There is No Hiding from Difference

December 25, 2016

chanukiya-1584A rabbi named Francine Green Roston recently moved with her family from New Jersey to Whitefish, Montana, in search of a slower pace of life.  As you can imagine, there are not many Jews in their new small town (although with a name like “Whitefish,” you’d think…) but Rabbi Roston has found a small Jewish community.

She also discovered that her neighbors include the white nationalist leader Richard Spencer.  Last week, ignited by the emerging white supremacy movement, a neo-Nazi website issued a call to take action against the Jews of Whitefish.  The site listed the names, pictures, contact information, and addresses of alleged Jews in town, and photo-shopped pictures of Rabbi Roston with a Nazi-era yellow star. Read the rest of this entry »


HaKarat HaTov: Jewish Thanksgiving and Jewish Living

November 24, 2016

Discover more Jewish values on raising kids who are responsible, grateful and menschy with money on Tues., Nov 29, when NY Times money columnist Ron Lieber speaks.

When this year’s Slichot speaker, Dr. Dan Gottleib of WHYY hosted his final weekly Voices in the Family last year, he focused the show on gratitude.  As callers thanked Dr. Dan for giving them something– courage or patience or thanks…  he responded (paraphrased) “I don’t give anyone anything that isn’t already there.  It’s about seeing what’s already there.”

Seeing what’s already there– this is Judaism’s approach to Thanksgiving.  One Hebrew term for gratitude is “hakarat hatov.” Read the rest of this entry »


Our Concealed Shortcomings: On Bias and Race

October 13, 2016

delivered by Rabbi Jill Maderer, Yom Kippur, Congregation Rodeph Shalom     

A story I love, from Rabbi Nachman of Brazslav.  A young woman visits her family and shares that she has become a master in the art of menorah making. She asks her parents to invite all of the other artisans in town to come see her masterpiece.  So all of the finest crafters come to view the menorah.  Later, the daughter asks her parents, “What did they think?” The parents reply, “We’re sorry to say, all of your fellow lamp-makers described a different flaw.” “Yes,” replies the daughter, “but that is the secret! They all say it was flawed, but what nobody realizes is this: Each sees a different part as blemished, but overlooks the mistakes that he himself would make.  You see, I made the menorah in this way on purpose — replete with deficiencies — in order to demonstrate that all of us have shortcomings.

Rabbi Nachman’s parable is drawn from the Psalmist, who calls to God: “Alumenu limor panecha” (Ps 90). “You can see our concealed darkness; You can see our concealed shortcomings, in the light of Your face.” God can see our shortcomings. Read the rest of this entry »


High Holiday Services for Families with Young Children

September 28, 2016

Rodeph Shalom’s High Holy Days Services Designed for Families with Young Children

Contemporary Multi-generational Morning Services

Requires a “pass”; please contact Catherine Fischer cfischer@rodephshalom.org.

Rosh Hashanah: Monday, October 3, 8:30 am

Yom Kippur: Wednesday, October 12, 8:30 am

A full service for adults; yet a family-friendly atmosphere with children of all ages. Clergy, congregational choir, and guitar lead accessible music, encouraging participants to join in. Designed for all ages, the informality provides a comfortable setting for families with young children and there are activities for the children during the sermon.

 

Tashlich Service at Fairmount Waterworks
Monday, October 3, 1:30-2:00pm
640 Water Works Drive Philadelphia, PA 19130
Cast away your sins with breadcrumbs.  Open to all.

                      

Afternoon Mini-Services for Families

Open to the community; no pass needed, please just bring photo ID for security.

Rosh Hashanah: Monday, October 3, 3:00 pm
Yom Kippur: Wednesday, October 12, 1:30 pm

A very brief service for families of very young children and their parents and grandparents.

 

 


Remembering Refugees at Passover

April 19, 2016

This Passover (Passover celebration resources, here), as we celebrate our exodus from Egypt as refugees seeking freedom in a promised land, let’s also think of the refugees today escaping the horrors of war and oppression and seeking freedom in the United States.  When you come to RS for services, Berkman Mercaz Limud, or the Passover 2nd Night Seder, please remember to bring donations of household goods (no clothing) to RS bins at the foot of the Klehr Stairway, for refugee families who are being resettled in Philadelphia by HIAS PA (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society).  Right now there is a particular need for the following items that the U.S. government requires for every immigrant household:

Manual Can Openers

Tea Kettles

Mixing Spoons

Dishwashing Liquid – new and unopened

Sponges

Tall Kitchen Trash Bags – 13 gallon

And a special request for HIAS’s after-school program for refugee children:

Oxford Picture Dictionary English-Farsi. Many of the refugee children in the after school program are children of families from Afghanistan who worked for the US government there.  They speak Farsi.

Paperback “I Can Read” books  Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4.  (They are also available at Barnes & Noble or on Amazon.com)

 

 


Passover Resources 2016

April 13, 2016

4489007660_f7efe730ab_nPassover is coming!  Are you looking for resources?  Start to eat down your bread, get your post-it’s ready if you’re preparing a seder, and check these out!  A sweet Pesach to all!

A family-oriented Haggadah, “Now We Are Free“.

The Four Questions, chanted by Cantor Frankel.

Social Justice ideas from HIAS PA, and a Haggadah supplement inspired by their immigration work.

Registration for the RS Second Night Seder.

More Haggadah recommendations for different ages, style, and just for study.

Learn here about the holiday of Passover.

Please add comments with your own resources and creative seder ideas!


Can a Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Rabbi Light the Menorah Together? Hanukkah Candlelighting in Rittenhouse Square

December 4, 2015

Join us for the Center City Kehillah Hanukkah Candlelighting in Rittenhouse Square, Tues., Dec 8, 5:15pm!      

“Since when is Hanukkah so important?” I once heard someone ask a rabbi. “Sukkot is important, Pesach is important, Shabbat is important, but Hanukkah is such a minor holiday!  Why do we give in to the Christmas culture that identifies December as the time for an important holiday?!”

“Well,” the rabbi responded, “it’s true that Hanukkah is not particularly important compared to other Jewish festivals.  It’s a minor holiday that gets a whole lot of attention.  But, if Jews are creating happy Jewish memories and experiences around a Jewish holiday, who are we to take that away?”  Read the rest of this entry »