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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...

Installation Address, 12/21/18

12/28/2018 04:11:31 PM


Thank  you to all of you who helped make my installation service so special. For those of you who missed it, these are the words I offered in honor of the occasion:

It seems Beshert – meant to be – that I have landed here at Temple Israel. As many of you know, my first Jewish home was a different Temple Israel – Temple Israel of Great Neck, to be exact. It was there that I developed the foundation...Read more...

A Fiddler on the Roof? Sounds Messugah, Nu?

11/26/2018 08:31:10 PM


Three years ago, I saw the most recent Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof which highlighted the fact that there are modern day refugees who have been forced out of their homes much in the same way Tevye and his family had to leave Anatevka. Staging the musical from this angle showed me how far we have come and gave me so much hope for the future.

Now, a few years later and in a much different political climate, I saw National...Read more...

Disarming Hatred: A Response to the Tragedy in Pittsburgh

10/29/2018 08:26:34 PM


Cantor Lauren Phillips Fogelman

When I was a teenager, I visited Europe with my family. Among the sites we toured were several synagogues, including the Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul. At the time, the congregation had experienced both a mass shooting and a bombing. In 1986, gunmen opened fire during a Shabbat service, resulting in the death of 22 individuals. In 1992, a bomb exploded at the synagogue. Fortunately, that there were no casualties...Read more...

I Will Plant for my children 

10/25/2018 04:43:29 PM


"Just as my ancestors planted for me, so I will plant for my children." -Babylonian Talmud Taanit 23a


Our sages teach us about a man named Honi who saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked the man, “How long will it take for this tree to bear fruit?”

The man replied, “Seventy years.”

Honi then asked the man, “Do you really thin you will live another seventy years to eat from the fruit of this...Read more...

Mar HesHvan Sameach!

10/10/2018 05:21:31 PM


Cantor Lauren Phillips Fogelman

The gates are closed, the month of Tishrei is over, and we have officially made it through another High Holy Day season. This week we celebrated Rosh Chodesh Heshvan, the beginning of the Hebrew month of Heshvan. Heshvan is affectionately nicknamed “Mar Heshvan,” which means “Sad Heshvan” in Hebrew. Heshvan is considered to be a sad month because it is the only month on the Hebrew calendar without a single Jewish holiday. Our next...Read more...

just add water: seeking forgiveness During Taschlich

09/04/2018 11:04:54 AM


Cantor Lauren Phillips Fogelman

When we perform Tashlich on Rosh Hashanah afternoon, we literally cast the sins of the past year into a body of water. We represent our wrongdoings with pieces of bread. As we toss them into the dampness, we reflect upon the things we wish we had done better, promising to make improvements over the course of the coming year.

Tashlich is one of my favorite Jewish rituals because...

connecting song with prayer

08/30/2018 03:39:05 PM


Cantor Phillips Fogelman

The Chasidic master Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer, known as the Baal Shem Tov, recounts a story of a boy who brought his flute to synagogue on Yom Kippur. The boy didn’t know the prayers, but was moved by the music and the spirituality of the service. At first, he sat in quiet frustration, unsure of how to express his connection with the liturgy. Towards the end of Neilah, the final...Read more...

Sun, September 22 2019 22 Elul 5779