Thoughts & Teachings

Lessons from our synagogue
  • 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

  • Allison Baumwald · Reflections on a Mission to Israel

    We began our preparations for Shabbat. Like on many missions, it starts with waking up very early and putting your luggage outside your room to be taken directly to Jerusalem, where you meet up with it in time to change your clothes and begin the journey to a Kabbalat Shabbat service in the old city. The similarity ended there. During our third program in Tel Aviv on that Friday morning, while hearing from people who live in the south of Israel, who shared... Read More

  • Jill Max · Jerusalem, If I Forget You

    The road to Jerusalem on a Friday afternoon is always packed with people making their way into the city for Shabbat. This past Friday, however, the traffic included multiple army convoys, headed toward the South. We had stopped to take a bathroom break, and the rest area was overflowing with soldiers, armored vehicles, and tanks loaded onto carriers. I often take photos of Israeli soldiers. However, this time it was different. This time I knew they were headed... 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

  • Rabbi Ron Shulman · Yom Ha'Atzmaut

    In Tel Aviv back in May 1948, wanting a Declaration of Independence to present to his people and to the world, David Ben Gurion had two immediate problems. Getting the formal document written, it wasn't actually completed on time, and deciding whether or not to mention God.  Three years after World War II, was the soon to be announced state of uncertain fate a demonstration of God's involvement in human history or only the political accomplishment of the Zionist... Read More

  • Rabbi Ron Shulman · Yahatz - Breaking the Middle Matzah

    Early in the Seder ritual, we break a piece of matzah, wrap it in a cloth, and hide the larger portion of it for after our meal. In some of our homes, children steal the wrapped matzah from the Seder leader and wait for a good “price” to return it. In other homes, the leader hides the matzah and the children search the house seeking it and then return it only after receiving their prize. Everyone knows the Seder can’t conclude until we eat this hidden matzah... Read More

  • Four Special Shabbatot · Rabbi Debi Wechsler

    This past Shabbat was Shabbat Parah, the first of four special Shabbatot leading up to Pesah, the festival of witnessing. The purpose of the redemption from Egyptian slavery, the purpose of God’s intervention through the plagues and the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart in the Exodus narrative was, “So that you may tell the story in the hearing of your children and your children’s children.” (Exodus 10:2) We were redeemed from Egypt so that we might tell the story... Read More

Our Next Shabbat

Sat, September 20

9:15 AM Shabbat Morning Service

5:00 PM Shabbat Afternoon Study

Fri, September 26

6:00 PM Oneg Shabbat/Minhah

6:15 PM Kabbalat Shabbat

6:39 PM Candle Lighting

Recent Sermon

September 13, 2014

Why We Care About Shemittah

Rabbi Deborah Wechsler

Transcript

Upcoming Featured Events

Prayer & Reflection

A community generated wall of prayers
  • Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur remind us. We are humble and vulnerable in life. Filled with desires and dreams, expectations and emotions...

    Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur remind us. We are humble and vulnerable in life. Filled with desires and dreams, expectations and emotions, no one of us knows our future. Honestly, ours are cares and concerns that in the larger world people live in dignity and find peace. Purely, ours are prayers and hopes that our days be long and our lives good. In prayer and reflection we ask and strive to answer. Who are we in relation to one another? Who are we in relation to our visions of self? Who are we in relation to God?

    Read More -Preparing for the High Holy Days
  • We pray for peace. Short of peace, we pray for calm. We lament that the promise of peace for Israel and her neighbors is not yet fulfilled...

    We pray for peace. Short of peace, we pray for calm. We lament that the promise of peace for Israel and her neighbors is not yet fulfilled. We stand in solidarity and hope with the people of Israel, for we and they are family, their story ours. We pray, too, that our Diaspora lives provide support to all the citizens of Israel. With Israel, we grieve the loss, pain, and human suffering in this war. We feel it for each of the 64 Israel Defense Force soldiers killed and the many wounded, for their families, for the 3 Israelis civilians killed, and for all in Gaza who mourn their losses of children and loved ones. We regret the circumstances that compelled Israel to fight. The world sees suffering without a context of who’s who and why there’s a struggle. We do not. Still, we seek to uphold our vision of goodness overcoming terror’s evil and respect for people replacing hatred. God, our prayer seeks blessing for the State of Israel, and for the whole of the Jewish people. May the day soon come that the land will know peace and there will be fullness of joy for all who live there. If not yet peace, may this hope be our comfort. Amen.

    Read More -Prayer for Israel
  • During this summer season, we are grateful for nature’s vibrant feel and the warmth it brings our spirits. We celebrate the rhythms...

    During this summer season, we are grateful for nature’s vibrant feel and the warmth it brings our spirits. We celebrate the rhythms and seasons of life, marveling at a world so vast and beautiful. May our summer days bring us productivity and pleasure. May our summer nights bring us calm and restoration. Blessed is God, Oseh ma’aseh b’reishit. We praise God, for the wonders of creation.

    Read More -Summer Warmth