“Do Not Be Silent” – Weekly Newsletter – 6/4/20

It has been a difficult week, as we Americans have witnessed not only the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the senseless death of George Floyd followed by worldwide protests.  While our own personal responses to the unrest we are currently witnessing may differ, I wanted to share with you how the Jewish organizations…

“State of the Union” – Temple Israel – June 2020

This message was read during the Annual Meeting which took place May 3rd, 2020 As this is a Zoom meeting, I will attempt to be brief as I’m certain there is plenty to discuss and it’s a difficult arena to maintain.  I think it best to discuss the State of the Temple in terms of…

“Extended Education” – Weekly Reminder -5/28/20

In past years, Temple Israel has taken a break from educational programming over the summer. This ensures that members don’t miss out on opportunities to learn during times when they may be traveling or taking a break or enjoying time with family. That being said, because we are not able to meet in person due…

“A Nationwide Shavuot” – Weekly Newsletter- 5/21/20

I can’t tell you all how excited I am for Shavuot next week.  Is it because I can’t wait to teach my lesson on Jonah?  Maybe a little bit.  But more than that, it is the excitement for the Small Congregations Tikkun Leil Shavuot 5780.  It has been the tradition, for generations, that on the…

“Counting the Omer with Respect” – Weekly Newsletter – 5/14/20

This past Monday evening, Jews around the world celebrated Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of counting the Omer between Pesach and Shavuot.  The origin of this holiday is certainly disputed, and the reason for bonfires and cookouts is unclear, to say the least. Nonetheless,  when studying the history of this time period, between Passover and…

“In the Belly of the Fish” – Weekly Newsletter – 5/7/20

Well friends, we might not realize it with all that’s going on but Shavuot is just around the corner.  On Thursday, May 28, Jews around the world will gather (virtually hopefully) to engage in the time honored tradition of study for Shavuot.  I have thought long and hard about what we should learn about this…

“Wealth Inequality” – Monthly Newsletter – May 2020

I don’t know about any of you, but COVID-19 sure has allowed me to get more reading done. It’s not because I have less to do (quite the opposite, most rabbis and spiritual leaders are actually doing more), but with certain activities that were social or outside being restricted at this time, I’ve had to…

“We Will Gather” – Weekly Newsletter – 4/30/20

This Sunday, at 5pm we, members of Temple Israel will gather for our annual meeting.  I say “gather,” with a bit of a chuckle, as I’m certain this is the first time in our history that we will do so via Zoom.  It is my sincere hope that many, if not all, of our members…

“Mishkan T’filah for Travelers” – Weekly Newsletter – 4/23/20

It has been so incredible leading our Shabbat services virtually over these past few weeks.  Stay-at-home orders and social distancing have not stopped the members of Temple Israel from gathering and continuing to be a Kehillah K’dosha, a holy community.  I am always grateful to see you all interacting with one another via Facebook or…

“Cosmic Voids” – Weekly Newsletter -4/16/20

This week I found myself asking a question rarely uttered by rabbis: Now what?  COVID-19 cancelled our Purim Shabbat, and we just completed a virtual Passover Seder.  Our Spring of holidays has come to an end, and here I am thinking, “well, now what?”  In Judaism, late Spring and Summer is a relaxing time, with…

“The Freedom We Enjoy” – Weekly Newsletter – 4/9/20

It is my deepest hope that each one of you had a meaningful and wonderful first night of Passover last evening. Whether you held  a seder at your home, joined  Zoom seders with friends, or joined us for our livestream congregational seder, I hope that you found comfort and strength in fulfilling our rituals during…

“Finding Comfort in the Psalms” – Weekly Newsletter – 4/2/20

We’ve spent a great deal of time over the last few weeks discussing how this new reality has affected us. As we adjust to a new normal, we find ourselves seeing the social, economic, and spiritual ramifications of quarantine, social distancing, and “stay at home” orders. And so we’ve talked about creating virtual communities, about…