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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.”

03 October 2017

Kol Nidre 5778 Sermon: One Hundred Percent Responsibility

Written by Rabbi Brian Stoller

Rabbi Stoller 2015So, I understand there’s a football game tonight.  I guess the Huskers didn’t realize it’s Kol Nidrei, huh?

Oh well.  I’m glad you’re here.

And who knew football was going to be such a hot topic this Yom Kippur?

* * *

So, speaking of football: What do you think is the difference is between football and real life?

(I know, a lot of you are mumbling: What is this guy talking about?  Football is real life.) 

But there actually is a big difference, at least in one respect.


03 October 2017

Yom Kippur Yizkor 5778 Sermon

Written by Rabbi Brian Stoller

Rabbi Stoller 2015To remember, in Judaism, is about much more than simply recalling the past.

It’s about keeping the past alive, actively, and deliberately – now in the present, and for the future.

To remember, in Judaism, is to transcend the boundaries of time.

* * *

Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik tells a beautiful story from his childhood about the power of living memory.

Rabbi Soloveitchik’s father was a renowned Torah scholar, and his home would constantly be filled with students sitting around the table discussing the sacred books.

03 October 2017

Director of Engagement and Communications

Temple Israel is searching for a Director of Engagement and Communications who is creative, energetic, and proactive, with the ability to bring people together and facilitate relationship-building among members of the community. The Director of Engagement and Communications will be responsible for membership recruitment and engagement, managing temple communications, and working in collaboration with the clergy and professional team to create vibrant and engaging programming for all demographic segments within our congregational community, including young families and empty-nesters. This is a part-time position, approximately 20 hours per week.

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