Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 8/17/17

This past week, in a joint letter published in The Lafayette Journal & Courier, the Interfaith Leaders of Greater Lafayette stood together to condemn the racist and violent ideology put forth by the “Unite the Right” demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia. As a Reform Jew, I was proud to sign my name to this statement and…

“For Our Use by God’s Decree”

I think it’s safe to say, as we progress through the book of Deuteronomy, that Moses has a lot to say.  Usually when there’s a long passage in a book, fiction or non-fiction, some of us might find ourselves speed reading, or skimming through the section, thinking “how relevant could this diatribe be to the…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 8/10/17

Dear Friends, With the High Holy Days approaching, I have been working diligently with our cantorial soloist to create outlines for the upcoming sacred services of our calendar.  In doing so, I have been reminded of the high importance of service honors during not only these services, but any service which involves Seder Kri’at HaTorah,…

“To Love God”

As it happens, this week’s parsha contains within it a rather familiar and, I’d dare to say, important set of verses in our Torah.  Starting with Deuteronomy 6:4 – “Hear, O Israel! Adonai is our God, Adonai alone. You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 8/3/17

I always enjoy when congregants ask questions that allow for a teaching moment, and recently I was asked a great one: “Why do some people stand, and some sit, during the Sh’ma?” Since this week’s parsha, Va’etchanan, features the Sh’ma, I thought it appropriate to address this question now. But first, a very brief history…

Temple Israel – Monthly Newsletter – August 2017

Dear friends, Just a few short weeks ago, I began my tenure as your rabbi. For Barrie, Asher, and me, the time has flown by. At the same time, you—and West Lafayette more generally—have made us feel so comfortable and so welcome that it feels as though we have been here for a lot longer….

“One Verse”

When I was little, I’m certain that I asked the question, “where did the Torah come from?”  I don’t remember asking it, the motivation behind the question, or exactly when it was asked, but I do remember the answer.  The answer which I was taught, and which I read many times over as I studied…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 7/27/17

Next week, beginning at sundown on July 31, Jews around the world will observe Tish’a B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, by fasting and reflecting on its historical significance.  Dr. Michael Marmur, a professor at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion states that, particularly among Reform Jews, this day,…

“The Value of the ‘How’ and ‘Why'”

This past week, I sat down at my desk early one morning and started to read this week’s Torah portion.  Like you do.  Here we are at the end of Midbar, the book of Numbers, in our parshiot, Matot-Ma’asei, and while there are plenty of verses within these six chapters to find absolutely fascinating, that…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 7/20/17

Dear Friends, Shabbat, be it Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday evening or Shacharit on Saturday morning, is a time of meditation, of reverence, and of introspection. It has been absolutely wonderful worshipping with so many of you these last two weeks, and I look forward to seeing so many of your faces (and perhaps even some…

“Torah vs. The 21st Century”

“Adonai spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Pinchas, son of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the Israelites by displaying among them his passion for Me, so that I did not wipe out the Israelite people in My passion. Say, therefore, ‘I grant him My pact of friendship.  It shall be for him…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 7/13/17

Dear friends, What an incredible welcome!  It was an absolute joy to join you all in worship on this past Friday evening for our Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv.  The warmth from the burning Shabbat candles was dwarfed by the warmth of the congregation, by all of your smiles, your voices lifting up our prayers, and…