Latest News

  • 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
  • Are you joining us in November?
    October 30, 2019
    We have lots of events happening this November. Which ones are you coming to? Bistro Byronz dine in or to-go and support Rayner Learning Center Monday, November 4th, starting at 5 p.m. Bistro Byronz Willow Grove will donate 20% (dine in) or 10% (take out) of your food and soft drink check to the Rayner
  • Israel Institute is back!
    October 30, 2019
    Our Israel Institute is back in 5780! As in past years, this year will focus on current events and culture. Join us for challenging conversations and inspiring ideas as we strive to always keep Israel top-of-mind. Israel Institute will be held on these Sundays at noon:  Nov. 3 Nov. 17 Dec. 8 Dec. 22 Jan. 12
  • Are you playing BSS trivia?
    October 30, 2019
    We’ve just posted our FOURTH trivia question in our 75 questions for 75 years anniversary trivia game. Check it out on our special anniversary page. (scroll down to see the questions). The winner will be announced after the 75th question has been posted. Hint – the answer to each question can be found at the
  • Rabbi’s Blog | One year later…our roots are stronger
    October 25, 2019
          From the Rabbi’s Trail (The Negev) Chaverim Yekarim,< In late October last year, Sam and I were both on parental leave and we decided to take our newborn infant for a little outing on one Shabbat morning. I was holding Rafael in one of those frontal carriers, his little head barely peeking
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Creating a Sukkat Shalom
    October 11, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, Wow! The 5780 Days of Awe are behind us and we can take a slight break. I say ”slight” because the High Holy Day Season continues with the amazing holiday of Sukkot, just 5 days after Yom Kippur. In fact, it’s traditional to begin building the sukkah right after the fasting of Yom
  • High Holidays Food Drive
    October 4, 2019
    During the high holy days, BaRFTY is sponsoring a Food Drive to benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.  Food barrels are placed in the Temple lobby and will be there through October 20th.  Please remember to bring canned goods and non-perishable food items next time you come to temple.  We will also gladly accept cash donations so you can
  • Sukkah Hop | Oct. 19
    October 4, 2019
    Join us for a Sukkah Hop on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 4 p.m.! There will be delicious food, drinks and activities at each stop. Join us in this Mitzvah and please email Taylor to reserve your
  • Alef Bet Yoga
    October 4, 2019
      Jewish Journeys presents Alef Bet Yoga. Learn your Alef Bet through awesome yoga moves and lots of fun! Come join us at BSS on Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. for a family-friendly yoga class focused on stretching and learning some Hebrew! Beth Shalom Members: $2 per participant Non-members: $5 per participant 3 and under
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Shofar So Good
    October 4, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, So I was debating the subject line for this Shabbat message. It was between that and ”See you at the sin-agogue.” I think I chose wisely, right? We have made it to Shabbat Shuva after a whirlwind few days of Rosh Hashanah. I know that you may say I am biased, but I
  • Interested in Social Justice? Join us Oct. 16
    September 20, 2019
    Passionate about Social Justice? Have a cause you would like to support? Seeking to get involved in the greater community? Come to a Tikkun Interest Meeting Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 6:15 p.m. What is tikkun olam? Learn more on the Union for Reform Judaism
  • Jewish Journeys Is Back
    September 20, 2019
    Our long-awaited kick-off to our new Jewish Journeys Religious School will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22. If you would like more information, check out our Jewish Journeys webpage. If you would like to enroll your child, please contact Taylor Pettit, our new director of programming, at programs@ (remove
  • SOLD OUT! We’ll be back next year!
    September 20, 2019
    Our honey fundraiser was a success and we sold out! Thank you for your support!   You still have time to buy honey for Rosh Hashanah! 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
  • 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
  • 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