D'var Torah


Shabbat to Shabbat: There is a Story

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

There is a story: A rabbi was once asked to describe the difference between Pardes (Paradise, or TheWorld To Come) and Gehinom (purgatory). The rabbi replied: “Gehinom is a place in which there are thousands of human beings, their arms bound by splints and heavy ropes so that they cannot bend their elbows. They are seated before a large table upon which has been set large quantities of delicious food: a variety of meats; exotic fruits and vegetables; cheeses of all kinds; and a variety of warm, fresh baked breads. However, the inhabitants of Gehinom are all starving and emaciated. Though they can touch all this food, they cannot bend their elbows so as to eat it.”


Happy Summer

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

Happy Summer!

It seems like summer is truly starting. Schools are letting out, camps are beginning, schedules are winding down a bit. And with the  added heat and humidity, comes the opportunity for excitement and growth. It provides us with time to visit with family and friends, to catch up on good books, to try new things, explore new places. I love how summer gives us the time we need for even the smallest of  blessings - the gift of exploring a new park in our neighborhood or trying a new ice cream flavor.

As summer starts, I am eager to leave for Israel this Shabbat. I feel so blessed to be going to my favorite place, with Temple Sinai. Be sure to follow our blog posts as our  group travels across the world to learn, pray, eat, explore and celebrate.


Shabbat to Shabbat: We Are Thankful

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

As a thought to help frame this Shabbat, a Shabbat that for many of us marks the end of a school year, I wanted to share my closing benediction from our most recent Temple Sinai Annual Meeting. A charming and warm session, I was privileged to deliver these words at the meetings close:

We have come once again to that sacred time on the Jewish calendar where it is appropriate to take stock of the many blessings in our lives and to offer our thanksgiving to God. During this period known as the counting of the Omer, one contemporary practice has been to offer one blessing, to reflect upon one element of our lives each day that is worthy of acknowledgement. To pause from the business of May and to reflect what is truly worthy of note.


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."

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