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16 November 2017

Do We Have Music for You or WHAT?!

Written by Cantor Wendy Shermet

cantor web 200pxThis Sunday is the interfaith Thanksgiving service at First Central Christian Church, 5 pm. As we have done for many years, choirs from all partner organizations will sing together to celebrate peace and unity. Desserts follow, which makes it all even sweeter, if you get my drift.

On Wednesday, December 13, during religious school, musicians from the Omaha Chamber Society will present holiday music from around the world. Lighting up the winter darkness is a universal endeavor, with music as its emissary.

08 November 2017

Love, Joy, and Gratitude from Rabbi Brian Stoller

Written by Rabbi Brian Stoller

Rabbi Stoller 2015 150Dear Friends,

Karen, Lindsay, Zachary, and I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing Rabbinic Installation celebration last weekend! Our hearts are filled with love, joy, and gratitude for the warm way in which you officially welcomed us into the Temple Israel family! The Shabbat dinner Friday evening was elegant and delicious, the installation service created by Cantor Shermet and Rabbi Berezin was powerful for our community and so touching to me personally, the Shabbat morning service and lunch were uplifting and welcoming, and the study sessions were inspiring and exhilarating!  It was such an incredible honor for me to share the bima with my revered teacher, Rabbi David Ellenson, and our beloved Rabbi Emeritus Aryeh Azriel, both of who are role models for me of warmth, intellect, vision, and principled leadership.

08 November 2017

“Know Before Whom You Stand” - Installation Service of Rabbi Brian Stoller

Written by Rabbi Brian Stoller

Rabbi Stoller 2015 150As you walk into the sanctuary, there’s an inscription above the doors: “Da lifnei mi atah omed – Know before whom you stand.”

It’s message of humility.  It means: we need to be conscious, always, that wherever we are, we stand in the presence of God. 

And we stand in the presence of God – now and every day, and every moment – for a purpose: to make a positive impact on the world and on others.  To be holy.

Da lifnei mi atah omed.  Tonight especially, I am very mindful of who it is before I stand.

And I am endlessly grateful for the opportunity God has given me to be your rabbi.

01 November 2017

Balancing our Secular Lives and our Religious Lives

Written by Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin

Rabbi Sussman 150This year Halloween fell on a cold and snow-flurry filled evening. But despite the cold, many of us celebrated in our own ways. Some went out Trick-or-Treating while others of us opened the door to greet children dressed as fairies, witches, transformers, superheroes, and more. As I opened the door to hand out candy, I found myself thinking about what it means to be Jewish and still go trick-or-treating.

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.

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