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May Graduations Celebrations

May 1, 2024

May1

Rabbi Linda Potemken

This month we will celebrate the graduation/ordination of our rabbinic intern, Aya Baron. Aya graduates the RRC on May 19th. We will mark her upcoming transition to rabbi at services at BI on May 4th. Two weeks later, on May 18th, we will honor and celebrate BI members who are graduating High School, also at Shabbat morning services.

At this tender and difficult time in the world and for our people it is important to mark and to savor...Read more...

Pesach: Celebrating Redemption & Facing Antisemitism 

April 1, 2024

Apr1

Rabbi Linda Potemken

The first seder of Passover falls on the evening of Monday April 22, under the light of the full moon and amidst the beauty of Spring. We recount our story of liberation with props from the seder plate and songs from the Haggadah, celebrating redemption, which along with creation and revelation form the three defining narratives of Judaism. Pesach holds the message that motivates our community to work toward freedom and justice while it lends...Read more...

Invitation To Joy In The Hebrew Month of Adar 

March 1, 2024

Mar1

Rabbi Linda Potemken

On the Jewish calendar the Hebrew month of Adar is an invitation to cultivate joy. In the book of Esther, read on Purim, the text states: “That month was reversed for them from grief to joy” (Esther 9:22). In other words, the month of Adar was declared a month of happiness, not because the people were already joyful but because they were full of grief that shifted to joy.

In the cold, dark winter, with the news of the world...Read more...

Jewish Wisdom

February 1, 2024

Feb1

Rabbi Linda Potemken

Which Jewish texts, prayers or practices sustain you through the challenges of life? One verse that speaks to me at this time comes from Micah, one of the Nevi’im (Prophets), who lived in a time of great upheaval and sorrow. The words that I’m about to share are some of the most oft-quoted in prophetic literature. The verse was considered by some as summing up the essence of all the Mitzvot.

The Hebrew text can...Read more...

Antiracism, Exodus & This Moment

January 1, 2024

Jan1

Rabbi Linda Potemken

The AntiRacism Coordinating Committee has planned a full program for the upcoming winter months, including a movie night, a guest speaker, a zoom conversation on a learning module and a focus on an important book. Most of these programs center the theme of racial justice in the criminal justice system. 

As the Jewish community grapples with rising antisemitism, this work feels more important than ever*. As our concerns for Jewish...Read more...

November 14th March & Holding This Moment

November 30, 2023

Nov30

Rabbi Linda Potemken

My decision wasn’t final until the day before, for practical and for emotional reasons. If I go, might there be formal words spoken that aren’t my words, my truth? If I go, with all the hatred and guns in this country, will it be safe? If I go, how will I manage an already ridiculously busy week?

But how can I not go? The March is for Israel. The people of Israel are living through a hellish war. That includes my beloved...Read more...

Tell us what you need.

October 30, 2023

Oct30

Rabbi Linda Potemken

“Allow yourself to be at a loss for words” may be the most helpful words since the nightmare began on October 7. I've added a nightly practice of offering psalms on behalf of safety, healing, peace. I have ongoing contact with loved ones in Israel. I take in news judiciously, not overburdening myself with more than I can stomach in a day. I lean into the spiritual practices of prayer, Torah study, mussar, meditation and connection. I...Read more...

Rosh Hashanah

September 18, 2023

Sep18

Rabbi Linda Potemken

Friends – on Rosh Hashanah I shared how we can work on ourselves and on cultivating the attributes of humility and of judging others favorably through a story about my responses to a baseball game and to a pitcher who pitched a “no hitter”. If you interested in learning more about how to engage with the practice of mussar, please let me know.

In these days of awe we are called to examine ourselves and our deeds and to...Read more...

Welcoming Joy

August 23, 2023

Aug23

Rabbi Linda Potemken

“Happy Yom Kippur” is not a phrase that rolls off the tongue. We wish each other an easy fast or a meaningful day, and these are appropriate salutations. Yet contrary to popular belief, Yom Kippur has been understood as one of the most joyful days on our Jewish calendar.    The Talmud teaches that it is deeply joyful as it contains the elements of pardon and forgiveness. It is a day where we can feel the joy that accompanies...Read more...

Adding to Your Seder Plate

April 2, 2023

Apr2

Rabbi Linda Potemken

All year long we are invited to reflect upon the Jewish redemption narrative through the daily liturgy, but for the week of Pesach it is front and center.  The simplest of seders can be created by exhibiting the traditional seder plate items along with matzoh and then ex­ploring their significance. Some years people add one or more additional items to signify a contemporary struggle against oppression. 

This year, I am...Read more...

Mon, May 27 2024 19 Iyyar 5784