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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...

Two are Better than One

04/20/2022 09:19:31 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

"Two are better than one, for the reward is greater when they are together. For if they should fall, one can lift up the other; truly sad is the one who falls with no companion there to lift them up!"— Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Sometimes, life offers us special opportunities to make sacred connections with fellow human beings. You meet someone—at school, at temple, at work, through a mutual acquaintance, by...Read more...

Neither Enslaved Nor Free

04/13/2022 09:26:38 AM


Temple Sinai Clergy

We spend time during our Seders reflecting upon the years the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, attempting to empathize with the plight of our ancestors, after which we savor the taste of freedom on the other side of the sea. While surely appropriate to linger in these defining moments, for the crux of our historical narrative is one that moves from bondage to redemption, it seems we often disregard the actual moments of transition. What...Read more...

I Want to Make a Difference, But How?

04/07/2022 09:27:22 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

If you have entertained the thought, “I want to make a difference in our community,” but are unsure how best to make a significant and meaningful impact, I encourage you to read on.

Founded in 1987 by local churches and synagogues, including Temple Sinai, the Community Assistance Center (CAC) provides critical support for thousands of Sandy Springs and Dunwoody residents each year.  The CAC provides basic needs assistance for...Read more...

An Exodus Unfolding Before Our Eyes

04/07/2022 09:21:25 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

Without doubt, the number of movies and TV shows I have seen through the years has been limited by a personal aversion to heightened suspense (usually exacerbated by accompanying music), as well as a distaste for gore and gratuitous violence.  Thus, as the horrific images revealing the torture, mass killings, and criminal acts perpetrated against Ukrainian citizens in the Kiev suburb of Bucha were broadcast in this week’s news, I –...Read more...

Reconnecting with Our Homeland

03/31/2022 08:44:36 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

From Shabbat to Shabbat. This is what we call our weekly Sinai email message. 

In it, we reflect upon the week that has passed, the events we have hosted, the experiences we have had. We turn our eyes toward words of Torah as we prepare for the upcoming Shabbat, the holiest day on our calendar. It is the day of peace and it comes every week, even when peace seems far from our hearts. 

Of course, the war continues to...

Gender Identity - Room for More than Either/Or

03/22/2022 12:56:41 PM


Beth Schafer

Growing up, I never heard the phrase, “gender identity.” We were all assigned a physical sex at birth (and accompanying identity) based on our physiology and that was that. Those who somehow felt that their body did not reflect their understanding of themselves were left to be in a state of quiet conflict with no ways to express an alternate gender identity other than what was assigned at birth, without feeling “other”.

The...

Fueling Our Spiritual Fires

03/16/2022 12:31:00 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

In this week’s Torah portion, Tzav, we read that the fire must be kept burning on the sacrificial altar. “The fire will burn forever upon the altar; it will never be put out.” (Leviticus 6:6) 

Having spent a significant amount of time around fire pits since 2020, I’ve learned that fires require continuous care. Wood must often be added to fuel the fire. Logs must frequently be rearranged in order to keep the...Read more...


03/10/2022 09:02:35 AM


Beth Schafer

Maybe it is burrowed deep within my Jewish DNA, the propensity to wander. As the Israelites made their way from Egypt to the Promised Land they spent two generations’ worth of time wandering the desert. Certainly, the physical journey would not really take forty years, but this was not a physical journey. The journey across the desert was a spiritual one-one of forging an identity as well as a relationship with God. It was also one which...Read more...

New Streaming Platform

03/07/2022 09:12:17 AM


Shelly Dresdner

We are excited to announce the launch of a new streaming platform, Vimeo Live, for virtual participants to experience Temple Sinai’s worship and lifecycle services.  This upgrade, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees, will allow us to continue improving the quality of all worshipper’s experiences. After extensive dialogue with members, we identified this platform, and key features, to ensure that we continue...Read more...

Support for Ukraine

03/03/2022 09:07:30 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

As the tenor of the reports from Ukraine grows in severity almost by the hour, so, too, grows the yearning and heartfelt desire of countless among us to want to do something, anything, to assist the people of Ukraine during this existential crisis. Putin’s aggression, the killing of Ukrainian civilians, the bombing of the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial, the flight of over one million Ukrainian citizens… the number of tragic headlines and...Read more...

New Mask Policy

02/28/2022 09:16:51 AM


Adam Mayer, Rabbi Ron Segal and Jack Feldman

In March, 2020, our congregation first implemented policies and protocols designed to safeguard our community against what we had hoped would be the short-term impact of Covid-19. Nearly 2 years later, we find ourselves moving from pandemic to endemic.
A large percentage of our community has become fully vaccinated and boosted (mitigating against the effects of Covid) and our understanding of Covid and its variants has evolved,...Read more...

We Are All Part of a Whole

02/24/2022 08:47:40 AM


Beth Schafer

This week marks Shabbat Shekalim, the first of 4 Shabbatot leading up to Passover that has a special name and theme. It gets its name from this week’s Torah portion that is read in preparation for Purim, requesting each adult male Jew contribute half of a Biblical shekel for the upkeep of the Tent of Meeting. The half-shekel is an interesting and curious amount. Each half would require someone else’s half to make a whole. In addition to...Read more...

Celebrate Jewish Disabilities Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month

02/17/2022 08:20:44 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

February is my favorite month of the year for many reasons. Yes, I am partial to Valentine’s Day chocolates, and yes, February is my birthday month. And yes, who doesn’t love watching AJFF films?! However, I also love February because it marks something about which I am very passionate - Jewish Disabilities Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month (JDAIM).

In the Book of Isaiah, we are taught: "For my house...Read more...

Ancient Rituals, Current Actions

02/10/2022 08:00:53 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

“You shall all be for Me a kingdom of priests (kohanim) and a treasured people” (Exodus 19:6).  In his excellent sermon this past Shabbat evening, Rabbi Levenberg concluded with the final words of this verse (watch the sermon here at 1:03:55 mark).  It is to the first part of the verse, “You shall be a kingdom of priests,” that I turn our attention in this message.

A question: Other than the fact they are...

The Gift of Judaism

02/03/2022 11:50:19 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

As this week’s Torah reading covers Parashat Terumah, translated as “gifts” and referencing the gifts that the Israelites were to bring for the construction of their tabernacle, I found myself particularly compelled by the image offered by Rabbi Aaron Panken, of blessed memory:

“Imagine the image. You go up into your attic and you find a fantastically wrapped, absolutely beautiful, unbelievably...Read more...

COVID Policies Update

02/03/2022 11:15:57 AM


Jack Feldman, Rabbi Ron Segal and Adam Mayer

As we endeavor to strengthen our community amidst the ever-changing pandemic landscape, we are pleased to share the latest update in our COVID safety protocols. Beginning this Friday with our Kabbalat Panim (pre-service reception) at 5:45 pm, Temple Sinai will once again allow food and beverages, both indoors and outdoors, at future congregational programs and services. Please note, however, that while we desire to foster increased...Read more...

Reproductive Freedom is a Jewish Value

01/26/2022 02:51:35 PM


Beth Schafer

This week we are centering our Shabbat around the topic of Reproductive Freedom. Repro Shabbat is an opportunity for us to highlight the critical importance of reproductive health access, reproductive rights, and reproductive justice, and to learn more about Judaism’s approach to these issues.

Along with over 700 institutions, congregations this week are centering their messages, sermons and music around this very important and...Read more...

When All We Have is Hope

01/18/2022 11:59:11 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Like many, I was experiencing a rather challenging competition for my attention this past weekend. Going into Martin Luther King weekend, I was reflecting upon the legacy of the civil rights movement, the legacy bequeathed to us today. The work continues to build a society that is more just, more equitable, and where are all celebrated for the beauty and complexity of our narratives, our histories, our cultures, and our beliefs. The message...Read more...

The Exodus and the Dawgs!

01/13/2022 09:13:50 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

My son Ben forwarded a tweet to me this week: “Moses wandered the desert for a shorter time than Dawg fans waited for a natty. Wow.” 

For UGA alumni and Georgia Bulldog fans everywhere, Monday’s long-awaited national championship has been a source of understandable jubilation.  The last time UGA ended its season atop the college football mountain was in 1980 and the enormous, shared sense of relief and release...Read more...

Exciting Clergy Announcement

01/12/2022 11:46:15 AM


Adam Mayer and Rabbi Ron Segal

“Appoint for yourself a teacher, and you will acquire a friend.”  
(Pirkei Avot 1:6)

Upon the recommendation of Temple Sinai’s Professional Relations Committee*, we are pleased and proud to share that the Board of Trustees has unanimously endorsed the promotion of Rabbi Brad Levenberg to the position of Senior Rabbi.  In accordance with Temple Sinai’s Bylaws, a congregational vote to...Read more...

Sat, December 10 2022 16 Kislev 5783