Rabbi Timoner Published in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

“My dad taught me that businesses thrive when the dignity of every human being is honored — workers, customers and shareholders alike. He taught me that there is no contradiction between being pro-business and pro-union. He taught me that our economy and society can be both prosperous and caring. He taught me that standing for the rights of workers is what it means to be a proud Jew.”

Please read this meaningful op-ed by our very own Rabbi Rachel Timoner for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Rabbi Rebecca Epstein – Shabbat Sh’mini 5781 Nechemta

Mouna, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us this morning. You took on important themes including your thoughts on God, and the flexibility and ongoing evolution inherent in Judaism. As you have heard, our 5th graders are here today, they are just beginning their journey towards B’nei Mitzvah and as part of that journey they are going to receive their Chumash, or Torah book in just a few moments. I am so glad that they specifically heard both what you had to say, and how you built your remarks, incorporating Torah study and commentary, Jewish history, and your own experiences and ideas.

Read More

Rabbi Rachel Timoner – 7th Day of Passover D’var Torah

This Shabbat, this seventh day of Pesach, we read from Parashat Beshallach in the Book of Exodus. We read of our people’s departure from Egypt, the pursuit of Pharaoh and his many chariots, the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, and the triumphant Song of the Sea once we’ve crossed to the other side.

Read More

Rabbi Rachel Timoner – Shabbat HaGadol 5781 Nechemta

Today is Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Shabbat, the Shabbat before Passover. This is the Shabbat when historically our people would settle in to services because it was the longest sermon of the year, all about how to halakhically prepare your home for Passover. That is not what we’re talking about today. Instead, we’re talking about Light and we’re talking about Shame.

Read More

Rabbi Stephanie Kolin – Shabbat Vayikra 5781 D’var Torah

V’im Kol Adat Yisrael Yishgu: Standing with the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community
Vayikra 2021

My family recently moved from Gowanus to Crown Heights, so we became avid users of the Buy Nothing Facebook Group for our old neighborhood. If you’re unfamiliar with what that is, it’s a forum that people use to give things away or request something for free. It’s a way for communities to share what they have, make less waste, and offload things they are done with that might find a new home with someone who needs it.

Read More

Rabbi Stephanie Kolin – Shabbat Zachor 5781 D’var Torah

There’s a guy in Texas who owns a furniture company. His name is Jim Mcingvale. Maybe you’ve seen some reporting about this story. He has this huge warehouse store and when it became clear that Texans were in serious trouble, without electricity or heat or water, he opened his store to anyone who needed refuge. Seniors and kids sitting on his mattresses and recliners. Children curled up on their parents on his couches, watching his televisions. He’s not even worried that their shoes are all over his furniture. He was worried that they were alone and freezing and afraid and out of options with no one to come help them.

Read More

Rabbi Rachel Timoner – Shabbat Bo 5781 Nechemta

Russell, your d’var Torah explored this parasha and the issue of Pharaoh’s hardened heart in a totally original way, as you explored the terrifying feeling of being out of control in our emotions. You showed us that not only is this a universal human experience, it is an experience that the Torah tells us God shares with us. And you questioned whether it was okay, whether it was moral, for God to artificially impose or exacerbate that experience within Pharaoh.

Read More

Rabbi Rachel Timoner – Shabbat Va’eira 5781 Nechemta

Joe and Sylvia, your divrei Torah today are aiming at the questions of what is true and what is right. Joe was asking what caused the ten plagues, a question that could be answered scientifically (whether through scientific theory or archeology), religiously, or literarily, through text criticism. This is a question of what is true.

Read More

Rabbi Rachel Timoner – Shabbat Sh’mot 5781 Nechemta

I felt the need to speak to you this morning, though it was not part of our original plan. I felt the need to speak to you in the week that the Reverend Doctor Raphael Warnock, John Lewis’s pastor, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr was baptized, gave his first sermon at age 19, and served as pastor for the rest of his life—the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Reverend Warnock became the first Black Senator from the state of Georgia. I felt the need to speak to you in the week that Jon Ossoff, John Lewis’s intern, became the first Jewish senator from the State of Georgia.

Read More

Rabbi Rachel Timoner – Shabbat Mikeitz 5781 Nechemta

We need dreams. Hanukkah ended yesterday, and the longest night of winter is still ahead. Vaccinations began this week, thank God, but it will be many months until we can enjoy their protection. Dreams will be what carry us through the long, dark winter. Dreams are our light in the dark.

Read More

Rabbi Matt Green – Shabbat Vayeitzei 5781 D’var Torah

What are we doing when we pray?

My guess is that this is a question that many of you have asked yourselves before. Presumably if you’re here this morning, many of you find something within prayer that’s worth drawing you away from other holiday weekend festivities.

Among the clergy at CBE, I am probably the least likely to ask the question: What are we doing when we pray?

Read More

Rabbi Rachel Timoner – Shabbat Tol’dot 5781 Nechemta

Aaron and Sam, I love that you wrote one d’var Torah together. I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone do that before, and it was as if your medium was your message. And your message, about the particular closeness of twins, was a great way to approach a question for all human relationships and really all human existence.

Read More

Rabbi Rachel Timoner – Shabbat Chayei Sarah 5781 Nechemta

Hannah, I really like how you brought us so many different Rabbinic perspectives on Abraham’s motivations in this parasha. I also think that your idea that Abraham was trying to feel equal to the Hittites is smart and perceptive. I was particularly taken by the idea that Abraham was trying, through his actions, to secure God’s promise that the land would belong to him and his descendants forever.

Read More

Rabbi Rachel Timoner – Shabbat Vayeira 5781 Nechemta

Norah, you taught us that we are descendants of Abraham, meaning that we live in the tradition and by the example of our first ancestor, who had the courage and temerity to stand up to ultimate power. And that means that living in his lineage obligates us to do so as well. Yes.

Read More

Rabbi Rachel Timoner Interviewed by NY1

“Most of what we’ll be doing is out and around the Sukkah. Families can bring a blanket, have a picnic, but stay separated from other families, but [they] still have the feeling of community, the opportunity to be outdoors and the opportunity to celebrate the holiday.”

Rabbi Timoner was recently interviewed by NY1 outside the CBE sukkah. Read the full article here.

Rabbi Timoner Interviewed in The Forward

“The main thing that Judaism tells us God believes about us is that no matter what we do and what we’ve done, no matter how we’ve fallen short of that ideal of justice, peace, love and compassion, no matter in what ways we’ve closed our hearts and failed to see how we’re harming others, how we’ve erred, there is endless opportunity for us to turn. God absolutely believes that human beings can endlessly improve ourselves, that there is no end to the learning curve, no limits on our capacity to become righteous.”

Read this powerful interview with Rabbi Timoner by journalist Abigail Pogrebin, originally published in The Forward, as part of her series Still Small Voice.

New York Jewish Agenda Presents: Allies Debate the Two-State Solution

At a time when progressive Zionists have united in opposition to annexation, Peter Beinart’s provocative essay in Jewish Currents, and his New York Times op-ed, divides allies. Beinart’s contention that a two-state solution is unattainable, and that a binational state provides the only path to achieving a just resolution to the conflict, has challenged the conventional wisdom and ignited a vigorous debate.

Read More

Message from Rabbi Timoner to the CBE Community – My Thoughts On This Moment

Dear CBE Friends,

These are harrowing times. A pandemic, a nationwide cry for justice, fires and destruction, and police and now military deployed by the president to “dominate” our streets.

If you are feeling afraid, despairing, overwhelmed, or uncertain, you are not alone. Your CBE community and clergy are here for you, I am here for you, and our tradition is here for you.

Read More

Rabbi Timoner and New York Jewish Agenda Featured in the Times of Israel

“We felt it was important to create a new voice in New York that focuses on state and local issues, that serves as a central address for liberal Jews whose Jewish values shape their priorities, both with respect to domestic issues and with respect to their support for Israel and their commitment to combating anti-Semitism.”

Rabbi Rachel Timoner shares the mission of the New York Jewish Agenda, which she recently co-founded with several other progressive NYC rabbis, activists, and politicians, in this new article by the Times of Israel.

Hashkiveinu – Friday Nights at CBE: Sounds of Shabbat

With each passing year, as with each passing day, we pray for peaceful transitions from work, to rest, to renewed wakefulness. This brooding, poignant melody, originally set to the text of Psalm 121 (“I lift my eyes to the mountains…”), brings out our essential human vulnerabilities but also calls us to reaffirm our faith in God’s essential grace and compassion. And it reminds us that no matter how scary the night may seem, we find courage by traveling through it together, as one community.

Me and the Jews

Check out this beautiful article written by our friend Rev. Dr. Daniel Meeter of Old First Reformed Church about his meaningful relationship to Judaism and CBE.

Read More

Never Forget

By Betty Leigh Hutcheson

Aliza, Our Holocaust Survivor, Addressing the Mission. Photograph by (ret.) Lt. Col. Peter Lerner in April 2011.

Aliza Goldman-Landau buried her cousin’s son the same day she served Shabbat dinner to six members of our tour. She had agreed to be a host for the evening meal after services at Kehillat Mevasseret, a reform synagogue in a Jerusalem suburb. That Aliza continued with her commitment was incredible to us, but was a minor feat for this quiet, tiny woman—small in stature but large in spirit. Even more astonishing that evening was hearing her life story.

Aliza emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine from Poland, arriving in 1947 by way of Cyprus when she was 9, an age when our children are considering treats, swimming pools, soccer in the park, and the secret comfort of a parent’s lap. Aliza’s life was much different. By the age when she was old enough to enjoy outdoor sports, her family had left Lodz to hide in the woods during the Nazi occupation. They hid in the forest for months and ate what they could find around them while the Nazis destroyed Jewish culture and lives throughout Europe.

Read More

Creating Sanctuaries through Crises

By Rabbi Rachel Timoner

When innocent children are separated from their parents and held in camps, we are in a crisis.

When two synagogues experience Antisemitic murders within six months, we are in a crisis.

When hate and scapegoating are whipped up by the leader of the country, we are in a crisis.

When the president vilifies the press and threatens the freedom of the press, we are in a crisis.

When the president defies and delegitimizes Constitutionally-mandated oversight by Congress, we are in a crisis.

Read More

Israel and Language

By Ed Bleiberg

One aspect of my relationship with Israel has always included my interest in languages. My year-long stay in Jerusalem in 1974-75 was primarily to learn Hebrew. On the recent CBE congregational trip to Israel, language took many forms.

Read More

Israel’s Light

By Bonnie Bader

The light in Israel is brilliant. It floated over the Mediterranean, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River (which is neither deep nor wide). It reflected off the Dome of the Rock, emanated from the candles held in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and reflected off the Kotel; men and women praying in their separate sections. The light danced off faces: white, beige, brown, black, sparkling in the blue and brown eyes.

The light in Israel is mystical. Wandering through the cobbled streets of Tzfat, one of the four Holy Cities, I took in the blue doors, gobbled down a delicious Yemenite sandwich, and visited art galleries with work inspired by the messages of Kabbalah, and old synagogues each with its own story.

Read More

Fellow Dykes: We Must Be Both Pro-Israel And Pro-Palestine

By Rabbi Rachel Timoner

I remember the first Dyke March, organized by the Lesbian Avengers in 1993 during the LGBT March on Washington. I was there, and I remember feeling that I was finally free — that we dykes could claim all of who we were — our full and complex identities, our bodies, our love, our commitments to equality and justice for all — and be utterly unashamed. It, and the subsequent marches since all over the country, have been profoundly liberating for so many people.

Read More

Who Counts In Israel?

By Emily Sachs

Parshah B’midbar begins with an accounting/a census of military age Israelite men.

“So Moses and Aaron took those men, who were designated by name, and on the first day of the second month they convened the whole community, who were registered by the clans of their ancestral houses—the names of those aged twenty years and over being listed head by head.” Numbers 1:17

As the mother of a twenty-year old, whom we named for Jonah, the reluctant but effective prophet to the people of Ninevah, I think a lot about who counts, who serves, and what courage, service and peace-making look like.

Read More

Our New Director of Yachad and Family Engagement

After a comprehensive and thoughtful process led by a committee chaired by Danielle Mindlin with members Leslie Lewin, Marc Sternberg, Mara Getz Shaftel, and Jonathan Spear, and in close consultation with our clergy team and Yachad staff, we are thrilled to welcome Tehilah Eisenstadt to CBE as our new Director of Yachad and Family Engagement, effective July 15.

Read More

From the Valley to the Slope, and Back Again

Rabbi Leora Ezrachi-Vered recently joined us as part of her Golden Fellowship through HUC-JIR, which brings Israeli rabbinical students and recently ordained Israeli Reform Rabbis to intern in North American Reform congregations. Read Rabbi Ezrachi-Vered’s heartfelt reflection to CBE.
 
In the past week you may have noticed me around. I’ve had the good fortune to be able to visit CBE as a “Golden Fellow” (thanks to the generosity of the Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion), getting to know your wonderful community, learning from your spiritual leadership and joining activities.

Read More

Reclining as a Measure of Freedom

One of my favorite aspects of the seder is that we eat reclining. In this one move, the seder invites us to act out the release of stress from the body. The four questions tell us that on other nights we might eat sitting upright — tense — our minds on the work or hardships of the day, full of worry about what tomorrow will hold. But tonight, the freed slave experiences the psychic safety to recline, and we re-enact that sense of emotional and physical release. When my kids were little, they’d decorate their own special pillows for this purpose, which led them to nestle in to the shoulders or onto the laps of their neighbors. We’d make sure that everyone around the table had a pillow in order to fully lean on one another. This leaning on others reminds us that we’re connected, and the people around us can help hold us up.

Read More

Rabbi Timoner’s Op-Ed in the Forward

Rabbi Timoner recently wrote an op-ed for the Forward on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming appearance at the AIPAC Policy conference, expressing major concern for Netanyahu’s recent embrace of the controversial, extremist Jewish Power Party.

Read More

Heartbreak into Shabbat: Rabbi Timoner’s Message to the Community after the Christchurch Shooting

Dear CBE Community,

As we prepare for Shabbat, our hearts are broken from the murderous hate that killed 49 Muslims during prayer at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Before killing and wounding innocent worshippers, the murderer released a manifesto citing American white nationalism as his inspiration. With Pittsburgh still so clear in our memories, we know how threatened and vulnerable all Jews felt after our own people were targeted in one of our holy places. We also know what it felt like when the larger community stood with us to make clear that we were not, and would not be, alone. We remember in particular how the Muslim community encircled us with their love and support.

Read More

Rabbi Timoner on Religion News Service Podcast

Rabbi Rachel Timoner recently appeared on an episode of the Beliefs Podcast, a weekly news podcast covering religion, faith, and ethics. Rabbi Timoner and Dr. William Baker had a meaningful conversation about progressive activism, Zionism, the great potential of the progressive Jewish movement in America, and the crosswinds and squalls for American Jews during the Trump Administration.

Read More

Unleavened Plays Festival

CBE is excited to announce its first annual Unleavened Plays Festival.

The Festival is seeking six 10-minute plays, each reflecting the underlying theme of “PLAGUE(S).” The plays will be performed as an evening of staged readings at CBE on Sunday, April 14, 2019 — the weekend before Passover begins, as people around the world begin to think about the Jewish people’s efforts to escape Egypt and head out into the desert toward freedom.

Read More

New Play Commission About the American Jewish Experience in Partnership with Brooklyn Jews and Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, in partnership with CBE and Brooklyn Jews, opened their search to commission a new play focusing on the American Jewish experience. The commission is looking to support an emerging, early-career playwright in creating a new work that will encourage meaningful dialogue around the complexity of being Jewish in America.

Read More

Rabbi Rachel Timoner – Vaera 5779

Read Rabbi Timoner’s d’var Torah on the upcoming Women’s March on Washington.

We find ourselves this week in the second parasha in the Book of Exodus. At the opening of last week’s Torah portion, we meet a new Pharaoh who doesn’t know Joseph. “Look, the Israelite people are much too numerous for us,” he says. “They might side with our enemies.” So he oppresses us ruthlessly with labor that makes our lives bitter, but we continue to increase and spread out until the Egyptians come to dread us.

Read More

CBE After School to Chess World Championship

Fabiano Caruana will be the first American to compete for in the World Chess Championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972! Shortly after moving to the Park Slope area, Caruana’s parents enrolled him in CBE’s after school program where he was first introduced to the game of chess.

Read More

Rabbi Timoner on “America, We Need to Talk”

Rabbi Rachel Timoner sat down with Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America and host of “America, We Need to Talk” on WBAI Radio, to discuss the current climate of anti-Semitism in America, what we as Jews (and as people) can do to eliminate it, and the importance of welcoming and embracing the other. Rabbi Timoner’s interview begins at 01:05.

Read More

We will #ShowUpForShabbat

Earlier this week, American Jewish Committee launched #ShowUpForShabbat, an initiative encouraging people to come together this weekend in solidarity with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh and Jews across the nation.

Read More

The Prayer of Endings

Farewell Speech from Rabbi Marc Katz
Marc’s Last Lap Farewell Event, June 3, 2018

The amazing thing about the Jewish tradition is that there is a prayer for everything. There is a prayer for new beginnings, a prayer for seeing lightning and a different prayer for the rainbow after the storm. There is a prayer for seeing a beautiful person, and prayer for smelling a flower, even a prayer for using the bathroom.

But my favorite prayer has always been the prayer of endings, because it completely defies expectations.

Read More

Bound Up In One Another

A Message from Rabbi Rachel Timoner

Dear CBE Community,

I know that many of us are experiencing a range of thoughts and emotions about what’s been happening in Israel. Yesterday, as the American Embassy was moved to Jerusalem and as 60 Palestinian people were killed at the Gaza border fence, Rabbi Rick Jacobs released this statement, which I support, on behalf of the Reform movement. Meanwhile, Rabbi Sharon Brous was with Rev. William Barber and many leaders of the Reform movement in Washington, D.C. launching the Poor People’s Campaign. She said these words about poverty in the United States, words that speak to my heart about Israel and the Palestinians. Perhaps they will speak to yours.

Read More