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Opening our eyes on rosh hashanah

October 15, 2019


Rabbi Nathan Martin

This is Rabbi Nathan's Rosh Hashanah sermon (day 1).  May you appreciate it as much as our congregation did. 
-Webmaster, Congregation Beth Israel of Media

Shanah Tovah,

In the center of the unsettling Torah reading we read today we find the character of Hagar. Subject to Sarah’s capriciousness she is unceremoniously cast out in the desert. Hagar - whose name literally means “migrant” Hebrew - is only...Read more...

A Time of New Beginnings

October 1, 2019


Rabbi Nathan Martin

This year, October is our time of new beginnings. We immerse ourselves in the holidays and begin the new year. We begin a new cycle of Torah reading. We have spent many hours together in community, working hard to create a spiritual container for both more somber reflection and active joy. And we emerge, hopefully, refreshed - albeit a bit more tired - ready to start anew with a fresh slate.

As we prepare ourselves to move through...

Intentions for 5780

August 30, 2019


I write this note as we emerge from the sadness of the 9th of Av to the weeks of consolation as we move toward the new year. This year on 9 Av I joined hundreds of other Jews from Philadelphia to stand vigil against the treatment of immigrants and people seeking asylum from violence in their home country.

My hope for the coming year is that we begin the new year with an intention to:

• Stay deeply connected to each other, to...


July 1, 2019


Rabbi Nathan Martin

When King David had Uriah the Hittite killed on the battlefield so that David could take Bathsheva to be his wife, the prophet Nathan told the king a parable of a rich man who takes a poor man’s only sheep and slaughters it to entertain his guests. After hearing the story “David burned with anger against the man” and said “the man who did this deserves to die!” Nathan the prophet responds, “You are the man!”

The...

Uplifted and excited about the future

January 1, 2019


Rabbi Nathan Martin

I still can feel the joyful energy as I joined a chain of a hundred other smiling dancers while we snaked our way through the aisles of the Double Tree hotel conference room and belted out Lekha Dodi along with the 500+ Reconstructionist davveners for the Friday night service. This is one image I will hold onto from the Reconstructing Judaism convention - an image that helps me to remember that we are indeed part of a larger...Read more...

The Month of Tishrei - From Metaphor to Practice

September 2, 2018


As we move into September and the Jewish month of Tishrei, we enter into our most liturgically intensive time of the Jewish year. This can be a dizzying few weeks, moving from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to Sukkot and Simchat Torah. This is a movement also from the solemnity and humility of the Yamim Noraim (the awe-filled days) to the celebration of the joyfulness and abundance of Sukkoth and Simchat Torah.

Our ancestors' metaphors...

Tue, October 22 2019 23 Tishrei 5780