A Letter From Our Leadership
Dear Friends of Lerhaus, of the New Shul Learning Community,
Lerhaus/Newshul, was originally conceived as ‘a home of learning’ or as a place of study for people of all backgrounds, especially from the various synagogues and the Jewish movements these places of worship were created to represent.
Earlier generations founded synagogues that now seem cavernous and empty, often leaving us wondering what happened. We look around and we blame the economy, intermarriage and some even blame the idealistic young for questioning sacred cows – ironically coming from a tradition given to raising questions and seeking answers.
- To that end, the Lerhaus/Newshul Seminar has expanded to weekly gatherings for Biblical studies, utilizing both traditional and modern source material.
- Lerhaus/Newshul has taken a Lab/Shul approach to both prayer language and Jewish services, incorporating beautiful Jewish and Israeli music into our monthly gatherings, all of which are set to resume after the holidays.
- In this past year alone, we have expanded our Lerhaus/Newshul initiatives to include workshops ranging from the simple joys of Challah Baking to the important programs of “Challah for Hunger” to the much more complicated issues of rebuilding the now almost moribund African American and Jewish relationship.
- We have deliberately chosen to engage in a wider conversation of disaster assistance both here and abroad, of African slavery and human trafficking, and of hunger relief both here in America and around the world, to name just a few of the danger-point issues confronting our community and others.
- We have begun to invest our energies in the process of re engagement with our Senate and Congressional representatives. These conversations have been significant and wide ranging and while we are not the only voice at the table, we have been unapologetic in our commitment to Israel as a sovereign and independent state with its own interests. This has been coupled with our interest in Israel as an ongoing expression of Judaism and of the Jewish people. In essence, a world without the State of Israel is a very unsafe world for the Jewish community.
Sadly, we have learned that this is a difficult concept to grasp for the generation now emerging. This is a generation that has not known a world without Israel and does not fully grasp the significance of Jewish vulnerability without a strong and vibrant Jewish state. In that sense, we are talking about a Jewish state that can and must make its own sovereign decisions regarding the health, welfare and security for its own people.
Recent events have seen support for Israel emerge as a wedge issue in American partisan politics which has come to pose a danger to the importance of Israel to the American Jewish community and has sadly raised ugly issues of dual loyalty long thought eradicated along with other variant strains of American anti Semitic discourse.
We at New Shul/Lerhaus feel the need for more of us to engage in these discussions and would urge those of you who can, to attend the weekly Lerhaus/Newshul Seminar every Sunday at the home of Dr Steven and Pamela Barrer in Huntingdon Valley (every Sunday 3:00 PM, 2154 Valley Rd, Huntingdon Valley) in which all of these issues are discussed more fully and in depth.
- We are engaged in the study of Torah, because as the Jewish tradition tells us, “ . . . study is the highest level of Mitzvah, as it is study that leads to action” (Pirke Avot – Ethics/The Sages).
- We are now asking for you to add your voice to this conversation and we are asking for your help. All of this requires funds. Lerhaus/Newshul is a recognized 5013c Non Profit, all funds being monitored by our treasurer Philip Goodman CPA locally here in Jenkintown.
If you are receiving this letter, then you have given to Lerhaus/Newshul in the past or have perhaps participated in one of our programs or study sessions. Because of the times, we are now being asked to do more, some of which I’ve described above, all of which require your help. Some of you may think of donations, some may consider joining us as partners; some may want to honor others, friends or family who you would like to remember.
No amount for membership or for donations will be considered too much or too small. At Lerhaus/Newshul, everyone is appreciated and including us with your charitable giving will be greatly appreciated. We promise that your funding of our programs will be used responsibly.
Please let us know if we can count on you to ensure that Lerhaus/Newshul studies and engagements will continue to grow and have an important impact on the future of your Jewish community.
Rabbi Seth Frisch, Founder and Director
Dr. Steven Barrer, President
Mr. Philip Goodman, Treasurer
1030 Leopard Rd
Rydal, PA 19046