RAB Spot

Facing Darkness Together

Chanukah is the most Jewish holiday there is. It’s not only because family comes together or because we eat a lot of food, or even because dreidl is one of the most well known Yiddish words, but rather because of an underlying belief that the Jewish people have held connected to the meaning of the holiday: that even in the darkest of times it is possible to have hope.

I learned from my teacher at JTS, Rabbi David Hoffman, that there is a different side of the long-lasting-oil-miracle story as described by Jacob Falk (1680–1756, Poland), better known by the title of his book, the Penei Yehoshua.

He teaches that there is a law in the Babylonian Talmud (5-7th century, compilation of rabbinic discourse) which teaches that objects rendered impure can still be used for communal needs (BT Yoma 6b). Following that teaching, the fact that only one container of pure oil was found should not have been a concern to the Israelites that wished to rededicate the temple. They could have used any of the oil that they found in the desecrated temple- pure or impure. Seemingly, the miracle of the pure oil lasting for eight nights was unnecessary!

So if the pure oil was not necessary for lighting the menorah, what was the purpose of the miracle? The Penei Yehoshua teaches that God kept the oil lasting for eight nights to remind the Israelites that God was still with them. After the battle with the Greeks, the war-weary Israelites needed a reminder that God was with them in order to give them the inner strength they needed to re-engage with the sanctity of life.

Chanukah comes at the darkest time of the year and the darkest time of the month when the moon is almost completely hidden. And yet we light a candle to mitigate this darkness and bring our candles together to remind ourselves that all we need to bring a miracle is one light.

Shaarei Tikvah to Offer Interfaith Aufrufs

Recently, our ritual committee studied about a ceremony on shabbat offering blessings to interfaith couples before their weddings. One of the things I love most about being a rabbi is introducing people to living a Jewish life- celebrating special and joyous occasions as Jews, helping individuals suffering a loss through the comfort of Jewish practices… Read more

Connecting with Others

This week we commemorated Sh’va Asar b’Tamuz, the 17th of Tammuz, a fast day in the Jewish calendar and a day to commemorate the breaching of the walls in Jerusalem, which led to the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE). On this day we also mark the destruction of the First Temple (586 BCE)… Read more

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Week of Feb. 16 -22

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



Friday candle lighting 5:14pm
Sat. Havdalah 6:14pm
Sun. minyan 9:00am
Mon. minyan 9:00am (Presidents' Day)
Thur. minyan 7:00am

Parashat Terumah

While Moses remains on Mount Sinai, God provides detailed instructions regarding the construction and decoration of the Mishkan. This Tabernacle is to house the Ark and allow the Divine Presence to dwell among the people of Israel.

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