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Lessons from our synagogue
Rabbi Ron Shulman · Shavuot
Shavuot is one of the most anticipated festivals on the Jewish calendar. Anticipating this holiday we count fifty days. Described as the time we commemorate the gift of Torah, Shavuotcelebrates God’s revelation to the Jewish people. We prepare to approach such a significant date. That’s why we’ve been counting the days since Passover. We think and get ready to receive Torah anew because we realize that Torah is an actual reflection of God. The gift of Torah... Read More
Rabbis Shulman & Wechsler · Relief Aid for Nepal
The recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal evokes many thoughts and feelings. Through the media’s reporting of this natural disaster and its devastation, we are all witnesses to the horrendous number of victims and stories of survivors who mourn them. Estimates worry that thousands more may have died while millions more require immediate humanitarian assistance. Deeply touched, we are concerned for their welfare and futures. We may ask why something of this... Read More
Bein Shoah le Tekumah · Between the Destruction of the Holocaust and the Establishment of Israel
Life is lived in stages. In as much as we experience moments and days, we live within stages. Experiences are categorized according to when they are lived. Milestones mark the beginnings and endings of these stages, but then we live within them, each with their special character that colors our memories of them. Our Jewish life is no different. With milestones marking significant moments, both our lives and our years are divided into stages of living,... Read More
The Prophet Elijah · Rabbi Debi Wechsler
For literally millennia, Jews have been asking one question about Elijah - When will finally get here? No one knows but even more than your in laws, he is the most delayed dinner guest in all of history. But while we wait, the challenge of Pesah is for us to be Elijah in his stead. We can do his work by bringing hope and by doing “good” for those who are poor and hungry and those who despair. Let us do the work of Elijah. Let us bring our hametz to the foodbank... Read More
Shabbat Parah · Rabbi Debi Wechsler
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
Purim 2015 · Rabbi Ron 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... Read More
Tu Bi Shevat 2015
The Mishnah tells us that we observe four New Years: Nisan 1 is the New Year for dating the reign of Kings and dating the beginning of the Festival cycle. Elul 1 (Tishrei 1 according to Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Eliezer) is the New Year for determining the tithe of animals. Tishrei 1 is the New Year for years when we begin counting the New Year. It is also when we begin a new yearly cycle for counting the Sabbatical (shemittah)... Read More
Parshat Shemot · Rabbi Debi Wechsler
This week a hero is born, a savior, you might say. We read the beginning of the Book of Shemot and are told of the birth of Moses, a baby so beautiful that his mother hides him from sight for three months. And when she can no longer hide him, she puts him into a wicker basket and leaves him among the reeds by the bank of the Nile River. But no woman who has spent nine months waiting for the birth of a child would just leave him unaccompanied. Va tay tatzav... Read More
Hannukah · How Will You Light Your Hanukkiyah?
How will 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 ... Read More
Parshat Toldot · Rabbi Debi Wechsler
Esau does something which our tradition sees as reprehensible. Parshat Toldot tells the story of Esau selling his birthright (his status as the first born) to Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew. Our Rabbis find it outrageous that Esau would willingly abandon something so valuable for something so transitory. We see it as evidence of Esau’s bad character. But we each have our own bowl of lentil stew, that thing which seemed at the time to be so attractive to... Read More
A community generated wall of prayers
When we approach something of great meaning we proceed slowly. We think, reflect, and prepare. May our counting these days of Omer...
When we approach something of great meaning we proceed slowly. We think, reflect, and prepare. May our counting these days of Omer encourage us to live each day fully, to honor our responsibilities to people and to God, and to receive Torah anew for our lives.Read More
May the coming spring’s beauty inspire us to seek personal renewal, the rebirth of our souls, and hopes for good purposes in our...
May the coming spring’s beauty inspire us to seek personal renewal, the rebirth of our souls, and hopes for good purposes in our lives.Read More
We live at a tense historical moment, challenged by so much instability and inhumanity around the world. In response, we seek joy and...
We live at a tense historical moment, challenged by so much instability and inhumanity around the world. In response, we seek joy and goodness for our lives, embracing our Jewish heritage and reflecting upon the circumstances of our lives and the condition of our world. May we take every chance to renew and rejoice in the gifts and blessings of our days. Joined as a community in God’s presence, may our families and friends the Jewish people and all of humanity may know blessings of goodness, life, and peace. Amen.Read More