RAB Spot

Why Do We Publicize the Miracle This Year

This evening as I chanted the blessings with my family before lighting the Chanukiah, I was reminded of the many miracles that have brought us to this day. We are blessed to live in a country, and specifically, in an area of this country where we can boldly place chanukiot in our windows for all to see. Yes, the chanukiah makes it clear that there are Jewish residents living within, but it also says much more.

Publicizing the miracle of Chanukah through lighting a chanukiah has many different meanings. For some of us the miracle is about Jewish continuity. How incredible it is to imagine that the Jewish people have maintained these lights each year, and are able and proud to proclaim again that we are still here and we are full of hope and gratitude for our lives and our heritage.… Read more

Hope Amidst Pain

As I filled out my ballot this morning I felt a tremendous sense of pride. I am the first of my family on both sides to be born in this country at a time when others like me whose families have come to this country from around the world are running for office. Maital and… Read more

With a Little Help from My Friends

Whether you hear it sung by the Beatles or Joe Cocker, the importance of getting by with a little help from a friend is central to the opening story of this week’s parashah, Vayera. The scene opens with Abraham sitting at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day, healing from his… Read more

Religious School Highlights


Tzedakah: Is it just about giving?

Our students engaged in a brief conversation about tzedekah, the Jewish Value of giving after viewing a video to set the stage (Click here to watch). As you may recall, tzedek (צֶדֶק), which can be defined as justice or righteousness, is the overarching theme for our year. Tzedakah (צְדָקָה) comes from this root. So, when we think of the action of “giving tzedakah,” we are in essence bringing about justice and/or behaving righteously. After viewing the clip, we discussed the idea that our intention when we give is much more important than the amount we give.

In a similar teaching to what the video offers, we learn:

Pirkei Avot 5:13

There are four kinds [of] givers of tzedakah (charity). [One who] wishes to give, but does not [wish for] others to give — he has an evil eye with respect to others; [one who] wishes for others to give, and he [himself] does not give — he has an evil eye with respect to himself; [one who] gives and [wishes that] others will give — [that’s a] chasid (righteous person); [one who] does not give and does not [wish that] others will give — [that’s a] rasha (wicked person).

משנה אבות ה׳:י״ג

(יג) אַרְבַּע מִדּוֹת בְּנוֹתְנֵי צְדְקָה. הָרוֹצֶה שֶׁיִּתֵּן וְלֹא יִתְּנוּ אֲחֵרִים, עֵינוֹ רָעָה בְּשֶׁל אֲחֵרִים. יִתְּנוּ אֲחֵרִים וְהוּא לֹא יִתֵּן, עֵינוֹ רָעָה בְשֶׁלּוֹ. יִתֵּן וְיִתְּנוּ אֲחֵרִים – חָסִיד. לֹא יִתֵּן וְלֹא יִתְּנוּ אֲחֵרִים – רָשָׁע:

Questions to consider:

  • What does each of these “givers” of tzedakah teach us about Judaism’s approach to giving?

  • How, if at all, does this text shift how you previously thought about giving tzedakah?

Throughout the year, your child(ren) will be putting their learning into action! Each week, we will be collecting tzedekah, (remember, the amount each child gives is not important). We also want our students to feel empowered to decide where their money will go. Toward this end, on the Monday before Rosh Hodesh, the start of the Jewish month, each class will vote on the charity towards which they wish to donate. Perhaps discuss what charities are important to your family and create a list for your child(ren) to share with their classmates and teachers.

Calendar of Events

Week of January 22-28

Friday services 6:00pm
Saturday services 9:18am

Friday candle lighting 4:47pm
Saturday havdalah 5:49pm
Sun. minyan 9:00am "Mahjong" Minyan
Mon. minyan 7:00am
Thur. minyan 7:00am


Moses spends much of his time explaining God’s statutes and laws to the people; his father-in-law, Jethro, suggests that he delegate some of this judicial authority. After ascending Mount Sinai to speak with God, Moses returns to prepare the people for Revelation. Amidst awesome thunder, lightning, and flame, God, glorious and holy, reveals the Divine Presence – and the Ten Commandments – to Israel.

Calendar of Events

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