Shabbat to Shabbat: A House of Gathering

Written by // Beth Schafer Categories D'var Torah

A House of Gathering

“Let them build me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them.” (Ex. 25:8) Words that we read from the book of Exodus a few months ago certainly give us a reason to pause and take stock. For 49 years, Temple Sinai has gathered in a sanctuary (or social hall) and reviewed the year, asking and answering questions about the life of the congregation. From day to day, week to week and month to month, we get glimpses of our community. We attend life cycle events or a learning series, we are moved during worship, or watch as our kids engage Jewishly with their peers. This Sunday at 10am we weave all of those pieces together and get the view of our congregation from 30,000 feet at our annual meeting. It will astound you to hear about all of our endeavors in education, social action, governance and worship. The annual meeting is a time to take pride in the strength and integrity of our community. It takes many hands and hearts to make Temple Sinai come alive; what a wonderful opportunity we have to celebrate who we are and what we’ve done in a year.  To put it simply and borrow a title of a popular TV show, we get to step back, smile, marvel at the past year, and say, “This Is Us.”


Shabbat to Shabbat:How You Recharge

Written by // Rabbi Samantha Shabman Categories D'var Torah

I keep re-reading an article that I read in the Harvard Business Review last year.  The article  by Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan is entitled "Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure."

The topic is this: "We often take a militaristic,“tough” approach to resilience and grit. We imagine a Marine slogging through the mud, a boxer going one more round, or a football player picking himself up off the turf for one more play. We believe that the longer we tough it out, the tougher we are, and therefore the more successful we will be. However, this entire conception is scientifically inaccurate."


Shabbat to Shabbat: Love Your Neighbor

This week’s Torah portion, parshat Kedoshim, is also known as the holiness code. In many ways it is an expansion of the Ten Commandments. However one of the most important lines that comes from it states, “v’ahavta l’re’acha kamocha,” or “love your neighbor as yourself.” In these times, especially, we should proactively embrace our neighbors, especially the ones who are different from us; whether culturally, ethnically or religiously. The Holiness Code reminds us that to be holy is to recognize that we are each made in God’s image, but it is all of us together that complete humanity’s reflection of its Creator. Each person, no matter how different from his or her neighbor is a vital piece of the puzzle. 


Shabbat to Shabbat: Around the World Gala

Written by // Rabbi Bradley G. Levenberg Categories D'var Torah

I make a mean beignet.

I may not be able to swing a baseball bat or shoot a 3-pointer or run to the endzone but when it comes to making beignets I’ve got game.

It is a craft that I’ve been carefully curating for two decades and a skill that has been shared with precious few. It is how I became the most popular person in my hall at my undergraduate institution and it is how I wooed Rebecca. A few years ago I had the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Café Du Monde in New Orleans, perhaps the most sacred ground for those of us who know and love the delicacies. (For those wondering, yes, it IS worth the two hour wait in line.) So I know beignets and, though I am humble in many areas of life, I know that I make a mean beignet.


Shabbat to Shabbat: Welcome Cantor Patti Linsky

Written by // Rabbi Ron M. Segal Categories D'var Torah

For many, this week saw the happy return of pizza, pasta, bread and other delicious, leavened carbohydrates following the conclusion of our Passover festival. Of the countless lessons we learn from our Seders and Passover observance each year, I personally find that the spiritual messages never fail to speak to me clearly and powerfully. For instance, one timeless teaching which is always in need of repeating reminds us that, just as we remove leavened products from our homes and diet, so, too, should we strive during Passover to remove those personal qualities which have become ‘puffed up’ within us – arrogance, narcissism, egotism, etc. Now that Passover has concluded, the invitation, of course, is that while we may resume consuming leavened foods, we should still strive to remain humble, gracious and compassionate in spirit.

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