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We Welcome You! (Even if it's JFK)

05/01/2023 10:27:48 AM


Tami Raubvogel, President

I recently learned a new term. During Kiddush, I was chatting with someone and he said, “I am a JFK Jew today.” I had no idea what he was talking about until he told me that he was at synagogue, “Just For Kiddush.” 

At first, the term “JFK” made me think of another JFK: the airport. The John F. Kennedy International Airport is the main international airport serving New York City. It is one of the busiest passenger...Read more...

Shavuot: The Ritual of Studying Late into the Night

05/01/2023 10:26:15 AM


Rabbi Ezray

Those who have joined us on Shavuot as we observe the ritual of studying late into the night as a way of re-enacting receiving Torah know the magic and mystery that occurs when we gather for this sacred night.

In this article, I would like to explore the power of ritual to transform. In his book Yearnings, Irwin Kula writes: “Rituals bring us deep into our psyches, beyond common sense.”  He is correct; studying together on...Read more...

Passover Yizkor—Moving Forward

04/18/2023 10:00:47 AM


Rabbi Ezray

A key moment in the Passover story comes just after our triumphant exodus from Egypt. Pharoah changes his mind and sends chariots after the Israelites. With the Egyptian army rapidly approaching and the Sea of Reeds in front of us, the Israelites panic. Everything seems lost! They scream at Moses: “What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, saying ‘Let us be, and we will serve the...Read more...

Tu B'Shevat Was a Success!

03/01/2023 10:09:55 AM


Linda Leeb, Social Action Committee Chair

In early February, the Social Action Committee worked on organizing two amazing events to celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the birthday of the trees, and a day when Jews around the world celebrate the miracles of the Earth we’re surrounded by every day. We’re thrilled to say that our volunteers showed up in force, despite the rainy and drab weather.

Our tree planting team, led by CityTrees, planted over 30 trees in Redwood City along...Read more...

Finding Light in the Darkness

03/01/2023 09:53:15 AM


Tami Raubvogel, President

How much do you do to get ready for Passover? For me, there is much that goes into the preparation for this holiday. I spend time doing things like cleaning the kitchen, changing the dishes, and selling all the chametz. In addition, I like to reflect on the meaning of Passover, what new lessons I can glean from the Haggadah, and how these lessons may impact my life. There are obvious themes found in the Passover story, like being freed from...Read more...

Shiva: A Chance to Mourn in Community

03/01/2023 09:48:25 AM


Cantor Barbara Powell

Judaism has a structured period of mourning for loved ones which can last up to a year, depending on your relationship to the person who has died. The first of these structured periods of mourning is a seven-day period called Shiva. Shiva begins immediately after the burial of a loved one. The community supports the mourners, for up to seven days, enabling them to say the Mourners Kaddish. Gathering at a house of Shiva is powerful. (This...Read more...

Finding Wonder

03/01/2023 09:46:35 AM


Ann Cauterruci, Preschool Director

Wonder, noun.

A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. “He had stood in front of it, observing the intricacy of the ironwork with the wonder of a child.”

G.K. Chesterton wrote that, “What was wonderful about childhood is that anything in it was a wonder. It was not merely a world full of miracles; it was a miraculous world.”

Spring...

Sharing Stories of Abortion

03/01/2023 09:43:58 AM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

On June 24th of last year, the Supreme Court announced that it was overturning 50 years of abortion protection in our country. Since then, we have witnessed 13 states enact bans on abortion, other states attempt to enact bans that were blocked, and others implement significant restrictions. As I shared in a recent sermon (which you can watch HERE, or read HERE), Jewish scholarship includes a broad range of opinions about abortion. But on one...Read more...

Passover Thoughts—Bringing Redemption

03/01/2023 09:37:13 AM


Rabbi Ezray

Every year it has felt that the messages of Passover are more relevant than ever, and this year is no exception. Passover celebrates our freedom from Egyptian slavery, but the call to bring freedom to every type of enslavement continues. In the reader for Passover prepared by the organization Hadar, we read, "Redemption is not a static point in history. The Exodus is just one chapter in a long story still unfolding before us. Redemption is...Read more...

Repro Shabbat (Yitro)

02/14/2023 09:04:17 AM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

Before I start, I want to remind everyone that we are marking "Repro Shabbat" today. The topic I will be talking about - abortion - is emotionally fraught. For many of us, talking about abortion brings up past losses, disappointments, fear and anger. If you find that this topic is too emotional for you right now, please don't be abashed to take a break.

This is also a politically fraught topic. Our ethic of Tikvah - of hope for the...Read more...

Inclusion Is More than About Access

02/09/2023 11:34:04 AM


Anne Cohen

As long as I can remember I have had two core parts of my identity, being Jewish and having a disability. Both have shaped my vision of myself and how I navigate the world. Growing up with learning and physical disabilities, both diagnosed in childhood, grounded my concepts of success, community, patience, and resilience, and built my career in health policy and social services. It also left embedding fears, fears not all that dissimilar from...Read more...

The Goldilocks Planet (VaYechi)

01/31/2023 03:09:55 PM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

Astronomers sometimes describe our planet's distance from the sun as being in the "Goldilocks Zone" to support life. If we were much closer to the sun, all of our water would have steamed away. Much farther out, and our oceans would be blocks of ice.

As the Goldilocks planet, earth is a cozy, just-right kind of place. In a vast universe of cold, dark rocks, here life flourishes.

Except, that's not how we experience...

Thu, September 28 2023 13 Tishrei 5784