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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.

26 September 2017

Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon: What is God Calling You to Do?

Rabbi SussmanRabbi Deana Sussman Berezin

Shalom, Shana Tova, and welcome to tonight’s game of “Make Me a Match.” In this game, I will be introducing you to three contestants, and after we meet each of them, we’ll make a match! Let’s begin!

Contestant Number One is a Commander in the Army, and has spent the last five years working to protect our country from threats to our safety and wellbeing. This contestant is outgoing and has a memorable personality. When asked what we should know, Contestant Number One replied, “My relationships are very important to me. I protect the people I love. I want to be someone’s rock, their safe place in the storm.”


26 September 2017

Rosh Hashanah Sermon: A Holy Community

Rabbi Stoller 2015Rabbi Brian Stoller

The first time I walked into this building last winter, I was struck by the incredible windows.

You know what I’m talking about.  They’re everywhere:

The tall, wide windows that let the light pour in, casting a clear, panoramic view of the landscape.

And these windows surrounding our sanctuary!  It feels like that light of the first morning of Creation, God’s own light, is shining on us, and enveloping us with warmth and love.

It feels holy.

You might not know this but, according to Jewish law, a sanctuary is required to be built with windows – so that you can look out toward the Heavens, and be stirred by the majesty of it all, and really feel God’s presence?


19 September 2017

Message and Appeal from Rabbi Michael L. Feshbach and the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas

stthomasWith humility and gratitude, we accept your many offers of help. We will use your support in four distinct ways: aid for recovery for the island, support for members in need, repair of the damage we sustained, and support for the congregation as a whole...Your assistance in picking us up, helping us recover from this devastating blow, including such basic acts as delivering and distributing food and water in some cases… it is… essential. And appreciated.

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