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Sermon in Song: Welcoming the Stranger

11/17/2022 01:25:03 PM


In the TV show “The Big Bang Theory,” Dr. Sheldon Cooper, a brilliant but socially awkward physicist, navigates social situations by mastering scripted patterns of etiquette. According to Sheldon, cultural convention dictates that when a person is upset, you offer him a hot beverage. Sheldon usually offers the hot beverage without expressing a genuine sense of empathy. He makes the gesture...Read more...

A Time for Everything: Musical Adaptations of Kohelet

10/26/2022 11:12:28 PM


This is a link to the video of the D'var Torah that Cantor Fogelman offered on October 14, 2022. The text is included below.

On Sukkot, it is traditional to read from...

A Journey THrough the Narrow Place 

08/04/2022 11:41:55 AM


This is the D'var Torah that Cantor Fogelman delivered on July 29, 2022. 

In early June, some of my close friends from college and I spent a long weekend together up at Mohonk Mountain House. While we were there, decided to attempt a hike called Labyrinth, with its famous rock scrambles and Lemon Squeeze chimney. We didn’t know...Read more...

Reflections on July 4 in Highland Park

07/15/2022 11:54:57 AM


This is the D'var Torah that Cantor Fogelman offered on July 8, 2022. She uses wisdom from the week's Torah portion, Chukat, to offer ways we can take action in the wake of the Highland Park July 4 shooting. 

The past couple of weeks have been marred by many different types of loss: the loss of 21 young school children in Uvalde, Texas, the loss or reproductive freedom, and the loss of innocent people...Read more...

God is In the Details: Jewish and Spiritual Values in the Musicals of Stephen Sondheim, z'l

06/14/2022 07:51:25 PM


This "Sermon in Sondheim" was offered by Cantor Fogelman as part of Broadway Shabbat at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester on June 10, 2022. For the complete audio and video, please click here.

When we ask for forgiveness on Yom Kippur, we differentiate between the sins that we have committed knowingly and unknowingly. Our subconscious plays a significant role in our actions,...Read more...

Temporary structure, PErpetual Joy

10/03/2021 09:54:07 PM


Sukkot is known in Hebrew as Z’man Simchateinu – the time of our joy. It’s the happiest festival on the Jewish calendar, labeled as such because it represents a time for coming together to enjoy family, nature, and a bountiful harvest.  Read more...

A Double Portion of Tzedek

08/17/2021 03:00:07 PM


This is the D'var Torah that Cantor Fogelman offered on 8/13/2021.

Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof. It’s a curious phrase, with the repetition of the word Tzedek.  Justice, Justice you shall pursue. One of the most famous passages in the Torah, these words can be found in this week’s portion, Shoftim.

With the attention that the first part of the phase gets on posters, law...Read more...

Rules are made to be Broken

08/04/2021 01:24:35 PM


This is the D'var Torah that Cantor Fogelman offered on 7/30/2021.

The name of this week’s Torah portion, Eikev, literally means “if you obey these rules.” In its opening passages, Moses tells the Israelites that if they follow God’s laws, they will continue to be blessed with kindness and protection. Moses promises that the Land of...Read more...

Shema Yisrael: The Original Haiku?

07/28/2021 03:17:38 PM


This is the D'var Torah that Cantor Fogelman offered on July 23, 2021.

This week’s Torah portion has something in common with the Tokyo Olympics. And I’ll admit it: It’s a bit of a stretch. But this week’s Torah portion, which as a reminder contains the Shema and V’ahavta, has a connection to Japanese culture that will blow your mind. Are you ready for this one?...Read more...

Hashiveinu: Four Musical Paths Towards Return 

07/20/2021 03:46:51 PM


This is the D'var Torah that Cantor Fogelman offered on 7/16/2021.

In honor of Tisha B’Av, I wanted to take some time tonight to explore the central text associated with this holiday: The Book of Lamentations, otherwise known in Hebrew as Eicha. The name Eicha literally translates to “How?” --  how could this have happened? How can I recover from this devastating loss? In this case, the loss was the Holy Temple in...Read more...

Parshat Masei: A Rare Musical Journey

07/13/2021 04:48:58 PM


This is the D'var Torah that Cantor Fogelman offered during Friday night services on 7/9/2021. 

Many of us have planned or may have already gone on road trips this summer. One of the best parts of a long car ride is jamming out to that perfect playlist of music. Of course, these days our family road trip soundtrack is chosen mostly by...Read more...

Sephardic Music for Passover

03/29/2021 08:33:14 PM


Here are the words that Cantor Fogelman offered in her Sermon-in-Song featuring Sephardic music for Passover on Friday, March 26:

Many of you have heard me speak about my mixed Sephardic and Ashkenazic background before. My father’s side of the family is Ashkenazic, with roots in Russia, Hungary, and the Ukraine. My mother’s family is Sephardic, hailing from Turkey, Greece, and Rhodes. The variations...Read more...

Lessons From A Tzedakah Box

02/16/2021 10:40:03 AM


When our son Alex was born, he was given a Tzedakah box filled with money for us to donate to a charity of our choice. The brightly colored box, shaped and striped like a zebra, sat on his dresser untouched for nearly three years.  

A few...

Mothers in Israel: Shabbat Shira 2021

02/02/2021 10:03:29 PM


Here are the words that Cantor Fogelman offered in honor of this year’s Shabbat Shira (Shabbat of Song) on January 29:

Tonight, in honor of Shabbat Shira, I’d like to offer a musical exploration of women’s voices in the Hebrew Bible – specifically, Miriam, Deborah, and Hannah. I wanted to focus on women in leadership this year in particular, given...Read more...

Olam Chesed Yibaneh: Building a World (and a nation) with Love

01/07/2021 11:49:21 AM


As chaos unfolded in our nation’s capitol yesterday, I was scheduled to meet with our sixth grade students over zoom. Instead of teaching my prepared lesson, their teachers and I decided to give them space to talk about the current events of the day and to offer a prayer for peace.

The song we sang, “Olam Chesed Yibaneh” by Rabbi Menachem Creditor, teaches that we must build a world from love. Rabbi Creditor wrote this song in...Read more...

A Very Jewish Christmas: Three Beloved Christmas Carols and Their Jewish Origins

12/29/2020 09:01:09 AM


D'var Torah, 12/25/20

One of my fondest high school memories was right before winter break each year when our choir would traverse the school hallways as our director carted an electric keyboard on wheels. Our goal was to spread holiday cheer to each and every classroom by singing Christmas carols. You could even call it the original version of a flashmob. And you might wonder how a bunch...Read more...

I Had a little dreidel: The 2020 Edition

12/08/2020 11:40:03 AM


2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. Jewish humor has often served as a coping mechanism in times of trouble. To lighten the mood this Hanukkah, here are some new verses for "I Had a Little Dreidel" that are especially relevant to the times we are living in:

I had a little dreidel I played with it on Zoom. Unfortunately, the WIFI crashed And kicked me off the room.    I had a little dreidel To show on the...Read more...

Five Jewish Communal Lessons from a Socially Distant Halloween

11/03/2020 10:58:59 AM


Celebrating Halloween this year taught us many lessons that are relevant to the world of Jewish engagement. published Cantor Fogelman's observations on these lessons on their website this week. Click here to read more, or see full text below. 


In American culture, celebrating Halloween is a typically a well-oiled conglomeration of costumes, candy, and parties. But when a pandemic rages and...Read more...

The earliest possible moment

10/28/2020 12:09:04 PM


It might seem a bit early to be thinking about Chanukah, but I want to talk about Chanukah in conjunction with something that is very current in our lives right now: The election.

Lighting Chanukah candles anytime after sunset is typically fair game. However, I learned while living in Israel that many observant Jews rush to light candles at the very first twinkle of stars in the sky. This way, they prolong the mitzvah of lighting...Read more...

Jewish Geography Zoom Racing 

07/29/2020 11:30:33 AM


One of the more interesting Jewish communal innovations to come out of this pandemic period is an Internet game show called “Jewish Geography Zoom Racing.” The show, which is broadcast on Facebook Live, was the brainchild of Micah Hart, a social and digital marketer based in Atlanta. The show operates on the principle that when two or more Jews get together, the subject very often turns to who knows whose Jewish relatives and friends and...Read more...

History Has Its Eyes On You

07/13/2020 07:53:29 PM


Cantor Lauren Fogelman

D'var Torah, 7/10/2020

Let me tell you what I wish I’d known/ When I was young and dreamed of glory/ You have no control/ Who lives, who dies, who tells your story….


On the eve of our Independence Day Weekend, Disney+ gave our increasingly divided and troubled country a gift: The early release of the Hamilton movie, featuring a recorded performance...Read more...

Seeking Your Input

06/08/2020 10:56:00 PM


Thanks to the American Conference of Cantors (ACC) and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), I have been blessed with many opportunities to discuss and troubleshoot the perils and perks of creating meaningful worship online. The greatest lesson to come out of these meetings is that no two congregations are the same and clergy need to discover and adjust to the needs of our individual communities.

As we prepare for a High...

Blessings of Separation

04/16/2020 03:08:12 PM


When our second son, Evan Ariel, was born on February 26, I expected that we would be more or less homebound for the next few weeks. What I hadn’t anticipated was that the rest of the world would be joining us in our isolation. As challenging as these days of quarantine have been, I take comfort in the many ways that this strange time of separation have enabled us – however ironically – to come together.

These are just a few of...

Finding our Roots

02/05/2020 12:24:34 PM


Judaism has always been a religion that celebrates roots. In one of our most important prayers, the Amidah – oftentimes known as the Tefillah (the Prayer) -- we acknowledge the first few generations of the Jewish family tree: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. We continue growing our Jewish family through life cycle rituals, like B’nai Mitzvah, weddings, and baby namings. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote,...Read more...

Presence, not Presents

12/03/2019 06:19:16 PM


‘Tis the season for holiday decorating and the retail frenzy that accompanies it. This year, it seems like stores are displaying more and more Chanukah items than ever before nestled amidst the ubiquitous red and green. From ritual items like menorahs and candles to festive dinnerware and spinning dreidel tops, Target, TJ Maxx, Bed Bath and Beyond, and your neighborhood drugstores have all of your holiday needs covered. And that’s not...Read more...

Preparing Ourselves for Prayer

09/06/2019 03:16:35 PM


This post originally appeared on

The arrival of Parashat Va-et’chanan on Shabbat Nachamu reminds us that effective prayer is best achieved when we take the time to focus and organize our thoughts. This advice serves us well as we approach the upcoming Yamim Nora-im, a period of preparation and sanctity that launches amidst a series of structured countdowns.

We begin with this week’s entry into...

The Blessing of Wow

05/16/2019 11:39:02 AM


Last week, a young boy attended a riveting concert at Boston's Symphony Hall. He was so moved by the beautiful Mozart piece played by the orchestra that he uttered an audible "wow" at the end of the piece.  See the amazing video by clicking here.

Thanks to social media, a viral search to discover the boy's identity ensued. What they learned about the mysterious voice was nothing short of miraculous. Not only is he on the autism...Read more...

Blending Tradition and Change Across the Generations on

04/02/2019 12:13:09 PM


People often tell me I’m crazy when I tell them that Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday. The reason is that it is a holiday so steeped in home and family ritual so that everyone’s celebrations are personally meaningful and unique. So grateful to be able to share a glimpse of my family’s Seder on Blending Tradition and Change Across the Generations. 

Here is the recipe for my family's Charoset:


Purim Songs in the Age of #METoo

03/12/2019 11:16:58 PM


Esther tends to get the credit for being the heroine in the Purim story. After all, she was the one who saved the Jewish people from Haman’s evil plot. But Esther would never have been made queen had it not been for another woman who often gets over looked – Queen Vashti. Vashti was the one who took a stand and refused to be objectified by King Achasveros. She’s a hero of biblical portions for today’s #MeToo movement.

While...

The Spiel's the Thing -- Be Part of TINW's 2019 Purim Extravaganza! 

02/06/2019 11:44:10 AM


Purim is coming, which means it’s time to put on a show! This year, Purim at TINW will take us back to the heyday of legwarmers, scrunchies, and big hair of the 1980s.

The tradition of performing a Purim Spiel dates long before that and can be traced back to at least the 15th century.  The word “spiel,” which comes from the Yiddish word for “game” or “play”, began as a series of silly monologues based on rhymed...Read more...

Wed, July 24 2024 18 Tammuz 5784