Thoughts & Teachings

Lessons from our synagogue
  • Jill Max · Jerusalem, If I Forget You

    The road to Jerusalem on a Friday afternoon is always packed with people making their way into the city for Shabbat. This past Friday, however, the traffic included multiple army convoys, headed toward the South. We had stopped to take a bathroom break, and the rest area was overflowing with soldiers, armored vehicles, and tanks loaded onto carriers. I often take photos of Israeli soldiers. However, this time it was different. This time I knew they were headed... Read More

  • A Prayer for the State of Israel · June 30, 2014

    As we mourn the grievous loss of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel, we pray that the State of Israel, the dawn of our people's redemption, experience security and peace. May the light of our tradition's ideals guide Israel's people and leaders. Let the words of the Torah be made manifest, “Adonai oz le amo yiten Adonai yevarekh et amo ba shalom.” May those who defend our people's historic homeland find strength, courage, and humanity in their... Read More

  • Rabbi Deborah Wechsler · Blessings of Naso

    Last week the sanctuary hosted two graduations in less than 24 hours, and in the past month there have been at least four other graduations that took place. Teachers are coming to school in t-shirts and jeans for their meetings, boxes are in the hallway, and classrooms are dark. There is no escaping that this is a time for leave takings, endings, and looking ahead to new beginnings. It is the most popular time of the year for moving and changing jobs, and there... Read More

  • Rabbi Deborah Wechsler · Chizuk Amuno Congregation

    On the first day of Shavuot, Akdamut is chanted as part of the Torah service as an introduction to the Torah reading. The first words of the poem describe its purpose – akdamut milin, which means introductory words – to introduce the Ten Commandments.  Akdamut was written by Rabbi Meir ben Isaac in the 11th century in Germany. It is a 90 line poem which praises God as creator of the world, and it concludes that we can enjoy God’s splendor by fulfilling the... Read More

  • Rabbi Ron Shulman · Yom Ha'Atzmaut

    In Tel Aviv back in May 1948, wanting a Declaration of Independence to present to his people and to the world, David Ben Gurion had two immediate problems. Getting the formal document written, it wasn't actually completed on time, and deciding whether or not to mention God.  Three years after World War II, was the soon to be announced state of uncertain fate a demonstration of God's involvement in human history or only the political accomplishment of the Zionist... Read More

  • Rabbi Ron Shulman · Yahatz - Breaking the Middle Matzah

    Early in the Seder ritual, we break a piece of matzah, wrap it in a cloth, and hide the larger portion of it for after our meal. In some of our homes, children steal the wrapped matzah from the Seder leader and wait for a good “price” to return it. In other homes, the leader hides the matzah and the children search the house seeking it and then return it only after receiving their prize. Everyone knows the Seder can’t conclude until we eat this hidden matzah... Read More

  • Four Special Shabbatot · Rabbi Debi Wechsler

    This past Shabbat was Shabbat Parah, the first of four special Shabbatot leading up to Pesah, the festival of witnessing. The purpose of the redemption from Egyptian slavery, the purpose of God’s intervention through the plagues and the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart in the Exodus narrative was, “So that you may tell the story in the hearing of your children and your children’s children.” (Exodus 10:2) We were redeemed from Egypt so that we might tell the story... Read More

  • Purim · Rabbi Ronald J. Shulman

    Why didn’t Mordecai bow down to Haman? After all, that is how the whole megilah gets started, right? Well not quite! But it is Mordecai’s act of disobedience and disrespect that motivates Haman’s desire to destroy the Jews of Shushan. When the other men in King Ahashueros’ court asked Mordecai why he refused to bow before Haman, all Mordecai told them was that he was a Jew. Why didn’t Mordecai bow down to Haman? Perhaps he felt that, as a Jew, it was not appropriate... Read More

  • Rabbi Deborah Wechsler · Parshat Tetzaveh

    From the first parashah in the book of Shemot, of Exodus, Moses appears or is mentioned in every single parashah until the very last verses of the Torah.  He is written in to every account, every interaction, and every command.  Except for this week in Parshat Tetzaveh.  This is the only week from the moment Moses is born until the moment he records the story of his own death that Moses neither appears nor is mentioned. The Sages suggest two reasons for this... Read More

  • Rabbi Deborah Wechsler · Parshat Bo

    On 4 occasions the Torah tells us to teach our children and instruct them in the path of Judaism.  Each of the four passages has a direct connection with Pesach.  Three of the four are found in this week’s parshah, the fourth later in Devarim.  They are tied to what we know famously from the hagaddah, ve higadata le vinkha ba yom ha hu, you shall tell your son on that day, saying it is because of this which God did for me when he brought me out of Egypt.” (Exodus... Read More

Today's Services

July 23 25 Tammuz

Our Next Shabbat

Fri, July 25

6:00 PM Oneg Shabbat/Minhah

6:15 PM Kabbalat Shabbat

8:07 PM Candle Lighting

Recent Sermon

July 12, 2014

Borders

Rabbi Ron Shulman

Transcript

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Prayer & Reflection

A community generated wall of prayers
  • A Song of Ascent. Out of the depths I call to You; Lord, hear our cry, heed our plea. With hearts full of sadness we rend our garments...

    A Song of Ascent. Out of the depths I call to You; Lord, hear our cry, heed our plea. With hearts full of sadness we rend our garments and wail in mourning with our people. We grieve for Gilad, Eyal and Naftali whose souls are with God. We pray that their families and the entire family of Israel be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

    Read More -A People Weeps
  • During this summer season, we are grateful for nature’s vibrant feel and the warmth it brings our spirits. We celebrate the rhythms...

    During this summer season, we are grateful for nature’s vibrant feel and the warmth it brings our spirits. We celebrate the rhythms and seasons of life, marveling at a world so vast and beautiful. May our summer days bring us productivity and pleasure. May our summer nights bring us calm and restoration. Blessed is God, Oseh ma’aseh b’reishit. We praise God, for the wonders of creation.

    Read More -Summer Warmth
  • Prayerful wonder: how could life in this grand and glorious world be worthy of its beauty and mystery if who we are is of little consequence?...

    Prayerful wonder: how could life in this grand and glorious world be worthy of its beauty and mystery if who we are is of little consequence? We need this awareness. Created in God's image, who we are matters. What we do matters. How we do it matters, too.

    Read More -Who We Are Matters