Churches, events and spirituality
Choose words carefully so they are true, helpful and good By Rabbi Dean Shapiro AFN GUEST WRITER
Words have extraordinary power. While that’s especially true of words declared to God, the Jewish tradition holds that all language has great impact. In Hebrew, human beings are known as “HaM’daber – the Speaker,” for that’s what distinguishes us from other species. In Genesis, Adam’s very first action is to give names to every creature (Genesis 2:19-20). We organize our world through language. Indeed, words shape reality. When a rabbi declares “I now pronounce you married,” the couple, their families, and the IRS accept the change in status. When a judge declares a person “guilty,” their life heads off in a profoundly different direction. The world gets more colorful when the right person tells you he loves you. The color drains away when a student gets a ‘D.’ The rabbis of old understood that words can cause extreme damage, and named several language-related sins, among them humiliating, gossiping, and rebuking improperly. According to an early Talmudic sage, public humiliation of another person is equivalent to shedding blood. So grave is the offense that “one who whitens a friend’s face (by putting him or her to shame) in public has no share in the World to Come” (BT Baba Metziah 58b-59a). It is never right to embarrass another person. Gossip harms the speaker, the
listener, and the person spoken about (BT Arachin 15b). The great scholar Maimonides (b. 1135 in Córdoba, Spain, d. 1204, Egypt) suggests that we not speak disparagingly of anyone, even if what we are saying is true. My own mother warns, “He who’ll gossip with you will gossip about you.” It is sometimes necessary to rebuke one who is doing wrong. Leviticus instructs us to rebuke when we can correct faulty behavior (Leviticus 19:17). But, Maimonides added, we must do so privately, gently, and for our friend’s own good – not our own selfaggrandizement. There are right ways, and there are wrong ways, to instruct others. Through this thoroughly surprising election season, I’m reminded of the power of words. We’ve seen that words can energize and inspire, and also that they can inflame and harm. Words can help us articulate our shared values and understand our differences. They can chart and refine our collective path. They can also belittle, deceive, and obfuscate. Jews are asked to choose our words carefully so that they will be true, helpful, and good. We value honesty, integrity, and modesty in speech and we ask that God will, in the words of prayer Elohai Ntzur: “Guard my tongue from evil and my lips from deception. Before those who slander me, I will hold my tongue; I will practice humility.” (Mishkan Tfilah 100). – Rabbi Dean Shapiro is the spiritual leader of Temple Emanuel of Tempe. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WEDNESDAY SEPT. 7 CHILDREN’S CLUBS TO START
The AWANA Children’s Clubs for children 3 years old through the 6th grade will start Sept. 7 and continue weekly on Wednesday at Bridgeway Community Church in Ahwatukee. Activities include learning about God, memorizing Bible verses and games. DETAILS>> 6-7:30 p.m., 2420 Liberty Lane. Register: www.bridgewaycc.org.
SATURDAY OCT. 29 TRUNK OF TREAT
Pilgrim Lutheran Church & School will host its annual Trunk of Treat event. Church members will decorate their car trunks and fill them with treats. Members of the community are invited to bring their children to tour the “trunk of treats” for candy. Appropriate costumes are encouraged. A bounce house will be offered as well. DETAILS>> 5:30-7 p.m., Pilgrim Lutheran Church and School, 3257 E. University Drive, Mesa. Information: 480-830-1724 or email email@example.com.
VALOR CHRISTIAN OUTLINES MISSION
Valor Christian Church in Gilbert offers “great praise and worship and great messages for today’s living,” according to Pastor Thor Strandholt. “Our mission is evangelize, healing and discipleship through the word of God.” DETAILS>> 10 a.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Thursdays. 3015 E. Warner Road. Information: valorcc.com.
HORIZON SEEKS YOUNG PEOPLE
High school and middle school students meet to worship and do life together. DETAILS>> 5 p.m. at Horizon Presbyterian Church, 1401 E. Liberty Lane. 480-460-1480 or email joel@ horizonchurch.com.
BEREAVED CAN SHARE GRIEF
A support group designed to assist people through the grieving process. One-time book fee $15. DETAILS>> 2-4 p.m. at Arizona Community Church, 9325 S. Rural Road, Room G3, Tempe. 480-491-2210.
UNITY OFFERS INSPIRATION
Inspirational messages and music are offered, along with classes and special events. DETAILS>> 10 a.m. at Unity of Tempe, 1222 E. Baseline Road, Suite 103. 480-792-1800 or unityoftempe.com.
KIDS CAN LEARN JEWISH LIFE
Children can learn and experience Jewish life. Chabad Hebrew School focuses on Jewish heritage, culture and holidays. DETAILS>> 9:30 a.m. to noon, for children ages 5-13 at Pollack Chabad Center for Jewish Life, 875 N. McClintock Drive, Chandler. 480-855-4333, info@ chabadcenter.com, or chabadcenter.com.
RABBINIC LIT COURSE OFFERED
Ongoing morning study of two classics of rabbinic literature by medieval philosopher Moses Maimonides (the “Rambam”). At 10 a.m., Prof. Norbert Samuelson, Grossman chair of Jewish Philosophy at ASU and TBS member, teaches “Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed: What Jews Ought to Believe.” At 11:15 a.m., TBS member Isaac Levy teaches “Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah: How Jews Ought to Behave.” Readings in both Hebrew and English. DETAILS>> Community Room of the administration building at Temple Beth Sholom of the East Valley, 3400 N. Dobson Road, Chandler. 480-897-3636.
UNITY OFFERS A PATH
Unity of Mesa says its Sunday service offers “a positive path for spiritual living” through “transformational lessons, empowering music and various spiritual practices with an open-minded and welcoming community.” DETAILS>> 9 a.m. Spiritual discussion group and meditation practices group. 10:15 a.m. service. 2700 E. Southern Ave., Mesa. Child care available at 9 a.m. Nursery for infants through kindergarten at 10:15 a.m. 480-892-2700, unityofmesa.org, joanne@ unityofmesa.org
JOIN CHRIST-CENTERED YOGA
This Flow 1-2 class (intermediate) is free and open to the community. DETAILS>> >6-7 p.m., Mountain Park Community Church, 2408 E. Pecos Road. Greg Battle at 480-7596200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLASS TARGETS THE GRIEVING
Classes for those grieving over death or divorce. DETAILS>> 6:30 p.m., Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 739 W. Erie St., Chandler. 480-963-4127.
>> See FAITH CALENDAR on page 40
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ahwatukee.com | Ahwatukee Foothills News | WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2016 Page 39