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D’var Torah: Parashat Vayeitzei

Jacob has a dream with a ladder, and angels are going up and down it in this week’s Torah portion, Vayeitzei. It is a well-known, and much discussed story, especially Jacob’s statement upon waking אָכֵן֙ יֵ֣שׁ יְהוָ֔ה בַּמָּק֖וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה וְאָנֹכִ֖י לֹ֥א יָדָֽעְתִּי׃ “… Surely Adonai was in this place, and I did not know it”

D’var Torah: Parashat Tol’dot

Sibling rivalry and parents showing favoritism are key themes in this week’s Torah portion Tol’dot, proving that difficult relationships are often part of our family dynamics. Rebekah and Jacob perpetrate a deception against Isaac and Esau, tricking Isaac into giving the younger son the blessing that rightfully belongs to his older brother. The rift that

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

Prayer and spirituality are not the same. While at times we may find some of our prayers to be very spiritual, we might not find spirituality in every prayer. We may not even be spiritually stirred by the same prayer each time we offer it. If you find these words totally confusing, consider this: prayer

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

Beginning with Noach and ending with a genealogy that introduces us to Abram, this week’s Torah portion, Noach, the second in Genesis, let’s us know that God is willing to continue in relationship with humankind, even in the face of disappointment. Noah was a righteous man in his generation (Gen.6:9) and is chosen, along with

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְ‑יָ אֱ‑לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz. We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, who causes bread to come forth from the earth. Most of us know that the motzi is the blessing said before a meal. The presumption is that bread, made from

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