Today is October 16, 2021 -

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

A Few Thoughts on Anti-Semitism and Passover

  • Posted on April 7, 2019
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It’s a hot topic these days, for good reason. There’s the shooting at the shul in Squirrel Hill, of course.There’s the anti Semitic remarks offered in the halls of Congress. There are the reckless and cynical charges portraying the Democratic Party as anti Jewish. Uncomfortable old truths — lawmakers, celebrities, pundits across the political spectrum Continue Reading »

Looking Forward to Purim

  • Posted on March 5, 2019
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As I write the words, we’re a month out from Purim — the Shpiel is coming together, the choir is getting ready, a raucous new show is around the corner. I want to take a moment to reflect upon the meaning of the mitzvot associated with Purim. 1) We chant the Megillah; we recount the Continue Reading »

Word From The Rabbi Feb 2019

  • Posted on February 14, 2019
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A philosophy professor, a rabbi, and a brewery owner walk into a bar— Old-style joke opener, I know…but seriously folks… Here’s what’s happening. Oh, first I have to give you backstory. Because there’s a backstory. Backstory Charlie Thomas — philosophy professor, bandmate, good friend, frequenter of Jews & Brews as well as Shabbat evening davening Continue Reading »

Road Trip

  • Posted on January 6, 2019
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So —as I type into my phone, my family is about to head up to NY for a winter break. These trips are uncommon for us; last NY trip was quite a ways back. So in a way, these trips also serve as markers, opportunities to reflect a bit. We’ll be spending two shabbatot at Continue Reading »

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

  • Posted on December 6, 2018
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A picture is worth a thousand words. Let’s soak in this heartwarming Hanukkah moment from this Sunday morning, the eve of Hanukkah —our kids and their parents are in the holiday zone, crafting clay dreidels. There’s a patrolman at our table, hands in the clay, sharing in the moment —there’s an intimate sort of Norman Continue Reading »

This Moment in Time

  • Posted on November 1, 2018
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As I write these words, members of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue are burying their dead. A couple days earlier, two African-Americans shopping at a Kroger in Louisville, Kentucky were murdered by a man who was frustrated because he was unable to enter a Black church and kill worshippers inside. This week was also about Continue Reading »

The Gifts of Sukkot

  • Posted on October 7, 2018
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When I’m not busy being overwhelmed by the onrush of all these holidays, I remember why I have such a soft spot for Sukkot. First, there’s the (finally!) leaves starting to change, and there’s the unique pleasure of the etrog’s fragrance. There’s sensation of chanting Hallel and shaking the lulav in the small chapel, and Continue Reading »

What Makes for Meaning?

  • Posted on September 2, 2018
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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
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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
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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 »