Lighting the HanukkiahPost A Photo
Lessons from our synagogue
Hanukkah Lighting · Chizuk Amuno Congregation
How do you light your hanukkiyah? The Talmud in tractate Shabbat records four traditions of how to light a hanukkiyah: The mitzvah of Hanukkah is one light for a man and his household. The zealous kindle a light for each member of the household. Beit Shammai maintain: On the first day eight lights are lit and thereafter they are gradually reduced. Beit Hillel say: On the first day one is lit and thereafter they are progressively increased. Those... Read More
Rabbi Deborah Wechsler · Parshat Vayera
God and Abraham stood together on the precipice. Both looking out on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. God had decided to destroy the cities and had shared with Abraham His intentions. Together they went down, and stood, and tried to determine if the people in those towns had acted according to the outcry that had reached all the way up to God. And together they had to decide who to save. “Will you sweep away the innocent along with the guilty?” Abraham... Read More
Rabbi Deborah Wechsler · Parshat Noah
Our first full week, our first regular week, after the holidays. It is time for us, like Noah, to open a window as we readjust to our new reality. Noah was a simple man, despite being unusual in his generation. A family man, without even a trade at the beginning of his life, he was dedicated to his family and tried to keep himself and them on a moral path, a path that was sometimes different from those around him. So he was chosen to build an ark, to be a... Read More
Rabbi Deborah Wechsler · Sukkot Joy
On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we stay inside our cocoons of home and synagogue. Even the half hour outside at Tashlikh or during the break between musaf and study sessions doesn’t take us more than few blocks beyond our comfortable places inside. Now Sukkot arrives and it takes us way beyond our comfort zone. Or rather it establishes a new comfort zone. We re-enter the world around us in a way that is entirely appropriate after spending so many days inside... Read More
Rabbi Deborah Wechsler · 5774 Approaches
So it begins. With a plaintive melody and a nostalgic blast Elul enters once again. It has been a year since we last heard the mournful melodies of the High Holidays and the piercing blast of the shofar. On Wednesday August 9 the new month of Elul began and with it our intensive preparation for the High Holidays. The Maharal of Prague (Rabbi Judah Loew 1520 – 1609) used to say, “All the month of Elul, before eating and sleeping, a person should look into... Read More
Tefillat Ha Derekh · A Prayer for the Journey
At this time of year, many of our students and community members set off on journeys of discovery to Israel and other locales. We wish them Tzeitzchem le shalom, u’voakhem le shalom. Depart in peace, and return to us in peace. We offer up a prayer for your safe travels: May it be Your will, Adonai our God and God of our ancestors, to guide them in peace. May the journey to their destination be peaceful. May they arrive vital, joyful, and content. And may... Read More
Rabbi Ron Shulman · Omer and Memory
The Torah’s vision of counting these 50 days we call “the Omer” is to remember God’s gifts of freedom and sustenance. Our daily count is an affirmation of the blessings in our lives we take for granted, and upon which we depend. Onto this positive purpose, following the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, later tradition imposed sad memories. To honor the losses of our ancestors, this Omer season became a symbolic period of national mourning. No... Read More
Rabbi Ron Shulman · Dayenu - Enough?
The song Dayenu offers repair for our ancestors’ ingratitude while wandering in the wilderness. Where they complained about the food, or lack of water, or the harsh environment, or the challenge of entering the land, we give thanks for their experience. Instead of letting their complaints every step along the way stand, in freedom and relative comfort we proclaim how grateful we are for each and every moment in the drama of our people’s redemption. Dayenu says... Read More
Rabbi Deborah Wechsler · Shabbat Parah: Getting Ready for Pesah
This Shabbat we call 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
Rabbi Ron Shulman · Purim - The Funny Holiday
On Purim, we recall an existential threat to the Jewish people, a threat overcome through courage and conviction. Celebrating Mordecai's convictions and Esther's courage, on Purim we laugh, mock, dress in costumes, and act silly. Why? Why is Purim the funny holiday? In life, our goal is to do more than survive. Our goal is to thrive, to live well, to do good and be happy, and to laugh. Humor actually protects us. It helps us to cope. It nurtures our souls... Read More
A community generated wall of prayers
Celebrating the light of hope, of God’s goodness, and the world’s promise, may the brightness of Hanukkah illumine the dark. May...
Celebrating the light of hope, of God’s goodness, and the world’s promise, may the brightness of Hanukkah illumine the dark. May we each celebrate the beauty of our Jewish heritage, and sense the miraculous in our lives, as we enjoy the warm glow of Hanukkah’s light.Read More
Feeling genuine compassion and sadness, all of us cry out for the storm victims in the Philippines, for their lives, their well being...
Feeling genuine compassion and sadness, all of us cry out for the storm victims in the Philippines, for their lives, their well being, their property, and for the flooded, decimated cities where they live. God, be with them in the rebuilding of their lives and communities, their bodies and souls. Reeling from water and wind, death and destruction may there be comfort as possible and support as necessary in confronting such great loss. Amen.Read More
We give thanks for the great wonder of God’s creation, for the earth, the stars, the sun and the moon, and for the beauty of your...
We give thanks for the great wonder of God’s creation, for the earth, the stars, the sun and the moon, and for the beauty of your universe with which we are blessed. We are thankful our lives, for the brilliant moments of joy which allow us to soar as the birds, and even for the anguish and pain which somehow seem to precipitate inner growth and change. For all these things, God, we are grateful. Especially, we give thanks for being human beings, blessed, among all the fruits of God’s creation, with minds to reason and seek truth and justice; with souls which can feel pain, ecstasy and compassion, and for the freedom to choose life and goodness over cruelty and destruction; and for our hearts which can love and care and reach out to touch the hearts of our brothers and sisters as together we walk through the years of our lives. -Siddur Vetaher Libenu, adaptedRead More