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Temple Israel of Scranton

Temple Israel of Scranton

An Egalitarian, Conservative Jewish Congregation – Be A Part of Us!

918 East Gibson Street, Scranton, PA 18510
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Rabbi’s D’var Torah

Three Torahs, the Moon, and Pesah 

Posted on April 1, 2022

April 1st 5782 Three Torahs, the Moon, and Pesah  We used to have a children’s book for Hanukkah that showed a picture of a full moon with the hanukkiyah burning. I am not sure how that got past the editor, for it portrays an impossibility. Hanukkah begins on the 25th of the month when there Continue Reading »

Parashat Shemini, Shabbat Parah, 5782

Posted on March 26, 2022

The Red Heifer, Contact with Death, and Change Tomorrow is Shabbat Parah and we will take two torahs out of the ark. From the first we will read (the final third of) parashat shemini, about which animals are permitted and which are prohibited for eating. From the second we will read from parashat hukkat (Num. 19:1-22) about the red heifer, Continue Reading »

March 18th 5782

Posted on March 18, 2022

A Different 100th Anniversary I was the only girl in my class to have a solo bat mitzvah.  I went to the Bar Mitzvah class with the boys. At my bat mitzvah I read haftarah with the blessings but I did not have an aliyah. My father had the aliyah. I was not permitted to read Torah Continue Reading »

Vayikra 5782

Posted on March 12, 2022

Vayikra 5782 “What and who am I responsible for?” A theme and a question that has run through the pandemic — and that still applies as we figure out how to shift from pandemic to endemic — is “What and who am I responsible for?”  This is an excellent question to ask also as we Continue Reading »

Parashat Pekudei 5782

Posted on March 5, 2022

Parashat Pekudei 5782 Portable Mishkan, HIAS, and Ukraine  Perhaps you have been struck numb by the pictures of the shul at Babi Yar, the shul that was built as a memorial to the deaths at Babi Yar, the beautiful shul at Babi Yar, the shul that perhaps is no longer there, or perhaps badly damaged.  I Continue Reading »

Parashat Vaykhel/Shabbat Shekalim Feb. 25th 5782

Posted on February 25, 2022

Jews against Jews; Dangers to Jews A couple of weeks ago, the Scholar Stream lecture (by Dr. David Fishman) was about the conflict between the early Hasidic movement and their rationalist opponents (Mitnagdim). The controversy was fierce, including ex-communication and other extreme measures. Though there were some eyebrows raised at the depth of the animosity, Continue Reading »

You broke it; you fix it. Ki Tissa, 5782

Posted on February 18, 2022

You broke it; you fix it. Ki Tissa, 5782 I am thinking of a scene that made a big impression on me in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book Farmer Boy. (It has been many years since I have had occasion to read Farmer Boy, so forgive me if I get the details wrong; I am confident in Continue Reading »

Tezaveh 5782 

Posted on February 11, 2022

World Wide Wrap This coming Sunday is the World Wide Wrap, the annual program of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs joined by the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism to focus on tefillin. In our Torah portion for this week, parashat Tezaveh, we learn that as part of their installation as Kohanim in the Tabernacle, Continue Reading »

Parashat Mishpatim 

Posted on January 28, 2022

Religious vs. Secular in Parashat Mishpatim There is a natural tendency among humans to search for order in the world, and the search for order includes making distinctions. Judaism has many such distinctions. For example, we separate between meat and milk, between kosher and not kosher, between Shabbat and weekdays. We talk about distinctions and Continue Reading »

Parashat Yitro 

Posted on January 20, 2022

Parashat Yitro  Dear Friends, Immediately after the Ten Commandments come to an end, the Torah tells us:  וְכׇל־הָעָם֩ רֹאִ֨ים אֶת־הַקּוֹלֹ֜ת וְאֶת־הַלַּפִּידִ֗ם וְאֵת֙ ק֣וֹל הַשֹּׁפָ֔ר וְאֶת־הָהָ֖ר עָשֵׁ֑ן All the people saw the thunder and lightning, the sound of the shofar and the mountain smoking.  Ex.20:15 This is strange — that they saw lightning and a smoking Continue Reading »

Shabbat Shirah Parashat B’Shalah MLK Day weekend 5782

Posted on January 14, 2022

Shabbat Shirah Parashat B’Shalah MLK Day weekend 5782 It was a year like this one — Tu B’Shevat and Reverend Martin Luther King day weekend coincided. The administration of the Schechter school decided that it made sense to have one special assembly on Friday for both events. The next week we learned that the kindergarteners Continue Reading »

Having the strength to get through the middle

Posted on December 24, 2021

One of the cantor’s favorite songs is אני ואתה נשנה את העולם, You and I, we will change the world.  It is an upbeat song by Arik Einstein — you and I, we will change the world and when we start, others will follow. It will be hard, but that is okay because we will Continue Reading »