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07 September 2017

Sharing our Strength with Congregation Emanu El in Houston

Dear Friends,

I am completely and utterly amazed at our community’s overwhelming response to the devastation in Houston from Hurricane Harvey. Our community’s generosity is nothing short of incredible, enabling us to respond to the need quickly and launch a successful gift card drive. Thank you to each and every person who contributed, and to our volunteers who made this gift card drive possible. Temple Israel has raised over $17,000 which we will be sending to Congregation Emanu El in Houston to distribute to their congregants.

Please see Rabbi Pam Silk’s touching response to our community’s generosity below.

Again, many thanks for each and every contribution,

Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin

From: Rabbi Pam Silk 
Date: September 5, 2017 at 11:33:15 PM CDT
Subject: Re: Temple Israel Omaha Gift Card Drive

I'm speechless. And those who know me know that I'm never speechless. The words thank you fall so very short of the gratitude we have for the magnitude of the gifts you're sharing with us. The generosity of your community is overwhelming and will help to wrap our community in such love and care as so many rebuild their ruined homes. 
  
The clergy team at Emanu El shares a single discretionary fund: the Clergy Good Works Fund. Your gifts will enable us to help families afford temporary housing while continuing to pay the mortgage on their ruined homes, pay for rentals and make down payments on cars to replace their totaled vehicles, help towards large deductibles to ensure their homes are cleared and treated correctly before they can begin building back, and to replace and provide for personal care items, clothing, shoes and so much more. 

From our congregational family to yours, thank you, thank you, thank you. 
Pam

30 August 2017

Preparing for the hard work of forgiveness and real repentance

In The Sacred and the Profane, Mircea Eliade wrote: “For Judaism, time has a beginning and will have an end.  The idea of cyclic time is left behind.  [Yahweh] no longer manifests himself in ‘cosmic’ time (like the gods of other religions) but in a ‘historical time’, which is irreversible.”  To me this illustrates Judaism as a faith with fixed markers.  Elul is one such marker; during this month we prepare ourselves for the hard work of forgiveness and real repentance.   It is so hard to say and mean that we are sorry.  It is even harder to accept someone else’s apology.  And it is hardest to forgive oneself. 

The month of Elul is an excellent time to take stock of the year that has gone, with all its own markers of good and bad.  We are b’tzelem Elohim, made in God’s image.  If Abraham and Moses could argue with God and ask God to “re-think” certain actions, if God could promise never to again bring a flood upon the entire earth, why do we expect ourselves and others to be infallible?  We cannot change past actions nor can our friends and family.  We can expect and work toward being better humans.  Let’s all start with this, in this month.

30 August 2017

How Temple is Helping Hurricane Victims

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My cousin wading through waist-deep water to pick up his elderly neighbor so she would not have to endure the storm alone.

Dear Friends,

Houston, Texas is my hometown. 

Since Friday, I, like you, have been watching helplessly as Hurricane Harvey has pounded the city that raised me with a seemingly unending torrent of rain.  I am grateful to all of you who have asked about my family.  Thank God they are all safe and well, but, as we know, there are so many who are not. 

24 August 2017

Everything We Do and Say Matters!

Stop. Think. The very next thing you do will tip the scales, either toward the good or toward the bad. Maimonides teaches, “Throughout the entire year, you should always look at yourself as equally balanced between merit and sin and the world as equally balanced between merit and sin. If you perform one sin, you tip the balance and that of the entire world to the side of guilt and bring bad consequences upon yourself. 

24 August 2017

Chanukat Bayit, the Ritual for Hanging Mezuzot

“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:9).

As we recite the v’ahavtah every day, we are reminded that we are to take the commandments given to us from Adonai into our hearts, minds, and souls. We are to remember them at every juncture in our lives, teach them to our children, and use them as guideposts to provide a framework for our lives. This past Sunday, our religious school students participated in a Chanukat Bayit, the ritual for hanging mezuzot.

15 June 2016

Final Farewell Sermon

Written by Rabbi Josh Brown, Posted in Temple Israel

Eight years ago, Carrie and I moved to North Carolina.  We were not even engaged.  Carrie had no idea that she was about to be thrown into the very busy life of the synagogue and I barely knew what it meant to be a rabbi.  We talk about that time in our lives as the “Genesis” - the first book, of our life.  It was our Garden of Eden - the place where we were married, where we had our first home, our first kid and our first congregation.

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07 April 2016

Thank You from Federated Church

Posted in Temple Israel

Please accept our great appreciation for the wonderful hospitality you provided to the confirmation class of Federated Church this past Saturday at Temple Israel. We are so thankful for the tour that Mr. Littky gave to our group prior to the service. We are full of gratitude for Rabbi Azriel so actively including us in the morning service.

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