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Shabbat Shalom

The gifted Shai Sebbag shares Shalom Aleichem on his guitar.


Shalom Aleichem- Peace be with you, our traditional liturgical greeting of Shabbat dating back to the mystics of Tzfat (Safed) from the 16th or 17th century.

The story goes that two angels accompanied us on our way back home from the synagogue for Shabbat Dinner on Friday night.  If the home was ready for Shabbat, the good angel blessed that next Shabbat it should also be so, and the bad angel would respond “Amen”.  If the house was not ready for Shabbat, the roles were reversed.

Peace upon you, ministering angels, messengers of the Most High,                                      of the Supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.
Come in peace, messengers of peace, messengers of the Most High,                                     of the Supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.
Bless me with peace, messengers of peace, messengers of the Most High,                           of the Supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.
May your departure be in peace, messengers of peace, messengers of the Most High,       of the Supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.

An Open Letter to Jared Kushner

An Open Letter to Jared Kushner

Mr. Jared Kushner


The Observer

1 Whitehall St.

New York, NY 10004

November 11, 2016

Dear Mr. Kushner:

Congratulations to you on the victory of your father-in-law becoming the President-Elect. The election was fair and the people have spoken. However, this election has left a deeply divided country, many of us fearful because of things Mr. Trump has said and the groups that allied with him. We must see the repudiation of racism and bigotry, and Donald Trump must extend the hand of peace and wholeness.

You have claimed that Donald Trump is not an Anti-Semite. However, his words of divisiveness preyed on the fearful and the hate mongers. Groups including the Alt-Right, White Supremacists, and the Ku Klux Klan have rallied to your father-in-law finding permission to boldly and blatantly express their despicable views. This cannot be abided.

You uniquely have the president-elect’s ear as a confidante and advisor. You must use your position to speak on behalf of those genuinely fearful of persecution and loss of civil rights under the protection of a Trump Administration. The values you hold as an American and a Jew are antithetical to hatred and bigotry. Your full-throated voice must be raised to help heal and bring our country together, re-assuring all our citizens they are safe, their civil rights intact and sure, that all of us enjoy the full protection of law and dignity.


Rabbi David Levin

Prayer for those in the path of Hurricane Matthew

A prayer for our friends and families in the path of Hurricane Matthew

thu-am-surgeMay you find shelter from the storm, a safe passage until it has passed and may you emerge whole and unharmed.

My thoughts turn to the Hashkivenu prayer, said as part of the evening (Ma’ariv) service asking for God’s protection during the night at a time when we are so vulnerable. I hope that it provides some comfort.

Be Safe

הַשְׁכִּיבֵנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ לְשָׁלוֹם וְהַעֲמִידֵנוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ לְחַיִּים. וּפְרוֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ וְתַקְּנֵנוּ בְּעֵצָה טוֹבָה מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ וְהָגֵן בַּעֲדֵנוּ. וְהָסֵר מֵעָלֵינוּ אוֹיֵב דֶּבֶר וְחֶרֶב וְרָעָב וְיָגוֹן וְהָסֵר שָׂטָן מִלְּפָנֵינוּ וּמֵאַחֲרֵינוּ וּבְצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵנוּ כִּי אֵל שׁוֹמְרֵנוּ וּלְשָׁלוֹם מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ הַפּוֹרֵשׂ סֻכַּת שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל עַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלָיִם.

Hashkiveinu, Adonai Eloheinu, l’shalom, v’haamideinu shomreinu l’chayim, ufros aleinu sukat sh’lomecha, v’takneinu b’eitzah tovah milfanecha, v’hoshi-einu l’maan sh’mecha. V’hagein baadeinu, v’haseir mei-aleinu oyeiv, dever, v’chere, v’raav, v’yagon, v’harcheik mimenu avon vafesha. Uv’tzeil k’nafecha tastireinu, ki El shomreinu umatzileinu atah, ki El chanun v’rachum atah. Ushmor tzeiteinu uvo-einu l’chayim ul’shalom, mei-atah v’ad olam. Baruch atah, Adonai, haporeis sukat shalom aleinu v’al kol amo Yisrael v’al Yerushalayim.

Grant that we may lie down in peace, Eternal God, and awaken us to life. Shelter us with Your tent of peace and guide us with Your good counsel. Shield us from hatred, plague, and destruction. Keep us from warm famine and anguish. Help us to deny our inclination to evil. God of peace, may we always feel protected because You are our Guardian and Helper. Give us refuge in the shadow of Your wings. Guard our going forth and our coming in and bless us with life and peace. Blessed are You, Eternal God, whose shelter of peace is spread over us, over all Your people Israel, and over Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom

Shir Lama’alot- Psalm 121, A Song of Ascents

Cantor Harold Messinger shares his beautiful melody

This thoughtful rendition helps set the mood for this Shabbat in Elul.  Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom.

שיר למעלות
אשא עיני אל ההרים
מאין יבא עזרי
עזרי מעם הי
עושה שמים וארץ
אל יתן למוט רגלך
אל ינום שומרך
הנה לא ינום ולא יישן שומר ישראל
הי שומרך
הי צלך
על יד ימינך
יומם השמש לא יככה
וירח בלילה
הי ישמרך מכל רע
ישמור את נפשך
הי ישמור צאתך ובואך
מעתה ועד עולם
Song of Ascents
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord,
which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved:
he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper:
the Lord is thy shade
upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:
He shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in
from this time forth, and even for evermore.
Psalm in English and Hebrew from

Shabbat Shalom

Lo Yaavod- A great music video based on the commentary of Rabbi Obadia by Yaakov Shwekey.  A translation of the lyrics is below.

It is a message of brotherhood, love and Klal Yisrael- a great way to start Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom

Do not be as slaves

Do not be as slaves who serve their master for the sake of reward.
One should serve his Creator solely out of love.
(Mishnah Avot, C – commentary of Rabbi Obadiah)
Do not be as slaves who serve their master
for the sake of reward.
A man should not serve
A man should not serve his Creator
Unless out of love
Unless solely out of love

Mourning the loss of an innocent life

Hillel Yaffe Ariel

Hillel Yaffe Ariel

We mourn the loss of Hillel Yaffe Ariel, brutally murdered while asleep in her bed. Hatred, violence, and murder of children do nothing to further the cause of peace or coexistence. Indeed often hardens the heart making the future for two people even more difficult.

Let us take this time to grieve for this innocent child and refuse to let anger and hatred consume us.

May her memory be a blessing.