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Shabbat Shalom

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

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

Wed, August 15 2018 4 Elul 5778