If someone were to ask me to describe the essence of Temple Israel while standing on one foot, I would say: it's all about relationships, meaning, and impact. I suppose one could say that about many organizations and causes, so let me add a little commentary here. When it comes to relationships, the connections we share in our congregation possess a genuine warmth and depth.

In the coming months, we will have many opportunities to extend and deepen those connections. These are the ways we build community and foster real, not just virtual, relationships.

When it comes to meaning, what we share is firmly-rooted in the wisdom and values of our tradition. We nourish those roots through regular opportunities for spiritual practice and intellectual engagement, supplemented by visits from leading contemporary scholars. Our shared search for meaning is what brings us together, along with an openness to be touched and transformed by it.

Lastly, when it comes to impact, we are all doing our part to make a difference locally and with regard to some of our world's most pressing issues.

“Relationships. Meaning. Impact.” These three words describe the essential elements of our congregation. The additional commentary I've shared may help to describe the unique ways in which we embody those words. Yet as remarkable as our community is in these ways, equally remarkable is what will happen when someone reading this article comes to an event and allows himself/herself to be touched and transformed by it.

If you find even one program or service on our calendar that looks interesting, that someone may be you. Like Hillel, I invite you to come and find out for yourself.

Hear more from Rabbi Heyn by attending our weekly Shabbat services. We'd love for you to join us each Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.

Rabbi recommends

7:30 pm Shabbat Services @ Bertha Abess Sanctuary
Shabbat Services @ Bertha Abess Sanctuary
Nov 24 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
10:00 am Shabbat Morning Service @ Gumenick Chapel
Shabbat Morning Service @ Gumenick Chapel
Nov 25 @ 10:00 am – 11:15 am
Join us for our weekly Saturday Morning Services.


"How did you fare during Hurricane Irma?" That may have been the most frequently-asked question in the entire State of Florida this week. How did YOU fare? Let us know how you're doing. I am glad to report that virtually all of our staff and Temple members are fine. There are reports of some damage […]

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Every year before the High Holy Days, AIPAC hosts a Rabbinic Symposium in Washington, D.C. to provide rabbis with material they can use for their sermons. I am grateful to have the opportunity to attend this year, which is where I am this very moment, participating in informative sessions with about 200 other rabbis. It's a […]

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I hope that it is apparent to most readers by now that I am a student of Torah and proudly affiliated with the Reform movement and its progressive stance on egalitarianism, social justice, interfaith relations and similar values. I also have a longstanding appreciation for spirituality in its many forms, from Jewish mystical traditions such […]

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Jill and I will be hosting a few athletes for the upcoming JCC Maccabi Games. At last night's planning meeting I saw a quote on the back of someone's T-shirt that said,"You haven't lived a perfect day unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you." I looked up […]

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In this week's Torah portion, Matot - Masei (Numbers 30:2-36:13) we come to the end of the Book of Numbers. There are several portions throughout the Torah that are combined during a non-leap year, and this is one of them. In this message, I have chosen to focus on parashat Masei. Like an ancient TripTik, […]

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Just watching, hearing or seeing the latest news from one day to the next is enough to instill in anyone a sense of fear. This month has been designated as LGBT Pride Month (by our previous administration) and yet mixed with the pride felt by many in our community, there is also a terrible sadness. […]

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Although we Jews celebrate many holidays, we have only three Jewish "festivals." Shavuot is the shortest and least observed among them. (If you aren't sure you know the names of the other two festivals, I've included them at the end of this message.) Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and is […]

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"What is the most important Jewish holiday of the year?" I've known at least a few rabbis and educators who have asked this question. Most respondents say something like Yom Kippur or Pesach, when the answer these rabbis and educators were looking for was–Shabbat. One can easily make a case for Shabbat as the most […]

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Some claim that the Passover seder is the most widely observed Jewish ritual. But once the seder is over, not as many Jews continue to abstain from eating hametz (bread and other leavened products) and even fewer attend Passover services. We had a small number in attendance for our service on the first day of […]

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Parashat Vayak'heil-P'kudei (Ex 35:1-40:38) brings to a close the book of Exodus. These concluding chapters repeat many similar themes from prior weeks - the materials which were brought for the building of the tabernacle (mishkan) in the wilderness, the garments that the priests wore, the breastplate worn by the High Priest, and so on. At […]

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