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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 Bodemer

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...

The Torah: our tree of life, especially in difficult times

11/01/2018 01:04:18 PM


Rabbi Allison Berry

These are dark and difficult days for the Jewish community. And yet, in Psalm 126 we are taught, “those who sow in tears, will reap in joy.” We are a people who are ever resilient. As we take our next steps together, let’s join the greater Jewish community this Friday evening and...Read more...

Parents, children starting on the path

10/24/2018 01:07:58 PM


Kim Bodemer

Thirty-five years ago last Shabbat, I celebrated my Bat Mitzvah by chanting from parashat Lech Lecha. To this day, Lech Lecha remains one of my favorite Torah portions. I remember thinking how brave our ancestor Abraham was for answering God’s call to leave his home and go to an unknown land for an...Read more...

10/17/2018 02:35:29 PM


Rabbi Laura J. Abrasley

Lech lecha m’artzecha – Go forth from your land … to a land I will show you.
This week’s Torah portion of Lech Lecha is the ultimate travel narrative. God commands Abraham to leave the comfort of his parents’ home and start traveling. But not necessarily to a particular place, at least not yet....Read more...

Being counted among the righteous

10/10/2018 02:39:40 PM


Cantor Peter Halpern

Last week in Bereshit, Adam and Eve’s first child, Cain, kills his brother Abel, who alone finds favor in the sight of God. The next chapter is genealogy, tracing the generations between the first murder, by Cain, and the virtual destruction of the world as it was.
This Shabbat’s parasha, Noach, opens...

Appreciating the elegant structure of our world

10/03/2018 02:39:44 PM


Paul Rezendes

When you wake up in the morning, what world do you see, and what relationship do you have with it?
The sun rises and the birds sing. Do you see mechanisms and clockwork? Perhaps a brew of chemicals that has evolved into complex organisms? Selfish DNA seeking only to replicate? And, perhaps,...Read more...

The (sometimes surprising) beauty of the (green!) etrog

09/28/2018 11:20:40 AM


Rabbi Allison Berry

Sukkot is a holiday that celebrates the beauty and abundance of nature. As we enter the Sukkah, we reflect on the wandering of our ancestors in the desert and are reminded that this flimsy space is not only held up by wood and often tarp, but by the stories and memories of people we love who we...Read more...

The fullness and brightness of Sukkot

09/20/2018 03:54:22 PM


Ellie Goldman

Driving home on Erev Rosh Hashanah, I took specific note of the moon. It was only a sliver really, as the new month had just begun. I thought about the clean slate that these weeks allow us all and the moon, too, was just beginning to start its growth again.
On Tuesday night...

Turn, return and renew on Shabbat Shuvah

09/13/2018 09:13:35 AM


Renee Brant

The Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Shuvah, Shabbat of Return, because its special haftorah begins with the words “Shuvah Yisrael”: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, For you have fallen because of your sin.”...Read more...

Returning to the right path and prospering

09/05/2018 09:18:28 AM


Lynda Schwartz

In this week’s portion of Nitzavim, Moses lays out endless blessings if we adhere to the covenant and utter destruction if we do not. At first, it seems like a simple, harsh contract: “Keep My commandments or else.” Underlying, however, is a monumental relationship imbued with love....Read more...

The journey is more important than the destination

08/29/2018 03:07:06 PM


Josh Conescu

The summer of 2018 is rapidly drawing to a close. We are in the transitional period between summer and fall. During this month of Elul, we reflect on our journey of the past year, as we approach the 10 Days of Awe. Our Torah portion, Ki Tavo, speaks to an Israelite community...Read more...

Wed, November 13 2019 15 Cheshvan 5780