Pacific Jewish Center | Rabbi

The Rabbi on the Beach @ The Shul on the Beach

Birkas Hachama

Once every 28 years the Jewish people give thanks for the sun. Why once every 28 years? Because the sun returns to the exact spot in the horizon once every 28 years. This is what we celebrate when we make the blessing once every 28 years.

You can read all about it in the LA Times. I am even quoted in the article! My first time in the LA Times. Thanks to Duke Helfand for putting such a great article together.

Today Jews all of the world made the blessing for the sun.

You can read about a lot of these celebrations and see their photos here.

One of the last places in the continental United States to make this blessing was the Pacific Jewish Center.

Special thanks to Judd Magilnick for spearheading the birkas hachama efforts in Venice.

The blessing is to be recited upon seeing the sun in the morning. Venice is one of the most western Jewish community in the USA and thus sees the sun later than nearly everyone else. We celebrated with a community gathering on the beach to make the blessing. The blessing was preceding by a short Torah thought on the concept of the blessing of the sun.

I spoke about two concepts. 1 was the idea that the grand things in life are there to remind us of the power and beauty of the small things. We make the same blessing that we make for the sun on several other occasions which occur more frequently. For example when we see a majestic mountain or the flash of lightning. I believe the blessing of the sun can remind us to appreciate the beauty in those smaller things as well.

2, the Jewish life is full of cycles. Life and death, morning and night, the week, the month and the year, among others) We use these cycles as opportunities for a new freshness and rebirth. A chance to kick-start our growth. But these cycles are mostly short. I think one of the beautiful things about the blessing of the sun is the sheer length of the cycle. Sometime one needs perspective and a wide angle lens to appreciate life. Sometimes, patience helps us out of a dark time. The blessing of the sun shines its light on that darkness.

We made the blessing on the beach and sang some songs before ending the ceremony.

I had my iPhone with me and I took 2 beautiful shots with its camera.

Birkas Hachama 2009 Venice CA | Pacific Jewish Center 1


View of the Blessing of the Sun with the Shul in the background

View of the Blessing of the Sun with the Shul in the background

Filed under: All Posts, Musings & Observations, , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Gila and Pinny says:

    Hi Eliyahu, just checking out your blog, looks great! hope to see you soon!
    p.s. ozzie’s new trck is adorable the video is really cute

    have a good one! regards!
    Pinny and Gila

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April 2009

Photos of PJC

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