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What will we do?  words from the shabbat after the tree of life murders

11/03/2018 12:44:57 PM


The following is a transcript of the words delivered to our congregation on November 2, 2018:

This past week, family and friends gathered to bury their loved ones murdered in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.  This week’s Torah portion begins with a burial too.  In the Torah’s story, Abraham lovingly buries his wife Sarah in the cave of Machpelah in Hebron.  But this is only the beginning of the Torah...Read more...

Fearing the Homeless

10/23/2018 05:46:49 PM


In Peekskill, where I live, there is a controversy brewing.  The Jan Peek shelter is planning to move to a new location.  Over the years, Temple Israel has supported this shelter for homeless people by sending food and donations.  The shelter must move from its current location by the waterfront.  Its leaders plan to relocate the shelter to a location on Washington Street. In the new facility, residents will be able...Read more...

moments that delighted me during the High Holy Days

09/21/2018 04:10:36 PM


Temple Israel's community made the recent High Holy Days beautiful and uplifting for me.  Here are some of my favorite moments:

It was wonderful to hear high schooler Jack Eisenger talk about the Torah's story of the near-sacrifice of Isaac and his confirmation classmate Jacob Aronson chant the Yom Kippur morning haftarah reading from the book of Isaiah.  We often have our youth chant haftarah blessings (as...Read more...

"Play with me!" Summertime sermon writing

08/17/2018 03:29:05 PM


What will I say in my High Holy Day sermons? This is the question rabbis across the nation tackle during the waning days of summer. I am no exception. However, my sermon-writing process might be different from many of my rabbinic colleagues.

I do not begin writing my sermons with an outline or even a set of topics. Instead, I begin with stories I want to tell. Most of the time the stories are rooted in my own experiences of the past...Read more...

My Cousin, The Bishop

06/21/2018 03:07:16 PM


Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

It’s not every rabbi that gets to have a bishop for a cousin.  I’m lucky that way.  My father’s cousin, Rick Jaech, is the Evangelical Lutheran Bishop of Southwestern Washington State. 

Like me, Bishop Jaech does a lot of interfaith and social justice work.  One of my favorite photos of him was taken in Olympia, the capital of Washington State.  In the photo Bishop Jaech stands with a rabbinic colleague...Read more...

Shabbat Before Shavuot

05/22/2018 04:19:37 PM


Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

As we approach the festival of Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah, I’ve been thinking about the warning issued to the people: The warning to stay outside the boundaries set around Mount Sinai.

In the Torah’s story, only Moses and Aaron could approach the mountain.   Everyone else had to view the divine communication, the revelation, from afar. To approach the mountain was dangerous.[1]

I...

Who has a place in the Sanctuary

05/16/2018 05:55:53 PM


Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

When I have the opportunity to take new or prospective members on a tour of Temple Israel,

I always make sure to show them

The words above our Ark:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”


The words come from our Torah...

Bechukotai Mothers Day

05/16/2018 05:09:56 PM


Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

If you were the director of a Jewish religious school,
Would you hold a session on Mother’s Day?  (Show of hands)
Many of the synagogues around us close on Mother’s Day–
And not only the Reform synagogues.

Temple Israel never has, as far as I know.
Although some have expressed displeasure at that decision over the years.   
But although we did not close for mother’s day,
We did do...

Swords into plowshares

05/01/2018 03:03:58 PM


Ethan Lewis, TIPSY Co-President

At the end of April, Temple Israel hosted a program created by the Croton Houses of Worship called “Swords into Plowshares: Putting Spirit into Action to Reduce Gun Violence.” My colleagues from the Croton Clergy and I invited teens to speak at this program.  I asked Ethan Lewis, a Croton-Harmon High School senior and co-president of TIPSY (Temple Israel’s Program for Senior Youth) to speak about his experiences learning how to...Read more...

our children and gun violence

02/23/2018 02:24:55 PM


Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

Mon, 02/26/2018 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

Based on a sermon delivered February 23, 2018

This past Monday night, across Florida, people gathered for candlelight vigils.  On the news I saw images of teens shielding delicate candle flames with their hands as they mourned those murdered in yet another incident of gun violence.

A candlelight vigil:  In times of darkness, we seek...

Wed, November 21 2018 13 Kislev 5779