Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a landmark for equal rights. Here is Rabbi David M. Sofian’s view on marriage equality in the Jewish faith:
A fascinating question is how did the Jewish People and Judaism survive its two failed rebellions against Rome in the first and second centuries of the Common Era that ended in the destruction of the Temple and eventually devastated the city of Jerusalem too? I know this seems an odd question to start with given our current subject. I believe it is relevant today because Judaism survived in large part due to our classic Rabbis figuring out how to re-center Judaism fully on the foundation of the family. Indeed, the Jewish home – family became known as the small sanctuary, the center of so much of Jewish life from the Temple’s ruin to this very day. So here is the connection – the bedrock of the Jewish family is marriage. In Jewish tradition marriage is more than partnership. It is a melding, a bonding at the heart of family that supports and sustains the building of complete and fully Jewish human lives.
It is because meaningful Jewish life is built on the foundation of marriage that I believe it is crucial that all Jews, everyone regardless of sexual orientation, have the freedom to marry in this country. In other words, I believe in marriage equality as an expression of my commitment to continued meaningful Jewish life now and in the future. It is my firmly held religious belief that marriage freedom enhances the creation of stable homes in which Judaism, and I hasten to add, other religious traditions, flourish and are passed on to future generations.
When asked, but doesn’t biblical Judaism assume marriage is between a man and a woman I respond that is true. However, with the further development of our tradition Judaism has matured beyond many biblical assumptions. A clear example here is the Bible’s attitude towards slavery. No modern Jew would base his/her attitude on slavery upon the several places in the Bible (Leviticus 25:44-46 comes to mind) that condone the practice. Instead, Judaism emphasizes God’s hand in and is inspired by the liberation from Egyptian slavery.
In like manner, modern Progressive Judaism finds inspiration in Genesis’ teaching that all human beings are created in the image of God, B’tzelem Elohim in Hebrew. This means that because every one of us uniquely reflects God’s image within God’s creation, enriching creation in an irreplaceable way, each of us also is endowed with ultimate dignity. Human dignity is not assigned based on gender, age or sexual orientation. All of us have it and are therefore entitled to the human fulfillment that only marriage and family bring. This is why I believe as a religious Jew that marriage equality is essential.
Celebrate Rabbi Sofian’s Final Shabbat at Temple Israel, June 26-27
On Friday, June 26, services begin at 6:00pm and will be followed by a celebratory oneg. Reservations are not required and the oneg is sponsored by Temple.
On Saturday, June 27, Rabbi Sofian will lead his final Shabbat morning service at 10:30am. A festive vegetarian Kiddish lunch, catered by Pasha Grill, will follow the service. Reservations for this lunch are now closed.
Jewish Cultural Festival a huge success!
Thank you so much to all of the volunteers, sponsors, partners, vendors, and presenters who helped to make the 5th Annual Jewish Cultural Festival at Temple Israel such a success! We were able to welcome 1800 people to learn, share, celebrate, and explore the heritage and culture of Judaism. Here are some photos from the event!
Thank you for being a part of the Inaugural Oy Vey 5k run/walk! Congratulations to our Male Winner, Benjamin Brown, and our Female Winner, Kathy Rodriguez. They both received a $100 cash prize. Take a look at the rest of the race results and a few photos at the finish line.
Proceeds from the race benefit the Social Action Fund of Temple Israel which supports programs and activities designed to positively impact the entire community.
Thank you to our race sponsors!
Reflections On 20 Years at Riverbend
by David Goldenberg
On May 5th, 2015 we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the dedication of Temple Israel at Riverbend.
May 5, 1995, marked the culmination of years of hard work and amazing generosity by so many of our families. Long range planning committees had recommended moving since 1968, but it wasn’t until a memorable congregational meeting in the Emerson Ave. sanctuary in February of 1990 that this move began to take shape.
Those next five years were filled with the hard work of our fabulous committees as well as countless meetings with neighborhood groups, the city, county, architects and construction companies. There were also unforgettable events along the way – the groundbreaking, tree planting on the site, the cornerstone dedication, and the extraordinary Torah Walk from Emerson Avenue to Riverbend. These events were wonderful and we were fortunate to have had so many dedicated individuals who gave their time, energy and passion to make our new congregational home a reality.
What is most important about this anniversary is not simply to recognize that we were able to build a building, but to celebrate how, in the twenty years since the dedication, we have continued our work as an active, committed and vibrant congregation. Temple Israel at Riverbend has been home to countless worship services, life cycle events from brit milah to funerals, religious school, education programs and social events.
We are grateful to all those who helped create a new home for Temple Israel twenty years ago, and to all those who continue making Temple Israel at Riverbend an important part of Jewish life in Dayton.
David Goldenberg is a past President of Temple Israel. His involvement was instrumental in the establishment of Temple Israel at Riverbend.
Join Us in Adult Study
Come learn at Temple. All of our adult education programs are open to members and non-members alike. No prior study or reservation necessary.
- Torah Study, Saturday, 9:30 a.m.
- Talmud Study, Wednesday, 12:00 p.m.
- Learn to Crochet or Knit, Monday, 1:15 - 2:30 p.m.
- Lattes and Legends, Wednesday, 10:00 a.m.
- Dorothy Lane Market Cafe, 6177 Far Hills Avenue.
- Tanakh, Sunday, 9:00 a.m.
- Ryterband Lectures, Sunday, brunch at 9:45am, speakers at 10:15