From the Senior Rabbi’s Desk

November 2019 – History in Perspective: Hanukkah & the Dead Sea Scrolls

Posted on December 16, 2019

During the two centuries before the Maccabean revolt (168-164 B.C.E) Greek culture had challenged traditional Jewish ways of life.  Greek replaced the local language and Jews began interpreting Jewish tradition to remake Judaism into a subculture of the Greeks. Close to the end of the second century B.C.E., Greek culture attempted to transform the Jerusalem Continue Reading »

September/October 2019

Posted on December 16, 2019

As I finished visiting my mother in La Serena, Chile, I began to contemplate the upcoming Yamim Noraim (High Holy Days). Growing up in my hometown the High Holy Days were a moving and special experience with a sing-along and participatory service. Most everyone knew what to expect and how to take part. The end Continue Reading »

January/February 2019 – Origins of the Jewish Bible

Posted on December 16, 2019

You are sitting in shul at a Shabbat morning service.  The ark opens. You and your family rise, kiss the Torah and your child asks you, “Dad, Mom, where does the Torah come from?” You say “Well, God gave it to Moses and Moses wrote it and passed it on to the Jewish people.  Generation Continue Reading »

October/November 2018

Posted on December 16, 2019

Every time the High Holy Day season approaches, I find myself reminiscing about the first Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur of my youth that I can clearly remember. I have unforgettable memories of my hometown and its fifty Jewish souls praying together in a small room filled with pictures of my ancestors.  I remember the Continue Reading »

July/August 2018

Posted on December 16, 2019

It is with a full heart and pure excitement that I extend Hazzan Randall Levin, Emily and their children, Henry and Michael, greetings and well wishes as we welcome them all for a most successful tenure at Temple Beth El. Temple Beth El strives to be a welcoming, inclusive, nurturing home for anyone interested in Continue Reading »

May/June 2018 – Passover: A Night To Celebrate; A Night To Eat History.

Posted on December 16, 2019

Passover is a family festival where grandparents, parents, children and friends reenact ancient rituals and for the lack of a better word, all “eat history.”  In the Torah we are instructed to observe the Passover Festival, as it is written:  “It shall come to pass when your children shall say to you, ‘what mean you Continue Reading »

January/February 2018 – Scholar in Residence

Posted on December 16, 2019

I was so glad to see so many members of our community engage with our Scholar in Residence, Kabbalah expert, Dr. Daniel Matt over the November 3 – 5 weekend. As we have watched our Limmud education program and Keshet preschool flourish over the last few years it is again refreshing to see members of Continue Reading »

October to December 2017 – The Minyan Family

Posted on December 16, 2019

One of the Jewish tradition’s inventions of sheer genius is the Minyan, the idea that the prayers change when we recite them with a congregation and that we change when we pray in the presence of others.  At the heart of our synagogue is the Daily Minyan. The prayer book teaches: “Prayer cannot bring water Continue Reading »

July to September 2017 – Limmud, Temple Beth El New Jewish Education Initiative

Posted on December 16, 2019

I would like to provide a personal overview of our new Limmud Program. There is a fundamental principle that sustains, motivates and guides our new Limmud initiative – the supreme value of Jewish Education.  For the Jewish child, this means growing up to share in the Jewish experiences of his/her family and people as recorded Continue Reading »

December 2016 – Life’s Large And Small Problems

Posted on December 16, 2019

Some time ago I read a wonderful sermon by Rabbi Morris Adler, (may his memory be for a blessing.)  In it, he quoted an interview he had read with a person who had just walked across America.  Stationed in New York reporters asked this person what was the thing that had bothered him most during Continue Reading »