There once was a man on a journey who came across a beautiful palace, but the palace was on fire. He looked around, trying to find help to put out the blaze. He wondered, surely there must someone who owns this palace, someone who cares for it. This, the rabbis teach in the midrash (Genesis Rabba 39:1), was our ancestor Abraham.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
As part of a series of articles on Judaism and American democracy published by eJewish Philanthropy, Rabbi Timoner wrote the following article on the imperative of Jews and civic engagement especially during this particularly challenging time.
Maris Krauss recently joined the CBE team as our Membership Coordinator. As part of our Engagement Team, Maris is responsible for connecting prospective and current members to the vast offerings of our congregation. A New Jersey native, she moved to Brooklyn to work in the Jewish nonprofit world, formerly working at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and PJ Library. Since moving here, she has enjoyed learning about all the various Jewish communities NYC has to offer. As a graduate of the Avodah Justice Fellowship and a current JDC Entwine community representative, Maris is passionate about social justice and anti-oppression work, specifically with a Jewish perspective.
Rabbi Timoner recently signed on to a joint letter sent to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with over 100 New York City and New York State faith leaders in support of bail reform. Read the full letter below.
Rabbi Timoner recently co-authored an op-ed in the Forward with Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in Manhattan and Matt Nosanchuk of the New York Jewish Agenda about what repealing New York cash bail reform could mean for Jews.
Senior Rabbi of CBE Rachel Timoner was recently invited to help deliver the unity prayer at the African-American Clergy & Elected Officials breakfast with Rev. Dr. Robert Waterman of Antioch Baptist Church, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, New York State Attorney General Letitia James, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams, and many more.
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.
The month of Kislev heralds shorter days and colder weather, and the Jewish people respond by gathering in the warmth of community and kindling lights. In the midst of Kabbalat Shabbat, Psalm 97 draws an explicit comparison between increasing light and increasing happiness, and Psalm 98 exhorts the entire world to shout and sing with abandon at the wonders in our midst. Our medley of these two psalms incorporates melodies which match the unbridled joy of these ancient words of praise.
Tom Pnini is our Early Childhood Center’s Admissions Coordinator and Art Studio Teacher. Tom runs our “Cardboard Studio,” a classroom that has been completely transformed into an interactive art studio for kids to explore their creative side without limits. Our preschool students work with Tom in the Cardboard Studio as part of their curriculum.
As the Jewish community emerges from weeks of holidays and enters the month of Marcheshvan, we take comfort in the simple weekly rhythm of Shabbat.
Ki HaMalchut Shel’cha – Friday Nights at CBE: Sounds of Shabbat
At the heart of Rosh Hashanah morning liturgy lies “Aleinu l’shabeiach,” an affirmation of God’s ultimate, singular sovereignty over everything that is.
Rebecca Kleinhandler-Dahan is a longtime CBE member and our wonderful lay leader for Shir L’Shabbat, a weekly Shabbat service geared towards young families with infants and young children up to age 4. Shir L’Shabbat is a special way for families and their little ones to welcome Shabbat together, filled with singing and dancing with our extraordinary songleader Debbie Brukman. Be sure to stop by and say hi!
Read Rabbi Timoner’s review of Rabbi Mike Moskowitz’s recent book, Textual Activism, a collection of essays, articles, and teachings offering a new perspective on Torah, with an emphasis on contemporary issues of justice and inclusion, especially around gender identity.
For the past several years, CBE has been experimenting with how Friday nights feel, look, taste, and sound. We have assembled a core community of dedicated regulars, a world-class jazz quartet in partnership with the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, and a unique collection of melodies that together transport us out of the workweek and into Shabbat: a sacred time of rest, refreshment, reflection, and utter joy.
Tehilah Eisenstadt recently joined the CBE team as Director of Yachad & Family Engagement. Tehilah has an extensive career in Jewish education, having received Master degrees in Jewish Education and in Midrash/Biblical Exegesis from the Jewish Theological Seminar and certification in Early Childhood Administration. She is a graduate of HUC-JTS’s Leadership Institute, and a proud alumna of Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. She also has a deep commitment to social justice. Notably, she was instrumental in forming the New York coalition of Bring Back Our Girls, which strives to raise awareness about the 276 school girls from Chibok, Nigeria who were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in 2014.
Forty-four protesters were arrested while demonstrating against Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) cloud contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a New York Amazon Bookstore Sunday evening.