Sinai's Interfaith Outreach Program

A ‘new’ name for an old Sinai tradition: Open Hearts & Open Door begins September 13.   It began in the 1980s as the brainchild of Rabbi Howard Berman: An informal outreach program embracing interfaith families in thinking, discussing, and exploring how to build homes together. Under Rabbi Seth Limmer, it continues …this year as last, with a change of name that reverts to the original: Open Hearts & Open Door (formerly known as Interfaith Outreach).  ...

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Annual Meeting: How We've Shared the past 12 Months Together

It is hard to believe we are already looking back over another wonderful year together. The month of June not only is the time for Sinai’s Annual Meeting, but also a great opportunity to reflect on how we’ve shared the past twelve months together. As my third year at Sinai reaches its conclusion, I am grateful to continue to commence and to deepen my relationships with so many of our individuals and families, the people who make our synagogue a true community. Our being togethe...

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Reform Judaism - Evolving Judaism

Our Rabbis disagreed about Rome. A conversation captured in the Talmud describes their differences. Rabbi Judah marvels at the Roman markets, bathhouses, and bridges: to him they symbolize the potential of global commerce, the awareness of sanitary health, and the scientific advancement of engineering achievements. His colleague, Rabbi Yossi, is nonplussed by Judah’s words of praise; Yossi remains silent. Not so Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, whose words singe with sarcasm, “The Roma...

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CCAR Journal: The Meaning of Life

CCAR Journal| Winter 2017 ~   The Meaning of Life:  An Intergenerational Literary Conversation among Max Fitzgerald, Rabbi Amanda Greene, and Rabbi Seth Limmer (Chicago Sinai)

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St. Barnabas Interfaith Gathering: You Are My Neighbor

Hinei Mah Tov U’mah naim, shevet achim gam yachad. How wonderful it is to be here today, to stand beside you, to stand amongst our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters. For at its core, this is our Jewish obligation, to not only stand beside our partners in faith, but to stand WITH you. And that is why I am deeply honored to be here this evening to stand WITH you -- Our Jewish story teaches us over and over again the story of redemption. 36 times in our Torah, in the Five Book...

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Chicago Sinai Torah scrolls

Chicago Sinai Torah scrolls are filled with many stories... But, most recently, I learned that one of our Torah scrolls stands tall in the American History Museum in Washington, DC. Chicago Sinai Torah scrolls are filled with many stories. Not just the stories of the five books of Moses. Or the stories about our students reading from the sacred texts. Not just the story of the journey our Torah scroll made from Selma, Alabama to Washington, DC last summer. But, most recently, I learned that...

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Participation, Patience and Perspective

Hillel says: "Do not separate yourself from the public, and Do not believe in yourself until the day of your death, and Do not judge your friends until you arrive at their place." -Pirkei Avot, The Teachings of our Rabbis, 2:4 Our great sage Hillel lived two thousand years ago. During his day, Rome ruled the known world, and our rabbis struggled to balance their Jewish identity with often oppressive political realities. Facing an empire not known for subtlety, Hillel opted for a different pat...

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Selichot 5777 Preparing for the High Holy Days

This Saturday night marks a solemn observance, selichot. The word itself means “forgiveness”, and selichot marks the formal beginning of our introspective season. As we approach the final days preceding Rosh HaShanah, our calendar would have us focus on the work of turning towards our better selves—in Hebrew, teshuvah—that is the focus of our High Holy Day ritual. As Saturday turns to Sunday, we are meant to turn inwards to contemplate the kinds of people we hope to...

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Being a Parent at My Daughter's Bat Mitzvah

For fifteen years, my place on Shabbat morning was certain: standing next to the bat mitzvah. I made sure all the papers were in place on the pulpit, read the prayers over her shoulder like an excited copilot, placed the yad at its proper place in the weekly portion in the Torah scroll so she could bring the ancient words for life, called up many members of the family for honors and aliyot, and—at the proper moment—turned the bimah over to beaming parents who spoke words of pride...

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Promises of Liberation

This week is framed by the unfulfilled promises of liberation. On April 16, we celebrated Emancipation Day, which marks the anniversary of President Lincoln’s signing the Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862, which freed the over 3,000 enslaved individuals who resided in Washington, D.C. On April 22, which is also the 14th of Nissan, we will sit at our Seder tables to commence our annual Passover festival which marks not only the historic liberation of our people from Egyptian oppressi...

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