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.

Full and Honest Disclosure

Just yesterday, a U.S. presidential candidate asked Russia to help find the missing emails from Hillary Clinton's private server. In other words, he held a press conference in which he urged Vladimir Putin's espionage services to help sabotage the American election and put him in the White House. "How did we get to this point?" […]

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This Shabbat, we begin reading from B'midbar–the first Torah portion in (and the Hebrew title of) the Book of Numbers. Every Torah portion is named after a word or phrase that appears in the opening verses of that portion. The same is true for the title given to each of the five books of Moses, […]

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What is important to you?

There are many important things going on this week that I could choose to talk about. Here are two things at the top of my list: First, I want to bring to everyone's awareness that today is National Gun Violence Awareness Day. I am meeting at this moment with Mayor Carlos Gimenez, along with rabbis […]

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What is a Confirmation?

Confirmation is a Jewish ceremony which originated about two centuries ago as a Reform innovation to mark the completion of formal religious school education. The ceremony was initially intended to replace the Bar Mitzvah ceremony, thereby extending the duration of religious studies by at least a few more years. It soon became the norm for […]

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This week's Torah reading is Parashat Kedoshim, chapters 19-20 of the book of Leviticus. It includes a long list of laws and precepts but at its core is what has become known as "The Holiness Code," inviting us to learn what it means to be holy. The reading begins with God telling Moses to speak […]

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