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My Vodka Quandry

08/18/2023 12:59:09 PM


I enjoy an occasional sip of single malt scotch and, truth be told, I have become somewhat of a scotch snob, finding other forms of spirits to be less satisfying and certainly less tasty. But, recently, with out-of-town family planning a visit, I thought I might offer a mixed drink option, perhaps a cool Bloody Mary (vodka and tomato juice). Unfortunately, however, I didn’t have any vodka. No problem, I thought. I’ll make a...Read more...

My Zionist Statement At a Moment of Crisis for Israel

03/10/2023 10:36:39 AM


My Zionist Statement At a Moment of Crisis for Israel

Rabbi Neil S. Cooper        March 8, 2023 / 15 Adar 5783


Dear Friends,

When Lori and I made Aliya at the end of August, we had great plans for the next chapter of our lives in Israel. Our plans, however, did not include the medical crisis we would confront shortly after...Read more...

Songs of Ascent: Lifting Us During the High Holidays

10/28/2022 04:06:20 PM


Dear Friends,

Hoshaya, the community in which Lori and I live, is located in the Lower Galilee, in a rich and lush part of the country.  Our apartment is small but adequate.  With two months-worth of additions and improvements, new appliances, and redecoration, we are now settled in a place which feels much more like home.  The front of our unit faces south toward the hills of...Read more...

Rosh Hashanah Message from Rabbi Cooper

09/23/2022 02:48:04 PM


Dear Friends,

Each year, the notion of transitions accompanies our entrance into the new year. In a recent message to the congregation, Rabbi Witkovsky pointed out that this High Holiday season, more than most, the theme transitions figures prominently for our congregation. Personally, this theme resonates deeply.

This High Holiday season I mark several transitions of note:

First, as you know, at the beginning of the...

Elul: Visions for the Future

09/06/2022 12:03:46 PM


What kind of person are you? What have you done this year and who do you want to be in the year to come? The month of Elul leading up to  Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur encourages us to think critically about our lives, take stock of where we are and envision where we want to go in the next year and beyond. In this year of transitions at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El we focus on the future and...Read more...

A New View from the Pew: A Letter from Rabbi Cooper

08/05/2022 12:29:33 PM


Dear Friends,

Several weeks ago, in our weekly Torah reading, we read of the Prophet Balaam. Despite the fact that he was not Jewish, the Torah recognizes Balaam as a legitimate Prophet, with the power of pronouncing blessings and curses. When asked by the Moabite King Balak to curse the Israelites, the Prophet responds by informing the King that his pronouncement of blessings and curses are descriptive and, perhaps, predictive but...Read more...

Offering a Cool Breeze

07/20/2022 02:17:30 PM


כְּצִנַּת־שֶׁ֨לֶג ׀ בְּי֬וֹם קָצִ֗יר צִ֣יר נֶ֭אֱמָן לְשֹׁלְחָ֑יו וְנֶ֖פֶשׁ אֲדֹנָ֣יו יָשִֽׁיב׃ {פ}

Like the coldness of snow at harvesttime, Is a trusty messenger to those who send him; He lifts his master’s spirits.

Proverbs 25:13


We all need our community at...

Thoughts After Highland Park

07/07/2022 03:45:03 PM


July 7, 2022

Dear Friends,

“Choose Life.” These words from the Book Of Deuteronomy are an apt, two-word encapsulation of the central message of the Torah. In expounding on these words, we tend to focus on the second word: Life. But a mandate to choose life, as opposed to death, is hardly profound. I suggest, therefore that we focus on the first word, on the notion of choice.

In the Garden of Eden, in a world of...

Welcome and Thank You

07/05/2022 04:48:16 PM


Shalom Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El Family,

We have been in Wynnewood for less than a week but I can already tell this community takes the mitzvah of welcoming guests seriously. Maimonides says that “hospitality towards guests is greater than receiving God’s presence” and as my family moves in you have helped us understand this through your help and support.

The mitzvah originates, according to the Talmud, with...

Wed, July 17 2024 11 Tammuz 5784