“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…

“The Rabbis and Climate Change”

This morning, as we celebrate Tu Bishvat, we stand, with no exaggeration, in a time of chaos.  The concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is the highest it has been in 3 million years, 408 part​s per million.  Scientists predict that a mass extinction, the sixth in Earth’s history, will occur when we hit…

“The Hanukkiyah” – Weekly Newsletter -12/12/19

With Hanukkah approaching, many of you may be dusting off your hanukkiyot, your Hanukkah Menorahs, in preparation for the kindling of them on the eve of Sunday, the 22nd.  Most of us know the blessings and the rituals,  the lighting of the candles with the shamash, and adding a candle each night. Like so much…

“What are Cherubim?”

This morning we read from some of the verses in our parsha, T’rumah, which features a extensive look at the construction of the Tabernacle, the Mishkan, God’s mobile sanctuary.  With almost obsessive precision, the Torah outlines each section, each part of the Tabernacle: the materials needed, how to put them together, where things should stand,…

Temple Israel – Monthly Newsletter – October 2018

Like any other fall season, we Jews spend our time in synagogue, and in the sukkah, embracing our High Holy Days.  Depending on where the Lunar calendar falls in the Solar calendar, our holidays can come “early” in our season, or “late.” Of course, each year, they arrive precisely on time.  Once the holy days…

“Preserving Your Culture? No, You Just Don’t Like Change”

This morning, we read from our sacred scrolls the words of the Deuteronomic decalogue, the ten commandments. These words are those known around the world, and which have been read for roughly two-thousand years:   “Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as Adonai your God has commanded you.  Six days you shall labor…

“The Ger Tzedek”

In our parsha this morning, from Behar-Bechukotai, we heard from the Torah the words “If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will grant you rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit.” Now, we have long done away with…

Installation Address – 4/27/18

Friends, what a lovely evening this has been, and what an incredible moment for all of us.  I think it best that I keep my remarks brief, as so many others have spoken so beautifully, and because in just over a week I am charged with standing in front of this congregation at our annual…

“Prayer, Not Slander”

This week, rabbis around the world take a deep sigh as they recognize that they must explicate upon the double parsha, Tazria-Metsora.  Within these many verses lay the purification rituals for circumcision, menstruation, discharge, scabs, discoloration of the skin, affections of the hair and beard, and the disease known as tzara’at.  It’s a regular bag…

Temple Israel – Monthly Newsletter – April 2018

“Rav Helbo, in the name of Rav Huna, says When a [person] leaves the Synagogue, he [or she] should not take large steps.” -Talmud Bavli Berachot 6b In perusing the Talmud earlier this week, I stumbled upon this quote.  The context of the quote comes from a discussion of whether or not it is permissible…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 2/1/18

Let’s talk Torah.  With the increase of Saturday morning services here at Temple Israel, and the approach of the sofer visit, I thought it appropriate in the next upcoming newsletters to discuss, in depth, some of the basics of the Torah service and Torah “etiquette” so that all feel informed and comfortable when the Torah…