Renewed Joy & Incredible Energy

Rabbi's Message - March 29, 2022

Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

There is such incredible energy at Temple right now.  Excitement is building as renovations and remodels near completion.  A return to in-person services brings renewed joy back to familiar spaces - musical vibrations are ringing with the sound of thanksgiving and hope.  Impressive turnouts for Share Shabbat and Purim usher in a palpable warmth, in both body and spirit, back to our Great Hall.  And now, our kitchen once again fills our senses with the comforting smells of cinnamon and honey as volunteers bustle around preparing for our Jewish Cultural Festival - our first one since 2019.   

Over the past two years we have worked hard to adapt our traditions to meet the changing needs of the pandemic.  Even though we have created community in virtual spaces and engaged in lively conversations and online programs, nothing compares to being together in person.  Even if we hadn’t been able to make the exciting changes to our physical building, it would have been enough just to spend time with one another again.  Dayeinu.  

Now is the time to reconnect with Temple, your spiritual home.  We can’t wait to gather again and renew our sense of Jewish community.  Lots of opportunities are coming up - Share Shabbat on Friday, the Ryterband Brunch lecture on Sunday, the Open House on April 10, the Thinking about God adult education series beginning on April 7, and many volunteer opportunities to prepare for the Jewish Cultural Festival.  Please, come on by, grab a cup of coffee, find a comfortable seat, and make yourself at home again.  You need to experience for yourself the excitement, joy, music, warmth, and delicious smells that have filled our space.  

The biggest event we have in the near future will, of course, be the Jewish Cultural Festival.  We hope you will save the date of June 12 and help us represent Jewish life to the greater community in the best way we can.  And please consider supporting the festival with a contribution at whatever level of giving you are comfortable with.  We are a vibrant community and want to share all that we love about being Jewish at Temple Israel to our friends and neighbors.  Your financial help enables us to do that and keeps our programs and services available to all.  

Thank you for supporting your congregation in all of the ways that you have, especially during Covid.  No one else can bring the unique gifts that each of you do.   Together, we are Temple Israel and we are stronger than ever, moving from strength to strength. 

The Power of Energy

Rabbi's Message - June 22, 2021

Rabbi Tina Sobo

Energy.  Once upon a time, in a land not-so-far away, before the pandemic… a song-leader at 6-Points Sports Camp, taught me that much of the success of a song session came from the energy in the room.  You could have the best song-leader around, and the worst song-session if the room lacked the ruach (energy) that would elevate the songs from a concert to a shirah (song-session).  This past Shabbat, I had the opportunity to lead a small group of congregants in-person for a Shabbat service; it was quite the treat.  “For the first time in forever…” (to quote the character Anna from Frozen) the doors were open, there were actual real live people, but wow, was I ready for that change!  

For the first time in a long time, we could pray in the same room, with the spirit and energy in the air that adds so much to our worship and singing experience.  (Some of you lucky members also attended the first in-person service back with Rabbi Bodney-Halasz two weeks ago.)  The feeling of being physically  together and audibly connecting our voices is something I truly missed.  I can’t wait to lead services again on July 10 at Temple.   

We have another upcoming opportunity to be together.  This coming Saturday, June 26 at 4:00 p.m., after over a year hiatus, I will be standing with open arms, to welcome our youngest group – Prayer and Play – to Temple’s lawn, to sing, pray, and play together.  We will still operate within the guidelines of our Covid protocols, but it will be so wonderful to see those small smiling faces in person, hear their laughs, and enjoy time together outside. 

I invite everyone with (grand)children ages 6 & under to join us.  You may RSVP or be added to the reminder list by emailing me -  Some of our “graduates” who have begun school are welcome to come as well!  Bring a snack or dinner, your mask, your sneakers, and your energy!