Today is September 17, 2019 -

Congregation Sha'arey Israel

A Conservative Jewish Congregation serving the spiritual needs of the Middle Georgia Jewish community since 1904

611 First Street, Macon, GA 31201
Phone: (478) 745-4571

A Word of Torah from the Rabbi

What Makes for Meaning?

  • Posted on September 2, 2018

I’m reading ‘Being Mortal’ by Atul Gawande; a really beautiful book that asks serious questions and offers penetrating insights into living, aging, and dying. Beyond Gawande’s words — certainly worthy of a drash or two — there’s another layer of context provided by this season: the month of Elul, a hint of coolness in the Continue Reading »

Shul as a Comfort and as a Refuge

  • Posted on August 10, 2018

I write these words as we bid farewell to Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of Consolation. This special name derives from Today’s Haftarah, which opens with Isaiah preaching: ‘Be comforted, my people!’ says your God.The calamities of the 9th of Av are followed by seven shabbatot, whose prophetic readings are all about consola-tion and healing. This Continue Reading »

Our Words, Our Deeds, Our Name

  • Posted on June 14, 2018

A memory implanted in my mind from my early teen years as a Yeshiva Boy — before we went home for summer break (it was called ‘bein haz’manim ,םינמזה ןי draeh ew ,)smret neewteb ,yllaretilב some stern talk about the way we were expected to comport ourselves during vacation. Hey, I didn’t say we absolutely Continue Reading »


  • Posted on May 3, 2018

Complicated I found an old button (not the kind that closed or opens a shirt, but the kind that has a printed slogan and attaches to your clothing with a pin) from college. On its face it reads ישראל ❤❤ אני — which means ‘I love Israel’; simple phrase, right? Actually, not simple. If we’re Continue Reading »

Reflecting on Maggid

  • Posted on April 7, 2018

If you’re reading the portion of the Haggadah called ‘Maggid’ , מגיד you’re surely talking about slavery and liberation — and while many people treat the biblical slavery narrative as a sacred myth rather than a chapter of history, the discussion of slavery and freedom could not possibly be more relevant. As we speak, people Continue Reading »

I Think I Can I Think I Can…

  • Posted on March 7, 2018

I graduated from JTS in NY back in 1991 and I have to say that my proudest holiday numbers are about Purim — the amount of folks reveling in the Purim vibe is up there with the numbers of davenners com-ing together on Yom Kippur. CSI is the little engine that could. Quite amazing to Continue Reading »

Planting Seeds of Goodness

  • Posted on February 7, 2018

Greetings! While the temperature outside is still bouncing around, there already are budding hints of Spring and its hint of life and hope relentlessly pushing, insisting upon breaking through… A Bunch of Stuff… David Ilan presented an inspiring program about gardening with good bugs — an important reminder that each of makes choices that leave Continue Reading »


  • Posted on January 7, 2018

Kosher — What Does it Mean? You could say this piece is about a common Hebrew word with more than one important meaning. Actually, it’s about more than that — it’s a plea for us to think about the relationship between rituals and Ethics.   Food The word ‘kosher’ is most often associated with food. Continue Reading »

Legends, Battles, and Ideals

  • Posted on December 7, 2017

Legends, Battles, and Ideals Hanukkah will be here soon; there’s yummy food (latkes and sufganiyot), decorating opportunities, and dreidel spinning — and what is it all about? In this corner… Our talmudic sages seemed most interested in the legend of the oil burning eight days. They intentionally left out the Maccabean battles (167BCE and continuing Continue Reading »

Be Here Now

  • Posted on November 6, 2017

As you most probably already know, I took a quick trip to Phoenix to join my family at the funeral of my father in law, Leroy Paller. The officiating Rabbi was quite solicitous as well as professional — and he was quite ready to have me co-officiate along with him. And I quickly realized that Continue Reading »

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