Friday, May 24, 2024/16 Iyar, 5784

Friday, May 24, 2024/16 Iyar, 5784

Parashat B’har Leviticus 25:1-26:2

Dear Friends,

This week, the Torah in Leviticus gives us the concept of the Jubilee Year, in the portion B’har (On the Mountain) with the following: And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants of it; it shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every person to their possession, and you shall return every person to their family. So compelling are these words that, “proclaim liberty throughout the land,” was inscribed on our Liberty Bell. Freedom is that precious, that important and that dear.

Imagine what it must have been like for our ancestors, having spent ten generations as slaves to have heard these words. They had known nothing else, so how could they even begin to conceive of what that would really mean? While we (at least most of us) on the other hand were born into freedom as were our parents and find it hard to conceive of anything else. Freedom is so integral to our being, we have a tendency to take it for granted, and perhaps not value it as we should.

Yet, one of the lessons of Jewish history is that freedom is easily taken away. Pharaoh simply decides to deal cleverly with us, and we become slaves. Human dignity and aspiration become distant memories, if that. It is a bleak vision, but not one that necessarily will become our future, if we pay attention and actively guard our freedom.

We can do that by being involved with what is happening in the greater community. Injustice demands that we take action to right the wrongs. We can donate to causes that provide for those in need. We can donate to committees that represent our concerns. We can take the time to volunteer and help others. And we can exercise a right that people all over the world have died for, namely the right to vote.

Lately, I have heard all too often, “I am not sure that I am going to vote.” We cannot afford the luxury of inaction and silence. We have to make our voices heard, to ensure that freedom is truly proclaimed throughout the land. If we do this, then the prophecy contained in this Torah portion will be fulfilled: You shall dwell in the land in safety.

There are many legacies we can leave for those who will come after us, but living securely, in a just society, must surely be one of the best.

Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Marv

Ilan Davidson


Cantor Ilan Davidson has been pleasing audiences with his singing since before he could read. At age five, he began singing with his Cantor, Philip Moddel, and hasn’t shut up since. At ten, he made his Operatic debut with the Fullerton Civic Light Opera’s production of Bizet’s Carmen, as a street urchin. Since then, he has performed roles in opera and musical theatre, performing, directing, and producing world-class productions.

Among his many accomplishments, Cantor Davidson is also known as a contemporary Jewish songwriter and performer, having delighted audiences all over the world, including Israel and Lithuania with the soulful sounds of his music. His recordings, Stained Glass (1995) and In A Hanukkah Mood (2007) are collections of original and covered songs by himself and many contemporary Jewish artists. His most recent recording, God Is In This Place (2020), is a collection of original liturgical pieces for the Friday night Shabbat Service, commissioned and written in honor of his 25th Anniversary as the Cantor of Temple Beth El.

Cantor Davidson left the stage and in 1995 joined the Temple Beth El family, in San Pedro, where, in his nearly 30 years of service, he has brought many new programs and much enthusiasm to all he does. Coming from a long line of Cantors, it must have been Besheret for Cantor Davidson, although talented in all areas of musical performance, to finally settle down into his career as Hazzan for Temple Beth El in San Pedro, California. In 2007, Cantor Davidson founded a new foundation, KindredSPIRITS, producing an annual world humanitarian aid event. KindredSPIRITS premiered on June 5, 2008 at Walt Disney Concert Hall, adding that prestigious concert hall to the ever growing list of venues around the world, where Davidson has performed. During the 10 years of humanitarian events, Global KindredSPIRITS, Inc., as an official 501©3, raised awareness and close to $500,000 for its beneficiaries over the decade.
As a past president of the South Coast Interfaith Council, Ilan fought for tolerance and understanding of ALL faiths in a difficult climate. For the past 7 years, Cantor Davidson has been service as an LA County Commissioner, representing the 4th District on the Human Relations Commission, where he currently serves as President. Whether it is raising his voice for justice, Hazzanut, Pop, Opera, Musical Theatre, or folk music, Cantor Ilan Davidson shares his soul and genuine love in every note.

When asked about his finest accomplishment, Cantor Ilan invariably responds, “After all the great concerts, services, and roles, my finest role in life is that of husband to my beautiful wife, Jodi, and daddy to my gorgeous daughters, Jordan and Zoe.”

Office: (310) 833-2467 Ext. 106

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