Thoughts & Teachings

Lessons from our synagogue
  • Tu Bi Shevat 2015

    The Mishnah tells us that we observe four New Years: Nisan 1 is the New Year for dating the reign of Kings and dating the beginning of the Festival cycle. Elul 1 (Tishrei 1 according to Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Eliezer) is the New Year for determining the tithe of animals. Tishrei 1 is the New Year for years when we begin counting the New Year.  It is also when we begin a new yearly cycle for counting the Sabbatical (shemittah)... Read More

  • Parshat Shemot · Rabbi Debi Wechsler

    This week a hero is born, a savior, you might say. We read the beginning of the Book of Shemot and are told of the birth of Moses, a baby so beautiful that his mother hides him from sight for three months. And when she can no longer hide him, she puts him into a wicker basket and leaves him among the reeds by the bank of the Nile River.  But no woman who has spent nine months waiting for the birth of a child would just leave him unaccompanied.   Va tay tatzav... Read More

  • Hannukah · How Will You Light Your Hanukkiyah?

    How will you light your hanukkiyah?  The Talmud in tractate Shabbat records four traditions of how to light a hanukkiyah: The mitzvah of Hanukkah is one light for a man and his household. The zealous kindle a light for each member of the household. Beit Shammai maintain: On the first day eight lights are lit and thereafter they are gradually reduced. Beit Hillel say: On the first day one is lit and thereafter they are ... Read More

  • Parshat Toldot · Rabbi Debi Wechsler

    Esau does something which our tradition sees as reprehensible.  Parshat Toldot tells the story of Esau selling his birthright (his status as the first born) to Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew.  Our Rabbis find it outrageous that Esau would willingly abandon something so valuable for something so transitory. We see it as evidence of Esau’s bad character.  But we each have our own bowl of lentil stew, that thing which seemed at the time to be so attractive to... Read More

  • Parshat Chaye Sarah · Rabbi Debi Wechsler

    Our parshah is framed by death. It begins with the death of Sarah at the age of 127 and ends with the death of Abraham at the age of 175 years.  But the parshah deals not with the death of Sarah as its central narrative concerning the end of her life. Rather the Torah is most interested in the search for a burial plot for her. After Sarah dies, Abraham sets out to find, not just a place to bury her, but what the Torah calls ahuzat kever, a burial plot that... Read More

  • Rabbi Ron Shulman · New Shabbat AM - October 25, 2014

    New Shabbat AM is a joyous and reflective Shabbat morning celebration of prayer, song accompanied by musical instruments with Charlee Sterling and Ayal Yariv. Our prayer, exploration, and learning is guided by Rabbi Ron Shulman. Using a special prayer book that includes Hebrew transliteration and English reflection, New Shabbat AM seeks to facilitate personal prayer and communal celebration in a concise hour and one-half user-friendly ShabbatMorning Service... Read More

  • Rabbi Ron Shulman · Sukkot Tribute

    Sukkot is a tribute to simplicity. On Sukkot we pause for moments of living without all of the “stuff” we accumulate. Building a Sukkah, and dwelling in it for meals or more, focuses us on the basic needs of our lives: shelter, nourishment, and the company of others. Though to be honest, it never quite works out that way. We always find ways to be extravagant in our simplicity. We decorate, we embellish, and we adorn our Sukkot. We fulfill the imperative of... Read More

  • Rabbi Ron Shulman · Reminder Before Yom Kippur

    Religion isn’t only about ritual and faith, worship and congregation. Real religion views the forms and symbols of our beliefs as reminders for the purpose of what we believe. Religious essence is to recognize that there’s something about each and every one of us present upon which the world depends. It is present when we express our compassion and caring for humanity and our support for the needy. Concern for our neighbors is vital. Personal humility and... Read More

  • Rabbi Ron Shulman · An American Yahrzeit

    This week we observe in our land a yahrzeit, the thirteenth sobering and sad anniversary of September 11, 2001. Back then none of us understood how our world, our nation, and our people would change. We remember the horror of 9/11 today conscious about our security and engaged in battles against new terror threats from ISIS, Hamas, and their horrific ilk. The horrors of 9/11 felt by all Americans reverberated within the Jewish community not only due to grief... Read More

  • Elul · Rabbi Debi Wechsler

    So it begins.  With a plaintive melody and a nostalgic blast Elul enters once again.  It has been a year since we last heard the mournful melodies of the High Holidays and the piercing blast of the shofar.  On Wednesday August 27th  the new month of Elul began and with it our intensive preparation for the High Holidays.  The Maharal of Prague (Rabbi Judah Loew 1520 – 1609) used to say, “All the month of Elul, before eating and sleeping, a person should look... Read More

Today's Services

February 1 12 Shevat

Our Next Shabbat

Fri, February 6

5:14 PM Candle Lighting

6:00 PM Oneg Shabbat/Minhah

6:15 PM Kabbalat Shabbat

6:30 PM New Shabbat

Recent Sermon

January 17, 2015

Acknowledging the Good in Dr. King's Single Garment of Destiny

Rabbi Deborah Wechsler

Transcript

Upcoming Featured Events

Prayer & Reflection

A community generated wall of prayers
  • We live at a tense historical moment, challenged by so much instability and inhumanity around the world. In response, we seek joy and...

    We live at a tense historical moment, challenged by so much instability and inhumanity around the world. In response, we seek joy and goodness for our lives, embracing our Jewish heritage and reflecting upon the circumstances of our lives and the condition of our world. May we take every chance to renew and rejoice in the gifts and blessings of our days. Joined as a community in God’s presence, may our families and friends the Jewish people and all of humanity may know blessings of goodness, life, and peace. Amen.

    Read More -Prayer for this Moment
  • Terror and horror in Paris remind us that God demands justice and respect for all of humanity. Satire or serious, human expression...

    Terror and horror in Paris remind us that God demands justice and respect for all of humanity. Satire or serious, human expression is to be free just as people must be free to be. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the victims of hatred and terror in France. We grieve with the victims’ families. In our prayer and personal conduct, we hope to sustain all efforts to protect free speech, human dignity, and social decency. Sensitive to the anti-Semitic attack in a Kosher grocery store outside of Paris, and sad that for the first time since the Nazi occupation the Paris Grand Synagogue was closed on a Shabbat we affirm our hopes that everyone may be safe and secure. May the pursuit of justice and goodness throughout our world inspire our vision today and tomorrow.

    Read More -Prayer After Terror in France
  • Ours is a tradition rooted in marking off the weeks, the months, the seasons, and the years. Judaism is a religion of time. We experience...

    Ours is a tradition rooted in marking off the weeks, the months, the seasons, and the years. Judaism is a religion of time. We experience God in time not object, in history not place. We identify sacred time and ordinary time, living in concentric calendars of culture, religious values, public dates and personal occasions. As we begin the secular year 2015, may we know that time is the first and ultimate gift we receive. We measure time in order to give it meaning. That’s our responsibility, to bring meaning to the experiences of our lives. May 2015 be a time of meaning, goodness, and peace.

    Read More -2015