Today is September 24, 2023 -

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

Who are We?

  • Posted on September 5, 2023
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The new year 5784 will soon begin, and every time we head into this turn, I’m struck by how profoundly different the Jewish New Year celebrations are from the atmosphere surrounding December 31 giving way to January 1. The countdown, followed by an explosion of fireworks, the televised scenes of revelers worldwide could not be Continue Reading »

Bringing the Magic Home

  • Posted on August 4, 2023
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Shalom, As I write these words, July is handing off to August. It’s still pretty hot and humid (I still can’t wrap my mind around school starting up at the start of August!). The big buses picked up the 2nd session campers and headed home. This summer, I had the opportunity to briefly visit up Continue Reading »

Mountaintop View

  • Posted on June 4, 2023
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As I write these words, it’s the last Wednesday in May, just a few days past Shavuot. Today, I drove up to Ramah Darom in the mountains above Clayton, Georgia. Staff week is starting… soon hundreds of campers will be here — I think this is summer # 26 or 27. Flashback to a bus-ride Continue Reading »

Counting Days, Taking Note

  • Posted on May 4, 2023
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Just a few days ago, we passed the half-way point between Passover and Shavuot. There’s a 49-day bridge connecting these important holidays. In ancient Temple times, the Omer rituals expressed the gratitude of the farmer who brought a measure of barley for the Kohen, who would wave this offering before God. All of that symbolism Continue Reading »

Thinking About Freedom

  • Posted on April 4, 2023
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Once again Passover is right around the corner — clean-up, cooking, shopping, guest-lists, fretting over various logistics, you know the drill — it’s a lot. It’s also easy to get lost in all these details and to lose sight of the holiday’s powerful ideas that continue to challenge us. Last Shabbat evening in shul, I Continue Reading »

Leading into Purim…But seriously, folks…

  • Posted on March 3, 2023
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As I write these words, Purim is just a few days ahead. The choir has run through the shpiel, the festive Erev Purim meal is being prepared by our wonderful kitchen crew, the social hall and sanctuary will be decorated — big fun for all. And, in case we needed any fresh reminders, the villain Continue Reading »

A Minor Holiday That Really is Important – Earth Day

  • Posted on February 4, 2023
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This coming Monday marks the fifteenth day of Sh’vat, new year of the trees. We learn this from Talmud — this day is one of four different new-year markings. The Torah contains several laws relating to the produce of Eretz Yisrael, and for farmers as well as consumers in Israel, these laws are relevant. For Continue Reading »

View From The Edge

  • Posted on January 4, 2023
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Over the years I’ve been fortunate to visit close friends who live in the Marais, the old Jewish quarter in Paris (roughly akin to the lower East Side of NYC; most of the Jews in Paris now live in the 17th arrondissement). Since I don’t know any French, I find myself approaching everything with Beginner’s Continue Reading »

Shining a Light in the Dark

  • Posted on December 5, 2022
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Over the years, Jews have gone back and forth about the festival of Hanukkah: Are we elevating a minor league holiday because of Christmas envy? It’s way past time to put this worn-out trope to rest. The rabbis of the Talmud instructed us to light candles, the candles for the sake of ‘publicizing the miracle.’ Continue Reading »

What’s in a Name?

  • Posted on November 5, 2022
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As I write these words the holiday season has passed and the Jewish calendar rocks along with the work week and Shabbat for a while. While this month is called Heshvan there’s an old tradition of calling this month MarHeshvan, which literally means “bitter Heshvan” — not a very nice thing to call this month! Continue Reading »