reb victor's blog

On Eagles' Wings - Rabbi Victor's 2019 Jewish Discover Course

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 10:04am -- reb victor

1/9/2019          1- Introduction: Interactive tour through a “Jewish Museum.”

Post-reading 1: A selection from Embracing Judaism by Simcha Kling and Carl Perkins, or a piece from The Book of Jewish Practice by Louis Jacobs

1/23/2019          2- God Talk & Theology  

Pre-reading: Two or three selections from “Finding God”

The Victims of the Pittsburgh "Tree of Life" Synagogue Shooting

Sun, 10/28/2018 - 10:36am -- reb victor

Pittsburgh authorities have released the names of the people killed in the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue Saturday:

Joyce Feinburg, 75, of Oakland

Richard Godfried, 65, of Ross Township

Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill

Jerry Robinowitz, 66, of Edgewood

Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill

David Rosenthal, 54,  of Squirrel Hill

Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg

Sylvan Simon, 86, of Wilkinsburg

Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill

Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill

Topic Ideas for Chaverim 2018-2019

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 1:09pm -- reb victor

1. Funny, but you don't look Jewish: A study of stereotypes

2. The changing role of religion in America today.(Is religion still 
relevant today?)

3. Soccer vs. Sunday school.  How can a balance be struck?

4. Jewish cooking. Bring your favorite dairy dish (and the recipe) to share.

5. Everything you always wanted to know about Judaism but were afraid to ask.

6. Questioning your faith.

7. Women of the Bible.

8. Folk songs. Bring your guitars for a sing-a-long of your favorite Jewish/Yiddish songs.

Rosh Hashanah Service Schedule and Times

Sun, 09/09/2018 - 12:25pm -- reb victor

5779 Temple Beth-El High Holidays

2018                      SCHEDULE OF SERVICES                     5779


Sunday, September 9     8:00pm  Ma'ariv (evening service)

Monday, September       8:30am A guided walk with Rabbi James Greene (Meet in synagogue foyer)

8:45am Traditional Shacharit (morning service) in the Main Sanctuary        

9:45am  Open the Ark and the Torah processional

10:00 am  Shofar Service

10:10 am  “The Congregation’s “Blessing of the Children”

"Ode to Joy - Shanna-nah-nah-nah Tova" SHABBAT SCH-NEWS - REB VICTOR’S BLOG 9-7, 27 of Elul 5778

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 12:17pm -- reb victor

Dear friends,


As Shabbat is approaching and Rosh Hashanah rests just over the horizon I sit here wondering about how I feel entering the holiday season.  It was at my firemen’s meeting Tuesday night when one of the other volunteer firemen came over to me, grabbed me by the shoulders and said, “This is your big show coming up, you should be getting excited!”  Leave it to an outside source to remind you where your heart should be. 


Let’s think about. 

Rabbi's Blog July 20th 2018 - Tisha B'Av and Shabbat Hazon "Problematics and Potentialities"

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 12:00am -- reb victor

Dear friends,

When faced with difficult situations, past, present, or future, do we see problems or potential?  “Old ideas” tend to raise many objections in our modern day hearts, but inherited traditions often have much to teach us if we are willing to take the time to search out the lessons for our day and in our own lives.

Blog for Week of May 16th 2018 - Pre-Shavuot announcements, instruments during services on Sunday, and comments on the Holy City of Jerusalem and the Gaza border conflict

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 10:17pm -- reb victor

First some calendar related news:

- My Crafted Kup class will be tomorrow at 12:30pm.  More questions and answers as to Shavuot practices including the practice of eating dairy. 

Our great leaders are crying out for the same things....Israel and the Diaspora

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 12:53pm -- reb victor

Dear friends,

This past weekend the Jewish world lost a great leader to a tragic plane crash.  Rabbi Aaron Panken was serving as the president of Hebrew Union College when he passed away just before the school's commencement.  In the JTSA article from the day of his passing a quote of his was shared:

On a 2015 Op-Ed for JTA decrying the perceived growth of fundamentalism in Israel, Panken said the Reform movement had an important role to play in advancing pluralism in Israel.


Tue, 03/27/2018 - 9:55am -- reb victor

Passover celebrates the importance of Jewish peoplehood. On Passover, we are commanded to make sure that every Jew will be able to observe the holiday properly. It has been a long-standing custom in Jewish communal life to collect special funds for this purpose. This fund is called Maot Hittim, literally “money for wheat.” This is a long-standing custom of our community; any funds collected will be given to the needy, for Pesach needs and for other donations to the poor. Please make check payable to Temple Beth-El with Passover Appeal in the memo.

A rabbinic response to the terrible terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan yesterday.

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 8:48pm -- reb victor

Dear friends,

Yesterday a legal US resident who chose, while living in this country, to align himself with ISIS, committed a heinous act of terrorism by driving a truck into a crowd of bikers and pedestrians in Lower Manhattan, killing eight, and wounding a dozen more. 

Please join me in praying for peace and healing for all the victims of this tragedy and for the safety and security of all those who reside in this country.

Praying with our bodies

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 8:14pm -- reb victor


Praying with Our Bodies

A Jewish New Year Workshop Series

at Temple Beth El, Poughkeepsie

Nancy Judson

Feldenkrais® Practitioner and long-time Beth El member

Malkah Binah Klein

Visiting High Holiday rabbi and teacher of Jewish spiritual practices


Yom Kippur

Saturday, September 30, 8:30-9:30 a.m.


Yom Kippur

Saturday, September 30, 8:30-9:30 a.m.

Temple Beth-El Service for Yom Hashoah 5777 "Raise Our Voices"

Sun, 04/23/2017 - 11:23am -- reb victor


Below you will find the reading packet for the program.  If you would like to participate in the reading of one of the pieces, please take this opportunity to practice in advance.  Each selection will be read with multiple voices by those who have practiced it.  

In service and memory,

Reb Victor


“Raise Our Voices” Yom Hashoah 5777 - Sunday Evening April 23rd 7:00pm (In the Sanctuary)



Reading Number 1: Never Shall I Forget by Elie Wiesel


SHABBAT SCH-NEWS - REB VICTOR’S BLOG “Make Time to Seek and thou Shall Find” Nissan 11th ✡ April 7th

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 1:03pm -- reb victor

“Shev V’Al Ta’aseh” is a rabbinic expression that literally means “sit and do nothing.”  The Talmud teaches us that in cases where laws come into conflict (cases where a definite need arises) rabbis are allowed to issue legal overrides (Shev V’Al Ta’aseh).  In Masechet Brachot we have a discussion of the mitzvah of returning lost objects.  According to the Talmud, the law is stated in such a way to give our rabbis the permission to give dispensations when necessary.

A House with Many Rooms: Shabbat & Rosh Hodesh January 28th

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 5:08pm -- reb victor

9:00 AM

Boker Tov Cafe (extends beyond the start of the main sanctuary service

9:30 AM

  • Main Sanctuary Service
  • Alternative Offering - "Hearing the Bat Kol: On Raising Jewish Children with Rabbi Victor
  • Alternative Offering - Hebrew Reading with Naomi Kamelot
  • Shabbat School Classes

10:15 AM


  • Hallel, Torah service processional, Skit on the weekly parsha Torah Reading begins

10:45 AM

SHABBAT SCH-NEWS - REB VICTOR’S BLOG “Searching for Achdut (Unity)” Tevet 22th ✡ January 20th

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 9:50pm -- reb victor

Hearing and watching all the events of the day today made me think of Havdallah.  Havdallah is a ritual which takes us through the transition from Shabbat to the rest of the week.   The central theme of the opening lines of Havdallah is “Ozi V’zimrat Yah. – I will sing to the Lord who is my strength.”  This is a similar sentiment to the one that motivated us to recite “hazak (hazak, like oz, is a word for strength)” in synagogue last Shabbat when we completed the book of Genesis and committed to carrying on into Exodus.  All transitions are hard and thus we pray for strength.


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