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Bringing Some Light to Israel

12/07/2023 07:17:48 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

Throughout these past two months since the terrorist attacks of October 7, we have endeavored to infuse a sense of Israeli spirit, pride, and staunch support into every realm of Sinai life. Informative conversations and classes, speakers, dignitaries, and presentations, solidarity services, special prayers for this difficult time in Jewish life, tzedakah collections, podcasts, articles, rabbinic columns, sermons, outreach to our students, and...Read more...

A Musical Love Letter to Israel from Atlanta

11/29/2023 08:12:50 AM


Beth Schafer

We have all felt the power and sense of unity when we sing together. In that spirit, we thought that the city of Atlanta could send a gesture of love and support during this time of crisis and war to the State of Israel in the form of music.

While the words “Am...

Italian Jewish Community

11/17/2023 09:26:33 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Of the many opportunities afforded that make Temple Sinai an incredible congregation at which to work, that of global travel ranks toward the top of the list. In the 18 years that I have served as one of your rabbis, I have had the great joy of traveling locally with our youth to New York, Alabama, Charleston, Los Angeles, and Cincinnati, and I have traveled with adults and families internationally to Israel multiple times as well exploring...Read more...

Where Are You Getting Information?

11/16/2023 08:04:00 AM


Beth Schafer

There is a midrash about a businessman who was adversely affected by gossip that had been spread about him. His rabbi heard about the incident and went to confront the man who spread the gossip in the first place. The gossiper asked the rabbi, “Couldn’t I easily just share another story and fix the problem?” The gossiper was surprised that just a little talk had created such a big problem for the businessman. The rabbi wanted to...Read more...

We Are One People

11/07/2023 12:40:19 PM


Rabbi Ron Segal

Two thousand years ago the ancient Greek philosopher Plutarch (1st cen) wrote that the ship of the Athenian hero Theseus, long after his death, was kept in pristine condition by the people of Athens for centuries. Whenever a board decayed it was replaced, until eventually, nothing in the ship was original; every stick of wood had been replaced. This prompted Plutarch to ask, “Is it still the ship of Theseus, or is it a new one?”  A...Read more...

The World Needs Goodness of All Kinds

11/01/2023 09:31:02 AM


Beth Schafer

As world events unfold and we find ourselves living in a heightened antisemitic world, we can easily become paralyzed; feeling fearful and isolated, not knowing who our friends are and with whom we can feel safe.

I feel fortunate to participate in the Sandy Springs Interfaith Clergy Association (SSICA), a group of spiritual leaders from Sandy Springs who meet once a month for lunch to discuss the needs and challenges of our community...Read more...

Bring Them Back

10/25/2023 01:09:57 PM


Rabbi Sam Trief

In the Torah verse made famous by Jewish singer and songwriter Debbie Friedman z”l, God says to Abraham: “Lech Lecha - to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1).

Many have interpreted this verse as a teaching to listen to our spirits, to explore new places and to journey into the unknown. Our understanding of this piece of Torah often encourages us to leave home. But as I study the verse now, all I can think about are the...Read more...

Take Care, Stay Safe and Know that You’re Loved

10/18/2023 10:38:10 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

In a remarkable demonstration of solidarity, Masoud Sedghi, owner of Aldo’s of Italy in Sandy Springs, has donated a multi-dish dinner for 150 people to Temple Sinai for use as a fundraiser for Israel. The buffet-style dinner will start at 6:30 pm this Sunday night (October 22). You can register by clicking here.

The idea for this fundraiser came from Masoud, an Iranian, who was sickened by the actions of Hamas on October 7. He...Read more...

Temple Sinai Stands with Israel: Resources for Our Community

10/16/2023 08:17:28 AM


Temple Sinai Clergy

Dear Friends and Members of our Temple Sinai Community,

Our spirits are distraught and confidence unsettled as we watch the unfolding events in Israel in disbelief. The gravity and dimension of loss, destruction, and terrorism wrought by Hamas against Israeli citizens and soldiers are inconceivable and heartbreaking. As of this writing, over 700 Israelis have been murdered, the vast majority civilians. Over 2000 Israelis lie wounded,...Read more...

Am Yisrael Chai

10/12/2023 07:33:23 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

It was last Thursday, only seven days ago, that our community was preparing to gather in support of Israel Bonds and in celebration of Rabbis Sam and Natan Trief together with renowned author and Israeli chef, Adeena Sussman. Conversations about Israel continued the next day at lunch as we welcomed local Israeli-American Amit Mayer to our sukkah for an informative conversation about the current status of proposed changes to Israel’s...Read more...

This Year's Torah

10/05/2023 08:41:24 AM


Beth Schafer

Coming off of our Holy Days, having been launched into a New Year with a clean slate, how perfect it is that we also begin again the reading of Torah. This annual cycle of reading from creation to redemption to revelation through the five books mirrors how we, too, move through life.

We are creators. Genesis reminds us that we are our life’s designers. Every time we speak or send a text or an email, every time we choose to do...Read more...

Cherish Life & Celebrate the Light

09/28/2023 07:24:30 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

“Shabbat is a state of mind, the togetherness, the conversation, the ritual of the dinner—that’s the centerpiece. People are looking for safe and soft landing spots these days.”

This beautiful reflection on Shabbat was written by best-selling author and chef, and all-around incredible person, Adeena Sussman, in a recent Wall Street Journal Article linked here.

And, ain’t that the truth? So...

G'mar Chatimah Tovah

09/18/2023 08:33:30 AM


Temple Sinai Clergy

As Yom Kippur, the holiest day on our calendar, approaches, we, your clergy team, are filled with humility and gratitude for the privilege of guiding you on this sacred journey of discovery and spiritual renewal. Yom Kippur is a time of deep reflection, introspection, and reconciliation – a day when we turn our hearts towards God and seek forgiveness for our shortcomings.

In the year that has passed since last we assembled for this...Read more...

All of Us Standing Together

09/06/2023 02:31:37 PM


Beth Schafer

This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Nitzavim, is so powerful it is read both on this Shabbat and on Yom Kippur. The scene is dramatic. Moses standing atop Mount Nebo giving his final sermon to the Israelites before they enter the Promised Land without him. He re-affirms the covenant God made with our patriarchs and matriarchs and says “I make this covenant, with its sanctions, not with you alone, but both with those who are standing here...Read more...

What is a Culture of Belonging?

08/30/2023 10:11:03 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

Temple Sinai is engaged in a congregation-wide initiative that invites our entire membership to participate in a deep, and fascinating, exploration of what we are calling our Culture of Belonging (CoB).  Together we are seeking to understand what makes people feel connected to our synagogue community today and how we can evolve to sustain and deepen that connection in the years ahead. 


It...

Looking Ahead By Looking Back

08/23/2023 09:05:05 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Many are familiar with the legend of Rip Van Winkle, who sleeps through a generation of historic changes, falling asleep with the American colonies subject to English rule and waking to discover a free United States of America. Thousands of years earlier, the Talmud offers a similar story. Often called the story of Honi, the Circle Maker, here is his tale:

One day, Honi the Circle Maker, was walking along the road. He saw a man...Read more...

Preserve and Protect Our World

08/16/2023 01:22:48 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

How interesting it is to read Parashat Shoftim, with its emphasis on the establishment of six cities of refuge scattered in the Land of Israel, against the backdrop of the harrowing stories coming out of Maui.

The resonances between the ancient concept found in the Book of Deuteronomy and the contemporary humanitarian crisis stemming from environmental devastation in Maui – wildfires caused in part by drought conditions related to...Read more...

Just Shabbat

08/09/2023 09:18:28 AM


Beth Schafer

Over 20 years ago I was leading Shabbat services in Tallahassee and someone asked the rabbi, “What’s the theme of this week’s Shabbat service?” Rabbi Romberg (who will also be a visiting scholar this month) quipped, “It’s fire prevention Shabbat. We are replacing the kippot with firefighter hats and we'll all be drinking from a hose at the oneg!”

While the quick retort was quite hilarious, the question had really...Read more...

Our Voices

07/31/2023 10:07:57 AM


Beth Schafer

If you’ve sustained an injury, you can relate to how much your day-to-day functioning can be impaired. Whether it be loss of ambulation or an inability to hold or lift things, or just needing assistance to do everyday tasks, it’s so easy to take for granted how we get along because everything is working. This past month I drew the lucky straw and managed to get Covid followed by a wicked sinus infection, and the thing that became injured...Read more...

If Either Side Wins Outright, We All Lose

07/27/2023 08:17:07 AM


Rabbi Natan Trief

As some of you know, last month I took my almost five-year-old, Rafael, to Israel for two weeks. Our time there was magical as we crisscrossed the country seeing friends and visiting some old stomping grounds. These are strange and uncharted times for Israel...Read more...

It's Okay to Be Sad

07/19/2023 01:07:36 PM


Rabbi Sam Trief

The commemoration of Tisha B’av has always struck a chord with me. Something about it has resonated, even though it isn’t prominently commemorated in Reform Jewish life.  

Tisha B’av is traditionally known as the most somber day on the Jewish calendar. On this day, observant Jews recite lamentations, fast and mourn the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem that occurred more than 2,000 years...Read more...


07/12/2023 02:05:37 PM


Beth Schafer

When we meet with B’nei Mitzvah families for their very first orientation appointment, we cover a number of components that make up the B’nei Mitzvah experience. While it is obvious to most that the kids will need to learn how to lead their congregation in prayer and learn to chant and teach a section of Torah, that only represents how we “do Jewish” inside the temple. However, how we “do Jewish” outside the building is...Read more...

For the Sake of Klal Yisrael

07/05/2023 04:32:18 PM


Rabbi Ron Segal

A conversation with family members many years ago concerned their particular Yom Kippur practice of attending services on Yom Kippur morning and then going out to lunch at the local country club. While different terminology was no doubt used, the discussion essentially focused on the concept and value of Klal Yisrael - the greater community of the Jewish people – and how/if our decisions and actions might impact that greater community. In...Read more...

Turning Curses Into Blessings

06/29/2023 09:29:29 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

Many of us are still feeling a deep sense of sadness, fear and rage as we process the overt antisemitism that occurred in our neighborhoods this past week. 

As I was navigating my own emotions about the incidents of antisemitism initiated by the so-called Goyim Defense League, I was encouraged by a recent New York Times article that I stumbled upon titled "Is That 'Hava Nagila' I'm Hearing at the Club?"

“On a...

The Balance of Authority

06/21/2023 10:28:09 AM


Rabbi Natan Trief

I’ve always had a problem with rules. As a kid, I often found myself attempting to convince people in positions of authority to allow me to do something even though it was prohibited for everyone else. Rules seemed stifling and suffocating. Perhaps, then, it is poetic justice that I should become a rabbi, a spiritual leader of a faith that many claim is one of rules and laws. Indeed, we do have a lot of them. 

Yet, contrary to...

The Scourge of Mental Illness

06/20/2023 11:20:56 AM


Rick Shapiro

Nefesh serves our Sinai community by raising awareness around mental health concerns, linking the congregation to resources, and sharing stories of courage and renewed resiliency.  The following was provided by Rick Shapiro who demonstrates courage and determination through his personal journey with depression and we express our gratitude for his willingness to offer his story and his wisdom.  We hope you find it...Read more...

We All Have a Right to Our Place in the World

06/14/2023 01:52:30 PM


Beth Schafer

In November of 1969, the first Pride gathering happened in New York City. Building on the mantra of the black community who coined the term, “black is beautiful,” the LGBT (the abbreviation of the time) community coined the term “gay is good,” and a movement of being publicly proud of one’s sexual and gender identity stepped out onto the streets of America.

A designated month or parade does not fix the problems still with us...Read more...

Happy Second Passover

06/07/2023 11:15:59 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

Chag Sameach! Happy Passover! That caught your attention, didn’t it? What an unusual greeting for the middle of June! However, this week in our Torah Portion, Behaalotecha we learn about a Pesach Sheni, or “Second Passover.”The Torah instructs us that on the first anniversary of the Exodus from Egypt, we are to ritually slaughter the Passover Lamb to commemorate our Exodus from Egypt. However, it is also taught...Read more...

Uniting Words and Actions

05/31/2023 08:51:07 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

I recall sitting with Florence Nathanson, of blessed memory, years ago after a Torah study. Florence was a member of Sinai, a regular at Torah study, and her comments were often among the more thoughtful week after week. And the week that I am recalling was no exception.

I had just finished teaching Torah study on the Priestly Blessing, words that we read in our portion this week. My Torah study had been a comparative study,...Read more...

Torah Revealed: Truth or truth?

05/24/2023 10:26:18 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

The last major holiday of this Jewish calendar year, Shavuot, begins this evening (Thursday) at sundown.  Shavuot celebrates the seminal moment in the history of our people, namely the giving of Torah. Thus, one way we traditionally observe the Festival is by reading the Ten Commandments during our morning service (Friday, 10:00 am).  

However, for all of the ways we affirm the centrality of the 10 Commandments in Jewish...Read more...

Mon, December 11 2023 28 Kislev 5784