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NFTY-NAR Kallah: Can Dads be NFTYites, Too?!



Earlier this winter, my synagogue played host to NFTY-NAR’s Winter Kallah. Because we’re of the “go big or go home” belief, our cantor arranged for Jewish musician Dan Nichols to be our artist-in-residence the same weekend. Ever a consummate mensch, Dan participated the entire weekend in activities with NFTY, the religious school, and programs for […]

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It Takes a Village (and a Little URJ Help) to Build a Congregational Website



With people doing so much of their shopping online these days – for everything from clothing to electronics to groceries to books, and just about everything else – it’s become evident to my synagogue’s board that temple shopping begins online, too. Prospective members no longer wait to drop in unannounced at Shabbat services or attend […]

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Hitting a Home Run for the Temple



With a little ingenuity, my synagogue managed to combine fundraising and socializing at a recent event. The Long Island Ducks are an independent baseball team located in Suffolk county Long Island, part of the Atlantic League. Every year, the team invites groups to sing either the national anthem prior to the game or a mid-game […]

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Praying To A Brand New Beat



My teenage son recently attended NFTY Convention in Los Angeles and one of his text messages home told us he wanted to re-string mom’s guitar. Looking at the video from the convention, it is evident why the music was so inspiring. Teens were playing guitar and the Dan Nichols concert looked more exciting than The […]

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Jewish Scouts: Catching the Ruach



Scouting has been in the news lately as the Boy Scouts of America reconsider a longtime ban on gay scouts and leaders. A recent New York Times article describes in detail the discussions and opinions on this decision from various national leadership, and the Huffington Post reports that Boys Scouts of America is delaying a […]

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Tu BiSh’vat at Temple B’nai Torah



Last year the Tu BiShvat seder at Temple B’nai Torah was so successful that this year it was incorporated into our 8 p.m. Shabbat service this past week. A committee of hardworking and dedicated volunteers coordinated everything so we all could participate in a traditional Tu BiShvat seder—including nuts, wine (grape juice), and fruits associated […]

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The Total Shabbat Experience



Keeping the temple calendar up-to-date is like trying to change the tires on a moving car. On Friday, January 11, it seemed that the calendar was moving at lightning speed and running behind it with a marker trying to add more events was our temple administrator. On our calendar, Tot Shabbat is on the second […]

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Bat Mitzvah, Revisited



As my daughter, a junior at a local university and living at home, was approaching her 20th birthday, I tried coercing her into chanting her bat mitzvah Torah portion again. Perhaps I was having another of my helicopter parent moments or I just wanted a chance to hold on to her childhood, I’m not sure. […]

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Praying Together: You’ll Never Walk Alone



Erev Thanksgiving brings the annual pilgrimage to what my son nicknamed, IHOP – the International House of Prayer. My temple is a member of The Wantagh Clergy Council, a group of houses of worship from different denominations in Wantagh, Long Island. Each year, one congregation takes its turn hosting the Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service. As […]

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After the Hurricane, Finding Solace at Synagogue



I believe that people have two families; their biological family and their temple family. When Hurricane Sandy slammed Long Island, it was my temple family that sprang into action. Telephone calls were made by board members as well as congregant calling congregant. “Do you need a place to stay?” “We have plenty of food. Come […]

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Kabbalat Shabbat: Making A Congregational Change



Years ago, as a first-time board member, I was corrected by our then-president that we are a Reform temple, not a Reformed temple, because we are constantly changing. By adding the -ed at the end of the word, Stan explained, we would cease to change. While many people would prefer the -ed, the Reform Movement […]

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Reflecting on Simchat Torah



Thanks to social media and electronic devices you can check in on Foursquare and read the Mishkan T’Filah on a handheld device at the same time. Yet for all the modern inventions, the Torah remains unaffected. I have had the honor of watching as a scribe slowly and meticulously writes the letters by hand and […]

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Tashlich: A Clean Slate



Ingredients for Tashlich: Bread A large natural body of flowing water Rules for Tashlich: The bread goes in the water, not you. The water is running, not you. Take the bread out of the bag. Break bread into small pieces. Do not yell “food fight.” If someone yells “food fight,” duck. Please do not eat […]

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A Different Path to Shabbat



Shabbat is anywhere and everywhere. Twice during the summer of 2012, Temple B’nai Torah of Wantagh celebrated Shabbat without the traditional four walls and stained glass, Rabbi Marci Bellows and song leader Emily Altman helped to bring in Shabbat at TOBAY (Town of Oyster Bay) Beach on Long Island. Sitting in a semi-circle with sand […]

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