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A Taste of Life

06/18/2019 09:00:34 AM


The clergy and others in the Temple Shalom community offer their thoughts about Judaism and life in the weekly Taste of Life, a staple of the weekly newsletter.

The blessing of continuity

06/11/2019 09:56:24 AM


Scott Birnbaum

As my term as Temple Shalom’s president comes to an end, I have been thinking a lot about continuity. This week’s Torah portion, Naso, reinforces those feelings. In the middle of the parsha, we encounter among the most famous verses in Torah, the birchat ha-kohanim, the priestly blessing (“May G-d bless you...Read more...

Stopping and recognizing the blessings of Torah

06/05/2019 01:32:31 PM


Rabbi Allison Berry

The word תורה or “Torah” in English has a fascinating meaning and resonance. For Hebrew nerds (like me!), the word comes from the three-letter Hebrew root י ר ה  (yud, resh, hey). This root is surprisingly connected to the ancient practice of archery and can mean “to flow" or "to shoot...Read more...

Staying safe, while being warm and welcoming

05/29/2019 02:56:08 PM


Ellie Goldman

This week, I traveled to Baltimore for a day-long security training with the Secure Community Network (SCN). SCN is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 as a central address serving the American Jewish community concerning matters of communal...Read more...

Planting seeds and watching them grow

05/22/2019 09:36:34 AM


Emily Kieval

In this week's Torah portion, Parashat Behar, we read about the mitzvah of shmita, the sabbatical year in the Torah's seven-year agricultural cycle. The Torah teaches us that in the land of Israel, there are six years of agricultural work - in which farmers can plow, plant, prune and...Read more...

Focusing on giving meaning to life

05/15/2019 01:37:31 PM


Jeff Remz

The passage of time is a key focus of this week’s Torah reading, Emor. The parshah lays out the Jewish calendar, starting with Shabbat as a day of rest apart from the other six days of the week, to Pesach/Passover, the festival of our freedom and redemption from Egypt and...Read more...

Standing strong in the wake of Poway

05/01/2019 12:05:01 PM


Rabbi Allison Berry

Last Saturday, we were devastated to learn of the shooting at the Poway Chabad Center. Coming just days before the commemoration of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), it is hard to fathom that such an act of unspeakable hate and violence could happen again. We hold the victims and their loved ones...Read more...

Freedom and God's withdrawal from the universe

04/24/2019 12:56:32 PM


We are coming to the close of Pesach, “the season of our freedom.” During last Saturday morning’s Pesach service, we shared thoughts about the meaning of freedom. Those of us who are or have been parents often wonder how much freedom is actually good for our children.
If it were possible, would we want...

The adventure of Passover awaits us

04/17/2019 09:20:26 AM


Rabbi Laura Abrasley

As a child, I loved reading “choose your own adventure” books. For those unfamiliar with this series of children’s gamebooks, these stories are written from a second-person point of view, with the reader assuming the role of protagonist in the story. At multiple points in the story, the reader makes choices...Read more...

Passover - a time for connection and reconnection 

04/10/2019 01:02:40 PM


Rabbi Allison Berry

Growing up, the grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends who shared my family’s Passover Seder were always Jewish. Today, as our community continues to evolve, many of those who gather around our Seder tables will not be Jewish. The wonderful people who join us for Seder may be married to our sons and...Read more...

Important, hard work of creating caring community

04/04/2019 10:39:01 AM


Kim Bodemer

 This week’s Torah portion, Tazria, explores the ancient paradigm of what it means to be tamei and tahor – impure and pure. Our text goes into great detail about what to do when we suffer from a skin disease – including how long we must be separated from the community and ritual...Read more...

Gaining some perspective

03/27/2019 12:26:27 PM


Cantor Peter Halpern

When we examine the existence of animals, insects and the botanical world, we see the interdependence of creation. So too it is with humanity. At times, we would like to believe that we can function without a dependence on others and may even take pride in it. Sooner or later, though,...Read more...

Purim and the comfortable clothing of our own true selves

03/20/2019 09:25:18 AM


Rabbi Laura Abrasley

The story of Purim, which we celebrate this week, includes all the elements of a blockbuster movie. It begins with an over-the-top party quickly followed by a roller coaster satirical narrative filled with intrigue, deception, executions, decrees, war, royalty and multiple banquets.
The well-worn...

Tzedakah and creating a more just world

03/13/2019 10:49:29 AM


By Kim Bodemer

Tzedakah, often translated as “charity,” can more accurately be defined as “righteous giving.” The Hebrew word is comprised of the root letters tzadee, daled and koof, which translate to justice. Our tradition has a lot to say about when we should give and how we should...Read more...

The collision of camp and Temple Shalom

03/06/2019 02:00:36 PM


Ellie Goldman

My oldest children have been talking a lot about missing their summer camp and counting the days until they go back. Something about the cold winter months has them longing for the summer and the freedom and spirit of camp. I am blessed to be able to send Sam and Ada, who are almost nine, to the same...Read more...

Breaking down barriers and contributing

02/21/2019 12:07:50 PM


Emily Kieval

In the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tissa, we read that each of the Israelites was expected to give meaningfully toward the building of the sanctuary for the Tabernacle, the portable shrine that would be carried through the desert. Every one of the children of Israel, from age 20 and up, regardless...Read more...

Witnessing the best of the human spirit

02/13/2019 02:45:53 PM


Ilene Goodman

I knew Temple Shalom was special when I got exposed to the clergy and the Temple’s inclusive education model merging spirituality, STEM, Judaism and diversity. Never did I think I would find a temple mirroring all the key ingredients that I uphold in life, including my...Read more...

The definition of inclusivity

02/06/2019 02:21:42 PM


Sara Resnick

May 26, 2018 is a day I remember with the fondest memories. However, I spent two years stressing about Ryan’s Bat Mitzvah and that impending date. We knew Ryan could not sit through a conventional Shabbat morning service, much less lead a congregation in a “typical way.” How were we going to commemorate Ryan...Read more...

Mishpatim and taking care of the stranger

01/30/2019 01:57:45 PM


Kim Bodemeer

In last week’s Torah portion, we had the dramatic scene of the revelation at Mount Sinai. There was thunder. There was lightning. There was smoke. You couldn’t help but pay attention. This week’s portion, Mishpatim, is much less dramatic, but equally important in the formation of the Jewish people....Read more...

Tu B'Shevat and the fruits of our labor

01/23/2019 11:25:13 AM


Rabbi Laura J. Abrasley

On Monday, we celebrated Tu B’Shevat, a minor holiday in Jewish tradition celebrating the new year for trees. Drawn from our agrarian roots, Tu B’Shevat first appears in the Mishnah, a post-biblical collection of Jewish legal material. For our agrarian ancestors, this holiday marked...Read more...

Bringing light and love into the world

01/16/2019 01:18:22 PM


Rabbi Allison Berry

This past Sunday, five anti-Semitic fliers were found in book-exchange boxes around Newton. City Hall and the Newton Police Department were in touch with our congregation about the incident to share unequivocally that hate has no home in our community. However, as we celebrate Dr....Read more...

Starting off by taking a deep breath

01/03/2019 12:51:05 PM


Rabbi Laura J. Abrasley

I took a much-needed break the past few days from email and work. I spent precious time with family and friends, read a few entertaining novels and took a trip into Boston for a pizza tour in the North End (so fun!). My time away was lovely, a chance to catch my breath and recharge my “battery.”...Read more...

Reclaiming God's attention 

12/26/2018 12:58:08 PM


Josh Conescu

This week, we begin the book of Exodus (Shemot, in Hebrew). Shemot means names, which is ironic. The book begins with the re-telling of the names of Jacob/Israel’s children. Shemot picks up the biblical narrative 400 years after the death of Jacob and Joseph and their generations. Generations pass...Read more...

Ringing out the year and walking the path

12/19/2018 12:53:46 PM


Ellie Goldman

This year, the end of the calendar year closely aligns with the conclusion of the book of Genesis in our weekly Torah reading cycle. So many rich narratives and complicated characters of our tradition come out of Genesis. From Simchat Torah until now, we have seen the entire world created from nothing...Read more...

Joseph, his brothers and the complexities of forgiveness

12/11/2018 12:53:17 PM


Beverly Siegal

Last week’s Torah portion (Mikketz) and this week’s (Vayigash) include one of the most dramatic family stories in the Torah - the reunification of Joseph with his brothers and father, Jacob. Joseph’s brothers certainly had no idea that the annoying brother they sold into slavery is one of the...Read more...

Chanukah and the power of every good deed 

12/05/2018 12:37:45 PM


Cantor Peter Halpern

Last Shabbat, George H. W. Bush, our 41st president, passed away. He was born not far from us in Milton, and he died at his home in Houston. Although there was antipathy between Donald Trump and the Bush family, it was the request of President Bush that Donald Trump be present at the funeral service. Whether...Read more...

Second chances sometimes come in most unexpected ways

11/28/2018 10:29:51 AM


Rabbi Laura J. Abrasley

It happens to me almost every year. I sit down to study this week’s Torah portion, Vayeshev, and a show tune pops into my head.
“Way way back many centuries ago, not long after the Bible began, Jacob lived in the land of Canaan, a fine example of a family man. Jacob, Jacob and sons.” -...Read more...

Giving thanks at this time of year

11/21/2018 02:04:40 PM


Rabbi Allison Berry

This week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, our secular holiday of abundance, both Rabbi Abrasley and I find our hearts are full. During a dark and difficult time for the Jewish community, you have filled our hearts with the joy of celebration. As we reflect on our weekend of installation, we are filled...Read more...

Tragedies call on us to act, give thanks

11/14/2018 01:19:46 PM


Cantor Peter Halpern

Even as we absorb the shock and horror of the Pittsburgh shooting and massacre in Thousand Oaks, we watch the Golden State go up in flames. I served the Reform congregation in Thousand Oaks from 1998 to 2006, some of the happiest years of my career. The first time I drove through the canyon from Thousand Oaks to...Read more...

Like Jacob and Esau, hope remains if you try really hard

11/08/2018 01:19:38 PM


Jeffrey B. Remz

Complex relationships are part and parcel of this week’s parashah of Toldot. Due to famine, Isaac finds himself living with the Philistines. Great move because “Isaac sowed in that land and reaped a hundredfold the same year” (Gen 26:12). He did so well that the Philistines...Read more...

Wed, June 19 2019 16 Sivan 5779