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Mental Health Awareness Month

05/05/2021 09:12:50 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

As we approach our first Shabbat in the month of May, see if you can fill in the missing information for the following (answers below):

1. Approximately 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 18 suffers _____ in a given year.
2. Roughly 18% of Americans ages 18-54 have _____ each year.
3. On average, 11! years is the delay between _____ and _____.

Mental Health...

Women in the Torah

04/28/2021 01:53:07 PM


Beth Schafer

In this week’s Torah portion, parshat Emor, God gives Moses the laws specific to Aaron and all the priests. As it pertains to the daughter of a priest, the Torah states, “When the daughter of a priest defiles herself through harlotry, it is her father whom she defiles; she shall be put to the fire.”

The issue of human trafficking and prostitution is very much a part of international attention and conversation right now....Read more...

Temple Sinai Reopening Plan

04/28/2021 11:15:00 AM


Lynn Redd

Dear Members of Temple Sinai,

After more than thirteen months of restricted physical access to Temple Sinai, I am thrilled to share that we are finally able to introduce plans for reopening! I hope you have participated in the countless opportunities for virtual worship,...Read more...

Adult Education Updates

04/21/2021 10:04:43 AM


Lynn Saperstein

During this year of a global pandemic with such reduced social gatherings or even quarantine, so many of our Adult Ed programs have been wonderful to look forward to, and especially awesome to be a participant of. My passion for...Read more...

Connecting to Israel

04/20/2021 08:48:25 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Were we living attuned to Jewish time, we would be aware that we are living the weeks of the “yoms,” identified as such because we have three Jewish sacred days in a row: Yom HaShoah, where we commemorate the Holocaust and mourn for the victims; Yom HaZikaron, where we recognize those who lost their lives either by defending Israel during a war or as the victim of an act of terror, and Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Day of...Read more...

How are Sinai Space, Israel Independence Day, and an Owl Puppet Connected?

04/14/2021 08:32:08 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

Let me begin by wishing all Chag Sameach, a happy holiday, as today is Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day). Beginning Wednesday evening and continuing until sundown today, the 3rd of Iyyar on the Hebrew calendar, marks what is now Israel’s 73rd birthday. Surely, this is a day worthy of great celebration. We thought we would offer some Yom Ha’atzmaut joy by sharing the most recent edition of Sinai Space, one of our fun Jewish...Read more...

The Power of Perseverance

04/06/2021 03:19:58 PM


Beth Schafer

During this stretch of time between Pesach and Shavuot, we engage in counting the seven weeks, day by day in a ritual called Counting the Omer. During the Omer it is traditional to turn inward and work on sharpening our personal character traits called middot. These weeks mirror our ancestors’ time in the desert making their way from the Red Sea to Mount Sinai where they received the gift of Torah. Our Spirituality committee has prepared...Read more...

Freedom is a Chance to Do Better

04/01/2021 02:09:45 PM


Rabbi Sam Trief

After the year that we have endured, after the Seders of freedom we have just celebrated, how can we not view freedom through a different lens? The famous French Philosopher, Albert Camus teaches us: "Freedom is a chance to do better." As new opportunities arise and as narrow straits open into wide expanses, each of us can ask ourselves how we can do better. What does FREEDOM mean to each of us? 

As for me, I began thinking about...

Count Your Blessings

03/23/2021 01:40:34 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Having just marked the one-year point of dealing with Covid here in Atlanta, our thoughts naturally turn to that significant point and how we have adapted over this past year. It should not be lost on us, however, that this weekend marks another significant turning point: the anniversary of our first Jewish holiday experienced exclusively in the days of Covid.

I recall our concerns last year: plans had to be changed, people who...Read more...

Celebrating Our Rabbi on 50 Years!

03/18/2021 08:15:14 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

“Sound a trumpet throughout your land, and consecrate the 50th year!” (Leviticus 25:9-10)

The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) just concluded its annual convention. It was an engaging and enriching conference and included amazing scholars, the installation of new leadership (including a new president), and opportunities to connect with colleagues. Without question, though, one special highlight was the recognition and tribute...Read more...

New Beginnings

03/10/2021 04:15:47 PM


Beth Schafer

On Saturday evening we will enter the Hebrew month of Nissan, which in the Jewish calendar, is the first month. All mentions of other holidays and observances are measured in terms of how many months or weeks from the month of Nissan they occur. How did the month of Nissan become the first month and what might be its significance?

Two weeks before the Exodus from Egypt, God showed Moses the crescent moon and instructed him regarding...Read more...

We Are Not Free Until We Are All Free

03/02/2021 10:57:13 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

Recently, some of our friends and colleagues at The Temple on Peachtree approached us with a compelling idea. They invited us to host Shabbat Services together this week in honor of a cause that our People hold very dearly. Of course, there are so many issues for which our communities can come together, but very few have touched us all so intimately, whether directly or indirectly. THIS Friday evening, as we mark Refugee Shabbat, we will...Read more...

Join Us for Purim Fun

02/22/2021 10:21:30 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

I recall the conversations from a year ago. We had just heard, a few weeks prior, about the coronavirus, though at that time it didn’t look that serious to us here in Atlanta. So, we went about planning and preparing as we always do, keeping the experience of our congregants front and center. After all, Purim was on the horizon, and we had already invested a lot of energy and creativity into the megillah reading and the carnival. Helmed by...Read more...

True Resilience

02/18/2021 08:03:24 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

I received my copy of Mishkan HaSeder, the new CCAR Press Passover Haggadah, in the mail this week. Like countless others, the Baskin-illustrated CCAR Haggadah - published in 1974 - helped shape our family’s Passover Seders for decades. After almost 50 years, though, it was definitely time for a new text.  Like other publications in the “Mishkan series” that we have already use for many years at Temple Sinai (e.g. Mishkan Tefilah,...Read more...

We Will Hear

02/11/2021 07:59:24 AM


Beth Schafer

It was asked to a number of us a few months ago by someone doing research, what prayer we found most important. I along with many others answered, the Sh’ma. Our faith in one God is defined by the 6-word statement, “Hear, O Israel, Adonai is our God, Adonai is one.” And yet this prayer that is about wholeness, completeness and oneness, kind of sounds exclusive in its command….HEAR. If one cannot hear, can they be...Read more...

The Weather We Experience

02/03/2021 12:24:14 PM


Rabbi Sam Trief

Oscar Wilde said “conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”

Reflecting upon this musing, I have come to the conclusion that I COMPLETELY disagree. As the Jewish People, so many of our holidays and so much of our liturgy is based on a complex understanding of the weather and the changing of the seasons. For instance, the holiday that just passed, Tu B'Shevhat, marks the emergence of warmer...Read more...

Words Matter

01/26/2021 08:53:49 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

I was having a conversation with a friend the other night about senior quotes. In a high school yearbook, when students are in their final year, they are granted an opportunity to sum up their life, their story, their dreams, their future, their interests, how they are known… in a short, attributable quote. It has to be clever, it has to be somewhat original, and it has to be authentic. The pressure on, it is a pretty significant task, one...Read more...

A New Perspective

01/21/2021 08:49:04 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

For many of us, the highlight of Wednesday's inauguration was the incredible Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman. Throughout Gorman’s life she struggled with speech and auditory processing issues. We listen to Gorman’s words, and we are moved to tears by her poise, her passion and her message. I think about the blood, sweat and tears it took her to ascend the steps of the Capitol and share her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” It is noted...Read more...

What Would MLK Say to Us Today?

01/13/2021 02:38:42 PM


Beth Schafer

As we prepare to remember and honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Shabbat closest to his birthday, one burning question comes to mind. What would he say to us today? We are living through extraordinary and concerning times in the life of our country. If we cannot look to our nation’s icons of peace and social justice for wise and good counsel, to whom else would we turn?

One of his most prophetic statements was, “When our...

2020 Wynne Scholarship Winner Skyler Clark

01/11/2021 03:06:53 PM


Skyler Clark

Hi! I’m Skyler Clark and I’m currently on a gap year program called Bina Mechina in south Tel Aviv! The program I am on is designed for both pre-college Americans and international participants, and pre-army Israeli...Read more...

Hope for Better Days

01/05/2021 08:47:01 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

Over the last week, I spent some time in the mountains and experienced snowfall. One day, as I walked through a field of fresh snow, I began to grow tired. I thought to myself: how am I going to make it to the other side at this rate? I looked down and watched as my foot crunched, sunk, and dug deeper into the snow with each step. I grew even more depleted.

But then, I decided to adopt a new strategy. I began to imagine that I was...Read more...

A Blessing for 2021

12/23/2020 11:32:31 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

As tomorrow marks the end of one year, we offer this blessing for the year to come:

May we look forward to a new year with the hope that during every morning that we receive the gift of life we will wake up and thank God for that life. May 2021 fill us with a sense of gratitude and a sense of purpose.  May we find ample reminders in this year ahead that our life matters, that life is sacred and holy, and that we have a large...Read more...

Jewish Heroes

12/21/2020 02:21:49 PM


Rabbi Ron Segal

The dictionary formally defines a hero as “a person with courage, one admired for his/her noble qualities and ideal acts.” In the context of our greater community, a Jewish hero is one who makes conscious decisions and sacrifices to ensure the strength of the Jewish people. Examples of Jewish heroes throughout history abound: great rabbinic sages, early Zionist pioneers, philanthropists, politicians, warriors and countless others whose...Read more...

It’s About Tradition

12/17/2020 10:15:24 AM


Beth Schafer

Recently Rabbi Levenberg and I were leading a ceremony where the Bar/Bat Mitzvah family is given the opportunity to offer an impromptu blessing for his/her child. One of the grandfathers said to the boy, “Each generation does this and now it’s your turn.” I thought it was such an empowering moment for the young man.

After the service the grandfather came up to me and in amazement said, “Gosh, I really don’t know how...Read more...

The Wonder of Chanukah

12/10/2020 09:07:07 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

Last night, as I sat next to a firepit, I felt a heavy sense of lacking, of missing something. And yet, as I gazed at the glowing fire, I became more and more transfixed and mystified by the beauty of it all. In that moment, I no longer felt underwhelmed, but rather amazed by the beauty of the flames and the trees and the crisp winter air. For the first time in a long while, I felt a long-forgotten emotion; excitement. 

As the...

The Power of a Name

12/02/2020 09:04:04 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Before I get into the message for this week's “Shabbat to Shabbat” newsletter, allow me to extend an invitation. This Friday night, following the Shabbat service at 7:30, is our Alembik event, Exploring the Interplay Between Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Pain in Our Lives. This program is a moderated conversation between three Sinai members: Dr. Jeffrey Grossman will address physical pain, Dr. Betsy Gard will tackle...Read more...

Shabbat to Shabbat- Bounty

11/24/2020 02:44:07 PM


Rabbi Ron Segal

Whether eating with family, a few friends, or alone; whether (over) indulging with favorite Thanksgiving dishes or heating up a frozen pizza; whether celebrating joyous news or grieving the absence of a loved one, Thanksgiving provides each one of us with an essential pause – a pause to recall the blessings, be they few or many, for which to be grateful.  And as illness, dissention, and societal anxiety continue to swirl around us,...Read more...

A Different Thanksgiving

11/18/2020 04:42:47 PM


Beth Schafer

When someone said yesterday, “You know, next week is Thanksgiving,” I was actually a bit taken back as time has become so warped-was it not just Sukkot? But then I started thinking about how different this Thanksgiving will be (a la Passover, “Why is this Thanksgiving different from all other Thanksgivings?”), and how we might want to approach it.

This year many will spend the holiday separated from those with whom they would...Read more...

Caring for the Needy Among Us

11/10/2020 08:59:19 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

I recall sitting with our congregant Larry Weiner in a room at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, when we heard what at the time were rather staggering figures about the rise of homelessness in our area. The speaker was a representative from Family Promise, a national organization with a rather interesting response to homelessness that was looking to open a local chapter. Larry and I and others were inspired by the presentation and urged on by...Read more...

Focus on the Now

11/05/2020 09:06:26 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

A few days ago, as we engaged in the time-honored ritual of daylight savings, I came across an amusing photo trending on social media: Kermit the Frog lying down looking dazed and exhausted. The caption reads “I’m not turning the clocks back this year, because the last thing we need in 2020 is an extra hour of it.” 

Uncertainty. Anxiety. Trepidation. These are emotions so many of us share as yet another profound and...Read more...

Wed, May 12 2021 1 Sivan 5781