Women’s Alliance Rosh Hodesh held at new home of Torat Yisrael


Rabbi Amy Levin discusses memory, remembering

/Trine LustigEAST GREENWICH – Fifty women gathered at the beautiful new home of Temple Torat Yisrael in East Greenwich to hear Rabbi Amy Levin’s Rosh Hodesh presentation. Many in the audience had never visited the synagogue’s new facility, which opened in May and overlooks lush, wooded conservation land.

Cheryl Greenfeld Teverow, Rosh Hodesh chair, noted that “this program was held at Torat Yisrael because it is important for Alliance programs to reach more Jews in Rhode Island. We were thrilled to be hosted in this beautiful new building.” In the spacious social hall, Rabbi Levin spoke about the different ways that God remembers, as well as what the Jews are asked to remember, as written in the Torah.

For example, on several occasions, God “remembers” barren women like Sarah and Rebecca. Rabbi Levin noted that most barren women mentioned in the Torah ended up having sons who became famous characters in the biblical stories. In other instances, God remembers his covenant with Abraham – usually when He is about to take action.

There are other times when God commands the Israelites to remember. For example, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” or “Remember this day on which you went out of Egypt from the house of bondage.” In these cases, remembering is presented as a commandment that must be obeyed.

Rabbi Levin finished with a personal story about her mother and aunt, who used memory in different ways. Her aunt was the family storyteller who used memories to bring together their family and keep their traditions alive. In contrast, her mother struggled with short-term memory loss toward the end of her life and it took a toll on how she perceived herself. This encouraged many in the audience to share their personal stories of memory and its impact on their families. Rabbi Levin concluded by emphasizing the importance of both collective and personal memories in our lives.

Trine Lustig (tlustig@jewishallianceri.org) is Senior Development Officer for the Jewish Alliance.