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Elul Sermons

Sermons in the month of Elul (just prior to Rosh HaShanah) are meant to have a different tone to help you prepare for the holy work necessary during High Holy Days. 

If you missed a few services, or would like to listen again, two are included below. Just click on the link. See you soon ~ L’ Shanah Tovah!

Shoftim: https://youtu.be/BMeYXW-01pQ

Ki Teitze: https://youtu.be/85stRKTd4ek

 

Rabbi Cantor's Corner

       

Rabbi Cantor's Corner

Refresh, Renew, Redeem!

 

April is a time of renewal; This is the month that is considered to be truly the beginning of our journey as "Am Yisrael". In history, we reach to become a people, a nation of Israel, of God, of Moses. However, before we can do that we wander behind Moses following him through the desert desperately trying to merit the commandments which are to be given at Mount Sinai. In our wanderings we are confronted with many struggles...we grow impatient and make a lot of so-called mistakes which become the opportunities for growth we need to free ourselves from all that enslaved us and all we had known under Pharoah's rule.
 

Whether you look at us as individuals, as America, Israel, the Middle East, the Diaspora, different nations of the world, or as one collective humanity - we are all still enslaved. It takes prayer, commitment, perseverance, and action by committed individuals to undo the wrongs that have been done by those who cannot - or will not - see or do what's right on the side of God, Truth, Justice and Humanity. 
 

We are a community founded on truth - "Emet". We are a people who understand what it means to live in accordance with truth and faith living in the light of the Commandments and doing what is just and right. Because of this I feel it is important to switch some things up in our services. We will do some of the things that we've done in the past in creative Neshamah services with meditation and nigunim (wordless melodies that make it easier for everyone to follow along). We will do things in rounds and harmony to create more opportunities for participation and make a "Joyful Noise Unto the Lord"! Everyone should sing and praise God (or at least raise the roof, be happy, and generate some positivity in prayer for the world at large?!). 

 

To that end, we will be welcoming a new addition to the Bima! We will have Jonas Sills joining us as the Cantorial Soloist alongside me. This is very exciting!! Jonas will be lending his voice in song, worship, and soulful prayers of the heart. (He not only sings with us, but also sings at the Unity Church of the South Bay, so he brings to us a spirit of inclusivity as his father was Jewish. Jonas is of Patrilineal descent, so in Reform Judaism that actually makes him Jewish!) Dan harmonizes from the piano, we have our lovely choir songsters who sing, as well as our band. Jonas harmonizes beautifully with me, adds another male voice to the group to balance out not only our worship, but our universe of prayer as well! Please come listen, pray and experience the ruach - the "spirit" and joy that is so uniquely us. Help spread our warmth, inclusivity, and prayers for peace for our world in a way that only our Temple Emet can do. Our world needs it. 
 

Prayer matters. When we come to Shul to pray - we make a difference. We help heal the sick and uplift the fallen. We manifest energy and send it out into the universe. If you do nothing else positive in your life to try to make a difference in the world - just come to services 3 times a month - and help restore order to the chaos of the universe and put things in balance. (1st & 3rd Friday and 2nd Saturday!!) If for nothing else you might get a little more spiritually infused by spending time with friends, or making new ones, feeling more connected to community, or just feeling good about making a difference for having come. 

 

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That being said, on another note, I would like to address security. Because our world is in such a disarray, we would like you to know that behind the scenes we have been actively and diligently working on measures to protect our community. With all of the unsettling terror that has gone on in the news of late, the shootings in New Zealand, even closer to home with the Century City Mall shooting, and the uprisings in our schools...Yet another reason to come and pray. 
 

If you hear something has happened in the news - especially on Erev Shabbos day, please come to Shul to pray and make sure I know about it. I might have had a crazy busy day...I may even have been in funerals, doing a pastoral visit or counseling, right up to the time of service. 
 

If something bad is happening in our world the most important thing to do is to come to temple and pray...pray for peace in your own well-being, pray for those who are suffering and pray for a reversal toward good fortune and promise....redemption and renewal. In order to help facilitate this, we need to include more meditation, new songs, and a slightly different approach to some of the things we do in services than we have actually done before. 
 

People have asked for classes on prayer or questions about how to pray. Come to services and we will do it in small segments to help us get there, in our own way, on our own terms. We need it for ourselves and for our world.

 

I am sure many of you share your opinions with me. Pease know that I appreciate all you have to say. As you discuss them with fellow congregants, me, our board, and musicians, please do so with a kind heart. The creative process is just that...a process. We welcome your input. We should ALL welcome change, growth, renewal...and yes, too..redemption. That is what this season and Spring is all about. As we discussed last Shabbos, this is a time for caterpillars to turn into butterflies...the chrysalis is now...for ourselves and our world!
 

Also, please know that we have been diligently working behind the scenes on enhancing our security. We have had security meetings with retired Deputy and member Craig Berger. We have three members of the Security Committee and Board wearing buttons that (in an emergency) will immediately connect through our security monitoring system directly to the police department for immediate dispatch. Additionally, the Torrance Police are on high alert, monitoring and driving by our Shul at enhanced times, as well as monitoring our building and cars in our parking lot during important holidays and for all our services, meetings, etc.   We will be doing security drills at a future point in time when we will inform you and share many of the things that we have had done, so please attend those as we do not want to share them with the entire cyberspace world. 

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Please make your reservations for the First and Second Night Seder! Second Night Seder is going to be more intimate and meditative in-keeping with the direction services are going. It will be different from First Night. A new Haggadah ~ music ~ a different caterer (kosher meals are available if desired, 2nd night will be kosher-style) however, kosher rules for Pesach and dietary restrictions will apply. For those of you who like the regular tried-and-true don't worry, there will always be the same for you. 
 

Purchase Tickets 1st Night Kosher Passover Seder

                      Purchase Tickets 2nd Night Passover Seder

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Below please see some great photos from Purim. Thanks to everyone who participated. It is said our portion of upcoming joy is based upon the measure we generate on Purim. Well, we had a fabulous group making terrific bags for the homeless and a mighty crew reenacting the Megillah with a bit of chanting by Wendy Wengrow and promises for more next year by Erika Robinson, Bonnie Leopold and others! Our students, Max, Dash, Jeremy, Issac and David along with Congregants Shelly, Al, Allen, Sherry, Amy, Rochelle, and Bonnie all had a blast with the "telling". 

           

 

 

Let us go forward with joy and a song in our hearts. Let us remove the chametz from our cupboards and our souls to be FREE from all that enslaves us, and be REDEEMED!!!  Please join us at our annual "Burn Your Chametz" Pancake Breakfast" on Friday, April 19th at 9:00 am at Hof's Hut, 23635 Crenshaw Blvd in Torrance.  And don't forget to sell your Chametz to cover all your bases!! If you aren't going to clean out your cupboards and kasher your house - and EVEN if you do - EVERYONE should SELL their CHAMETZ...(I DO!!)  Be FREE from all that PUFFS you up - gets in your way - and keeps you from being the BEST you can be!!! Click here for Chametz Sale Form  Our goal this year: 100% Temple & Friends participation!! It is only $18 to SELL YOUR CHAMETZ!!!  And, SET YOURSELF FREE!! Pesach/Chametz removal kits will be given out Friday, April 5th with Chametz removal instructions. See you then!
 

Chag Pesach Semeach! 

~Rabbi Cantor Didi  

 

                                            

 

Fri, April 26 2019 21 Nisan 5779