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 »

Shabbat Message: Love the Stranger and Judge All People Kindly

Posted on March 5, 2021

A Message for Refugee Shabbat At the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tisa, God commands Moses to take a census by having each person give a half-shekel coin. Instead of counting the people, which was taboo, they would determine the number of people by counting the coins. The money collected would be used Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Purim and the Perils of Powerlessness

Posted on February 26, 2021

As kids we loved Purim. Dressing up, playing carnival games, booing Haman, and watching adults being silly. It was all great fun. As adults, the frivolity of Purim is tempting. It awakens the innocence of childhood within us, and that can be a welcome thing, as long as one doesn’t actually read the Megillah. For Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Thank You for Your Gifts

Posted on February 19, 2021

This is Shabbat Zachor. The Sabbath of Remembrance. The Sabbath immediately before Purim.  We are enjoined to read a special, additional Torah portion, from the Book of Deuteronomy (chapter 25, verses 17-19) which commands us to remember Amelek and the existential threat to the Israelites as they marched out of Egypt, especially threatening the weakest Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Reproductive freedom

Posted on February 12, 2021

Here’s a question for you: Do you think of yourself as a religious or pious person? Does that term ‘religious’ make you cringe just a tiny bit? Does it sometimes feel as if being a religious person means you have to be Orthodox, a very observant Muslim, Sikh or Hindu? Or for some, the term Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: We are Loved: Baruch HaShem!

Posted on February 5, 2021

In 2011, Adam Sutcliffe and Jonathan Karp published a collection of essays entitled Philosemitism in History. Notably, they chose to begin their introduction with this old Jewish joke: “Q: Which is preferable -the antisemite or the philosemite? A: The anti-Semite – at least he isn’t lying.” The cynicism expressed by this joke is biting but understandable, Continue Reading »

Freedom in Our Day

Posted on January 29, 2021

The story of the Israelites being freed from Egyptian bondage by God, with Moses as their leader is a story of redemption. The Israelites were saved by God’s power, and we became God’s people in the process, ultimately receiving the Torah at mount Sinai and joining in the covenant with God that binds us together Continue Reading »