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Yom Kippur D'var Torah

Shira Lobron

Please click here to watch Shira's speech from Yom Kippur.

Picture this: you’ve been inside all day listening to rain patter on the roof of your warm, dry house. It’s been pouring for hours, but slowly and surely, the rain is letting up. You decide to step outside to see for yourself, and it’s true! The rain has stopped! What is left is the beautiful image of light returning to the dewy grass once again, streaming through the...Read more...

Life Choices: How To Make the Most of Your Mortality

Rabbi Laura Abrasley

Yom Kippur Morning 5783 - October 5, 2022

Please click here to watch Rabbi Abrasley's sermon from Yom Kippur Morning.

I have a confession.  And it’s a doozy.  But today is Yom Kippur.  The day we confess our sins.
No better time than the present.  Time to get this off my chest.  So, here goes …

I am a mess when it comes to time management.

My email inbox is usually full...

Broad Expanses: The Future of American Judaism

Rabbi Allison Berry

Rosh Hashanah, 5783

Please click here to Rabbi Berry's sermon from Rosh Hashanah.

Last year, Micah got the homework assignment to interview an older relative…You know the one. Get the family history and report back. So naturally, I assumed he’d be asking my dad the same Ellis Island questions I asked my great grandmother. But boy was I wrong. It wasn’t that kind of interview at all…Micah's assignment was to ask my...Read more...

Indigenous People & Our Jewish Values ​​​​​​​

Rabbi Allison Berry

Shabbat Noah, October 8, 2021


On the corner of Centre and Cotton streets, - not far from where I live - there's a sign commemorating the original meetinghouse of the first church built in Newton. Established in 1630, Eliot Church’s1 first pastor was a complicated man named John Eliot. 

Among other things, Eliot was the founder of Roxbury Latin School. Eliot immigrated from Britain and from his early years...Read more...

Choosing Life Means Having the Power to Choose

Rabbi Allison Berry

Nitzavim D’var Torah, Yom Kippur 2021

Last week, in the Times of Israel, my colleague Rabbi Rachel Pass publicly shared the story of her abortion. “I took my pregnancy test on...the first night of the month of Cheshvan.” [It was positive]. I prayed. I read every piece of Jewish literature on abortion...I could find. I made a pros and cons list. I cried on the phone with my mom. Ultimately, I made the choice using the...Read more...

AWE: A Sermon About God

Rabbi Laura Abrasley

Yom Kippur 5782

GOD. The Divine Presence. My Rock and my Redeemer. The Big G. This is MY sermon about God. A sermon advocating for God. Or maybe defending God. Perhaps a commercial for God?

I’ve wanted to write a sermon about God for several years. But it never seemed like the right time. I was new to the community or there was an important social justice concern or we were in the middle of a pandemic.

And...

Don’t Go Chasing Rainbows

Rabbi Allison Berry

Rosh Hashanah 5782

It was a gorgeous April day. The family was gathered together at last; they’d postponed this moment for months. Three little girls sat on the grass in their new spring dresses holding stones they’d painted with the word, “love.” Someone was playing, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the ukulele.1 There was hugging and crying; laughing. It felt like a great darkness had lifted. We had...Read more...

Our Commitment to Anti-Racism

Betty Morningstar

“When black people are in pain, white people just join book groups" - Tre Johnson, Washington Post

Indeed, this summer, Temple Shalom and many other places of worship started book groups in response to the George Floyd killing. But this time, I believe the result will be different. White people are becoming increasingly aware of how we each of us has had a hand in perpetuating systemic racism in our country. Now and...Read more...

Chanukah Resource Roundup! 

Emily Sienkiewicz

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, brings joy and light during a dark time of an especially difficult year.  With just 10 days to go, we have rounded up some resources to help you with everything you need to get ready for this year's celebration. We have collected ideas for all ages, including recipes, songs, book lists, gift ideas, activities, and much more; check out the sections below!

For Kids...

Lech L’cha: Go and Vote

Rabbi Allison Berry

Lech L’cha1- God said to Abram in this week’s Torah portion - Go out, go forth. And Abram listens. He leaves everything he has ever known behind and does as God commands. This is the beginning of our people’s journey.

And in every subsequent generation, our people have taught their children that God’s call to Abram - was a call to all of us. A call for us to live as befits our names, to do what is right and just, to care for...Read more...

Panim El Panim: Face to Face with Loneliness | Yom Kippur 5781 Sermon

Rabbi Allison Berry

This April, after a beloved temple member died of Covid-19, I joined his family at the cemetery to say goodbye. Each of the mourners, myself included, wore a mask. We stood six feet apart, and we approached the grave only after the casket had been fully covered with earth. As the service ended, the widow did something that a few weeks earlier would have been the most natural thing in the world - she walked over to me with arms outstretched to...Read more...

Finding Salvation in the Chaos | Rosh Hashanah 5781 Sermon

Rabbi Laura Abrasley

In the early morning hours of April 18th, 1906, the city of San Francisco was struck by a major earthquake. And in the aftermath, a perfect storm of broken gas lines and damaged chimneys produced fires that threatened to destroy the city and everyone in it.

But if you ask the citizens of San Francisco it was the fires that saved them. At least that was the case for Anna Amelia Holshouser. She and her friends...Read more...

High Holy Day Greeting

Temple Shalom Board of Trustees

Dear members,

A warm welcome to our High Holy Days. While we are in the midst of a new type of high holiday season, we are so fortunate that we can still come together as a community to celebrate the New Year.

We are blessed by dedicated clergy who have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to support our congregation. We are just as fortunate to have such a committed and caring community. Many of you have been lifted...Read more...

Important High Holy Day Information

We are excitedly anticipating the High Holy Days and look forward to being together as a community despite our need to be virtual.  This letter contains valuable information about accessing services online as well as prayer book borrowing, the annual food drive, and more. 

High Holy Day Access
This year, our High Holy Days services will be viewed on live stream similar to Friday night Shabbat...Read more...

Book of Memory | Remembering Our Loved Ones

Dear {{first_name}},

This year, Temple Shalom is continuing our sacred tradition of honoring and remembering our loved ones in a Yom Kippur Book Read more...

A Message To Parents About Schooling

August 3, 2020 Dear {{first_name}},Our critical job as parents is to ensure our children are safe, happy, and engaged in meaningful learning. NonRead more...

Your High Holy Days Guide | 2020/5781

With the month of Elul just a few weeks away, we are excited to update you on our plans for the High Holy Days 5781. While these holidays will certainRead more...

Across 3000 Miles: Celebrating a Bi-Coastal B’not Zoom Mitzvah

Cantor Leah Shafrtiz

Over the past few months, in the midst of the pandemic, Rabbi Berry, Rabbi Abrasley, and I have been blessed to call five of Temple Shalom’s young people to the Torah as Bar and Bat Mitzvah. While this milestone moment in these family’s lives is currently not able to happen in our sanctuary, we have reimagined the experience over Zoom, with each student and family designing their virtual “Zoom Mitzvah” in a way that is...Read more...

We Are Temple Shalom: Make Your Annual Membership Commitment

This year has been like no other. Looking back to September, we were dedicating our beautifully renovated sacred space, and feeling the energy and excitement of our flourishing Temple Shalom community. The last few months have felt very different, as we’ve navigated the isolation and uncertainty that comes with a global pandemic. Read more...

Bat Mitzvah in the Time of Corona

Elizabeth and Keith Newstadt

Our daughter Miranda became a Bat Mitzvah in June of 2020. It wasn’t at all what we had expected, but it was wonderful.

We had imagined an event much like our older daughter Amelia’s Bat Mitzvah two years earlier. The service would be in the newly renovated sanctuary, surrounded by our clergy, family, and friends, both local and traveling across the country, followed by a party in the social hall, with the...Read more...

Tales from a “Zoom Mitzvah” Stage Manager

Ellie Goldman

In the weeks leading up to our first Zoom Mitzvah at Temple Shalom of Newton, I did not sleep well.  I was a ball of nerves.  Why, you ask? Am I the mother of the Bar Mitzvah?  The Rabbi?  The Cantor?  Nope.  I’m the virtual stage manager and I wouldn’t even be seen on camera.  

My role is to make sure the Zoom links work, the participants are unmuted (and muted!) at the...Read more...

High Holy Days 2020 Announcement

June 10, 2020
Dear Temple Shalom Community,

The last few months have been challenging for all of us.  Yet, in this time of quarantine and unrest Read more...

Nature Camp Closing

June 2, 2020

Dear Nature Camp Families,

We hope you are well and we thank you for your ongoing patience regarding our plans for Nature Explorer CRead more...

A Message from Our Clergy | Addressing Racism and Injustice

June 2, 2020
Dear Temple Shalom Community,

It was with great sadness that we have watched the events of the last week unfold, both here in Boston Read more...

Important Message Regarding Our Building and Program Plans - May 22, 2020

Dear Members of our Temple Shalom family,

In these times of deep challenge we continue to be grateful for our strong community and the ways we are caring for one another. With the Governor’s announcement on Monday that religious organizations are allowed to physically reopen, our congregation is now faced with difficult decisions about how best to serve the needs of our community, understanding that health and safety are always our...Read more...

Zooming Our Way Through Seder 2020: Renee’s Guide to Finding Our Way From Lockdown To Liberation

Renee Brant

SEDER means order.  Every year we are commanded to re-tell our story of liberation from Egypt (Mitzrayim, meaning place of constriction) as if we are living it now.  We are instructed to tell the story in an orderly fashion, to create a transient experience of order in our disordered world.  

We endured a lot of obstacles and challenges back in the day: Pharaoh; slavery;...Read more...

Passover: Memories, Loss, and Renewal | D'var Torah - April 3, 2020

Rabbi Laura Abrasley

My childhood seders took place at Harry and Ellen’s house, my maternal grandparents. The evening was loud, long, and delicious. I remember bits and pieces. Harry speed-reading from the Haggadah, a beautiful long table in the formal dining room overflowing with people, and more food than we could possibly eat. Over the years one faded memory stands out.

I’m not sure how old I was, maybe 10 or 11. Old enough to stay awake as guests...Read more...

Holding Each Other Close | D'var Torah - March 27, 2020

Rabbi Allison Berry

“Amar Rabbi Yitzchak...Rabbi Yitzchak taught in a Midrash (Midrash Rabbah Bereshit 39:1): There was once a man who travelled from place to place. As he made his way, he saw a castle with flames coming from many of the windows. The man said to himself: ‘How is it possible that this castle is ablaze and no one has come to extinguish the fire? Does this castle not have an owner who looks after it?’ Upon hearing these words, the owner of...Read more...

Resilience in Judaism| D'var Torah - March 20, 2020

Rabbi Laura Abrasley

It’s been a rough week in the world. I’ve been trying to take things day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. And until yesterday, I was mostly managing. Maybe some of you were managing too. But yesterday afternoon, after a week of riding a roller coaster of emotions, after a week of being bombarded by the reality of human fragility and...Read more...

We Journey With You | D'var Torah - March 13, 2020

Rabbi Abrasley and Rabbi Berry

Shabbat Shalom. Tonight we are gathered virtually to celebrate Shabbat. Our gorgeous sanctuary, so lovingly imagined and built by the remarkable community that is Temple Shalom, is empty except for us, your clergy team. 

In case you are wondering, yes, it does feel surreal to be here without you. We miss your smiling faces, your beautiful voices, and your warm hearts that usually join us each week in prayer and community. We so...Read more...

Sun, May 28 2023 8 Sivan 5783