Latest News

  • Rabbi’s Blog | Yom HaAtzma-ut
    April 16, 2021
    Today is Yom HaAtzma-ut: Israel Independence Day. In honor of Israel’s 73rd Independence Day, I share with you a poem and a prayer. Wild Peace by Yehuda Amichai (1971) (from: A Life of Poetry 1948-1994, translated from the Hebrew by Benjamin and Barbara Harshav) Not the one of an armistice, Not even the one of
  • In-Person Kabbalat Shabbat Services
    April 16, 2021
    At the Board meeting on March 18 the decision was made to phase in in-person attendance on Friday nights while maintaining the remote participation option. Shabbat morning services will only be available remotely for the time being. If you are ill, stay home. Wear a mask. Maintain social distancing habits. Mask wearing and social distancing
  • RSVP for Virtual Pesach Seder
    March 19, 2021
    Joint CBI and BSS Virtual Passover Seder – Join us for this fun and interactive seder! Please RSVP here! We will “search” the afikomen together and sing fun songs! Those that would like to can stay after the seder and enjoy dinner together over Zoom. We will be using a PDF of Family Haggadah 2

  • March 19, 2021
    RSVP here: RSVP for Matzah Smores/Matzah Pizza  Join us for this fun outdoor Matzah S’mores and Matzah Pizza night. After you RSVP, the address of the host will be shared with you. Enjoy this oneg event! This in person, social distanced event will be lots of fun a great way to meet new people! All details will be emailed to
  • Jewish Book Club Meets March 21
    March 19, 2021
    The Beth Shalom Jewish Book Club will meet on Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. on Zoom.  Please join us as we discuss Miriam Bensman’s book, A Glimpse of Paradise: Memories of World War II in Poland and the Soviet Union.  All are welcome to attend.  If anyone needs a copy of Miriam’s book, please contact the
  • Rabbi’s Blog | After Justice, After Justice, Must You Chase
    March 19, 2021
    As many of you know I have been “away” at my Rabbinic Convention this week. The speaker for the opening session on Sunday was Andrea Weiss, Rabbi, Professor, and Provost at HUC-JIR. In a session titled “Biblical Texts for Precarious Times: Religious Values,” Weiss, discussed a project she started after the election in 2016: American
  • Rabbi’s Blog | A prayer in honor of those who died from COVID-19
    March 12, 2021
    March 14 marks the one year anniversary of the first death from COVID in Louisiana. In honor of all who have succumbed to the COVID-19 virus, I share with you this prayer by Alden Solovy, a liturgitst, poet, and teacher. One by One: A Prayer as the COVID-19 Death Toll Mounts “God of consolation, Surely
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Purim Fun Facts
    February 25, 2021
    We say:  “When Adar enters happiness increases.” Purim is celebrated on the 14th of Adar except in Jerusalem where it is celebrated on the 15th Adar.  The Jews of Shushan—a walled city—fought their enemies for an extra day. Persia is modern-day Iran. In Deuteronomy 25:19, we are commanded: “You shall blot out the remembrance of
  • Courageous Conversations Program
    February 25, 2021
    On Sunday, February 28, at 5:30 p.m. there will be an in-person event – Gun Ownership & Systemic Racism – Courageous Conversations Program. This program is an historical look into the intersection of systemic racism and gun control in America will be presented with the discussion of Jewish values. Lucas Bernard will present on the topic
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Purim: A Poignant Parody
    February 18, 2021
    We often think of Purim with its costumes, carnivals, groggers, and fairytale-like story (the heroes Mordechai and Esther are victorious over the wicked villain Haman) as a children’s holiday.  But the story, which is found in the scroll, or Megillah, of Esther is complex and quite adult in nature: a mixture of merriment and buffoonery,
  • Stores & Stores of a Southern Jewish Childhood
    February 11, 2021
    On Sunday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m., join the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience for a conversation with Julie Sternberg, award-winning author of children’s books and Baton Rouge native, as we discuss the inspirations for her upcoming book – her family’s department store (Goudchaux’s), their immigrant history, and growing up in the South. Register
  • Identity: Who Am I?
    February 11, 2021
    How does your identity impact the choices you make, the way you view the world and how you respond to others? Identity is complicated – it is race, gender, religion – but its also much deeper. It is lived experiences and stories and obstacles overcome. On Sunday, Feb. 21, at 4:30 p.m., join us to
  • Dangerous Religious Ideas with Rabbi Mikva
    February 11, 2021
    On Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m., Rabbi Rachel Mikva  will explore biblical and rabbinical ideas on Jews and Race and the challenges of navigating race in America today. Please join this ISJL event at this
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Rosh Chodesh Adar
    February 11, 2021
    In his book, Seasons of Our Joy, Arthur Waskow looks at the Jewish holidays through the prism of the rhythm of the seasons. He also comments on the shorter rhythms that we experience: the rhythm of the day with its morning, afternoon, evening, and bedtime prayers; the rhythm of the week which is crowned by
  • Beth Shalom Cooking Club
    February 5, 2021
    So much of our joy as a congregational family has been shared in our synagogue’s kitchen. We all miss those moments, so we’ve GONE VIRTUAL! Come share stories, recipes, techniques and FUN with the Beth Shalom Jewish Cooking Club. Join us in making Hamantaschen, Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. on Zoom. Find the recipe we will
  • Virtual Purim Costume Contest
    February 5, 2021
    Come one, come all! Email pictures of your family and loved ones decked our for Purim to Taylor  at, by Feb. 23. Special winners will be
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Parshat Yitro
    February 5, 2021
    It’s three months after the Exodus. The Israelites have reached the wilderness of Sinai and camp at the foot of Mount Sinai.  G-d speaks to the people and says: “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me. Now then, if you will
  • Jewish Disability, Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month
    February 2, 2021
        In 2009, the Jewish Special Educational International Consortium established February as JDAIM: Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. The purpose? To raise our awareness of the needs, strengths, opportunities, and challenges of people with disabilities and mental health c o n d i t i o n s ; to go from awareness
  • Purim Food Drive!
    January 30, 2021
    Please drop off non-perishable food items at the synagogue doors Monday through Friday from 9 am – 3 pm.   Thank
  • Spring 2021 Adult Education
    January 30, 2021
    Pirkei Avot Discussion – Join this discussion of Pirkei Avot, Chapters of our Fathers, which focuses on ethics and morals. Come discuss this unique and deeply interesting piece of Jewish literature. (This group will meet most Sundays, check announcements for exact dates) You can access texts here: Pirkei Avot on Sefaria. – on Zoom.   Jewish Prayer
  • Jewish Book Club to Meet
    January 30, 2021
    The Beth Shalom Jewish Book Club will meet on Sunday, February 28, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. on Zoom.  Please join us as we discuss ExUs, by Josephus IV.  This is a political thriller that takes place in the future where Jews are forced to make an exodus from the United States. In March, the group will meet via Zoom on Sunday,
  • Monthly Joint Erev Shabbat Services with B’nai Israel!
    August 13, 2020
    This Friday, August 14, B’nai Israel will host Erev Shabbat Services in their Zoom room — please note the earlier 6pm start time–and Rabbi Appleby will deliver the D’rash. In September, Beth Shalom will host and Rabbi Appel will deliver the D’rash. We would love to see a big turn-out. It’s time for members of Baton Rouge’s synagogues to
  • Rabbi’s Blog | R’eih
    August 13, 2020
    In this week’s Torah portion, R’eih, we read:  Be careful to observe only that which I enjoin upon you:  neither add to it nor take away from it. (Deut 13:1)   If we examine Jewish history, we observe that the Jewish community has both added to and taken away from the laws as found in the
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Haftarot of Consolation
    July 30, 2020
    During the seven weeks between Tisha b’Av (which was observed last night and today) and Rosh HaShanah, special Haftarot known as the Haftarot of Consolation are read during the Torah service on Shabbat mornings. These special prophetic readings are intended to give us hope, as we approach the High Holy Days, that G-d will be compassionate, merciful and forgiving towards us. This Shabbat is
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Shabbat Chazon
    July 23, 2020
    This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Chazon – the Sabbath of vision. It refers to Isaiah’s vision of the destruction of the Temple which is found in the Haftarah reading (Isaiah 1:1-27) on the Shabbat before Tisha b’Av. During the heat of summer comes this holy day of Tisha b’Av. It is a solemn day
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Evidence of Civilization
    July 16, 2020
      Most importantly, I hope that each and every one of you is doing well—health-wise and coping with the uncertainty of these times. This week, I’d like to share with you the words of Margaret Mead that I came across on one of my rabbinic discussion groups. I think the message is so relevant to
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Pandemic
    July 9, 2020
    I hope all of you are doing well during these uncertain and stressful times. I want to share the following poem that was sent to me last March. It was written by the poet Lynn Ungar on March 11, 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This poem and other readings can be found on
  • Passing the Torah
    July 1, 2020
    On Saturday, June 27, Rabbi Natan Trief passed the Torah to Beth Shalom’s incoming rabbi, Rabbi Teri Appleby. Rabbi Teri’s time at Beth Shalom officially starts July
  • Services Will Be Online Only in July
    July 1, 2020
    Services will move back online only in the month of July. We are committed to keeping our congregants safe and pausing in-person services is an important step to doing so while coronavirus cases rise again in Louisiana. If you have already RSVPed for this week’s (July 3-4) services, you will be contacted. If you are
  • Beth Shalom Featured in the Advocate
    June 30, 2020
    In the past few weeks, the Advocate ran two articles featuring Beth Shalom. We want to share them our community. After 75 years, Baton Rouge’s Beth Shalom synagogue will have its first female rabbi BY GEORGE MORRIS | JUNE 26, 2020 When Beth Shalom Synagogue began 75 years ago in Baton Rouge, women could not
  • August Anniversary Weekend Postponed
    June 30, 2020
    After careful consideration by the members of the 75th Anniversary planning committee, we have decided to postpone the events planned for August 21-23, 2020. While this is certainly not what we wanted, we felt that the exciting event would just not have been able to be presented as planned. These events were designed to bring our
  • New Tree of Life
    June 30, 2020
    Check out our gorgeous new Tree of Life in our lobby. Created by artist Susan Arnold and her talented team, Beth Shalom congregants worked to arrange and set the multi-colored glass frame surrounding the mural and glass tree during January’s 75th anniversary celebration. The gold leaves from the former Tree of Life were incorporated into
  • This weekend at BSS (June 26-27)
    June 26, 2020
    This Weekend –  Please note an RSVP is required for ALL services.  You will be contacted if there’s an issue with your RSVP. For those of you that wish to stay at home we will continue to offer services online. Please contact the office for the link and password. PLEASE NOTE:  Our Torah study Covenant & Conversations will
  • Rabbi’s Blog | My time at Aunt Jemima
    June 19, 2020
    Chaverim Yekarim, As many of you know, I spent a few years working at PepsiCo after graduating college in my early 20s. I worked in brand management at their Quaker Oats Division, and spent my first two years assigned to the Aunt Jemima brand. Along with a couple of other employees, I helped manage everything brand-related
  • Important Information and Video Greeting
    March 16, 2020
    In these unprecedented times, a strong sense of community is more important than ever before. Our synagogue family will weather this crisis together, and we will find new ways to connect with each other even if it is not in person. Like so many other houses of worship around the world, we have made the
  • COVID-19 Updates
    March 13, 2020
    In these challenging times, please know that your Beth Shalom family is here for you. If you have any concerns or questions, contact Rabbi Natan or Taylor at any point.  As we can all see and hear, events are unfolding at a breakneck pace, and the accompanying anxiety is very real. Please do not panic,
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Chazak, Chazak… (Strength & Strengthening)
    March 13, 2020
    Shalom u’vracha. The news is dizzying. Our reality is in constant flux. The list of closures and cancellations is staggering. It would be easy to fall prey to the yetzer, our impulse to panic and fear. And yet, we do not. Instead, as we mark this Shabbat, let us take a deep breath and welcome the
  • CBSS Cancelled
    March 12, 2020
    Beth Shalom has made the hard decision to cancel this year’s Corned Beef Sandwich sale. We are committed to minimizing the risk to our entire community from COVID-19. We are following CDC guidelines that advise people to stay home and minimize contact, along with washing hands and other preventative measures.  We are working to contact
  • Remain vigilant about COVID-19 coronavirus
    March 9, 2020
    We know that everyone is concerned about the recent spread of coronavirus. While there are no confirmed cases in Louisiana, it is very important to remain vigilant, while not succumbing to any type of panic or hysteria. For now, the best thing we can all do is protect ourselves, and others, from respiratory infections: Wash
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Rebuke, the Jewish way
    February 18, 2020
    Chaverim Yekarim, During this past week’s Democratic debate, Senator Bernie Sanders launched a vitriolic attack against Israel’s democratically-elected leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him a ”reactionary racist.” Days before, Sanders tweeted that AIPAC, the pro-Israel, bipartisan organization, gives a ”platform” for ”leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.” As one of our nation’s few
  • Rabbi’s Blog | 10 Reasons Why
    February 14, 2020
    Chaverim Shalom, A few years ago, I was walking next to a park in Aspen, Colorado and stumbled across a discreet, yet elegant monument. It was a large stone engraved with the words of the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. On one hand, I remember feeling pride that the universal words of our tradition resounded for
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Israel, not Auschwitz
    January 31, 2020
    מִן הַמֵּצַר קָרָאתִי יָּהּ עָנָנִי בַּמֶּרְחָב יָהּ / Men ha’metser karati ya, anani va’merchav ya.  In great distress I called out to you God, You answered me and brought me relief. – Psalm 118  In the period of less than 3 years, the Jewish People experienced the depths of our greatest tragedy followed by the peaks
  • Save the Date | 75th Anniversary Celebrations in August
    January 23, 2020
    Save the date!! Due to several requests and scheduling conflicts, we have rescheduled our 2nd 75th Celebration weekend to August 21st – 23rd (two weeks later than the original date.) Please mark your calendars and make arrangements to be here for this BSS legacy event as we continue to honor our heritage and look to
  • Jan. 10 & 11 | 75th Anniversary Shabbatot
    January 3, 2020
    On Jan. 10 & 11, 2020, Beth Shalom Synagogue will host our first of two celebration Shabbatot as we marvel at our 75 year anniversary, and lay the groundwork for the future. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, will join us as our scholar-in-residence over Shabbat as he shares words of Torah
  • Join Us In January!
    January 3, 2020
    We’ve got exciting things happening in January. Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge Annual Meeting – January 12th @ 1:30 pm at Beth Shalom Synagogue. Tickets are now on sale for the 14th Annual Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival Jan 15-19, 2020 at the Manship Theatre. Israel Bonds Kabbalat Shabbat for the Baton Rouge Jewish Community January 24th at
  • Rabbi’s Blog | WE define who we are
    January 3, 2020
    Chaverim Yekarim, While a season of holiday cheer and rededication, the last couple of weeks have left the global Jewish community anxious and gripped by uncertainty. Near-daily Anti Semitic incidents in New York culminated with the horrific machete attack in Monsey. At a party celebrating Hanukkah, a man seized by hatred tried to inject darkness
  • Rabbi’s Blog | The Jewish ________ (fill in the blank)
    December 13, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, This week has been a busy one on the domestic Jewish front. On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order that will make Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act also apply to anti-Semitic acts. Specifically, it is meant to protect Jews on college campuses facing the anti-Israel fanaticism of the BDS
  • Join Our December Events!
    November 8, 2019
    SUNDAY December 8, @ 3:00 p.m. Hanukkah Pop-up! Save the date for our Hanukkah PopUp Market!  See Taylor if interested in participating.  Sisterhood Movie Night December 15, 4:00-6:00 pm. Volunteers Needed for Our Joint Beth Shalom and B’nai Israel Hanukkah Party  Dec. 22, at 5 – 7 p.m. at Beth Shalom.  We are looking for volunteers to help with the joint Hanukkah
  • Rabbi’s Blog | We don’t know them all…
    November 8, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, My wife, Sam’s, favorite genre of music is country music, and so whenever she uses my car, the radio is invariably tuned to a country station. Far from my own preferred music, I have grown to appreciate the profound simplicity of the lyrics, along with the human interest stories the stations often highlight.
  • Volunteers Needed for Hanukkah Party!
    November 1, 2019
    Our joint Beth Shalom and B’nai Israel Hanukkah party will be Dec. 22, at 5 – 7 p.m. at Beth Shalom. Volunteers Needed! We are looking for volunteers to help with the joint Hanukkah Party. If you would like to help, please fill out this Google form. BSS Mishpacha – Would you or your family like