Rediscovering My Jewish Self In Israel

Posted on April 7, 2020

Fate has just handed you the trip of a lifetime to a place you’ve always wanted to see, but didn’t think would ever happen, and in a way that most visitors would never experience. You tell family and friends, hoping they’ll share your happiness. In most cases, they do. But then the inevitable questions come Continue Reading »

Israeli Politics: 3 Elections, 11 months

Posted on April 7, 2020

It’s a confusing time in Israeli politics. On March 2, 2020, Israel had its third election since last April. It’s especially confusing to those of us in the United States when we hear things like, “They can’t form a government!” What does that even mean?! Our American news agencies try to explain it by using Continue Reading »

The Results Are In: World Zionist Congress Elections

Posted on April 7, 2020

From January 21 through March 11, 2020, Temple Beth-El and our Reform Movement campaigned in the World Zionist Congress Election. This was the one democratic opportunity we had to have our Reform voices heard in Israel and throughout the world, and to work to implement the values we hold dear — pluralism, equality, freedom, and Continue Reading »

We Need You to Be a Shamash!

Posted on January 6, 2020

Have you ever wondered why we use a shamash to light the candles on the chanukiah? We could just as easily use the same match to light all of the lights each night, so why do we need a shamash? Just think of all the candles we could save!  We need the shamash because it Continue Reading »

The World Zionist Congress Elections 2020

Posted on January 6, 2020

When you enter the Temple Beth-El lobby, you will see a large poster that asks, “Why Vote?” You may wonder which election is approaching. The New Jersey primaries do not occur until June. The presidential election is in November. The World Zionist Congress (WZC) elections start on January 21, 2020. The WZC is a representative Continue Reading »

Why We Need to Support ARZA and Vote in the Zionist Elections

Posted on November 5, 2019

On Yom Kippur, I urged us to remember that we Jews are family. We are bound to one another by history and destiny, so what happens to any one of us should matter to each and every one of us. At the same time, we are also extremely diverse. We are Reform and Ultra-Orthodox, religious Continue Reading »

Israel @ 70 – A Dream in Progress

Posted on May 7, 2018

“When God returns the exiles to Zion, we will be like dreamers.” – Psalm 126 The State of Israel is the fulfillment of a dream. As we sing in Hatikvah, the modern return to Zion was a hope — a dream of 2,000 years! Today, on Israel’s 70th birthday, it still seems like a miracle Continue Reading »

Making Strides for Religious Understanding in the Holy Land

Posted on March 12, 2018

Pastor Todd Buurstra, religious leader of the North Branch Reformed Church, and I have been making strides together for some time now. Some have been in the area of advocacy, where we have been strident in our call for justice and compassion for the weak and vulnerable among us: the stranger, our neighbors who are Continue Reading »

Biennial Impressions

Posted on January 14, 2018

As many of you know, a large delegation from Temple Beth-El attended the Union for Reform Judaism’s Biennial Convention, held in Boston on December 6-10. Our heads are still spinning and our hearts still dancing from the learning opportunities, significant speeches, musical presentations, and — the highlight of every Biennial — the very special opportunity Continue Reading »

Israel a home for ALL Jews?

Posted on November 5, 2016

Help the Reform Movement Demand Equality at the Western Wall last winter, the Israeli government approved an egalitarian space for prayer at the Western Wall. The long-awaited plan is to create a new area by the Western Wall where the Conservative and Reform movements will be permitted to hold egalitarian prayer services. Under the agreement, Continue Reading »