Shabbat to Shabbat: Welcome Special Guest Rabbi Meir Azari

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

At a time when too much of the news involving the Jewish world is concerning and alarming, I wanted to use this column to share some positive, heartening, and good news regarding Israel! I begin with a reminder that we have a wonderful Israeli guest – Rabbi Meir Azari – delivering the sermon on Friday evening and leading Torah study on Shabbat morning. Rabbi Azari is the senior rabbi of Beit Daniel, our partner Reform congregation in Tel Aviv, and is one of the first Israelis to be ordained by Hebrew Union College in 1992. Under his capable leadership, Beit Daniel has grown into what is now the Daniel Centers for Progressive Judaism with three distinct congregations throughout Tel Aviv. Rabbi Azari’s presence at Temple Sinai this Shabbat is certainly good news worth sharing.


Shabbat to Shabbat: Laughter, Community and Purim

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

It was my first introduction to Temple Sinai.

I recall vividly that it was in February, 2006, and I was gathering information about different congregations at which I was going to be interviewing. Well, Rebecca and I were both doing the research: I was checking on the clergy team and Rebecca was perusing congregational websites. I was in the middle of a class and my cell phone rang. Sending it to voicemail, I refocused on the class, only to hear it ring again and then again. I excused myself and took the call when it came in again: it was Rebecca, telling me that I needed to leave right after class and meet her for coffee.

I admit to being nervous, but when we met and sat down, she pulled out a folder that said, “Placement.” In the folder was information about each of the congregations in consideration but she fixated upon the information she learned about Temple Sinai. She uttered phrases like, “Brad, they do a ton of programming, which is what you want.” and “Brad, they just renovated and expanded their building – it’s brand new!.” But what sold me was the next sentence:

“Brad,” she said, “they do their own adults-only Purim Shpiel.”



Shabbat to Shabbat: Make a Big Impact with a Small Act

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

This week, I have been thinking about what I can I do to make things better for people across our country and our world who are suffering, who are hungry, who are scared. This week in particular, I was feeling an overwhelming sense of wanting to fix it all. However, I was also feeling discouraged, knowing that this is an impossible task. I was then reminded of a story, a story that you might even know.


Shabbat to Shabbat: Scholar in Residence Weekend

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

It started when she took off her shoes. Our speaker stood at the front of a packed sanctuary on a Friday night, microphone in hand, and let us know that she was going to take off her shoes to deliver her address.

And the congregation ate it up.

Amy-Jill Levine endeared herself to Sinai that night almost exactly one year ago. While one could point to the familiarity that her opening comment brought or the warmth of her presentation, the truth of the matter is that she gave one heck of a Friday evening sermon. In partnership with Holy Innocents, Dr. Amy-Jill Levine spoke that evening on the topic, “Common Mistakes Jews and Christians Make About Each Other.” She followed that compelling presentation by leading Torah study the next morning to a record attendance of over 200 people. She is compelling and she is engaging and that is why we wanted her back.


Shabbat to Shabbat: Embracing Disability

Written by // Beth Schafer Categories D'var Torah

In this week’s Torah Portion, Yitro, we read the giving of the Ten Commandments. It is the bedrock of Jewish peoplehood as we adopt a set of laws and precepts that transformed the Israelites from a tribe to nation. A couple of months from now we will read from Torah a passage known as the Holiness Code. In a sense, it is an expanded version of the Ten Commandments and in it contains an important mitzvah that is worth taking note of this week. The Torah states, “Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind.” (Lev. 18:14) What we learn from this is the importance of taking care of those who have disabilities. We are, in fact, commanded to look out for those members of the community who are physically disadvantaged in some way.

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