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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...

Standing in Two Worlds

08/03/2021 09:09:10 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

It is rather difficult to stand simultaneously in two worlds.

On the one hand, this week found my social media feeds hijacked by – thank goodness – great news: lots and lots of back-to-school pictures. The smiling faces of these young people, some returning to in-person class for the first time since March 2020, are heartening indeed. They are pictures filled with hope, with promise, with excitement, as each of these...Read more...

Inclusivity for ALL

07/28/2021 03:36:07 PM


Rabbi Sam Trief

When I first visited Temple Sinai over 5 years ago, I remember distinctly how comfortable and at-home I felt. It was a feeling that drew me in as soon as I walked through the front doors. 

I now honor this as one of the most inspiring characteristics of the Temple Sinai community, the fact that we strive to make Sinai a welcoming and inclusive place for ALL. It is a fact, however, that we must not take for granted, and must...Read more...

Shabbat of Comfort

07/22/2021 09:30:33 AM


Beth Schafer

This past Sunday Jews around the world observed Tisha B’Av. The ninth day of the month of Av is said to have been the date marking the destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem and is a time of grief and mourning marked by fasting and chanting from the Book of Lamentations. Although many Reform Jews do not observe this day, it is a marker on the calendar worth noting as it sets up the following Shabbat known as Shabbat Nachamu, the...Read more...

Volunteer with Our Kesher Committee

07/13/2021 09:49:48 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

This week we begin a new Book of Torah, the concluding text, the Book of D’varim. D’varim can be translated as “things” and the book is ultimately an extended monologue from Moses about the things he remembers from the journey of the Israelites from slavery to the Promised Land.

The start of this book always compels me to consider the things I remember about my time at Sinai, and each year brings with it new and...Read more...

Making a Point or Making a Difference

07/08/2021 09:54:27 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

A Talmudic verse in Pirkei Avot wisely counsels that one should not try to appease or placate a friend when they are at the height of anger. Fifteen hundred years ago, the sages of our tradition already understood that consuming anger impedes one’s ability to listen to reason and to act rationally. A lesson derived from words in this week’s Torah portion (Matot) in the book of Numbers further reinforces this timeless...Read more...

Don’t Forget to Pause

06/29/2021 10:31:29 AM


Beth Schafer

When we have b’nei mitzvah students who in their rehearsal read too fast, we have a small wooden turtle that one of the clergy quietly places on the amud (table) to communicate to them to slow down. Sometimes I’ll suggest to them to read as if they were reading a story to a 4-year-old. As we know, b’nei mitzvah kids are not the only ones who rush. We are all guilty of it.

In a never-ending conversation I seem to be...

A Night of Awareness

06/23/2021 09:55:14 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

As we enter these long summer days, my mind drifts to one of the most common Jewish teachings: it is not incumbent upon you to finish the work, but nor are you free to desist from it. 

With our normal routines somewhat scattered, and as we enter into summer mode, perhaps we find ourselves a little more disconnected than usual. 

And while this summer recharging represents a...

Anger: the Greatest Impediment

06/16/2021 09:32:11 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

While seated in the serene and beautiful setting of our Cooper Chapel earlier this week, a few of us were discussing personal spiritual life, noting various feelings, motions, and states of mind which effectively impede one’s spiritual health and wellbeing.  Sentiments such as distraction, impatience, discomfort, insecurity, being judgmental, and others were readily shared, including what, for me, is the most powerful spiritual block...Read more...

We Are Just Getting Started

06/10/2021 08:38:32 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

What a difference a week makes!

Just one week ago, when our Shabbat to Shabbat was reaching your inbox, we formally dedicated our Lonnie Cooper Outdoor Chapel. A structure that is visually stunning and wonderfully inspiring, the moment of its dedication was accented by the setting of the sun…which made the space appear and feel even more incredible. It is exciting indeed to imagine what will happen in that space, at that place –...Read more...

Response to Rise in Anti-Semitism

06/09/2021 11:28:02 AM


Rabbis Segal, Levenberg and Trief

We have received communications from the congregation in regards to our response to the continued rise in anti-Semitism. The links below include our sermon from May 28 that addresses our thoughts on these attacks, as well as a few resources that we think will be helpful, especially our Q&A session with Eric Ross and Steve Pepper of the ADL.

• Click here to watch the sermon from...

Happy Pride

06/02/2021 11:39:24 AM


Beth Schafer

A few weeks ago we read from the Book of Leviticus “v’ahavta l’reiacha kamocha,” or, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Akiva and countless others believed it to be one of the most important understandings of Jewish life.

There are two statements contained in these words of Torah. The first, you must love yourself. There is no pathway to loving another until you can love the person you are. We are so...Read more...

The Power of Words

05/27/2021 09:14:03 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

This past week, as antisemitism has reached a near fever pitch, I have found myself thinking a lot about stereotypes, biases, and labels. As criticism of Israel rapidly descends into criticism of the Jewish People, we have seen age-old stereotypes of hatred and ignorance simmer above the surface. This week, as we contemplate this scary and yet all-too-familiar wilderness, we also find ourselves deep in a different wilderness, in the...Read more...

Temple Sinai Updated Reopening Plan

05/27/2021 08:00:34 AM


Lynn Redd, Adam Mayer, Rabbi Ron Segal & Jack Feldman

Two weeks after communicating Temple Sinai’s revised COVID protocols at the end of April, the CDC dramatically changed their COVID guidelines, warranting a complete overhaul of our own policies and procedures. The Temple Sinai Covid Task Force, in consultation with Sinai’s Physician Advisory Panel, is thus pleased to share the following reopening update and plans effective June 1. 

Vaccination Status, Social...

Q&A With Danielle Cohen

05/26/2021 09:35:33 AM


Danielle Cohen

Meet HUB member, Danielle Cohen! Danielle loves our HUB teen community, and leads a monthly "Talking and thinking about God" circle for our teens.

Why did you decide to lead the Teen God Circle?

I decided to...

Challenges and Blessings

05/20/2021 09:06:45 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

It has been a rather challenging week to say the least. Many of us have expressed growing concerns related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Still others have been inundated with concerns related to acceptance and trust of the new CDC guidelines. Still others have experienced illness as some non-Covid virus passes through our communities, rendering people ill physically. To say nothing of the surgeries and passings that have touched our...Read more...

Bless the State of Israel

05/13/2021 08:19:24 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

Once again, as conflict erupts in the Middle East, we find ourselves in this all-too-familiar cycle of sadness, fear, and uncertainty as we see the surreal images and read about our beloved Israel in the media. As Israel has entered its latest round of violence with Hamas, as rockets rain down on Israeli civilians, we hear soundbites from politicians and leaders around the world. They demand an...Read more...

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...

Thu, October 28 2021 22 Cheshvan 5782