Congregation Adath Jeshurun is an inclusive, egalitarian Conservative synagogue.
All are welcome irrespective of gender, race, or sexual orientation.
We welcome dual-faith families who want to be involved in the Jewish community.
Below, Rabbi Rachel Kobrin provides thoughts for each night of Hanukkah!
• Hanukkah, Night Four •
4th night, 4th light. We're halfway there. How perfect that the halfway point falls on Shabbat -- our sacred day to reflect, connect, and dream.
And so this evening we have the opportunity to ask ourselves: How am I bringing four nights of light into this Shabbat? In what ways have these first four nights inspired me to be the light that I dream of projecting in this world? After tonight, four more nights of light remain. And so we also ask ourselves: In what ways has the light of the menorah not yet penetrated my soul? When I reignite the candles after Shabbat ends -- on the 5th night -- how can I open myself so the light can transcend my exterior and illuminate a piece of me that needs warmth and guidance?
• Hanukkah, Night Three •
"I've now led the Torah service three times," said Alex. "And if there is one thing that I've learned from Rabbi Kobrin, it's that now that I've led it three times, you're stuck with me!"
So said my 17-year-old congregant last summer. What a lucky congregation to be "stuck" with such a passionate teen leader.
The book of Ecclesiastes teaches, "A threefold cord is not easily broken." In other words, once we've done an act three times, it officially becomes a habit. The first time we read Torah we're trying it out. The second time, we're seeing how it feels to try again, but the third time is different -- the third time it "sticks." We have gone from exploring the act of chanting Torah to becoming a full-fledged Torah Reader. Torah reading has become a holy habit.
As we light the third candle this evening, may we be inspired to think about our own habits. Not the ones we want to break, like biting our nails or texting during dinner. Rather, we have the opportunity to focus on the habits that give us pride. Giving tzedakah. Volunteering in the community. Calling our parents and kids. Fighting injustice. Coming to minyan.
May this third candle inspire us to be like a passionate 17-year-old -- embracing holy habits with dedication and pride.
• Hanukkah, Night Two •
We cannot light our Hanukkiah this evening without first standing in solidarity and heartbreak with the families of Peshawar, Pakistan, who have lost their most beloved gifts at the hands of barbaric brutality. As these parents work to repair their lives and mourn their children, may they know that Jews throughout the world are weeping and praying with them.
Tonight, we light the second candle -- equivalent to the letter bet in Gematria. Interestingly, although alefis the equivalent of one, alef is not the first letter of the Torah nor the first page of the Talmud. Bet is.
- The letter bet faces in one direction -- open and forward -- symbolizing our own need to embrace our vulnerabilities with an open heart, while also committing to consistently moving forward -- both in thought and in action.
- The letter bet has three closed sides and one open side, thereby making it appear incomplete. The world, too, is incomplete. It is our job to add our spark and light to it, thereby moving it toward perfection. The letter bet reminds us of this unique and sacred obligation.
- We are told in Bereisheet: "It is not good for a person to be alone." The first letter of the Torah and the first page of the the Talmud is bet (two) -- reminding us that our role in this world is not to live in isolation. Rather, and simply put -- we are here to connect with one another.
As we light our second candle tonight -- moving forward with open hearts, connecting and embracing sacred relationships and our role as facilitators, healers, and builders, may we hold in our hearts the children of Peshawar -- whose young lives were so brutally taken from this world. In these moments, the world feels so very dark, but the radiant light from our candles reminds us that brutality will not win. We simply will not let it.
• Hanukkah, Night One •
ner Adonai nishmat adam...
the light of God is the human soul
This evening we kindle our first candle -- one individual flame, a shimmering mixture of orange, yellow, and red in the depth of the night. This flame is small, yet it possesses incredible power. The light is impossible to conceal -- As it rests in our Chanukiah in the window of our home, its bright color is vibrant against the backdrop of the sky, symbolizing the burning flame that is within each of us.
This one flame, shining brightly, reminds us that each ordinary individual has the potential to make an extraordinary difference. One person -- like one flame -- has the capacity to provide vital light, sustaining warmth, and inspiring color to the landscape of our very existence.
AJ has a rich, vibrant social and religious calendar. We encourage you and your family to take advantage of all that AJ has to offer. For more information about events, see the "News" page under "About AJ" or contact the main office, the preschool office, or the religious school.
By default, the calendar below shows activities for all of our synagogue and constituent groups. Click on the triangle at the below right to see the color coding and manage your view of their activities.
Please note: "PS" stands for Preschool and "RS" stand for Religious School.