Latest News

  • Jewish Book Club to meet July 25 & Aug. 15
    July 15, 2021
    The Jewish Book Club will meet on Sunday, July 25, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. on Zoom to discuss The Conversion, by Aharon Appelfeld.  The novel takes place two generations before the Holocaust in Austria.  In the city where the story takes place, must of the Jews have converted to Christianity to improve career opportunities. Karl has converted, but
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Tisha B’Av: A Time to Mourn and to Re-Build
    July 15, 2021
    On this holy and solemn day, we remember and mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples (586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E., respectively). It is also a time to experience communal grief for other Jewish tragedies and to reflect on our own personal losses and grief. Although we may not feel in physical exile,
  • COVID-19 Protocols | Safely Reopening
    July 8, 2021
    COVID Precautions & Protocols for Reopening Beth Shalom Synagogue as of July 8, 2021  The Talmud states: Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh (Shevuot 39a) — all of Israel (i.e. all Jews) are responsible for each other. Beth Shalom Synagogue takes this responsibility seriously. Therefore, our reopening policies are informed by Jewish values and best medical practices. One
  • Save the Date | JSEC Meetings
    July 8, 2021
      — MEMBERS — MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR THESE IMPORTANT JSEC MEETINGS BSS Membership Unification Discussion – July 11 | Sunday | 10 AM and for the BSS Membership Unification Vote – August 22 | Sunday | Time TBD To keep up to date on the ongoing process of exploring our community unification, click here for the
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Re-Openings: Caring for One Another
    July 8, 2021
    As Beth Shalom offers more in-person options for Services and meetings, I feel the need to emphasize that safety and caring for one another is a top priority. For safety, we all know that masks and social distancing by unvaccinated teens and adults is important. We also know that some teens and adults can’t wear
  • Rayner Center Fundraiser
    July 7, 2021
    The Rayner Early Learning Center is raising funds! If you would like to shop for a good cause, please visit Select Shop Now, then put in code 22682 and select Next. The Alfred G Rayner Learning Center address should appear. Next select Shop! The fundraiser ends Aug. 23,
  • July Book Club | The Conversion
    June 11, 2021
    In July, the Jewish Book Club will meet on Sunday, July 25 at 3 pm to discuss The Conversion, by Aharon Appelfeld. The novel takes place two generations before the Holocaust in Austria. In the city where the story takes place, most of the Jews have converted to Christianity to improve career opportunities. Karl has converted, but a
  • Havdalah & a Movie | June 26
    June 11, 2021
    Havdalah & a Movie hosted by Savannah White & Lucas Bernard on Saturday, June 26, beginning at 6 p.m. at Beth Shalom. Movie: 7 Days in Entebbe Popcorn & soft drinks provided, but feel free to bring your own snacks as
  • Ushers & Tech Support Needed
    June 11, 2021
    Please drop your name in this link if you are able to help on Friday evenings with ushering or helping to run our service streaming. Volunteers still needed for June Shabbatot. Please contact Zak Berkowitz if you can help with service streaming on Saturday morning or if you would like training so you can help. Email the office
  • Rabbi’s Blog | The Essence of Tammuz
    June 11, 2021
    Tammuz is the fourth month on the Jewish calendar, has 29 days, and is considered the saddest month on the Jewish calendar. Since the previous Hebrew month of Sivan has 30 days, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz is celebrated for two days: today (30 Sivan) and tomorrow (1 Tammuz). According to Sefer Yetzirah—the Book of Formation—each month
  • Our Current COVID Protocols
    June 10, 2021
    CURRENT COVID PROTOCOLS for Beth Shalom Synagogue   Mask wearing and social distancing are required in the building.   If you are ill, please stay home and access services and other programs on our BSS YouTube channel.  
  • Rabbi’s Blog | The Power of the Tallit
    June 3, 2021
    At the very end of this week’s Torah portion – Shelach Lekhah—we read: “Adonai said to Moses as follows: Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the ages; let them attach a cord of blue to the fringe at each corner. That
  • Jewish Book Club | June
    May 21, 2021
    In June, the Jewish Book Club will meet on Sunday, June 13, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. on Zoom to discuss Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany, by Hans Massaquoi.  The author, the son of a German mother and Liberian father, was born in 1929.  He recounts his early life growing up in Hamburg, Germany He dreamed of joining the
  • Rabbi’s Blog | What a Week
    May 21, 2021
    What a week this has been! Our hearts continue to break as we hear the news of the rampant violence in Israel as well as the increase in antisemitic attacks around the world. No matter what our personal politics might be, I hope we can all agree that Beth Shalom Synagogue unequivocally supports Israel’s right
  • Our Support For Israel
    May 21, 2021
    Beth Shalom Synagogue stands with Israel and unequivocally supports Israel’s right to exist and defend herself. We join the Jewish Federation’s statement on behalf of the Jewish community of Baton Rouge. We support the Israeli government and the IDF in protecting and defending our beloved Jewish State, which has experienced a barrage of thousands of
  • Rabbi’s Blog | For the Return of Peace
    May 13, 2021
    With deep sadness, compassion, and concern, I have been watching the developing matzav -the situation- in our beloved and Holy Land of Jerusalem and Israel. Like many of you, I’m witnessing the escalating violence and hostilities. I pray for the end of the violence. I pray for the end of the hostilities. I pray for
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Counting the Omer
    May 6, 2021
    Counting the Omer: A Spiritual Journey ~ Take Two Last month, I introduced you to Rabbi Karyn Kedar’s book, Omer: A Counting, which provides a framework of purpose, intention, and attention for a journey that the counting of the Omer offers. Rabbi Kedar offers seven spiritual themes, or principles, for each of the weeks of
  • Jewish Book Club to Meet May 23
    April 29, 2021
    The Beth Shalom Jewish Book Club will meet on Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. on Zoom. Please joins us as we discuss Homesick, by Eshkol Nevo. This is a novel of Israel in the political climate of the late 1990s following the death of Rabin. It is told from several voices, both Jewish and Arab. In June, the
  • USDA Interfaith Ramadan Fellowship
    April 29, 2021
    MAZON has been invited to offer remarks at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Interfaith Ramadan Fellowship Celebration, taking place virtually this Thursday, April 29 at 6 p.m. CST.  MAZON’s Board Treasurer, Rabbi Joel Pitkowsky, will be speaking alongside our cherished partners at Islamic Relief USA in this celebration of pluralism. If you are interested
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Lag b’Omer
    April 29, 2021
    If Counting the Omer (a measurement of grain) between the second night of Passover and Shavuot was unfamiliar to you, I imagine that the minor holiday of Lag b’Omer has been even more unfamiliar to you. In Hebrew, each letter of the aleph-bet (i.e. Hebrew alphabet) symbolizes a number. So, with Lag, the lamed is
  • Together Baton Rouge Civic Academies
    April 22, 2021
    Together Baton Rouge is hosting several civic academies, which are learning and organizing sessions, around the following issues in the upcoming weeks. 1. Save Our Water! (Watch this brief YouTube video for more info: 2. Health Equity/Access 3. Immigration Reform/Policy For dates/times, and to register, go
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Earth Day
    April 22, 2021
    Today is the 51st Anniversary of Earth Day. I like to take this opportunity to study the rich variety of Jewish texts that remind us of our deep connection to, and moral responsibility for, the environment; texts that educate us, challenge us, and inspire us to take action. You’ll find a handful of Jewish texts
  • 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