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Posted on December 15, 2023

Taking the Light with Us: A Shabbat Message from Rabbi Berkman

December 15, 2023 Last night, I watched with gratitude and with sadness as the eight flames of the hanukkiah flickered strongly and defiantly, then slowly burned down to embers and then completely out. I couldn’t tear myself away from the sight of it – these two hanukkiot that we’d placed in the window, fulfilling the …

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Posted on December 8, 2023

Building, Connecting, and Sharing the Light in the Midst of the Ruins: A Message for Shabbat Hanukkah by Rabbi Berkman

December 8, 2023 More than 2,000 years ago, our ancestors stood in the midst of the wreckage of the ruined, desecrated Temple and began cleaning and rebuilding immediately. Maybe not right away with brooms and dustpans (or whatever they used at that time), but with their intention, from an unimaginable strength of spirit within them, …

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Parshat Vayishlach: The Measure of our Lives
Posted on December 1, 2023

Parshat Vayishlach: The Measure of our Lives

December 1, 2023 It seems like any other day. You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out. But today, when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box, inscribed with the words, “The measure of your life lies within.” This box holds your fate: the exact number …

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What Does It Mean To Be Jewish?
Posted on November 23, 2023

What Does It Mean To Be Jewish?

November 23, 2023 Much ink has been spilled and many jokes have been made about this, and yet, there is no singular answer to this question. However, in this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Vayetzei, we get a glimpse at one of my favorite of the myriad of possible answers: Upon giving birth to her fourth son, …

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The Children of Sarah, The Children of Hagar
Posted on November 3, 2023

The Children of Sarah, The Children of Hagar

November 3, 2023   In pain and sorrow and utter heartbreak I – we all – have watched the events in Israel unfold. I know I am not alone in these feelings, and even with my background in and familiarity with the Hebrew Bible, ancient Near East history and the contemporary geopolitical conflict, I have …

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Three Weeks On…
Posted on October 27, 2023

Three Weeks On…

October 27, 2023   As we enter our third Shabbat since the terrorist attacks in Israel, I want us to hold on to joy, connection, community, and tradition. I want us to hold on to each other, and to hold each other up. I want us to keep living with open hearts, open minds, and …

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Make an Opening in the Ark
Posted on October 20, 2023

Make an Opening in the Ark

October 20, 2023   Unimaginably long ago, our sacred story tells us, God regretted creating humanity. God had second thoughts. The creation, in just ten generations, had come a long way from the perfection of its beginning – the decline notably underway with the first murder as retold in last week’s parashah: the slaying of …

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From Tears to Silence to Song
Posted on October 13, 2023

From Tears to Silence to Song

October 13, 2023 For much of this week, while watching in horror as rockets fall on Israel, and retaliation is visited upon Gaza, as death tolls rise and stories of the victims are recounted, as my friends and the children of my teachers are called up to fight, I have been at a loss for …

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A Shabbat Message for Simchat Torah from Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman
Posted on October 6, 2023

A Shabbat Message for Simchat Torah from Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman

October 6, 2023   Tonight we’ll celebrate the completion of both the cycle of fall holidays and the cycle of Torah readings. This evening begins the dual holy day of Simchat Torah/Shemini Atzeret; Simchat Torah meaning “Joy of Torah,” and Shemini Atzeret meaning “Eighth Day of Assembly.” These holy days are observed as one day both in …

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