Shabbat Candlelighting 4:56 p.m.                                                Friday, February 5, 2010/21 Shevat 5770

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Olympic Fever Building
Between road closings, the massive sprucing up of downtown, and the barrage of media coverage, Olympics fever is taking over the region. There are a number of ways to connect with the Olympics through your Jewish community:

•Torch Relay – We know of at least two of our community members who have the honour of carrying the Olympic torch leading up to the Opening Ceremony. Daniel Frankel, one of our Ben-Gurion Society members is running Sunday in Abbotsford, and Karen James, our Women’s Philanthropy Chair and a former Olympic athlete, is among the last of the torch relay runners next Friday in Yaletown. For more information, click here.

•Meet and Greet with Israel’s Olympic Athletes – There are two community gatherings where you have an opportunity to connect with Israel’s athletes at the 2010 games:

1. Celebrate with the Israeli Olympic team. A community event for the whole family. Come and meet the Israeli Olympic team and the Israeli Consul General, Amir Gissin. Bring your camera and autograph book! Entertainment by JCCGV Or Chadash Dancers, and Israeli-style jazz by La La Band. Presented by Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver.

2. Magen David Adom’s The Frozen Chosen, an emotional tribute to Israeli Olympians of the Munich Games followed by a celebration of Israel's long road to Olympic Gold and introduction of the 2010 Israeli Olympic team.

•Congregation Beth Israel is hosting an Olympics-themed Shabbat dinner on Friday, February 19th featuring Beijing Olympian Ben Remoker. For more information click here.

•Congregation Schara Tzedeck is also hosting a Shabbat dinner on Friday, February 19th. For more information click here

The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre’s outstanding exhibit related to the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany is still on display at the JCCGV, and well worth a visit.

•Showstoppers – If you are a fan of the JCCGV’s Gotta Sing Gotta Dance program, you can catch some of their alumni in Perry Ehrlich’s ‘Showstoppers’ performing group, which has 12 different gigs during the two weeks of the Olympics.

On a less amusing note, two Jewish community-related stories hit the news this week. The first relates to the defacement of two Israeli flag decals in the South Granville area. The South Granville Business Improvement Association and Yaletown Business Improvement Association, which sponsored the flag displays, promptly removed the defaced decals and made plans to reinstall them closer to the Olympics. We appreciate their care in dealing with these unfortunate incidents.

The second relates to the video that VANOC created for the torch relay, which includes a 22 second clip from the 1936 “Nazi-hosted” Olympics. Even though the clip was edited to omit the most offensive images, some were upset that any images from that event were used. The video was shown to torch bearers when boarding shuttle buses to their positions along the torch relay. VANOC has subsequently decided to retire the video and to focus on the highlight videos that show the tremendous excitement generated by the torch relay as it has made its way across the country.

Parashat Yitro
In this week’s parasha, two important events happen; Moses ascends to receive the Ten Commandments and meets up with his father-in-law Jethro, who counsels him on setting up a leadership structure for dealing with all the issues and conflicts among the people. The advice of Jethro encompasses a fundamental principle of delegation. He instructs Moses to find good and moral members of the community to occupy different levels of authority in dealing with the many issues that arise. In this way Moses can focus his time and energy on the most important matters. In this simple passage we see an early contribution to social organization and development that has relevance to this day in how societies are governed.

Shabbat Shalom!

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