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Simple Steps for Going Green

07/25/2022 09:54:48 AM


Environmental Awareness & Action Conversation Committee

Do you want to live a “greener” life, but don’t know where to start? Check this spot every week for a new “green tip.”

TIP 1: Adjust your thermostat to fight climate change. Reducing your energy usage will help combat global...Read more...

The Questions that Lead to More Sacred Living

10/04/2022 01:53:27 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

This past Shabbat – Shabbat Shuvah, the Shabbat between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur – I was privileged to take many of our high school seniors to New York for a weekend of bonding and learning. We took in several of the important sights – Ellis Island, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the World Trade Center Museum and Memorial, to name a few. And we ate the iconic foods – Chinese food in Chinatown, pasta in Little Italy, street...Read more...

Moments of Awe

09/28/2022 03:35:31 PM


Beth Schafer

Rabbi Arthur Green wrote about the nature of religious experience in terms of awe, in his book, Seek My Face. He wrote, “[Religious Experience] is as varied as the number of individual humans that there are in the world, and potentially as multiple as there are moments in each of those human lives. In the midst of life, perhaps in a moment of confrontation with birth or death, in seeing great beauties of nature, in love and...Read more...

It is Never Too Late

09/22/2022 10:05:13 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

“I cannot believe Rosh HaShanah is here again!” I've been repeating this sentiment over and over this past week. And although we are grateful to have made it through the ups and downs of another year, the holidays always seem to come out of nowhere. They remind us that there is much healing to be done in our personal lives, as a synagogue community and in the world at large.

Capitalizing on this sentiment, Rabbi Alan Lew...

Engaging in Hard Conversations

09/14/2022 08:11:18 AM


Beth Schafer

Last weekend I participated in an interfaith day of learning at Queens University in Charlotte, NC. The gathering was inspired by Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”), the 1965 Papal decree that sought to change the Roman Catholic Church’s relationship with the Jewish people, by stating that the Jewish people were not guilty of deicide (the killing of Jesus). In the aftermath of the Holocaust, the Church began to own its part in...Read more...

A Wish and a Prayer

09/06/2022 08:48:02 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Having entered the month of Elul, the Hebrew month that precedes our High Holy Days, it would be wise to keep in mind the custom of approaching these days with intentionality and reflection. Anew this month I began to explore the difference between a wish and a prayer. And, as this is Elul, a thought began to emerge.

In the end, what separates a wish from a prayer is the point to which it is directed. After all, wishes are magic and...Read more...


09/01/2022 08:35:56 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

Rabbi Nicole Auerbach writes, “There are [certain moments] in which it is possible to feel fear and reverence and awe in one single, combined inner experience.” Imagine standing on the very edge of an immense canyon and looking down into the vast expanse, while also appreciating the magnificent colors and rock striations, and also considering a time hundreds of thousands of years prior when the river on the canyon floor first began to...Read more...

The Common Sense of Judaism

08/25/2022 08:17:58 AM


Beth Schafer

In this week’s parashah, Re’eh, we encounter the words, “See, I set before you this day blessing and curse…” We are offered blessings in exchange for obeying the commandments and curses if we do not. Interesting that the parashah gets its name from its first word, “See.” This is not unlike another verse of Torah, which also happens to be the defining prayer of Judaism, the Sh’ma. Sh’ma reads, “Hear, O Israel, Adonai is our...Read more...

L’shem Shamayim

08/18/2022 09:37:29 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

I have a small confession to make…

I am conflict-avoidant. Conflict makes me profoundly uncomfortable. In fact, if you say something that upsets me, you will rarely know it. I may talk about it ad nauseam with friends and family, but it is rare that I will actually confront the person with whom I am upset.

It seems I already know what I need to work on this year as the High Holidays roll around ;)

In all...

Six Words That Say It All

08/08/2022 11:37:07 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

It is one of my favorite tidbits. Ernest Hemingway, challenged to write a story in only six words, composed this most heartbreaking tale: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Larry Smith, founder of SMITH Magazine, came across this tidbit and challenged his network to describe their lives in exactly six words, calling them Six-Word Memoirs. What began modestly in 2006 has turned into a massive industry, with multiple books...Read more...

Reframing What Isn’t Working

08/04/2022 08:27:46 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

The mental picture is one I will never forget. It was at the beginning of my first year of rabbinical school in Jerusalem and several of my classmates and I decided to go to the Kotel (Western Wall) in observance of Tisha b’Av, a historical day of fasting which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem two millennia ago (and longer). We were truly unprepared, though, for the scene that greeted us: a throng in...Read more...

Music to My Ears

08/03/2022 09:44:45 AM


Fine Arts Committee

Music to My Ears, installed in the Lehrman Garden, is the title of the beautiful sculpture generously gifted to Temple Sinai by long-time congregants Andrea and Dr. Steve Steinman.

Steve, with advanced art degrees, has exhibited his sculpture...

Lending a Helping Hand

07/28/2022 10:51:06 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

To me, summertime has always been about journeys. Trips to camp, the mountains and the beach. Pilgrimages to Israel and meet-ups with friends and family members. So, it is fitting that we always read Parashat Matot-Masei in the midst of the summer months. Matot- Masei recounts in great detail the forty years of Israelite journeys through the desert.

Over the past few weeks, like many of you , I have taken a few trips.  Last...Read more...

Temple Sinai Staff Update

07/21/2022 01:48:16 PM


Shelly Dresdner & Jack Feldman

We are writing to update you about a significant staff transition that is presently taking place. Samantha Berinsky, our Senior Manager of Congregational and Community Management, has announced her departure effective August 9th in order to join Repair the World as the Atlanta City Director. We are delighted that Samantha will continue to serve as a Jewish professional for this rather impressive organization.

At the urging of Rabbi...

The Importance of Community

07/20/2022 03:22:39 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Like so many of you, I was shaken and appalled by two incidents impacting our community this week. The first was the distribution of a flyer to homes in certain neighborhoods in Sandy Springs. The flyer, created by The Goyim Defense League, was filled with horrible comments about Jews and was designed to have the most jarring impact. The ADL’s Center on Extremism is monitoring the GDL, though I don’t imagine that knowledge impacts the...Read more...

Blessings and Curses

07/14/2022 10:24:45 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

Each evening, as we are driving home from Temple Sinai I ask Rafi,  “What is your rose?” and “What is your thorn?” Roses and thorns, the more child-appropriate way of saying blessings and curses. 

As I ask Rafi these questions, I too ask myself, “What is my rose and what is my thorn?” I try to take a mental inventory of some of the most poignant images, both good and bad. This week, it was easy to...Read more...

Amazon Smile Instructions

07/12/2022 10:07:28 AM


Shop on the Amazon Smile page online or in the app and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Temple Sinai at no cost to you!

1. Visit
2. Sign in with your credentials
3. Type “Temple Sinai Atlanta” in...

Sacred and Science

07/07/2022 10:28:18 AM


Beth Schafer

We spent July Fourth Weekend on Cape Cod visiting friends who summer there each year. We were in Woods Hole which is the home to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, one of the premier marine biology centers in the nation that draws hundreds of students there each summer to study. One of the most endearing things that happens there is the July 4th parade. It is not your typical Americana-type parade, it is a Science Parade where all of the...Read more...

From "Baby Rabbi" to Senior Rabbi

06/30/2022 09:45:34 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Thank you, Adam and to the members of the PRC, for proposing this elevation and meeting and discussing and taking so many extra steps to make this historic vote a part of our congregation’s reality. I must fully and candidly admit that I did not imagine my rabbinic trajectory would unfold in this manner. After all, my rabbinic mentors and models, and I have had many since my formative years as a child in Cincinnati, had little in common...Read more...

Experiencing Pride

06/22/2022 09:36:55 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

During a meeting last week, a NY-based rabbinic colleague shared the following story. She and her wife took their ten-year old nephew to see the recently released Top Gun movie.  As he had not seen the first Top Gun, my colleague told her nephew a bit about the two main characters in the original, “Maverick” and “Goose,” explaining that they were best friends but that Goose sadly died at the end of movie (sorry if that’s a...Read more...

Life is Short: A Reminder 

06/14/2022 01:18:58 PM


Rabbi Sam Trief

This morning as I opened Instagram, I learned that Jodi, a woman I had once known, passed away at the age of 62. I was not even aware that she was sick. It had been 20 years since we had last spoken, and yet the news still stopped me in my tracks. In the flash of an instant, in the casual motion of scrolling up or down each morning, we can face such surprise and such sadness.  

As we walk through our days, we spend so much...Read more...

Listen To Your Children

06/07/2022 12:37:11 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

There are times when the choices of others challenge us to live our values. I had one such experience when, in January of 2021, my wife, Rebecca, and I had a sit-down conversation with our son, Evan, about his Bar Mitzvah ceremony which would take place in 2022. Evan, who we know is rather shy and reserved, abhors being the center of attention while at the same time relishes his Judaism and the rituals of Jewish living. Rebecca and I crafted...Read more...

Torah as Teacher

06/02/2022 10:44:33 AM


Beth Schafer

As the school year has wrapped up for most and the end-of-year and grad pics are popping up, I find myself reflecting on my teachers. When I think of my best teachers, they were the ones who made me fall in love with a subject and encouraged me to do deeper dives and sharpen or broaden my understanding. While my music teachers were certainly at the top of the list, I also recall with great fondness English and history teachers as well as...Read more...

Prayer Does Not Absolve Us From Action

05/25/2022 03:07:45 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Buffalo. The Taiwanese Church in California. And, because these things come in threes, Texas. Earlier this week our newsfeeds were filled again with reports of a(nother) school shooting, this time in Texas. And, once again, broken-hearted, we allowed our tears to flow and our rage to boil.

We know that 19 children who were days away from finishing 4th grade now lay dead, as do two adults, in the latest mass shooting. ...Read more...

A Tender Prayer

05/24/2022 09:23:06 PM


Once again we find ourselves shocked and shattered by a tragic school shooting. The heartbreak, the tears, and the unimaginable violence scar us anew. In our anguish we all search for any words possible that might provide solace or shelter from this violent storm which seemingly has no end. Though no poet can erase the pain or despair so many are feeling, may words from this tender prayer offer a small measure of comfort:

“El Makor...

Help Our Ukrainian Refugee Family

05/23/2022 10:23:04 AM


Janie Fishman & Leslie Walden

“The strangers who reside with you shall be to you as your citizens; you shall love each one as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”-Leviticus 19:34

Now is the opportunity for us as Temple Sinai to fulfill this mitzvah. Temple Sinai has been assigned to help settle a Refugee Ukrainian family. This project is supported by Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and...Read more...

Explaining Our Concerns

05/19/2022 08:43:38 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

In our Shabbat to Shabbat clergy column two weeks ago, we expressed our profound concern about the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade and the elimination of a woman’s access to abortion that would likely follow, and we invited congregants to attend a rally in support of reproductive freedom.  In the days since that post, we have spoken with individuals in our congregation who, for varying reasons, were dissatisfied with the message...Read more...

Ukranian Emergency Relief Funds

05/16/2022 12:07:03 PM


There are two ways below to contribute to Ukrainian humanitarian aid.  One goes directly through Father Bo’s St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the other through the American Jewish Committee (AJC) which continues to support Jews and non-Jews in the war effort.  

American Jewish Committee (AJC)'s Emergency #StandWithUkraine Fund

American Jewish Committee (AJC) has launched an emergency fund to provide...Read more...

Different is Strength

05/12/2022 08:13:05 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

At the urging of our beloved Preschool Director, Miss Jamah, I submitted our daughter Maayan to the Gerber Baby Competition. Yes, like many (most!) others out there, I think my kids are pretty cute.

I personally could not think of a more exciting role for my daughter: to work with Gerber to taste-test baby food products before they are released to the market.

While admittedly, a bit self-indulgent, I really thought Maayan had...Read more...

Ready to Receive

05/03/2022 12:45:15 PM


Beth Schafer

Since being a recent newlywed (and someone who was divorced), I have found myself asking friends who have been married for over 25 years what has contributed to their long, healthy marriages. While some of the answers were cute and maybe a little glib (i.e. “always say, ‘yes dear,’" or “have separate bathrooms”), one answer stood out as the best ingredient to a successful marriage. My friend said, “Do the work on yourself to be...Read more...

Mazel Tov to Rabbis Kranz & Segal

04/27/2022 10:00:30 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg, Rabbi Sam Trief and Beth Schafer

Oh what a night!

How wonderful it was to be able to celebrate the rabbinates of our friends, teachers, and Senior Rabbis Phil Kranz and Ron Segal. Throughout the evening of honor, time and again we heard the refrain relating how lucky we are as a community that we have been and continue to be shaped by their vision, dedication, and friendship. As was shared, Rabbi Segal strives to follow the model set by Rabbi Kranz as he continues to...Read more...

Wed, October 5 2022 10 Tishrei 5783