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Tikvah: How Do We Deal With Anger?

07/01/2022 08:56:20 AM


Rabbinic Intern Greg Marcus

This has been a difficult month for our country. From mass shootings to the Supreme Court’s   expected ruling on abortion, to the January 6th hearings, many people are feeling strong emotions, including, but not limited to anger.

Maimonides said “Whosoever yields to anger, if he be a wise man his wisdom leaves him, and if he be a prophet his prophecy leaves him." (Human Dispositions 2:3) Notice the phrase “yields to...Read more...

Vayera – Go to Uncertainty Be a Blessing

10/26/2021 04:49:28 PM


Rabbi Nat Ezray


Judaism begins with a journey into the unknown. The first Jews, Abraham and Sarah leave everything that is familiar – their homeland, their families of origin, their native culture, their habits of mind – and journey to a new and unknown land. Think about the implication to us of a religion rooted in journey into the unknown. We too are...Read more...

Reopening update from the President

09/01/2021 09:50:03 AM


by Steve Dines

Dear Congregants,

I wanted to use this Voice piece to let you know what our reopening plans are through the end of 2021.

As many of you know, we held our High Holiday services under an 8000 square foot canopy in the CBJ parking lot.  We had wonderful levels of attendance on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and the feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive, not just about the steps we took to make worshippers feel...Read more...

D'varim: Finding the Right Words; Moses and Bill Russell

08/09/2022 09:54:54 AM


Rabbi Ezray

This past week, basketball legend Bill Russell died at age 88. For those of you who don’t know who Bill Russell is, he was perhaps the best basketball player in history. His Boston Celtics won 11 championships. He won two national collegiate championships at University of San Francisco and an Olympic gold medal. He is in the Hall of Fame, both as a player and a coach, the first African American coach in the NBA....Read more...

Finding Fives

07/01/2022 08:53:03 AM


Tami Raubvogel, President

I knew I wanted to be a teacher before I graduated high school. I had a singular focus through college and started my first teaching job at age 23. After teaching middle school, I became a middle and elementary school administrator. I have been working in education, in the public schools, for the last 30 years.

I think this is why the recent mass shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas hit very close to home. Like many of...Read more...

Chevra Kadisha: Seeking and Providing Comfort

07/01/2022 08:49:21 AM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

Years ago, before I became a Rabbi, and while I was still more deeply influenced by my years of training in biology, my friend Cheryl’s father died. After meeting with the funeral director, she stopped by my home to seek the comfort of a friend. During that conversation, she said something I will never forget: “He’s all alone there. I don’t want him to be alone.”

Her feeling surprised me. I was aware that Jewish tradition...Read more...

Tisha B'Av: Despair and Hope Intertwined

07/01/2022 08:47:33 AM


Rabbi Ezray

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks tells the story of Napoleon, once passing a synagogue on the somber day of Tisha B’Av, who was struck by sounds of crying and wailing emanating from inside the building. “What are the Jews mourning?” he asked one of his officers. “They are grieving for Jerusalem,” came back the reply. “And how long ago did the Jews lose Jerusalem?” asked Napoleon. “More than 1700 years ago,” the soldier answered....Read more...

Bechukotai: The Curse of Mass Shootings

06/14/2022 09:49:36 AM


Rabbi Ezray

Sometimes when I give a sermon, I look to bring in multiple points of view, as we explore a complicated issue together. Other times, I may choose to speak drawing on the prophetic tradition, meaning that I am going to tell you my truth based on an assessment of an urgent wrong, with a call to action. I'll speak more about the prophets later; I feel that the events of this week demanded that I find that voice. I hope that if you disagree with...Read more...

Naso: May We Be Gracious to One Another and Ourselves

06/13/2022 03:59:26 PM


Rabbi Ezray

Have you ever had someone in your life who truly saw you; someone who saw your essence, light, and who you are capable of becoming? Maybe that person also helped bring those things out in you that you did not know existed.

Keep that person in your mind. The quality they displayed is captured by the Hebrew word chen. It is often translated as “grace,” but...Read more...


06/09/2022 07:29:43 AM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

In Jewish culture, we have two very different phrases to refer to someone who is deceased. 

Alav Hashalom (for a male) or Alehah HaShalom (for a female) means "peace is upon her."

Zichronah Livrachah or Zichrono Livrachah. Usually translated "Of blessed memory," but it could also mean "May his memory be a blessing."

As far as I know, the two terms are used interchangeably. But they mean very different...Read more...

Bamidbar - Housing, and The Responsibility of those who Count

06/08/2022 06:33:36 AM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

We Jews love to count.

We count time - today is Shabbat, so it's the 7th day of the week. Tonight is Shavuot, so it is the 49th day of counting the Omer, since the start of Passover. Today we are celebrating a Bat-mitzvah, the age of moral responsibility, so it's the 13th year of life.

We count things. Did you know that we have seven aliyah's to the Torah every Shabbat, but five for a holiday service, and three for a weekday...Read more...

Emor: Looking for Deeper Reasons

05/16/2022 03:10:27 PM


Rabbi Ezray

This week’s 60 Minutes episode told the story of eleven-year-old Austin Bruenger, a fifth grader at Roosevelt Elementary School in Milwaukee. He reminded me of some of the kids here; sweet, fun and bright. He shared the story that as a nine-year-old, when the pandemic hit, he initially thought that some time off of school would be great. But as the weeks passed with remote learning, his disconnect...Read more...

Scapegoat: Building an Understanding of Self and Society

05/16/2022 02:40:32 PM


Rabbi Ezray

           My dad and I had an ongoing discussion. He felt that religion was full of irrelevant details that bordered on ridiculous. I’m sure that he would have pointed to the details of this morning’s portion, sacrificing animals, sprinkling blood, laying sins on a goat, and use it as an example to prove his point.

          I would...

The Mitzvah of Criticism

05/09/2022 01:50:35 PM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

Quite a few years ago, when I was a much younger adult, my parents-in-law spent a sabbatical year in Cambridge, England, and my husband David and I flew out to visit them for a couple of weeks. We must have rented bikes, because the story I want to share with you happened when we were out on a bike ride around town. I was biking a little slower than the others, and David and his parents were about half a block ahead of me when a middle-aged...Read more...

Standing at Sinai

04/29/2022 02:13:41 PM


Rabbi Ezray

One of our least known holidays is Shavuot. As its timing coincides with summer vacations and graduations, many don’t know of this extraordinary holiday. It is a holiday worth celebrating!

In the Torah it is described as the holiday celebrating the wheat harvest. On this holiday, farmers would make pilgrimage to the Temple to offer the first grains. This original meaning of gratitude for the gifts of God teaches a powerful message...Read more...

Mon, August 15 2022 18 Av 5782