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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...

Purim: A Spiritual Response to Colleyville

01/25/2022 09:32:58 AM


Rabbi Ezray

Around 2500 years ago, the Jews in Shushan faced a terrible moment. King Ahasueros, manipulated by his evil advisor Haman, issued an edict giving permission to kill the Jews. What would happen? What could they possibly do in the face this danger? The text captures the anxiety of the moment: ha’ir Shushan nevucha – the city of Shushan was dumfounded.

Last Saturday felt eerily like that moment in Shushan. Facing a...Read more...

A Letter from CBJ Clergy and Leadership

01/18/2022 12:21:21 PM


CBJ Clergy and Leadership

Dear CBJ Family,
Soon after concluding our beautiful Shabbat services yesterday, we learned of the horrific synagogue attack and hostage situation in at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas. We breathed a collective sigh of relief to learn that the hostages, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker were freed due to the heroic actions of law enforcement. Rabbi Cytron-Walker wrote a beautiful statement following his...Read more...

Their Impact Continues

01/03/2022 09:17:42 AM


Rabbi Ezray

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  (Martin Luther King, Jr. Wall Street Journal, November 13, 1962)

The religious conscience cannot help but be moved by the heartless cruelties and gross injustice which have been perpetrated against our fellow citizens. To stand up and be counted at such a...Read more...

Seeing Someone

01/03/2022 09:07:17 AM


Tami Raubvogel, President

What does it mean to “see” someone? 

There is the literal meaning. You can see someone, for example, who is standing in front of you or sitting near you at Shabbat service. I can see how many people choose to attend the service on Zoom or in person and you can see everyone too. Sometimes we acknowledge that we see each other by smiling, waving, or saying hello. These simple acts are very important...Read more...

United Against Hate: Lifting up Anti-Semitism Which Demands a Response

11/23/2021 09:26:33 AM


Rabbi Ezray

This week (November 14 – 20, 2021) numerous cities and organizations across the Bay Area have come together for a series of events to support United Against Hate Week. United Against Hate was created several years ago by civic leaders who realize that hate stops when enough people lift their voices and act. As we collectively come together and say, “Enough – this must stop!” a dynamic of response and unity gains momentum....Read more...

Vayishlach – Facing Ourselves and Others

11/22/2021 03:41:10 PM


Rabbi Ezray

Do you know what the holiday of Diwali is? It is a festival of light celebrated by Hindus, Jain, Sikhs, and some Buddhists. It lasts 5 days; symbolizing the victory of light over darkness. It sounds a little bit like Chanukkah and Christmas. I had just learned about it, so my ears picked up when I heard Dr. Vivek Murthy share with our community two weeks ago that he and his family just observed the holiday. In a multi-faith talk about dealing...Read more...

Chayei Sarah: The Power of Chesed

11/10/2021 09:26:38 AM


Rabbi Ezray

My stepdaughter Emily, who has given me permission to share this story, is now in a great relationship with a wonderful man, Mike, who has the Abba and Mom seal of approval. But before she met Mike, she was often attracted to a certain type: someone who was a little edgy, interesting, connected to the arts; all good qualities. But as Mimi and I would hear about them, we would gently ask, “Is he kind? Will he there...Read more...

Help Afghan Refugees via Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley

10/29/2021 10:16:49 AM


The historical persecution of Jews in many countries gives us a special connection, and a special obligation, to refugee populations.   

Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley (JFS SV) is one of two refugee resettlement agencies in Santa Clara County that are welcoming Afghan refugees evacuated by the United States. Here are 5 ways you can help with our campaign to support the work of JFS...Read more...

Rabbi Ezray - Join a Magic Moment

10/18/2021 02:27:51 PM


Rabbi Nat Ezray

               Every several years, a group of CBJ members celebrate an Adult B’nai Mitzvah. It is a magical service. To study for several years – this year’s cohort added an extra year as we rescheduled due to COVID – brings even deeper connection to a group who began with a strong...Read more...

Shemini Atzeret Yizkor – Letting Memories Linger

10/15/2021 02:43:20 PM


Rabbi Nat Ezray

An area of life that deeply impacts how I continue to grow morally and in character often occurs when I meet with a family preparing for a funeral. Sharing stories about their loved ones who dies almost always provides wisdom about what a life well lived means. I learn about behaviors to embrace and avoid.

          Listening to stories about loved ones, I learn about unconditional love –...Read more...

Rabbi Ezray - Yom Kippur: The Opportunity of Shmita

09/20/2021 10:21:13 AM


Rabbi Ezray

         Midrash is an extraordinary genre of Jewish literature. It takes words, stories and laws from the Torah and deepens their meaning by adding details, explanations and further stories. This interpretive act allows important questions to be explored and values to be creatively expanded. Listen to this Midrash about the moments following...Read more...

Rabbi Ezray - Yizkor: Facing Pain and Discovering Meaning 

09/20/2021 09:31:27 AM


Rabbi Ezray


One of the moments that has stayed with me from last year’s services was right before Yizkor.  In an empty sanctuary with my computer in front of me I looked at all the zoom squares and tried to feel the connection that can be present even when we are not physically together.

         And then Rabbi David and Robin Teitelbaum came on screen.  It meant so much to see them–knowing that Rabbi’s health was declining. To exchange greeting­-once they figured out unmute­-and have him and Robin hear our love filled me with emotion. I knew it might be one of the last times I saw him, and indeed our beloved Rabbi Teitelbaum died last March.  For all that I know he lived a long and full life–I remain filled with sadness.  I miss him and I know those of you who knew him do so as well. Read more...

Fri, January 28 2022 26 Shevat 5782