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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...

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...

Finding Communal and Cultural Center

04/29/2022 02:09:38 PM


Tami Raubvogel, President

Recently I went to Mesa Verde National Park in Cortez, Colorado. Thousands of years ago the Ancestral Pueblo Native Americans lived in this area in iconic cliff dwellings. I learned that in nearly every cliff dwelling there is a Kiva, which was considered the cultural and religious center of the whole community. The Kiva is the place where the clan met to tell stories that were passed down from generation to generation in order to maintain...Read more...

Thoughts on Makhloket

04/29/2022 02:06:53 PM


Cantor Barbara Powell

Nadav and Abihu, Aaron’s two sons, brought strange fire into the Mishkan after having completed their appropriate tasks, such as bringing the blood to the altar. Upon bringing the strange fire, they were consumed by it and struck down by God.

The sacrificial offerings in the Mishkan followed a very specific sequence, in preparation for God’s presence descending to be...Read more...

Tikvah Shabbat Drash

04/29/2022 02:03:59 PM


Rabbinic Intern Greg Marcus

Today on our Tikva Shabbat, we have gotten a small glimpse of what our tradition has to say about conflict resolution, respectful dialogue, and tolerance for multiple viewpoints.

The 30-million-shekel question is, how do we make it happen?

Is it easy in here to say, “We should listen with curiosity, or accept multiple points of view.” But what happens in the real world, when we are sitting across from someone who believes...Read more...

Passover Yizkor: Making the Broken Matza Whole

04/25/2022 11:08:19 AM


Rabbi Ezray

       As we come to the end of Passover and thoughts turn to that all important choice of what to eat tonight, pizza, bagel, pasta, you name it, I want you to hold onto the symbol of matza and take it with you.

       Matza’s symbolic meaning has the power to inform our identity in moving ways. Especially as we prepare for the Yizkor service connected with each of our pilgrimage festivals; we...Read more...

Metzorah: Finding Healing

04/11/2022 10:13:23 AM


Rabbi Ezray

As I sat down to write my sermon this week, my soul was troubled, and I was searching for comfort. And for all that Judaism brings comfort in extraordinary ways, the burdens of our world felt too heavy. Being from Sacramento and witnessing senseless mass killings of streets so familiar to me was painful. The litany of prayers and thoughts for families of victims and those wounded, which we have offered far too many times in recent months,...Read more...


03/25/2022 04:43:49 PM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

I'm curious how many people in this room currently live more than 200 miles from where you grew up. If that describes you, and you feel comfortable doing so - stand up, so we can all get a sense of the numbers. (In Power Hour, nearly everyone stood. 2-3 people remained sitting.) Remain standing for a moment if you grew up out of state. (Less than half the room sat.) Remain standing for a moment if you grew up in a different country...Read more...

Shalom Bayit - Reclaiming Power in the Face of Abuse

03/14/2022 11:46:18 AM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

This Shabbat is the sermon campaign for Shalom Bayit.  Shalom Bayit literally means “peace at home”, and it’s the name of the Bay Area’s center for domestic violence prevention within the Jewish community. Each year, Shalom Bayit asks rabbis throughout the Bay Area to address domestic violence, if possible all on a single Shabbat.  It’s not always possible to do it on the date requested –  the truth, is we...Read more...

Esther's Humility Lesson

03/11/2022 11:07:21 AM


Greg Marcus

Have you ever been thrust into a situation where you were called to step outside of your comfort zone?  If so, did you have to choose between stepping up to bring some good into the world, or doing nothing and let something bad happen?

This is exactly the situation Queen Esther faced. Please join our Rabbinic Intern Greg Marcus for a discussion of the Mussar soul trait of Humility as it relates to Queen Esther's example, at 5:30...Read more...

Sat, May 21 2022 20 Iyyar 5782