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Rabbi Fred Guttman

Israeli flag and Palestinian flag with red portion in the shape of Israel

On May 4 and 5, Hamas fired 690 rockets into Israel from Gaza. Four Israeli civilians were killed in the barrages, dozens were wounded, and the lives of many more were shattered. Hamas and Islamic Jihad aimed their rockets at civilian centers, striking homes, a factory, and even a kindergarten and a hospital in the city of Ashkelon. 

Murdered in the attacks were:

Moshe Agadi, 58, a grocer and father of four who was hit by shrapnel in Ashkelon Ziad Alhamada, 49, a Bedouin hit by a rocket in the Ashkelon factory in which he worked Moshe Feder, 67, whose car was hit by an anti-... Read More

Sign on the window of a polling place

The three Torah scrolls in our synagogue’s ark are very precious, which is why, every year, we bring in a professional sofer, a Torah scribe, to make minor repairs to each one. Doing this helps maintain the “kosher” status of each scroll.

According to tradition, there are approximately 600,000 letters in the Torah – and that number is not accidental. According to the Torah itself, there were 600,000 Jews who left Egypt. In the sixteenth century in Sefat in the land of Israel, the great Jewish mystic, or Kabbalist, Rabbi Chaim Vital took this teaching and did something very special...

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This post is adapted from a message Rabbi Fred Guttman sent to his congregation, Temple Emanuel of Greensboro, NC. 

Rabbi Aaron Panken, the President of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, died tragically in an accident on May 5, 2018. He was 53 years old. Our deepest condolences go out to his family.

In March 2015, Rabbi Panken gave the closing remarks at the Temple in Selma in honor of the 50th Anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," in front of 400 activists, including Jews and non-Jews. When I asked him to come to Selma to be a part of the program, along with...

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Two crossed Bandaids over a patch of brick wall

On Saturday, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Jews will fast all day and read a passage from Isaiah 58. The passage seeks to inspire the Shavay Zion, those who had returned from Babylon to Israel, to rebuild the walls of the city of Jerusalem, walls which had been destroyed by the Babylonians.     

People from your midst shall rebuild ancient ruins, You shall restore foundations laid long ago. And you shall be called “Repairer of fallen walls, Restorer of lanes for habitation.”

Friends, the walls seem to be falling and they seem to be in need of repair. With every tweet...

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Closeup of the white flowers on a tree with blurry images of a graveyard in the distance behind it

How much do we really know about Jewish burials? What effect are they having on the environment? Is this an important conversation for us to have?

A few things really struck me from Richard Conniff’s recent opinion piece by in The New York Times, titled “This Is How I Want to Be Dead.”

The author writes of the devastating environmental effects of cremation. Though many people think cremation is an environmentally sound process, the truth is quite the opposite. The amount of BTUs needed to cremate a body contributes to the negative impacts of climate change; there is also...

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