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31 October 2017

What it means to be a holy community: A conversation with Rabbi David Ellenson you won’t want to miss!

Written by Rabbi Brian Stoller

Rabbi Stoller 2015 150On Rosh Hashanah this year, I spoke about my vision for Temple Israel as a holy community – a community where we feel known and loved by people who genuinely care, where we feel inspired to change our lives and to change the world, and where we feel valued for who we are and what we have to give  In a day and age when we are running constantly from one thing to the next, when our time and our resources are scarce and the demands on them are immense, a holy community can anchor us, nurture us spiritually, and be a place where we can seek and discover meaning and purpose in life through the brilliance of Jewish tradition. This weekend, we will dig deeply into what it means to be a holy community for ourselves, for each other, and for our children.

19 October 2017

Rabbi David Ellenson on the Changing Dynamics of American Jewish Life: An Invitation for Discussion Week 3


"Jacob Toury, the Tel Aviv University historian, has pointed out that intermarriage and the abandonment of Jewish identity almost always went hand in hand during the previous century in Germany.  How best to serve our God and the people Israel in an age when intermarriage no longer necessarily signifies a desire to leave the community must be and, appropriately, has been the subject of creative and often painful debate and decision in our ranks.  [Reform Judaism’s] resolution on patrilineality has been one of the fruits of this struggle. …"

18 October 2017

This is our only home, and escapist novels are just a mental band aid.

Written by Cantor Wendy Shermet

I just finished an “airport book”, the kind of genre one can finish flying from here to Denver. The plot concerns manipulating weather to make millions on construction stocks.  Envision hurricanes wrecking (pick one) Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico; fierce winds causing fires in (pick one) California, Colorado, Alaska; tidal surges flooding (pick one!) Charleston, New Orleans, New York City. Obviously by the conclusion the good guys have vanquished the bad guys, and all is well with the world once more.

11 October 2017

Rabbi David Ellenson on the Changing Dynamics of American Jewish Life: An Invitation for Discussion Week 2

Written by Rabbi Brian Stoller


"When persons will not speak with the other, a dehumanization of the other easily arises and a demonization results.  As a committed Jew, not only the past history of Jewish-Christian relations but recent events like the slaughter of Muslims engaged in prayer in Hebron in 1994 and the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 all too painfully remind me of the tragedy that can ensue when the path of dialogue is not taken. …"

04 October 2017

Each Person Has a Name, A Response to Las Vegas

There are no words that can begin to come close to describing the sense of utter devastation that we are all feeling at this moment. Just this past weekend, we were together to observe Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement, a day where we attempt to make amends for our wrongdoings of the past year and start fresh, with a clean slate. We heard the haunting words of Unetaneh Tokef, the prayer where we cry out to the heavens and ask, “Who will live, and who will die?” Never did we expect these words to feel so literal and so real within a mere day.

04 October 2017

Rabbi David Ellenson on the Changing Dynamics of American Jewish Life: An Invitation for Discussion Week 1

Written by Rabbi Brian Stoller


As a way to start the conversation in advance of my official Installation and Rabbi David Ellenson's visit, the eTidings will feature some of Rabbi Ellenson’s insights and commentaries about the changing dynamics of American Jewish life, and provide a forum for discussion. I invite you to take a few minutes to read Rabbi Ellenson’s teachings and participate in the conversation by sharing your thoughts. 

- Rabbi Stoller

"Ours is a world of niche markets and customer customization. People coalesce around interests and values, not institutions. People seek personalization rather than institutional affiliation. No wonder numbers in denominations have declined."

04 October 2017

Yom Kippur 5778 Sermon: Forgiving for Ourselves

Written by Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin

Rabbi SussmanSeptember 19, 2009. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just successfully completed my very first Rosh Hashanah as a Student Rabbi at the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in California. After singing the final blessing and wishing everyone a Shana Tova, I was heaving a huge sigh of relief and was giving myself a pat on the back for a job well done when it happened.

A man named Carl caught my eye from across the room and came over to talk to me. Before I could say anything, he abruptly asked, “Did you notice that I took my keys out during services today?” “Well, no...” I said. Services are kind of a busy time for me. “Well I took my keys out during services and shook them,” he said. “Because I noticed that you were off-key when you were singing one of the prayers, and I thought that if I showed you my keys, maybe it would be a signal for you that you lost your key and you should find a new one. So during the service, I shook my keys at you several times to tell you to find a new key.”

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