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D’var Torah: Korach

Questioning authority, asking for explanations and looking for divine signs are all part of our Jewish tradition and woven into this week’s Torah portion, Korach, from the Book of Numbers.  On the surface, the story has Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership being questioned by others who feel they are just as capable and entitled. Not only are they proven wrong,

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

Early on the morning of Saturday, June 28, 1969, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning persons protested following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar at 43 Christopher Street, in NYC. This and further protests over the following nights created a milestone moment in the modern LGBTQ rights movement. As a result of this initial step, and many

D’var Torah: B’haalotecha

The perception of helplessness often brings about selective memory. Once something is out of mind, we no longer focus energy on trying to change it. Wearing bright orange clothing this coming Friday will not in and of itself prevent gun violence, but it will help keep the issue at the forefront of our collective thoughts. Perhaps it will remind us to

D’var Torah: Naso

For the second week in a row the weekly Torah portion deals with the need for a census of the Israelites. Last week God called for a census in B’midbar, as an assessment of the Israelites’ military force. This week in Naso God calls for an additional census with a special emphasis on who is available for the various tasks associated

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

After a whirlwind of sightseeing, fascinating conversations and moments of spirituality and blessing, the participants in Temple Am Echad’s pilgrimage to Israel are safely home. Although we’ve already shared our trip by posting photographs, conversations about how to better share our experiences with our Temple family are already taking place. Hopefully, trip participant postings to

A Lag BaOmer Message

Lag BaOmer, which falls this year on Thursday, May 3rd, is a minor holiday in our Jewish calendar. The words literally mean “the 33rd day of the Omer.” The Omer is a measure of grain that was brought as an offering of thanksgiving to God in biblical times between Passover and Shavuot. These two holidays

D’var Torah: Acharei Mot-Kedoshim

To be holy as God is holy — that is what this week’s Torah portion, the double portion of Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, offers us. It presents the ritual and ethical laws that, if followed, will make the Jewish people a “holy” people. Biblical scholars use the term “The Holiness Code” to describe the section of Leviticus

On Tears and Joy

70 years!!!!! Israel celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut, the anniversary of its independence, this week on Thursday. First, though, on the day before, Wednesday, it pays tribute to all it’s fallen soldiers on Yom Hazikaron, a day of remembrance. It is a stark and moving reminder of the lives lost in creation and defense of this small

A Passover Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

Temple’s community Seder, held on the second night of the holiday, was a resounding success! We returned to using the Reform Movement’s Baskin Haggadah, and the richness of its liturgy brought greater meaning to our Seder experience.  The variety of Haggadot  we have to choose from are almost as many as the variations that take place at each of our Seders. As Reform Jews we

Combating a Modern-Day Plague

Last Saturday March for Our Lives demonstrations across the country refocused our collective attention on the issue of gun violence prevention. I was privileged to attend the march in Long Beach with more than 35 members of Am Echad. Our Temple was represented in many of the marches which took place that day, including New