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Simple Gifts

11/20/2019 10:57:03 AM

Nov20

Beth Schafer

It is the season of Thanksgiving. This American tradition that began with the coming together of two nations on this soil, reminds us of a sacred message we should reflect on each and every day - to be thankful. Many believe that Thanksgiving was inspired by Sukkot, our fall harvest holiday, because the Puritans, while living in Holland before coming to the New World, lived among Sephardic Jews who observed the festival and were influenced by...Read more...

Shabbat with Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish

11/14/2019 11:05:45 AM

Nov14

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

What a delight it is to write this message. This Shabbat will be truly remarkable at Sinai for we are welcoming to our congregation noted scholar and author Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish.

Ron is the Founding Director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI). Now retired, he is a noted rabbi, author, and speaker, blogger and consultant. He has lived in Jerusalem for the past 38 years. Educated at Brandeis University...Read more...

What it Means to Be American AND Jewish

11/07/2019 10:40:01 AM

Nov7

Rabbi Sam Trief

Vietnam, 1967. Rosh Hashanah 5728. Jewish Marines made camouflage kippot from tent materials, as their way of marking the High Holidays, while simultaneously fighting in the Vietnam War. I heard this story while traveling through Vietnam. This image has stayed with me as a powerful representation of what it means to be both American and Jewish. 

As it has likely become apparent by now, I relate to my Judaism through the...Read more...

Starting the Next Chapter

10/31/2019 08:40:34 AM

Oct31

Rabbi Ron Segal

This past Sunday, October 27, most of the Jewish world was undoubtedly aware that the day marked one year since the massacre of eleven members of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. Throughout this past year, communities have held memorials, worked to strengthen bridges of understanding with neighbors and co-religionists, pursued further security measures within their own synagogues, and learned more about the roots of anti-Semitism....Read more...

Speech by Dr. Heike Fuller, German Consul General in Atlanta at #ShowUpforShabbat

10/30/2019 09:42:38 AM

Oct30

Consul General Dr. Heike Fuller

Ladies and Gentlemen,
“Antisemitism kills”, that is what Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Halle, Saxony-Anhalt two cities over 4.100 miles apart, located on two different continents are forced to share.

On October 27, 2018 while Shabbat morning services were being held in the Tree of Life Synagogue, eleven people were killed and six were injured. It was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States.

Not...Read more...

#ShowUpForShabbat

10/24/2019 08:53:42 AM

Oct24

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

The note was passed to me in the middle of a b'nei mitzvah service: there has been a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. My heart sank as I felt for those who were present at the Tree of Life synagogue that morning, those who were injured, those who would soon be preparing for funerals. It did not occur to me during those initial moments that we had crossed a barrier, a threshold, a line that had not been crossed in the story of...Read more...

Revisiting Your Story 

10/17/2019 12:23:52 PM

Oct17

Beth Schafer

“Hafochbah, hafochbah.” “Turn it, turn it again,” Rabbi Ben Bag-Bag wrote referring to the annual cycle of Torah. We are about to revisit the beginning of the Torah once again as we observe Simchat Torah this Sunday evening. I often ask B'nei Mitzvah students if they understand the basic concepts of algebra, which leads to a conversation about variables. I then share with them that reading Torah is a lot like algebra, in that the...Read more...

Make the World a More Accepting Place - Starting with Ourselves

10/08/2019 08:14:32 AM

Oct8

Rabbi Sam Trief

For those of you who were not with us on the second day of Rosh Hashanah I would like to share with you the remarks I offered during services. It is hard to believe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have passed us by yet again, but it isn’t too late to make a change for the new year! In fact, while it is important to reflect and change our behavior between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it is MORE important to change our ways and reflect...Read more...

Be Present for our Community

10/03/2019 08:03:01 AM

Oct3

Rabbi Sam Trief

As a 10th grade confirmation student, there was a moment in class that struck me each week...and that was roll call. When  Rabbi Rick Jacobs took attendance in class, he taught us that the best response was not: “here” or “yes”, but rather,  “hineini.”  The Biblical expression hineni translates to: “here I am.”  Over the years, the expression hineini  has come to mean that we should strive to be fully...Read more...

Daze of Ah

09/26/2019 09:33:55 AM

Sep26

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, the Emory University Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, writes that one year, "while lecturing on the theology of the High Holy Day period, I noticed that a student had written at the top of his notes: the Daze of Ah. I was unsure whether to chastise him for not having done the readings or give him extra credit for offering this insight. For this is exactly how we should approach this time: in a...Read more...

Walking with Pride

09/19/2019 08:42:09 AM

Sep19

Beth Schafer

On my very first day at Temple Sinai, I walked into my new office. My furniture hadn’t arrived, yet. A computer sat on a card table and on top of the keyboard was a welcome gift from Rabbi Perry. She had bought each of us clergy a rainbow kippah in Israel for us to wear at the Pride Parade. I didn’t even get to attend Pride in October of 2015, but I did in 2016, and it was one of the most memorable days of my life. Over the prior year I...Read more...

The Pain of Memory

09/12/2019 09:41:04 AM

Sep12

Rabbi Sam Trief

I’ve heard a lot of chatter lately...many people have been commenting “It has been a weird summer.”  For us at Sinai, we can partially attribute this to the construction and our “diaspora” to the Weber School. But on a personal note, I also realized there was something else going on. This was the first summer in a decade where I had not visited Israel. I felt an inner longing, one that I could not quite put my finger on until I...Read more...

To Console Helps to Soften

09/05/2019 08:00:16 AM

Sep5

Rabbi Ron Segal

Today (Thursday) is the 6th day of Elul, the final month in the Hebrew calendar prior to Rosh Hashanah and the start of a New Year. Jewish tradition lifts up the spiritual significance of this month, challenging us to approach each of Elul’s 29 days with intentionality and an appreciation of the possibility of self-transformation. I have long held that the spiritual potential and experience of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have a great deal...Read more...

High Holy Day Preseason

08/29/2019 08:06:13 AM

Aug29

Beth Schafer

This week begins the month of Elul, counting 40 days from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur. These 40 days represent the 40 days that Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the tablets of the commandments. If the High Holy Days were football, we are now firmly in preseason.

Here at Temple Sinai holiday preparations are in full swing, but also, if we really want to “do this,” then our personal preparations need to be in full swing as well....Read more...

Making the Most of Your Bucket List

08/21/2019 11:32:30 AM

Aug21

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

We know a great deal about the life and accomplishments of Moses. But as we navigate through the Book of Deuteronomy, we have an opportunity to learn more about his personal aspirations. Framing the titular text is a repeated refrain from this venerated leader, paraphrased for brevity: “God, I will continue to convey everything you want to me to convey to the Israelites. But would you PLEASE just let me cross over the Jordan River and step...Read more...

Tu B’Av

08/15/2019 12:38:18 PM

Aug15

Rabbi Sam Trief

I was just at Publix picking up a sandwich. The customer in front of me ordered a Turkey Sandwich. She asked for Provolone Cheese. The man making her sandwich accidently put cheddar on her sandwich. The customer became enraged with the man making her sandwich. The server’s face dropped, and he looked like he was holding back tears, as she berated him.  I watched quietly, my heart aching. What was going on in the server’s life that...Read more...

When Shabbat is Needed More than Ever

08/07/2019 12:12:25 PM

Aug7

Rabbi Ron Segal

Once again, heartache.
Once again, murderous domestic terrorism has wracked our country. 
Once again, hate-filled violence has resulted in unspeakable grief for countless innocents and families. 
Once again, the devastating number of lives lost and injuries suffered has been facilitated by the use of an assault style weapon and the absence of any sensible legislation aimed at curbing the epidemic of gun violence in our...Read more...

The Power of Responsibility of Speech – Holding others Accountable

08/01/2019 08:42:13 AM

Aug1

Rabbi Ron Segal

There is a well-known adage from childhood I suspect most have heard: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” We of course know the expression to be far from the truth, and in fact, it is the very opposite of what Jewish tradition teaches us concerning the power and significance of our words.

“Mavet v’chayim b’yad lashon – Death and life are in the hand (power) of the tongue,” states a verse...Read more...

Judaism at Home or Wherever You Find Yourself

07/31/2019 12:29:17 PM

Jul31

Beth Schafer

In my previous congregation, we shared a space with a church for worship. What that meant on a week-to-week basis was that my family had to leave home very early to help “unpack the temple” and set up our shared space. My children from very young ages equated setting up chairs, projection and sound as their Shabbat ritual. One of the challenges that it posed to our family was that we couldn’t have Shabbat dinner at home, and most of the...Read more...

Shabbat “UNPLUGGED”

07/25/2019 09:44:18 AM

Jul25

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

“The most profound change came when I turned off the TV. That suddenly transformed the whole Shabbat experience. It wasn’t about the electricity; it had more to do with the noise, the intrusion of the mundane into the sacred.” 
 
“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”
“No soup for you!”
“How you doin’?”
“To the moon, Alice!”
“Say goodnight, Gracie!”

Surely at least one...Read more...

Welcoming the Stranger

07/18/2019 08:45:27 AM

Jul18

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

“Balak, son of Zippur, saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. Moab was alarmed because that people was so numerous. Moab dreaded the Israelites, and Moab said to the elders of Midian, 'Now this horde will lick clean all that is about us as an ox licks up the grass of the field.'" (Numbers 22:12-4).
 
Every morning I check the news on USA Today, I scroll through Facebook, and I listen to NPR. Every evening I...Read more...

The Seventh Day Stretch

07/11/2019 11:29:22 AM

Jul11

Beth Schafer

A few weeks ago, some friends and I went to a Braves game. None of us are particularly huge baseball fanatics, but we thought it would be fun summer thing to do together. Needless to say, there was a lot of kibitzing going on throughout the game. Our attention vacillated between the field and each other. The uninvited guests of the evening were the heat and humidity which was even by Atlanta standards pretty gross. This prompted my friends to...Read more...

Sacred Bridges and Unions

07/03/2019 11:34:02 AM

Jul3

Rabbi Sam Trief

A momentous lifecycle event rapidly approaches for my family—my sister is getting married this Sunday. Surprisingly, I find myself more emotional than I thought I would be. 

My sister and I were always very different, we played different sports, had different friends, and went to different sleepaway camps. It feels like yesterday that I was dressing her up in a kippah and tallit, while we played “Temple” in our shared...Read more...

Becoming a Part of Israel

06/25/2019 08:50:51 AM

Jun25

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Just two weeks ago, I was sitting in a synagogue in the suburbs of Jerusalem, Kol Haneshama, introducing our Temple Sinai community to this incredible Reform congregation in Israel. I was able to enjoy the service, whose melodies have been among the favorites that we use in our services here in Atlanta, and it was wonderful to have returned once again to my “home away from home” congregation. 
 
Amidst the prayers, the...Read more...

People Are the Source of Light

06/19/2019 08:56:38 AM

Jun19

Rabbi Ron Segal

An oft-repeated story tells of a mountain village in Europe, several centuries ago, in which there was a Jewish nobleman who wondered what meaningful legacy he could leave for the townspeople. After much thought he decided to build a synagogue. No one saw the plans for the building until it was finished. When the people came for the first time they marveled at its beauty – the majestic high ceilings, the intricate carved wood throughout the...Read more...

Treasure Each Day

06/13/2019 12:19:40 PM

Jun13

Rabbi Sam Trief

I spent the past few hours pondering my Shabbat Message for this week.  

I went through the past week, combing the days for something exciting to share or teach. As we have just finished marking Shavuot, there are no holidays to speak of for awhile. Intent on finding an exciting topic, I pondered the articles I read, the classes I attended, the powerful life cycle events, the movies and  lunch dates, the baby swim lessons...Read more...

How Do You Reach the Promised Land?

06/05/2019 10:48:59 AM

Jun5

Beth Schafer

This week we begin reading the fourth book of the Torah. It goes by two names: in English we know it as the book of Numbers; the title attributed to the census that is taken at the beginning of the portion. In Hebrew, the book is called Bemidbar, meaning in the desert, where the census took place. Moses and Aaron were to count all the men of the 12 tribes 20 years and up to see who could take up arms when the Israelites would have to fight...Read more...

Counting Our Blessings

05/30/2019 08:52:23 AM

May30

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

We join together tonight in the midst of the greater Jewish people who are similarly taking stock of time, for we currently mark each day in a period known as the Counting of the Omer. This time had been marked two thousand years ago through the action of Jews in Israel bringing the first of their harvest to The Temple in Jerusalem. Over time, our people have found other ways of counting each of the days of the Omer- some through acts of...Read more...

Exciting News from Temple Sinai Preschool

05/23/2019 12:23:05 PM

May23

Temple Sinai Preschool has exciting news to share and we wanted you to be among the first to know.
 
In addition to our current enriching and accrediRead more...

Peeling Back the Layers

05/23/2019 08:00:27 AM

May23

Beth Schafer

As you know by now, Temple Sinai’s building is closed for construction. We had our first Shabbat service last week at The Weber School which was lovely and hamish (like home). Just yesterday I saw a picture of our sanctuary stripped bare. It was an empty room, and yet it wasn’t.

Read more...

Thu, November 21 2019 23 Cheshvan 5780