Monthly Archives: October 2018

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Chayyei Sarah

Shavua tov — a (belated) good new week to you!

Please join us on Saturday at 9:30am for Shabbat morning services led by Rabbi Rachel . This week we’re reading from parashat Chayyei Sarah.

If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, here are a few:

Here’s Torah commentary at Builders Blog (a project of Bayit: Your Jewish Home), this week written by builder Rabbi Jennifer Singer:

And here are commentaries from the URJ:

Hope to see you soon at CBI!

Blessings,

Rabbi Rachel

Songs and prayers of mourning and comfort

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

What an extraordinary gift it was to gather together last night with so many of our friends, neighbors, and fellow-travelers for songs and prayers of memory and comfort.

Here are some of the songs and prayers from our vigil for the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting:

 

Ahavah v’rachamim (“love and compassion”) chant:

 

We Are Loved:

 

Ufros Aleinu (“Spread over us your sukkah of peace”):

 

Broken-Hearted:

 

What Is the Mourner’s Kaddish?

 

Olam Chesed Yibaneh (“I will build this world from love”):

 

May the memories of the eleven who were slaughtered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh be for a blessing. And may the Source of Peace bring peace to all who mourn and comfort to all who are bereaved.

Rabbi Rachel

Grieving the Pittsburgh news

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

As I left the synagogue on Shabbat after morning services and a beautiful celebration of bat mitzvah, I learned the news of the horrific shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Words fail me: I am horrified, and grieving, and angry, and fearful. I suspect that most of you are feeling all of those things, too.  (In case it’s helpful, here’s what I wrote on my own blog: From hope to horror and back again.)

Please know that I want to be here for you, and I want to hear from you if this news is challenging or if you need to talk. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at any time.

Judaism calls us in every moment to build a world redeemed from hatred and bigotry and violence, a world in which this kind of horrific action would be unthinkable.  As we move into the new week individually and together, may we recommit ourselves to the work of building that world of justice and love, safety and hope.

Where there is darkness, it’s our job to bring light. I encourage all who are so moved to begin the new week by giving tzedakah toward building a better world. You might give to HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society — an organization that the shooter particularly denigrated), or to the Anti-Defamation League, or to the Southern Poverty Law Center, or whomever you believe is working toward building a world of greater justice and love. You might also consider sending a note of condolence to Tree of Life Congregation, 5898 Wilkins Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217.

May the friends, families, and community of those who were killed this Shabbat in Pittsburgh be comforted along with all who mourn. And may we all be strengthened in our resolve to build a better world.

Blessings to all —

Rabbi Rachel

 

 

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Vayera.

Shavua tov — a (belated) good new week to you!

Please join us on Saturday at 9:30am for Shabbat morning services, where we will call Rachael Hermann to the Torah as bat mitzvah . This week we’re reading from parashat Vayera.

If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, here are a few:

Here’s Torah commentary at Builders Blog (a project of Bayit: Your Jewish Home), this week written by builder Shoshanna Schechter:

And here are commentaries from the URJ:

Hope to see you soon at CBI!

Blessings,

Rabbi Rachel

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Lech Lecha

Shavua tov — a (belated) good new week to you!

Please join us on Saturday at 9:30am for Shabbat morning services led by Spiritual Life chair Steven Green. This week we’re reading from parashat Lech Lecha.

If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, here are a few:

Here’s Torah commentary at Builders Blog (a project of Bayit: Your Jewish Home), this week written by builder Rabbi Ben Newman:

And here are commentaries from the URJ:

There’s a lot happening at CBI this week. On Monday 10/15 at 7:30pm we’ll hear from speaker Kenneth Stern on Antisemitism In America: Past and Present. On Saturday 10/20 at 5:30pm we’ll gather for our 125th Anniversary Gala. And in between, there’s Jewish Values, Trans Inclusivity, and “Yes on 3,” three events with Rabbi Mike Moskowitz (who’s teaching at CBI at 7:30pm on Weds 10/17.)

Hope to see you soon at CBI!

Blessings,

Rabbi Rachel

Jewish Values, Trans Inclusivity, and “Yes on 3” – Three Events With Rabbi Mike Moskowitz

There’s a lot happening at CBI next week! On Monday 10/15 at 7:30pm we’ll hear from speaker Kenneth Stern on Antisemitism In America: Past and Present. On Saturday 10/20 at 5:30pm we’ll gather for our 125th Anniversary Gala. And in between, there’s this:

yeson3

What do Jewish texts say about trans inclusivity, and can we square the value we place on human rights and dignity across the spectrum of gender expression and sexual orientation with Jewish tradition? Spoiler: yes we can!

Come learn how with Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, Scholar-in-Residence for Queer and Trans Issues at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City and also a co-founder of Bayit: Your Jewish Home with Rabbi Rachel (and with CBI Board member Steven Green).

Together we’ll open up some of what Jewish tradition teaches about trans rights and human dignity, and then we’ll explore the implications of those teachings for voting in Massachusetts this fall.

10/17: Torah discussion & study with R’ Mike Moskowitz at CBI, 7:30pm
10/18: Lunch & Learn with R’ Mike Moskowitz at Williams, 12pm
10/18: Torah discussion & Study with R’ Mike Moskowitz at Knesset Israel in Pittsfield, 7:30pm

Free and open to the public — all welcome.

Co-presented by Congregation Beth Israel, Knesset Israel, the Williams College Jewish Association, Keshet, and Congregation Beit Simchat Torah.

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Noach

Shavua tov — a (belated) good new week to you!

Please join us on Saturday at 9:30am for Shabbat morning services led by Rabbi Pam Wax. This week we’re reading from parashat Noach.

If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, here are a few:

Here’s Torah commentary at Builders Blog (a project of Bayit: Your Jewish Home), this week written by builder Rabbi Mike Moskowitz:

And here are commentaries from the URJ:

Hope to see you soon at CBI!

Blessings,

Rabbi Rachel