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Ezra, Nehemia, Malachi Siyum, Hasassah Women’s Learning Group, July 6th 2022 
Photos and Article by Marion Stone

The Hadassah Women's Learning Group led by Ronda Israel, recently held a very interesting 'siyum' (completion celebration) on the books of Ezra, Nehemia and Malachi, that we had studied and completed.
Our siyum discussion included such issues as how Ezra and Nechemia tried to keep Judaism alive in the Second Temple period amidst ignorance and existential influences. While intermarriage and assimilation were rampant at that time these 2 zealots worked long and hard to keep the population of Judah, now a province in the kingdom of Persia, religously observant to Torah law and commandments.
Some 20 women gathered around tables in Ronda's home, and a handout was given to each of us highlighting the conversations of Hashem with the Prophet Malachi.
Beverley Auerbach acted as MC, and introduced each speaker.
The prayers for the sick were said and Janice Waldman spoke briefly about the shooting that had taken place just outside Chicago 2 days previously, that took the lives of the parents of a little boy, the mother being Jewish.
A short review was given of the Book of EZRA in which we learned about the second aliyah from exile from Persia to Eretz Yisrael. The Second Temple had been built and there was a dire need to educate the people.
Sue Hausdorf spoke about the Book of Nechemia who was concerned about the threatened safety of Jerusalem and assimilation of Jews. He tried to bring back kashrut, Shabbat observance and he encouraged men to divorce their non Jewish wives.
In those days it was important for the people to understand our religion's relationship with our God and His commandments and laws.
We ended with the book of Malachi who was the last Jewish prophet. To nurture a good relationship of man with God requires a lot of effort and understanding on the part of the people. 
It was a morning of interesting learning and gave us cause to think more deeply into our own lives. 
After the lesson we were invited to eat the brunch that had been brought by all the participants.  A super selection of salads and pashdidot, with deserts nourished our bodies while the learning nourished our souls.

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