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October 19, 2018

Top Ten Reasons to Come to Rodef This Shabbat, In No Particular Order

1. Josh Gold, our new Interim Executive Director, and his wife Pamela and children Brayden and and Dylan, will be in shul... come meet them and welcome them to Rodef. 

2. Shabbat With a Backbeat will be creating music and spirit in the sanctuary 

3. My parents are visiting and can't wait to meet you!

4. Minyan Masorti will be bringing the ruach to the Mizel

5. We will be celebrating Ilana Steinberg's birthday with an Aliyah to the Torah. 

6. Tot Shabbat, mini-minyan and a fun Shabbat play date at shul

7.  Time to sing and pray and learn together 

8. ...And time to connect with friends 

9. Excellent opportunity to disconnect from the fast pace of life and be together with good people. 

10. Delicious Kiddush lunch featuring a special salads and root bear floats. 

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Rachel Kobrin

Getting to the finish line...

Dear Chevre,

We have a bit of a marathon of holidays... Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur enabled us to go inward while experiencing the blessings of a robust community. Sukkot has graced us with community, spirited prayer, and a deeper connection to the outdoors and our fragility and Hoshanah Rabbah, Shmini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah still lay ahead. This marathon is not about speed, for we will all finish at the same time. Rather, it's about the intentions and ruach we all bring to the experience. 

I want to spend a moment sharing the highlights of what we are planning for the upcoming days here at Rodef. I hope you will join me in celebration!

Tonight we have our first Passport For Jewish Learning (our Hebrew school) Shabbat at Rodef at 6PM. 

Tomorrow morning (Saturday) we will celebrate Shabbat and Sukkot together beginning at 9:30AM, as we honor Ally Spanbauer and our beloved preschool teachers and staff.  Our children will be invited to help return the Torah to the ark and Mussaf will be led by a preschool parent. We will enjoy a delicious kiddish lunch in honor of our preschool. Thank you to the wonderful families who made this Shabbat lunch possible!

Sunday Morning, we will join together at 9AM for our Hoshanah Rabbah service. This is a wonderful, primal service where we will circle around a Torah in the Sukkah seven times in song, and bang willows on the ground. We bang the willows as an opportunity to bang-out the last of our transgressions from this past year. If you've never experienced this holiday, this is an extra special invitation to join us in the fun. 

Monday morning,  we will gather at 9:30 AM for Shmini Atzeret services. These services will include our Yizkor service and the Geshem prayer for rain.  

Monday evening we will gather for Simchat Torah - aka Holy Pandemonium. We will have dinner at 6:15PM followed by a short (and Simchat Torah silly) service at 7PM. We will remove the Torahs from the ark and dance and sing the night away. Join us for a festive evening of Torah, dancing, shmoozing, and fun - and delicious libations. 

In addition to having a big party on Simchat Torah eve (Monday night), we are going to have a super fun service on Simchat Torah morning - this coming Tuesday. We'll meet at 9:30 AM for davening and dancing with Torahs. 

Here are some great Simchat Torah morning rituals on Tuesday morning that we will be initiating: 

*We will have two simultaneous Torah readings of the end of Deuteronomy so everybody present will get an Aliyah. We will have a special kids' Aliyah as well. 

* Part of the fun on Simchat Torah morning is reading the beginning of Bereshit, and doing a silly song with a thumb dance which is great with kids. 

* During Mussaf, there is a tradition of having kids do all sorts of things to the prayer leader - squirting him with water, distracting him with costumes, etc. We want your kids to be actively involved in this merriment! Our Mussaf leader is anticipating these joyful distractions.  

* We'll follow our service with a potluck dairy lunch. 

May we all end this marathon with ruach, connection to sacred community, inspiration, and vigor. 

 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin

 

Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Kobrin: Guest Speaker, Baby Blessing, Tallitot, and More...

Dear Chevre,

A couple of weeks ago, on Shabbat morning, Rabbi Barry Leff had an aliyah to the Torah. I hadn't met Rabbi Leff before that Shabbat morning - but I noticed his Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies tallis when he came up for his aliyah, and I was eager to become acquainted with another rabbi who had been ordained in Los Angeles. Rabbi Leff spent last year serving as the Interim Rabbi in Birmingham. Prior to that, he spent a number of years living in Israel. Rabbi Leff will be in Denver for just a couple more weeks, and I've asked him to speak this Shabbat. While living in Israel, Rabbi Leff and his family were actively involved in the pursuit of religious pluralism, the Masorti Movement, and Women of the Wall. He will share some of his experiences with us this Shabbat, in preparation for the 5779, as we consider how we can be part of creating the Israel of the future. You can learn a little more about Rabbi Barry Leff, who is a bit of a Renaissance Man.

Introducing Rabbi Barry Leff

Introducing Rabbi Barry Leff
 

Join us this Shabbat for services, Tot Shabbat and Mini-Minyan, and a wonderful kiddush lunch. 

 Blessing our Babies

On the second Day of Rosh Hashanah, we will dedicate our Maftir Aliyah to all of the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who have had new babies enter their families this year. Bring your baby (or a picture of your baby) up for this special aliyah. 

 New Tallit Rack

Thank you to Debbie Ginsberg and Rabbi Sandy Cohen for initiating our Rodef Shalom Women's Tallit project. Special gratitude to our congregants who donated tallitot to this endeavor. 

 Below please find the text that is posted next to our new rack of beautiful tallitot:
 Jewish tradition has many ritual objects that assist us in unlocking spiritual meaning. Such objects as the tallit (prayer shawl) and kippah (head covering), in their beauty and tangibility, can help change our state of mind, allowing us to reach past any of the barricades we may have to spirituality and helping us to connect with a deeper sense of meaning and purpose. At Congregation Rodef Shalom, women are invited to adopt the tradition of wearing a tallit as we too understand ourselves to be obligated to remember the commandments.
  • A tallit (prayer shawl) is a holder for its ritual fringes (tzitzit)
  • The Torah commands us to wear tzitzit on the corners of our garments in order that we may remember the 613 commandments; the strings and knots are a physical representation of the Torah's 613 sacred opportunities to connect with God, community and our inner selves
  • Wrapping oneself in the prayer shawl helps us to attain a mood of reverence, connection, and a prayerful spirit during our tefilla (prayers)
We encourage you to borrow one of the tallit from either rack during our services.
 

10Q

I invite you to check out 10Q, which provides an opportunity for thoughtful reflection during the 10 Days of Teshuvah. 

 "10Q emails you a question a day for 10 days. Afterward, you send your answers to the secure online vault. One year later, your answers are unlocked and returned and the process begins anew." https://doyou10q.com/

A Small Act

Did you miss Selichot? It's not too late to see the movie "A Small Act", which is available online. I will touch on lessons from this movie on Rosh Hashanah.

 I am really looking forward to bringing in 5779 with you. May we all have the privilege of greeting this year with an open heart and a forgiving spirit. May this year provide us with the opportunities to soar to new heights, both as individuals and as a community. 
 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin


 

August 24, 2018

 

Dear Chevre,

 

When I was living in Jerusalem and studying at Pardes, I had the amazing experience of spending Yom Kippur in Jerusalem. For those who have had this experience, I imagine you might agree with me when I say that there is truly nothing quite like it.

The streets were filled, on the evening of Kol Nidre through the entire day until Neila, with people wearing white.  White shirts. White dresses. White skirts. White Kittels.

Except for me. I was wearing a blue dress with flowers.

In my synagogue growing up, you wore your nicest dress on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. And so on that Kol Nidre, I put on the nicest dress that I owned - the blue one with the flowers. Yet, as I saw people pouring from their homes and shuls donned in white, all I wanted to do was run home and change my clothes. I stood out, when all I really I wanted was to be part of the community.  I wanted to identify as deeply as I could with the Jewish people, and somehow, on that evening, white clothing was the symbol for that.

Before I went to bed that night, I found some white clothing to wear the following day. An old white skirt and a simple white blouse. Nothing fancy, to say the least.  But white. On that day, I loved that outfit more that I had loved any outfit since Middle School. And never again did I celebrate Yom Kippur without my white clothing.

As we approach the High Holy Days, there are many ways we can move deeper into our preparations.  We are inspired to use this month of Elul to do heshbon hanefesh - the real inner work that it takes to become the people we dream of being in this world.  We make amends and we reunite with the best parts of ourselves.

The tradition of wearing white on Yom Kippur can help us with this process. 

  • White is the color of purity, and so as we clean our slate, we symbolize that with our clothing. 
  • We also wear white, or a kittel, when we die and are buried.  On Yom Kippur, we have a mini-death and rebirth, symbolized by wearing the very clothing we will wear when we do eventually leave this earth.
  • When we gather together with a room full of others wearing white, we know that we are not alone.  We are all part of this same journey of life.  We are all trying to grow and improve.  Seeing one another in white builds our feeling of being entwined within a sacred community.

 For some of you, your custom may already be to wear white.  For others, this custom may be new.  This year, I invite you to join me.  Don't worry about wearing a jacket and tie or your best dress  - I invite you to come to shul in a simple white shirt, a white dress, white pants/skirt, a kittel - whatever white clothing you have that will make you feel comfortable and connected.

I will be sharing more teachings about wearing white and other High Holy Day traditions in the coming weeks, as we move through this month of Elul together.

This Shabbat 

Join us tomorrow morning as Shana Montrose and Quentin Diot name their daughter, Ava and welcome her into the covenant of the Jewish people.  Mazal Tov to Shana's father, Gary and grandmother, Evelyn, as well as to the entire Montrose and Diot families. Our service will be followed by a beautiful Kiddush lunch sponsored by Evelyn Shamon in honor of the naming of her great granddaughter, and the Gilden-Tsai family in memory of Don Gilden and Rita Krause.

A short Dvar Torah tomorrow will be delivered tomorrow by Rabbi Jay Strear, the new President and CEO of JewishColorado. Rabbi Strear and his family moved to Denver earlier this summer and we are so happy to welcome them to the neighborhood and to the Rodef community.

Tot Shabbat and Mini-minyan will begin at 11:15 AM.  Our service will conclude with a special blessing for our kids who have just returned to school.


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin

 


August 10, 2018

Dear Chevre,

As we move into Shabbat, we hold our brothers and sisters in Israel in our prayers.  This past week, 180 rockets were launched by terrorists in Gaza into Israel, some of which were aimed directly at the city of Be’er Sheva. May we use our prayers and our voices to advocate for the protection of our people, for quick and sensitive actions from those in Israel and throughout the world that will work to end terror and uphold the sanctity of human life.

We also hold in our prayers those who will be protesting against the white supremacist march in Washington, DC on Sunday. On the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, a second rally – as well as a counter-rally  -- will take place on Sunday. As we enter the month of Elul, we reassert the need to blot out hate in our country, and to work tirelessly to elevate the beautiful diversity within our nation.

Our rabbis teach that “Elul” is an acronym for “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li – I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”

Elul is a month of love. 

A month to commit ourselves to loving our neighbor – and the stranger – as we love ourselves.

A month to create time and space to connect and reconnect with family and friends.

A month to open our hearts wider to those who are yearning to be loved.

A month to rededicate ourselves to loving ourselves and believing in ourselves.

A month to assess the ways we most deeply offer love, as well as the ways we allow ourselves to receive love.

We all have the capacity to love  -- and we are all deserving of love. May we know this, and may we find ways to actualize this in the coming month.
 
When we gather together in Shabbat community, we have the opportunity to actualize love. Join us tonight at 7 PM for Shabbat Under the Stars in our Rodef courtyard.  Tomorrow, services begin at 9:30 AM, where Jonathan Hemenway will celebrate becoming a Bar Mitzvah. Babysitting begins at 9:30 AM, and Tot Shabbat and Mini Minyan will begin at 11:15 AM. Following services at noon, we will celebrate with Jonathan and his family as we enjoy a festive and delicious Kiddush lunch.

As we gear up for the High Holy Days, Cantor Saul and I are working to create beautiful and memorable services for our community. Cantor Saul has taken on the responsibility of assigning members to blow the shofar, and we are looking to add to our corps of outstanding shofar blasters. If you are above the age of Bar or Bat Mitzvah and would like to participate this year, please be in touch with Cantor Saul in the coming week -- (303-748-4815 or saul.denver@gmail.com.

Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin

 

July 27, 2018

Dear Chevre,

 

My Top Ten Reasons to Come to Shul This Week, in no particular order:

 

1. Inaugurating the new gazebo with our children at Tot Shabbat and Mini-Minyan 

2. Celebrating Ilana Steinberg and Ray Merenstein's anniversary 

3. Celebrating Rabbi Bernie and Sue Parker Gerson's anniversary 

4. Kvelling as Ely Merenstein reads Haftorah in honor of the 6th anniversary of becoming a Bar Mitzvah. 

5. Seeing your friends and meeting new people 

6. Celebrating the auf ruf of Judith Davidson and Michael Weinstein and wishing Mazal Tov to Sherrie and Les Davidson and family!

7. Welcoming back Rabbi Adam Rosenbaum, who grew up here at Rodef Shalom and is visiting us this weekend from South Carolina 

8. Praying together and gaining strength for the coming week. 

9. Saying farewell to Rabbi Gerson on his final Shabbat as our rabbi.

10. Enjoying a wonderful kiddush lunch! 

 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin 


 

July 20, 2018

 

Dear Chevre,

"Eicha." We read it on Tisha B'Av. Most aptly translated as a cry of mourning, "woa is us," eicha represents all that is wrong, burning, crumbling in our lives and our world. 

And yet, if we simply move the vowels, we are introduced to a new word - "Ayeka." "Where are you?" 

Where are you emotionally? Spiritually? Intellectually? 

This question is first asked in the Garden of Eden. At first appearance, it might seem to be a bit silly.  Doesn't God know where Adam and Eve are? But the question isn't just a surface question about where they (and we) appear in the physical world. The question begs us to think about where our emotions are. How we are engaging our world? How we are sitting with one another and ourselves? 

This is the first step in our teshuvah process as we move toward Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We can do this introspective work on our own, but our traditions and rituals are here to help us along, and to provide space to be present in community, even as we grapple with the challenging aspects of ourselves. 

This weekend, we have many opportunities to respond "Hineni" - Here I am. 

This evening, join us for Kabbalat Shabbat and Shmooze at 6:15 p.m. Enjoy a potato bar dinner followed by Kabbalat Shabbat services, led in partnership by Rebecca Cover and me. 

Tomorrow morning, join us for Shul-Bucks at 9:00 a.m., followed by services in the sanctuary at 9:30 a.m. and Minyan Masorti in the Mizel Museum at 9:30 a.m. as well. Rabbi Mark Goodman will be giving the sermon in the sanctuary, in honor of his family's time here in Denver, as they prepare to move to Pittsburgh next month. We will gather for kiddush lunch after services - thank you to Mark Goodman and Noa Slemrod Goodman for sponsoring our kiddush this week. We will miss you! Special Root beer Floats available to all, sponsored by Allen Kantrowitz in honor of the 55th anniversary of becoming Bar Mitzvah. Mazal Tov!

As always, there is childcare throughout the morning and Tot Shabbat and Mini-Minyan begin at 11:15 a.m. Children of all ages are warmly invited to be in the sanctuary or the Mizel as well. It is beautiful to have the opportunity to be part of such a dynamic intergenerational community. 

Tisha B'Av

Saturday evening at 9:30 p.m. we will join with Minyan Na'aleh at the home of Aviva Pearlman and Nosson Knobloch at 381 Fairfax St. Denver, CO. 80220 for Erev Tisha B'Av services. Weather permitting, we will be outside. Please bring a blanket and flashlight. We will join together again on Sunday morning at Rodef at 9:00 a.m.

I hope to see you this Shabbat and beyond. May we continue to hear the cry of "eicha," allowing it to transform to "ayeka," leading us fully to "heneni."

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin 

 


July 13

 

Dear Chevre ... Dear Community of Friends,

I feel blessed to have landed here, in this sacred community of Rodef Shalom. This past week has been a bit of a whirlwind for us. I have jumped right in, and have, after each day, become more certain of the wonderful energy and people who are within this congregation. I have so enjoyed meeting many of you, and am looking forward to sharing more time together in the coming weeks. 

I am incredibly grateful to Fran and Harvey Cohen who took us into their home when our moving truck didn't arrive on the date we had arranged, and enabled us to begin our lives here with such warmth and care. Fran is scheduling each of the parlor meetings that are happening in homes throughout Denver, enabling me to continue to meet you and get to know you. These meetings and conversations are so important to me because they enable me to learn about you. Please be in touch with Fran if you would like to host a gathering. 

We rabbis don't actually become a person's Rabbi because of a contract at a synagogue or some sort of ordination certificate (although I will have one on my wall!) We become a person's Rabbi when we make a real connection - whether through a personal and meaningful conversation, a life cycle event, a teaching, or a prayer experience. I look forward to sharing these moments of connection with you, as we grow our relationship. 

In my last congregation, I sent out emails on Friday afternoon, sharing thoughts about the upcoming Shabbat and week, the Torah portion, etc. I look forward to doing the same here, and hope that these will become familiar preShabbat notes in your inbox. 

Tomorrow morning, Rabbi Gerson and I will be sharing the pulpit. This will be Rabbi Gerson's last sermon as a Rabbi of Rodef Shalom. I know that you will join me in savoring his words, as we continue to celebrate the Torah that both Rabbi Gerson and Sue have taught here at Rodef Shalom. It is so fitting that our new Torah and the Rodef Education Wing have been named in their honor; the Torah teachings that Rabbi Gerson and Sue have shared with us through sermons, classes, conversations, and their menschlichkeit way of embracing the world will be with us for eternity. 

May this Shabbat bring our Rodef Shalom community together, and enable each of us to honor our past, celebrate our present, and embrace our future. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin

Shabbat Shalom

Friday, August 31:  Shabbat, Selichot, The Gratitude Project, and More...

Dear Chevre,

 

We are just a little over a week away from Rosh Hashanah. As we anticipate beginning a wonderful new year together, I want to highlight opportunities for renewal in the coming week: 
 

Tomorrow morning:

Tomorrow morning we will gather at 9:30 AM for services. Shacharit will be led by Moshe Kornfeld, who recently moved to Denver with his family. Moshe is known for being a wonderfully soulful prayer leader, and I am excited to have his voice and energy in the Rodef community. Becca Cover will be leading us in Mussaf. Becca also brings dynamism and ruach to her prayer leadership. We are blessed that Becca will also be leading us on the 2nd Day of Rosh Hashanah in our Shacharit service. 
 

Selichot 

Join us on Saturday evening at 8:15PM for Selichot and the viewing of the film "A Small Act." The film is extraordinary and the main messages of the movie will be reflected in my sermons during the High Holy Days. Our viewing will be followed by a discussion and our Selichot service. The trailer can be found here: 

A Small Act - Trailer

A Small Act - Trailer

 

The Gratitude Project

What inspires a feeling of gratitude within you? Show us in a picture. Email photos to james@rodef-shalom.org of people/places/objects that inspire gratitude in you. These pictures will be used in a continuous scrolling display in the Rodef lobby during the High Holy Days. 
 

New Babies!

Do you have a new chiild, grandchild, or great grandchild who has been born in this past year of 5778? You are invited to come up for the Maftir Aliyah on the 2nd Day of Rosh Hashanah and a special baby blessing. Bring your baby or a picture of your baby so that we can celebrate new life together. 

 

Mazal Tov! 

Mazal Tov to Fran and Harvey Cohen on the birth of their granddaughter!

Mazal Tov to Rachel Gall, Allison Donner Hemenway, Ally Spanbauer, and Chandra T Rose on securing a grant from Hazon for full-on composting at Rodef Shalom! What a great way to begin 5779.

 

Shabbat Shalom... I hope we see one another tomorrow morning,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin


 

August 24, 2018

 

Dear Chevre,

 

When I was living in Jerusalem and studying at Pardes, I had the amazing experience of spending Yom Kippur in Jerusalem. For those who have had this experience, I imagine you might agree with me when I say that there is truly nothing quite like it.

The streets were filled, on the evening of Kol Nidre through the entire day until Neila, with people wearing white.  White shirts. White dresses. White skirts. White Kittels.

Except for me. I was wearing a blue dress with flowers.

In my synagogue growing up, you wore your nicest dress on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. And so on that Kol Nidre, I put on the nicest dress that I owned - the blue one with the flowers. Yet, as I saw people pouring from their homes and shuls donned in white, all I wanted to do was run home and change my clothes. I stood out, when all I really I wanted was to be part of the community.  I wanted to identify as deeply as I could with the Jewish people, and somehow, on that evening, white clothing was the symbol for that.

Before I went to bed that night, I found some white clothing to wear the following day. An old white skirt and a simple white blouse. Nothing fancy, to say the least.  But white. On that day, I loved that outfit more that I had loved any outfit since Middle School. And never again did I celebrate Yom Kippur without my white clothing.

As we approach the High Holy Days, there are many ways we can move deeper into our preparations.  We are inspired to use this month of Elul to do heshbon hanefesh - the real inner work that it takes to become the people we dream of being in this world.  We make amends and we reunite with the best parts of ourselves.

The tradition of wearing white on Yom Kippur can help us with this process. 

  • White is the color of purity, and so as we clean our slate, we symbolize that with our clothing. 
  • We also wear white, or a kittel, when we die and are buried.  On Yom Kippur, we have a mini-death and rebirth, symbolized by wearing the very clothing we will wear when we do eventually leave this earth.
  • When we gather together with a room full of others wearing white, we know that we are not alone.  We are all part of this same journey of life.  We are all trying to grow and improve.  Seeing one another in white builds our feeling of being entwined within a sacred community.

 For some of you, your custom may already be to wear white.  For others, this custom may be new.  This year, I invite you to join me.  Don't worry about wearing a jacket and tie or your best dress  - I invite you to come to shul in a simple white shirt, a white dress, white pants/skirt, a kittel - whatever white clothing you have that will make you feel comfortable and connected.

I will be sharing more teachings about wearing white and other High Holy Day traditions in the coming weeks, as we move through this month of Elul together.

This Shabbat 

Join us tomorrow morning as Shana Montrose and Quentin Diot name their daughter, Ava and welcome her into the covenant of the Jewish people.  Mazal Tov to Shana's father, Gary and grandmother, Evelyn, as well as to the entire Montrose and Diot families. Our service will be followed by a beautiful Kiddush lunch sponsored by Evelyn Shamon in honor of the naming of her great granddaughter, and the Gilden-Tsai family in memory of Don Gilden and Rita Krause.

A short Dvar Torah tomorrow will be delivered tomorrow by Rabbi Jay Strear, the new President and CEO of JewishColorado. Rabbi Strear and his family moved to Denver earlier this summer and we are so happy to welcome them to the neighborhood and to the Rodef community.

Tot Shabbat and Mini-minyan will begin at 11:15 AM.  Our service will conclude with a special blessing for our kids who have just returned to school.


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin

 


August 10, 2018

Dear Chevre,

As we move into Shabbat, we hold our brothers and sisters in Israel in our prayers.  This past week, 180 rockets were launched by terrorists in Gaza into Israel, some of which were aimed directly at the city of Be’er Sheva. May we use our prayers and our voices to advocate for the protection of our people, for quick and sensitive actions from those in Israel and throughout the world that will work to end terror and uphold the sanctity of human life.

We also hold in our prayers those who will be protesting against the white supremacist march in Washington, DC on Sunday. On the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, a second rally – as well as a counter-rally  -- will take place on Sunday. As we enter the month of Elul, we reassert the need to blot out hate in our country, and to work tirelessly to elevate the beautiful diversity within our nation.

Our rabbis teach that “Elul” is an acronym for “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li – I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”

Elul is a month of love. 

A month to commit ourselves to loving our neighbor – and the stranger – as we love ourselves.

A month to create time and space to connect and reconnect with family and friends.

A month to open our hearts wider to those who are yearning to be loved.

A month to rededicate ourselves to loving ourselves and believing in ourselves.

A month to assess the ways we most deeply offer love, as well as the ways we allow ourselves to receive love.

We all have the capacity to love  -- and we are all deserving of love. May we know this, and may we find ways to actualize this in the coming month.
 
When we gather together in Shabbat community, we have the opportunity to actualize love. Join us tonight at 7 PM for Shabbat Under the Stars in our Rodef courtyard.  Tomorrow, services begin at 9:30 AM, where Jonathan Hemenway will celebrate becoming a Bar Mitzvah. Babysitting begins at 9:30 AM, and Tot Shabbat and Mini Minyan will begin at 11:15 AM. Following services at noon, we will celebrate with Jonathan and his family as we enjoy a festive and delicious Kiddush lunch.

As we gear up for the High Holy Days, Cantor Saul and I are working to create beautiful and memorable services for our community. Cantor Saul has taken on the responsibility of assigning members to blow the shofar, and we are looking to add to our corps of outstanding shofar blasters. If you are above the age of Bar or Bat Mitzvah and would like to participate this year, please be in touch with Cantor Saul in the coming week -- (303-748-4815 or saul.denver@gmail.com.

Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin

 

July 27, 2018

Dear Chevre,

 

My Top Ten Reasons to Come to Shul This Week, in no particular order:

 

1. Inaugurating the new gazebo with our children at Tot Shabbat and Mini-Minyan 

2. Celebrating Ilana Steinberg and Ray Merenstein's anniversary 

3. Celebrating Rabbi Bernie and Sue Parker Gerson's anniversary 

4. Kvelling as Ely Merenstein reads Haftorah in honor of the 6th anniversary of becoming a Bar Mitzvah. 

5. Seeing your friends and meeting new people 

6. Celebrating the auf ruf of Judith Davidson and Michael Weinstein and wishing Mazal Tov to Sherrie and Les Davidson and family!

7. Welcoming back Rabbi Adam Rosenbaum, who grew up here at Rodef Shalom and is visiting us this weekend from South Carolina 

8. Praying together and gaining strength for the coming week. 

9. Saying farewell to Rabbi Gerson on his final Shabbat as our rabbi.

10. Enjoying a wonderful kiddush lunch! 

 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin 


 

July 20, 2018

 

Dear Chevre,

"Eicha." We read it on Tisha B'Av. Most aptly translated as a cry of mourning, "woa is us," eicha represents all that is wrong, burning, crumbling in our lives and our world. 

And yet, if we simply move the vowels, we are introduced to a new word - "Ayeka." "Where are you?" 

Where are you emotionally? Spiritually? Intellectually? 

This question is first asked in the Garden of Eden. At first appearance, it might seem to be a bit silly.  Doesn't God know where Adam and Eve are? But the question isn't just a surface question about where they (and we) appear in the physical world. The question begs us to think about where our emotions are. How we are engaging our world? How we are sitting with one another and ourselves? 

This is the first step in our teshuvah process as we move toward Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We can do this introspective work on our own, but our traditions and rituals are here to help us along, and to provide space to be present in community, even as we grapple with the challenging aspects of ourselves. 

This weekend, we have many opportunities to respond "Hineni" - Here I am. 

This evening, join us for Kabbalat Shabbat and Shmooze at 6:15 p.m. Enjoy a potato bar dinner followed by Kabbalat Shabbat services, led in partnership by Rebecca Cover and me. 

Tomorrow morning, join us for Shul-Bucks at 9:00 a.m., followed by services in the sanctuary at 9:30 a.m. and Minyan Masorti in the Mizel Museum at 9:30 a.m. as well. Rabbi Mark Goodman will be giving the sermon in the sanctuary, in honor of his family's time here in Denver, as they prepare to move to Pittsburgh next month. We will gather for kiddush lunch after services - thank you to Mark Goodman and Noa Slemrod Goodman for sponsoring our kiddush this week. We will miss you! Special Root beer Floats available to all, sponsored by Allen Kantrowitz in honor of the 55th anniversary of becoming Bar Mitzvah. Mazal Tov!

As always, there is childcare throughout the morning and Tot Shabbat and Mini-Minyan begin at 11:15 a.m. Children of all ages are warmly invited to be in the sanctuary or the Mizel as well. It is beautiful to have the opportunity to be part of such a dynamic intergenerational community. 

Tisha B'Av

Saturday evening at 9:30 p.m. we will join with Minyan Na'aleh at the home of Aviva Pearlman and Nosson Knobloch at 381 Fairfax St. Denver, CO. 80220 for Erev Tisha B'Av services. Weather permitting, we will be outside. Please bring a blanket and flashlight. We will join together again on Sunday morning at Rodef at 9:00 a.m.

I hope to see you this Shabbat and beyond. May we continue to hear the cry of "eicha," allowing it to transform to "ayeka," leading us fully to "heneni."

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin 

 


July 13

 

Dear Chevre ... Dear Community of Friends,

I feel blessed to have landed here, in this sacred community of Rodef Shalom. This past week has been a bit of a whirlwind for us. I have jumped right in, and have, after each day, become more certain of the wonderful energy and people who are within this congregation. I have so enjoyed meeting many of you, and am looking forward to sharing more time together in the coming weeks. 

I am incredibly grateful to Fran and Harvey Cohen who took us into their home when our moving truck didn't arrive on the date we had arranged, and enabled us to begin our lives here with such warmth and care. Fran is scheduling each of the parlor meetings that are happening in homes throughout Denver, enabling me to continue to meet you and get to know you. These meetings and conversations are so important to me because they enable me to learn about you. Please be in touch with Fran if you would like to host a gathering. 

We rabbis don't actually become a person's Rabbi because of a contract at a synagogue or some sort of ordination certificate (although I will have one on my wall!) We become a person's Rabbi when we make a real connection - whether through a personal and meaningful conversation, a life cycle event, a teaching, or a prayer experience. I look forward to sharing these moments of connection with you, as we grow our relationship. 

In my last congregation, I sent out emails on Friday afternoon, sharing thoughts about the upcoming Shabbat and week, the Torah portion, etc. I look forward to doing the same here, and hope that these will become familiar preShabbat notes in your inbox. 

Tomorrow morning, Rabbi Gerson and I will be sharing the pulpit. This will be Rabbi Gerson's last sermon as a Rabbi of Rodef Shalom. I know that you will join me in savoring his words, as we continue to celebrate the Torah that both Rabbi Gerson and Sue have taught here at Rodef Shalom. It is so fitting that our new Torah and the Rodef Education Wing have been named in their honor; the Torah teachings that Rabbi Gerson and Sue have shared with us through sermons, classes, conversations, and their menschlichkeit way of embracing the world will be with us for eternity. 

May this Shabbat bring our Rodef Shalom community together, and enable each of us to honor our past, celebrate our present, and embrace our future. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin

Sat, October 20 2018 11 Cheshvan 5779