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When I Enter and When I Leave

07/09/2020 10:10:15 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

One of the blessings for me during this strange time in world history is the opportunity to participate virtually in diverse, learning opportunities.

During the past two weeks, I was a student in an “Educators Boot Camp,” live from The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

I jumped at the opportunity because I know the passionate teaching that takes place at Pardes. I spent a summer of college there, and have...Read more...

Temple Sinai Education Reopening Update

07/06/2020 12:16:23 PM


Marisa Kaiser, Director of the Center for Learning & Engagement

Dear Parents,

We hope this message finds you doing well and adjusting to this summer reality.

As many schools in our area are announcing their plans for the return to school in August, we wanted to share an update on our reopening plans for all of our education programs (Preschool, Noar Sunday, Noar Hebrew, Madrichim and teen programs) at Temple Sinai. While our physical building currently remains closed, we are planning to...Read more...

The Three C’s

07/01/2020 10:05:16 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

For this week’s Shabbat message, I am sharing words from the clergy report delivered at our most recent Annual Meeting.

Good evening. In a timeless story that is personally compelling, we are told of a synagogue that was built to be the majestic center of a Jewish community. Great care was taken to account for every detail – the design of the Ark, the shape of the Amud, the reading table, the flooring and seating to allow for...Read more...

When the Clocks Stopped

06/25/2020 08:51:46 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

An episode of the URJ podcast Stories We Tell featured a story, told by Rabbi Marc Katz, titled “When the Clocks Stop”.

There was once a town in Eastern Europe where, for some strange reason, all of the clocks stopped working one day. Old, new, wooden, metal, plain, beautiful…it mattered not. At 12:57 pm one day, every clock in town stopped, and people started to panic, wondering what was going...Read more...

Striving for Equality

06/18/2020 08:35:14 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

As we packed up and moved from NYC to Atlanta, there were a number of disagreements between my husband and me about what was going to Goodwill and what was moving along with us.

Our most notable argument was about a giant red banner with an image of Aunt Jemima. “Why do we need this?”, I proclaimed! “It’s a nice memory of my past life.”...said Natan.

Memory of a past life?! I knew that Natan spent time in...Read more...

It’s Always Been About the Breath

06/11/2020 09:26:43 AM


Beth Schafer

The beginning of March. It’s come to our doorstep; a virus that steals the breath. It’s spreading like wildfire. We need to stop what we’re doing to mitigate the spread. Humankind is choking.

Earth Day, April, reports are in. Pauses in production and commuting lead to a major drop in pollution. The earth is taking her first deep breath in a century.

Late May, George Floyd gasps his last breaths under the knee of a...Read more...

Racial Justice at Temple Sinai

06/10/2020 11:04:55 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Many have asked how Temple Sinai is responding to the demonstrations and calls for systemic change that are capturing the hearts and minds of so many in our country. There have been a number of efforts already undertaken. For those interested in opportunities moving forward, (a) see below for opportunities taking place this week, and (b) email Rabbi Brad Levenberg here to be added to the Racial Justice distribution list.

This...

The Story of US

06/08/2020 01:46:15 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Supporting text by William R. Groves, Chancellor, Antioch University

I recall the moment so clearly. I was in my second year here at Sinai and still filled with naivete and the optimism that can only come from inexperience. I was leading Torah study for the congregation and one of my conversion students was in the Saturday morning session. By the way, it starts at 9:00, should any of you wish to join. You can study in your pajamas...Read more...

The Time Has Come to Speak

06/03/2020 03:34:40 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

One week ago, as we concluded Shabbat, many of us were roused by the news that protesters had taken to the streets and that Atlanta was burning. Whether the actions were primarily perpetrated by outside antagonists or whether this was the physical manifestation of anger and frustration and a sense of helplessness, what we saw most certainly captured our attention. And we’ve been attentive ever since.

Like every impactful event, the...

The Big Reveal

05/27/2020 04:58:28 PM


Rabbi Ron Segal

Back, oh so many months ago, when live television shows were far more prevalent, I know that many of us watched with regularity one or more of the reality shows available for mindless entertainment. Anticipating and trying to guess who would get the rose, seeing how interior decorators could transform a house on a limited budget, marveling at the ways personal stylists could dramatically change a person’s appearance, salivating as chefs...Read more...

Counting the Omer, Week 7

05/21/2020 02:22:03 PM


Beth Schafer & The Spirituality Committee

Week 7: Days 43-49: May 21 – May 28
Theme: Hope and Torah

The last seven days of counting bring us to Shavuot, the celebration of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. Torah states in the book of Deuteronomy 7:9, “Know therefore that Adonai your God, is God, the faithful God, who keeps the covenant and mercy with them that love God and keep God’s commandments to a thousand generations.”

This is the hope of Torah-that...

They Can Never Take Our Spirit

05/21/2020 09:00:54 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

“During the Hurricane Harvey recovery, we were visiting with this beautiful older couple who had to be evacuated by boat. The wife was on dialysis, and her husband felt helpless as the house he had helped build flooded. Yet while we were sitting and speaking with them, they were smiling. I asked them how they stayed so positive. She said, ‘That storm can take my house, it can take my car, it can take my furniture and my pictures, but it...Read more...

Counting the Omer, Week 6

05/14/2020 11:08:44 AM


Beth Schafer & The Spirituality Committee

Week 6, Days 36-42: May 13 – May 19
Theme: Hope and Prayer

All prayers can be distilled down to four basic ones. They are: Please, Thank You, Oops, and Wow. In the course of a day, think about how many opportunities you have to offer one of these prayers. Prayer is a plea for God to hear the heart’s yearning. Our prayer lives spring from the natural human instinct to hope-to hope that something outside of our control has...Read more...

Hope in Prayer

05/13/2020 09:00:55 AM


Beth Schafer

If you’ve been able to join us for services, you might remember that I’ve been opening with a nigun I wrote in isolation, titled Resilience Nigun. Nigunim (plural) are the wordless melodies that we sing, as the music that separates what’s going on “out there” (meaning outside the sanctuary) to what’s going on “in here” (inside the sanctuary).

During these times we are exiled from our sanctuary, and are making...Read more...

Reach Out to Someone You Love

05/07/2020 08:19:34 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

I don’t know much about sports. But I know about Bear Bryant.

Bear Bryant was the coach of the University of Alabama football team, one of the most successful football coaches of all time. Many years ago, the Southern Bell Telephone Company came up with a great idea for an ad. Since everyone in the South at the time (and many still do today!) knew Bear Bryant and revered him, they wondered, what if they could get him to do a...Read more...

Counting the Omer, Week 5

05/06/2020 04:31:04 PM


Beth Schafer & The Spirituality Committee

Week 5, Days 29-35: May 6-12
Theme: Hope and Family

“Like the seaweed that clings to each other after each passing boat separates them, so too a family will come together with the passing of each crisis.” ~ Indonesian Proverb

On whom do we lean during difficult times? We can all imagine the people in our inner circle, the ones we call, “family.” Whether it is the family that is related to you, or the family you...Read more...

Counting the Omer, Week 4

04/30/2020 10:07:46 AM


Beth Schafer & The Spirituality Committee

Week 4, Days 22-28: April 30–May 5
Theme: Hope- Body and Soul

Prayer is at the center of Jewish spiritual life, at the core of our spiritual strength, and the fuel for mindfulness that can infuse a moment or an action with a sense of holiness. All these things have provided the Jewish people with one of our most important qualities: Resilience. This week we highlight prayers for you to consider making part of your personal...Read more...

Nourish Your Body and Soul

04/29/2020 04:09:14 PM


Rabbi Sam Trief

Some of you may know that running has been a huge part of my life since I was a little girl.

The New York City Marathon has always been my favorite day of the year. Growing up, I would “help” my dad train for the marathon as I sat in the running stroller and he pushed me back and forth over the Brooklyn Bridge. Many of you have heard the story of my engagement to Natan when he proposed at the end of the Paris Marathon. I even...Read more...

We're Here for You

04/26/2020 10:34:36 AM


Lynn Redd

At the beginning of this month I made a commitment that Temple Sinai would be here for you, helping you weather the challenges presented by our COVID-19 pandemic.  The focus of our clergy, professional staff, and lay leadership for the past six weeks has been on offering support and helping make connections so that we can all emerge from this dark period with deeper, more meaningful relationships than before.

I want to highlight...

Counting the Omer, Week 3

04/24/2020 10:27:45 AM


Beth Schafer & The Spirituality Committee

Week 3 Days 15-21: April 23-29
Theme: Hope, the Omer and Israel

The Omer marks the 50 days the Israelites traveled the desert from Egypt to Sinai. It also marks the wave offering of the Temple on the second day of Passover. What is the Omer and why do we count it? The Omer was an ancient Hebrew measure of grain. Biblical law forbade any use of the new barley crop until an omer was brought as an offering to the Temple in...Read more...

To Mourn And To Celebrate

04/23/2020 08:36:39 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

We are about to enter a powerful week in the Jewish calendar. The upcoming days of Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers) and Yom HaAtsmaut (Israeli Independence Day), are often referred to as the “Israeli High Holy Days.” These two poignant days come together not unlike the dramatic story of Passover we have just told, beginning with the tragedy, and ending with triumph and celebration.

At 8:00 pm, this Monday,...

Counting the Omer, Week 2

04/17/2020 10:22:50 AM


Beth Schafer & The Spirituality Committee

Week 2 Days 8-14: April 16-22
Theme: Hope and Community

"In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.” These words by Marianne Williamson tell us that the work of our community can be in and of itself a source of hope. Sharing moments via Zoom or Facetime, sending care packages, making sure people who need help getting food get it; these...Read more...

The Power of Community

04/15/2020 03:43:06 PM


Beth Schafer

“In awe of the power of community.” That is what my Facebook profile has said for as many years as I have had a profile. It’s true. Having worked in Jewish communal life for over 20 years, I can attest to the power a community has to come together in a time of need and do amazing and beautiful things. I have seen neighbors outside with chainsaws cutting down fallen trees after a hurricane. I have seen friends come together and fix up...Read more...

Counting the Omer, Week 1

04/09/2020 08:19:52 AM


Beth Schafer & The Spirituality Committee

During this time of pandemic, it seems we do a lot of counting; we are acutely aware of the days and weeks we are spending sheltered in place. However, we have an opportunity to turn to our Jewish tradition to transform our counting into a countdown of hope. The period of the Omer runs from Passover through the seven weeks leading up to Shavuout. Passover represents our freedom from slavery, Shavuout celebrates God giving us the Torah at...Read more...

Hope Isn’t Canceled

04/07/2020 12:11:17 PM


Rabbi Ron Segal

A brief story entitled Not By Bread Alone is found in the Haggadah “A Different Night” (Noam Zion and David Dishon). In the spring of 1945, a father and his teenage son shared the hard labor in a Nazi camp. The father suggested a pact between them to save part of what little bread they received. After several days of saving the father reported to his son sheepishly: “I am sorry but I have given away our whole store of bread to a new...Read more...

Though Distance May Separate Us, We Are Never Alone

04/02/2020 10:14:18 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

Throughout the generations, “Jerusalem” has been the central theme of Jewish song and prayer. Most notably, in just a few days, we will read from the Passover Haggadah and sing “B’shanah Habaah, next year in Jerusalem.” As Jews, we live every day with a sense of nostalgia, a sense of yearning for Israel, our holy city, and our sacred sites. Living so far from Israel, our sanctuaries and chapels have become the center of...Read more...

An Update from Temple Sinai President, Lynn Redd

04/01/2020 10:43:29 AM


Lynn Redd

A mere four weeks ago, I never could have imagined that we would be facing such volatile circumstances. 2019 and the first few months of 2020 were an exceptional time for Temple Sinai – we unveiled our beautifully renovated facilities; we doubled commitments for our endowment funds; we offered a robust range of educational services and programming; we expanded our preschool to offer a full-day infant program … our vitality and reach were...Read more...

We Are Being Called

03/25/2020 12:09:30 PM


Beth Schafer

This week begins a new book of Torah, Leviticus, or in Hebrew, Vayikra, meaning “God called out.” God calls to Moses to relay to the people the kinds of sacrifices they should be offering in the Tabernacle. There are five types of offerings mentioned, each of which can have meaning to us in these extraordinary times of pandemic:

Olah – an offering of ascension. Let us rise to meet the needs of family, community and humanity both...Read more...

How to Share Shabbat Virtually with Temple Sinai

03/20/2020 02:54:34 PM


Here's everything you need to know to join us for Shabbat services, Torah study and more.


5:45 pm Tot Shabbat Join Rabbi Ron Segal & Rabbi Sam Trief via livestream for songs, prayers & dancing. Access our...Read more...

In a World that Feels Dark, We Look for the Light

03/19/2020 08:56:37 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

It has been a groundbreaking and monumental week, and not in the way we would have liked. Six days have passed since last Shabbat...that day in which we settled into the idea of what COVID-19 might mean for our Temple Sinai family. And, well, somehow, we survived the week and even braced ourselves for more weeks to come. We have made it here. As each day passed, I found myself thanking God for things that I ordinarily would never even think...Read more...

Mon, July 13 2020 21 Tammuz 5780