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Syna-Blog

Grief and Memory Hold Hands

  • Posted by Jen Gubitz
  • On October 11, 2019
Grief and memory hold hands as broken-hearted we find our way through the Jewish year. Grief and memory hold hands as we search for solace, as we travel from impermanence to joy, from narrowness to freedom, to wisdom and learning, to renewal and return. Such that when we return to them in this moment of […]
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Provocative Kugel: What Will I Make of My Life Today?

  • Posted by Jen Gubitz
  • On October 11, 2019
“I saw your vagina ad. Yuck,” the email read, “was that really necessary?” The criticism came rolling in. And why? In response to a sign that was bold, bright, hip, and funky, plastered on kiosks throughout the Upper East and West Sides of Manhattan that read: “Even if you think kugel is an exercise you […]
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By the Light of the Moon: Living Jewishly in the Modern World

  • Posted by Jen Gubitz
  • On October 8, 2019
So what do we do? How do we live, and how have we lived, from summer weekend to summer weekend, from month to month, and year to year, century to century amid circles and circles of sorrow? Whether personal, communal, national or global, how do we live and how have we lived when it seems as if we go from destruction to destruction to destruction, from grieving to yearning to wailing?
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Tisha B’Av Resource Guide

  • Posted by Noa Rosen
  • On July 25, 2019
Adult Books Available at TI: Non-fiction: Tisha b’Av compendium : Seder ha-yom le-Tishah be-Av. The biblical engineer : how the temple in Jerusalem was built. The Temple : its symbolism and meaning then and now. The Temple of Jerusalem. Revolt in Judea, the road to Masada : the eyewitness account by Flavius Josephus of the […]
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Congregational Read Study Guide Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

  • Posted by Suzie Jacobson
  • On July 24, 2019
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the leading Jewish theologians and philosophers of the 20th century deeply believed that we live in a world where God is in search of humanity. To Heschel, doctrine was unimportant compared to religious wonder, gratitude, and acts of kindness, as “God is waiting for us to redeem the world.” Born […]
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For Such a Time as This

  • Posted by Guest Author
  • On March 29, 2018
  Friday, May 11, after Qabbalat Shabbat Alongside other GBIO congregations, Temple Israel is launching a series of community conversations “For Such a Time as This” from now through mid-May. We will hear from all parts of the temple what deeply concerns us so that together we build power to make a difference, both here […]
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“Stranger Things” and the Torah

  • Posted by Tali Puterman
  • On March 26, 2018
Incorporating Netflix into Jewish Education Subbing a class of 8th graders is hard enough. Subbing a class of 8th graders the evening after “Stranger Things” Season 2 debuted on Netflix provided an added challenge I had not anticipated. How could I get this class to feel comfortable with me, respect me – their teacher for […]
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Consider helping a Yazidi Refugee Family

  • Posted by Guest Author
  • On February 27, 2018
Please consider helping a Yazidi refugee family who has lived through an unspeakable nightmare. We’ve all seen the photographs of refugees being attacked in their villages by ISIS, living in unsanitary conditions in crowded camps, or huddled in small and shaky boats as they attempt to cross rivers or oceans. We mostly stand idly by […]
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Purim Wisdom from a Brand New Baby

  • Posted by Suzie Jacobson
  • On February 25, 2018
Nathan Yitzhak — It is with such incredible joy that we officially bring you into our awesome community — Over the past 12 weeks, we have called you many names – Nathan, Yitz, Yitzy, Boo Boo Bear — but there is something about having Rabbi Zecher holding you while saying, “May you live to see […]
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Breaking the Moral Silence

  • Posted by Suzie Jacobson
  • On February 17, 2018
  (Sermon delivered on February 16, 2018, Temple Israel, Boston) (Image: Naples Daily News)   Take a moment of silence. Just one minute. Silence is a common human reaction to tragedy. A shocked silence. A silent grief. A desire to sit in silence to process a reality that has been shifted beyond recognition The silenced […]
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Remembrance as a Survival Tactic in an Age of Hatred

  • Posted by Suzie Jacobson
  • On September 24, 2017
Some call Rosh Hashanah Yom Hazikaron , “The Day of Remembrance.” In the Talmud, Rabbi Eliezer teaches: “On Rosh HaShana Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah were remembered by God and conceived; on Rosh HaShana Joseph came out from prison; on Rosh HaShana our forefathers’ slavery in Egypt ceased.”(1) Today is the day when God keeps God’s […]
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Hagar and Isaac at the Well of Resilience; or #afterallthosethings

  • Posted by Jen Gubitz
  • On September 22, 2017
Riverway Project, Erev Rosh Hashanah 5778, Rabbi Jen Gubitz When she noticed a man approaching her tent, she saw that he was thin with a modest set of shoulders that hunched a bit, but exuded strength. And a soft jawline. She knew that jawline, that kind face. Could it really be? It had been so […]
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Trump is President and We are Awake

  • Posted by Suzie Jacobson
  • On January 20, 2017
    Today is Friday, January 20th, 2017. Today Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States of America. This Shabbat, Jews everywhere read parashat shemot, our book of freedom. The book that gives us the image of a parted sea, a mixed multitude crossing together in song. The book that gives […]
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A Post-Election Reflection: Still Becoming American Jews

  • Posted by Matt Soffer
  • On November 15, 2016
As many of you know, the history of our congregation has been written beautifully by Susan Porter, Lisa Davis, and Meaghan Dwyer-Ryan, in their work entitled Becoming American Jews.  It’s a book you can judge by its title. It tells our story; it reminds us that when we say “our story,” we are not talking […]
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Surviving the Babble (And this Election)

  • Posted by Suzie Jacobson
  • On November 5, 2016
  This sermon was delivered at Temple Israel on Friday, November 4th, 2016.  I’m quite terrible at learning languages. Nothing causes me more panic than staring slack jawed at a well meaning foreign speaker. Or that empty headed feeling when I can’t remember the right vocabulary. I enjoy eloquence. I married an English professor and […]
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Ecclesiastes for a Bat Mitzvah

  • Posted by Suzie Jacobson
  • On October 22, 2016
This morning I officiated at the b’not mitzvah (note: plural, feminine Hebrew) of two incredible young women. Trying to be clever, I updated Ecclesiastes’ famous “To everything there is a season” poem so that it would speak to a 13 year old. Some where along the line I realized that maybe this speaks to us all… _________________________________________________________________________________________ […]
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Fly High and Stick the Landing

  • Posted by Jen Gubitz
  • On August 16, 2016
D’var Torah delivered during Riverway Project‘s Soul Food Friday at Temple Israel of Boston, August 12, 2016 Rows upon rows, shelves upon shelves, rooms upon rooms of series, of titles, of tables of contents, of chapters, of pages of books in the Boston Public Library. I was browsing and searching for just the right titles, just […]
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Shabbat Awakenings: “Do As You Have Promised!”

  • Posted by Elaine Zecher
  • On August 5, 2016
Welcome again to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat. “Do as you have promised,” is what Moses told the leaders of the tribes of Reuben and Gad. The Jewish people had made their way over the course of forty years toward the Jordan River. On the other side was the land […]
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Shabbat Awakenings: The Counting Begins

  • Posted by Elaine Zecher
  • On July 29, 2016
Welcome again to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat. Each moment in history has its significance. I am moved by this moment in time. During these past two weeks norms have been shattered in all directions and different opinions have been aired. Wherever we may find ourselves and however we may […]
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Shabbat Awakenings: From the Outside In

  • Posted by Elaine Zecher
  • On July 22, 2016
Welcome again to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat. In the Torah this week, we read about the King of Moab who commissions Balaam, a prophet-seer, to curse the Israelites as they continue their trek toward the land of Canaan. From the ruler’s vantage point, the Jewish people appeared formidable in […]
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Shabbat Awakenings 5776 – July 15, 2016

  • Posted by Elaine Zecher
  • On July 15, 2016
  Welcome again to “Shabbat Awakenings,” a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat. After all of the events of last week, from Baton Rouge to St. Paul to Dallas, I wanted to turn toward hope this week. But I don’t think we are there yet. Grief and mourning course through our cities and towns. […]
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Shabbat Awakenings 5776 – July 8, 2016

  • Posted by Elaine Zecher
  • On July 8, 2016
  Welcome again to “Shabbat Awakenings!” Each Friday, I will be sending you a reflection or thought with which to approach Shabbat as a way to stir up awareness of the potential of this day. Shabbat offers us the chance to turn inward to nourish our inner life so that we have the strength and […]
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The Seventh Person from the Left

  • Posted by Elaine Zecher
  • On July 5, 2016
In Memory of Elie Wiesel He is the seventh person from the left. All of them are gaunt men, younger and older, staring into the camera. Squeezed onto the planks that are supposed to serve as a place to sleep in the prisoner barracks of the concentration camp. But this iconic picture is a picture […]
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I Am With You

  • Posted by Elaine Zecher
  • On July 1, 2016
As I begin to serve as senior rabbi of Temple Israel of Boston, I want to share with you what I told the congregation on the eve of my selection for this great honor.   Nafshi keshora nafshecha My soul is bound up with yours These words are part of the Joseph narrative Describing the […]
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The Cloud and the Trumpet

  • Posted by Ronne Friedman
  • On June 28, 2016
D’var Torah Parashat B’ha-alot’cha June 24, 2015  |  18/19 Sivan 5776 The great Athenian, Thucydides, wrote of the obligations that he imposed upon himself in his quest for historical truth: “With reference to the narrative of events, far from permitting myself to derive it from the first source that came to hand, I did not […]
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Examining Our Practice of Giving

  • Posted by Matt Soffer
  • On March 16, 2016
Pekudei 5776: Finishing Exodus by Examining Our Practice of Giving (This blog was originally delivered as a sermon to the Riverway Project during Soul Food Friday on March 11, 2016) You know the feeling when you love a book so much that as the pages in your right hand get fewer and fewer, you begin getting […]
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Atem Nitzavim

  • Posted by Ronne Friedman
  • On September 11, 2015
Atem Nitzavim: Mishkan HaNefesh’s Successful Navigation of Di-polar Theological Themes At the beginning of the summer, at a meeting of our clergy staff, we agreed that we would devote the month of Elul to an introduction to and exploration of our new Machzor, our new High Holy Day Prayerbook, Mishkan HaNefesh.  The word Mishkan is […]
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No Mention of Iran, Congress, or Nuclear Weapons

  • Posted by Elaine Zecher
  • On September 2, 2015
The moon in the sky tonight will be full.  We should be able to see it in its entirety. And just as it waxed to wholeness, it will wane back to a sliver, only to start the cycle again.  But then, it will not only be a new moon.   It will be a new year […]
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A “Living” Prayer

  • Posted by Suzie Jacobson
  • On September 1, 2015
A “Living” Prayer: Elul as Preparation for a Meaningful High Holiday Season Today is September 1st – the edges of the leaves are taking on a reddish tint, the school buses are rolling through our towns and vacation away messages are being replaced by work emails and carpool schedules. However, though the secular world is […]
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A Word on the Word, “Word”

  • Posted by Matt Soffer
  • On August 21, 2015
This past Tuesday Temple Israel went to the Holy Land of Fenway Park, 40 strong, for Jewish Heritage Night. As we gathered before walking together, I offered this quasi-irreverent D’var Torah, to  complement our peanuts & cracker jacks: A D’var Torah is Hebrew for “a word” of Torah. Davar means “word.”  So let’s take with us […]
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Becoming “More Human” Knowing We Are “Only Human”

  • Posted by Matt Soffer
  • On August 14, 2015
In this week’s portion we encounter what is the Torah’s most unequivocal statement on economic justice.  It reads, and I’ll excerpt the passage, for the sake of brevity: Efes ki lo yih’yeh b’cha evyon – There shall be absolutely no poor among you—since Adonai your God will bless you in the land that Adonai your […]
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We Need Deuteronomy – Because Slavery is Not Over

  • Posted by Matt Soffer
  • On July 29, 2015
I just finished reading Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, an extraordinary work on the travesty of mass incarceration today in the US, particularly of African Americans. I haven’t yet recovered from what Alexander achieved in this work, essentially a telling of the facts, the reality, the truth about a state of injustice that I […]
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Rabbi Zecher blogs from Israel: Strengthen the Core

  • Posted by Elaine Zecher
  • On July 23, 2015
              My trip with AIPAC ended two days ago. But, I am still here in Israel. I chose to spend time with my brother and the rest of his family in Jerusalem. I wanted to settle into a different kind of lifestyle of Israeli living than the one I […]
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Rabbi Zecher blogs from Israel: A Beautiful Paradox

  • Posted by Elaine Zecher
  • On July 16, 2015
            Part of me wishes I could say I have figured it all out.  We have met with members of Knesset, Israeli academics, representatives from the Arab community, and Palestinian leaders and business people. We have traveled intellectually through difficult conversations on rocky terrain trying to understand this complex reality […]
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Rabbi Zecher blogs from Israel: New Puzzle Pieces

  • Posted by Elaine Zecher
  • On July 14, 2015
We landed to the news that the US had reached an agreement with Iran over the extensive negotiations regarding sanctions and its nuclear program. We walked off the plane checking our phones quoting headlines and reactions as we headed toward the passport check area. While some world leaders rejoiced at the long sought resolution, others in Israel were less […]
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Being Played, Playing Along, and Praying for Facts

  • Posted by Matt Soffer
  • On July 14, 2014
As I pray for a ceasefire to this conflict, looking back on how it flared up, I am haunted by the facts. I am haunted by the reality of Israel’s vulnerability, haunted by the prospect of a world without a Jewish State. I am haunted by the fact that Hamas continually launches missiles into Israel, targeting […]
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