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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

A Passover Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

The Exodus is the event that begins our history as a nation, and at Passover we are commanded to tell the story in a way that in every generation each person should feel as though he or she were redeemed from Egypt. Not only should we feel as if we participated, but we should understand

A Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

We continue the countdown of four special Shabbatot before Pesach. This week is the third, Shabbat Parah (Shabbat of the Cow). The additional Torah reading is from Numbers 19:1-22 and describes a ritual of purification involving the ashes of a red heifer. All Israelites came to the Temple in Jerusalem on Pesach in order to

A Purim Message from Rabbi Bellush

Purim Sameach!!!!! Finally, it’s time for celebration full of joy and frivolity, merriment and self-mockery. While there is debate among historians about the veracity of the story of Purim, the story of Jews in exile living at the whims of their rulers is, unfortunately, often repeated in our history. With anti-Semitism on the rise, the

D’var Torah: Parashat Vayikra

“Adonai calls to Moses saying, ‘speak to the Israelite people…’ So begins the Book of Leviticus, which is mostly about laws pertaining to priestly matters and the rituals of sacrifices to God. Vayikra, which we begin reading this week, teaches that all Israel must be educated regarding the priestly activities. Although the korbanot, the rituals