Rabbi’s Messages

Articles, letters, and other notes from our Rabbi.

Camp Newman is an excellent Jewish summer camp experience

Posted on Jul 31, 2015 in Rabbi's Messages

So, I survived my two weeks working at Camp Newman in Northern California.  I have to say first and foremost that I was impressed with the Jewish learning and teen bonding that occurs up there. From the first moment a new camper is welcomed into his/her bunk, there is the singing of “Haveinu Shalom Aleichem, we are so glad to see you!”  Seeing the smile on a newcomer’s face is heartening. Then every day in the morning, there’s an outdoor assembly with morning prayers, songs, and some silliness.  Meals in the dining hall have motzi and the birkat hamazon.  There are services,...

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I’m scared to go to overnight camp

Posted on Jul 1, 2015 in Rabbi's Messages

“I’m not sure what I’ll be doing.  What my day will look like is completely unknown to me.  I don’t have any friends going.  I’ll be sleeping away from my home.  I probably won’t like the food either.” These could be sentiments shared by our children and teens before they go to overnight camp, but alas they are actually mine.  I’m going for the first time to Camp Newman, the Union for Reform Judaism, in Northern California for two weeks in July.  Many rabbis and Jewish professionals do this.  It’s a way of serving the greater Jewish community, supporting our own...

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Father’s Day

Posted on Jun 1, 2015 in Rabbi's Messages

“Your son is at five your master, at ten your servant, at fifteen your double, and after that, your friend or foe, depending on his bringing up.” Hasdai ibn Crescas (1230 c.e.) As we approach Father’s day, some of us are blessed to have or had wonderful fathers and some of us were less so.  For those with fathers who lacked presence, love, or mental health, sometimes we can say, “they did the best they knew how.”  We know the limitations of parents based on generational expectations and the upbringing they lived through.  I’ve come to learn that people can only give what they...

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Great Cantors Concert Cabaret & Auction

Posted on May 1, 2015 in Rabbi's Messages

On Sunday night, April 26, according to our American calendar, or 8th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, we had a fantastic night.  We had approximately 275 people come together to nosh, drink wine, bid on auction items, and enjoy an astounding musical performance. Our own Cantorial Soloist Nancy Linder sang beautifully and was entertaining on a professional level.  We also enjoyed the voice of Cantorial Soloist Jenna Sagan from Congregation B’nai Tzedek, who grew up at Temple Beth David.   Cantor Kenny Ellis not only sang but performed quite the comedy routine. I was so proud of how many...

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Hear the life story of Holocaust Survivor Dorothy Greenstein

Posted on Apr 1, 2015 in Rabbi's Messages

As too many of us know, few Holocaust survivors are alive to share their personal experiences. Their testimony to the horrors of the Holocaust keep the memory of their families alive, teach those who weren’t there of their experiences, and inform a new generation about the Holocaust. It is imperative that we hear the voices of our survivors and that we bring our youth to hear them as well.  As a rabbi, I feel an enormous mission to encourage as many people as possible to meet, listen, and hear the life stories of Holocaust survivors. On Wednesday night, April 15, starting at 7:00 p.m., we...

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A Night on the Red Carpet

Posted on Mar 1, 2015 in Rabbi's Messages

The Oscars for “Birdman”, The Theory of Everything”, and “Still Alice” may be over but what about “Be Happy it’s Adar, the Purim Story” or “My Life with Abraham, the first henpecked Jewish husband” or “The Longest Day, Yom Kippur in the synagogue?” Yes, we are having our own night on the red carpet at Temple Beth David on Wednesday night, March 4. Come at 6:30 p.m. and stroll down our red carpet, be interviewed by a reporter, and get your picture taken by the paparazzi. Come dressed as fancy as you wish! This will be an elegant affair. Starting at 7:00 p.m., awards...

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All are Welcome to Attend Our Grief Support Group

Posted on Feb 1, 2015 in Rabbi's Messages

Losing a loved one is terribly painful. Even though we all know that some day we will all leave this world, when a loved one dies, it can be very difficult to accept. We dearly miss those who have left us: our parents, spouses, children, friends, and more. Too often, in times of death, survivors feel isolated and alone in their grief. For those in mourning, knowing that others cope in similar ways can bring some measure of comfort. At least it can lessen the loneliness that accompanies great loss. As Jews, we pray for strength and hope from God that the next day will be better than the...

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Pray, learn, eat and schmooze at the Lay Led Minyan!

Posted on Jan 1, 2015 in Rabbi's Messages

Some of you are aware that every Saturday morning at Temple we have a wonderful gathering called the Lay Led Minyan beginning at 9:00 a.m. Members and guests arrive to discuss and debate the Torah portion of the week, pray the morning service, socialize, and eat. The beauty of our Lay Led Minyan is that Hebrew or Judaic knowledge is not necessary. The service is informal, the discussions are in English, and the people are fun to be around. The dress code is super casual, i.e., just be comfortable. I’m always impressed by the camaraderie, laughter, and how welcoming our participants are to...

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Hanumas/Christanukah?

Posted on Dec 1, 2014 in Rabbi's Messages

I know that sounds really inappropriate. Last year was truly special when Hanukkah came so early that it fell on Thanksgiving. It really was special to light the second Hanukkah light after feasting on turkey and pumpkin pie. There were many novelty gifts such as menorahs in the shapes of turkeys and fun t-shirts that made the most of this rare convergence of holidays. Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, jokingly called “Thanksgivingkah” was fun for us Jews because Thanksgiving isn’t connected with a religious holiday. It is our national day of giving thanks for the Pilgrims and Indians sharing...

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Our youth program is happening

Posted on Oct 31, 2014 in Rabbi's Messages

This is the second year for our high school youth group (9-12th graders), known as WAFTY, and junior youth group program (7th & 8th graders).   We are affiliated with NFTY which is the national reform Jewish youth movement that provides meaningful and engaging youth experiences for teens.  Integral to this program is teaching our youth to be leaders by creating and running their own programs with guidance from their advisor.  Some of our 9th and 10th graders just came back from a wonderful NFTY Fall weekend retreat and will be bringing their enthusiasm and love of Judaism to teen...

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