RAB Spot

You Can Make a Difference: Let’s Fight for Religious Pluralism

Theodor Herzl envisioned Israel as a homeland for all Jews. But today the government of that Jewish homeland only recognizes one stream of Judaism. The Masorti and other pluralisticmmovements are in an ongoing struggle for recognition. While progress has been made, there are still many challenges ahead.

In the middle of December we had the privilege of learning from Rabbi Nathalie Lastreger from the Masorti/Conservative synagogue in Kvar Vradim, Israel. We had a wonderful Shabbat together during which we learned about her incredible journey from an ultra-Orthodox rebbetzin to a Masorti rabbi. Rabbi Nathalie is a beacon of light for Jews in Israel who care about supporting a Judaism in Israel that is more egalitarian, inclusive, intellectually honest, and spiritually uplifting. We at Shaarei TIkvah are so proud of the work she and her community are doing to help Israelis grow in their Jewish identities. She reminded us of the deep connections we share and how Israeli Jews can learn a great deal from American Jews and vice-versa. We can grow together by being in relationship with one another.

This month, the American Jewish community has an incredible opportunity to support Rabbi Nathalie’s community as well as the entire Masorti Movement in Israel. The upcoming 2020 World Zionist Congress election, which only occurs every five years, is held to determine the leadership of the World Zionist Organization. This is an important agency connected to a number of powerful and influential Jewish organizations where Diaspora Jews have a voice. It is imperative that the MERCAZ Slate – the official slate of the Conservative/Masorti Movement -make a strong showing in this upcoming election.

A vote for MERCAZ is more than just the opportunity to gain delegates to the World Zionist Congress – it is our best opportunity to send a strong message to the Israeli government and people of Israel that we stand for an Israel that is democratic and pluralistic, that recognizes and empowers all streams of Jewish practice, and that guarantees the civil and political rights of all of its citizens.

Votes may be cast from January 21st to March 11th. You can Pledge to Vote right now by heading over to MERCAZ2020.org or by texting VOTE to 917-332-1162. We’ll send you a reminder once the voting period opens as well as timely updates on the campaign. If you want to make an even bigger impact, get involved in the campaign effort! To volunteer, contact Rabbi Adam at rabbi@shaareitikvah.org. I look forward to working together to help to build an Israel that is truly a Jewish home for the Jewish people.

Kadima! Let’s do it!


Rabbi Adam



Rabbi Adam’s Rosh Hashanah Sermon, Day 1

Getting to the Tuna: Modeling Healthy Debate in Community Rosh Hashanah 1, 5780 I look forward to this moment every year. First day Rosh Hashana- the first time we are all together in one space as a community- But what makes this community special is not that we are all sitting here today. We are… Read more

Where Do We Go from Here?

Dear friends, This has been a week that calls for a Shabbat of rest to help us mourn, to heal, to dream, and to act.  In the aftermath of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton that ended 29 lives in an instant and injured so many others along with the news from Israel… Read more

Religious School Highlights


Update from our Education Director

The Team that Inspires our Children

By Rachel Mann

As I walk through the halls of our religious school, I am inspired by the engaging, deep learning in each of our classrooms and am reminded of the words of the Shema, “Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you on this day. I impress them upon you to your children.”

We are blessed with an incredible staff who understands and appreciates the responsibilities described in the Shema. Among the many things we teach our students are the prayers and how to be prayerful people; the Hebrew language, so they can be participants in synagogue services; the history of Israel and a love for the Jewish people; the holidays, and many of the Torah stories so central to our tradition. Our teachers masterfully create lessons that grab our students’ attention and challenge them to reach their potential.

Alongside these incredible teachers we have some great artists, musicians, and specialists who brilliantly elevate and deepen our students’ learning. These are individuals who bring their life’s passion to Shaarei Tikvah and share their gifts with our students. I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you some highlights of this learning.

Briand Gelfand, an incredibly talented musician, lifts the voices of our students with songs of the holidays, prayers from our tradition, and cultural Jewish music. Understanding the importance of building relationships with his students, he greets each student by name. He also meets every student where they are by offering the transliteration, Hebrew, and English for all songs so everyone can actively participate. There is something truly magical about hearing the voices of the next generation singing songs that are both familiar and new.

Pamela Skop is a yoga master who helps our youngest students stretch their bodies, hearts, and minds. During workshops with Pam, you might find our students working together to create a yoga pose or turning inward to reflect on something personal to seek individual growth. This helps to build community, but also offers the opportunity for students to slow down and focus on their inner lives. This can open the door to a deepening spiritual engagement and growth.

Jane Steinman, a master storyteller, brings to life the stories of our tradition and helps us step inside the shoes of characters we read about in the Tanakh. Through activities with Jane, we learn different values connected to stories and holidays of Judaism, such as empathy, patience, collaboration, and compassion.

Sylvia Fallas, nourishes our bodies with her Jewish cultural cooking. She focuses on recipes and techniques that our students can bring home and recreate in their own kitchens, perhaps establishing new traditions! In creating these treats with peers, students learn to collaborate and take part in a greater whole.

Alex Genty-Waksberg collaborates with teachers to create opportunities for students to capture their own interpretations on film. Alex guides our students in taking the learning in the classroom and bringing it to life while also supporting in directing each film created. With this documentation, students and teachers alike are able to reflect and further build each student’s learning.

Eden Cohen, our shinshin (Israeli emissary), brings Israel to life with his experiential, fun, and educational activities. He always greets our students with a smile and his contagious, positive energy. Naturally, the students immediately gravitated to Eden and continue to strengthen their relationship with Israel through their learning with him.

Rabbi Adam and Cantor Cohen are such an integral part of our learning as well. Rabbi Adam will sometimes pop into classrooms to see what students are learning and take part in the lesson while other times, he’ll engage in deeper conversations with our students. It’s always special when Cantor Cohen meets with our students to teach the beautiful melodies of our prayers as well as the Torah and Haftorah trope to our soon-to-be bar and bat mitzvah students!

In addition to these specialists, there is an exceptional group of volunteers for whom I am immensely grateful. These teen volunteers and congregants serve as role models and send a clear message that we value Jewish learning in our community, which extends beyond the walls of our school. Because of these individuals who volunteer their time, we are able to carry out our shared vision of learning.

Our teachers, specialists, and volunteers are truly the greatest team who give our students the greatest gift of all, exposure to deep and meaningful learning, which creates opportunities for each learner to continue developing a rich, personal connection to Judaism.



January 28- February 4, 2019 Kitah Gimmel had some fun with Hebrew letters last week! After reviewing Aleph-Bet through yoga, the class put their knowledge to the test in a game of “Shimon Omer” (Simon Says). This past weekend was filled with light and new experiences! On Saturday evening Kitot Gimmel and Dalet led us in… Read more

Calendar of Events

Week of Tues. Jan. 28 - Mon. Feb. 3

Wed. 6:00 pm
Thur. minyan 8:30am
Fri. 6:00 pm
Fri. candle lighting 4:54pm
Sat. services 9:18am
Havdalah 5:55 pm
Sun. minyan 9:00am
Mon. minyan 7:00am

Parashat Bo

The last three of the Ten Plagues are visited on Egypt: a swarm of locusts, darkness and all of the firstborn of Egypt are killed. This last plague finally breaks Pharaoh’s resistance and the Israelites are permitted to leave.

Calendar of Events

Upcoming Events: