Keeping Connected with Rabbi Perry
Keeping Connected February 2019
As a rabbi, it is a blessing, to be able to share the richness and joys of Jewish life with others. As a rabbi, however, it is also my responsibility to talk about difficult subjects. In particular, to address the reality that sometimes being Jewish is hard; that as Jews we can feel under-threat and impacted by forces of anti-Semitism. Sadly, in the last few years, just as hate-crimes as a whole More
Keeping Connected January 2019
I am excited to be part of an effort in collaboration with our lay leadership to increase opportunities for engagement and community building within the framework of our congregation. Some of these programs will be happening under the umbrella of the Membership Committee. We have many ideas and hope some of them will resonate with you. More
December 2018 Newsletter Article
In 2017, 13 members of our congregation travelled to Washington, DC, to participate in an inspiring social justice seminar program called Consultation on Conscience. COC, is a biennial conference that happens over a three-day period in Washington, DC, just as a new session of Congress is sworn in. The program helps to inspire, invigorate, train and empower Jewish leaders who desire to do the work of Tikkun Olam more effectively; to make significant, lasting changes in our society at a local, state and national level. Sponsored by the Reform Movement’s Religious Action Center, this conference brings together Jewish lay people and social justice leaders from Reform congregations and communities across North America. The attendees are able to participate in meaningful and inspiring programs that will help them advocate for true social change. The programs, which are led by some of our nations most dynamic leaders, help the attendees learn more about the critical issues facing society and culminates in lobbying Congress on the final day. It is truly an amazing experience to lobby with hundreds of other leaders from the Reform Movement and to know that as a collective force we can become a catalyst for change. More
November 2018 Newsletter Article
Each month I invite the 11th and 12th graders to study with me at my home for Post-Confirmation class. Over brownies we converse about topics in which there is an intersection between Judaism, social justice, current events and identity. The conversations, which are wide ranging, make clear to me that our teens are growing up in a world in which they need to navigate issues that are truly challenging.
At our first class of the year I did a mixer with the teens. I opened up a pack of 50 postcards called Act Now! – Protest Postcards. Each teen was supposed to take one or two postcards which display an image that they care about or one that they care about and one they disagree with. The postcards were either photographs of actual signs for protest marches or pictures of people holding signs. We had a great conversation about the issues that are on their minds.
Two students picked cards that I think are relevant for all of us. One teen chose a card that has a picture of the earth from space and it says, “There is NO Plan B” with the earth being the “o” in NO. The second student picked a sign that says, “Science IS REAL”. Both of these teens spoke about the fact that although they cared about many of the other issues that were written on the other cards, the issue of climate change was so scary and important to them that they could not think of another more important issue. More
October 2018 Newsletter Article
HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, was founded in 1881 originally to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe. In the 130 years since its founding, HIAS has touched the life of nearly every Jewish family in America and now welcomes all who have fled persecution. HIAS continues to work around the world to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. For more than 130 years, HIAS has been helping refugees rebuild their lives in safety and dignity.HIAS has a remarkable history and if you would like to learn more you can read about it at their website:www.hias.org/history
HIAS, shared this meaningful reading for the High Holidays, and although I did not use it in our services, I’d like to share it with you now:
At once plaintive and energizing, the shofar calls us to remember the depths of suffering that still exist in our world as we are drawn out of our complacency and into action.
The uninterrupted call of tekiah guides our thoughts to the 68 million people around the world still making terrifying journeys away from violence and persecution to search for freedom, sometimes without an end in sight. More
September 2018 Newsletter Article
Although I did not grow up speaking Yiddish, there are a few fun and colorful phrases that I love. One of them is “a bissel of this and a bissel of that”, meaning a little bit of this and a little bit of that! There is so much going on at Congregation Shalom in these early days of 2018-2019 that I want to share a bissel about a lot of different things!
Selichot Program/Service: Although many Jews think that the High Holiday season begins with Rosh HaShanah, the true preparation begins in the prior month of Elul during which time we are supposed to engage in a process of self-reflection and soul-searching. During Elul and throughout the holiday season, Jews may recite selichot (forgiveness) prayers, emphasizing the inner work of the Days of Awe. In addition, many congregations have developed the tradition of observing Selichot on the Saturday evening prior to Rosh HaShanah. There is usually some type of program of study as well as special Selichot service. One of the more moving moments of this service is when we actually change the Torah covers from those used during the year to the special covers designed for the High Holidays. These covers, usually white, represent purity and renewal. More