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Yom Chamishi, 17 Nisan 5774

You may find Jews anywhere on earth...

Torah Reading In A Synagogue 12 800 600 80-8-120-90-80-c....in Ramona you'll find a small warmhearted group who will welcome your family with open arms.

In 1980 a few Jewish families got together to form a congregation. Like many others, we had moved to Ramona seeking clean air, an excellent school district, and a rural atmosphere. Here in Ramona, we found good neighborhoods and a small-town friendliness. Still it wasn't enough. We wanted to hold on to our Jewish traditions and values, and pass on our heritage to our children.

So - we established Congregation Etz Chaim, a tree of life, which embodied our desire for the future.

We hold Shabbat services monthly on Friday evenings where we read from the Torah, sing and socialize.  We hold High Holiday services, special celebrations for Sukkot, Chanukkah, Tu B'Shvat, Purim and Lag B'Omer as well as a community Seder for Passover.

We invite you to join with us at any of these occasions and help nourish the Jewish community within Ramona.

Upcoming Events


Apr.19.2014 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Passover Sedar


May.09.2014 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Sabbath Services


Jun.08.2014 1:10pm - 4:00pm
2014 Jewish Community Day at Petco Park


Jun.13.2014 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Sabbath Services and Business Meeting

Rabbi Leslie 2

This week’s Torah portion, Acharei Mot (Lev. 16:1 – 18:30) begins by mentioning the death of the two eldest sons of Aaron, who brought “strange fire” before God, and died in the Holy of Holies at the time of the dedication of the Tabernacle. The text then turns to the laws of annual purification and expiation of sin which will in time become the Yom Kippur ritual, followed by laws about eating meat, and laws about sexual intercourse.

One possible inference from this sequence is that Nadav and Abihu committed a violation which cost them their lives, and the Torah is taking care to be sure that no other lives are lost for the same reason. Adherence to God’s laws is necessary to maintain a distance between the holy and the mundane. However, a verse in this Torah portion points out that there can also be danger in adhering too closely to the law. Lev. 18:5 reads, “You shall keep my laws and rules which, if people do, they will live in them”. Later Jewish law (halacha) has used this verse as the basis for the rule of pekuach nefesh, that Jewish law should be broken when keeping it endangers a human life. Rabbi Leo Baeck commented on this passage, “The great commandment is to live”.

At this time of Passover, we are commanded to remove all leavened items from our homes and from our diets. We restrict ourselves from forbidden foods for the eight days of the festival, and there is holiness in the restriction. But let us not become so concerned about what we will and will not eat that it creates a barrier to our enjoyment of this festival of freedom. May Passover be a reminder of the liberation of our people from slavery in Egypt and a call to liberation for all peoples of the world. And may your observance come close to what God asks of us, but not too close.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Pesach Sameach,


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