This Coming Out Month, Know Thyself

September 30, 2013

In honor of Coming Out Month we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Dana Beyer on Wed., Oct. 2 at 7:00 pm: “Boychik-Treading Water and Breaking Out-A Life in Two Acts.”  Dr. Beyer, a woman of trans history, will inspire us with her message that “Life is to be lived to the fullest, and that can’t be done ensconced in a closet.  Know thyself–as hard as it may be, as long as it may take, you can and must break out.”   Read the rest of this entry »

Renovation and Expansion Plans Presentation for Berkman Mercaz Limud Families, Oct. 3

September 27, 2013

Families with children at RS: Please join Dena Herrin, Rabbi Jill Maderer and Michael Hauptman to learn about the plans for much needed new classrooms, new event spaces, and safety and accessibility improvements critical for bringing our building into the 21st century. Th., Oct. 3 at 6pm at  the Fairmount home of Kate and Mike Riccardi.  Free babysitting and pizza age 5+ at the home of Judy and Larry Mester, just a few doors down.   Thank you to the Mesters and the Riccardis for co-hosting!  Please RSVP to Shelley Saunders at or 215-627-6747 x44. Read the rest of this entry »

The Liberation of False Memory: Cantor Frankel’s Yizkor Sermon 5774

September 27, 2013

Remember. It’s one of our first Jewish lessons. It’s in the Ten Commandments, it’s in the poem L’cha Dodi with which we greet Shabbat each week, and it’s repeated throughout the liturgy of these High Holy Days. In our worship on Rosh HaShanah, the sound of the shofar awakens us specifically to remember our covenant with God. We return now to memory in our Yizkor service which allows us to honor those whom we have lost, to remember them.

But what if memories hold us hostage? What if our memories are the stumbling blocks that obstruct our future? As the Israeli novelist Amos Oz wrote, “Apart from the obligation to remember, is there also a right to forget?” (The Slopes of Lebanon)

Read the rest of this entry »

Cooking for Caring Community with CSA

September 24, 2013
photo.JPGConnect while you help out with mitzvah-cooking Wednesdays 5-7pm in the RS kitchen!  With Laurel Klein’s leadership and veggies from the CSA, prepare or deliver meals for congregants who are sick, in mourning or just had a baby.  Your Caring Community efforts really matter (you can read more about the meaning of the work in this Yom Kippur sermon).

To sign up for a share in next year’s Community Supported Agriculture at RS with Barefoots Organics, and receive a weekly box of fresh veggies throughout the growing season, click here.

Ethan Kadish Battles after Lightening Strike

September 23, 2013
Ethan Kadish

The boy most critically injured by the lightening strike at the Reform Jewish overnight camp, mentioned early in this Yom Kippur sermon, continues to battle for his life.  The end of this article tells us how we can help Ethan Kadish.  As our hearts go out to Ethan and the Kadish family, we pray they will find health and wholeness.

Gather Us: Yom Kippur Morning Sermon

September 21, 2013

At the beginning of this summer, we learned of a shocking story.  One afternoon at our Reform Jewish camp in Indiana, during a game of ultimate frisbee, a rogue lightening bolt struck the athletic field.   The lightening seriously injured 3 campers.  Staff performed CPR, and the children were transported to the hospital. In the immediate wake of the havoc, everyone gathered in the dining hall, where the camp director led a Misheberach.  What happened next?  The camp broke into song. Read the rest of this entry »

What is Your Food Worth?: Sukkot Reflection

September 21, 2013
Domestic goatExplore how we set intentions for Jewish food choices in our kick-off to our What is Your Food Worth initiative and first Sunday Seminar of the year.  Our discussion with Nati Passow, director of the Jewish Farm School, and Rabbi Eli Freedman is tomorrow, September 22nd 10:15-11:15am.  Whet your appetite with Nati’s thought provoking blog post.  This opportunity is a part of our What is Your Food Worth partnership with the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History at Temple University.

Sukkot: The Illusion of Shelter

September 20, 2013

Why do we build a shelter that provides no shelter at all?

Growing up in suburban NJ, my home was not in a high-crime area.  Yet, always, we locked the doors and we turned on the security alarm.  We even had a big dog bowl on the front porch, to convince all external threats into thinking we had a guard dog (we didn’t even have a goldfish).  And I don’t think our family’s efforts for  protection were unusual.  But friends of ours who lived not far away took a different approach.  they left their doors unlocked every time they left their house.  Simply because that is how they wanted to live their lives. Read the rest of this entry »

We Were Strangers, Too: American Jewish Community Answering the Call for Immigration Reform

September 19, 2013

Be inspired by President Obama’s testament to the Jewish people’s devotion to answering the call!  Please share your family’s history and learn simple ways to advocate for fair, comprehensive immigration reform here.

We Were Strangers, Too: Immigration Reform Advocacy

September 14, 2013

Join the Jewish community’s effort to welcome the stranger as a citizen, and advocate for comprehensive, fair immigration reform for 11 million undocumented immigrants today (info in my Yom Kippur afternoon sermon). Please add your family’s immigration story in the comments of this blog article to create a beautiful collection that demonstrates that we are a nation of immigrants.

For a direct connection to your representative, go to Take Action.  At the bottom, enter your zip and add the link to this blog post to the form letter to share with your representative our collection of family immigration stories, found in the post comments.