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Jewish Prayer as Medicine

02/20/2023 03:34:46 PM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

A 3 session class beginning Wednesday, March 8, 7:00 pm on Zoom

I grew up quite secular and didn’t learn about the gems in Jewish prayer until my 20s or 30s, and even more deeply in my 50s. Whether this is your story or whether you know many prayers, discovering what the prayer has to offer you specifically can be precious. We don’t have to be “religious” or “believe in God” in order to find Jewish prayer meaningful....Read more...

Torah: Who are Bilhah and Zilpah and Why We Should Care

02/16/2023 03:32:51 PM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

Online study opportunity March 5 (see below)

Bilhah and Zilpah were both "given" to Jacob by Rachel and Leah as “handmaidens or concubines” to procreate on behalf of the sisters. The resulting four sons were heads of the tribes of Israel. (Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher) Bilhah and Zilpah as handmaidens were essentially slaves – and treated as property to be managed, rather than women with a right to consent. Additionally,...Read more...

Or Shalom Jewish Community | Logo/Brand Development

02/12/2023 03:40:03 PM


Amy Mallor

Bold. Relevant. Barrier-Free.

Founded 33 years ago, Or Shalom Jewish Community has embodied the values of courageousness, connection, and accessibility undeterred by our transitional periods. Our work to heal the world has brought comfort and support to countless community members and friends, both the familiar and the stranger. Or Shalom Jewish Community continues to thrive as the sole source for Reconstructionist observance in the...Read more...

Passover is Coming!

01/24/2023 03:43:21 PM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

This week’s Torah portion, Bo, reflects the Passover story, too.

I am offering an Or Shalom Zoom Seder on Saturday night, April 8 (the fourth night of Pesach). It would be oriented to young and old and be about 30-45 minutes. Are you in? We won’t go forward with the planning if we don’t get enough family units. We need at least 8.

If you are interested, please email me by February 8, so we can start planning....Read more...

Notes from Rabbi Chaya

01/17/2023 03:44:54 PM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

Or Shalom has experienced the deaths of two members recently.

Al Sion, zichrono livracha (may his memory be for a blessing) and

Beth Abrams, zichrona livracha (may her memory be for a blessing).

It is a Jewish tradition to say Baruch Dayan HaEmet upon hearing the news of a death.  This means Blessed is the True Judge. One can interpret this to mean that only God really...Read more...

Or Shalom and Grace Tabernacle Come Together to Celebrate Dr. King with Music, Sharing and More

01/06/2023 03:47:17 PM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

This week begins with the Torah portion Shmot, the beginning of the Exodus story, the central story of the Jewish people. In this portion, there are two sentences where we express our suffering to God because of the oppressive conditions of our bondage to Pharoah. In these two sentences, there isn’t just ONE verb for expressing our pain, but FOUR verbs in Hebrew. We moaned, groaned, and cried out in several ways. God heard...Read more...

Chanukah: A Time of Dark, Light, and Being a Shames

12/27/2022 03:48:46 PM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

Chanukah comes during the darkest time of year. It is the season of deeper darkness where we honor the dark and the light. We have the opportunity to appreciate the relationship between darkness and light and their interdependence. If you think about it, we are created in the darkness (the womb) and are born into the light. Both the day and the night are beautiful. Most references in the dominant narrative are that dark is bad and light...Read more...

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Friday Night Services

12/12/2022 03:51:33 PM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

At the last in-person Friday night service (scheduled for Dec 2), there was a mix-up and Brandeis was not expecting us. After some conversation, listening, and brainstorming, we were able to go ahead with our service with a time limit of 45 minutes! Our services usually go from 7:00 – 8:15 or so, followed by a small oneg. I had to cut 30 minutes from our usual service.

It is often difficult to offer an...

Meet Angelique Von Halle

12/01/2022 04:00:04 PM


Angelique Von Halle

I never realized we needed or wanted to actually join Or Shalom until I became a parent.  In the early 2000's, when I was single and childless, I went to services at Or Shalom alone - or sometimes with a friend - for High Holidays. I loved it. While my...Read more...

Reconstructing Judaism's Statement on the Formation of a New Israeli Government

11/21/2022 04:03:17 PM


This statement was posted on Reconstructing Judaism's website on November 18, 2022:

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association fully endorse and support the recent statement made by the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) on the formation of the new Israeli Government. WUPJ is the international network of the Reform, Liberal, Progressive and Reconstructionist movements, serving an estimated 1.8...Read more...

Chayei Sarah (The Lives of Sarah): Taking Stock of Our Own Transitions

11/15/2022 04:06:22 PM


As we celebrate Shabbat this Friday night at Brandeis with the support of our Amazing Musical Ensemble, we take a peak at this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah. I have been thinking a lot about transitions, and I noticed the theme of transitions throughout this...Read more...

Or Shalom is Thriving!

11/10/2022 04:09:42 PM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

When I started working with Or Shalom in October, I was impressed by so much of this community’s resiliency, warmth, and commitment. In a short period of time, I have met many of you and heard your hopes and dreams, your grief, and your visions for how the Or Shalom...Read more...

When We Stay and When We Go

10/31/2022 04:11:15 PM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

A few weeks ago, I asked people who attended Friday night services what motivated them to leave their homes and find their way to Brandeis for services on a Friday night, when there were many other things competing for their time. People said such a variety of things,...Read more...

A Completion of One Cycle of Time

10/31/2022 12:59:38 PM


Reb Ezra Weinberg

Dear ones of mine,

A post-holiday season greeting of sorts.

Some rabbis are relieved when the new month of Cheshvan arrives. I generally feel a loss. After such a relentless season of holidays, here is my attempted summary. This is what goes on...Read more...

May You Be inscribed in the Book of Life

10/17/2022 09:42:17 AM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

The High Holy Days are over, so what can this still mean to us?

During the Jewish High Holy days we pray to be inscribed in the Book of Life before the gates close, either at the end of Yom Kippur or some believe not until the end of Sukkot on Hoshana Rabba.  If taken literally, there is something that doesn’t seem right about this. Does it mean anyone who dies during the upcoming year or even during the 10 days between Rosh...Read more...

Our New Interim Rabbi Chya Gusfield

10/11/2022 01:07:41 PM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

Torah from Rabbi Chaya’s Garden

I am so excited to continue our journey together, especially during this season of Sukkot, also called zman simchateinu, the time of our joy. Friday night we will begin at 6 p.m. in the Brandeis Sukkah by sitting together, singing a few...Read more...

Sat, July 20 2024 14 Tammuz 5784