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Be Soft Like a Reed, Not Hard Like a Cedar

01/26/2023 10:24:30 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

At a Birthright Israel breakfast I attended this week, renowned author, political columnist and ardent Zionist, Gil Troy, who also serves as chair of Birthright Israel’s Education Committee, was the featured guest. Among the topics he discussed, Troy, a resident of Israel, noted that despite the present turmoil and demonstrations concerning the controversial changes proposed by Israel’s new right-wing coalition, Israelis are - when...Read more...

The Worst Thing to Do is to Do Nothing

01/19/2023 08:22:50 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

Unfortunately, the hateful virus of antisemitism has been the topic of many recent conversations.  As these conversations come up in the news, or in our lives, we can be at a loss for words. We might feel uncomfortable or scared or triggered. Despite all the years of antisemitism, at times we still do not know what is the “right” way to respond.

In this week's parasha Va’era, we read of the Egyptians who watched as the...Read more...

Meet Wynne Award Winner, Harry Kitey

01/17/2023 09:31:15 AM


Harry Kitey

These last few weeks have been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I left the country for the first time and what made it even more special was the fact that I was in Israel. I got to tour the whole...Read more...

The Music of Freedom

01/11/2023 02:50:32 PM


Beth Schafer

The very first choir I sang in was a children’s choir at Taylor Mills Elementary School in Englishtown, New Jersey. It was 1976, and I was in the second grade. We were singing a myriad of patriotic songs to celebrate our nation’s bicentennial year. (I still sing "Grand Old Flag" to my children on Flag Day as an homage to my 2nd grade music teacher). However, amid all of the fun and celebratory songs, we sang a song called “Abraham,...Read more...

Honoring Excellence

01/05/2023 07:25:50 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

“God does not ask us to do extraordinary things. God asks us to do ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

This quote, slightly tweaked by Rabbi Sidney Greenberg, offers each of us an inspiring charge as we begin 2023, to enter this new calendar year with a determination to be our best, kindest, and most compassionate selves throughout the year ahead, to face each day committed to accomplishing whatever tasks lay before us with...Read more...

Hope is NOT Overrated

12/27/2022 09:43:29 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

I recently overheard a parent say to her child the following phrase, “Hope is overrated.”

Before I get to my response, let me set the stage. My family and I took a few days and headed to Florida for a Disney vacation. We skipped the parks, instead checking out the resorts. We found that resort hopping during the holiday break is, well, not a unique activity. In fact, we were joined by an exceptionally large group of people, making...Read more...

The Gifts that Do Not Fit in Boxes

12/21/2022 10:55:18 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

I find it ironic that mainstream American culture often has us wish people peace and joy during this holiday season. But for me, these weeks leading up to Chanukah and New Year's are anything but peaceful. 

I’ve spent a great deal of time running around purchasing gifts; white elephant gifts, adopt-a-family gifts, teacher gifts, gifts for the kids, for the mailman and more and more. The sheer quantity quickly...Read more...

Light in the Dark

12/13/2022 11:49:10 AM


Beth Schafer

One year ago, my children lost their father unexpectedly to a heart attack. As with any death, especially the ones that shock us, they/we experienced a lot of chaos and disruption as we made plans to head down to Florida for his funeral.

After the meetings with funeral home and cemetery, we made our way back to our hotel. It was Chanukah and we had brought a Chanukiah with us to light while we were away. Sarah, Hannah, Hannah’s...Read more...

Embracing Positive Jewish Moments

12/05/2022 11:44:15 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

I recently had the opportunity to lead our regular Friday morning Temple Sinai Preschool Shabbat experience. And while this is an element of leadership shared in rotation between the clergy team, I very much liked the session last week. As the weather had dipped just cool enough to prevent us from going outside, the Shabbat experience was held in the sanctuary. And as Chanukah is quickly approaching, I chose to do The Dreidel Song with the...Read more...

Jacob's Ladder & Acts of Tzedakah

11/30/2022 07:51:43 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

”Jacob had a dream in which a stairway (ladder) was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of God were going up and down on it.” (Gen 28:10).

It is likely many of us have encountered depictions of this verse in this week’s Torah portion at some point in time. Various prose and poetic interpretations as well as artistic paintings, drawings, and sculptures have all contributed to our mental pictures of what...Read more...

Important Announcement Regarding Saturday Worship

11/14/2022 11:22:12 AM


Michelle Young & Clergy

“To everything there is a season, a time for every experience beneath the heavens…
A time to plant, and a time to uproot what has been planted…”  (Ecclesiastes 3)

More than two decades ago, in order to provide a worship opportunity for congregants which was distinct from the service at which students celebrate becoming B’nei Mitzvah, Temple Sinai added a second Shabbat morning service to...Read more...

A Whole-Hearted Thank You from Rabbi Brad Levenberg

11/08/2022 01:44:25 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

How grateful and how appreciative am I that so many of you came out to celebrate both our strength as a synagogue and my installation as one of your Senior Rabbis. It has also been so heartening to hear from many of you who could not attend in person – some watching online and some just sending congratulatory notes via text and email. Your words have been very well received.

As I reflect upon this past Friday night, I have concluded...Read more...

The Return of Netanyahu, the Magician

11/03/2022 08:34:28 AM


Rabbi Natan Trief

A Yiddish word that has very much entered the Hebrew lexicon and modern Israel. It is a word that the Hebrew press has used continuously in the past few election cycles to characterize the various political parties running gevalt campaigns! The sky is falling…Get out and vote or this party will not pass the electoral threshold and you’ll be stuck with a radical, left-wing government! Jerusalem is burning…Get out...Read more...

Meet Our New Congregational Engagement Managers!

11/03/2022 08:26:59 AM


Hi! I'm Avery Lyla Friedman, a proud Marylander who never imagined working in the Jewish community. Growing up I did everything possible to avoid temple and organized Jewish life, but a few years into college I realized how important and impactful the Jewish...Read more...

Solemn Anniversaries

10/27/2022 08:57:31 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Anniversaries can be joyous and they can be solemn. While wedding anniversaries, anniversaries of employment when one has found a job that one loves, and anniversaries of significant and joyous events in life are cause for celebration, we know that there are also anniversaries which are cause for commemoration. And today marks one such anniversary, for it was on October 27, 2018, that Robert Gregory Bowers moved from making hate-filled,...Read more...

Let in the Divine Spark

10/20/2022 09:37:50 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

I recently watched a video about a young curious woman eager to learn the secrets of creation and the universe. 

While in her room one night, surrounded by mementos of her heroes, she stares up at the stars and wonders: How did it all start? 

While we might not have all the answers to these foundational questions, this week's Torah portion Bereshit gives us a point from which to begin. 

In our...

Books of Torah as Chapters of our Lives

10/13/2022 07:55:22 AM


Beth Schafer

We are just a few days away from Simchat Torah, when we end and begin our annual cycle of reading Torah. At the end of Deuteronomy, we find Moses atop Mt. Nebo where he will send his beloved people into the Promised Land with blessing before dying. The scene ends and we plunge into darkness and experience the story of Creation once again.

This leap from physical heights to spiritual depths got me thinking about how each book of Torah,...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...

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...

Fri, January 27 2023 5 Sh'vat 5783