Shabbat Message: Resistance Came in Many Forms

Posted on April 9, 2021

A Message for the Shabbat After Yom HaShoah: Yesterday at 10:00 a.m. sirens blared throughout the land of Israel and everything came to a halt. For two full minutes, cars and buses stopped on the highways so drivers and passengers could get out and stand in respectful silence. Bustling marketplaces and busy office spaces fell Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Learning from Jewish History

Posted on April 2, 2021

Jewish Communal Response to Health Crises Across the Ages This time last year, Dr. Joseph Teplisky, an associate professor of History at Stony Brook University, wrote a piece entitled “Plague, Passover, and Perspectives on Social Distancing.” He began his article by discussing how Pope Francis altered Easter week and celebrations and the recommendations from the Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Renewing Seder

Posted on March 26, 2021

A message for Shabbat Hagadol (the Shabbat before Pesach) Seder means “order” in Hebrew, and on Passover it refers to the order of the service we conduct to relive the journey from bondage to freedom. A year ago, as we prepared for Passover, we found ourselves suddenly out of order, or, as we say in Continue Reading »

It Is Time to Make Our Alef Small

Posted on March 19, 2021

The Book of Leviticus opens with a curious scribal anomaly. The letter alef at the end of the first word, vayikra, is tiny. It probably began as a scribal error, but it was embraced as a “tradition” by our rabbis, who taught that Moses himself wrote it this way when he received the Torah at Sinai. He did Continue Reading »

Charoses by Osmosis: Recipes That Circle the Globe

Posted on March 15, 2021

Charoset is the star of the Seder plate. Amidst the parsley and lamb shanks, this sweet, sticky treat teases and tantalizes as we make our way through the storytelling, evoking the mortar used by the enslaved Israelites. Through the centuries, Jews have spread across the four corners of the earth and brought the story of Continue Reading »

Let’s Hear It for “Teenwork”!

Posted on March 15, 2021

The teen community at Temple Beth-El continues to be a great source of pride for our congregation. From forging informal connections, to madrichim serving as role models, to a grand Purim pivot in the form of a CARnival, to their profound insights shared in meaningful discussions, our teens continue to impress us at every turn. Continue Reading »

What You had to Say: Results of the Congregational Survey

Posted on March 15, 2021

We are pleased to have received more than 175 responses to the congregational survey taken in November and December 2020, which confirmed the connection many of us have to TBE. The survey results presented below confirm much of what was expected: many of us feel connected to TBE even in these COVID-19 remote times; many Continue Reading »

Chanting the Bible

Posted on March 15, 2021

Temple Beth-El recently hosted a film about and presentation by Rabbi Kevin Hale, a sofer, or Torah scribe. The film is called “Commandment 613,” because the six hundred thirteenth commandment is understood to obligate each Jewish person to write a sefer Torah, or Torah scroll. Rabbi Hale’s presentation was given for the religious school and Continue Reading »

Pesach: A Paradigm for Liberation from the Pandemic

Posted on March 15, 2021

Pesach: A Paradigm for Liberation from the Pandemic It is tempting to think of the Exodus from Egypt as a giant leap from slavery to freedom. The final plagues unfold, breaking Pharaoh’s will to resist. He relents and lets the Israelites depart. Our people pack their bags, grab the dough that hasn’t risen, and leave. Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: All Life Can Be a Sanctuary

Posted on March 12, 2021

This week’s double Torah portion, Vayak’heil-P’kudei, describes the completion of the Tabernacle, the very first sanctuary of the Jewish People. What I find most notable about the construction of this sacred space is how the resources were secured for the project. There was no mandatory participation, no tax levied to raise funds. Instead, the community Continue Reading »