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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...

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...

Wed, July 28 2021 19 Av 5781