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Rosh Hashana: Embracing Fragility

10/14/2022 11:51:00 AM


Rabbi Ezray

             This summer I read an important book, Four Thousand Weeks, Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. The book asks us to confront that life is absurdly brief. He calculated that if you live to be eighty, you’ll have lived about 4,000 weeks. His point was to jolt us; time passes so quickly! 

I confess that my initial...

Ki Tavo: Lessons From Hank Greenberg

10/14/2022 11:49:24 AM


Rabbi Ezray

There is a confluence of circumstance today. Almost 29 years ago, our congregant Adam Taub celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at Temple Emanuel in Newton, Massachusetts where I served as the Associate Rabbi. The Senior Rabbi, Sam Chiel gave a memorable sermon about the baseball player Hank Greenberg for Adam’s Bar Mitzvah, and I remember thinking I would like to talk about the same topic one day. Adam saved a hard copy...Read more...

Kol Nidre: Recreating a "We"

10/07/2022 10:16:39 AM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

I received an invitation recently, from someone I hadn't heard from in a few years.

Nihal Sahan. She's one of the few staff members of Pacifica Institute, a Turkish cultural center in Santa Clara.

A few years ago, CBJ and Pacifica had a lovely little Muslim-Jewish dialogue group going. But like so many of our more tenuous social bonds - our group disappeared during the pandemic. 

Now, out of the blue an...

Rosh Hashanah Day 2: Taking Control in the Anthropocene

09/28/2022 09:58:25 AM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

Today is the anniversary of creation.

In honor of our wondrous planet, I'd like to tell you the story of the Hula Valley. And I will also take you through three very different versions of the story of the creation of the world.

Hula is in the north of Israel, east of the Golan. How many people in the room have been there?

Have you been there during the bird migration season?

Not long ago, much of the valley was...

Shoftim: Bal Taschit--We Can Do Better

09/07/2022 12:22:44 PM


Rabbi Ezray

Our Bat Mitzvah for today Adina and I were studying the Torah portion, and we came to the verse that I will focus on in a moment teaching that it is a mitzvah to safeguard nature and precious natural resources. 

Adina pointed out how overwhelming the problem seems; it is so difficult to confront the environmental damage we have done and to find meaningful solutions. All our...Read more...

Pilgrimages and Journeys in Community

09/01/2022 09:02:06 AM


Tami Raubvogel, President

This summer, my husband and I went on a three-week trip through Spain and Portugal. We hiked part of a famous trail called the Camino de Santiago. The Camino is a network of trails that have been used for centuries by Christians to make a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Many religious Christians take this pilgrimage as a form of spiritual growth....Read more...

The Most Important Month

09/01/2022 08:59:19 AM


Rabbi Ezray

We are in the midst of the most important month of the Hebrew calendar, Elul, the month before the High Holy Days. You might argue that Tishrei, a month full of the holidays, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah is the most important month. But Elul holds the key to everything.

The holidays are the moments of celebration and meaning, but the essence of the holiday is the time spent spiritually preparing so that the...Read more...

Re’eh: The Power of Inclusion

08/30/2022 09:51:00 AM


Rabbi Ezray

Sometimes you look back on something you experienced and realize it was far more significant than you understood at the time. I had that experience as I finished college. I decided to study at an egalitarian yeshiva in Israel affiliated with the Conservative Movement to see if becoming a Rabbi was the right path for me. The program I chose to attend, Midreshet Yerushalayim, was housed at the same place where the...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...

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...

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...

Wed, December 7 2022 13 Kislev 5783