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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...

COVID-19 Plans and Precautions | March 12, 2020

Elllie Goldman

Dear Temple Shalom Families,

One of our most important and cherished Jewish values is the concept of pikuach nefesh. It is our imperative above all else to do everything we can to save lives. Our leadership team made up of clergy and senior staff, our executive committee, and health professionals in consultation with the Newton Department of Health and Human Services has spent the past twenty-four hours determining the best way for...Read more...

COVID-19 Update | March 8, 2020

Ellie Goldman

Dear Temple Shalom Family,

This evening we were notified by the Newton Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that a parent of a child in our nursery school has been diagnosed with a presumptive case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The parent is exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Other information we know at this time:

The children in the family are healthy and have not exhibited any symptoms. The family is following...Read more...

COVID 19 Update | March 4, 2020

Ellie Goldman

Dear Temple Shalom Members

We want to assure you that the leadership of Temple Shalom is actively monitoring the coronavirus as well as government and public health information sources.  We are following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and preparing a contingency plan for our learning programs, staff, and programming in the event of an outbreak of coronavirus in the Boston...Read more...

How Do We Want to be Remembered? | February 9, 2020

Rabbi Allison Berry

When we’re gone, how do we want to be remembered? These words flew through my mind this week, as I read about the death of Kobe Bryant, his 13 year-old daughter, and seven others in a helicopter crash on Sunday. This is the worst kind of senseless tragedy. My heart goes out to the families of all the victims.

In the New York Times, Marc Stein wrote in Bryant’s obit, that he was "a mammoth figure almost from the moment he...Read more...

How Do We Want to Be Remembered? | January 31, 2020

Rabbi Allison Berry

When we’re gone, how do we want to be remembered? These words flew through my mind this week, as I read about the death of Kobe Bryant, his 13 year-old daughter, and seven others in a helicopter crash on Sunday. This is the worst kind of senseless tragedy. My heart goes out to the families of all the victims.  In the New York Times, Marc Stein wrote in Bryant’s obit, that he was "a mammoth figure almost from the moment he...Read more...

We Are Jewish: Fighting Back Against Anti-Semitism | October 9, 2019

Rabbi Laura J. Abrasley

Like most of my friends and acquaintances in high school, I had a drab blue locker that was located far away from my home room. It was upstairs next to a long row of science classrooms. Everyone knew this was where all the Jewish kids had their lockers. They called it Hebrew Hall.

In my teenage mind, the location wasn’t assigned to me, I chose it. It...Read more...

Building Our Makom Kodesh (Holy Place) | October 8, 2019

Rabbi Allison Berry

When my father sold my childhood home, I cried. Never mind that I hadn’t lived there in 10  years - there is something visceral and real about letting go of a place where so many memories were made. And my dad is just like me. Over 50 years later, he still dreams of the row house in Worcester where he grew up. I wonder how many of you dream of places from your childhood that had a “forever” kind of impact on your lives. ...Read more...

With Hope in Our Hearts | September 30, 2019

Rabbi Allison Berry

It was Micah’s first trip to Israel. As we boarded our plane in Paris, I told him I had a secret, which he would learn the moment we arrived in Tel Aviv. During the entire flight, he bounced in his seat, asked me a million questions and begged me to tell him what the secret was. I didn’t. When the plane finally landed, everyone cheered and clapped. Micah turned to me looking confused, and asked, “Why did they do that?...Read more...

Sacred Time Connections | September 29, 2019

Rabbi Laura J. Abrasley

“Disconnect to Reconnect.” (1) The tagline caught my attention. I clicked onto the website, and there it was, a getaway called The Digital Detox Retreat. Big bold letters frame a picture of people chatting with one another in a beautiful forest, nary a smart phone in sight. I scrolled down to learn more, blissfully unaware of the irony: there I was imagining a screen-free weekend, but I had to surf the internet to do it.

The...Read more...

Lights of Liberty | July 18, 2019

Rabbis Abrasley and Berry

Jewish tradition teaches that we must treat the stranger with great care and concern. We find this passage in the book of Leviticus, “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall do them no wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)

We face a moment of great uncertainty and debate...Read more...

Between Our Souls and Our Breath | June 26, 2019

Rabbi Allison Berry


In Hebrew word for “breath” is intertwined with the concept of “life.” Early in Genesis, God breathes life into Adam: "Then God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." The final word of this phrase, nefesh - means two things: “soul” - as it is translated here, but it can also mean, “breath” or even “life-force.” 

Read more...

Mon, June 1 2020 9 Sivan 5780