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A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

As the book of Genesis draws to a close with its last Torah portion, Vay’chi, Joseph nears the end of a long life, spent mostly in Egypt. Even though his children, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are born in Egypt, Joseph still recalls his true home of Canaan. On his death-bed, he reminds his family of

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

As the secular year draws to a close, recent events remind us of the many incidents of hate and gun violence that plagued us in 2019. News of a horrific attack during a Chanukah celebration at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, NY and a shooting as a congregation gathered in prayer at a Christian church

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

Unlike Joseph, who in this week’s Torah portion Mikeitz lives a fully assimilated life, we are able to live our Judaism freely and openly. Our Rabbi taught that it is incumbent on us to place the Chanukah lamp by the door of one’s house on the outside. If one dwells in an upper chamber, he

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

This week the phrase “there is light at the end of the tunnel” has a variety of meanings. The days are at their shortest as we approach the winter solstice at the end of this week. Just as our days are darkest, we will be lighting the first candle of Hanukkah on Sunday night. Focusing

D’var Torah: Parashat Vayishlach

In Torah name changes take place after interactions with the Divine. Abram and Sarai become Abraham and Sarah. In this week’s Torah portion, Vayishlach, Jacob becomes Israel after wrestling with an angel. Jacob refuses to let the divine being go unless he gives Jacob a blessing. “No more shall you be called Jacob, but Israel…

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