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Loss and Longing at Thanksgiving

11/24/2020 06:18:53 PM

Nov24

Rabbi Brent Spodek

This is a hard Thanksgiving. 

At a certain level, every Thanksgiving is hard, saturated with a whitewashed myth of brotherly love between Native peoples and European colonists. More information about the history of thanksgiving can be found here. 

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Rolling into Kislev

11/18/2020 04:26:21 PM

Nov18

Rabbi Brent Spodek

Dear Friends:

One of the most wonderful Jewish legends teaches that despite setbacks, the world endures thanks to the efforts of 36 hidden righteous people. They are known as the lamed vav tzadikim, and not only do we not know who they are, but they don’t know who they...Read more...

Pretender to the Throne

11/11/2020 12:17:23 PM

Nov11

Rabbi Brent Spodek

Thousands of years ago, when the reign of King David was coming to an end, there was a succession problem which we read about in this weeks haftorah. 

Adonia, David’s vain and self-centered son, declared himself king, despite having no authority to do so. As is often the case with...Read more...

Chaisidic Stories with Paul Davidovits

10/28/2020 04:57:06 PM

Oct28

Rabbi Brent Spodek

The Jewish tradition has always had a dual understanding of Torah - there is the written Torah and there is the oral Torah. 

The written Torah is the established words of the Tanach - the stories of the patriarchs and matriarchs, the teachings of the prophets, the poetry of the Psalms.

The Oral Torah is the Jewish history of discussions and elaborations and fables inspired by the Written Torah. 

The Written Torah is fixed for all time; the Oral Torah is renewed in every generation, and in this generation, we are lucky enough to have our own Paul Davidovits, sharing some incredible Oral Torah. 

Paul, who was born and raised in Europe before the war, is sharing some Chasidic Tales so that this old Torah can once again be new in our ears and in our hearts. Take a listen below for an incredible story of the Besht, the "founder," so to speak, of Chasidism and join us next week to hear the story live, or look for the next recording on our facebook page and our YouTube channel. 

 

 

 

 

A Quarter of the Way There

10/21/2020 12:31:13 PM

Oct21

Rabbi Brent Spodek

There is no easy way to put this: the financial convulsions that we as a country are going through affect every one of us individually and they affect Beacon Hebrew Alliance as well. 

When businesses started shuttering and people started losing jobs and income in the spring, we...Read more...

BHA Blood Drive & Member Picnic at Lewis Tompkins Fire Station

10/14/2020 01:21:33 PM

Oct14

Rabbi Brent Spodek

BHA Blood Drive at Lewis Tompkins Hose Fire Station

There is an urgent need for donated blood, to signup visit: www.nybc.org or call 1-800-933-2566.

Register for the BHA Members Picnic: you can sign up for one of three shifts throughout the day.  We are limited to 50 people in the parking lot at one time, please adhere to the time of day you register for.

BHA Member's Picnic 11am-12:30pm Shift

BHA Member's Picnic 1pm-2:30pm Shift

BHA Member's Picnic 3pm-4:30pm Shift

Learning Opportunities

10/07/2020 02:27:12 PM

Oct7

Rabbi Brent Spodek

I’m excited to share some learning opportunities starting up soon! One is for children, two are for adults. 

For adults on Saturday afternoons: Starting on October 17, we’ll be studying the Art of Heresy through the lives and teachings of two of Judaism’s most important heretics...Read more...

Videos From the Days of Awe

09/30/2020 04:58:22 PM

Sep30

Rabbi Brent Spodek

I hope you found the Days of Awe to be inspiring and renewing, whether you celebrated them with BHA, another community around the world, or in the quiet privacy of your own thoughts. 

I want to share here some of the videos from the Days of Awe and then also some resources that might be of use in celebrating Sukkot. 

All of the BHA videos from Yom Kippor and Rosh Hashona are accessible on our YouTube channel, including:

 

As far as Sukkot, we are sadly not having Open to the Sky this year, but thanks to Deb Davidovits and Matt Harle, the sukkah at BHA is up.  Members are welcome to sign up to visit the BHA Sukkah and shake the lulav and esrog by visiting the BHA Members Only Page to access the link.

Of course, it is also great to build your own sukkah in your back yard or deck. They are, by definition, flimsy and rickety, so don’t worry if your building skills are rusty or non-existent. There are some great instructions on-line from PJ Library, My Jewish Learning and Mayim Bialik. Even if you have never done it before, I suggest you give it a shot - it’s virtually impossible to do it wrong, and it can be fun for kids and adults alike!

With blessings for a year of health, peace and courage, 

Rabbi Brent

These Days of Awe

09/23/2020 04:23:32 PM

Sep23

Rabbi Brent Spodek

 

This year we have been marking the Days of Awe in new and unexpected ways. 

We celebrated Rosh Hashona on line, and even if you weren't able to join us, you can still hear Rabbi Brent’s teaching and Cantor Ellen’s davening on You Tube, as well as community Torah from Donna Minkowitz, Dan Tanaka, Enid Schwartz, Eli Karetny, Sergio Perez, David Ross, Christine Pincus, Karen Rosenbaum, Mark Ungar and Ashley Baker

On Sunday afternoon, we gathered at Long Dock with faces covered and shofars blown from kayaks in the water, to ensure adequate distance all around. If you weren't able to join us, you can see some of the highlights here

Yom Kippor begins this Sunday evening and continues into Monday evening. BHA members will be receiving an email with all of the relevant information; we welcome our guests (non-members) who wish to take part in our services to register here. 

Navigating the Days of Awe

09/16/2020 12:03:28 PM

Sep16

Rabbi Brent Spodek

Hello Friends:

In these last few days before Rosh Hashona, I wanted to be sure to share some resources, both practical and spiritual, to help us navigate these Days of Awe. 

It might be useful to remember that the work of this season is the same as it has ever been, even if the mechanism by which we do that work is significantly different than in years past. 

So, in terms of the links needed to access the davvening for Rosh Hashona, we have a number of options, so that you can find the ones that work best for you. 

All members of BHA will receive an email and access to a webpage on Thursday which includes links:

  • to interactively participate in services on Zoom, which might be best for folks who want to be able to chat with the clergy and other members of the community.

  • to stream, but not interact you can live stream services on YouTube, which might be best for people who want to watch, but not be seen themselves, or who want to watch on a TV or other device on which YouTube works better than Zoom.

  • to watch individual clips of services on YouTube, which include spiritual exercises for reflection. This might work best for people who want to watch on their own schedule rather than live stream.

Guests (non-members) of BHA who have registered for the holidays will receive an email and access to a webpage on Thursday which includes links:

  • to stream, but not interact you can live stream services on YouTube, which might be best for people who want to watch, but not be seen themselves, or who want to watch on a TV or other device on which YouTube works better than Zoom.

  • to watch individual clips of services on YouTube, which include spiritual exercises for reflection. This might work best for people who want to watch on their own schedule rather than live stream.

If you are not a member of BHA and want to register for services, you can do that here; and if you'd like to take this opportunity to formally join the BHA community, you can do that here

Beyond that, here are some resources to help us all build the spirit of the holidays on our own. 

There are a lot of precious and valuable aspects of the holidays that we will be missing this Rosh Hashona. But the essential challenge and purpose of the holidays remain - to get in right relationship with the people in our lives so that we might be in right relationship with the Holy One of Blessing. 

More than eating the right meal, having the right book or chanting the right words, the core of the holiday is having the hard conversations and improving your relationship with the aspect of God we know best of all - other people. 

With blessings for a sweet new year for all of us,

Rabbi Brent

Sat, November 28 2020 12 Kislev 5781