All are welcome to worship with Kolot Mayim Reform Congregation at the Jewish Community Centre on 3636 Shelbourne Street in the beautiful city of Victoria, British Columbia. We hold Kabbalat Shabbat services the 2nd and 4th Fridays throughout the year. Torah study on Saturdays at 10:30 am and starting in November we will have a Torah service at 11:30 am.
The Kolot Mayim congregation is warm and welcoming with a large number of congregants enthusiastically participating in all aspects of the service. Your heart will sing and your spirit will soar with our celebrations.
Why we are a week ahead in our Torah reading
The discrepancy occurs when a Jewish festival overlaps onto the Sabbath on the second day of Shavu'ot or Shemini Atzerret or the eighth day of Pesach. These are days that are not observed as holy days in Eretz Yisrael where the biblical number of days prescribed are observed. Outside of Israel, they are observed with an extra day because it took too long to get word to Diaspora Jewry by riders on horseback, as to when the Beit Din in Jerusalem declared the new moon, which in turn would determine the correct day to observe the festival. To make certain they were observing the festival on the correct day, a second day of observance was added outside of Israel. Today, that practice persists among traditional Jews despite the current determination of the new moon and festivals by mathematical calculation. Reform Judaism long ago returned to the biblical number of days of observance, even outside of Israel.
When the second day of a festival overlaps with Shabbat, Jews in Israel go on to the next week's parasha while Jews in the Diaspora read a holiday passage and then go on to the next weekly parasha the following week. This puts Diaspora Jews a week behind Israeli Jews for a number of weeks until the next double portion when Diaspora Jews can catch up with Israeli Jews.
I have always calculated the parashiyot read in the Synagogues I have served according to the Israeli readings, which made complete sense to me. I long ago rejected the parasha divisions found in the calendar of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, now Women of Reform Judaism. The solution there was to cut one week's Torah portion in half and read one half one week and the next half the following week. This meant that we were trying to keep our calendar in some kind of sync with our traditional neighbours rather than with the biblical and Land of Israel standard. Much to my chagrin, the URJ has adopted that unfortunate way of determining our calendar. That has become an issue now that they send out emails with Torah commentary according to that calendar determination.
This places me in the uncomfortable position of being pressured to compromise integrity with expediency. As the spiritual leader of Kolot Mayim, I am choosing to honour my integrity and keep our Torah portions in line with Eretz Yisrael.