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We are Jewish: Fighting back against anti-Semitism

10/09/2019 09:50:47 AM


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.


Building our Makom Kodesh (Holy Place)

10/08/2019 02:59:00 PM


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...Read more...

With hope in our hearts - Rosh Hashanah morning 5780

09/30/2019 01:06:50 PM


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...Read more...

Sacred time connections - Erev Rosh Hashanah 5780

09/29/2019 01:53:03 PM


Rabbi Laura 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,...Read more...

Lights of Liberty

07/18/2019 10:00:03 AM


Rabbis Abrasley and Berry

Dear Temple Shalom Community,

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...

Between Our Souls and Our Breath

06/26/2019 02:44:42 PM


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...Read more...

Central Europe: the view from there

10/16/2018 05:59:01 PM


Howie Sholkin

Temple Shalom members are on a trip to Central Europe from Oct. 13-23, covering Budapest, Hungary, Prague, Czech Republic and Vienna, Austria. The following was written by Temple member Howie Sholkin:

We spent much of the day in the Jewish district of Budapest. Several things stood out with an overriding thought: how much the Jews suffered for 50 years and how that forced many to give up...Read more...

Shoes along the Danube

10/16/2018 03:42:58 PM


Carol Berlin

Carol Berlin is on the Temple Shalom trip to Central Europe. She shares her thoughts about what she observed along the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary.

Empty shoes along the Danube. A reminder of lives not lived. The bridal bouquet not used. The baby never to grow. Did people stare out of...Read more...

Preserving Jewish life in Hungary and the Holocaust

10/16/2018 09:57:21 AM


Howie Sholkin

Tuesday, day four of our trip (our last day in Budapest) started with a presentation by Marcel Kenesei of Centropa. It’s an organization that provides more than 100.000 recorded stories of Jewish life in central and Eastern Europe before, during and after the war. Especially wanted were people born before 1935 for pre-war life. They have 20,000 plus photos, but few have Jewish symbols. features teacher...Read more...

Yom Kippur morning  sermon

09/19/2018 01:00:33 PM


Rabbis Allison Berry and Laura J. Abrasley

Rabbis Abrasley and Berry delivered the Yom Kippur  5779 morning sermon as a series of six letters on Sept. 19, 2018.

Dear Zayde,
Your trunk is made from cedar and has black leather straps. The leather is now worn and cracked, but the wood is still in good condition. Your trunk lives in my basement wedged between boxes of baby clothes and old picture albums.


Let's talk about it: breaking the silence about mental illness

09/18/2018 10:29:53 AM


Rabbi Allison Berry

Rabbi Berry gave the following Kol Nidre 5779 sermon on  Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018.

A member of Temple Shalom recently posted a message on Facebook. I share it today with her permission: “I’m not Kate Spade, and I’m not Anthony Bourdain. I am a real person. I’ve suffered...Read more...

Machlokhet L’Shem Shamayim: the art of Jewish civil discourse

09/10/2018 09:11:32 AM


Rabbi Laura Abrasley

Rabbi Abrasley delivered this at Rosh Hashanah 5779 morning services on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018

They were unlikely friends. He was brash in speech. Burly in appearance. A believer in adherence to the Constitution as written. She...Read more...

Bombs and Puppies: living between the bitter and sweet

09/09/2018 08:51:41 PM


Rabbi Allison Berry

Rabbi Berry gave the following sermon on Rosh Hashanah 5779 on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.

Just weeks ago, I stood on Israel’s northern border and watched Russian fighter jets bomb Syrian villages. I saw plumes of smoke, flashes of light and burning. The sound of...Read more...

What Israel means to me

07/20/2018 01:00:25 PM


Rabbi Allison Berry

Rabbi Berry delivered this talk at Shabbat services on July 20, 2018.

When I was in second grade, I won an essay contest. The Jewish Agency asked young people across the country to respond to one question – what does Israel mean to you? In retrospect, my family should have understood this as a...Read more...

Building Our Resilience, Restoring Hope

10/11/2017 11:06:08 AM


Rabbi Allison Berry

Rabbi Berry delivered this sermon on Yom Kippur Kol Nidre, Sept. 29, 2017
“We found Dave on the floor, lying by the elliptical machine, his face slightly blue and turned to the left. The ride in the ambulance was the longest 30 minutes of my life. We finally arrived, and they carried him behind a heavy door, refusing to...Read more...

Pursuing Justice, If Not Now, When?

10/11/2017 10:25:25 AM


Rabbi Laura J. Abrasley

Rabbi Abrasley delivered this Yom Kippur Morning Sermon 5778 on Sept. 30, 2017
My friend, Rabbi David Spinrad, a rabbi at The Temple in Atlanta, called me the week I returned from my summer vacation. David and I were classmates in rabbinical school, and our...Read more...

Shinui Tov: Towards A Year of Good Change

09/27/2017 09:19:20 AM


Rabbi Laura J. Abrasley

Rabbi Abrasley delivered the following sermon on Rosh Hashanah 5778, Sept. 20, 2017.
I discovered the music of glam-rocker David Bowie my senior year of high school. Or rather I discovered one song of Bowie’s, a classic he released when I was still a baby. I played it over and over and over...Read more...

The View From Mt. Sinai - Building Our Inclusive Community

09/25/2017 08:13:20 PM


Rabbi Allison Berry

Rabbi Berry delivered the following sermon on Rosh Hashanah 5778, Sept. 21, 2017:
The sun appeared on the horizon, and I could hear music in the distance. Hundreds of thousands of people waited at the bottom of the mountain. People hugged and sang and greeted new friends as if they’d known each other their...Read more...

Rabbi Allison Berry speaks at Joe Kennedy III Press Conference

08/17/2017 10:34:43 AM


This morning, Rabbi Allison Berry addressed Newton residents at city hall, following remarks from Congressman Joe Kennedy III. Congressman Kennedy and Rabbi Berry spoke about standing up to antisemitism, racism, homophobia, and Islamophobia in America today, in respect to recent events in Charlottesville, VA, and across the country in recent months. Read the full text of her words below.
Congressman Joe Kennedy III will be visiting Temple...

Statement on the Rally and Violence in Charlottesville, Va.

08/14/2017 01:26:11 PM


Dear Temple Shalom Community,
As the clergy of Temple Shalom, we are shocked and dismayed by the news of the white supremacist rally and violence in Charlottesville, VA this weekend.
According to reports, statements by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other far-right groups included echoes of some of the worst times in our history. Sadly, this hate spilled over into violence,...Read more...

Wed, October 23 2019 24 Tishrei 5780