Rabbi’s Blog

Recent Posts

  • Rabbi’s Blog | The Essence of Cheshvan
    October 17, 2021
    After the marathon of Holy Days, Festivals, and Holidays in the Hebrew month of Tishrei, we now come to the month of Cheshvan which begins today. This month is also known as Mar-Cheshvan – the bitterness of Cheshvan—for a number of reasons: there are no holidays or festivals (besides Shabbat)
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Sukkot, Sh’mini Atzeret & Simhat Torah
    September 24, 2021
    First, I’d like to wish each and every one of you a Chag Sukkot Sameach – a joyous Sukkot—and invite you to bring your breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime snack and have a meal or nosh in the sukkah at Beth Shalom. Also, join us for a family-friendly Sukkot Shabbat this Friday night in the
  • Rabbi’s Blog | A Shehecheyanu Moment!
    August 26, 2021
    Mazel Tov! to the members of Beth Shalom Synagogue and Congregation B’nai Israel for the overwhelming decision to consolidate the two congregations. May we all go forward from strength to strength.  At such a joyous occasion as this, a Shehecheyanu blessing is appropriate: בָּרוּךְ
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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,
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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