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Tisha B'Av: Facing Pain and Finding Meaning

06/30/2023 09:08:15 AM


Rabbi Ezray

Judaism teaches us to face pain by giving voice to it, learning from it, and seeking to transform it into meaning.

One of the most interesting examples of this is Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av) which commemorates painful moments of our history, all which occurred on this date. The memories include commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temple, various Crusades and expulsions, and numerous other...Read more...

Korach - Respect Differences, Enjoy Commonalities

06/26/2023 08:38:04 AM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

We are celebrating today the wedding anniversary of Gayle and Allen Notowitz. Gayle and I have a shared passion - we both love backpacking.

Here’s something I don’t think I told you, Gayle. When my husband and I became parents, it was many years before I would think about becoming a rabbi and an educator. We knew nothing about children, and we thought  - “We’re not going to let this stop us!” We hauled our kids on these...Read more...

Achrei-Mot Kedoshim

05/08/2023 01:24:41 PM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

The verse that Anna spoke about this morning is part of what scholars call the “Holiness Code” - a list of rules or commandments that we must follow in order to be kadosh, holy. 

Rabbi Jonanathan Sacks, of blessed memory, pointed out that the list of rules seems eclectic. There are the lovely ethical rules - like the one Anna spoke about, “Don’t gossip,” or “don’t place a stumbling block before the blind.”...Read more...

Tazria: Bringing the Outsider In

05/04/2023 09:58:33 AM


Rabbi Ezray

At first glance, it is tempting to turn away from this morning’s Torah portion. Its description of tzaraat, a terrible skin disease in all of its gory details, is hard to read. Descriptions of the afflicted person being placed outside the camp, burdened with facing the pain of terrifying disease in insolation, lifts up the painful realities of stigma and the abandonment of a person who must already feel alienated from community and perhaps...Read more...

Supporting Each Other (Even When in Pain)

05/01/2023 10:29:43 AM


Cantor Barbara Powell

There's a powerful story in parashat BeHa’alotkha, of Miriam being stricken with serious illness. Miriam and Aaron were gossiping against Moses and his wife, complaining that she was a foreigner. In Num. 12:1-16, After God leaves Miriam’s skin covered in white scales as a punishment; she is sent outside the camp. Aaron is rebuked by God. Though the hurtful words were directed at his family, Moses nevertheless pleads with God in...Read more...

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...

Sat, June 22 2024 16 Sivan 5784