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Judaism at Home or Wherever You Find Yourself

07/31/2019 12:29:17 PM

Jul31

Beth Schafer

In my previous congregation, we shared a space with a church for worship. What that meant on a week-to-week basis was that my family had to leave home very early to help “unpack the temple” and set up our shared space. My children from very young ages equated setting up chairs, projection and sound as their Shabbat ritual. One of the challenges that it posed to our family was that we couldn’t have Shabbat dinner at home, and most of the...Read more...

Shabbat “UNPLUGGED”

07/25/2019 09:44:18 AM

Jul25

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

“The most profound change came when I turned off the TV. That suddenly transformed the whole Shabbat experience. It wasn’t about the electricity; it had more to do with the noise, the intrusion of the mundane into the sacred.” 
 
“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”
“No soup for you!”
“How you doin’?”
“To the moon, Alice!”
“Say goodnight, Gracie!”

Surely at least one...Read more...

Welcoming the Stranger

07/18/2019 08:45:27 AM

Jul18

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

“Balak, son of Zippur, saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. Moab was alarmed because that people was so numerous. Moab dreaded the Israelites, and Moab said to the elders of Midian, 'Now this horde will lick clean all that is about us as an ox licks up the grass of the field.'" (Numbers 22:12-4).
 
Every morning I check the news on USA Today, I scroll through Facebook, and I listen to NPR. Every evening I...Read more...

The Seventh Day Stretch

07/11/2019 11:29:22 AM

Jul11

Beth Schafer

A few weeks ago, some friends and I went to a Braves game. None of us are particularly huge baseball fanatics, but we thought it would be fun summer thing to do together. Needless to say, there was a lot of kibitzing going on throughout the game. Our attention vacillated between the field and each other. The uninvited guests of the evening were the heat and humidity which was even by Atlanta standards pretty gross. This prompted my friends to...Read more...

Sacred Bridges and Unions

07/03/2019 11:34:02 AM

Jul3

Rabbi Sam Trief

A momentous lifecycle event rapidly approaches for my family—my sister is getting married this Sunday. Surprisingly, I find myself more emotional than I thought I would be. 

My sister and I were always very different, we played different sports, had different friends, and went to different sleepaway camps. It feels like yesterday that I was dressing her up in a kippah and tallit, while we played “Temple” in our shared...Read more...

Becoming a Part of Israel

06/25/2019 08:50:51 AM

Jun25

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Just two weeks ago, I was sitting in a synagogue in the suburbs of Jerusalem, Kol Haneshama, introducing our Temple Sinai community to this incredible Reform congregation in Israel. I was able to enjoy the service, whose melodies have been among the favorites that we use in our services here in Atlanta, and it was wonderful to have returned once again to my “home away from home” congregation. 
 
Amidst the prayers, the...Read more...

People Are the Source of Light

06/19/2019 08:56:38 AM

Jun19

Rabbi Ron Segal

An oft-repeated story tells of a mountain village in Europe, several centuries ago, in which there was a Jewish nobleman who wondered what meaningful legacy he could leave for the townspeople. After much thought he decided to build a synagogue. No one saw the plans for the building until it was finished. When the people came for the first time they marveled at its beauty – the majestic high ceilings, the intricate carved wood throughout the...Read more...

Treasure Each Day

06/13/2019 12:19:40 PM

Jun13

Rabbi Sam Trief

I spent the past few hours pondering my Shabbat Message for this week.  

I went through the past week, combing the days for something exciting to share or teach. As we have just finished marking Shavuot, there are no holidays to speak of for awhile. Intent on finding an exciting topic, I pondered the articles I read, the classes I attended, the powerful life cycle events, the movies and  lunch dates, the baby swim lessons...Read more...

How Do You Reach the Promised Land?

06/05/2019 10:48:59 AM

Jun5

Beth Schafer

This week we begin reading the fourth book of the Torah. It goes by two names: in English we know it as the book of Numbers; the title attributed to the census that is taken at the beginning of the portion. In Hebrew, the book is called Bemidbar, meaning in the desert, where the census took place. Moses and Aaron were to count all the men of the 12 tribes 20 years and up to see who could take up arms when the Israelites would have to fight...Read more...

Counting Our Blessings

05/30/2019 08:52:23 AM

May30

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

We join together tonight in the midst of the greater Jewish people who are similarly taking stock of time, for we currently mark each day in a period known as the Counting of the Omer. This time had been marked two thousand years ago through the action of Jews in Israel bringing the first of their harvest to The Temple in Jerusalem. Over time, our people have found other ways of counting each of the days of the Omer- some through acts of...Read more...

Exciting News from Temple Sinai Preschool

05/23/2019 12:23:05 PM

May23

Temple Sinai Preschool has exciting news to share and we wanted you to be among the first to know.
 
In addition to our current enriching and accrediRead more...

Peeling Back the Layers

05/23/2019 08:00:27 AM

May23

Beth Schafer

As you know by now, Temple Sinai’s building is closed for construction. We had our first Shabbat service last week at The Weber School which was lovely and hamish (like home). Just yesterday I saw a picture of our sanctuary stripped bare. It was an empty room, and yet it wasn’t.

Read more...

Finding a New Home for Our Furniture

05/16/2019 11:41:36 AM

May16

We are so pleased that a good deal of Temple Sinai's furniture is finding a new home to benefit the homeless men of the Gateway Center. Raphael Holloway, their CEO and Greg Callihan, the Facilities Director, sent us generous notes of thanks that we wanted to share.

 Read more...

Do Not Come to Shabbat Services at Temple Sinai on Friday!

05/16/2019 08:44:06 AM

May16

Rabbi Sam Trief

Often, a member of the clergy team will use his or her Shabbat message as an opportunity to invite you to celebrate Shabbat with us AT Temple Sinai. However, this Shabbat we are telling you-please DO NOT come to Temple Sinai!  If you do, you will find a dark and quiet building, with very little furniture. Rather, we invite you to join us at our SUMMER location,  The Weber School. We sincerely hope to share many sacred moments with...Read more...

Be an Upstander for Anne Frank in the World

05/08/2019 09:13:39 AM

May8

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Last week, Ilana and her Epstein classmates had a profound experience. Presently on the 8th Grade Trip to Israel, the students were able to take part in the national commemoration of Yom HaShoah, the day dedicated to remembering the Holocaust and the murder of six million Jews. Throughout Israel, a siren sounds and all citizens stop what they are doing and stand at attention. Even those driving will stop their cars, open their doors, and...Read more...

Come Alive with Nefesh Mountain

05/02/2019 08:20:00 AM

May2

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

I was at Camp Coleman when the unmistakable sound of the banjo pierced the solitude of my walk. I was heading from the staff area to meet with my assigned group and knew that we had a guest artist at Coleman, but I didn’t recall that they would be warming up at the Hillman Chapel prior to the service. And, to be perfectly honest, ever since seeing the movie Deliverance, I grow a bit weary when I hear banjo in the setting of the North...Read more...

Don't Get Stuck in the Mud

04/25/2019 08:00:21 AM

Apr25

Rabbi Ron Segal

An oft-shared story connected to the Exodus relates that, as the Israelites crossed through the Reed Sea on their journey to freedom, there were two particular men who were consumed with the fact that their sandals and feet were getting muddy. They did not appreciate the awesome walls of water, miraculously divided to enable their passage, nor did they the magnitude of God’s blessing and redeeming power. For these individuals, who could not...Read more...

How to Say Goodbye to What Enslaves Us

04/18/2019 08:11:21 AM

Apr18

Rabbi Sam Trief

Lately, I find myself watching late-night episodes of the hit Netflix series "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo".

Kondo’s philosophy happens to fit quite nicely with the theme of Passover. She teaches: 
Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service–then let them go.

Passover, as we all well know, is about redemption and freedom. It hearkens...Read more...

Pray for Peace in Israel

04/11/2019 10:11:03 AM

Apr11

Rabbi Ron Segal

As the dust is still settling following Tuesday’s elections in Israel, deciding what exactly to share in this week’s column is admittedly difficult. As of this writing, the full implications of the election are still unclear, though it is predicted that Benjamin Netanyahu will retain his post as Prime Minister. 

In Israel’s parliamentary democracy, citizens vote for parties, not for individuals. Parties which receive a...Read more...

Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) Presidential Sermon

04/04/2019 08:55:18 AM

Apr4

Rabbi Ron Segal

Raised in a small Jewish community in Texas, it was not until I started attending NFTY events that I first met a “real live rabbi.” My first opportunities to meaningfully interact with clergy did not occur until a few years after college while working as the Assistant Director of Greene Family Camp and the regional advisor for TOFTY. So when I made the decision to apply to HUC, aside from the ‘glorious’ images painted by camp faculty...Read more...

Hope for Equality

04/03/2019 08:43:06 AM

Apr3

Beth Schafer

I just returned home from the  Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Rabbi Segal was installed as its next president. It was a beautiful service and Rabbi Ron gave a stirring and important sermon about women’s equality both in Jewish life and at-large. As if that wasn’t enough to make the service special, the CCAR acknowledged their new Executive Director, Rabbi Hara Person, the...Read more...

Eight Days A Week

03/28/2019 10:42:19 AM

Mar28

Beth Schafer

“Eight days a week, I l-uh-uh-uh-uh-ove you,” a great Beatles lyric that really emphasizes that there is no real way to articulate how much we can love. It’s beyond what we can measure, kind of like infinity. Who knew that the Beatles were so Torah-minded? I say that because this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Shemini, has in its root, the word Shemoneh, which means eight. The scene takes place on the eighth day of...Read more...

What to Do in a World Turned Upside Down by Anti-Semitism

03/21/2019 09:40:40 AM

Mar21

Rabbi Sam Shabman Trief

Recently, I have heard from friends, family, and congregants alike with a disturbing confession-they are experiencing anti-Semitism in a way they never have before. The stories are chilling, and may fill us with many emotions: anger, fear, and uncertainty, among others. And while these are emotions that have accompanied Jews throughout history, for many of us in this country, these are new and surprising emotions. Of course, we all know that...Read more...

My Role as CCAR President

03/19/2019 10:25:39 AM

Mar19

Rabbi Ron Segal

Rabbi Ron Segal will be installed as the President of the CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis) on Monday, April 1, and will serve a two-year term. Here he answers our most pressing questions about this new and exciting role.

1.  Tell us a bit about...Read more...

We are Most Certainly a House of Study

03/13/2019 09:18:15 AM

Mar13

Beth Schafer

Having just come off of a fabulous weekend with guest artist Julie Silver, I am invigorated by the infusion of faith and music she brought and shared with all of us. I chose the path I chose because it combines the two things I am most passionate about—Judaism and music. My musical influences from classical and jazz, to folk and rock, have shaped my sense of melody, rhythm, and connectivity. That said, I can’t tell you how excited I...Read more...

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

03/07/2019 07:59:38 AM

Mar7

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Perhaps it's because I am so taken with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s song “Shallow”, but I have been absolutely preoccupied lately with music. Whether it is the music playing in the car on the way home that detaches me from the day, or the music that plays in the background during sermon writing, I am very intentional and deliberate about my musical choices, as I am sure is true with each of us. Our musical tastes reflect the...Read more...

The Transformative Effect of Camp

02/28/2019 11:28:14 AM

Feb28

Molly Okun with an Introduction by Rabbi Ron Segal

It would not be an exaggeration to say that one of the primary reasons I ultimately pursued the rabbinate is due to my experiences in summer camp. Those who were fortunate enough to spend time at camp – whether Jewish or not – undoubtedly recall its life-changing...Read more...

What's in a Name?

02/20/2019 08:20:42 AM

Feb20

Rabbi Sam Shabman Trief

Throughout middle school and high school, I was known endearingly as “Shabs.” When I finished rabbinical school and moved to Atlanta, Shabs evolved to Rabbi Sam, but the people I have known the longest still call me Shabs. I wondered what would happen to my identity if I were to adopt my husband’s last name...what would happen to the part of me that was Shabs? Would that old piece of me be lost forever? I took these questions seriously,...Read more...

No More Middleman

02/14/2019 08:27:46 AM

Feb14

Beth Schafer

In this week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh, we are introduced to the priesthood. Since the destruction of the Second Temple, Judaism has not had a priesthood. It sounds like a rather foreign concept now, even reminding us more of other religions. The priest was to be the intermediary between God and the Israelites. When the Israelites needed to mark a significant event or atone for sins, they would bring their sacrifice to the priest who would...Read more...

Standing at the Foot of Sinai

02/07/2019 09:20:36 AM

Feb7

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

In our Torah reading for this week, Terumah, we find the people of Israel standing at the foot of Mount Sinai, offering gifts of importance to help build a Tabernacle, a portable sanctuary. The people assembled were newly-freed slaves with meager resources. But when presented with the opportunity to make a difference, they gave what they could and in turn, created a thing of beauty.
 
We are once again living the words of our...Read more...

Wed, February 19 2020 24 Sh'vat 5780