Latest News

  • Dinner and a Movie | Sept. 21
    September 13, 2019
    On Saturday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m., we’ll join together for a potluck dinner, and watch a provocative Israeli film, the Wedding Plan. After a brief discussion focusing on themes of the High Holy Days, we’ll move to the sanctuary for a contemplative and uplifting Selichot Service. The Wedding Plan is a 2016 Israeli film
  • High Holiday Cantor Fund
    September 13, 2019
    Please consider contributing to our long-standing Cantor Fund for these upcoming High Holy Days. It is through the generosity of congregants that we are able to bring in a cantorial soloist to help beautify and elevate worship here at Beth Shalom during the Days of Awe. This year, we are blessed to welcome back Rabbi Ellen Nemhauser
  • Rabbi’s Blog | 18 Years, Eternally
    September 13, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, As this summer closes, Sam and I have recently been waxing nostalgic. We mentioned that something feels different or lacking from previous summers. Soon we put our finger on it. This was the first summer in over a decade during which we had not visited Israel. We felt an inner longing, one that
  • Celebrate the High Holidays with Beth Shalom
    September 11, 2019
    5780 is almost here!  Rabbi Natan and cantorial soloist Rabbi Ellen can’t wait to lead the Congregation during these momentous days of worship and engagement.  Schedule Check out the schedule for all High Holy Day services and celebrations below and stay tuned to the announcements in these weeks leading up to the High Holy Days. Babysitting Available If you are
  • Rabbi’s Blog | WORKING for Blessings
    August 30, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, I spent 36 hours this week on quick trip to our nation’s capital for an AIPAC rabbinic conference. Before it started, I had a couple of hours free and so I started meandering my way over to the National Mall with no particular destination in mind. Suddenly, I encountered this stark and imposing
  • Celebrating Shabbat Together
    August 30, 2019
    Our second community Shabbat Services with Congregation B’nai Israel will take place next Friday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m., at Beth Shalom. Rabbi Goldson will deliver the Dvar Torah. Join us for musical Kabbalat Shabbat Services, followed by a potluck dinner. We will provide paper goods, drinks, salad, and dessert, and we ask that you
  • Order now for a sweet new year!
    August 30, 2019
    Support our religious school, Jewish Journeys and get ready for Rosh Hashanah buy buying a jar of local, organic honey! The honey is medium amber and harvested by Bob Singer. each 1 lb. jar will be $10 and can be ordered here or by stopping by the BSS
  • Rabbi’s Blog | The Jewish Recipe
    August 16, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, At times, the simple act of existence seems difficult. Sometimes, it feels as if stumbling blocks lurk in every corner, impeding our speech and our progress. The many good things we do in a day become overshadowed by the one mistake. An absent-minded statement to a friend, family member, or co-worker. A harsh
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Join Me in Chicago
    August 2, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, As you know, our synagogue is a proud member of the URJ, the Union for Reform Judaism. Yes, we incline more toward ”traditional” ritual and practice, but our worldview and vision firmly coincide with that of the URJ. Every other year, thousands of Jews from across North America and the world gather together
  • Summer Shabbat with B’nai | Aug. 9 at 6 p.m.
    August 2, 2019
    As you know, our city’s two synagogues will come together for community Shabbat Services this summer to focus on the importance of Jewish unity here in Baton Rouge. Due to the storm a few weeks ago, we had to postpone our first gathering. The rescheduled date is September 6th, to take place here at Beth
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Reflection into Action
    July 19, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, After much hype and days of preparation, the storm’s fury mercifully spared us in Baton Rouge and throughout Louisiana. With so many of us still scarred from the Tisha b’Av flood three years ago, Barry’s weakening was a relief of the highest order. Of course, other storms have formed around our community. The
  • Weekend Services and Events CANCELLED
    July 11, 2019
    All services and events scheduled for Friday, July 12 – Sunday, July 14, have been cancelled because of Tropical Storm Barry. Beth Shalom asks everyone to please be
  • CANCELLED | Summer Shul with B’nai this Friday!
    July 10, 2019
    UPDATE: This Friday’s summer shul has been cancelled due to Tropical Storm
  • Rabbi’s Blog | The plate that breaks, the tie that binds
    July 5, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, A momentous life cycle event rapidly approaches for my extended family. Sam’s sister, my sister-in-law, is getting married in a couple of days. With great joy, Sam and I will stand together under the chuppah and officiate the ceremony in upstate New York. The man that my sister-in-law, Allie, is marrying comes from
  • New Saturday Service Schedule
    June 21, 2019
    Based on popular feedback, we are starting a NEW SHABBAT MORNING SCHEDULE. Beginning Saturday, July 6th, we will meet for our Torah Study (Covenant & Conversations), at 9:30 a.m., followed by Shabbat Morning Services at 10:30 a.m. We know that some folks would like that extra half hour to focus on the element of rest
  • Celebrating Shabbat Together
    June 20, 2019
    Our city’s two synagogues will come together for two festive, community Shabbat Services this summer. On July 12th, we will host at Beth Shalom and Rabbi Goldson will deliver the Dvar Torah. On August 9th, B’nai Israel will host and Rabbi Natan will deliver the D’var Torah. Both evenings will begin at 6 p.m. with
  • Lend a Hand with Shabbat Services
    June 20, 2019
    It’s easier than it looks. At Beth Shalom we depend on our congregants’ participation in leading services, as well as, chanting Torah and Haftarah. If you can read Hebrew, you can lead services or learn to chant. Torah portions can be as short as 3 verses and can be scheduled well in advance for plenty
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Finding What to Say
    June 14, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, I had a hard time finding a worthy topic to address in this week’s email. I went through the past week, combing the days for something exciting to share or teach. As we have just finished marking the holiday of Shavuot, there are no other holidays to speak of for a while. Intent on
  • Rabbi’s Blog | An Israeli flag on the moon!
    April 12, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, Ok, so it was not the soft lunar landing for which the project had hoped and planned for more than 8 years. It was a crash landing of sorts after Israel had become the 7th country in the world to enter the moon’s orbit. BUT…make no mistake, there is now an Israeli flag
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Any bacon lovers out there?
    March 29, 2019
    Haha, I thought I would get your attention with that subject line! 🙂 Our tradition gives us a fascinating insight into human reality by way of this often-maligned, tasty (so I’m told!) animal. This week, we get a detailed list of the animals considered kosher and those that are not. As you may know, to
  • RSVP for 2nd Night Seder | April 20
    March 21, 2019
    RSVP below for our 2nd Night Seder on Saturday, April 20 at 5:30 p.m. Deadline is Friday, April 12. BSS adult members are $30 each and non-member adults are $45 each. Children and students of BSS-member families are FREE,  Make your checks out to Beth Shalom Synagogue (memo: Seder) Our family-friendly seder will be interactive and
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Join us: Candle Light Vigil
    March 20, 2019
    Chaverim Shalom, Tonight begins the holiday of Purim, a time when forces of darkness conspired to take over the world. Yet the Jewish People, led by Esther and Mordechai, summon up the courage to defeat the overwhelming evil. Is this not a story that continually repeats itself?? As you all know, a terrible tragedy struck
  • Purim is here! | Wednesday, March 20
    March 14, 2019
    Purim is here! Join us next Wednesday evening, March 20, at 5:30 p.m. for our Purim festivities. Together, we will fulfill the four mitzvot of Purim and inject some of our special Beth Shalom flare into them. We’ll begin with a hamentashen making party and competition where we will pit two time-treasured congregational recipes against
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Remember
    March 14, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, While we Jews excel at many things, I believe that memory must occupy the top of that list. Throughout history, we have elevated the act of remembering to an art form, as a way of eternalizing fleeting existence. Think of all the examples: The Jewish State, Israel, has the most memorials of any
  • Corned Beef Sandwich Sale
    March 13, 2019
    We are no longer taking new orders. We will honor all previously accepted orders and serve drive-through customers only. Thank you so much your incredible support! Sunday, March 17 – Drive Through Pick-up only Monday and Tuesday, March 18 & 19 – Drive Through Pick-up or Business Delivery for 5+ sandwiches Choose from: Proteins: Corned Beef Tuna Fish
  • Rabbi’s Blog | 2 Milestones in 1 Week
    February 22, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, My wife had a couple of significant milestones in her life as this week comes to a close. She officially changed her name from Samantha Ashley Shabman to Samantha Shabman Trief. Yes, it turns out I am no longer the only rabbi with the unusual last name of Trief. Of course, though I
  • Weekend with Carly Abramson | Feb. 22 & 23
    February 19, 2019
    We’ve got an action-packed schedule of events this weekend! Our ISJL (Institute of Southern Jewish Life) Fellow, Carly Abramson, will be leading things on Feb. 22 and 23. Her beautiful music and voice will enhance our Kabbalat Shabbat Services on Friday Evening and Saturday Morning. At 9 a.m. Saturday morning, Carly will lead Shabbat Yeladim (Tot
  • Rabbi’s Blog | The First Jewish Building?
    February 8, 2019
    Chaverim Shalom, We Jews don’t rely on a physical space for prayer or to facilitate God’s presence. We believe that prayer and God can be found anywhere. For this reason, unlike so many cathedrals and mosques around the world, it is rare to see very elaborate and ornate synagogues. And yet, as we all know,
  • RSVP by Feb. 11 for Scholar-In-Residence Events
    February 5, 2019
    Our Scholar-In-Residence weekend is nearly here! RSVP by Feb. 11 to let us know you will be coming to events on Feb. 15 & Feb. 16.  Rabbi David Stern, senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas and president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, will deliver the sermon during the 6 p.m. service on
  • Rabbi’s Blog | March 16, 2018 | Vayikra: The Singular Power of Corned Beef
    February 1, 2019
    A sermon delivered at Beth Shalom Synagogue on March 16, 2018 When my unit underwent field-training in the IDF, there were some tough conditions to which we had to accustom ourselves. Carrying heavy weights, digging a hole in which to sleep, barely getting to use it, the intense discipline. But one of the hardest things to get used
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Does God talk to us?
    January 25, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, There’s a Jewish dating service cleverly named SawYouAtSinai, playing on the traditional idea that all Jewish souls, past and present (all 600,000 types) stood at Sinai for God’s revelation thousands of years ago. There’s something really comforting and accessible about this idea if we choose to accept it. Similar to this idea at
  • We remember: The National WWII Museum to observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day
    January 25, 2019
    On Sunday, January 27, The National WWII Museum will screen the award-winning documentary Who Will Write Our History at 2:00 p.m. at BB’s Stage Door Canteen. Roberta Grossman’s film tells the riveting story of Emanuel Ringelblum’s clandestine archive of daily life and resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto. The screening is free and open to the
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Feb. 16, 2018 | Terumah, Valentine’s Day, Stubbornness and God
    January 18, 2019
    A sermon delivered at Beth Shalom Synagogue on Feb. 16, 2018 I’ve been accused frequently of being stubborn, mostly by my wife, sometimes by others, and yet I’ve always taken it as somewhat of a compliment, as a badge of honor. After all, aren’t us Jews am kshey oref, a stiff necked, stubborn people. Why should I not
  • Israel and Louisiana’s Governor | Jan. 29
    January 16, 2019
    Learn about the Louisiana Governor’s Economic Development Mission to Israel featuring Governor John Bel Edwards and a panel discussion with Louisiana’s Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis (Co-Chair Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission), and President and CEO, The Water Institute of the Gulf, Justin Ehrenwerth. The program will be Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.
  • BaRFTY Dinner | Jan. 27
    January 15, 2019
    BaRFTY Presents: Abraham’s Spaghetti Dinner, a fundraiser for Dream Street. Sunday, Jan. 27, 5-7 p.m. at Beth Shalom. $10 eat in or take out, includes drink & dessert. Auction follows dinner. To reserve your spot, please email dskaplan @ or joshuahblack @ We accept cash or checks written out to
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Coming to Your Pharaoh
    January 11, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, What if Pharoah were part of us? We often think of Pharaoh as this cruel and unrelenting villain in Jewish history, refusing to let the Israelites out of slavery despite the calls from Moses and the ensuing plagues. And, indeed, he was this villain. But our Jewish tradition always challenges us to probe
  • JFed Annual Meeting | Jan. 13, 2019
    January 11, 2019
    The Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday, January 13 at 3:00 PM at B’nai Israel. Lindsey Friedmann, Associate Regional Director of the ADL will join us to discuss who they are, what they do and address the current climate as it relates to Judaism and Anti-Semitism. JFed will
  • See you at the movies
    January 11, 2019
    Tickets are now on sale for the 13th Annual Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival January 16-20, 2019 at the Manship Theatre. The Festival has become one of the outstanding entertainment and cultural events of the city. If you have been to the previous Festivals, you know the quality of the films and speakers. If you have not attended the
  • Rabbi’s Blog | July 14, 2017 |  Parshat Pinchas: Pinchas and True Peach
    January 4, 2019
    A sermon delivered at Beth Shalom Synagogue on July 14, 2017 Something very strange happens at the beginning of this week’s Torah portion based on what happened at the end of last week’s. For an act of extreme violence, Pinchas is rewarded by God with a brit shalom / a covenant of peace. As many of us know
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Our most amazing gift
    December 28, 2018
    Chaverim Yekarim, Hundreds of years ago in the Middle Ages, the rabbis gave human beings the nickname ha’midaber / the one who speaks, highlighting that crucial distinction between humans and other living creatures. It is that ability to speak that allows us to rise up from our bodies and aspire toward holiness and partnership with
  • Havdallukkah Pictures!
    December 26, 2018
    We’ve added photos from our Dec. 8, 2018, Havdallukkah celebration (Havdallah and Hanukkah combined) to our Celebrations slide show. Check it out by clicking on the photo
  • Pictures from Jacobs Camp Shabbat!
    December 26, 2018
    Thank you Jacobs Camp for hosting pre-neg and leading parts of our Kabbalat Shabbat service on Dec. 14. We are very thankful to have Jacobs Camp as part of our Southern Jewish community.
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Jan. 20, 2017 | Parshat Shemot: Naming It
    December 21, 2018
    A sermon delivered at Beth Shalom Synagogue on Jan. 20, 2017. I have always struggled with speaking, especially as a child. Sometimes the words just wouldn’t come out of my mouth no matter how much I willed them, I would get stuck on certain consonants, stutter my way through them. Sometimes I wouldn’t speak at all in fear
  • Annual Meetings Planned
    December 18, 2018
    Beth Shalom’s 2019 Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday, Jan. 20 at 9:30 a.m. The Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. at B’nai Israel. Lindsey Friedmann, Associate Regional Director of the ADL will join the JFed meeting to discuss who they are, what they do
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Vayigash
    December 14, 2018
    Chaverim Yekarim, As our reading of Genesis approaches its conclusion these next couple of weeks, we reflect on some of the lessons that we have learned. Our ancestors formed part of an epic drama, one in which they played an active role. Yes, God made a lot of things happen to them, but they also
  • Tickets On Sale Now!
    December 13, 2018
    Tickets are now on sale for the 13th Annual Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival, Jan. 16-20, 2019, at the Manship Theatre. The festival has become one of the outstanding entertainment and cultural events of the city. If you have been to the previous festivals, you know the quality of the films and speakers. If you have not attended
  • How “to do” Shabbat
    December 12, 2018
    So, just how do you “do” Shabbat? Here is a video from that explains how to make the blessings over Shabbat candles, wine and bread. This will be old hat for many, but if you are haven’t practiced in a while or are simply curious about Judaism, this is a great introduction.
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Mah Tevakesh – What are you seeking?
    November 30, 2018
    Chaverim Yekarim, This week, Joseph goes off in search of his brothers and loses his way until he stumbles upon a mysterious person. The Torah refers to this person simply as “ish / man,” and yet we must not confuse his anonymity with his importance. At a period of great physical and spiritual changes, this man/angel
  • Jacobs Camp is coming to BSS!
    November 26, 2018
    On Friday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m., join Assistant Director of Jacobs Camp, Joshua Posner, for a special Jacobs Camp Kabbalat Shabbat Experience!  Kids will come up and help lead parts of the Service and you’ll have a chance to learn about this exceptional Southern institution and how it could play a role in your
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Happy Thanksgiving
    November 22, 2018
    Shalom Chaverim, Thanksgiving is the quintessential American AND Jewish holiday. As Jews, we do it everyday of our lives. It is hard-wired into our DNA. It is our very name! The word Jew comes from the Hebrew word yehudi, derived from the root l’hodot, to thank.  The Jewish People get another one of its names in this