Retelling Our Story

Posted on March 8, 2019

Did you know that Pesach is the most-observed Jewish holiday in North America? Family and friends gather around the table to retell the ancient story of our people’s liberation from bondage and journey into freedom. We beautify our tables with ritual objects and special settings that we use just for Passover. We prepare delicious food, Continue Reading »

Purim Reminds Us: It Is Good to Have Allies

Posted on March 8, 2019

Purim is coming, with all its joy and festivity. We will dress up, sing songs, eat hamantaschen, drink wine (as tradition dictates), and celebrate with gusto. A good time will be had by all! It is important to remember, however, that the reason for all this frivolity is the story recounted in the megillah of Continue Reading »

Let’s Speak for the Trees!

Posted on January 9, 2019

This month, we celebrate Tu BiShvat, Jewish Arbor Day, also known as chag ha-ilanot, the Birthday of the Trees, or New Year of the Trees. Tu BiShvat falls on January 21 this year, and our joyful TBE celebration will be held on Saturday, January 26. Because Tu BiShvat falls in the middle of our winter Continue Reading »

Winter — The Warmest Season

Posted on January 9, 2019

The unpredictable weather pattern engulfing the Hillsborough metropolitan area has everyone wondering what’s coming next. We went from a “one day tee shirt, next day parka” autumn to a November blizzard to a 65-degree first day of winter. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting heavier than normal snowfall. And who knows what Punxsutawney Phil will Continue Reading »

Chanukah, O Chanukah, Come Light the Menorah!

Posted on November 13, 2018

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights (chag ha-urim), comes to illumine our homes and give us a spiritual and emotional lift during the dark days of winter. Chanukah celebrations include lighting the chanukiah, the special eight-branchmenorah, each night; eating foods fried in oil, such as latkes (l’vivot) and jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot); singing songs; playing games, especially Continue Reading »

Mai Thanksgiving? What is Thanksgiving?

Posted on November 13, 2018

If the Talmud had a tractate on the holiday of Thanksgiving, it would likely begin like this: “Mai Thanksgiving?” What is Thanksgiving? What is its meaning? What is its purpose? So, what is Thanksgiving? Is it merely an opportunity to gather with family and friends to eat too much turkey and stuffing, maybe watch football, Continue Reading »

Happy Birthday, World

Posted on September 5, 2018

As the last hot days of summer pass, Jews around the world prepare for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah, literally translated as the “head of the year,” occurs on the first and second days of Tishri. Referred to in the Torah as Yom HaZikaron (day of remembrance) and Continue Reading »

20/20 Insight

Posted on September 5, 2018

Sen. Cory Booker describes an “aha” moment in his life that occurred when he was a law student at Yale. Having grown up in North Jersey, he decided that he would live in a housing project in Newark and commute to New Haven, Conn. He was already determined to make a difference in the community, Continue Reading »

Jewels of Elul — #15: “What If?”

Posted on August 26, 2018

What If? by Rabbi David Wolpe Life is composed of finite facts and infinite possibilities. Part of the art of living is to take the possibilities and elevate those which enhance our lives, improve our world and grow our souls…. In the Talmud, one Rabbi has a dream about an upside-down world. By stretching our Continue Reading »

Shavuot: Celebrating the Gift of Torah

Posted on May 4, 2018

First, a little Hebrew. The three root letters of shavu’ot are shin-bet-ayin — the same root that yields the word sheva’, “seven, sevenfold, seven times.” (In the language of the Bible, sheva’ can also mean the less specific “many times.”) Sheva’ appears frequently in Jewish tradition. The sheva b’rachot, “seven blessings,” are recited at a Continue Reading »