Moshe told Pharaoh that everyone needs to go. "Our young and our old...because it is a festival to God for all of us."
Pharaoh then has a sudden change of heart. "No!" he says. "Take the men and go worship God if that iswhat you really want!."
Rashi explains Pharaoh's reply:
Pharaoh thought he caught Moshe in a lie. "You said you are just going to worship. If that were true, why do you need the children? It is not normal for kids to participate in services!"
Obviously Pharaoh had never been to Beth Israel!
That was the way that Pharaoh thought. In his mind, prayer was something that was the duty of only one segment of his society. But Moshe was not lying. Then and now, for the Jewish people our prayers and celebrations are not complete without the participation of the entire community.
This Shabbat is new members Shabbat at Beth Israel. We are welcoming all the people who have decided to join our wonderful congregation in the past year. Some members are also members of other synagogues in Omaha. Some have moved here from other cities. And some are joining a Synagogue for the first time in their lives.
Whoever you are, and where ever you come from, welcome to our Beth Israel community. With your presence and participation, our prayers and celebrations are enhanced.
May we have many Shabbats, festivals, and happy occasions to celebrate together as a community, and may we all merit to see the day when all Jews, where ever they are in the world, are joined together in prayer and thanksgiving to Hashem!