Reconsecrating Your Covenant with Each Other, My Covenant with You

June 4, 2017

Delivered by Rabbi Maderer Friday night when we offered Renewal of Marriage Vows, and it was also Rabbi Maderer’s first Shabbat as senior rabbi.  

When Cantor Frankel chants the 7 Blessings/the Sheva Brachot in the vows renewal ceremony, we will hear a list of almost every word the Hebrew dictionary knows for joy.  And what a joy it is to celebrate the bond of love and commitment!  The conclusions of the final two of the blessings ask God to cause the couple to rejoice.  Traditionally text says chatan and kallah, groom and bride; we are a community that thankfully includes LGBTQ couples and so we make a change to: reh-im and ahuvim, two words for beloved.  If you listen closely, you will hear that in the 6th blessing, we ask God to cause one beloved and (in Hebrew v’) the other beloved, to rejoice together.  In the 7th blessing, we ask God to cause one beloved with (in Hebrew im) the other beloved to rejoice together.  By the time we reach the 7th blessing, the couple is not only one and the other, but one with the other, bound together in covenant. Read the rest of this entry »


“Wimpel! Wrapped Wishes”– Discuss the Exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art

December 7, 2009

A wimpel is a traditional German-Jewish textile inscribed with prayers and wishes.  The wimpel was created in the first weeks of a child’s life and was used to celebrate the milestone of marriage.  For “Wimpel! Wrapped Wishes,” 12 artists, inspired by examples in the Obermayer Collection at RS, investigate, interpret and celebrate the wimpel.  One of the artists is our RS member, Leslie Sudock!  Join us on Thursday, December 17 for the opening discussion and reception at 6pm and then for the benefit supper at 7pm!  Thank you to currator, Matt Singer, and to PMJA Director Wendi Furman!


Returning to the “Empty Nest” after College Drop-off

August 28, 2009

Rabbi Michael G. Holzman

As I drove into the synagogue today, following my usual route down Broad Street, I entered the annual traffic jam called Temple University Drop Off.   What a mess.  But it reminded me of the excitement, anxiety, joy and sadness this day evokes in many families.  It also reminded me of a Jewish text.

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Emma and Jacob: Baby Names and Our Jewish Roots

May 14, 2009

By Rabbi Jill Maderer

What do you think of the current trends for baby names, and in particular, Jewish baby names?  My passion for Jewish community naturally leads me to wonder: Why do so many new and recent babies (and we are blessed with lots of them at RS!) have the same names as my grandparents and great-grandparents?  Are new parents in my generation simply influenced by a character on the popular television show, “Friends,” who named her daughter, Emma?  Perhaps.  Or maybe there’s more to it.  Much of my generation is characterized by a challenge to create true connections with friends and neighbors.  We don’t necessarily live near where we grew up, and we are likely to hold several jobs throughout our careers and live in several different neighborhoods, if not cities, throughout our adult lives.  Our communities, our routines, even our identities, are in flux.  Sometimes, the complicated opportunities of modern life are exciting, but sometimes they are unsettling.  Many of us yearn to feel grounded, and to be a part of a greater, consistent whole. Read the rest of this entry »