First-Hand From Paris, a Reform Rabbi’s Perspective

This letter comes from Rabbi Tom Cohen. He heads a reform congregation in Paris. It was shared with my by TSTI member Ellen Lewis Rice who notes that she and TSTI Past-President Jay Rice met the Parisian Rabbi Cohen a few years ago when he led their group on a tour of the Marais and some other points of interest in Paris. He offers some first-hand thoughts about recent events and writes…

Dear Friends,

Please forgive me for this rather impersonal group letter, rather than a personal note to each one of you. Do know that given the time, I’d prefer otherwise!

That being said, it is truly amazing the tremendous number of phone calls, SMS, email messages, linkedin messages and facebook messages I have received since last Wednesday. How so very true is the Talmudic statement in Shevuot (39a) declaring, “Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh”, meaning ‘all of Israel …

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Hannukah Lights Day Four- Ron Gross’ Work with Friends of the IDF

IMG_3974-0.JPGOne way that my wife, Peggy, and I enjoy helping make a difference is through supporting the Friends of Israel Defense Forces. The “FIDF” helps the Israeli armed forces – the front line of defense who keep the State of Israel safe, who keep democracy alive and strong in the Middle East and who allow the Jews of the world to have a homeland where they are always welcome.

The Israel Defense Forces or “The IDF” is made up of men and women from all walks of life and from all parts of the Jewish world and whose mission it is to defend the existence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Israel, to protect the inhabitants of Israel and to combat all forms of terrorism which threaten daily life. Of interest to those in the United States, perhaps, is the fact that at any given time there are …

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This Times of Israel Story Is Truly Touching- Jewish couple names son after Druze cop killed in terror attack Read more: Jewish couple names son after Druze cop killed in terror attack

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This is one of those stories that touches the heart. As the Times of Israel is reporting…

Zidan isn’t a name usually heard at a Jewish circumcision, but a New York couple gave their newborn son the moniker to honor a Druze policeman killed while responding to a terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue last month.

Alexander Chester, a corporate real estate attorney, told The Times of Israel that he and his wife, Jennifer, a medical resident at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, wanted to make sure that Zidan Saif’s name would be perpetuated within the Jewish community, naming their son Yaakov Zidan.

Read more: Jewish couple names son after Druze cop killed in terror attack | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-couple-names-son-after-druze-cop-killed-in-terror-attack/#ixzz3LyuewKTP
Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook

Read the full post

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Important Read from Ari Shavit

Arei Shavit, author of My Promised Land, has penned an important piece about his perspective on the upcoming Israeli election. While those of us in the US won’t be voting it is an important insight into the Democratic process currently unfolding in the Jewish State and an interesting look at the debate taking place within Israeli society.

http://www.haaretz.com/mobile/.premium-1.631097?v=C36042712BA4D916B5A14BB7CB69E347…

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The New TSTI Website Is Live!!!

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Dear Friends,

Almost a year ago, we set out to build a new TSTI website from the ground up. I’m excited to announce that our brand new website TSTI.org is online!
The new website has a clean look, will always be up-to-date and is a powerful way to deepen your connection to Temple. Here are a few of the state-of-the-art features:

A comprehensive Calendar that will make it easy and efficient to find out what is happening. It is also directly linked to event registrations.

Online Registration for Events and, if there is a registration fee, Online Payment.

Direct Bill Payment and Donation opportunities.

Two Integrated Blogs. One (TSTI Blog) will have a variety of posts and links from the various clergy and TSTI departments. The other (Rabbi’s Blog) will allow me to share important articles I recommend, my writings, and more.

Our Facebook page and Twitter feed …

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Yom Kippur Morning Sermon – 5775

Yom Kippur AM 214 – 5775

This past July it was reported that ISIS had destroyed the Tomb of Jonah in Iraq. My surprise was not around the fact that ISIS would destroy a holy place… after all, one cannot expect a group that beheads people to respect sacred space. No, I was surprised because I didn’t even know there WAS a Tomb of Jonah. And I was only learning about it after it was gone.

Thanks to an online search and some study, I received a bit of an education. I learned that within present-day Mosul is the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh, where the Prophet Jonah preached.

This prompted me to go back and reread the Book of Jonah.

For those of you who do not recall the story:

God tells the prophet Jonah to go to the city of Ninevah and warn the people there that they …

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Yom Kippur Morning Sermon – 5775

This past July it was reported that ISIS had destroyed the Tomb of Jonah in Iraq. My surprise was not around the fact that ISIS would destroy a holy place… after all, one cannot expect a group that beheads people to respect sacred space. No, I was surprised because I didn’t even know there WAS a Tomb of Jonah. And I was only learning about it after it was gone.

Thanks to an online search and some study, I received a bit of an education. I learned that within present-day Mosul is the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh, where the Prophet Jonah preached.

This prompted me to go back and reread the Book of Jonah.

For those of you who do not recall the story:

God tells the prophet Jonah to go to the city of Ninevah and warn the people there that they need to change their evil ways …

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Rosh Hashannah Morning Sermon 2014 / 5775

“How I spent my summer vacation” By Daniel Cohen

That’s the title of this sermon.

Now, I don’t typically give my sermons titles, but this morning’s sermon is far from typical. It is, in fact, different from any sermon I have previously given here at TSTI.

As many of you know, I had the opportunity to spend part of July in Israel as a participant and co-leader of the very first rabbinic mission for progressive rabbis sponsored by AIPAC’S educational foundation. There were twenty of us on the trip, with Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox rabbis represented. The goal of the mission was to give us — all committed Zionists in our own right — a broader understanding of and appreciation for Israel’s complexities and challenges.

We arrived in Israel on Tuesday afternoon, claimed our luggage, got on the bus, and headed toward Jerusalem. As we left the airport, our tour …

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