Category: Rabbi’s page

The power of music and the legacy of Debbie Friedman

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Music stirs our souls in a way that words often cannot, activating emotions within us that we did not know existed… Music is such a strong presence in Temple Emanuel worship style that it is almost unimaginable without it! Yet music in worship (especially instrumental music) has a complicated history in Judaism. Following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE the rabbis placed a ban on the use of music in general, and especially in worship, as a sign of mourning. It is not hard to imagine that having witnessed the devastation, the last thing they wanted to […] more

And the Youth Shall see visions…

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I hope your first post-Thanksgivukkah Thanksgiving was a wonderful time to reconnect with family and friends. If you missed the latkes at your table, no need to panic – Chanukah is almost here! Over the last few years we have spent a lot of time and effort building up the TE programs for our post bnei mitzvah teens. There was a gap left by the demise of Makom, our local community high school, but even before it disappeared, only a few TE teens would join its programs every year. Our Confirmation program continued to attract students, and we had a […] more

Vote, Vote, Vote!


What a Holy Day season we had this year! A huge thank you to all the volunteers who have helped make this year the best yet! (We are blessed with so many, that I would not be able to thank everyone by name here – but that’s a good problem to have, I’m sure you will agree:) The sukkah has come down and the chilly weather has arrived, but here at TE we are buzzing with energy and excitement for the new year. The calendar is filled with opportunities to get engaged – so whether you are looking to nourish […] more

Chag Sukkot Sameach!


ולקחתם לכם ביום הראשון פרי עץ הדר כפת תמרים וענף עץ עבת וערבי נחל ושמחתם לפני ה׳ אלקיכם שבעת ימים “On the first day, you must take for yourself a fruit of the citron tree, an unopened palm frond (lulav), myrtle branches, and willows [that grow near] the brook. You shall rejoice before God for seven days.” (Leviticus 23:40) After the solemn drama of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we arrive at the Festival of Sukkot – a week-long celebration, a happiest of festivals in the Jewish tradition. In fact, the rabbis would refer to it as ‘heChag’, or ‘the […] more

Havdalah at the Lincoln Memorial

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I just returned from a long weekend in Washington, D.C. where I accompanied two TE teens (Noah Simon and Anne Ryack) who attended the L’taken seminar of the Religious Action Center (RAC) of the Reform Movement. They were part of a 12-strong group from New Haven area, bringing together teens from Temple Emanuel, Congregation Mishkan Israel and Temple Beth David. I have asked Noah and Anne to share some of their thoughts about the experience with you all, and they have provided a wonderful report below. All I can add is how much I was impressed with our kids, their […] more

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