Celebrate the End of DOMA

June 26, 2013

We do not support LGBT Equality in spite of the fact that we are religious; we support equality because we are religious and understand that we are all created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God.  Join us at RS this Friday evening at our 6:00 pm Shabbat service for a Shehecheyanu, our blessing for gratitude, celebrating the Supreme Court decision to strike down DOMA.  Learn more about the the decision in the light of progressive Jewish values, here.

Get to Know RS

June 25, 2013

What does being a member of RS mean?  Read what one new member said below, then check out ways to get to know the community here.

I have officially joined my synagogue! The Rabbi and the director of membership were both a bit surprised when they realized I was not already a member. In their typical expression of generosity and inclusion they said they already thought of me as a part of the family. It’s as if we had a common law marriage and we have now made it official. When I entered the synagogue for Shabbat services last night, it felt different. I was now a member. A contributor. An official part of the family. Read the rest of this entry »

“Here I Am”

June 19, 2013

Lee Herman’s remarks upon receiving the Hineni Award in May 2013

I am pleased to accept the Hineni Award from Rodeph Shalom.  Hineni means “Here I Am” and is found in Genesis when Adonoi called to Abraham and Abraham answered “Hineni” or “Here I Am.”
While this recognition acknowledges that I have answered the call, I really accept this award on behalf of the connection groups and congregational activities which have had so much meaning to me, since the award would not be possible without the people with whom I have labored.  In particular, the Men of RS including Ed Rudow, Tomas Isakowitz and Carl Schneider have been true joys to work with.  Matt Wander has been involved in both the Men of RS and the congregational choir.  My appreciation also goes to Cantor Frankel from whom I have learned so much, and the other members of the choir, too many to name.  Finally, I recognize David Mandell as the real leader of Rak N Kol, and Rabbi Maderer who has brought important issues to our congregation through the caring community.  Rabbi Freedman’s energy has brought life to Mercaz Limud and Rabbi Kuhn’s overall leadership has brought a new vision to Rodeph Shalom.
Read the rest of this entry »

A Powerful Workers’ Justice Message from T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

June 18, 2013

In the past decade, the Florida tomato fields have been home to slavery cases involving more than 1000 workers. Today, we are close to ending slavery in these fields once and for all. T’ruah is proud to partner with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to end slavery and trafficking, and to guarantee wage and safety protections for the workers who pick our tomatoes.Visit truah.org to learn more about how to create a new day in the tomato fields.

Why I Volunteer at Rodeph Shalom

June 17, 2013

Andrea Kamer’s remarks upon receiving the Hineni Award in May 2013

As some of you know, I was born and raised in Springfield, Missouri. Springfield is a city of about 150,000 people with a Jewish community of 100 families. When I lived there, every Jew in Springfield belonged to the synagogue, because otherwise we could not support a Rabbi. And every Jew belonged to the synagogue, whether they were Reform or Conservative.  As you might imagine, that led to some interesting arrangements. For example, the Rabbi performed a classical reform service in the main sanctuary on Friday night. And then, on Saturday morning, he performed a more traditional service in the smaller chapel.
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“What Happens When You Say Yes?”

June 11, 2013

Michael Hauptman’s remarks upon receiving the Hineni Bezalel Award in May 2013:

There are so many talented, hard-working people in this congregation who give so much of their time and energy, that for me to be singled out for this award is as baffling as it is appreciated. Thank you so much.
Last week, I was up in Massachusetts where we are working on a feasibility study for two Reform congregations who are merging.  One congregation, once 1200 members and now 300, will be selling their historic building and moving into the other congregation’s much smaller building.  We were given a tour of the synagogue by the rabbi, who led us through empty corridors, unlocking empty classrooms and offices in a once beautiful building that hadn’t seen a coat of paint in decades.
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Compelled to Advocate for LGBT Civil Rights?

June 5, 2013

Inspired by Ted Martin, ED of Equality Pennsylvania’s remarks at RS tonight?  Call for LGBT Anti-Discrimination legislation co-sponsors and thank your representatives who have sponsored; identify and contact your representative here: http://equalityfederation.salsalabs.com/o/35029/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1131

More information about anti-discrimination legislative efforts in Pennsylvania: Read the rest of this entry »