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A Sukkot Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

“Chag Sameach” is the appropriate greeting during any of the three festival holidays on the Jewish calendar. The first and last days of festivals are usually observed with typical holiday observances: services, festive meals, and days of rest. The days in-between are referred to as Chol HaMo-eid. Yet, for Sukkot, the festival of booths, we are commanded

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

As part of our Yom Kippur observances, many of us will fast. It is an attempt to control or overcome our physical needs in order to concentrate on the spiritual tasks of repentance and atonement. As a result, one of the greetings of the day is tzom kal, meaning “easy fast,” as in “May you

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

As we stand ready to enter the New Year of 5780, this week’s Torah portion, Nitzavim, reminds us that God’s covenant was made with the entirety of the Jewish people. “I make this covenant…not with you alone, but both with those who are standing here with us this day… and with those who are not with us

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

The Israelites are instructed that upon entering the Land of Israel, they are to acknowledge their gratitude to God with a special ritual, which is recounted in this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo. Marking transitions is an essential part of our Jewish lives. This Saturday evening we mark the transition into the High Holy Day season with  S’lichot service. S’lichot are

D’var Torah: Parashat Ki Teitzei

 עַל שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד, עַל הַתּוֹרָה וְעַל הָעֲבוֹדָה וְעַל גְּמִילוּת חֲסָדִים  In the text above from Pirkei Avot 1:2, we learn that the world stands on three things: Torah, worship, and acts of loving kindness. If you’ve attended worship services recently, you’ve likely heard Greta Kantrowitz, our Temple President, offer a word or two about

D’var Torah: Parashat Shof’tim

An Israelite King was to have with him a copy of the law at all times, so that he would read it “all his life, so that he may learn to revere his God Adonai, to observe faithfully every word” of the teachings and the law (Deut. 17:9). How fitting that these words from this

D’var Torah: Parashat R’eih

Contrast between good and bad begins this week’s Torah portion, R’eih. God places before the Israelites a blessing and a curse (Deut. 11:26) and presents the idea that we always have a choice between the two. The way to blessing is found through following God’s commandments. One such commandment is engaging in tikkun olam, repair of

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

Prayers, for the most part, are addressed to God. Yet one of our most important prayers, begins “Shema, Yisrael…” “Listen people of Israel…” The words of the prayer call on us to hear it’s words. The words of the Shema, as well as the first half of the V’ahavta, come from this week’s Torah portion

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

As a nation we find ourselves moving from shock and horror to grief and mourning. Yet, the heart-break remains as the individual stories of the victims of this weekend’s violence begin to surface and they are laid to rest. As our nation mourns, we can’t help but contrast the victims’ humanity with the baseless hatred

D’var Torah: Matot-Masei

Gun violence on both coasts this past weekend offers a very sad reminder that our society is not living up to the ideals of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Although promised in the Declaration of Independence, these “unalienable rights” are not being protected by our government. In California, a 6-year-old boy, a 13-year-old