Shabbat Message: It is the Songs that Stir Our Soul

Posted on September 25, 2020

Every year after Yom Kippur I hear friends and relatives react to their rabbis’ sermons on the Holy Days. And guess what. Not one of them has ever said the rabbi’s sermon was too short. If all goes well, a rabbi’s words from the pulpit are challenging, moving, important and instructive. These are the standards Continue Reading »

Home Sanctuary

Posted on September 16, 2020

As a new Jewish year approaches, the ways in which we will celebrate it will undoubtedly look a little unfamiliar. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many of us will be unable to gather in the ways we do every year, to both welcome the arrival of the new year on Rosh Hashanah, and to Continue Reading »

Getting to Know All About You: A Profile of Cantor Risa Wallach

Posted on September 16, 2020

[Editor’s note: We asked Cantor Wallach to answer some questions for us via email, so that our TBE family can get to know her better. This profile is largely based on her responses and reflections.]  I grew up in western Massachusetts in the small town of Great Barrington. My family was mostly secular, celebrating Chanukah Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Words to Strengthen and Inspire

Posted on September 11, 2020

Words to Strengthen and Inspire “I am not a man of words…” “lo ish d’varim anochi…” (Exodus 4:10) That was how Moses first responded to God’s call to lead our people. Yet somehow that man who declared himself unqualified, as slow of speech and inept with words, overcame his fears, led the children of Israel Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Rosh Hashanah Came Last Wednesday

Posted on September 4, 2020

Rosh Hashanah came for a visit a few days ago. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss the actual Yom Tov. That will come on time, according to the proper rhythm of the Hebrew calendar, and we will celebrate it with joy, as is fitting. So how did Cantor Wallach, Amy Rubin, and I experience Rosh Hashanah Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: The Battle of the Human Heart – Don’t Be Indifferent

Posted on August 28, 2020

This week’s Torah portion contains more laws than any other parashah in the Torah – 72, to be exact. The purpose was not to provide a code that the average Israelite would carry around to consult at any given moment; rather, it was to cultivate a certain sensibility, awareness, and attitude. Nowhere is this more evident than in the prescription Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: A Message for Rosh Chodesh Elul – Finding the Beauty that Lies Within

Posted on August 21, 2020

Rabbi Kalonymous Kalmish Shapira, the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto left us a wonderful metaphor for the work of repentance and renewal that we began today with Rosh Chodesh Elul. When sculptors begin their craft, he said, what stands before them is a “brute block of stone.” Within that stone lies the possibility of something beautiful that is as Continue Reading »

The Mitzvot We Perform with Our Feet

Posted on August 7, 2020

This week’s Torah portion, Eikev, opens with words of encouragement to walk in God’s ways and to obey God’s commandments. “v’haya eikev tishmaun…” It shall come to pass if you observe God’s rules… that God will … bless you and multiply you…” (Deuteronomy 7:12) The word eikev is most interesting. Its plain meaning is, “as Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: From Lamentation to Consolation

Posted on July 31, 2020

I recall the moment when remembering my dear father felt only joyful and not also painful. It was a long time coming, and I’m not quite there yet with my beloved mother, who died a little more than a year ago. Grief is potent. Like gravity, it has a persistent pull and weight. It saps energy Continue Reading »

Finding Light Amidst the Darkness – Our Observance of Tisha B’Av

Posted on July 24, 2020

Finding Light Amidst the Darkness – Our Observance of Tisha B’Av What are we to do when our dreams are shattered? The wise counsel of the late great Israeli author Amos Oz is to find a new dream. Remember, he said, that the loss of a particular hope or dream does not mean that all Continue Reading »