Refugee Shabbat: Exodus Stories

Posted on April 4, 2023

Next week, Jews around the world will gather together to celebrate the Festival of Passover. We will eat matzah and charoset, drink four cups of wine, and tell the story of our ancestors, who fled slavery and oppression in search of freedom and a new home. But it’s not just the Israelites’ story. We are reminded that, Continue Reading »

Israel in Crisis

Posted on March 24, 2023

Last Saturday night, 500,000 Israelis took to the streets all across the country. It was the 11th consecutive week of mass protests against the Netanyahu government’s efforts to undermine Israel’s democracy. 500,000 represents 5% of the entire population of Israel; the equivalent in the United States would be 16.5 million Americans. Could you imagine such Continue Reading »

The Heart of Jewish Life

Posted on March 17, 2023

In this week’s parashah, Moses brings the people of Israel together to build the Tabernacle, the sacred heart of the community of Israel, a place for the Divine Presence to dwell among them. Having summoned the entire community, Moses instructs the people as follows: “These are the things that God has commanded us to do: Continue Reading »

We Should Be Like Aaron

Posted on March 10, 2023

Our Rabbis tell us that we should strive to be like Aaron, “loving peace and pursuing peace, loving all people and bringing them near to the Torah.” (Pirkei Avot 1:12) This is the way our tradition remembers Aaron, as a man of peace, a lover of humanity. But if we look at this week’s Torah Continue Reading »

Let None Be Left Behind

Posted on March 3, 2023

Have you ever been left out or left behind? I’m sure all of us have had such an experience — of not being included in the game or picked for the team, not being able to keep up with a lesson in class, or being left out of a circle of friends. Do you remember Continue Reading »

Parashat Terumah: A Generous Heart

Posted on February 24, 2023

Terumah 5783 This week we read the nineteenth parashah in the cycle of Torah reading – parashat Terumah starting with Exodus chapter 25, verse 2. The word Terumah is used seventy-six times in the Tanakh which includes the five books of Moses – the Chumash, plus “Prophets” Nevi’im and “Writings” Ketuvim where Terumah is taken Continue Reading »

Stronger Together: Shabbat of Peace, Not Hate

Posted on February 24, 2023

Dear Temple Beth-El community, It is unfortunate that once again we must address antisemitism in our own country. The Anti-Defamation League has notified Jewish communities of very disturbing events planned for this weekend with the following message: ‘White supremacist groups are trying to organize antisemitic activities as a “National Day of Hate” throughout this coming Continue Reading »

Mishpatim and #ReproShabbat

Posted on February 17, 2023

Reproductive Rights Shabbat For the past two years, I have spoken on Shabbat Mishpatim, now called #reproShabbat in many Jewish communities, organized by the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). Last year, the US Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision changed the landscape for women and pregnant people across the United States. Suddenly, our rights were drastically Continue Reading »

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Posted on February 10, 2023

Our Torah portion this week is Parashat Yitro from the Book of Exodus (Sefer Shmot). Two major events occur in this portion. The first is when the Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro or Yitro, brings Moses’ wife, Zipporah, and his two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, to Moses in the wilderness. Seeing the situation Moses is in, Yitro Continue Reading »

Tu BiShvat — The New Year of the Trees

Posted on January 29, 2023

What is the meaning of the word ‘Tu’, in Tu BiShvat? The birthday of the trees, or Tu BiShvat, falls on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat. In the Hebrew numbering system, letters are used to denote numerical values, with Aleph equal to 1, Bet equal to 2, etc. The teen numbers Continue Reading »