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Reproductive Freedom is a Jewish Value

01/26/2022 02:51:35 PM


Beth Schafer

This week we are centering our Shabbat around the topic of Reproductive Freedom. Repro Shabbat is an opportunity for us to highlight the critical importance of reproductive health access, reproductive rights, and reproductive justice, and to learn more about Judaism’s approach to these issues.

Along with over 700 institutions, congregations this week are centering their messages, sermons and music around this very important and...Read more...

When All We Have is Hope

01/18/2022 11:59:11 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Like many, I was experiencing a rather challenging competition for my attention this past weekend. Going into Martin Luther King weekend, I was reflecting upon the legacy of the civil rights movement, the legacy bequeathed to us today. The work continues to build a society that is more just, more equitable, and where are all celebrated for the beauty and complexity of our narratives, our histories, our cultures, and our beliefs. The message...Read more...

The Exodus and the Dawgs!

01/13/2022 09:13:50 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

My son Ben forwarded a tweet to me this week: “Moses wandered the desert for a shorter time than Dawg fans waited for a natty. Wow.” 

For UGA alumni and Georgia Bulldog fans everywhere, Monday’s long-awaited national championship has been a source of understandable jubilation.  The last time UGA ended its season atop the college football mountain was in 1980 and the enormous, shared sense of relief and release...Read more...

Exciting Clergy Announcement

01/12/2022 11:46:15 AM


Adam Mayer and Rabbi Ron Segal

“Appoint for yourself a teacher, and you will acquire a friend.”  
(Pirkei Avot 1:6)

Upon the recommendation of Temple Sinai’s Professional Relations Committee*, we are pleased and proud to share that the Board of Trustees has unanimously endorsed the promotion of Rabbi Brad Levenberg to the position of Senior Rabbi.  In accordance with Temple Sinai’s Bylaws, a congregational vote to...Read more...

2021 Wynne Scholarship Winner Isabella Emmanuel 

01/10/2022 08:57:26 AM


Isabella Emmanuel

This summer I went to Israel for the first time through the Merrill and Sheila Wynne Judaic Scholarship. I chose to use the scholarship towards the Jewish National Fund’s Roots Israel trip. Teens from around the US gathered...Read more...

Announcing Marisa Kaiser as the Charles S. Ackerman Senior Director of Learning and Engagement

01/03/2022 01:41:24 PM


“It is an honor to serve Temple Sinai in this position named for Charles Ackerman. His commitment to lifelong learning and educating future generations is a source of inspiration to me personally as well as to all of our educators at Temple...Read more...

A Prayer for 2022

12/29/2021 11:34:14 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

As 2021 draws to a close with the realities of Covid-19 and all its variants continuing to wreak havoc in our lives, many might be challenged to find much that is positive in what this year has wrought. While the end of a calendar year typically elicits joyful reflection on the past year’s accomplishments along with a list of personal resolutions for the secular new year ahead, the conclusion of 2021 undeniably finds us in great...Read more...

New Mask Policy

12/28/2021 10:42:02 AM


Adam Mayer, Rabbi Ron Segal and Jack Feldman

The Temple Sinai Covid Task Force, in accordance with current CDC guidelines and in consultation with our medical advisory team, has revised our Covid-19 policies and procedures. Due to the current rate of infection associated with the omicron variant, the wearing of facemasks will once again be mandatory for all participants when gathered indoors for Sinai meetings, programs, and worship events, except while eating or drinking....Read more...

Intersections of Faith

12/20/2021 03:03:02 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

I do so love when holidays intersect, and this Shabbat is no exception. While Jews around the world gather with friends and family to welcome Shabbat, a ritual complete with well wishes, with blessings, with an embrace of light and good and kindness and compassion, our Christian friends and siblings gather with family and friends to celebrate Christmas, a ritual complete with those same heartening and heartwarming values. This Friday night...Read more...

The Prequel

12/16/2021 08:01:52 AM


Beth Schafer

I remember clear as day, when I was a 3rd grader, I went to see Star Wars. It was the most amazing cinematic experience I had ever had with great characters, a great story, and new, flashy sci-fi effects never before seen on screen. I found it intriguing, though, that in the opening, the words that scrolled across the screen began with “Chapter 4.” What? Did I miss 3 movies? And yet, that story in and of itself stood alone as...Read more...

Right Defeated is Stronger than Evil Triumphant

12/09/2021 08:37:18 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

While Martin Luther King sat in a Birmingham jail, he penned a letter to his fellow clergy explaining why he thought it necessary to engage in civil disobedience. He criticized their vocal opposition to his efforts, saying that religion must serve the cause of justice rather than maintaining the status quo. In King’s lengthy “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” he wrote:

“But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from...Read more...

Faith is Meant to Inspire

11/29/2021 11:20:40 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

There is a closely guarded secret about Chanukah that is rarely discussed: within a generation, the heroes of Chanukah, the Maccabees, became so consumed with their successes and their apparent ability to bring about miracles that they persecuted those who disagreed with them, even their fellow kinsman. Though it is a secret, it’s actually right there in the open as we begin the retelling of the story of Chanukah:

“A Jew came...

Gratitude as Our Core Essence 

11/22/2021 09:56:57 PM


Rabbi Ron Segal

The more often and the more regularly we receive any blessing, the less likely we are to be aware of or fully appreciate it.  What is constantly granted is easily taken for granted.  “I have often thought,” Helen Keller wrote, “that it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during their adult life.  Darkness would make him more appreciative of light; silence would...Read more...

The Gift of Darkness

11/18/2021 08:52:55 AM


Beth Schafer

Some things literally happen overnight. I’m thinking in particular about 2 weeks ago when we turned back the clock and found ourselves squarely in the dark (and darkening) days of winter.

Nothing says goodbye to summer/fall more abruptly than that ominous shift of the clock.

I would, however, invite you not to spend the next 6 months inside! During the day, the brightness of the sun obscures all else. It encloses us and...Read more...

Celebrating Lauren Mahady

11/10/2021 10:06:20 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Celebrations are wonderful things, and even more special when they are richly deserved.

Lauren Mahady has been with the Temple Sinai Preschool as a music teacher since it first opened 35 years ago. She has used her considerable gifts generously and with patience, inspiring our youngest learners to find their way into music and to sing the timeless songs of our people. I, like so many parents, relished the days when my children would...Read more...

Updated Covid Protocols

11/09/2021 11:12:15 AM


Adam Mayer, Rabbi Ron Segal & Jack Feldman

The Temple Sinai Covid Task Force, in accordance with current CDC guidelines and in consultation with our medical advisory team, is pleased to share the following policy and procedure changes, effective immediately:

Mask Wearing

Masks will now be optional for those attending Shabbat services, lifecycle events, and programs and classes intended for adults, whether inside the building or outdoors, who are fully...Read more...

Try Digging New Wells When Necessary

11/04/2021 08:27:20 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

How could I not write about the Atlanta Braves and their World Series victory this week – it is such a source of excitement for Atlanta and for Braves fans everywhere!  Post-game analyses and other sports commentators have noted that in addition to the obvious talent of the players, the Braves’ unanticipated and truly spectacular victory can also be attributed to the excellent leadership and direction of Head Coach, Brian...Read more...

Let's Go Braves!

10/25/2021 02:58:47 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

What a joyous time it is to live in Atlanta. With the Braves in the World Series, there is this joyous, festive spirit that permeates the city. For those of us who rarely pay attention to baseball, we can’t miss the fact that our hometown team has done well and help but marvel at the optimism of a city united in support and excitement.

There are some who find great meaning in baseball, specifically the Braves. It’s been...Read more...

God is Always Part of Our Story

10/19/2021 11:48:45 AM


Beth Schafer

One of the things that is most striking about being back in the book of Genesis is how it centers on families-couples in particular. When we pray the words of Avot v’Imahot in every prayer service, we are reminded how God had a unique relationship with each generation introduced in Genesis: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, Leah and Rachel. Each couple had its own strengths and challenges, and for each, God was present and part...Read more...


10/14/2021 07:43:36 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

Having concluded the Hebrew calendar month of Tishrei along with our observance of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Sh’mini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, this past week we began the new month of Cheshvan, also known in some circles and sources as “MarCheshvan.”  Why the different names?  What is the significance of appending “Mar” - the Hebrew word for “bitter” – to the beginning?

As the names of all the...

How Do We Start Anew?

10/05/2021 03:22:28 PM


Rabbi Sam Trief

This week, we read one of the most well-known Torah Portions of all, the story of Noah’s Ark. This torah portion’s iconic images are hung on nursery walls, depicted on stained glass windows, and are framed in museums,  all across the world. The story of Noah is one that I think about all the time, so much so that we chose the name “Noah” as Rafi’s middle name. 

While there are many...

A New Beginning

09/29/2021 02:05:12 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

I’ve been spending time lately thinking about beginnings. In part it's because we started a New Year, and in part, it is because we’ve had just a stellar group of students begin the next phase of their lives having just become Bar and Bat Mitzvah. I find confirmation that my head is in the right place in our texts as well, for the Torah portion this week is Bereshit, the first portion in our Torah, signifying a new beginning of a Torah...Read more...

Educate, Act and Engage in the Fight Against Antisemitism

09/22/2021 08:13:39 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg


No doubt many of us have heard about the recent acts of antisemitism that took place at Pope High School and Lassiter High School, both schools in Cobb County, and the disappointing response from the administration and the Cobb County School Board. Clergy colleagues in Marietta convened almost immediately, with Rabbi Larry Sernovitz (Temple Kol Emeth) meeting at length with the principal of Pope High School. Though the...Read more...

Standing in the Doorway

09/13/2021 04:35:51 PM


Beth Schafer

I have had the good fortune of sending two daughters to college. The freshman year drop-off/move-in is an exciting time for the kids, a more mixed-emotion moment for the parents. We stand in the doorway of their dorm rooms, a door not just to a place that will become their physical home, but a doorway to their futures that we as parents will not be a part of every day. Although I had 18 years to impart as much wisdom as I could, to share as...Read more...

COVID-19 Updated Safety Protocols

09/02/2021 09:10:52 AM


Adam Mayer, Rabbi Ron Segal and Jack Feldman

To Our Temple Sinai Congregational Family,

As has been our practice throughout the pandemic, we continue to evaluate Sinai’s health and safety protocols regarding Covid-19. Unquestionably, the significant rise in the number of positive cases and the resulting census in Metro Atlanta hospitals are alarming and a source of serious concern to us all.

Thus, as we prepare to usher in a New Year together, guided by the...Read more...

Five Days to Consider

09/02/2021 07:42:06 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

With only five days until the start of the New Year, a poem inviting personal reflection.  Following its conclusion, a question inviting personal resolution.

“The Journey” (Mary Oliver, Dream Work)

One day you finally knew
What you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice-
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you...

Names of God

08/26/2021 08:40:01 AM


Beth Schafer

Practicing the music of the High Holy Days brings me in touch with its liturgy weeks before everyone comes into the sanctuary to offer the prayers and blessings of the season. I have been ruminating a lot over how God is represented in our machzor. During our Days of Awe, there are many references to God conjuring up human roles: the parent, the king, the Lord, the shepherd, the Judge. These metaphors are supposed to help us relate to the...Read more...

Accounting for Each Day

08/17/2021 08:00:52 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

As we make our way through the month of Elul, the countdown to the start of a New Year continues. What began as 29 days is now down to 18… 18 days remaining in which to focus on Heshbon haNefesh, an accounting of the soul which Jewish tradition implores us to pursue throughout this month in advance of Rosh Hashanah. Each of these days invites a personal assessment, contemplation of who, where and how we are relationally, emotionally,...Read more...

Important High Holy Day Update

08/12/2021 03:18:58 PM


As in every year, we approach our Holy Day planning with a desire to create a meaningful and inspiring experience for the community with the health and safety of our congregants always front of mind. In light of present Covid conditions, we are attempting to make the best and most responsible decisions about this year’s Holy Day offerings, recognizing the considerable resources invested in each service and program.

Thus, previous...

Health and Safety Update

08/05/2021 07:45:37 AM


Adam Mayer, Rabbi Ron Segal and Jack Feldman

The Temple Sinai Covid Task Force, in accordance with current CDC guidelines and in consultation with our medical advisory team, has made the following policy and procedure changes to help ensure the safety of our extended congregational community, effective immediately:

1. Anyone over the age of two years old, regardless of vaccination status, is required to wear a mask inside the Temple Sinai facilities, including during programs...Read more...

Thu, January 27 2022 25 Sh'vat 5782