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A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

Successful leadership sometimes requires voicing an opinion different than that held by the majority. In this week’s Torah portion Sh’lach L’cha, twelve Israelite spies go into the land of Israel to see what it is like and if it is conquerable. Ten spies allow their own feelings of inadequacy to color the vision of what they

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

Leadership isn’t always easy; even Moses sometimes needs help. In this week’s Torah portion from the Book of Numbers, B’haalot’cha, we read that Adonai says to Moses, “Gather for Me seventy elders and officers of the people, and bring them to the Tent of Meeting and let them take their place there with you… they shall share

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

With the introduction of the nazir, an individual who dedicates him or herself to God, the weekly Torah portion identifies a role for religious lay leaders committing themselves to serve in holiness. Aaron and his sons and the rest of the priestly class have a unique role, but the text is teaching that with the appropriate kavanah (meaning ‘intention’)

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

Torah, according to Proverbs 3:18, is a “Tree of Life to those who hold fast to it.” As a Jewish religious institution, all we do at Temple Am Echad must be anchored in the values that Torah teaches. This week that message is found in everything from the weekly Torah portion, to our fundraising to

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

As we conclude our reading this week of the Book of Leviticus with B’chukotai, we read about monetary gifts that must be made to the sanctuary because of vows or in gratitude for blessings. The portion stresses the importance of acting in support of our religious institutions. At Shabbat services last week we recognized a

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

As we continue to count the days till Shavuot, this Wednesday night brings us to Lag BaOmer, the 33rd day of the Omer (lamed = 30 and gimmel = 3). Traditionally the period of the Omer is a solemn time. However, Lag BaOmer is historically associated with good things (the cessation of a first-century plague and the beginning of the revolt against Rome in 66 CE) and

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

Tonight, Wednesday Night, May 15, 2019, is twenty-six days, which is three weeks and five days of the Omer. In Torah, sacred observances are defined in both place and time. Each year the ancient Israelites are to journey to Jerusalem to observe three festivals: Sukkot, Pesach, and Shavuot. Today, while we celebrate these holidays in the places

D’var Torah: Parashat Kedoshim

The observance of this week’s two Israeli holidays is made that much more important by this past weekend’s violence between Israel and Gaza. Wednesday is Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s national day of remembrance for its fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. It is immediately followed on Thursday by Yom Ha’atzmaut, the day on which we celebrate the establishment

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

We are devastated that once again a violent act of bigotry and hatred has been perpetrated against people gathering to pray in a house of worship. We are heartbroken that once again a Jewish synagogue has been desecrated and human life taken by an anti-Semitic gunman. Our prayers are with the victims and their families

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

As Jews around the world celebrate the intermediate days of Passover and Christians observed Easter Sunday, we are reminded that the freedom to worship in safety continues to elude all of us.  Another horrific act of terror has been carried out at houses of worship, this time at churches in Sri Lanka. Coordinated with other