Thoughts & Teachings

Lessons from our synagogue
  • 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

  • A Prayer for the State of Israel · June 30, 2014

    As we mourn the grievous loss of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel, we pray that the State of Israel, the dawn of our people's redemption, experience security and peace. May the light of our tradition's ideals guide Israel's people and leaders. Let the words of the Torah be made manifest, “Adonai oz le amo yiten Adonai yevarekh et amo ba shalom.” May those who defend our people's historic homeland find strength, courage, and humanity in their... Read More

  • Rabbi Deborah Wechsler · Blessings of Naso

    Last week the sanctuary hosted two graduations in less than 24 hours, and in the past month there have been at least four other graduations that took place. Teachers are coming to school in t-shirts and jeans for their meetings, boxes are in the hallway, and classrooms are dark. There is no escaping that this is a time for leave takings, endings, and looking ahead to new beginnings. It is the most popular time of the year for moving and changing jobs, and there... Read More

  • Rabbi Deborah Wechsler · Chizuk Amuno Congregation

    On the first day of Shavuot, Akdamut is chanted as part of the Torah service as an introduction to the Torah reading. The first words of the poem describe its purpose – akdamut milin, which means introductory words – to introduce the Ten Commandments.  Akdamut was written by Rabbi Meir ben Isaac in the 11th century in Germany. It is a 90 line poem which praises God as creator of the world, and it concludes that we can enjoy God’s splendor by fulfilling the... Read More

Today's Services

November 25 3 Kislev

Our Next Shabbat

Fri, November 28

4:26 PM Candle Lighting

6:00 PM Oneg Shabbat/Minhah

6:15 PM Kabbalat Shabbat

Recent Sermon

November 22, 2014

Har Nof, Jerusalem

Rabbi Ron Shulman



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Prayer & Reflection

A community generated wall of prayers
  • We remember four prominent men, three of whom were rabbis, olim – immigrants to Israel from America and England, individuals for...

    We remember four prominent men, three of whom were rabbis, olim – immigrants to Israel from America and England, individuals for whom their families now grieve, without whom their wives now live, without whom their 24 children must live on. We join with those praying in synagogues throughout the world trying to fill the sacred space their absences create. We remember Aryeh Kupinsky, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Rabbi Kalman Levine, and Rabbi Moshe Twersky whose memories we embrace as a community praying in God’s presence. May God’s presence bring their families and our people comfort and healing.

    Read More -Remembering Har Nof
  • We give thanks for the great wonder of God’s creation, for the earth, the stars, the sun and the moon, and for the beauty of the...

    We give thanks for the great wonder of God’s creation, for the earth, the stars, the sun and the moon, and for the beauty of the universe with which we are blessed. We are thankful our lives, for the brilliant moments of joy which allow us to soar as the birds, and even for the anguish and pain which somehow seem to precipitate inner growth and change. For all these things, in God’s presence we are grateful. Especially, we give thanks for being human, blessed, among all the fruits of God’s creation, with minds to reason and seek truth and justice; with souls which can feel pain, ecstasy and compassion, and for the freedom to choose life and goodness over cruelty and destruction. And for our hearts which can love and care and reach out to touch the hearts of our brothers and sisters as together we walk through the years of our lives. -Siddur Vetaher Libenu, adapted

    Read More -We Give Thanks
  • Prayerful wonder: how could life in this grand and glorious world be worthy of its beauty and mystery if who we are is of little consequence?...

    Prayerful wonder: how could life in this grand and glorious world be worthy of its beauty and mystery if who we are is of little consequence? We need this awareness. Created in God's image, who we are matters. What we do matters. How we do it matters, too.

    Read More -Who We Are Matters