Dear Kol Rinah Family,
We’ve got a packed Shabbat at Kol Rinah this week. We’ll start at 6pm with our family-friendly First Fridays Kabbalat Shabbat service in the lower auditorium. Bring your voice, and little or big kids, if you have them, and let’s welcome Shabbat together! Candle lighting is at 7:11pm.
Tomorrow morning is one of the few times of year that we take out three Torahs. One is for the regular Shabbat Torah reading, this week, Parashat Tazria, from Leviticus. The second is for Rosh Chodesh-tonight and tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh Nisan-the beginning of the new month of Nisan. That reading, from Numbers, goes over the special sacrifices for Rosh Chodesh. The third Torah is for Shabbat HaChodesh, the last of the four special Shabbatot that precede Pesach. The reading for Shabbat HaChodesh, from Exodus, talks about the creating of a new Jewish calendar, with Nisan being the first month.
Because it’s Rosh Chodesh, we also say (sing!) Hallel, around 9:50am. Torah Talk will be around 10:15am with Rabbi Shafrin.
Rabbi Dr. Pamela Barmash will be speaking during services and after Kiddush on her responsa (paper) on Jewish military burial. Details here.
Mincha Saturday afternoon will be at 6:10pm and Shabbat ends at 8:10pm.
The last of our classes on Love, God and Passover will be Tuesday night at 7pm with Rabbi Shafrin. Topic will be… Passover.
We’ve been having trouble with minyan a little bit, and some people are still not signing up for the minyanim they are coming to. Coming to minyan is great!  Coming and not signing up–almost, but not quite as great.  The problem with this is that we want to know reliably how many people are coming, so we can then call people to make sure we ‘ll have a minyan. But if people aren’t signing up, but then do show up, we will wind up calling many people unnecessarily. So, sign up for minyan when you know you’ll be there, and make it an appointment, a commitment! Here’s the link.
And now for a little Torah…
One of the classic questions about this week’s Torah portion, Tazria, focuses on an unexplained difference. Women who give birth to bay boys are ritually impure for a total of forty days; but women who give birth to baby girls are ritually impure eighty days. Why the difference? Lots of explanations have been posited, but I read a new one this week by Dr. Kristine Henriksen Garroway, a professor at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles.
She suggests that just as a brit milah (circumcision) is a way of signaling to the community that a boy was born, and of engendering and enculturating the child himself. The longer time of ritual impurity for the birth of a girl was a similar signaling that engendered and enculturated as well, she suggests. You can read her full article here. 
We still engender and enculturate babies through brit milah and baby namings, although not through differences in ritual impurity. These rituals are already evolving in certain circles, as our understandings of gender and gender fluidity have evolved, and I suspect that they will continue to change more.
Shabbat shalom and see you in shul!
Rabbi Noah Arnow