Surfing in Tel Aviv Leads to Torah

Photograph of Nolan Lebovitz
5777
by Rabbi Nolan Lebovitz
posted on August 21, 2017
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
This summer, my wife and I traveled to Israel with our three children. I celebrated my birthday there in Tel Aviv. We awoke early completely jet lagged at 4am and we walked from the beach to 16 Rothschild Street, where Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared Israel’s Independence on May 14th, 1948. We sat in the same room as Ben-Gurion, and listened to a recording of the members of that meeting recite the Shehechiyanu prayer for an event so special, so unique, that it hadn’t occurred in two thousand years. Read more...

Eureka and Teshuva

Rabbi Ephraim Pelcovits
5776
by Rabbi Ephraim Pelcovits
posted on September 24, 2016
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
It finally really hit me last Tuesday night that the High Holy Days are coming, while I was sitting outside at LA's gorgeous Hollywood Bowl for a concert. A cool breeze blew through the hills, I momentarily shivered, and in that instant I knew it was autumn: time for honey cake; and shofarot; and also time for repentance. Why did this realization about the impending Days of Awe come to me then, I wondered, instead of in front of a sacred book, or at our beautiful minyan, while reciting the Hebrew month's extra Psalm preparing us for the High Holy Days? Read more...

Choosing Torah

Headshot of Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
5766
by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
posted on September 22, 2016
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
A remarkable revolution has hit the Jewish world: for the first time in its history, the Federations and secular organizations acknowledge that Jewish education must be one of the highest priorities of the entire Jewish community.  Funding that used to go to “Jewish” hospitals and other institutions whose Jewishness consisted primarily in the ethnicity of its top staff (rather than any distinctive programming or services offered) now must take a back seat to the explicitly Jewish concern of talmud torah (Jewish learning). Why the shift? Read more...

Blessed in Your Comings and Goings

Headshot of Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
5765
by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
posted on September 21, 2015
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
Why do people turn to Judaism?  Certainly we have lived through enough to know that being religious doesn't mean that we can avoid the spills and disappointments that festoon the road of life.  A Jewish commitment doesn't automatically liberate a person from fear or anxiety or guilt, nor can it guarantee happiness or success.  If Judaism can't provide those lofty goals, then what good is it?  Why bother? Read more...