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10/10/2023 06:04:03 PM


On Friday, October 6, 7:00 PM, Temple Israel celebrated Simhat Torah, and our community read, rejoiced and celebrated the cycle of the reading of the Torah. We read verses from the Book of Bereshit, the Book of Genesis, which includes the creation story, a story emphasizing light and goodness. The next morning, we awakened to a darkened world as we learned of the horrible terrorist attack launched against Israel by Hamas. ...Read more...

Casting a Clear Light upon Zion

03/14/2023 12:12:59 PM


The following has been adapted from Rabbi Pein's sermon at Temple Israel on Friday night, March 10, 2023:

The conflict between the executive branch and the Supreme Court in Israel is a longstanding issue that has been ongoing for many years. At the heart of the conflict are the issues of judicial activism and the role of the Supreme Court in the Israeli political system.

The Israeli Supreme Court...

                  How Good it is to Be Together

01/25/2023 09:18:38 PM


On Tuesday, January 24,  Professor Eliyahu Stern, Associate Professor at Yale University, spoke about the book Out of the Ghetto by Jacob Katz at Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, NY. This lecture was the second lecture sponsored as part of the Westchester Jewish Council (WJC) Jewish Literacy initiative.  With good cheer and enthusiasm, Dr. Stern and the WJC staff mingled and greeted the in-person attendees. After...Read more...

Antisemitism : Two compelling speakers on antisemitism in November/december at Temple Israel

11/01/2022 02:37:50 PM


As antisemitic acts are increasing both in the United States and globally, it is imperative that we  recognize that  antisemitism is not just a part of our history but a very grim reality of our present.1 During the last week in October 2022, while Wednesday CJL classes were in session, Kanye West continued his antisemitic tirade on social media and during interviews, which included age-old stereotypes of Jews2. During...Read more...

Colleyville, CJL, and Jewish Identity

01/26/2022 04:10:06 PM


This week’s Torah portion from the book of Exodus, Mishpatim, contains the famous verse, "Then he took the record of the covenant and read it aloud to the people. And they (the people) said, 'All that the Lord has spoken, we will faithfully do'!"  (Ex. 24:7)  This text describes a key moment when we joined together as a Jewish people.   On Saturday, January 15th,  Jews of all denominations were again...Read more...

Highlighting our Jewish Heroes during Hanukkah

11/21/2021 06:37:53 PM


One day after our Sunday CJL classes, I logged on to a webinar about modern anti-Semitism, and there was Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, a famous scholar and outspoken critic of anti-Semitism.  She has spoken out against Holocaust deniers, anti-Semitism and racism for as long as I can remember, and she continually seeks to make the world a safer place for Jews and all peoples.  Film producer Steven Spielberg helped...Read more...

Our CJL Welcomes ShalomLearning 

10/21/2021 11:41:33 AM


The vision of the Center for Jewish Learning is to foster and support the growth of its students as Reform Jews, so they may find meaning in their Jewish identity in our rapidly changing world. The CJL curriculum includes Judaica (Jewish values, Jewish ritual, history, and culture), Hebrew, Tefilah (prayer worship),...Read more...

Summertime Reading Recommendations 

06/23/2021 04:18:08 PM


Rabbi Wendy Pein

Ahh, the beginnings of summer.  Long, warm days. Outdoor dining. Early evening walks in the neighborhood.  Spontaneous trips to the favorite local ice cream shop.

If, after you have registered your child(ren) for CJL (wink, wink), you find that you have some extra time this summer, here are some of my recommendations for summer reading: 

Plunder: A...

Drawing our Students Close to Torah even during the Pandemic

05/12/2021 10:13:44 AM



During this period between Passover and Shavuot, it is customary to study a particular tractate from the Mishnah (Oral Law) known as Pirke Avot which translates to Sayings of our Fathers. 

What makes Pirke Avot interesting and unique in that it is the only tractate of the Mishnah dealing solely with ethical and moral principles. These ethical principles guide us as to how to live a...Read more...

A Nosh of Judaism

03/25/2021 01:50:16 PM


If the telling of the Passover story whets your appetite for more study,  please consider joining the course, “A Nosh of Judaism,” which will be taught by five rabbis from five different geographical locations including Rabbi Pein. Topics include Jewish Sacred Texts, Jewish Festivals, Jewish Lifecycle, Theology, and Jewish diversity.  This class will meet virtually over Zoom on Monday nights, 7:30 PM, beginning...Read more...

Post-Covid Standing at Sinai

02/01/2021 04:27:26 PM


Rabbi Wendy Pein


Our Torah portion this week is Parshat Yitro (Exodus 18:1 – 20:23), the Torah portion which records our ancestors’ divine revelation at Sinai and the giving of the Ten Commandments.  In this Torah portion, Moses ascends Mount Sinai, receives the Ten Commandments, and then transmits these laws to the Jewish people. Reform Jewish...Read more...

Nu? What’s New to Read, Watch and Listen to during the Pandemic?

01/06/2021 07:41:34 PM


Join Rabbi Pein for “Nu? What’s New to Read, Watch or Listen to During this Pandemic?” on
Thursday, January 21st at 4 PM. Please register for the Zoom discussion here.

During the Covid-19 epidemic we have probably spent an abundant amount of time ingesting
various forms of media content. Just as there has been a proliferation of general media content, so
too there has been an increase of Jewish-themed content....

Why Gelt? The Hanukkah gelt tradition past and present

12/09/2020 12:45:02 PM


As we all can attest, Hanukkah gelt (chocolate-covered coins which are distributed during Hanukkah)  is not known for its quality.  For those who are chocolate connesseiurs, Hanukkah gelt pales in comparison to today’s luxury chocolate creations.  While Jewish holidays often revolve around the most tasty delicacies such as warm challah, piping hot matzah ball soup, or decadent blintzes, Hanukkah gelt falls far...Read more...

So, What do we do Now?

11/08/2020 09:33:21 AM


So, What Do We Do Now?

Now that the presidential election is over, there is much concern that the political process has resulted in significant antagonism and even hatred being expressed between opposing sides.  Jewish wisdom has much to say on this topic and provides clear guidance in such circumstances that we would do well to consider. In a straight-forward directive, the...Read more...

A virtual Simchat Torah experience provides us with a new reason to rejoice

10/13/2020 03:50:05 PM


Rabbi Wendy Pein

As a rabbi and Jewish educator, my experience in leading and teaching Tefilah has been largely  focused on helping students listen, recite and interpret our traditional prayers so that they may form a meaningful connection to them. Rabbi Arnold Eisen writes, “… the rabbis believed, all who use the siddur will find their way through its forest of words to particular passages that call out to us with special...Read more...


07/30/2020 03:31:04 PM


Rabbi Wendy Pein

With so much fear about Covid-19 and uncertainty about the future, religious school may be one of the last items on most parents’ minds today.  However, the pervasive fear and uncertainty in our world makes religious school more valuable to our children than ever before.  

A Jewish education helps children forge a Jewish identity, and this identity allows...Read more...

The Executive M.A. in Jewish Education :  Developing the Right Mindset

06/04/2020 02:10:49 PM


This May - after more than two years of part-time study -  I completed the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) Executive Master’s Program in Jewish Education. The program’s goal was not just to fill the minds of participants like myself with Jewish learning and examples of best Jewish educational practices but rather to develop within us the mindset to become true Jewish educational leaders.  As the...Read more...

The Torah's View of Life during Quarantine

05/14/2020 01:20:47 PM


Rabbi Wendy Pein

During the quarantine, our lives have been turned upside down.  If we are fortunate to have remained healthy (and this qualifier is not to be taken for granted nor preclude us from acknowledging the severity of the pandemic and its’ devastating impact on others), our lives were initially consumed with staying informed about the pandemic, protecting our health and learning how to procure basics such as food without the risk of becoming...Read more...

Exploring Judaism with Limmud Ny

01/30/2020 10:26:49 AM


Rabbi Wendy Pein

“Do not say when I have leisure I will study  – perhaps you will never have leisure...” (Pirke Avot 2:4)

The Jewish people are often referred to as the “People of the Book” and yet many adults have never explored Judaism at an adult level. This is extremely unfortunate as our tradition contains a storehouse of wisdom that can add meaning and beauty to our lives.

The publicity around the celebration of the...

Why vote in the 2020 Zionist Election?

01/22/2020 02:23:19 PM


Rabbi Wendy Pein

It is not every day that we are called upon to voice our opinion about World Jewry … but we currently have this opportunity in voting for a slate to represent our views at the next World Zionist Congress! Once every 5 years, US Jewry votes to directly influence the future of the Israel Reform Movement! 

When you vote, you will be able to choose from over a dozen slates representing diverse political beliefs, religious...Read more...

Israel in 2020: Doing Better than Expected, Less than Required[1]

01/11/2020 09:31:19 AM


Rabbi Wendy Pein

On January 9th, I returned from an eleven-day trip to Israel, a trip that was part of my studies to obtain an Executive M.A. in Jewish Educational Leadership from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion.  There were twenty-eight participants on the trip and we were led by three Reform Jewish educators.  Prior to the trip, we were told that this trip  would not be a “trip for first-timers” – there were no...Read more...

Celebrate Hanukkah memories through Music

12/02/2019 09:45:55 AM


On a beautiful summer evening, my family and I headed out to a Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat (Welcoming Shabbat) service on the Long Island sound.  The Jewish musician Sheldon Low was co-leading the worship service.  Through Sheldon’s music and service leadership, what had been an ordinary Friday night was transformed into a beautiful and magical evening.  We were singing and humming Sheldon’s upbeat melodies to Jewish...Read more...

Why Register your children for CJL Next Year?

05/21/2019 02:55:54 PM


Rabbi Wendy Pein

Our Spring CJL 2018-2019 was filled with so many special services and programs!

Kitah Zayin (Seventh Grade) Mitzvah projects with a family dessert reception Commemoration of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) by watching a special documentary film about intellectuals who recorded the actual events of the Warsaw Ghetto Maccabiah games to celebrate Yom Ha-Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day Recognition of service of our CJL Faculty...Read more...

What's Jewish About ThanksGiving?

11/19/2018 12:28:43 PM


What would Thanksgiving be without the hearty meal and football on TV…While football on TV is a relatively recent Thanksgiving tradition, the meal and the thanks we offer to God on that day have deep roots within Jewish tradition.  In fact, more generally, food and prayer are deeply entwined throughout Jewish practice

Giving thanks for our food is an integral part of Judaism.  We recite perhaps  the best-known...Read more...

Have you seen the "Punim Pages" in our CJL school hallway?

10/28/2018 08:31:22 PM


When you go upstairs to the CJL school hallway, you may notice the "Punim Pages" or "Face pages" (punim means face in Yiddish) posted on our school bulletin boards.  This is a project we begin at the start of school.  Each student completes a page with their picture on it and fills out a few lines of personal information. When the entire class has completed their pages, we then post the class pages on the bulletin...Read more...

Shout out to the CJL Faculty

10/11/2018 03:16:29 PM


Rabbi Wendy Pein

Did you know that our CJL Faculty continually engages in professional development outside of CJL hours?  This summer, Lane Chazdon, our Kitah Dalet (4th grade) and Hebrew resource teacher, participated in ten hours of training to become certified in Hebrew through Movement, a language acquisition strategy in which students learn Hebrew by hearing and responding to Hebrew commands. Ariela Wehrle, our Hebrew...Read more...

Jewish Summer Reading

08/20/2018 09:02:25 AM


Rabbi Wendy Pein

Last spring, PBS launched “The Great American Read,”  an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey).
Like many people, I  have more time to read in the summer, and I try to take advantage of this time by reading as many books as possible from my  “want to read book list” on my IPhone.

This...

Reflections on AIPAC Conference

03/07/2018 02:32:12 PM


Rabbi Wendy Pein

               I was pleased to be one of over 18,000 supporters of Israel who attended AIPAC’s National Conference, March 3-6, in Washington, DC. It was amazing to see both Jews and non-Jews from all across the political spectrum unite in their support for the state of Israel.  Highlights from the Conference included speeches by U.N Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Vice President...Read more...

Wed, May 22 2024 14 Iyar 5784