on the Jewish calendar is the 10th of Tevet, which this year falls on Tuesday, January 7. The fast of the 10th of Tevet is observed to remember the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE.
In truth, it is a challenge for even the most observant Jews to conjure up grief over the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by both the Babylonians and the Romans: in our time, Jerusalem is back in Jewish hands and is recognized as the capital of the Jewish state of Israel. Moreover, it is a thriving metropolis with new building and improvements being added constantly.
But Rabbinic tradition tells us there is another reason for collective mourning around this time of the year. It was at this time of the year in the 3rd century BCE, a time of Hellenistic rule over Judea, that Ptolemy, King of Egypt and one of Alexander the Great's successors, ordered the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek - a work which later became known as the Septuagint. Like in our own time, many if not most Jews then were versed in Hebrew well enough to be able to read the original Torah text in its original language. Jews who lived in the Land of Israel and Babylonia relied on an Aramaic translation; Jews who lived around the Mediterranean areas came to rely on this Greek translation. The name Septuagint comes from the legend that 72 scholars were individually sequestered to work on this translation and (miraculously?) each of their translations were identical to one another. Belief in this miracle was the basis for Jews in Hellenistic communities regarding it as having divine status. It became ''sacred Scripture'' and source of prooftexts for the early Jewish Christian community to prove their faith claims regarding Jesus.
Because of how the Septuagint was used by Jewish Christians and other Hellenistic Jews to misinterpret Jewish Law and lead Jews into false beliefs and apostasy, the Talmudic Sages came to see the creation of the Septuagint as a tragedy: Jewish bodies may not have been in danger because of its existence, but Jewish souls certainly were.
It does seem strange that a process that was supposed to give Jews more access to their own spiritual legacy would be shunned and harshly criticized. Indeed, if it weren't for modern English translations, most of us would have no access to reading and learning from the Jewish Bible. It is a given that they are necessary, and therefore we certainly don't view them as a debasement of Scripture's sanctity.
Yet, the Sages of old were not wrong in their concerns that substituting translations for the original can have unwanted, even dire, consequences. It can be dangerous for Judaism itself when Jews assume that a translation is necessarily an accurate rendering of what the original text says. It can be dangerous when we forget there is often much that is ''lost in translation,'' causing readers - both Jewish and non-Jewish - to miss and misinterpret what the text really means to communicate.
Out of a number of examples, two immediately come to mind:
1) #6 of the Ten Commandments - lo tirtzach - is accurately translated as ''you shall not murder,'' but is often translated as ''you shall not kill.'' If the Torah actually means to teach that the taking of human life is NEVER permitted or necessary, it would not have mandated capital punishment for a whole host of sins or, for that matter, looked favorably upon certain types of war as necessary.
2) Our Christian friends have just finished celebrating Christmas commemorating a virgin giving birth to their savior. Christian tradition understands this to have been predicted by the prophet Isaiah, based on Isaiah 7:14: ''a virgin shall bear a child...'' However, besides the verse being taken out of context, the Greek word parthenos (virgin) is a mis-translation of the Hebrew word almah, which actually means ''a young woman.'' Certainly not all young women are virgins, and not all virgins are young women. But one can readily see how relying on the Greek translation - which was used by Jews living in Greek-speaking communities - could lead to this phenomenon.
Certainly this is not to advocate getting rid of translations. We need them. But their limitations do remind us of the need for us as Jews to work to improve our skills in understanding biblical Hebrew. At the very least, their limitations should make us aware that they are always interpretations. And, therefore, when we encounter a verse or a passage in translation that gives us pause, we would do well to check out its original meaning and intent.
With all due respect: folks may say they know their Bible...but if they only know it through a translation, they don't know it completely.
~ CONTRIBUTIONS ~
In honor of Rick Nedelman's belated birthday from Ed and Laurie Leventhal
JEFFREY D EBNER YOUTH FUND
In memory of Barbara Latham from Lyla and Harvery Bailin
~ YAHRZEIT LIST ~
JAN 3: Sarah Endelman, Bernice Jean Gerson, Morris M. Gold, Toby Katz, Erie Maybruck, Clara Mendelson, Harry Sachs, Siegfried Sander, Sam Schechter, Emma Schoenthal, Manuel L. Soble, Oscar Werber, Samuel Farber, Marvin F. Klang, Jack Leventhal (father of Aaron), Lillian Leventhal, Mary Schoemer
JAN 10: Natalie Cornez (wife of Paul), Jacob Kleeman, Anne Reich Krauss, Rose Krauss, Abraham Schechter, Antonio Espinoza, Jr. (brother of Rose Weiss)
JAN 17: Lilly Balicer, Beryl Kaufman, Sylvia Rubinoff, Sonia Schechter, Arjae Kurtzhant (father of Itzca), Lester Lind (father of Bobbi Mugford), Nellie Marenberg (mother of Gerald), Lillian Nedelman (mother of Stan), Rachel Zohar, Rae Zoldan (mother of Gail Russack)
JAN 24: Harry B. Hoffman, Dora Long, Ruth Maybruck, Sophie Rubinoff, Bernard C. Zitsman, Samuel Draisen, Ethel Grodner (mother of Jack), Hyman Kohn, Miriam Kurland (sister of Alan Feinstein)
JAN 31: Lois Bernstein, Louis Broock, Fannie B. Frand, Rosa Gardner, Max D. Gross, Tilly L. Levy, Nelson B. Paris, Ida Florence Zitsman, Robert Arthur Buerki (father of Bob)
FEB 7: Joseph Gardner, Adolph D. Haas (father of Sandy), Max Kleeman, Nathan Klein, Bonita S. Krauss (mother of Rick), Sophie K. LeBolt, Jennie Prusiner, Mary J. Rubin, Jack J. Schechter, Mattie Weixelbaum, Henry R. Ennis (father of Barbara Willens), Mildred Naft, Bertram Unger (brother of Shirley Leventhal)