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Temple Israel of Scranton

Temple Israel of Scranton

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Rabbi’s D’var Torah

Parashat Vayetze 5781

Posted on November 27, 2020

From the Rabbi’s Desk Parashat Vayetze 5781 The Supreme Court ruled the other night that it is unconstitutional for the government to place restrictions on numbers of people allowed to attend religious services during the pandemic (or any other time). It did not, of course, require houses of worship to themselves allow unrestricted attendance. House Continue Reading »

Hayei Sarah 5781

Posted on November 13, 2020

From the Rabbi’s Desk Hayei Sarah 5781 “Rabbi, you read all those names on the misheberakh list in Hebrew and I don’t know who they are. Couldn’t you read the names in English?” She has a point. After all, the purpose of the misheberakh list is two-fold. It is to beseech God for healing and Continue Reading »

Parashat Vayera, 5781

Posted on November 6, 2020

Parashat Vayera, 5781 From a comic that I have hanging on my bulletin board: Isaac: “Here’s the wood for the sacrifice, Dad.”  Abraham: “Groovy.” Isaac: “Here’s the dagger for the sacrifice, Dad.” Abraham: “Keen.” Isaac looks all around.  Isaac:  “Where’s the sacrifice?” Abraham: “God will provide Isaac.” Isaac: “Wait! Did you say, ‘God will provide, Continue Reading »

Parashat Lekh lekha 5781

Posted on October 30, 2020

Lekh lekha 5781 In the middle of parashat lekh lekha God appears to Avram in a vision and says: “Know well that your offspring shall be strangers in a land not theirs, and they shall be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years, but I will execute judgment on the nation they shall serve, and in Continue Reading »

Parashat Noah, 5781

Posted on October 23, 2020

Shel Silverstein’s Unicorn Song has been stuck in my head all week. I keep humming about those green alligators and long-necked geese, humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees,  cats and rats and elephants, but sure as I’m born, I ain’t gonna see no unicorn. (adapted) It is, of course, Parashat Noah this week. And one of Continue Reading »

Parashat Beresheet 5781

Posted on October 16, 2020

From the Rabbi’s Desk Parashat Beresheet 5781 The first thing that is described in the Torah as kadosh, holy, is not a place or a part of nature or an item. It is a time: the 7th day, Shabbat. Gen. 2:3  And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, ויקדש אותו. The first Continue Reading »

Erev Sukkot 5781

Posted on October 1, 2020

Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer Erev Sukkot 5781 The cartoon showed someone speaking on the phone saying: “I am making Sukkot plans. Are you not coming to us or are we not coming to you?” Sukkot is our family holiday. We are accustomed to having guests in high numbers and high in enthusiasm.  Many families are Continue Reading »

How to prepare for Sukkot this year

Posted on September 10, 2020

From the Rabbi’s desk How to prepare for Sukkot this year 22 Elul 5780 Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer  Build a Sukkah There is nothing like the experience of having a sukkah. Last year I was not able to build my own sukkah as we were living in a 4th-floor apartment with no balcony. That was Continue Reading »

How to prepare for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur this year

Posted on September 4, 2020

From the Rabbi’s Desk:   How to prepare for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur this year Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer 15 Elul 5780 On Pesah, we ask: “How is this night different from all other nights?”  This Rosh HaShanah we do not have to ask “How is this High Holy Day experience different from all other Continue Reading »

Parashat Ki Tetzei: The Chain of Mitzvot

Posted on August 28, 2020

8 Elul 5780 August 28th 2020 Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer Parashat Ki Tetzei: The Chain of Mitzvot The rabbis teach that מִצְוָה גּוֹרֶרֶת מִצְוָה, doing a mitzvah leads to . . . the opportunity to perform another mitzvah. One of the classic examples is from our parashah for this week and comes to explain why Continue Reading »

Rosh Hodesh Elul 5780

Posted on August 21, 2020

Rosh Hodesh Elul 5780 August 21st 2020 Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer חשבון הנפש The other day I referred to the month we were concluding as Tammuz rather than as Av. I realized my mistake immediately and laughed at my Freudian slip. Today is Rosh Hodesh Elul. There is no getting around it. Rosh HaShanah is coming. One Continue Reading »

Simhah/Joy in Community Parashat Re’eh 5780

Posted on August 14, 2020

Simhah/Joy in Community Parashat Re’eh 5780 Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer When someone has a joyous event, we say they are having a simhah. Last week when we took our Shabbat walk, we saw that a neighbor was having a simhah, an outdoor ufruf celebration of their son’s upcoming wedding. Later this month our Temple will Continue Reading »