Posted on May 17, 2024

Mitzvah Day: More than Tzedakah

May 17, 2024 In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Emor, in the middle of the book of Leviticus, along with the laws of Passover observance and counting the Omer, and rules around priestly behavior, the Israelites are given the law of pe’ah, which lays the foundation for the sacred obligation of giving tzedakah. When the …


Posted on May 10, 2024

Holding the Bitter and the Sweet: Learning from One another as we Observe Israel’s Memorial Day and Independence Day

May 10, 2024   You have probably heard the saying, “Two Jews…three opinions.” Jewish tradition is rooted in debate, dialogue, questioning, wrestling – ideally, all in the service of reaching greater truth, of learning from one another. “Who is wise?” an ancient mishna (rabbinic teaching) asks, and answers: “One who learns from every person.”(Pirke Avot 4:1). One …


Posted on May 3, 2024

Yom HaShoah and The 5-Legged Table: the Primacy of Memory

May 7, 2024   What makes for a strong Jewish identity? Some hold that connection to community is required; others say familiarity with sacred texts and the Jewish calendar is necessary, and for others, a taste for dark humor and smoked fish are prerequisites…  However, according to lifelong Jewish educator, Avraham Infeld, “being Jewish is like having a …


Posted on April 26, 2024

The Journey Now: Finding our Footing in Nature and History

April 26, 2024   Did you notice the bright, beautiful full moon that accompanied us on the nights of the seder? Passover is one of three pilgrimage festivals – chagim, in Hebrew (this is why we say “Chag Sameach!” to greet one another on these holidays), along with Sukkot and Shavuot, all of which fall in …


Posted on April 19, 2024

Singing toward Freedom

April 19, 2024   One of my favorite things about the Passover seder is that it’s a ritual punctuated by, if not totally centered around, singing songs. We open our seder by singing through its order, “Kadesh, Urchatz…”, and sing blessings like the Kiddush and motzi, as we would during Shabbat and other holidays. We sing the …


Posted on April 12, 2024

Ma Nishtana haPesach haZeh? Why is this Passover Different from all other Passovers?

April 12, 2024   Four years ago, we experienced a Passover unlike any we could have imagined – having to be physically separate from one another on such an important holiday. We figured out ways to be together using the wonders of technology, and incredible efforts were made to fulfill the injunction “Let all who …


Posted on April 5, 2024

Finding Renewal in Broken Vessels and Broken Hearts

April 5, 2024 This Shabbat, we prepare to transition into the Hebrew month of Nisan, which means… Passover is coming (join us for seder!) !! As we get ready, we’ll dust off and take stock of our holiday accouterments… Haggadot, matzah covers and of course, our seder plates. At this time every year, I think back to how I …


Posted on March 29, 2024

Our Lives as Offerings: A Shabbat Message from Rabbi Berkman

March 29, 2024   What does it mean to be called to serve? The book of Leviticus tells us unequivocally that this covenantal relationship to which we entered at Mount Sinai is one in which we have a profound responsibility. We were freed from Egyptian slavery to live in the world not for ourselves alone, …


Posted on March 22, 2024

Barbie takes over TOS for Purim!!

March 22, 2024   Hi Barbie! What are YOU up to on Saturday night?? Oh… me? I don’t have anything big planned. Just a giant blowout party with all the Barbies, and planned choreography, and a bespoke song. You should stop by. In other words, IT’S MY BAT MITZVAH PARTY and it’s PURIM, and EVERYONE is invited! …