Tzedakah on “Giving Tuesday”

November 29, 2013

Giving Tuesday!  You have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and for the day after all of that consuming, now there’s Giving Tuesday! This Hanukkah and Thanksgiving season, give tzedakah to your favorite cause, or for suggestions, check out this month’s favorites in the Berkman Mercaz Limud (Religious School):  The students are giving this trimester’s collected tzedakah to Hazon (food sustainability), Chosen 300 Soup Kitchen, and Union for Reform Judaism Disaster Relief for the Philippines.


November 26, 2013

I imagine most of you have by now been forwarded some email about the convergence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving this year.  Yes, it is true that the first night of Hanukkah this year is the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving and it is also true that this will not happen again for another 79,000 years or so.  This strange phenomenon has captivated many American Jews and non-Jews alike and brought many unaffiliated families out of the woodwork – perhaps because it reflects the intersection of our Jewish and American identities.  

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An Inscription for the Building Expansion

November 20, 2013
  • In addition to the name Congregation Rodeph Shalom, the front of the building expansion will include a purpose-driven quotation from Jewish tradition.  We value your ideas and hope you will participate!  Please submit your suggestion to the clergy and leadership through Charlene McDonald at

The Face of God

November 19, 2013

Who here has seen the musical Les Miserable?  I still remember the first time I saw Les Mis –  I remember my parents taking my to the Wang Center in Boston.  It was amazing!  The moving stage, the costumes, the music, the emotion – I was blown away.

As I was reading this weeks Torah portion, one song from Les Mis kept popping into my head.  Picture the scene: Jean Valjean is on his deathbed.  The curtain between the living and the dead has been raised and he is joined by Eponine and Fantine.  And then his entire life is summed up in one of the most beautiful verses I have ever heard:

Click here to listen!

The final line that we just heard is actually a Victor Hugo original from the book, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

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Israel and the Changing Middle East: Trudy Rubin Speaking at RS

November 18, 2013

Join us to hear Trudy Rubin, the Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, speak on “Israel and the Changing Middle East,” Wed., Nov. 20 at 7:00 pm.   Rubin will lead a provocative discussion about how Iran talks, a crumbling Syria, and a new military in Egypt will have an impact on Israel.  Check out her latest column: Seeking a ‘Good Enough’ Iran Deal.

Thank you to the Joseph J. & Lulu S. Rosenbluth Fund for sponsoring. Read the rest of this entry »

Bugs in My Kale: Bringing Intention to Our Food

November 18, 2013

Thank you to the many members of the community and beyond who have become deeply engaged in the conversation: “What is Your Food Worth,” a partnership with the Feinstein Center at Temple University.  Inspired this fall by Rabbi Kuhn’s Rosh Hashanah sermon, Professor Lila Berman’s keynote “A New Judaism from the Tabletop: Food and the Transformation of American Jewish Life,” the Hazon Food Festival hosted at RS, the screening of “A Place at the Table,” study sessions, the What is Your Food Worth blog, and our congregational blog posts, let us discover how now to move from theory to practice.  

Related thoughts from a recent D’var Torah…   Week after week I bring home my box of CSA vegetables.   Read the rest of this entry »

The Arab Spring Two Years Later: The Changing Middle East and its Impact on Israel

November 14, 2013

Starting this Sunday, 10:15am, join an important discussion about the Middle East and deepen your understanding of its impact on Israel, with our congregant and expert, Nurit Shein.  We will connect with each other as we learn and grapple together with the challenges of the Middle East.  At RS Sundays, Nov. 17th, 24th  & Dec. 8th 10:15am-11:15am.  A native of Israel, Shein served as a career officer in the Israeli Army, working in intelligence, women’s corps, and as commander of the army’s education corps before retiring as a colonel. Nurit Shein serves as the Executive Director of Mazzoni Center, an LGBT health, education and advocacy center.

More Great News about RS Building Expansion

November 13, 2013

night viewOur Beacon on Broad plans were covered again this morning!  Check out today’s article here and listen to KYW for more.  This transformation belongs to the whole congregation!  Please participate by contributing to the to Legacy Campaign.  And learn more about the project here.


HaDag Nachash, Here I Come!

November 13, 2013

If you’ve ever seen the Adam Sandler movie, Don’t Mess with the Zohan, you may be familiar with the band, HaDag Nachash.  Their name which literally means Snake Fish, is a Hebrew spoonerism of the phrase Nachag Chadash, a new driver.  Through mixing hip hop and rock, western and eastern music, HaDag Nachash bring to light some of the most important issues in Israel today.  One song that particularly touches upon what it means to be in Israel is, “Hinei Ani Ba, Here I Come.”  The song tells the tale of the dichotomy between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv:

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Building for Profound Connections

November 12, 2013
An architectural rendering of a planned expansion of Congregation Rodeph Shalom. Here, the expansion as viewed from Broad Street. (handout photo)
Legacy renovation and expansion begins next month! Visionary design ensures this is not just beautiful square footage; it is values-driven space that will enable us to further our vision: to create profound connections.
(architectural rendering by KieranTimberlake, as viewed from Broad Street)
Read more in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.