By Angelica Vohland, 1/29/2018
I had the opportunity to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem on my first trip to Israel through the Reform Movement’s Sci-Tech Israel program. Jerusalem was one of the most anticipated stops on our tour of numerous factories and tech-startups located throughout the nation. My soul was swelling with excitement; I knew I was footsteps away from a place I had merely visited in childhood daydreams. As I walked through the women’s courtyard for the very first time, I noticed that a stark barrier stood distinctly to my left, separating me from the male friends I had met on my science- and... Read More
By Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, 10/04/2017
Sukkot marks a transitional moment in the cycle of our Jewish year as we move from our somber reflections during the Days of Awe to our celebrations of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. We shift from a period of introspection, a focus on our innermost selves, to a time of turning outward and re-entering the world around us. The metaphysical work of our souls complete, we now turn to the physical work of our hands as we build our Sukkot and enter a very communal and earth-bound phase of our annual cycle.
As a reminder of our homeless wandering in the wilderness of Sinai, we are commanded to build... Read More
By Shelley Niceley Groff, 8/29/2017
The day started with a bang. Literally.
But no one was fazed. Everyone knew it was coming. It was 8 a.m. on a beautiful morning at URJ 6 Points Sci Tech Academy, and I was excited to see camp in action. The entire camp was gathered on the lawn following morning study based on daily blessings. Counselors ran onto the field and did something with dry ice and ping pong balls. Poof! There was indeed a big bang, lots of cheering, a rousing rendition of the “Boker Big Bang” song led by a very energetic song leader, and the day began.
That was just the... Read More
By Sharon K. Benoff & Robin Krieger, 5/31/2017
"Six Days you shall labor and do all your work, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of Adonai your God.” (Exodus 20:9-10) Shabbat is a day of rest. A special day. The days of Friday and Saturday occur automatically, but Shabbat occurs when we make it happen.
Typically, Sharon lights the Shabbat candles at home; recites the blessings over the wine and challah. Currently, Sharon is congregational president and she attends Shabbat services more regularly and finds it calming, rejuvenating, and spiritual.
Robin also enjoys baking challah prior to Shabbat…can you smell it?
In Israel... Read More
By Cantor Annice M. Benamy, 5/30/2017
I like to celebrate often after a period of spiritual reawakening and rededication to Torah study and observance. In traditional Judaism this is called a Bat Mitzvah Sheni (a second Bat Mitzvah) and I am not obligated to have one since my first bat mitzvah was Shabbat HaGadol, April 9, 1976.
So what went into my decision to create a Bat Mitzvah Sheni ceremony for myself? I will start in 2008, when I took my first trip to Israel with my husband, David (z’l”). We went to the women’s section of the Kotel and I was not pleased not being able to be with David and pray according to my... Read More