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Beth Emet is a diverse, multigenerational Reform community with a dynamic approach to Judaism. Our congregation seeks to create a spiritually vibrant, socially conscious, intellectually challenging, and deeply caring environment firmly rooted in Jewish tradition and values.

Embracing Holiness Small

Yearly Theme 5774

At the midpoint of the Book of Leviticus in Chapter 19, we find not only the exact center point of the Torah, but also the spiritual heart of the Torah. “Kedoshim tihiyu,” God calls to the Jewish people. “You (plural) shall be holy.” In Torah, there’s usually a chain of communication from God through Moses to the People of Israel, but here God calls out to the entire community directly, with no intermediary. Holiness is so central to Judaism that God communicates to everyone, not just the priests and leaders; holiness is incumbent upon each individual. Yet, holiness in our modern, secular age can seem off-putting, even daunting. You may ask, “Why would I want to be holy? Could I possibly be holy even if I wanted to?” This year, we will explore together these questions and the vast Jewish literature on holiness to better understand the concept of holiness and how we might embrace it in our lives. Leviticus 19 contains some very concrete examples of how to lead a holy life (some of which are found in the 10 Commandments). They include how we should care for our own souls and our relationship with Divinity. Equally important, holiness addresses how we treat and interact with other human beings. We will explore both aspects of holiness and how they interconnect and influence each other. For purposes of our annual theme, I have translated kedoshim tihiyu as embracing holiness. God tells us to be holy, but it’s up to each of us to embrace this commandment. We delved into the concept of holiness throughout the year.

Some highlights included our fourth Friday Shabbat speaker series as well as our scholars-in-residence this year:

Rabbi Estelle Frankel  psychotherapist and author of the book Sacred Therapy, worked with us through worship and study to explore the Kabbalistic notion of planes of consciousness with which we relate to God. This weekend was jointly sponsored with JRC.

Embracing Holiness Amidst Diversity: Our Jewish Experience in an Interfaith World with Jodi Bromberg, President of

Rabbi Noam Katz composer and performer of Jewish music, led us in worship and taught us how Jewish music and prayer can nurture our holiness.

Rabbi Rachel Cowan, former executive director of the Institute of Jewish Spirituality, talked about the curriculum she developed on “Wise Aging” and will guided us in one of the sessions.

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Beth Emet is a diverse, multigenerational Reform community with a dynamic approach to Judaism. Our congregation seeks to create a spiritually vibrant, socially conscious, intellectually challenging, and deeply caring environment firmly rooted in Jewish tradition and values.

  • A Close Look at Torah

    with Rabbi Andrea London
    Fridays, October 20- June 8 (No class December 8, 22, & 29, January 12 & 26, March 30, April 6)
    9:30 a.m. - 10:35 a.m.
    There are many ways to interpret Torah and the nuances of meaning that are often o...

  • With Rabbi Andrea London

    Shabbat,  February 3, March 10, May 12, June 9
    3:30–5:30 pm This class meets at Rabbi London's home.

    Once a month on Shabbat afternoon at Rabbi London's home, explore Jewish spiritual practices that ...

  • with Rabbi Allan Kensky
    Fridays, January 26 and February 2, 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    The major religious movements in American Judaism have produced new prayer books in recent years. We will explore how their theological stanc...

  • Drumming for Self-Renewal

    with Linda Schneider
    Wednesdays, December 20, January 17, and February 21

    7:30 - 9:00 p.m.

    How would it feel to take a break from the regimen and “noise” of everyday life and instead focus on renewal of mind, body, and spiri...

  • Eat, Pray, Love a Good Movie: The Women's Balcony

    with Bekki Harris Kaplan
    Saturday, January 20 at 5:30 p.m.
    Enjoy a light supper, recite Havdalah, and watch the Israeli film The Women's Balcony to be followed by a discussion. 

    Israel’s number one film of 2016 centers around ...

  • with Hyma Levin
    Tuesdays, March 6 and 13; 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
    We'll begin with the MAN who invented the slow cooker in response to his grandmother taking her pot of cholent to the baker every Friday to remain warm in his oven fo...

  • Jewish Mindfulness Meditation

    with the Center for Jewish Mindfulness at Orot
    Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. at Beth Emet (please note this class will NOT meet: April 4, April 11, April 18, May 30, and July 4)

    Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, Rabbi Sam Feinsmith, or o...

  • with Hyma Levin
    Sundays, January 14 and 21, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
    Our sages made clear that ethical behavior is not just good to do; it’s the law! Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) focuses on how we treat each other—the behavio...

  • with Joseph Ringel
    Fridays, February 9 and 16, 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    The creation of the State of Israel heralded the mass migration of Jews from all over the world, and especially from Middle Eastern countries like Persia (n...

  • with Cantor Alberto Mizrahi and Cantor Susan Lewis Friedman
    Thursday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m.
    Join Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi as he leads through song, along with Cantor Friedman, in Ladino music sung in Sephardic cultures, and how...

  • with Rabbi Peter Knobel

    Fridays October 20 - April 13 | 8:00 – 9:00 a.m (No class, November 24, December 29, January 5, March 30, & April 6)

    This year we will continue reading Tractate Avodah Zarah, which deals with idolatr...

  • with Barry Scott Wimpfheimer
    Fridays, December 8 and 15, 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    The Talmud began as an oral text, the byproduct of ancient rabbinic learning practices. By choice it remained oral, long after writing technology ...

  • with Tamar Selch
    Thursday, January 25, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
    The Mishnah describes the ancient city of Tzippori, (Sepphoris) as having eighteen synagogues during the time of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi in the late second century C.E. What...

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