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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 »

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 »

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: Radical Empathy

Posted on January 22, 2021

I like to ask my students if they think their parents would ever lie to them. Of course not, they assure me. Well then, I ask, is it true that your parents were slaves in Egypt and that God liberated them with signs and wonders? Yet, every year at the Pesach seder your parents tell Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Let Us Soften Our Hearts

Posted on January 15, 2021

“And Pharaoh’s heart was hardened…” (Ex 7:22) This week’s parashah continues the story of the Exodus and the dramatic confrontation between God and Pharaoh. It is a story of pain and suffering that multiplies as the oppressor becomes the victim of his own designs. And the root of it all? The hardening of the heart. Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: The Wisdom of the Midwife: First Breathe,Then Push

Posted on January 8, 2021

Two days have passed since the violent attack on the Capitol and many, if not most, of us are still in shock. If we hadn’t seen it with our own eyes, we likely would not have believed it could happen -— not here, not in America. To this I say: thank God this is America. Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: May We Truly Live

Posted on January 1, 2021

This Shabbat, as we turn a page in the secular calendar, we also turn a page in Torah. With Parashat Va-yechi and the death of Jacob, we come to the end of the Book of Genesis and the days of our patriarchs and matriarchs. It is the end of an era, the end of our Continue Reading »