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05/31/2020 02:18:25 PM


Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman

May 31, 2020/8 Sivan 5780

Shavua tov. 

As the new week begins, Jews around the world are coming out of the holy time of Shabbat and Shavuot (observed for two days in much of the Jewish world). We return to a world deeply in need of healing, both from the pandemic which has caused 365,000 deaths as well as tremendous suffering from the economic impact, and from the scourge of racial injustice....Read more...

Rabbi Berkman's Musical Shabbat Message

05/29/2020 12:00:00 AM


Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman



In this week’s Torah portion, Naso, we find the most ancient words of blessing known to us. The Priestly Blessing echoes through millenia (from at least the 7th century BCE). It is incredible to imagine that these words have been said, chanted, or sung for so many generations, in so many Jewish (and Christian) contexts. Parents bestow this blessing upon their children at the start of Shabbat and holy days;...Read more...

Attention is a Form of Prayer - Rabbi Berkman’s Shabbat Message for Parashat Bamidbar

05/22/2020 07:33:53 AM


Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman

This Shabbat, we begin the book of Numbers, Bamidbar. Bamidbar means “in the wilderness.” Here we resume the narrative of the long sojourn through the midbar- a...Read more...

Safer at Home: A Message from the TOS Clergy and Presidents

05/19/2020 08:46:49 AM


Dear TOS Community,

We want to update you on our thoughts and plans in light of Governor Baker’s announcement yesterday which loosened some restrictions on gatherings including at houses of worship.

We, along with leaders of congregations across the Commonwealth, do not believe that it is safe or advisable to resume in person services at this time. In keeping with the central Jewish value of pikuach nefesh - preserving human...Read more...

A Shabbat Message from Rabbi Berkman

05/15/2020 07:49:18 AM


Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman

Shabbat Shalom! I look forward to being with you for services this evening. Shabbat has been such a welcome anchor in time during this strange and amorphous time. Many of us feel adrift in a sea of days strung together without the boundaries of our commute to work, or our kids going to school, or sports...Read more...

Ya'aloz Sadai: The Voices of Ohabei Shalom - Past & Present

05/14/2020 07:57:11 AM


David Sparr, Music Director

The verses of the Psalms have been a primary source of lyrics for religious composers throughout history. Since King David is the Bible’s most famous musician, and is said to be the author of most of the Psalms (although modern biblical scholars dispute this), it makes sense to assume that Psalms were originally meant to be sung. Even the Hebrew phrase Mizmor L’David, which is often translated as “A Psalm of David,” can also be...Read more...

Update from the TOS Board of Trustees

05/05/2020 08:54:48 AM


Dear Friend,

We hope this finds you and your families well and that you are continuing to find ways to cope in these challenging times. The past few weeks have been overwhelming for us all, and in this time of anxiety and uncertainty, we are glad many have been able to...Read more...

A Message from Rabbi Berkman in honor of Israeli Memorial Day & Israeli Independence Day:

04/28/2020 06:21:19 PM


Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman

April 28, 2020 / 4 Iyar 5780

In the Jewish landscape of time, we experience communal celebration and communal mourning on our sacred days. In this time of living through a global pandemic, we can feel uprooted and disoriented as...Read more...

Keeping Calm and Collected

04/17/2020 07:06:57 AM


Donna Rubenoff

Dear friends,

This is a time for hunkering down and staying put.  We in Massachusetts are in the midst of a surge in regards to the increased number of Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Perhaps it is a time when you are living with fear,...Read more...

Sharing a Passover Memory

04/13/2020 11:26:10 AM


Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman

I was interviewed for the Chagigah radio show on WERS last week, and my segment aired on Sunday. I was able to share a couple of Passover memories and give a shout-out to our community. Enjoy!




A Passover Message from Rabbi Berkman

04/08/2020 09:59:50 AM


Dear Friends,


My heart is with you as we approach Seder night. I miss gathering with you and being together in community in-person,  to learn and...Read more...


04/03/2020 04:29:22 PM


David Sparr

The words to Dayeinu (It Would Have Been Sufficient) date back at least to the 9th Century, and may well go back as much as 500 years before that. In a traditional Haggadah, there are fifteen stanzas divided into three groups of five: Leaving Slavery, Miracles, and Being With God. The popular melody to Dayeinu is of unknown origin, although it is safe to say the melody is not nearly as old as the lyrics.

In this recording, I have...

A Heartfelt Mishebeirach for Our Times

04/02/2020 06:22:27 PM


Andy O'Connell

With COVID illnesses sweeping the world, I’ve been hearing Cantor Randall Schloss’s beautiful setting of Mishebeirach in my head lately. Here’s a recording of me playing and singing it. I know our family is going to include it somehow in our virtual seder.


A Message From Rabbi Berkman: Passover Wisdom and Resources for an Unprecedented Time

04/01/2020 01:02:01 PM


Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman

Dear TOS Community,   Needless to say, this coming Seder night will certainly be different from all other Seder nights! As we settle into this “new normal” of staying at home and connecting in new virtual ways, the Passover holiday approaches. With all of its traditions handed down...Read more...

Music for Passover: Adir Hu

03/27/2020 02:05:20 AM


David Sparr

Music has always been a big part of all celebratory Jewish meals, and no meal is more important in our tradition than the Passover Seder. (…although some might advocate for the Yom Kippur break-fast!)

Songs sung at the dinner table are called Zemirot, and Passover has many –...Read more...

Connect @Ohabei Update 3.20.20

03/20/2020 04:33:16 PM


Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman

Dear Friends,

I imagine that for all of us it feels that months, rather than a week, has passed since we entered into this strange and isolating time. Time has certainly taken on a different meaning as our everyday lives have been transformed. Of course, that transformation looks different for each of us: perhaps we are home with children, trying to balance working from home and meeting the needs of the family...Read more...

Update as of 3/13/2020

03/13/2020 02:04:18 PM


Dear TOS Community,   We believe in the importance of community in good times, and in hard times. Our world is rapidly evolving, and we will respond as quickly as we can. Therefore, Temple Ohabei Shalom has decided to limit access to our building, and all school and clergy staff will work their regular schedule remotely beginning tonight, Friday, March 13th through March 29th, 2020. Access to Temple facilities will be limited to...Read more...

A Message from Rabbi Berkman: Drawing Upon Jewish Tradition for Wisdom and Hope in Challenging Times

03/12/2020 02:13:47 PM


Dear Friends,


This is a time of great uncertainty and fear. It is also a time of communal celebration, such as the Purim festivities we enjoyed earlier this week, and looking ahead to the joy of Passover, less than a month from now. To be a Jew is to be connected to community both in the present moment and through the...Read more...

Social Action: March Newsletter

03/09/2020 08:29:10 AM


Jessica Ullian

Social...

Shabbat Message from Rabbi Schaefer 

03/06/2020 05:49:18 PM


Shabbat Shalom.

That is a very Jewish way to greet each other - wishing each other a peaceful Shabbat. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we greet each other over the last couple of days as the spread of COVID-19 has dominated the news and we think about how to keep everyone in our community safe and healthy.  I’ve grown used to not only saying, Shabbat Shalom, but also greeting so many of you with a handshake or a kiss...Read more...

A Message from Rabbi Berkman

03/03/2020 03:24:35 PM


Jewish tradition teaches us that we are all responsible for one another. Kol Yisrael Arevim zeh ba’zeh, our sages taught in the Talmud. The Hebrew “arevim” literally means “mixed up together.” Our interconnectedness becomes even more apparent during a time of an outbreak of disease. During a time when a new virus is going around, and can have a dangerous impact on some people, this idea is so important to keep in mind. While we may...Read more...

Health Update: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

03/02/2020 01:05:43 PM


Education Department

Dear Families,

We are reaching out to you today to give you an update on the precautions that we are using here at Temple Ohabei Shalom to...Read more...

From Rabbi Berkman:The World Zionist Elections: What do they mean; how can you participate?

02/14/2020 12:09:34 PM


The World Zionist Elections are in process and people can still vote until March 11th. For a Reform perspective, read this article: Everyone Counts: Why the WZO Elections Matter So Much.

You can vote at You will find a voting tutorial here. (Please be advised that the dual-pin system may be changing to reCAPTCHA technology in the coming days. It is still a two-pronged process for security reasons). You are also welcome...Read more...

Social Action at Temple Ohabei Shalom:News & Events: February 2020

02/03/2020 08:03:47 AM



TOS Kallah 2020: A Communal and Spiritual Experience

01/30/2020 08:26:20 AM


Alberta Lipson

This was the 5th Kallah my husband, Roger, and I participated in. We joined TOS 6 years ago, having been members of a large, reform synagogue in Boston for 30 plus years. After retiring from my full-time job, I felt the need for a smaller religious community. We looked around and decided on...Read more...

Alert: Potential Scam/Phishing Emails

01/23/2020 12:30:55 PM


Dear TOS Community,

We have learned that some people received an erroneous email from someone pretending to be “Rabbi Berkman” yesterday. If you receive an email that looks as though it comes from Rabbi Berkman and asks you to help her by purchasing gift cards, please do not respond. (No gift cards please!) Just delete the email, and ignore it.

Thanks to the many people who contacted Rabbi Berkman or the TOS office about...Read more...

Social Action at Temple Ohabei Shalom: January News

01/06/2020 02:58:14 PM


Jessica Ullian

 Social Action at Temple Ohabei Shalom

News and Events: January 2020



A Message from Rabbi Berkman in Response to Recent Antisemitic Incidents

12/30/2019 01:25:03 PM


Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman

Above: 8th night of Hanukkah lights, Rabbi Berkman’s home

Dear Friends,


Hanukkah: Honoring the Work We've Done

12/20/2019 01:44:38 PM


Rabbi Schaefer

Hanukkah means dedication. The name for this festival comes from the actions of the Maccabees after they defeated the Greeks. After finding the temple in ruins, the Maccabees clean it up and rededicate the temple by lighting the menorah.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the...

Building an Inclusive Community

12/09/2019 01:20:14 PM


Rabbi Daniel Schaefer

Last night I had the privilege of attending an event with members of our synagogue inclusion committee and the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project. The Ruderman Foundation has supported our inclusion work here at TOS and they've recently expanded their inclusion work to mental...Read more...

Tue, June 2 2020 10 Sivan 5780